Iraq’s Place In The War On Terror
Surveying The History Over The Last 100 Years Leaves But One Conclusion: The Damage Has Been Done. There Is No Way To Go Back And Right Past Wrongs. Now, We Have No Choice Now But To Fight And Win. The Question Is: Do We Have The Will?
Part Four of Four
By Perry Hicks
In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, Americans blinked back from their stunned daze to ask why the Islamists hate us so. Why would Palestinians dance in the streets as panicked office workers jumped from the burning, teetering Twin Towers? Why would there be no condemnation from American Muslims when video after video is released chronicling the beheading of innocent westerners. After all, most Americans would say, we only mean them well.
President George W. Bush has repeatedly stated that he believes Muslims also want to be free. He has made
it the cornerstone of his anti-terrorism policy. By bringing democracy to the Arab world, Bush thinks he will change the face of the Middle East and so bring to it peace and tranquility. In truth, Bush shockingly reveals his naiveté.
As we have seen in this series past three parts, the west has meddled in Middle Eastern affairs since the time of the Romans; that over the millennia western promises were regularly made and just as regularly broken; that in the 20th Century the British laid down national borders without regard to the ethnicity of the people living within them. It should be no wonder then that Muslims would harbor considerable hostility to any country in the west, let alone the world’s only superpower, the United States of America.
Still, a brooding, smoldering, anger cannot hope to resist the overwhelming wealth, technology, and force of the western powers without first being instilled with faith that victory is possible; without training and discipline to carry out complex terror missions that can span months and even years; without leadership that can inspire followers to give up their own lives in executing their mission; without funding to buy the weapons and other materiel with which to make their attacks possible.
While hating the west, Islamists also despise nearly all of the governments ruling the Middle East because most of them had been originally established by the British. In their place, Osama Bin Laden envisions a world-wide caliphate ruling strictly by Islamic law. Above all else, the Islamists have as their prime mission the expulsion of everything western from any Muslim land.
To the Islamists, these English enthroned governments, though now free of the British, are certainly instruments of America. Therefore, the governments of Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others will have to be overthrown. Now added to that list is the governments of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq.
The glaring exception in this region is Iran. It was here that Mullahs overthrew the westward looking Mohamed Reza Pahlavi, The Shah of Iran. It is this nation that has inspired Islamic revolution, surreptitiously providing training and assistance to terrorists, and is believed to be developing weapons of mass destruction.
The second caliph of Islam was Umar ibn al-Khattab, hereafter referred to as Omar, undertook the spread of Islam by waging war on much of the then known world. Muslim armies fanned out to take North Africa from Byzantium, overrun Egypt where the library at Alexandria was burned the final time, swept across Palestine, Syria, and what we call Iraq, and ended the Sassanid Empire in Persia (Iran.)
Fast forward to the 16th century; Ithna 'Ashari rite of Shi'i Islam (Shiaism) is proclaimed the official religion of Iran by Shah Isma'il I. By 1507, Isma'il had not only conquered Iran, but had marched west to the very frontier of the Ottoman Empire. He then turned south into what we now call Iraq and took Bagdad in 1508.
Fast Forward again to the early 20th century when Reza Khan rested power in a coup d'etat thus resting power form the Qajar dynasty. Khan was proclaimed Shah in 1925.
Khan was a western looking reformer who continually sought to bring Iran into the 20th Century by creating a western style army, rationalize Iran’s fiscal system, and create an infrastructure of roads and communications systems requisite of a modern nation-state. Khan also strove to remove religion from governmental affairs. Naturally, this infuriated the Muslim clerics who at the time were powerless over the Shah’s superior and ruthless security forces.
Persia’s name was “changed” to Iran in 1935. Iran means “Land of the Aryans” in Persian and was in fact the internal name of the country all along. Reportedly, the suggestion for the change actually came from some Nazi friends of Iran’s ambassador to Germany.
Reza Khan made the mistake of aligning himself with Nazi Germany. When World War II broke out, both the British and Russian armies occupied Iran. Reza Khan was forced to abdicate his throne for his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi who also assumed his father’s title of Shah.
Much domestic unrest descended on Iran following World War II. Part of this trouble was the dissatisfaction Iranians had with the contractual arrangement with the only corporation licensed to operate in Iran: Britain’s Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. Iranian royalties from the pumped oil was pitifully small compared to the taxes Britain gained. Hence, there was a growing movement toward nationalizing Iran’s oil.
