The Battle of Baghdad|
Bush’s “New” Plan for Iraq
I have stated on several occasions in Libyan circles that I differ with those who insist that when it comes to politics Libyans should stick to strictly Libyan issues. The reason is simple: Libya is an integral part of the Arab world whose fate and future are being crafted in the power centers in Washington, Jerusalem, Tehran, and Europe. In other words the future of the Libyan people will to a significant extent depend on the interactions of the long term strategies of these powers for the entire region. Therefore, it is essential that in our effort to concentrate on the rotten tree (Gaddafi Regime) we do not lose sight of the forest, hence the need to pay attention to the goings on all around us, in Lebanon, Gaza, Sudan, Somalia, and Iraq.
Those who followed Bush’s misadventure in Iraq from the beginning know that starting even before he was “elected” to occupy the White House, Bush was being manipulated by a determined group of people known as the neo-cons. These men, many of whom are hardcore Zionists, exploited Bush’s naiveté in foreign affairs, his ignorance of history and simple mindedness and mostly his basal desire for revenge and his need to project machismo to compensate for the lack of traditional presidential credentials such as actual combat experience.
It was not difficult for the neo-cons to convince Bush that his desires and their objectives are one and the same – the end of Iraq as a united, viable state which can potentially become a significant military power. This would bring the neo-cons a step closer to their ultimate goal which is a Middle East that is totally and absolutely dominated by Israel. By the end of 2005, this short-term objective has already been largely accomplished in Iraq and the neo-cons and the pro-Israel lobby in Washington are now fully concerned with Iran.
The task was to convince America that a full-scale war against the mullas is in America’s interest first and foremost. This, however, is proving to be somewhat difficult in view of America’s experience in Iraq and the overwhelmingly negative public opinion in the US against both the war and those who advocate it. Therefore, a change in tactics has become necessary. Blame the failure of Bush’s Iraqi adventure on Tehran and accelerate the development of the “right” conditions for a military strike on a limited number of strategic targets in Iran for which the plans have been ready in Jerusalem for some time.
Implementation of this tactical change had to be postponed for a little while to allow the recommendations of the “Iraq Study Group” to become a distant memory due to the fast pace of events in Iraq. It should be noted that the group’s report emphasized regional diplomacy and political negotiations as the best way to solve Iraq’s crisis and expedite the end of occupation.
Once the ISG recommendations faded from the front pages, the idea of a military “surge” began to emerge and the tempo of preparation for the new escalation rose resulting in the replacement the secretary of defense and the top military brass.
The stated objective of the surge in American troops (some twenty thousand) is to pacify Baghdad and provide security and peace for its inhabitants. This would entail the use of brute force to disarm the Mahdi army, the most powerful militia in Baghdad, and will no doubt require house-to-house combat and the raiding of homes terrorizing women and children. Such operations will inflame ordinary Iraqis and will assure an even more determined opposition to American efforts in the city. The characteristic impatience of the American soldier couple with his frustration will create conditions that will promote brutality and abuse of human rights at the hands of the US military on an unprecedented scale.
Needless to say Bush’s latest plan for Baghdad will be botched in a spectacular fashion, but the neo-cons plan will certainly move forward with the help of the President, who will be made to believe that he is the brains behind it. Tehran will somehow be forced to defend itself militarily. In his latest speech (10/1/07), Bush all but blamed his failures in Iraq on Iran and Syria and hinted that American forces may have to undertake cross border raids into Iran on the pretext of pursuing Iranian fighters. The Bush administration will perhaps force the Iraqi government to sever diplomatic relationship with Tehran and will seek the help of the Gulf Cooperation Council states and other countries to apply added pressure on Tehran. In addition, the build-up of American navy in the area and the appointment of a navy admiral as the top commander of American military forces in the region suggest that the real aim of the current plan is to expand the conflict to engulf both Iran and Syria. This may be a convenient way for Bush to “blame and run”. Following a few weeks of targeted bombing of sensitive sites in Iran and Syria, Bush can claim partial victory and start bringing the soldiers home. However, the battle for Baghdad will rage on with or without the Americans. Chaos and misery in the Middle East rather democracy will be the legacy of Bush’s presidency.