By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse
Netanyahu & UN (cartoon by Saeed Sadeghi)
So far over two-thousand dead and perhaps ten-thousand or more injured and half a million made homeless, all non-combatants or bystanders save a couple of hundred actual Hamas fighters. This was in Gaza, the world’s largest and most densely populated concentration camp, cut off from the rest of the world and under attack during the past three weeks by Israel’s Zio-Nazi Likud regime.
But the Israelis were simply defending their lives; haven’t we heard that cunningly phrased euphemistic sound-bite before! Their fan club that includes a huge chunk of the methodically brainwashed American public, and Israel’s cheer leaders who control America’s entire mass media, bar none, as well as the always accommodating US Congress and the Administration officials, keep repeating that Israel has the undeniable natural right to defend itself.
Meanwhile, the Israeli Thug-in-Chief, Prime Minister Netanyahu, has kept on barking and, with a theatrically choreographed self-righteous look on his face, asking the Americans to ponder: What would America do if it were bombarded by a hail of missiles from a neighboring land?
But things do, however, look somewhat different if we bother to examine the whole picture and not just at a snapshot of here and now. Life doesn’t start from this moment on, as Israel’s supporters insist. When the Palestinians are interviewed to voice their side of the story, they invariably begin by stepping back in time in order to bring their struggle into a more meaningful context: what has brought them to this point in time. The Israelis would rather push that under the rug and hop on their time-tested soap box and claim their right to defend themselves.
Suppose a gang of aggressive, well-armed and amply funded and supported intruders overcome an older community, kill the defenders and force the residents out of their homes and farms, and then establish themselves as the new owners of the land. The original residents find themselves completely outmaneuvered by the occupiers no matter what they try. They are forced into refugee camps, call it concentration camps or reservations if you prefer, outside their ancestral lands and homes, looking on as the newcomers continue to prosper and build increasing numbers of new settlements on top of the rubble of their houses and orchards. They are pissed off but are powerless in the face of far superior fire power. They have but two options: either accept their fate without resistance, capitulate, throw themselves at the mercy of the occupiers and be marginalized into gradual oblivion; or struggle and fight to reclaim what is rightfully theirs no matter what the costs or the odds against their success, and die a Spartan’s death.
OK, Mr. Netanyahu; why not start with that preamble and then ask the Americans what they would do under similar circumstances.
Now look at the whole picture. Do the usurpers have the “natural right” to defend themselves by mowing down an entire population mercilessly with tanks, cannons and bombs to stop a barrage of stones and firecrackers thrown in anger and frustration at that acclaimed impenetrable “Iron Dome”? Things do look different when you look at the whole picture; don’t they?
The victims of the carnage, especially the only group with any military skills and the courage to resist the wrath of the Goliath, and which refuses to be bought out and stand down as have their counterparts in the West Bank, is conveniently labeled as a terrorist organization; and neither the Zio-Nazi regime, nor its chief supporter, the United States, would make any deal with the so-called terrorists or even pay serious attention to their grievances.
Israel wants peace, we are constantly told. Of course it does; who wouldn’t prefer to have his way in “peace”, i.e., do whatever, whenever and wherever, without resistance or opposition? Israel would love to continue annexing more Palestinian lands, build additional settlements for its Jewish people, break international law and carry out assassinations against anyone and anywhere they deem necessary with total impunity, all in peace, which means not having to be held accountable!
At the same time we are told that Hamas simply hates peace and is a barbarous terrorist organization that hides among the defenseless civilian populations of Gaza and fires its firecrackers at Israel’s Iron Dome from crowded residential areas, and is thus directly responsible for all the innocent civilian casualties of Gaza. Well, perhaps Israel would prefer Hamas to move its entire military arsenal, rockets, even piles of stones and slingshots, to an open area away from any population center - if there is such a place in that thin strip of land - so that the Israeli artillery and fighter-bombers can easily target them at will. Sounds reasonable; doesn’t it? Why not ask them to also set off flares or smoke signals: “Hey, look, we’re your sitting ducks; don’t waste your bombs and missiles hitting schools and hospitals; that’s bad publicity for you!”