The issue had come to a head in February 1951 when then premier, Ali Razmara refused to support nationalization and was subsequently murdered by the Fadayan-e Islam. Mohammed Mossadeq replaced Razmara as premier and Iranian oil was nationalized by March 15th, 1951. Time Magazine named Mossadeq Man of the Year for 1951.
Toward the end of 1952, both the American and British governments had come to the realization that Premier Mohammed Mossadeq’s continuation in office not only threatened western access to Iranian oil, but also Iran falling under the influence, if not the domination, of the Soviet Union. Mossadeq had dissolved both houses of the legislature and had run the Shah out of the country. Thus, the CIA and British Intelligence undertook the job of overthrowing Mossadeq. This was accomplished with some difficulty in 1953.
The Shah was subsequently returned to Iran where he set about consolidating his power. Much of this was accomplished through the brutality of his secret intelligence service, SAVAK. Still, Iran prospered throughout the remainder of the 1950s, 1960s, and into the 1970s. In 1974, Iran even began a nuclear power program that was almost to fruition when the Islamic Revolution erupted in 1977.
When surveying the entirety of Afghanistan, one would not think the world’s superpowers would have once vied for it but vie they did. In the 1950s, the old Soviet Union was handily the most active nation working to build infrastructure into Afghanistan but the Americans were there, also, as were the Germans, Czechs, Pakistanis, Indians, and others.
Ostensibly, they were there largely to bring Afghanistan out of the Middle-Ages and into the 20th century. As it were, somewhere between 70 and 80% of Afghanis were illiterate. The average gross annual income was well under $80. And, while Afghanistan may have seemed to have little economic value, it was actually quite strategically important because of its geographic location.
While the Russians by far had the most influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan was friendly to the U.S. as was Iran and Iraq. If the Soviet Union wanted to expand forcibly toward the oil and warm water ports of southern Asia, they did not outwardly show it. Thus, the U.S. State Department was quite calm about Soviet influence n Afghanistan and viewed their hefty presence there as somewhat benign.
This all changed when the Islamic Revolution broke out in Iran. With the Shah deposed, both Iraq and Iran would be critical to checking Soviet expansion to the Gulf and quite possibly beyond.
Afghanistan had come under control of the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan or PDPA. The Islamists naturally revolted and the PDPA found itself clinging on to only a few cities. Their repeated appeals for help from the Soviets initially only brought them aid in the form of weapons, munitions, and other military equipment. Later, when President Nur Mohammad Taraki was arrested and executed immediately on his return from a trip to Moscow, the KGB was able to sway enough Politburo leaders over the objections of the military’s GRU, that Amin could potentially become another Anwar Sadat and turn to the west. Thus, a decision was made to invade. It would prove to be a colossal strategic error.
War by Proxy
Conservative talk-radio show hosts love to point to the Iranian Hostage Crisis as the opening salvo in today’s war on terror. On that point, they are correct. However, they also insist that the crisis was never answered. The U.S. Embassy was overrun, diplomats were taken hostage and top secret documents were seized and America never did anything about it. On this last point, they are very, very wrong.
In 1980, Iraq attacked Iran’s western frontier ostensibly to recover the Shatt Al Arab waterway that had formed the boundary between the two countries. Iraq had been forced to cede partial control of it to Iran in 1975.
By 1982, Iraqi troops had been repelled by Iran. Khomeini announced his resolve to keep on fighting until Saddam Hussein was removed from power. The Iranian counter-attack was of such ferocity that Hussein resorted to using poison gas to repel the invaders.
Iranian clerics have been accused of lashing large numbers of children together, principally girls, for mine clearing operations. Before going out, the children were said to have been given little keys that would open the doors for them to paradise. The fighting continued on for 6 more years. Iraq fought with Soviet weapons, the Iranians with a very limited number of American. (See Iran-Contra scandal.)
By 1985 Iran was not only weakened, but Khomeini was fighting a growing unrest over the protracted war. It ended in 1988 but, over the intervening years, an estimated 1.5 million people had been killed and another 2 million wounded. A like number became refugees. Owing to the devastating chemical attacks, Iran certainly suffered the worst of it.
Khomeini died in 1989 and a somewhat more moderate government came into power. Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990 in an apparent effort to erase its massive war debt owed to that nation.
