Topic 5 presents (1) the basic geography of Iraq in the middle of the Middle East and the background to the Iraq war (the Palestine-Israel Conflict, the American-Soviet Cold War, the American-Vietnam War, the Soviet-Afghan War, the 1991 Gulf war, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks), (2) the “what” of the Iraq war (human/economic/moral cost of the war), (3) the “who/why” of the Iraq war (weapons of mass destruction/al-Qaida/democracy/oil/Israel/Gulf states), and (4) the ramifications of the Iraq war, especially the continuing war in Iraq itself, the NATO-led war in Libya, the war in Syria, the war in Yemen, sectarian tension in Lebanon and Bahrain, and the tightening of sanctions against Iran since 1979 when Iran turned over the Israeli embassy in Tehran to the Palestine Liberation Organization (the sanctions are expected to be lifted pending an agreement between six world powers and Iran on its nuclear program by June 30, 2015). Topic 5 also involves a closer look at what divides the two geopolitical axes and what unites each axis at the local, regional, and international levels. Topic documents include: (1) textbook and online short readings, (2) PowerPoint slides, (3) videos and video synopses, (4) current issues in the news, (5) study guide, and (6) short assignments. Review them carefuly in order to complete the critical thinking paper (10 points) and exam 5 (10 points) by the specified deadlines.
BACKGROUND TO THE U.S.-LED WAR IN IRAQ:
1. The Palestine-Israel conflict (1948-present) is one of the world’s major sources of war, violence, and oppression. For example, between 2000 and 2014 at least 9,121 Palestinians (including 2,060 children) and 1,187 Israelis (including 133 children) have been killed. It is a head-on struggle over Palestine between the continuously arriving Jewish settlers (who want to make Palestine a “Jewish state” or a “state for the Jews” whenever and wherever they live) and the native Muslim/Christian/Arab Palestinians who continue to resist dispossession and expulsion. The United States government is a pro-Israel partisan in this conflict, a position which continues to drive a wedge between the United States and the Arab/Muslim world.
2. The Cold War (1946-1991) refers to a period of political/economic/military rivalry between two superpowers: the United States and the Soviet Union. The word “Cold” in the phrase ” Cold War” indicates that there was no direct military engagement between U.S. and Soviet forces. The American-Soviet Cold War was actually a series of bloody proxy wars, waged by superpower surrogates in the developing countries of the Global South. The two major Cold War wars were the American-Vietnam War 1959-1975 (where U.S. forces were ‘on the ground’ while Soviet forces were ‘in the background’) and the Soviet-Afghan War 1979-1989 (where Soviet forces were ‘on the ground’ while U.S. forces were ‘in the background’). The United States and the Soviet Union were defeated in Vietnam and Afghanistan, respectively. Much of the war-related human devastation, political turmoil, economic hardship, and ideological argument took place in the developing countries of the Global South, not in the developed countries of the Global North. For example, the American-Vietnam War killed an estimated 3 to 4 million Vietnamese and 1.5 to 2 million Laos and Cambodians and displaced millions more into refugees, compared to some 58,000 U.S. troops killed and 300,000 wounded. The Soviet-Afghan War killed between 700,000 and 1.3 million Afghans and threw another 4.5 million into refugee camps in Pakistan and Iran, compared to some 15,000 Soviet troops killed and 37,000 wounded in Afghanistan. One Israeli strategic goal during the Cold War was to have Western powers force the Soviet Union to let Soviet Jewry migrate to Palestine-Israel and have the United States pay for their resettlement. Anatoly Shcharansky, one of the Zionist leaders of the Jewish Movement in the Soviet Union, has suggested that “the Jewish emigration movement was a significant factor in the Soviet Union’s final distintegration.” The KGB considered Soviet Jewish Zionists “a band of criminals in the service of Israel” “determined to bring damage to the Soviet Union.” At the core of the “Western” campaign for Soviet Jews was a clandestine Israeli agency, Nativ, whose representatives used to operate from inside the Israeli Embassy in Mosco before the Soviet Union severed diplomatic relations with Israel in June 1967. The “Western” campaign for Soviet Jews “began in 1952-53 with the creation of the Israeli ‘Liaison Bureau,’ better known under its code name ‘Nativ,’ and continued until 1989-91” (see “The Jewish Movement in the Soviet Union,” edited by Yaacov Ro’i, 2012, pages 11, 57, 59, 392). Read carefully the New York Times story about President George Bush complaining on television (September 12, 1991) about the “powerful political forces” of the Israel lobby lined up against “the lonely little guy” in the White House who wanted no more than a four-month delay of $10 billion loan guarantees requested by Israel to resettle Soviet Jews in Israel following the disintegration of the Soviet Union (Adam Clymer, ” Pro-Israel Lobby Readies for Fight,” New York Times, Sep 15, 1991. pg. A.9.).