But the American culture looks favorably, albeit sadly, at how superior technology and firepower should be used to spread worldwide what we call “civilization”, and the process must be allowed to take its historical unpleasant course. I called it “favorably”, because the dominant bully’s cause is always a just and noble cause; and “sadly”, because to do the “right” thing there will inevitably be collateral devastation. But in any righteous “Messianic” mission large masses of the less blessed humanity must vanish in the process. Just read your Bible, from Noah’s story through the Revelations!
The Mongol’s Golden Hordes, as well as other great empires of the past, had the same conveniently self-righteous visions of their missions to plough their way toward global or regional dominance; and they all lasted for a period of time; not forever, but for some longer or shorter period of time.
Yes, some two-thousand Gazans have been killed in a month’s time during this onslaught by a more “civilized” culture over the less fortunate, and as we portray them, unreasonably defiant - for the sake of their own women and children’s lives - stubborn lot. But that’s nothing compared to what else has been going on in and around the same area.
Every two or three days, larger than the total casualty numbers in Gaza are being slaughtered in Syria and Iraq. The mercenary groups that we knew full-well to be radical militant gangs were employed, armed and trained by us and funded by our oil-rich Arab allies to assist some Syrian dissidents in hopes of bringing down the regime of Bashar Assad. Mind you, Assad’s Syria was of no conceivable threat to America’s security interests, not by any stretch of the imagination!
We had done similar things a couple of decades earlier in Afghanistan. There, too, we had armed and trained barbaric gangs like the Taliban, with funds provided by the Saudis, to help kick the Soviets out of Afghanistan; God knows why; of what interest to the United States was pounding the landlocked Afghanistan back into the Stone Age?
After the embarrassing failure of the Syria project, the ISIS/ISIL or the Islamic Caliphate visionaries are now spreading like wildfire across Iraq and Syria and mowing down anything that stands in their way. Where did they acquire all that military hardware, heavy artillery, vehicles, and the incentive to become such an effective war machine? We created this new monster that must now be somehow brought under control before even a more powerful replacement for Al-Qa’eda turns its attention toward the West, and toward Iran, let’s not forget.
America’s foreign policies in the Middle East and North Africa have led to disasters thus far, and promise to bring about even more consequential backlashes in the near future. America’s prestige and gravitas have been badly damaged and its hegemonic perceptions brought into increasing doubt in the region and the wider world. What has America accomplished in its decades-long “war on terror” other than creating a more favorable climate for new and stronger terror cells to rise up? In the chaos and confusion that have prevailed in the Middle East and North Africa as a direct result of the ill-conceived American military and, yes, political, interference in these regions, the interests of certain special interest groups and parasitic entities have been served. This is so much so, that conspiracy theorists could have a field day elaborating on whether all that has been a well-planned scenario from the beginning! Among the beneficiaries of this chaos and instability one could name the following:
1- Giant Western, mostly American, military industries that manufacture and sell tens of billions of dollars of their products for enormous profits to boost and replenish region’s threatened states or monarchies.
2- Israel’s economy that depends on the United States and European financial aid and grants, mostly in the guise of needed defensive capabilities to protect this supposedly vanguard of Western civilization and values against the unpredictable “existential” threats.
3- Israel’s long-term agenda to further marginalize the Palestinians by continuing uninterrupted the construction of more illegal settlements and violating the basic human rights of the occupied populations to achieve the final goal of ethnic cleansing of the old Palestine. Israel’s Likud regime is emboldened by, and has promptly taken advantage of, America’s preoccupation with the problems in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and more recently the Ukraine, to push its genocidal agenda against the Palestinians in Gaza, while defying and even blatantly insulting the American President and his Secretary of State, with total impunity.
4- Ambitious tribal chiefs, warlords and gangs who see an opportunity to gain power and declare independence in fragmented countries that have lost their central authority and control. This is what has been going on in Libya and some other African states, and to be expected in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria if the trend is allowed to continue.
