Ten years later it’s Afghanistan where the Americans, British, and Canadians among others have decided to dig their geo-political grave. However, the geo-political game in the Middle East and Northern Africa is a disaster and may be coming to an end. Alexander the Great could not conquer it, the British left with their tails between their legs twice from Afghanistan in the old colonial days, and ten years of Soviet intervention got them a one way ticket home as well.
Foreign media, particularly western media fails the general public in its reporting on the Middle East in one important instance. The Afghanistan population is made up of tribes, as are most areas in the region. Whether the Imperialists see it as right or wrong, these tribal units are their own governments with War Lords as chief of tribal operations including its politics and economics. For centuries these tribes have settled their own disputes by warring with each other or through their form of diplomacy.
However, when the invader shows its face the tribes unite as one in their form of nationalism in an effort to extract the invader from its territory. It’s interesting that the most powerful and technologically advanced military on the planet cannot defeat a rag tag bunch armed with a few AK-47s supplied by the US during the Soviet conflict, and Russian Malishnakovs, and grenade launchers captured when the Soviets were there. Worse are the mindsets of the defenders and its interpretation of life based on Islam.
This earthly life means nothing to them–martyrdom and paradise gained by death means everything. These people will outlast any invader no matter how many die and time has no limits.
And like most nation states in the region, Afghanistan is corrupt to the core (rigged elections and a puppet leader) and all Afghanis want piece of the pie. When it comes to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran, it is not that western leaders don’t learn from history, they simply ignore it purposely.
The essential lifeline of Big Oil must flow west without interference. Therefore, the first syndrome to touchdown in the 21st century is the ‘Permanent War.’ This war, referred to as the war on terrorism suits arms dealers and the military industrial complex economy, but its cost to humanity will never be known. If it were possible for just one western leader to say we are in the Middle East to secure Big Oil because our lives depend on it, all the conspiracy theories and anti-western sentiment might be curtailed. Instead they stick to the rhetoric of national security, national interests, and spreading democracy on the west’s terms, stability, and so on, in which the western general public has little interest. What does national security or national interests mean to the average individual?
It means nothing, it’s a government thing. What the general public believes is the front is fighting for freedom with bombs and bullets killing innocent people who never asked for it. Bombs and bullets cannot make a democracy, people do; nor can trying to win hearts and minds after all the killing succeed.
We buy their oil anyway so what’s the problem? The problem is the fear of nationalism, self-determination and democracy. Propping up dictatorial regimes to achieve stability is no cause for democracy; it’s a front to deny liberties. The western theory for centuries has been that Arabs and Africans are backwards people and need guidance. This theory fits neo-liberalism theory very well as a western propaganda tool to continue the exploitation of their natural resources including their people, some who are living on two dollars a day. Free trade, free markets, nor globalization has done anything for the Middle East people except cause misery.
The fear, rather the unnecessary fear, is that if OPEC countries nationalized their primary natural resource, oil, or if was traded in another currency other than American dollars, the western economy would collapse overnight. It is this fear that drives the ‘permanent war’ of the 21st century under the guise of the ‘war on terrorism.’ Sure, there is a war on terrorism, created by fifty years of interference in the region and two centuries of European colonialism, and it is true if the currency for oil changed, or was nationalized by any oil rich country, the west would succumb to a desperate severe depression. However, if the wars were to cease and the current uprisings were successful in forming some form of people’s democracy and the profits from their natural resources ran into the country instead of out, then their oil would be their export and it would have to flow freely to the west to form their strong economy.
For over fifty years the US has supported tyranny for the multinationals with complete disregard for the people living under those tyrannies. The mindset of neo-liberal foreign policy (cause) clashes directly with the mindset behind terrorism (effect), which is easily described by the terrorist’s point of view. Their jihad is against American Imperialism, furthered in the radical religious context of world jihad against the entire world. From the west’s perspective a mess has been created and it will take years to overcome decades of mistakes made by foreign policies and one way diplomacy. The permanent 21st century war continues if the status quo remains.
An attempt to set up a national economy without the permission of the United States or Britain can have dire consequences and the nation state will find itself like that of the only democracy Iran has ever known back in 1953. The historical context dates back centuries to colonial exploitation and after 1945 the Imperial exploitation by the West.