3. During the Soviet-Afghan War, the United States worked with other states (especially Saudi Arabia and Pakistan) to organize and train a mujahidin guerilla of Afghani, Arab, Pakistani, and other Muslims to fight and defeat the [“atheist”] Soviets in Afghanistan. President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted on CNN that the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of Al Qaeda in the 1970s to fight the Soviets. US President Ronald Reagan invited Afghan mujahedeen leaders to the White House and consider them freedom fighters and brothers. “A specially equipped C-141 Starlifter transport carrying William Casey touched down at a military air base south of Islamabad in October 1984 for a secret visit by the CIA director to plan strategy for the war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Helicopters lifted Casey to three secret training camps near the Afghan border, where he watched mujaheddin rebels fire heavy weapons and learn to make bombs with CIA-supplied plastic explosives and detonators… Casey wanted to ship subversive propaganda through Afghanistan to the Soviet Union’s predominantly Muslim southern republics. The Pakistanis agreed, and the CIA soon supplied thousands of Korans,” The Washington Post, 7/19/1992, http://www.globalissues.org/article/258/anatomy-of-a-victory-cias-covert-afghan-war . Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi ambassador to US was quoted: “Bin Laden used to come to us when America—underline, America—through the CIA and Saudi Arabia, were helping our brother mujahideen in Afghanistan, to get rid of the communist secularist Soviet Union forces. Osama bin Laden came and said ‘Thank you. Thank you for bringing the Americans to help us. At that time, I thought he couldn’t lead eight ducks across the street.” (watch also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dqtSaIikQ-o). Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton acknowledged that the US government created the Islamic jihad in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s but she did not explain that the main reason was to force the Soviet Union to lift a ban on the emigration of Soviet Jews to Palestine: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzQ2KZWfjgs . The defeat and withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989 led to a “failed state” in Afghanistan and opened the door to a power struggle between the “victorious” mujahedeen factions. The Afghan Taliban movement emerged out of the ruins of this power struggle and spread its control over most of the country between 1996 and 2001 before it was overthrown by the United States invasion of Afghanistan following the 9/11 terrorist attacks which ex-Saudi Osama Bin Laden (an ally of the Afghan Taliban movement) and his al-Qaida followers planned, executed, and took credit for. Most countries around the world expressed sympathy and support for the United States under attack. But when the U.S. invaded Iraq (which did not attack the US, had no weapons of mass destruction, and had no link to 9/11), the world’s view of the United States began to change as many people worldwide began to realize that the Iraq war was not about what it was said to be about.
SELECTED READINGS AND VIDEOS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC GEOGRAPHY OF IRAQ AS WELL AS THE “WHAT,” “WHY,” “WHO,” AND ” AFTERMATH” OF THE U.S.-LED WAR IN IRAQ:
1. Learn the basic geography of Iraq (the strategic location of Iraq in the MIDDLE of the Middle East):
(a) Learn the basic geography of Iraq: size of population, area, languages, religions, ethnic groups, major rivers, significance of the oil sector, total GDP (official exchange rate), and GDP per capita (ppp, purchasing power parity)
(b) Learn the name, location, major language, dominant ethnic group, and government type of each country bordering Iraq
(c) Compare and contrast Iraq’s population size, ethnic groups, and GDP per capita with those of the United States.
The information you need for the above (a), (b), and (c) is available from the online CIA World Factbook at:
2. Learn the “what” of the U.S.-led war in Iraq (Human/financial/moral cost of the war):
(a) Find out the estimates of US and Indiana casualties (deaths and wounded) in the Iraq war:
(b) Find out “What is the real death toll in Iraq?”
