Welcome to Hell in the Middle East – Divide and Rule (Part IV)

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The alliance of the military industrial complex and the multinational oil giants in the US have been pushing forward one of the major elements of America’s foreign policy: destabilisation. Reshaping the world in accordance with the interests of the world’s superpower can hardly be achieved by respecting the status quo. Thus, rocking the boat may lead to what Condoleezza Rice, the former US secretary of state, called “creative chaos”. For decades the alliance of the multinationals and the military complex proved successful as the US maintained its prestigious position and the economy managed to survive for decades due to huge dividends. Despite the fact that the US debt is currently the world’s biggest, it has still been able to manage the world’s affairs, or may be because it is controlling the process of managing the world’s affairs, Washington is surviving economically.

Rice, left, on chaos and democracy in Egypt and Syria (photo: thedailybeast)

The American empire which has been crowned and which topped the world after World War II has embraced the principle of destabilisation as the dearest part of its foreign policy. After that war, the new heir wanted to reshape the world according to its needs and interests. However, at the time the Soviets were also looking for their share of the cake both politically and economically. The world was practically divided into two blocs and thus the Cold War was ushered in through most parts of Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

The Yalta Conference, February 1945. Joseph Stalin discusses the division of Europe and Germany with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin Roosevelt

For US strategists, the job is well done in Eastern Europe which has been reshaped during the nineties of the past century. Turning the eastern bloc into small and tiny states was not exactly easy but achievable and most countries were divided on ethnic lines. Now, the time has come for the Middle East, but the division will be on both ethnic and religious lines which will result in a war by proxy. The jihadists will thus come centre stage to do the job, though Americans are not far behind.

Waves of Europe’s young, Muslim men are joining the jihadist movement that has wreaked havoc on Syria and Iraq (photo: usnews)

The destabilisation of the Middle East started with the Iraq invasion. For nine years the US trumped the card of sectarianism which proved successful but manageable by the US army. The presence of US occupation forces in Iraq, worked decisively to maintain the division of Shiite, Kurd and Sunni communities who used to be the citizens of Iraq. However, the regime change in Iraq has not led to the instant division of the country. That could be attributed to the fact that the neo-cons have not been able to pursue their policies long enough due to the terrible costs of the occupation and the advent of Barack Obama’s administration.

American soldiers in Iraq (photo: Reuters)

Moreover, the invasion of Iraq created a new regional power that should be taken into consideration. The US removed the deadliest national security threat to Iran which dominated not only Iraq’s Shiite community but also the Kurds. The two communities were suppressed by Saddam Hussein and supported by Tehran which helped them tune their reaction to the US marching melodies towards Baghdad. Iran also had ‘laissez passer’ of American troops when Obama decided to pull out of Iraq. It was in order to protect the profits of the multinationals that, after the withdrawal of its troops, the US army left behind 35,000 military contractors and a US embassy in Baghdad which is the world’s largest, with 17,000 employees. Iraq may well have become a quagmire, but there was no question of allowing this to stand in the way of the oil powers getting all of the dividends they expected from the Western invasion of Iraq.

Wounded US personnel flown from Iraq to Ramstein, Germany, for medical treatment

Dividing Iraq on sectarian lines was politically achieved by the time US troops withdrew from Baghdad and Nouri Al-Maliki was appointed prime minister. But the country was yet to be divided on the ground and that can’t be achieved peacefully, which gave way for the jihadists to play their part.

Al-Maliki with Obama (photo: alhurra)

Due to the occupation of Iraq, Iraqi fundamentalist Sunni groups fled to Syria. These groups subsequently played a decisive role in reviving the Syrian fundamentalist Sunni current, which had virtually disappeared after being crushed by Bashar Al-Assad’s regime. The street protests, which began in early 2011, finally gave way to a war between military cliques. This war provided the fundamentalist Sunni militias, both Syrian and Iraqi, with recruitment and a training ground. In order to avoid a total collapse of Al-Assad’s dictatorship, which could have been dangerous in a country bordering the Palestinian powder keg, the US chose not to intervene directly. But it did not miss the opportunity to weaken the Syrian regime – just enough as to make it a bit more pliable – in particular by allowing its regional allies to arm the fundamentalist Sunni militias. In Iraq the Sunni radicals are unlikely to conquer the Shia-majority country. Their success already has mobilised Shiites, and predominantly Shia Iran will ensure Baghdad’s control over at least majority Shiite areas. Tehran’s involvement may not be Washington’s preferred option, but another US occupation would be far worse.  Ultimately de facto partition may be the most practical solution..

photo: Reuters

American intervention has broken pottery all over the Middle East. Every time the US attempts to repair its last episode, it increases and spreads the mess. It is time for a different approach, one in which Washington does not attempt to micromanage the affairs of other nations.

If regional stability, as an American expert says, is considered a higher priority than doubling down or dominating the Middle East, then collaborating with Iran is a viable option – particularly if one puts the waning strategic importance of the Middle East in a global perspective. “Pivoting away from the Middle East makes sense considering the cost of another ground war in the region, the US’s growing energy independence, and perhaps most importantly, the fact that the real challenge to America’s global preeminence will come from China.

(photo: asiantown)

Indeed, stability in the Middle East is more important than dominating the region if one recognises that China — and not Iran — is America’s true competitor. In the Middle East people are fed up with American involvement in their internal affairs. Arabs might not be able to counter the US attacks on their lives now but they will certainly rebel or at least join their ranks with the rising dragon in China.