What comes next in the Middle East

Summary: Our brutal neo-colonial policy in the Middle East – without goals, reason, or even respect for our “allies” in the region – may be entering a new phase. Trump’s stupidity might start a disastrous war, but it was doomed to fail catastrophically. Eventually.

American politics as warfare
© Publicdomainphotos | Dreamstime.

Before predictions, clearly see the present

When reading the news, remember that US government officials usually lie. As Daniel Larson explains in “Lying Us Into War With Iran.” Much of the coverage of these events by the mainstream media has reprinted US government propaganda. The NYT perfectly captures this folly by asking “can the United States maintain a cooperative security relationship with Iraq given the upheaval the assassination has provoked?” A more rational question is can the US treat its allies with respect, not as colonies and puppet regimes? They quote Richard N. Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations and a former American diplomat.

“One sure result of the U.S. strike is that the era of U.S.-Iraq cooperation is over. …The U.S. diplomatic & mil presence will end b/c Iraq asks us to depart or our presence is just a target or both. The result will be greater Iranian influence, terrorism and Iraqi infighting.”

This assumes that US influence leads to regional stability. History shows that to be delusionally false. The US requires its puppet regimes to act contrary to their people’s interests, which evaporates their legitimacy and leads to domestic instability. Even more delusional is this, by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“We have every expectation that people, not only in Iraq but in Iran, will view the American action last night as giving them freedom.”

For an excellent analysis of the situation in Iraq by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J. S. Davies. Benjamin is the author of Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. Follow her on Twitter. Davies is the author of Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Follow him on Twitter.

The NY Times reports that US officials (as usual) exaggerated the intel about a possible attack planned by Suleimani (it was “razor thin). Also see Mohammad Ali Shabani‘s “Donald Trump’s assassination of Qassem Suleimani will come back to haunt him.” He is a PhD student at Soas University of London, where he focuses on implications of the Shi’a ascent to power in Iraq.

“By 2014, when he successfully halted Islamic State’s attempt to overrun Iraq, Suleimani was being feted as a hero among Iraqis alongside the local commanders, including al-Muhandis. The same response was evident in Iran, where he quickly became a household name and was rumoured to be a potential future president – a trend strengthened by the Trump administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in 2018.

“So the US has not merely killed an Iranian military commander but also a highly popular figure, viewed as a guardian of Iran even among secular-minded Iranians. And with the assassination of al-Muhandis, the Trump administration has put itself in the position of having killed the operational commander of a large branch of the Iraqi armed forces. …For all his crowing about the decisive blow dealt to an insolent enemy, Trump may be about to discover that the problem with martyrs is that they live forever.”

Update about the obvious and inevitable: “Iraqi Lawmakers Vote to Expel U.S. Troops.

What will Iran do in response?

“Asked about the U.S. plan for managing the potential blowback from Iran, a U.S. defense official said, ‘Your guess is as good as mine. The ball’s in Iran’s court at this time. We’re waiting to see what their response is.’”
— Incompetence on a level guaranteeing disaster, eventually. From Politico.

The news overflows with guessing by people without a clue. For a rare sensible analysis, see this by Scott Ritter: “Iranian Revenge Will Be A Dish Best Served Cold.” He is the author of 7 books; his most recent is Deal of the Century: How the Iranian Nuclear Agreement Was Won, Then Lost, and the Possible Consequences (2018).

The more likely consequences are that the Iraq – Iran alliance grows tighter and that Iran’s regime grows stronger. I doubt anyone can predict the larger and longer-term responses. Those guessing about Iran’s response usually assume that its government will respond to popular pressure with a small but dramatic gesture. Or that they might act with cool rationality – playing the long game, using America’s aggressions to unify the region against its foreign infidel invaders.

Or this might be like July 1914, when decades of tensions unexpectedly ignite geopolitical fires that none can extinguish except with the blood of millions.

What would we do?

What would Americans do if treated by a superpower as we have treated Iran? Daniel Larison is one of the few to ask that question.

“Imagine how angrily we would respond if a foreign government assassinated a high-profile, well-liked military officer while he was traveling inside an allied country, and that might give us some idea of how Iranians perceive this attack. That matters because it means that there will be tremendous pressure on the Iranian government to respond to the attack, and it also means that there will be political support for retaliation. If the administration wanted to find a way to trigger a war with Iran that bolsters the Iranian government’s standing at home, this is how to do it.”