(c) Find out the estimates of Iraqi refugees living inside and outside Iraq:
“There are as many as 2 million Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria, the vast majority of whom have been displaced from their homes since the war in Iraq began in 2003. Another 2 million refugees are displaced inside Iraq… As of March 2008, approximately 4,900 Iraqi refugees had been resettled in the United States since the war began in 2003. By contrast, Sweden, a country with about 3 percent of the population of the United States, admitted nearly twice that number of asylum seekers in 2006 alone and received 18,500 asylum applications in 2007.2… Skillful diplomacy must allow for continued pressure on Syria for its violations of Lebanese sovereignty and support for terrorism, while simultaneously allowing for a more robust engagement on the issue of Iraqi refugees…. Under no circumstances should Iraqi refugees feel pressured—legally or economically—by the Syrian, Jordanian, or Iraqi Governments to return home prematurely.. The hasty return of large numbers of returnees—without security, housing or employment—could have serious negative consequences. The administration must work vigorously against any such effort.” MANAGING CHAOS—THE IRAQI REFUGEES OF JORDAN AND SYRIA AND INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS IN IRAQ, STAFF TRIP REPORT TO THE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS UNITED STATES SENATE ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS, SECOND SESSION, APRIL 2008 (Committee Chairman: JOSEPH R. BIDEN, JR.,Delaware; Committee members include BARACK OBAMA, Illinois), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CPRT-110SPRT41773/pdf/CPRT-110SPRT41773.pdf
(d) Find out the estimates of Iraqi children believed to have died as a result of the sanctions imposed by the UN and enforced by the US and Britain on Iraq. Watch how former Secretary of State Albright “justifies” those sanctions (which killed hundred of thousands of children) in the following video clip:
(e) Find out the Iraq war budget allocations to date and the long-term/hidden costs of the Iraq war to the US government and to the State of Indiana:
(f) Find out the country where the head of the American company whose personnel are implicated in Abu Ghraib tortures received “anti-terror” training and an award? Read Robert Fisk’s The Trail of Torture: The Things Bush Didn’t Say in His Speech, CounterPunch, May 26, 2004, http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-things-bush-didn-t-say-in-his-speech/
(g) Find out why the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations of al Qaeda suspects:
3. Read critically about the “who” and the “why” of the U.S.-led war in Iraq:
At least five different “explanations” or “justifications” or “excuses” were invoked to justify the Iraq war: (i) to search for illegal weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, (ii) to punish Iraq for an alleged Al-Qaeda-Hussein link, (iii) to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East, (iv) to control oil fields and business contracts, and (v) to provide long term security for the State of Israel and/or the Gulf States.
The first and second explanations (search for illegal weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and to punish Iraq for an alleged Al-Qaeda-Hussein link) have already been dismissed as big lies. Read:
The third explanation (to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East) has more to do with political rhetoric and demagoguery than with Middle East political reality. First, U.S. government’s best Arab friends and allies in the Middle East are Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, whose governments are monarchies, not democracies. Second, U.S. government’s special friend and ally in the Middle East is the State of Israel, dubbed “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But the State of Israel is at best a “Jewish ethnocracy” (democracy for Jews only). Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Christians from Palestine and continues to discriminate between Jews and non-Jews in a ‘legal’ manner (for example, the Law of ‘Return’).
