Saturday, July 14, 2007

One False Move And The Iraqi Gets It!

I, along with much of the rest of the world, have been subjected to a shower of slimy Republican Talking Points which are losing their powers of supplication in inverse proportion to the strenghtening reek of decaying entrails, re: Iraq and dangers of pulling out thereof. But there's no escape from the blitz of the Mighty Wurlitzer that keeps blaring these dusty old 45s they keep on steady rotation. We at Casa Lord don't even watch grown-up TV, and still they found us. Here is the most-repeated play, which went to #1 with a bullet and has stayed for 128 weeks at the top of the charts:
"If we pull out of Iraq, there will be a civil war!"
It's time for an emetic and a bath. It's also time I got around to calling a BCA (Bullshit Curtain Alert): umm, Iraq is already in a civil war. The T.P.'s crazy logic is reminescent of the famous Cleavon Little scene in "Blazing Saddles" where he holds himself hostage to escape a hostile crowd. Using this phrase as an occupation's justificatioin is every bit as surreal as the scene in Blazing Saddles, and up until now it was just as effective. It's getting a little old for even the most respectable members of the crowd, such as eminent War-Whores like Senators Lugar and Warner, who are introducing a bill to start pulling troops back. The difference with this bill is the authors claim to be from the same party as the President. Which is a matter of fair conjecture, at this point. Who can be sure what to call what occupies the White House now. (The Vietnam Re-enactment Society? The Non-Veterans of Foreign Wars?)

Many professionals would disagree with my analysis below, believing that if the US pulls out of Iraq, conditions there will worsen. That's fine if they disagree, because they're wrong, so wrong their skulls seem to be permanently stuck in their pelvic cavities. How they've kept breathing so long through those straws is plum amazin'.

A former wargaming partner with real tactical talents asked me three years ago how Iran (the real M.-E. objective) could be beaten. Since Iran had already won, this was a tough question, but there might've once been a last-ditch way to get them. Pull out as fast as possible, and create a surprise power vacuum. In other words, get them to invade Iraq, which would make our problems their problems and rally the countries in the region against them to create dynamic, albeit bloody, stability. The idea was to fast-forward what's likely to happen anyway, skipping over a few steps, possibly decades, of regional conflict to achieve "Blood Borders." The flaw in my plan was that even three years ago, Iran probably wasn't dumb enough to get trapped. Their mistakes had not been exploitable and they continued to play brilliantly. Still, they would get drawn into the vacuum by proxy, naturally so: through SCIRI, a porous mutual border, and via a number of other Shiite parties with close Iranian ties.

The US, by contrast, has been not only dumb, but desperate. Israel has already gotten its tail sucked into a humiliating defeat because of it. Hundreds of thousands of Israeli soldiers have been doing show-and-tells on "Why I Got My Ass Kicked in Lebanon Last Summer." Now the US-Israeli-UK axis is trying to execute the last part of the Surround and Starve Iran Plan. The current BushCo-Cheney idea, evocative of the Leonard Cohen song of similar cadence, boils down to: "First we take Damascus. Then we take Tehran!" Neutralizing Syria ostensibly cuts off Iran. And Lebanon from Iran. Neat, huh? Slight problems: 1) it doesn't really cut off Iran, but drives them further into Russian, Chinese, even Indian arms; 2) there is a Russian naval base in Syria; 3) Russia is Israel's primary petro-products supplier.

Even with relatively easy military victories in Syria and Lebanon, which are very doubtful, it's hard to see how Israel can come out ahead. Hezbollah's cohesion in Lebanon isn't breakable, and attacking it again may even result in serious incursions into Israel itself, loss of position in the Bekaa Valley, and loss of controlling much-needed river waters in that area. Syrian forces have entered 3km into Lebanon, and have been building defensive positions there for at least the past month. Whether Israel's gambit succeeds or not, the US can pull back and stay in Balad, Basra, the Green Zone, and the super-base going up in Kirkuk for the next 10 years, like crusaders retreating to castles to stave off the Saracens. But so what? That's not victory. It's a lease on defeat with a four-year warranty.

It's much easier to see how a detente between the Saudis, Yemenis, Iranians, Syrians, Emirates, and Kuwaitis could form around the extraction of the huge oil reserves in Western Iraq. Doing so would open up a revenue stream that would benefit everybody and have profound effects on the region. Even the West would benefit. While Western oil companies would lose majority control over their beloved sludge and its profits, they could still participate as minorities. Iran would be mollified, able to get enough refined gasoline (which they don't produce much of, so they must import it), and happy with direct influence in a new Southern-Shia Rump of Iraq, with the Tigris a natural border and limit between Persians and Arabs. As I previously wrote in "Turkey Masses 150,000 on Northern Iraq Border...And Much, Much More!" Turkey could grab Kurdistan, or exert increased control over it, getting oil in exchange for being wracked by an indefinite ethnic insurgency.