5- From a more conspiratorial perspective arises a curious thought: We could be witnessing a deliberate fragmentation of Iraq and Syria that could result in a/the establishment of a West-friendly Kurdish state sitting on Iraq’s main oil and gas reserves under the control of American oil companies, and b/a continuation of the unrest, guerilla warfare and chaos in the rest of the Shi’ite dominated Iraq and in Syria in an orchestrated manner so that no one group could gain the upper hand and consolidate into a unified entity as a threat to Western and Israeli interests. The continuing chaos in what will be left of Iraq and Syria would weaken both states and also create great concern for Iran and its allies in Syria and Lebanon; something that Israel would appreciate very much.
As an added note, America’s insistence that the Iraqi PM, Maliki, must step down has had, in my opinion, a lot to do with the plans to create a separate, independent Kurdistan. Maliki has been staunchly opposed to allowing the rich oilfields of Northern Iraq to be exploited exclusively by the Iraqi Kurdistan, and has called the sale and exports of that oil by the Kurdish sector unlawful and against the Iraqi constitution. American oil companies have long been waiting for the opportunity for this Kurdish independence, which is about to materialize at long last.
Let’s leave that last item, Number 5 above, aside for now. It does, however, deserve to be treated more seriously and in greater detail in future as regional developments evolve.
The strategy of fighting fire with fire, a long-practiced strategy to prevent the spread of forest fires, doesn’t always work. In encouraging and supporting “friendly” terrorists to beat back the unfriendly ones, the United States has fertilized the grounds for more unpredictable terror cells to sprout up. You cannot mess things up and just walk away!
It is high time for some serious damage control. Contrary to what our hawkish saber-rattlers think, a stronger and more ambitious projection of American military power in the Middle East is definitely not the way to keep that strategic area from blowing up in our faces. And, the more moderate strategic thinkers’ ideas of crisis management will neither contain the crisis, nor drive it toward some sustainable equilibrium at some future time.
In short, it will require certain paradigm shifts in our approach to the Middle East in order to secure America’s legitimate, and I emphasize “legitimate”, strategic interests in the region, while avoiding any involvements in deeper and potentially more counterproductive entanglements.
There are ample signs here and there that we are witnessing an actual sea change in American administration’s strategic thinking with respect to our foreign policies. We see, for instance, some, not much but only some, direct criticism aimed at Israel’s policies regarding illegal settlements’ expansion, and especially aimed at its current war on Gaza; not just from the official Administration sources but, more significantly, as occasionally reflected in American mass media. That’s certainly a new phenomenon.
When the President was asked by a reporter during a press conference in the afternoon of Wednesday, August 6th, if he agreed that Israel’s actions in Gaza were justified as well as balanced, Mr. Obama reiterated that, as he has always maintained, every country has the right to defend itself. He took the easy course out quite as-a-matter-of-factly; what else could he have said? However, he very shrewdly sidestepped the second part of that reporter’s question: Balanced? Let’s not go there!
We are also witnessing larger and better organized demonstrations in major cities across the United States and Western Europe, whose presence is increasingly visible on the internet and alternative media, although seldom if ever highlighted by the corporate mass media.
Interestingly, no mention of Israel’s number-one regional demon, Iran, was made here or in any recent official statements by the Administration as to Iran’s contributions in providing Hamas with weapons and assistance. It is also quite significant that the accounts of the long-running negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programs that used to saturate the news up until the Ukraine issue and especially since Israel’s attack on Gaza, have lost their newsworthiness.
One look at the map of the Middle East, highlighting the turbulent areas from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean and including Pakistan on one end and Turkey and Egypt on the other, shows the Islamic Republic of Iran as the one stable country looming as the largest, as well as strategically the best situated, state in the entire region. Iran borders Afghanistan and a portion of Pakistan to the East, and Iraq and Turkey to the west.
In Iraq, the ISIL gangs are gaining ground, threatening Baghdad and now fighting the Kurdish tribes to get their hands on Iraq’s major oil fields. The so-called Islamic Caliphate could pose a major threat to Iran, no less than it will be a direct source of trouble for Israel, as well as a future terrorism threat to the unites States and other Western interests. The neighboring Iran is in the best position to tackle this menace with or without American covert or overt support.