On the fourth explanation (oil), let’s point out the following: First, there is no public record of the big oil companies supporting the war in Iraq or the current confrontation with Iran (as James Petras, John Mearsheimer, Walt, and others have shown). Second, President Bush repeatedly promised to replace more than 75% of US oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Third, President Obama’s ENERGY POLICY states explicitly that its central goal is to “end our addiction to foreign oil” and eliminate our current imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years.” Fourth, the American Jewish Committee’s top ENERGY POLICY had for a long time been focused on ending US oil imports from the Middle East as a strategy of weakening predominantly Arab OPEC. The following examples indicate that the shift to new sources of energy is not purely motivated by ‘economic’ and/or ‘environmental’ concerns. “If the U.S. continues to increase its reliance on foreign sources of oil, our dependence on OPEC member nations and rogue states (overlapping categories that include the nations with the largest share of the world’s proven oil reserves) will increase…. The American Jewish Committee, therefore, urges that the United States set as a primary national goal a comprehensive energy policy aimed at a substantial reduction in U.S. dependence on imported oil, with the potential for energy flexibility and near independence in the longer term.” —-The American Jewish Committee, “Energy Security for America,” May 5, 2003, http://www.kintera.org/atf/cf/%7B42D75369-D582-4380-8395-D25925B85EAF%7D/EnergySecurityForAmerica.pdf. “Our goal should be to replace hydrocarbons with carbohydrates.” —-US Senator Richard G. Lugar, The National Interest, Summer 2006. “Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years — thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.” ——- President Bush’s State of the Union, CNN, 1/23/2007. “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred…. and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries… We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” —– President Obama’s inaugural speech CNN, 1/20/2009. Moreover, Israel appears to be preparing the ground for a shift from ‘US dependence on Middle East oil’ to ‘US dependence on Israel’s new sources of energy.’ Read this promotion story “Israel and California cut world’s largest solar energy deal”: http://www.israel21c.org/environment/israel-and-california-cut-worlds-largest-solar-energy-deal
On the fifth explanation (Israel), review carefully the following:
(a) Read “IRAQ: War Launched to Protect Israel – Bush Adviser:”
(b) When Vice-President Cheney launched the Iraq war campaign before a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (CNN.com, 8/26/2002), he told them: “The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.” But Cheney campaign was simply the coronation of an Iraq war campaign launched by Israeli leaders themselves in the United States. For example, (i) on 4/14/2002, former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came to Washington to brief U.S Senators and the editor of the Washington Post on the removal of Saddam; (ii) on 5/12/2002, Israeli Foreign Minister Peres appeared on CNN to say that “Saddam Hussein is as dangerous as bin Laden;” (iii) on 6/8/2002, former Israeli Prime Minister Barak wrote in the Washington Post: Bush “should, first of all, focus on Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein;” (iv) on 8/13/2002: Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Knesset that Iraq “is the greatest danger facing Israel;” and (v) on 8/16/2002: CBSNews.com reported: “Israel To U.S.: Don’t Delay Iraq Attack.” (See also Mearsheimer & Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2007, p 234).
(c) Read the two stories about Congressman Jim Moran, D-Virginia, who said on the eve of the Iraq war “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.” Moran was pressured to apologize and resign from his leadership post:
(d) Learn about the book The dagger of Israel (1957), in which Indian journalist Rustom Khurshedji Karanjia published a secret Israeli plan involving, among other things, the partition of Iraq:
(e) Find out when and how did the Israelis bomb and destroy Iraq’s first nuclear plant near Baghdad?
(f) Find out what Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz http://haaretz.com/, said on June 2, 1982 about Israel’s “best” interest in the partition of Iraq: ” The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part”.
(g) Learn about Jewish-American Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Naval civilian intelligence analyst and a convicted Israeli spy, who received a life sentenced in 1987 for stealing thousands of pages of classified documents on behalf of Israel. Pollard wrote in 1991: “Appeasement of Iraq Made Me A Spy.” Pollard, a sayan (plural sayanim, which Andrew I. Killgore describes as “Israel’s volunteer spies within the U.S. government, U.S. industry, and within the American Jewish community itself”) provided the Israelis with satellite photographs of Iraqi weapons sites (see Jonathan Jay Pollard, “Appeasement of Iraq Made Me A Spy, by Jonathan Pollard,” The Wall Street Journal – Originally published February 15, 1991. Posted to Web November 4, 2002:
(h) Learn about Mossad Agent Ephraim’s comment in 1986 on building up Iraq as the “next target” and Saddam Hussein as “the big villain.” Ephraim was quoted: “After the bombing of Libya [Mossad’s Operation Trojan, 1986], our friend Qadhafi is sure to stay out of the picture for some time. Iraq and Saddam Hussein are the next target. We’re starting now to build him up as the big villain. It will take some time, but in the end, there’s no doubt it’ll work.” Source: Victor Ostrovsky, The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda, New York: Harper Colins Publishers, 1994, page 117.