The federation which would result from a near-complete US retreat from Iraq, a Mid-East Council for Cooperation and Assistance (MECCA, if you're into acronyms) is the vehicle for bringing peace to Iraq and the entire Mid-East conflict. It could easily make a truce with Israel, because it can offer Israel much closer access to oil and gas, granting it the energy security the US has failed to provide. In other words, Israel would get a direct pipeline to the relatively close-by Iraqi fields, and could even become an international oil player by building refineries. Israel's quid pro quo to the pan-Arab federation would be to end the Palestinian apartheid and finally grant Palestine national autonomy. Thus the required keystone to Peace's unfinished archway in the Mid-East can be fitted. This is what Jim Baker saw as the political solution. It is expressed in veiled language in his Iraq Study Groups 79 points. Like him, I know that given the staggering amounts of money and liquid security involved, it would work. There is lot of bad blood to get over, but money, new partnerships, and intermarriage have been the historical means of the atonements which secure peace. Women may be wreakers of all manner of domestic strife, but on tribal to national scales they have long been called "the vessels of peace."

There are a number of personally unattractive consequences to the above approach and consequences. To whom are they most unattractive?

Not The Bin Laden Group. It would be quite content, and would largely push its competitor Halliburton out of regional oil services. As a result of its central position of power and utility, that family might quickly become the titular as well as de facto rulers of Saudi Arabia. Even if the facade of the current Saudi Royal Family is maintained, an oil sinecure for the Sunnis in Iraq is thereby ensured, which is what they're fighting hardest over. They won't stop until they get it or all die. Official Bin Laden control of Saudi Arabia would bring stability to the wahabist Saudis, who generally desire to see the Saudi royal family roasted like luau-ed like pigs. And once the Bin Ladens gain full control at home, they would set about forming a United States of Pan-Arabia. Hopefully they will choose a different name. (I still like MECCA.)

Western oil companies would come up on the short end of the stick, as they would neither be wanted or much needed. Russian and Chinese capital are fully capable of financing development in the region, and their hoards of foreign exchange beg to be put to this use. Their arms industries would be winners, too. Cheaper, effective Russian and Chicom weapons would provide the non-political means of the region's security. Another big winner would be Iran (oh, the humiliation), and the Great Game would be effectively over, those with the natural advantages in geography, proximity, logistics, and intelligence having, unsurprisingly and finally, won after 150 years of continuous struggle over Tehran and Baghdad.

The big losers would be the Carlyle Group, the US/Western Miltary Industry, a few huge neo-colonial Western oil companies, and Halliburton. This, of course, cannot be allowed to happen. One must think Cheney and others would rather see the whole region burnt to brimstone and treacle. So, professional or not, it's anybody's guess how this will play out.


Fleming said...

Marc, great writing, great information. How do you know all these things? You must not have much time for speech automation.
In comparison, I feel as if I'm writing a kindergarten blog.

My views have been too simplistic: Zionists want Iraq neutralized. Brer Bush obligingly grabs Tar Baby Iraq with predictable results. Now Zionists want Iran neutered, and I'm wondering if it is only being stuck in the Iraq tar that has made the US hesitate.

Your analyses are uniquely helpful.

MarcLord said...

Gosh, I'm glad you appreciate it and think it keen, Fleming. But all this, including the typos, is just off the top of my head. It has seemed obvious for years, and most of this or the other stuff that bounces around I just never get around to writing about. Especially given work and a generally busy life.

Chalk it up to a misspent youth studying history. History does not, as the saying goes, repeat. But it does ten , as Mark Twain stated, to rhyme.

Vincent said...

I am totally baffled by this. I don't mean the detail, though that is more intricate than one could easily unravel. I mean the cynical acceptance of power and intervention and clever exploitation as ways of using one's energy and intelligence.

I see a hideous monster that is neither American nor Israeli nor Iranian nor HAMAS nor Hezbollah nor AlQaida nor EU nor Russia. No, those are the names of the entities which feed the monster.

They feed it with their imaginings and with their greed.

