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US Policy in the Middle East Taking a Turn for Worse; The Catastrophic Human Consequences

By Nader Sadeghi, MD, Campaign Iran (CASMII)


The US foreign policy in the Middle East in the last quarter century has resulted in untold suffering for the people of the region. These policies in one hand are extremely short sighted for the US strategic interests. On the other hand they have resulted in massive destruction of countries in the region such as Afghanistan and Iraq. Today few would argue against the established fact that the creation of Jihadist fundamentalist fighters in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation was largely formulated and supported by the United States and its allies in the region. The result over 25 years later is a failed state and Afghanistan today is not faring any better than it did before the latest US and coalition invasion of that country. Yet the scope of US plan for the submission, to its misguided will, of the Middle East and lack of tolerance for any independent state in the Middle East is so entrenched in its foreign policy that destruction of one country and failure in one must soon follow with another failed policy. It seems that the Unites States can only see the Middle East region and the Moslem world at large through the spectacles that the late Edward Said called “Orientalism”. This is the same spectacle that was invented by “Oxidant” since centuries and became the core of colonialist expansion to the Middle East and the rest of the “Orient” through 18th and 19th century, latest intellectual champions of this movements having been Bernard Lewis, Samuel Huntington, Paul Wolfowitz, and score of others with US neoconservatives at their political front, bringing new cycle of violence and neocolonial wars to the Middle East.


The old colonial strategy of divide and conquer has never lost its appeal to the practitioners. Support for Iraqi government of Saddam Hussain during his invasion of Iran in 1980’s to the point of arming him with chemical weapons and turning a blind eye to his use of chemical weapons against civilians in Iran (1) as well as in Iraq’s Halabja (2)  shows clearly the lack of empathy for human life in this “orientalist” view of the Middle East by the US and its western allies. All this is then sold to the mass population of the west in the name of “war on terror”, expansion of “democracy” and other words to conceal the real intent.


The massive campaign of dehumanizing the Middle East and its people in order to facilitate the support for neocolonialist wars in the region is yet another chapter in this “Orientalist” vision of the Middle East. This dehumanizing campaign is the metamorphosis and another face of “subspeciation” strategy borrowed from the social Darwinists of the 19th century (and this has nothing to do with Darwin and his biological work) and used by racists who drove the policy of segregation in the US until recently ( the effects of which is still persistent in US society today), the apartheid policy of South Africa until they could sustain it no more, and the regime in Israel whose “apartheid policies” are “worse than South Africa”  in the words of Jimmy Carter in his recent book titled “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid”.


Lets look at Iraq to see a small glimpse of human tragedy the country has suffered since 1991 with first invasion of that country by US and subsequent sanctions for 12 years followed by another massive attack in 2003 which still continues. A look at the infant and child mortality rates in Iraq, as reported by UNICEF (3) in the last 40 years is very telling of the story. (Figure 1)



Compared to Iran and Turkey, Iraq had the lowest child mortality rate until 1990. The reduction in child mortality in Iran and Iraq despite the 8 year Iran Iraq war is impressive. However following the sanctions against Iraq instituted in 1991 there was almost a 2.5 fold increase in child mortality that has sustained since then. (4)  The infant mortality follows the similar outcome. (Figure 2)



How many children and infants in Iraq are perished as a consequence of sanctions and ongoing wars seem inconsequential to the US foreign policy makers.  The massive human fall out of the 2003 invasion of Iraq by US and its allies has already put over 650000 Iraqis to death according to the study by the Bloomberg School of Public Health at John Hopkins University (5). This casualty on human life has resulted directly from the violence as well as indirectly as a result of massive destruction of the infrastructure in Iraq. This is only the beginning of the story and Iraq has yet decades to pay. The deterioration of public health with escalation of all communicable diseases, tuberculosis, diarrhea, measles, rubella, polio, maternal death, and reduced life expectancy among many other core health indicators in Iraq are just one dimension of the tragedy. Collapse of the infrastructure of the economy, education, universities, and basic human needs will make ever harder for Iraqi people to have any quality of life for years to come. Americans have also paid a heavy price for these ongoing conflicts both in material and human life. Yet, neoconservatives who have hold of the power in US administration turn a blind eye and deaf ears to the need of its own population, 40 million of which lack any form of health access, while $500 billion has already been spent in the destruction of Iraq.


The Irony is that neoconservatives are determined to expand a failed war to Iran. Every effort for diplomacy is promptly blocked by the neoconservative agenda of the US administration, including the recent Iraq Study Group report calling for engaging Iran diplomatically to help stabilize Iraq. (6)  There are many more concrete steps that US has actively taken to pave the way for military confrontation with Iran.  The threat of nuclear attack on Iran by both US and Israel in an attempt to prepare the public mind for such eventual nuclear holocaust on Iranians, accusing Iran of possession of WMD’s, repeated accusation of Iran’s intention to develop nuclear weapons despite IAEA reports showing no evidence of military diversion of Iranian nuclear activity, allocation of funds for “regime change” in Iran,  covert incursions to Iranian soil, movement of US warships to the Persian Gulf, calling for additional 22000 troops in Iraq, and attacking on Iranian consulate within Iraqi Kurdistan and taking Iranians working there as hostage despite forceful objections of the regional Kurdish authorities are all signs that US is determined to expand the war in the region. 


The catastrophic consequences of a military attack on Iran and wide spread destruction of human life will devastate Iran and the entire region as well as causing unpredictable economic fall out not only for the Middle East, but through the rest of the world. This madness must be stopped. The world must stand up against the war mongers and for peace. A peaceful multilateral engagement of the Middle East and unconditional negotiations with Iran and allowing the region to speak for itself and letting go of the “orientalist” spectacles in viewing the Middle East is the only way for US to achieve peace and security in the region. The problem of the Middle East is not a sectarian divide.  Rallying the Arab Sunni governments by trying to sell them a fabricated “Shia threat” posed by Iran will not work. The people on the ground across the Muslim world do not buy such propaganda anymore. It is also time for the decent citizens in the US and across the western hemisphere to stand up against the escalation of US imposed doctrinal pre-emptive wars. The next war must be stopped before it starts.





3. UNICEF Child Data,

4. Ascherio, A. C., R. Cote, et al., (1992). "Effect of the Gulf War on infant and child mortality in Iraq." N Engl J Med 327(13): 931-6

5. The human cost of war in Iraq, A mortality study, 2002-2006, Bloomberg School of public health, John Hopkins University,  

6. Iraq Study Group Report


... Payvand News - 1/13/07 ... --

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