(i) Note the Mossad assassination of Canadian-American weapons developer Gerald Bull in Brussels in 1990. Gerald Bull allegedly helped Iraq build a “big gun”:
(j) Note that the United Nations did not authorize the no-fly zones through which the US and Britain partitioned Iraq’s air space in 1992 [very much along the lines of the Israeli proposed partition plan of Iraq in 1957]:
(k) Skim through the stories about Jewish-born Leslie Gelb, former editor and columnist for The Times and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote in The New York Times of 11/25/2003: The United States should “move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” See how [then] Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware (chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee) and [currently] Vice President of the United States jumped on the bandwagon, while The New York Times of 8/19/2007 carefully dubbed the partitionig of Iraq “The Biden-Gelb plan” (at the same time an Iraq’ s Partition map appeared on the internet):
(l) Read and learn from this New York Time story how the Iraqis in Baghdad call American soldiers “The Jews,” according to Jewish-American Thomas Friedman, “Jews, Israel and America,” The New York Times, October 24, 2004: “Many Iraqis have so much distrust for U.S. forces we found they’ve come up with a nickname for our troops,” Scott said. “They call American soldiers ‘The Jews,’ as in, ‘Don’t go down that street, the Jews set up a roadblock.’ http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/opinion/24friedman.html
(m) Find out which “catastrophic and catalyzing event” was used by the top pro-Iraq war party (the Zionist neoconservatives) as an excuse to justify the Iraq war? The Neoconservatives indicated that to speed up their preconceived plan they need: “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” Print and review only the above quote on PAGE 51 of the September 2000 Report: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf
(n) Who are the neoconservatives (neocons) who conceived and pushed for the war in Iraq? According to the Jewish-American newspaper FORWARD, “If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it.” See The Neoconservative Persuasion; Examining the Jewish Roots of an Intellectual Movement; The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping Of Public Policy; Commentary in American Life; The Neocon Reader;” Gal Beckerman, Forward, January 6, 2006, Vol. CIX, Iss. 31,583; pg. 12.
neoconservatives? To realize their fantasies of world domination, the neocons resorted to a triple discourse, as Laurent Guyénot shows in this study, i.e. a cynical political philosophy developed by their mentor Leo Strauss for domestic consumption; a cold analysis of Israeli strategic interests for the benefit of the leaders in Tel Aviv, and a fear-mongering warning against imaginary dangers besetting U.S. public opinion.
The neoconservative movement, which is generally perceived as a radical (rather than “conservative”) Republican right, is, in reality, an intellectual movement born in the late 1960s in the pages of the monthly magazine Commentary, a media arm of the American Jewish Committee, which had replaced the Contemporary Jewish Record in 1945. The Forward, the oldest American Jewish weekly, wrote in a January 6th, 2006 article signed Gal Beckerman: “If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it. It’s a thought one imagines most American Jews, overwhelmingly liberal, will find horrifying. And yet it is a fact that as a political philosophy, neoconservatism was born among the children of Jewish immigrants and is now largely the intellectual domain of those immigrants’ grandchildren”. Laurent Guyénot, “The machiavelian threefold game of the neoconservatives,” Voltaire.net.org, http://www.voltairenet.org/article178638.html
(o) Read carefully the brief biographies of the 12 key figures of the neoconservatives (The Christian Science Monitor, June 2005):
http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/neocon/index.html. It appears that someone has removed this article from its Internet website (one of the PowerPoint slides includes a quote from this article).
(p) Compare and contrast Paul Wolfowitz’s call and plan to “OVERTHROW HIM [Saddam Hussein],” (The Weekly Standard, December 1, 1997, http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Protected/Articles/000/000/008/876iiuqh.asp) with the content of the Neoconservatives’ Letter to President Clinton (January 26, 1998): http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm (It appears that someone has removed this article from its Internet website, but a passage from the letter survived in one of the PowerPoint slides).
(q) Watch and find out when was the Iraq Liberation Act signed into law and by whom?
(r) Read carefully “Transcript of Bin Laden’s October  interview”:
(s) Read the New York Times story entitled “WAR IN THE GULF: Muslims; Saudis Decree Holy War on Hussein,” …Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority has issued a decree sanctioning a holy war against Saddam Hussein by all Muslims and “those assisting them” to evict his forces from Kuwait. The “fatwa,” or religious decree, authorizing the “jihad,” or holy war, was issued by Sheik Abdulaziz bin Abdulla bin Baz, the head of the Council of Ulema, Saudi Arabia’s most senior Islamic authority. It was written at the beginning of the coalition’s offensive against Iraq, and published on Friday in a special edition of al-Muslimoon, the most popular Islamic weekly newspaper. Copies of the decree were posted today in several mosques across Riyadh…. “The fatwa removes any doubt about the religious justification for asking non-Muslims to help this country attack another Muslim country,” said a religious scholar, who spoke on condition that he not be identified…. The New York Times, January 20, 1991. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/01/20/world/war-in-the-gulf-muslims-saudis-decree-holy-war-on-hussein.html
(t) Read “Saudi Cleric Issues Warning Over Militants,” Asharq Alawsat”, 01/10/2007:
(u) Read one translation of “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, World Islamic Front Statement,” Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 23 February 1998: http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/980223-fatwa.htm
(v) What was the main request in the Neocons’ Letter to President Bush (September 20, 2001)?
http://www.newamericancentury.org/Bushletter.htm. It appears that someone has removed this article from its Internet website (one of the PowerPoint slides includes a quote from this letter).)