Isn’t it curious that, as the bombing mission and arming of the Kurds of Erbil by the United States has begun, no mention is made of Iran’s role in confronting the radical Islamists in Iraq? The only sound-bites we here in the American news media are occasional voices alarming us of the “dangers” of Iran’s entering the arena if the United States fails to respond to Iraq’s request for military support in fighting back the terrorists. Is it, perhaps, because Iran’s assistance in stemming the tide of ISIS/ISIL, although welcomed and already taking place, should remain hidden from the public domain both here and in Iran itself?
There are, of course, reasons why the following points acknowledged by the Administration and brought into the open by the American news media:
1- Isn’t Iran already providing the Iraqi regime with military, particularly airborne, assistance, as well as limited command personnel and perhaps even some boots on the ground?
2- With much more at stake than does the United States concerning its national security and legitimate strategic interests, would it not be logical for Iran to rise in defense of the Iraqi regime to stop the advance of the Islamic Caliphate?
3- With its relatively advanced military capabilities and clear superiority to those of the ISIS/ISIL, would the Iranian military have a problem eliminating those terrorist bands, at least at the battlefield scale, if given the chance?
4- Would it not serve America’s best interests to not only agree with, but to actually provide aerial and arms support for any Iranian military campaign to uproot the Islamic Caliphate gangs in Iraq and even in Syria?
5- Finally, would it not be to Iran’s best interests to have a stable, friendly Iraq as a Neighbor? That stability, as admitted by the Iranian regime, would mean a more participatory or inclusive regime in Baghdad by PM Maliki’s replacement. It is important also to note that the Iranian regime has not been terribly impressed with the Maliki government’s ability to protect Iran’s Shi’a pilgrims who are massacred by the hundreds each year while visiting the holy shrines of their martyred imams. Naturally, as long as Iraq’s leadership remains in the hands of the majority Shi’a parties, the country will receive the backing and support of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
So, what factors stand in the way of engaging Iran in attempting to solve the regional problems?
1- Negative portrayal of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the US mainstream media, which has resulted in the American public’s perception of Iran as potential danger to regional, as well as the international, peace and security. Under these perceptions, considering Iran as a partner in resolving the problems in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East goes against the grain of public opinion and would, therefore, be a hard-sell item by the Administration. While on the subjects dealing with internal affairs of the nation, from immigration issues to health care, unemployment, minimum wage, etc., there is plenty of disagreement, debate and discussion among the competing political parties, disagreements and disputes end when it comes to issues dealing with American policies toward the Middle East. In short, the expressed opinions from the far Left to the far Right as reflected in their official statements is that Iran is bad and Israel is good; start with this premise and continue onward!
2- The prevailing official rhetoric against anything regarding Iran is actually a reflection of the pressure of public opinion, reinforced whenever necessary by the mass media masterminds and, even more significantly, the special interest lobbies, to keep the Administration on track and away from daring to take any creative, diversionary steps from the prescribed path. Only the President has, on rare occasions, made statements openly that could have been interpreted as less than hostile toward Iran. With regard to the P+5/Iran negotiations, for instance, Mr. Obama has sounded somewhat conciliatory toward Iran, even though on other occasions he has more than made up for such rare positive tones. Within the walls of the Administration, both in Washington and in Tehran, realities are abundantly clear and, while the official unfriendly rhetoric is allowed to go on for public consumption, issues of mutual interest that require some cooperation or rapprochement between Iran and the United States are no doubt being considered.
3- Israel’s agenda. There is no doubt that Israel, whether under the current or any alternative governing regime, is not, and has never been, interested in the establishment of an independent, sovereign, contiguous Palestinian state next door. In other words, the concept of a Two-State solution was still-born from the start, and in view of the recent events, should be buried once and for all. An ultimate One-State alternative, where the Jew, the Christian, the Moslem and the atheist could live together in harmony would mean the end to the Zionist dreams that created the Jewish state of Israel in the first place. The only way this dream could materialize is for the Zionist state to dissolve from within under the weight of its own inhumane, racist policies. In the meantime, Israel insists on continuing the occupation of Palestinian lands, the expansion of illegal settlements, and its imposition of draconian restrictions on the lives of the Palestinian people, all in clear violation of the international law, with total impunity. Israel is the main beneficiary of mayhem and chaos in the region, which allows it to make a case, however phony, in demanding uninterrupted financial, military and diplomatic support from its chief benefactors, the American taxpayers, especially by pointing to Iran as the main “existential” threat to the Jewish state.