In 1953, President Eisenhower allowed the CIA and their partners in British Intelligence to get together to conduct the 28 Mordad . The 28 Mordad is better known as Operation Ajax. The year was 1953, the place was Iran, where one democratically elected Prime Minister found himself on the wrong side of Western Imperialism. Undisclosed National Security Archive documents indicate that “In 1951, Muhammad Musaddiq ran for the office of Prime Minister with just one campaign promise: to free Iran from the British imperial yoke.”
The British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), a multinational corporation, a remnant of the colonial years, had been nationalized for the benefit of Iranians. The excuse in those by the west was to contain the spread of Communism, yet there is no evidence Iranians had any interest in Communist rule. The result of the CIA and British Intelligence exercise saw the expulsion of Musaddiq and the installation of the Pavli family (Shah of Iran), a dictator, and control of Big Oil was duly handed back to the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).
CIA and British Intelligence operations have taken on different forms since 1953, and are still ongoing in all sections of the world today. Since post-World War II, the west has always sought stability in the region, not social stability, and believed the fallacy that Middle Eastern states would adapt western democratic culture and values over time. That thinking came suddenly to an end in 1979 in the Iranian revolution that woke the sleeping giant of Islam. Since then Iran has run their own Jihad by serving and still serving Hamas and Hezbollah. Peace in the Middle East between Palestinians and Israel has been an awfully expensive venture in terms of human sacrifice since 1948.
There will be no democracy in the Middle East as long as a war on terrorism exists, as long as occupation is present, or resistance to western influences continues.
To avoid the worst case scenario of nationalism or self-determination or democratization of Arabs states in the region, short of military intervention, the United States has a program called ‘quantitative easing.’ What this really means is the US FED in concert with the Treasury is printing money in a speedy fashion similar to that of Weimar Germany in the early to mid-1920s. In turn, the money is floated out there on the market hoping to keep the dollar as the hegemonic universal currency. However, it does nothing but lower the dollar value (in an attempt to stimulate the US economy and pay their debt) while at the same time causing high inflation, high interest rates, high oil prices, and higher food costs. In essence the 2008 crash has caused and economic war. In the long run it won’t work if export countries like China are intentionally devaluing their money at the same time.
For the west it is not national security or national interests in those terms that counts, its self-interest. Rachel Alexander of the Intellectual Conservative website proclaimed in a recent television interview that, “the US has every right to protect its self-interests.” That same sentiment rolls out of the Project for a New American Empire. Neo-con Bill Kristol told Jim Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners, “In the run-up to the war with Iraq, Kristol told me that Europe was now unfit to lead because it was “corrupted by secularism,” as was the developing world, which was “corrupted by poverty.” Only the United States could provide the “moral framework” to govern a new world order, according to Kristol, who recently and candidly wrote, “Well, what is wrong with dominance, in the service of sound principles and high ideals?” This simply means ‘sound principles,’ from the neo-liberal theory that everything worldly is free market based in which only a few elite control. The developing world is ‘corrupted by poverty,’ as a result of the US supporting tyrants. ‘High ideals,’ in reference to Europe’s corrupt secularism, fits nicely with the Zionist Christianity sector Kristol belongs to in Washington, along with many of the neo-cons of the former Bush administration. If any nation state, or any individual accepts these views, which is an Imperial Decree, then no nation state or individual can have any interests of their own.
Supporting the concept of stability in the region and making such comments as “Hosni Mubarak is a personal friend of ours (Hillary Clinton),” and “Mubarak is not a dictator (Joe Biden),” shows the dream of the Middle East eventually accepting the west’s values is bankrupt. Support for brutal dictators (supported with petro dollars) is not uncommon for the US in search of stability ensuring the free flow of Big Oil and the survival of multinational corporations, leaving social stability to the brutality of the dictators within the chosen state.
The solution to these century old problems may have found an answer in a new generation rising up around the globe. Current world leader’s had better take notice before it’s too late and western civilization takes a turn for the worse. The result of the transitions being touted in North Africa and the Middle East is yet to be seen. It is clear however, they want no outside interference. If neo-con technocrats infiltrate the transition and puppets are brought to power again, or worse, it falls into the hands of radical Islamic clerics it will become a disaster like none ever seen before.
The West is going to have to play its cards just right to ensure justice is accomplished for all. If it does not change in favor of the state citizenry the revolutions will continue, the power struggles will cause unlimited civil unrest, the war on terrorism will expand the 21st century permanent war. We can’t win in the Middle East if we can’t see the enemy.
Harley J. Collison is a media and political analyst.