(w) Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Full program: House Session, Oct 5, 1998):
(x) See how Vice President Dick Cheney describes his relationship with Bernard Lewis (his intellectual and political mentor on the Middle East): “You simply cannot find a greater authority on Middle Eastern history — from classical Islamic civilization, to the Ottoman Empire, to the modern period — than this man [Lewis Bernard] and his works.”… After listening to Bernard Lewis’ advice on “the history and the way forward in the Middle East” following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said “I decided that day that this was a man I wanted to keep in touch with, and whose work I should follow carefully in the years ahead. Since then we have met often, particularly during the last four-and-a-half years, and Bernard has always had some very good meetings with President Bush… More than three decades ago, at the height of a secular era, he wrote a prescient article titled The Return of Islam. In the 1970s he studied the writings of an obscure cleric named Khomeini, and saw the seeds of a movement that would deliver theocratic despotism. In 1990, he wrote The Roots of Muslim Rage, which anticipated the terrorism of that decade. And in this new century, his wisdom is sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics, and the news media.” Source: Dick Cheney, “Vice President’s Remarks at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Luncheon Honoring Professor Bernard Lewis,” Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 May 2006, The White House, http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/05/20060501-3.html (note that the link has been disabled on the new White House Website)
(y) Read the Washington Post story about a memo distributed on the eve of the Iraq war urging Israeli and pro-Israeli leaders: “You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.” Here is the reference to the story: Dana Milbank, “Group Urges Pro-Israel Leaders’ Silence on Iraq; Memo Outlines Response If Hostilities Occur, Discourages Lecturing of Americans on Middle East,” The Washington Post, November 27, 2002.
(z) Read “Rupert Murdoch and William Kristol: Using the Press to Advance Israel’s Interests”:
(z2) Watch “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?”
4. Learn more about the “Aftermath” of the Iraq war:
(a) Read carefully the Executive Summary (pages 6-8) and Recommendations 1, 9, 13, 15, 16, 22, 23, 26, 27, and 28 of The Iraq Study Group Report (December 6, 2006): “The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict…”
(b) Review carefully Articles 4(1), 12(3), 21(1), 24(1), 26(1b), and 27 (all clauses) of the “Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq” as they relate to the declared withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, the issue of immunity for US military and civilian elements in Iraq, and deterrence of internal or external security threats to Iraq: Article 27…”In the event of any external or internal threat or aggression against Iraq that would violate its sovereignty, political independence, or territorial integrity, waters, airspace, its democratic system or its elected institutions, and upon request by the Government of Iraq, the Parties shall immediately initiate strategic deliberations and, as may be mutually agreed, the United States shall take appropriate measures, including diplomatic, economic, or military measures, or any other measure, to deter such a threat.”
(c) Read carefully and critically President Obama’s speech (” REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON A NEW BEGINNING,” Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009: “The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.”
(d) Watch and/or read Bill Moyers’ interview with Jeremy Scahill (author of “BLACKWATER: THE RISE OF THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MERCENARY ARMY”) on the Afghan war (June 5, 2009):
(e) Watch [late] Libyan Leader & African Union Chairman Qadhafi’s speech to the UN General Assembly, especially his views on UN reform, the African Union, and the Palestine-Israel conflict: “The countries of the African Union deserve a [UN Security Council] permanent seat. This is a debt from the past that has to be paid and has nothing to do with United Nations reform. It is a priority matter and is high on the agenda of the General Assembly. No one can say that the African Union does not deserve a permanent seat… With regard to the Palestinian situation, the two-State solution is impossible; it is not practical. Currently, these two States completely overlap. Partition is doomed to failure. These two States are not neighbors; they are coextensive, in terms of both population and geography. A buffer zone cannot be created between the two States because there are half a million Israeli settlers in the West Bank and a million Arab Palestinians in the territory known as Israel. The solution is therefore a democratic State without religious fanaticism or ethnicity.”
