Monday, October 29, 2007

U.S. Policy Consequences: Blowback or Controlled Explosion?

I have long believed that the U.S. will always need an arch-nemesis to justify its defense spending always being millions of dollars higher than any other world power -- a country, or "axis" of (evil) countries portrayed as an enemy and a real threat to all that is American. My first example: communism and the cold war.

As I will explain below U.S. policies during the cold war gave birth to the most recent nemesis (Iraq) and the current one (Islamic radicalism).

I had always thought that these were unintended consequences, but as all the news now indicates that the world powers are squaring up to fight for the world's remaining resources, the Iraq and Islamic threat being used as justification to take control of massive oil-reserves there, and the latter potentially giving the U.S. an open book for other operations and invasions where most of these remaining resources lie, I ask myself: were they accidents, or has it all been a plan from the start?

During the cold war, Afghanistan's government became allied and controlled by the U.S.S.R. The big oil corps had noted potential in Afghanistan for a major money-spinning pipeline between the major oil reserves in the Caucasus and financially-rich, resource-poor Asia. Mujahideen groups began fighting the Soviet allied government. And Reagan began covertly funding the extremist of extreme Mujahideen groups, pressuring Saudi Arabia to match the level of funding, and arming the anti-Soviet Afghans with the best weaponry -- all via Pakistani intelligence.

The U.S. wanted to draw the Soviet army into invading Afghanistan, seeing the opportunity for "giving to the USSR its Vietnam war", meaning to bog the U.S.S.R down causing a major drain on their resources and weakening the Soviet empire.

It worked, but in the course of it, the pressure applied to Saudi Arabia's King Fahd led to his intelligence chief Turki al-Faisal hiring Osama Bin Laden to recruit fighters and secure funds from rich Arabs for the Afghan Jihad, and having the U.K.'s Special Air Service give the Mujahideen explosives training -- including how to improvise Soviet explosives captured in ambushes and recovered mines. Bin Laden kept a database of fighters recruited for the struggle -- Al Qaeda is base in Arabic. How much did the C.I.A know about, or have to do with that appointment?

Pakistan also used U.S. dollars to build dozens of religious schools, or seminaries in the border regions. It was the U.S. and Pakistan's shared aim, that the seminaries would maintain extremist teachings and provide a steady flow of Muslims to go and fight in the Afghan Jihad. Many of those religious schools remain breeding grounds for Salafist anti-western extremism and terrorists to this day. And we all know what all these policies led to: 9/11 and the current threat to western interests from -- Reagan's freedom fighters -- Islamic terrorists.

Just before Reagan came to power another problem had emerged: the Islamic revolution in Iran. The revolution overthrew the British imposed Shah, who was a fervent western ally. Saddam Hussein's Iraq sought to capitalize on the confusion and launched a massive invasion of Iran, which looked like a success for a while. When Saddam's forces began to be drove back further and further into Iraq, the threat emerged: Iran's Islamic soldiers could take southern Iraq, from where they would threaten Kuwait and the vital oil supplies in the Middle East proper.

The U.S. -- along with other major western powers -- began arming (the maniac) Saddam, with weapons and "dual-use" technology, that could be -- and were -- used in the production of chemical and biological weapons.

Saddam successfully defended Iraq and after years more fighting and thousands of gruesome chemical warfare deaths for little gains, the two countries eventually agreed to the terms of UN Resolution 598 and returned to pre-war boundaries.

Bush came to power soon after and continued cosying up to Saddam -- of course, now a well armed dictator. Over-estimating this power and the level of his favour with the U.S., Saddam went on to do what his U.S. weaponry was supposed to prevent: invaded Kuwait.

After brief attempts at diplomacy, U.N. and U.S. forces were deployed to expel Saddam's forces from Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia. The stationing of U.S troops in Saudi Arabia, and its permanence when Saddam was expelled were the main reasons behind Bin Laden's Fatwas, religious rulings calling for the murder, first of American troops in Saudi Arabia (1996), then American's and their allies anywhere in the world (1998). The latter was, in effect, a declaration of war against the "international community."

So, U.S. policies led to the rise of Islamic extremism and terrorism, the rise of Saddam and (indirectly) his invasion of Kuwait. This made him an enemy of the U.S, which would allow Bush to invade in 2003, using the other threat the U.S. created and stirred up in dealing with Saddam's invasion, Islamic terrorists as further justification.

So, was the 2003 invasion really to deal with the threat, or was it the first move in the international resources chess game? And if it was: had it all been the plan when they were giving Saddam all that money and fomenting Islamic extremism?

Iraq stands on some of the biggest oil reserves in the world, and it has become clear since the Iraq invasion that Bush knew there was no WMD's in Iraq and that Saddam posed no threat to anyone but his own countrymen. In fact in the last couple of days, Alan Greenspan the leading republican economist for a generation, now retired said: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

U.K. officials also knew Saddam had no WMD's, and created dodgy dossiers to instil fear of an imaginary threat. I put that down to Blair seeing the struggle to maintain oil-supplies for as long as possible turning to a violent struggle, and wanting to be on-side with Bush as he made his bid for control.

Iraq changed the international dynamic, since then, around the world the U.S and its allies have been squaring up against Russia/China and their allies over resource rich areas, and those not in the fray are picking sides.

Bush and his administration are constantly threatening another invasion of an oil-rich country, Iran.

Russia and China -- the latter relying on Iran for resources -- have vetoed UN sanctions against the Pariah state and given every indication (inviting Iran to cooperation organization meetings with verbal promises to defend each other's sovereignty) whose side they would take if it went to war. Then there's the dispute between Russia and the U.S. over the missile defense shield. Of course Russia isn't going to let the U.S. obtain any military advantage with the great war for dwindling resources looming overhead. Hence Russia resuming long (nuclear armed) bomber patrols. Now, France's conservative leadership is cosying up to the U.S. over Iran:

France's foreign minister said: Bernard Kouchner said: "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war." The top UN nuclear official Mohamed ElBaradei said he saw no clear and present danger and that talk of war was counter-productive. Like Blair French officials see what's going down and are picking their side.

So, if France and Russian officials with their intelligence agencies and White House contacts see that Iraq began a war between the world's major powers for the world's remaining oil, who am I to argue.

Iraq being about oil gives birth to the possibility that the U.S. doesn't care about security in Iraq, only control of the oil. That in turn makes an Iran invasion even more likely, because it removes the possibility that the U.S. won't attack Iran because their retaliation would destroy any chance of security in Iraq. It also removes the problem of an over-stretched U.S. military stopping the invasion, because half the troops in Iraq could control the oil. That then gives birth to the question: why the surge, is it a surge to up the troop levels in advance for war with Iran?

If all this does go ahead; we all go to war for what's left of precious oil, most of which is in the Middle East, is it so much of a leap to say that the U.S. knew it was creating an Islamic monster and did so knowing that this day would come? I'll let you make up your own mind.

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