Watching the media coverage of jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) rampaging across Iraq has been like a flashback to 2003. There’s Wolfowitz, Cheney, and Feith, invited on the “serious” news shows to share their expertise. As Esquire blogger, Charles Pierce has colorfully written–these experts should be interviewed only with the permission of the warden.
More salient to our discussion than this parade of idiots and criminals has been the depressingly shallow examination of US foreign policy. The US media, with its proclivity for balance, has taken the stance of reporting what partisans on either side of the political divide are saying. And, of course, both Democrats and Republicans are lining up to blame the other side.
The Republicans, to no ones surprise, are blaming it all on President Obama for leaving Iraq in 2011 and allowing the place to go to hell. Oh, and Benghazi.
The Democrats place the blame on the Bush Administration’s invasion and subsequent policies of occupation.
I believe there’s the much more sinister interpretation. The US, like empires before it, is pursuing a divide and rule strategy in the Middle East.
In 2003 the US invaded Iraq and overthrew Saddam Hussein. After easily overthrowing Saddam and occupying the country, the US was faced with a brutal insurgency primarily led by Sunni that was averaging 100 attacks a day on US troops.
Saddam was a Sunni and the head of the Ba’ath party of Iraq. His overthrow brought about a Shia dominated government led presently by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Iran was an obvious beneficiary of this turn of events. However, US middle-eastern allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar were incensed with this turn of events as they view Iran and the Shia as the ultimate enemy.
“In this context, contradictory US policies appear to make sense. In early 2005, Pakistani defense sources revealed that the Pentagon had “resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population,” consisting of “former members of the Ba’ath Party” – linked up with al-Qaeda insurgents – to “head off” the threat of a “Shi’ite clergy-driven religious movement.” Almost simultaneously, the Pentagon began preparing its ‘Salvador option’ to sponsor Shi’ite death squads to “target Sunni insurgents and their sympathisers.”
The strategic thinking behind arming both sides was alluded to by one US Joint Special Operations University report which said: “US elite forces in Iraq turned to fostering infighting among their Iraqi adversaries on the tactical and operational level.” This included disseminating and propagating al-Qaeda jihadi activities by “US psychological warfare (PSYOP) specialists” to fuel “factional fighting” and “to set insurgents battling insurgents.”
This short-sighted divide-and-rule strategy went nowhere within Iraq beyond fueling sectarianism, but has played out across the region.”
You might also recall that funding, training and arming Sunni terrorists has been a key tenet of US foreign policy since the Mujahideen. And that in Syria, right next door to Iraq, we are arming, training and supporting these Sunni terrorists in a campaign against President Bashar al-Assad, a Shia.
And guess what? These very same Sunni terrorists are ISIS, (remember the name?) who are rampaging across Iraq.
“I think we have to understand first how we got here. We have been arming ISIS (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) in Syria. ISIS, an al Qaeda offshoot, has been collaborating with the Syrian rebels whom the Obama administration has been arming in their efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.” – Senator Rand Paul, Interview CNN
I don’t blame you. This sounds like the biggest clusterfuck ever. However, there is always a plan in the Empire of Chaos.
“The US made every effort to fuel sectarian animosities to divert attention from the attacks on US soldiers. And due to a savage and deceptive counterinsurgency plan that employed death squads, torture, assassinations, and massive ethnic cleansing, they succeeded in confusing Iraqis as to who was really behind the daily atrocities, the human rights violations and the mountain of carnage.”
All these policies are not making the American people any safer. On the contrary, these policies, like previous ones, are designed to enrich the rulers of our country, the 1% and the corporations they control. Especially the oil companies.
“The oppressive United States occupation was racked with insurgency precisely because it tried to harness the country’s vast oil revenues to its imperial designs in the Middle East.”
American foreign policy, in this regard, is no different from American economic policy. These policies are designed for the 1%. The rest of us are an afterthought.
The key to understanding the financial crash or terrorists running wild is all about understanding the paradigm.
These disastrous policies are not a bug but a feature.