4- Zionist propaganda machine has been by far the most effective means of influencing and steering America’s foreign policies in the Middle East in directions that would serve Israel’s agendas even, as has often been the case, at the expense of America’s own best interests. The main targets of Zionist’s manipulative tactics have been the mainstream news and entertainment media informing and formulating American public opinion, and the various vital committees of the United States Congress with power to serve Israel’s interests in any conceivable way, even if not directly asked for! Much of what the Congress votes on in issues that have any bearing on U.S. policies in the Middle East are predicated on whether Israel’s preferences are served first and foremost. Any rapprochement with Iran which would require the approval by the United States Congress would thus be doomed to failure.
5- There are also America’s Arab allies, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf UAE states. We hear that these Islamic Arab states have been distancing themselves from the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, and are siding with Israel and the United States with regard to Palestinian/Israeli issues. We seldom if ever hear or read that there is a significant chasm between the governments of these “moderate, friendly” Arab states and their populations. The regimes ruling over some 120 million people in these countries are by no means independent, popular regimes in charge of their own destinies. They comprise kingdoms, sheikdoms and military juntas that have been installed and protected by the United States and its corporate imperium. Naturally, Iran or the Iranian example poses a threat to these puppet regimes, not by a direct military confrontation, but through the pressures of their own public rebelling against their regimes’ subservience to outside interests. It is not difficult to understand the disgust typical Saudi Arabian citizens must feel to see Israeli military bases on their land and Israel’s nuclear submarines based along their shores. If Israel’s fear of the Iranian regime is a fictitious narrative concocted by Israel to serve other purposes, The Saudi’s fears of an Iran standing against a Salafist Sunni domination of the Islamic Middle East are quite real.
Is there a Silver Bullet that could bring down the demon that has cast its spell over the strategic energy-rich Middle East, and in whose shadow the region has been engulfed in perpetual bloodshed and strife, and where the world’s remaining superpower has been stuck in a quagmire costing it thousands of lives, trillions of dollars and its international reputation and prestige?
Yes, there is. But it will take great courage by the President to use that bullet to break the walls of the box in which the United States administration has been trapped for decades. The recoil of firing this Silver Bullet is so severe that it has the potential to cripple the daring Chief Executive if this action is taken half-heartedly or with trepidation.
The target can be defined as Israel’s Zionist supporters and their allies of opportunity, the Salafist regimes headed by the Saudis. It is the enemy within, the Zionist cabal that has control over America’s vital organs and over the United States Congress.
This will be a monumental task, perhaps even more challenging than declaring officially that God does not exist, in a country whose non-believers number about the same as those who doubt that Israel is a civilized democracy and an indispensable friend and ally of the United States.
We all know what this passionate attachment, this one-sided and blind support for Israel, has cost us already in lives, money and international reputation and prestige. Now could we enumerate some, perhaps just a few, benefits to America of this one-sided love affair; how about even one benefit?
Firing the Silver Bullet at this Goliath is not going to be a one-shot affair; its roots have long penetrated deep inside American culture and politics. But we can already see a gradual change in public mood evidenced by unprecedented huge demonstrations against Israel taking place in most European and American cities, especially as a result of Israel’s most recent massacre of the Gaza Palestinians. What’s more significant is that these demonstrations are being publicized on the electronic media, while the mainstream corporate television and print media continue to shy away from mentioning them.
It is time for the American administration to bring to the fore what has long been going on behind closed doors of the Executive Branch. The atmosphere is more conducive now than ever before to take advantage of the shifting popular sentiment against Israel and to stand up to the Congress and the corporate media to demonstrate the need, indeed the urgency, to divest politically and economically from this parasitic attachment. Let the exorcism begin.
| Kam Zarrabi is the
author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs,
particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
More information about Mr. Zarrabi and his work is available at: intellectualdiscourse.com
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