(f) Read “Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq” (June 21, 2009):
(g) Based on your learning about Topic 5, ask yourself about the prospect/future of the U.S.-led war in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. For example, should there be an independent government investigation to identify those individuals and organizations responsible for embroiling and dragging the United States into the Iraq war? Or should we continue to blame America as a whole and every American for what happened and what could happen? Should there be apologies and reparations for the Iraqi people? See for example how the UN forced Iraq to pay compensation for its unlawful occupation of Kuwait (2 August 1990 – 28 February 1991): The United Nations Compensation Commission (UNCC) received approximately 2.7 million claims seeking approximately US$352.5 billion in compensation for death, injury, loss of or damage to property, commercial claims and claims for environmental damage resulting from Iraq’s unlawful invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1991. Read “The UNCC at a Glance”:
(h) Sunni-Shia Relations After the Iraq War
• In Iraq, as elsewhere in the Middle East, the social, political, and technological changes of the 21st century are giving birth to a new sectarian landscape.
• The three most consequential drivers behind the change in sectarian relations have been the political change in Iraq of 2003; the near simultaneous spread of new media and social networking in the Arab world; and – perhaps as a consequence of the first two – the ongoing search for alternatives to familiar but moribund forms of authoritarianism, as demonstrated most dramatically by the “Arab Spring.”
• 2003 highlighted the uncomfortable fact that there were multiple, indeed contradictory, visions of what it meant to be an Iraqi and by extension what it meant to be a part of the Arab world.
• New media, social networking, user-generated websites, and private satellite channels helped to make Iraq’s accelerated sectarianization contagious.
• The mainstreaming of sectarian polemics has increased the relevance of religious, doctrinal, and dogmatic differences in views regarding the sectarian “other,” a particularly dangerous development.
Fanar Haddad, “Sunni-Shia Relations After the Iraq War,” UNITED STates institute of peace, peaceBrieF160, November 15, 2013, http://www.usip.org/sites/default/files/PB160.pdf
(i) [U.S. Secretary of State Colin] Powell warns Syria and Iran
(j) [U.S. President Barack] Obama Warns Libya
(k) America’s secret plan to arm Libya’s rebels, Obama asks Saudis to airlift weapons into Benghazi
The Independent, March 7, 2011, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/americas-secret-plan-to-arm-libyas-rebels-2234227.html
(l) Qatar’s decision to send planes to Libya is part of a high-stakes game
The Guardian, 24 March 2011, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/24/qatar-planes-libya-high-stakes
(m) U.A.E. Draws Praise From U.S. for Participation in Libya
FoxNews.com, March 24, 2011, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/03/24/uae-draws-praise-participation-libya/
(n) Syrian rebels get influx of arms with gulf neighbors’ money, U.S. coordination
The Washington Post, May 15, 2012, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012-05-15/world/35454790_1_baba-amr-neighborhood-syrian-rebels-homs
(o) UN Security Council resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons (2013):
(p) Interim nuclear agreement between Iran and six powers (2013):
Textbook, pages 263-355 (The Lobby in Action–Taking Aim at Syria, Iran in the Crosshairs, The Lobby and the Second Lebanon War, Conclusion: What Is to Be Done?
File gme PowerPoint slides topic 5.ppt (21.557 MB)
Video: The secret files: Washington, Israel and the Gulf (60 min.): “Discusses how secret agreements and documents, since declassified, helped to shape U.S. foreign policy which led to our involvement in the Persian Gulf War of 1991.”