But that’s a tame perspective. Go back to the beginning. In 1953 the CIA’s Operation Ajax helped overthrow Iran’s elected government (Wikipedia) and installed a tyrant. The US government long denied it, admitting it in 2017. Of course, the people of Iran already knew; only Americans were still ignorant.

That tyrant remained in power with our support and his brutal secret police (SAVAK). He was ejected in a 1979 Revolution. We waged continuous war against Iran after their revolution. Justified by lies – such as claims that they were building nukes (Fear Iran’s nukes, coming very soon since 1984). We used these claims to justify economic warfare against them, assassinating their scientists, supporting insurgent terrorists (MEK), and probably more things not yet public.

Iran’s response to these attacks has been mild. They did push back to America’s occupation of Iraq, mildly compared to America’s military enforcement of its Monroe Doctrine. This points to the core aspect of this geopolitical struggle for control of the Middle East: our hypocrisy. No matter how often or brutally we attack Iran – who threatens only our imperial dreams – we see ourselves as the noble victims.

Imagine if the roles were reversed. How would America respond to a nation attacking them as we attacked Iran? Rivers of blood would flow.

A response to America’s imperial wars

We are bombing and killing people around the world 24-7, year after year. I worry that eventually we will kill one or more people whose relatives organize intelligently conducted terrorism against America. Not with political or monetary goals, just killing for revenge. Mindless killing, just as historians will see our operations around the world today. Imagine a 9/11 every month or so. Imagine copycats, dumb but numerous, doing similar operations – drawing on the millions of people we have angered.

Or something else will happen that is equally unexpected and catastrophic. I doubt we can contine our operations without some kind of bad ending for America.

“Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.”
— Attributed to Robert Lewis Stevenson.

Other voices

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s important post: Let’s cheer another successful assassination!

How dare Iran do what America routinely does for the same reasons! See “Suleimani’s assassination and the muddled moralism behind it” by Robert Wright at NonZero (which has much interesting and provocative material).

About the legal doctrine used by America and Israel for its attacks: “Lies, the Bethlehem Doctrine, and the Illegal Murder of Soleimani” by former British diplomat Craig Murray.

Jeremy Scahill at The Intercept. He is an investigative reporter and author of two books, including Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield

“Trump campaigned on belligerence toward Iran and trashing the Obama-led Iran nuclear deal, and he has followed through on those threats, filling his administration with the most vile, hawkish figures in the U.S. national security establishment. …

“Much as the neoconservatives came to power in 2001 after the election of George W. Bush with the goal of regime change in Iraq, Trump in his bumbling way assembled a team of extremists who viewed him as their best chance of wiping the Islamic Republic of Iran off the map.

“While Barack Obama provided crucial military and intelligence support for Saudi Arabia’s scorched earth campaign in Yemen, which killed untold numbers of civilians, Trump escalated that mass murder in a blatant effort to draw Iran militarily into a conflict. That was the agenda of the gulf monarchies and Israel, and it coincided neatly with the neoconservative dreams of overthrowing the Iranian government.”

For more information

Ideas! See my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see a story about our future: “Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about our war with Iran, and especially these  …

  1. Our crusade slowly crushes Iran, and reveals much about us.
  2. Jessica Mathews: why scuttling the Iran deal is MAD.
  3. Fear Iran’s nukes, coming very soon since 1984.
  4. Trump tells us it’s time to fight another nation: Iran.
  5. Martin van Creveld: An update on Trump’s Saber Rattling in the Middle East.
  6. Craig Murray looks at stories to start a war with Iran.
  7. America hated ‘Pearl Harbor’ – so we do it again & again to Iran.

Books about Iran and our war with them

Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World’s First Digital Weapon by Kim Zetter.

Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy by Trita Parsi.

A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind by Michael Axworthy.

Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacy
Available at Amazon.
A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind
Available at Amazon.

 

24 thoughts on “What comes next in the Middle East”

    1. Michael,

      So what justice do you believe warranted for America’s acts? For the suffering in Iran since we overthrew their elected government? For our attacks on Iraq, Libya, and now Iraq – all major oil producers – for their failure to bow to us? For our support of ISIS in Syria?

      “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
      — Matthew 7, 1-3.

  1. Soleiman’s main failing was that he orchestrated the successful elimination of ISIS, the CIA sponsored terrorist group attempting to overthrow the Syrian government. So he frustrated US policy, which we apparently believe is a crime punishable by death. Some would call this hubris on our part, but really hubris is a core aspect of the US interventions in the Mid East. Nemesis is historically a reliable consequence.