So please answer this question. In America is there an equivalent of the "Ban the Bomb" pacifist protest movement we used to have in Britain, from the Fifties till I'm not sure when? There used to be an annual march from the Aldermaston Atomic Research Establishment to Trafalgar Square in London. It was full of pacifists and socialists and they had these black and white badges with the well-known CND symbol. (I was never one myself, both reason and emotion standing in the way.)

I am aware rightly or wrongly that the main argument put forward for pulling out of Iraq is to stop "our" soldiers getting killed, and to save spending so much money.

But what I would like to see is a huge moral revulsion against the sheer ugliness of (principally American) international opportunism and so forth.

Segregation and racism was stopped by popular feeling that swept across the nation, or so it seems to me as a transatlantic observer.

Is there no idealism today? Are there no poets' hearts which get inflamed at the public declamation of Allen Ginsberg's Howl or preferably present-day equivalents, which might spawn themselves like dragons' teeth?

It's true that I have only a tiny window on America. If I watch nothing but The Simpsons, it is obvious that I will see nothing outside the lens of satire.

But still, is there no possibility of a popular naive movement for peace any more, or will it be done to death by a jealous media at birth?

I have heard of candlelight vigils and so forth to try and whip up collective grief for the soldiers who have died, but I don't feel I would join them even if they processed down my street and invited me personally to tag along.

It's not to stop "our" soldiers getting killed---what an obscenity when the other, civilian, deaths in Iraq are so huge and the disruption of ordinary life is so great!) I know that it is not Americans who are doing the killing and they are supposed to be peacekeepers indeed.

What I am clumsily trying to say is see it from the point of view of ordinary citizens with children in the Middle East, suffering invasion. An invasion of peacekeepers is an invasion nevertheless.

One of the obscenest things in the world, to my sensibility, is the political advantage wrung out of 9/11 when this kind of rape happens daily in other places: on a smaller scale but drip, drip: the fear, the disruption, the decimation of families. It reminds me of the Nazis. One of their soldiers gets shot, the whole village they are occupying gets razed to the ground, the men lined up against the wall and shot, the women dragged off to brothels. But that was the age-old behaviour of occupying soldiers.

What happens now is the same behaviour but it's planned by rich men in suits who are not risking their own lives or bank accounts.

MarcLord said...


"I see a hideous monster that is neither American nor Israeli nor Iranian nor HAMAS nor Hezbollah nor AlQaida nor EU nor Russia. No, those are the names of the entities which feed the monster."

God, I hate to think of a Sunday morn. Yes. Well put, sir. The hideous monster is They Who Cannot Be Named. And by the way, segregation and racism did not end in the US. They just became (rather temporarily) illegal.

In this post, I'm trying to clinically express the power calculus responsible for the genocide in the cradle of our civilization, a calculus in which rich men in suits don't want to lose "their" money. But it's about far more than money. Money, particularly debt, is simply the means by which people are controlled. Stored food used to be the means of control. I would name the monsters, but then by doing so I would marginalize myself into the lunatic fringe, despite the fact that their sources and uses of funding can be mapped with precision across time.

The Cold War never ended, and economically the US has been on a total war footing for 65 nearly continuous years. The reason that we're torturing and murdering innocents all over the world is that They Who Cannot Be Named have looked at the annual economic growth rates of China and India, now also Russia, and saw in them the loss of control. Their response was to grab the most precious resource they knew as a means of controlling the growth of those Slavs, Chinese, and brown folk whom they consider enemies.

There's precious little sympathy for Iraqis in these parts. I am careful to not focus overly much on their horrific sufferings because the blog is meant primarily as a means to keep friends and family informed, and continually posting pictures of murdered Iraqi children would be found too "depressing." Depressing because, even if we are not so racist as to shed a tear for another human being of different skin tone and residence, there is not a damned thing we can do to stop it.

If we demonstrate in the streets here, we get gassed, beaten, and shot. I was at the Seattle WTO riots. The only riots I saw were on the parts of police and National Guardsmen. There were black unmarked vans running all over the place. There were black speedboats in the port, dropping divers into the water. It was a field day not for the people, but their sadistic, infinitely funded, paranoid masters who took joy in chasing and beating the ever-living shit out of whoever they could catch.

The American people can only achieve something when the Military Keynesianism which employs roughly 50% of us goes bust. And it will go bust only when it loses, as it appears to be doing. The only way for us to beat the beast is to not feed it. For most of us, that means not feeding ourselves, so we'd collectively rather not think about it. Your country went through something similar the past century. And you're right, the behaviors haven't changed much since Rome.