Video: Unfinished Business: The CIA and Saddam Hussein (45 mn): Peter Jennings (from ABC News) presents “An expose on the U.S. government’s overt and covert attempts to oust Sadam Hussein from power in Iraq.” For example, U.S. government’s attempts to oust Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq involved a covert public relations campaign which began when the CIA hired the Rendon Group to run a covert anti-Saddam propaganda campaign. Rendon Group spent more than $23 million in the first year of its contract on organizing a traveling photo exhibit of Iraqi atrocities, including videos and radio skits that ridiculed Saddam Hussein, even an anti-Saddam comic book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lZHHAI-eq2I
Video: Paying the price: killing the children of Iraq (75 min.): John Pilger “investigates the effects of sanctions on the people of Iraq.” Contends that ten years of extraordinary isolation, imposed by the U.N. and enforced by the United States and Great Britain, have killed thousands of people. Also discusses illegal bombing campaigns conducted by the U.S. and Great Britain in “no-fly zones.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHn3kKySuVo
Video: Hijacking catastrophe: 9/11, fear, & the selling of American empire (the short version is about 25 mn): “This film discusses how the events of September 11, 2001 have influenced United States politics, from advancing a pre-existing military agenda to curtailing civil liberties and social programs. Places the Bush administration’s justifications for the war in the context of the struggle by neo-conservatives to increase American power globally by means of force. Contends that the administration has deliberately manipulated intelligence, political imagery, and fear to garner support for American military intervention.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SltOy_F6ZII
Video: Iraqi Exodus: The Iraq War and the Middle East’s Refugee Crisis, (57 mn): “This Wide Angle report travels to the front lines of the staggering refugee crisis that continues to unfold in the Middle East as Iraqis flee their war-torn hometowns to live either as exiles in neighboring countries or dislocated within Iraq’s borders. The situation in Syria and Jordan, where refugees cope with their new surroundings amidst government pressure and rising resentment from the local population, are spotlighted. In addition, Aaron Brown speaks with regional leaders about how the catastrophe is impacting the Middle East—and these millions of homeless Iraqis whose hope of return grows dimmer with each passing year.” It appears that this video is NO LONGER available at:
Video: Criminal State Documentary [how the U.S. was deceived by Israel to wage war in the Middle East] : Jeff Gates along with Anthony Lawson produce this startling new video that is an absolute necessity for every American who genuinely loves his country and knows something has gone very very wrong. In Jeff’s own words: What I tell people is that our specialty is enabling people to grasp “how” this duplicity operates in plain sight and, to date, with impunity. With that knowledge, they can sort out for themselves Who and Why. Absent that knowledge, they’re left adrift in the domain of conspiracy theorists, hate-mongers and such. We see this knowledge as essential in the transition to the Knowledge Society.
Criminal State – Part 1 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNjb1MGmGDc
Criminal State – Part 2 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxhMmjDlIC0
Criminal State – Part 3 of 3: A Closer Look at Israel’s Role in Terrorism: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrkpcbmXAWE
Video clip: CIA Agent Exposes How Al-Qaeda Dosen’t Exist
Video clip: Former US Secretary Hillary Clinton explains how the US government created the Al Qada jihad in Afghanistan in the 1980s but she did not explain that the reason was to force the Soviet Union to lift a ban on the emigration of Soviet Jews to Palestine
Video clip: Iran-Contra Redux? Prince Bandar Heads Secret Saudi-CIA Effort to Aid Syrian Rebels, Topple Assad
Video clip (1.31mn): Jon Stewart Learns What Happens When You Criticize Israel
Critical thinking paper
The critical thinking paper must provide a thoughtful explanation of what divides the two geopolitical axes (as defined in this course) at the local/regional/international levels and what unites each axis at the local/regional/international levels, especially in the ongoing wars on/in Yemen and Syria which are spillovers of the continuing war on/in Iraq. For example, you can begin with a careful review of the headlines in PowerPoint slide 292 in order to see the sequence of events and identify the local, regional, and international parties at war on/in Yemen and why (other relevant slides include 284-294). Concerning the war on/in Syria, you can begin with a careful review of PowerPoint slide 184 in order to identify the parties at war inside Syria and their regional and international supporters and why (other relevant slides include 157-161, 178-179, 199-200, 203-204, 221-223, 251, 261, 275-278, 283-294). You might also skim through PowerPoint slides 151 and 162-174 in order to identify the local, regional, and international parties in the war which overthrew the Libyan government in 2011. To draw some parallels between the so-called ‘Arab spring’ and the ‘Arab revolt’ of 1916-1918, you should read PowerPoint slide 138. You must follow carefully the detailed “Guidelines for the critical thinking paper” in the syllabus. The critical thinking paper (worth 10 points) is important and must be completed & submitted by the deadline to avoid 0 out of 10 possible points, in addition to a grade penalty of 5 points. The critical thinking paper is due by 7/2/2015 at 10 pm
Critical thinking paper