  2. LK: The US government long denied it, admitting it in 2017. Of course, the people of Iran already knew; only Americans were still ignorant.

    This is one of the things I find so strange about Americans; and I am one. It was known and published in academic pieces back when I went to school in the 1970’s. It was part of the peace movements strategy to show Vietnam as a continuation of policy by Western nations as was done in Iran. The reason I find it strange was that a generation of American students were introduced to the facts by the Peace Movement and polyscience.

    I guess one will not go broke overestimating our stupidity.

    Michael Dowd: It is easy to see one’s own side. LK is presenting the other side and asking a question that should be asked. One that Trump should have asked. Peace and a non nuclear Iran should be desirable for the world, not just USA. Actions that inflame a region considered vital to world trade should be examined very closely and cautiously, if peace is one of the goals.

    From WSJ: Thousands March in Iraq for Iranian Commander Killed in U.S. Strike
    From MarketWatch: Here are Iran’s armed allies if it carries out retaliation on the U.S.

    1. John,

      “I guess one will not go broke overestimating our stupidity.”

      It’s not stupidity. We want to believe what our leaders tell us. We believe what our leaders tell us, no matter how often they lie. It makes us pleasant peasants easy to rule, a gift to our rulers. This relieves us of the terrible burden of self-government – and the guilt that would come from acknowledging our deeds.

      “God is Power. Oceania was at war with Eurasia: Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia. …Oceania was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”
      — George Orwell’s 1984.

      1. Sven,

        “Academic pieces? You forgot that most national newspapers are iirc written at the 9th grade level.”

        I don’t understand your comment. When John said “It was known and published in academic pieces back when I went to school in the 1970’s” he obviously was not referring to newspapers.

    1. Pluto,

      While that poll is nice, I’ve seen countless similar ones during the past 19 years. None have remotely slowed the American war chariot. Presidential candidates of both parties run on which of our many wars they love.

      More encouraging would be bold statements by the Democratic candidates. Instead we get the usual mush.

      We have become an obdurate people, hard-hearted in our evil. Our only hope is to plead for the mercy we have not shown to others.

    2. Larry: “Our only hope is to plead for the mercy we have not shown to others.”

      Agreed. It seems like there is a small possibility that may occur, which is better than I expected. The Iraqi parliament (dominated by Shia) just ordered the US government off their soil, which will eventually provide fewer targets in the Middle East for irate militia members.

      I’m very curious how Trump will respond to this threat to his troop build-up in Iraq. Will he declare that he’s invading the country to save it?

      1. Pluto,

        I think all of this is chaff. Not our problems, but results of our problems. The Founders believed that the fate of the Republic depended on the character of its people – their love of liberty, their moral fiber, their self-discipline. It worked well for two hundred years. Now we’re descending into Lord of the Flies, becoming a nation of child-like people. No ship of adults will come by to restore order.

        “They glorified their mythology of ‘rights’ …and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure.”
        — Robert Heinlein in Starship Troopers.

        But spiritual revival is an inherent aspect of the soul. So we can hope, and with that hope work for better days. It’s all about choice. That’s what I believe.

  3. Pingback: Assassinations Supporting MEK Sanctions - US obeys no laws -Iran Interlink MEK Rajavi Cult

      1. Larry,

        You know me, 6th grade mentality with no communication skills. How ’bout this; Time to get the Fu*k out!

      2. Larry,

        “Rejoicing that Trump’s incompetence had a good result is a bit strange.”

        I’ll rejoice the day we’re out of Iraq, if ever. Not the more deaths it take to do it, if any.

      3. Ron,

        We were out of Iraq by 31 December 2011, per an agreement signed by Bush Jr. The GOP spent the next four years blaming Obama for turmoil in Iraq – caused they said by Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq. What a wonderful lesson of how tribal truths matter more in America than simple facts!

        This blind tribalism makes us pleasant peasants, easy to rule – a gift to our rulers.

        The current fracas is tiny by comparison, a tiny blip in the current Iraq regime due to its origin as an American puppet state.

      4. Larry,

        The simple fact is, there are 5,000 troops still in Iraq. Plus they owe us for an airfield and other things we built. Time to really go this time.

      5. ROn,

        “Plus they owe us for an airfield and other things we built.”

        We invade their nation. Occupy it, doing immense destruction. Steal billions of their money. And you expect them to pay us? Wow. That’s big time madness.

        I guess what foreigners say about American’s delusional arrogance is true.

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