Bush 43’s detractors claim that Saddam Hussein is a product of the United States. However, as convenient as the war between Iraq and Iran had been to checking radical Islam’s expansion, this claim is not exactly true.
Hussein was born in 1937 and grew up awash in the anti-British, socialist political climate of the day. He joined the Baath party while in college and participated in the abortive coup of 1956. After the monarchy fell 2 years later, Saddam was wounded in still another coup attempt against the pro-communist Prime Minister, Abdel-Karim Qassem. Saddam fled to Egypt. It is here that he is reported to have been a frequent visitor to the U.S. Embassy. The CIA is reported to have provided Iraqi army officers information helpful in the coup.
When Saddam’s cousin brought the Baath party to domination in 1968, Saddam became 2nd in command and head of the secret police. He spent the next 10 years consolidating his power so that in 1979 he muscled his cousin aside and assumed the Iraqi presidency. The following years brought the Iraqi people nothing but government-borne terror, war, and bone-crushing defeat.
It should be noted here that Bush 41 had every opportunity to walk right into Baghdad in the closing days of Desert Storm but refused to do so. Thus, a crescent of anti-western countries survived to contain a no longer extant Soviet Union, while at the same time, themselves threatening western access to Middle Eastern oil.
After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, hundreds of thousands of civilians, including infants and children, were found buried in mass graves.
20 Years of Terror Attacks
Fahrenheit 9-11 producer, Michael Moore’s assertions that America faces no terror threat is both patently absurd and candidly revealing of his liberal world-view. Beginning with the U.S. Embassy take-over and Iranian hostage crisis in 1979, America has suffered a string of ever more violent attacks.
The above list does not include the numerous terror attacks suffered by other nations such as India or the Phillipines.
In his campaigning, U.S. presidential candidate, John Kerry, has asserted his belief that prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, terror was only a “nuisance.”
Crescent of Terror
If one looks at a political map of the Middle East just prior to 9-11, it becomes clear that if not an axis of evil, certainly a crescent of terror was formed by the nations of Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan. Islamic terror satellites also existed in Pakistan, Yemen, and certain locations in Africa, principally the nation of Libya. The latter, of course, had been much chastened by Regan’s aerial bombing campaign in reprisal for complicity in the Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.
Centered almost perfectly on this crescent is Iran providing not just safe havens for terrorists but also ideological and financial support. Even more importantly is the motivation to develop weapons of mass destruction Iran has gained from its ruinous war with Iraq. As stated earlier, the Shah had been developing nuclear technology since 1974 and that program was nearing fruition when the Islamic Revolution broke out in 1979.
Bush 43’s Middle East Strategy
If Bush has lied to the American people about his reasons for the war in Iraq, it is this: the actual target is Iran. With new anti-terror support from Pakistan, U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iran, a hostile Russia to the north, and the Royal Navy cruising in the Gulf, Iran has been isolated. Furthermore, if Iran continues to develop WMD and the missile systems with which to deliver them, then still another U.S. military action is possible. The last Islamic government would fall and after that the dictatorships in Syria and Libya (which may have gotten the message) could easily be controlled or brought down.
That is why foreign fighters have poured into Iraq in order to repulse the western presence. The Taliban has insufficient support in Afghanistan, but Iraq has a large Shia presence that potentially could swing on the side of Iran. However, to date, this support has failed to materialize. It is Iran’s former nemesis, the Sunni Baathists that have fought against mostly the Americans.
If the Sunni could be suppressed, and the Kurds pacified, then it would be altogether possible for Iraq to emerge as a democratic nation. However, the key is to suppress the Sunni Baathists and that would require the use of America’s overwhelming military power. However, that is not likely to happen.
George W. Bush
The One World View
Unfortunately, America is politically split between the Patriotic Right and the Left’s One World View. In one of the debates, Kerry actually espoused this viewpoint quite eloquently: In order to defend itself, America would have to conform to some kind of “world test.” In other words, America’s interests not only should, but under Kerry, would be subordinated to every other nation on earth. After all, it is only “fair.”
If one filters the Left’s loony claims about Bush through a One World filter, then their seemingly insane rhetoric does make sense. France and Germany, now caught illegally selling weapons and other things to Saddam under the “oil for food” program, should be able to dictate U.S. foreign policy. It doesn’t matter if hundreds of thousands of people starved while Saddam built ever more opulent palaces.
Massive polluters such as China, India, and Mexico should be given a fee pass under the Kyoto Protocols while the industrialized west, chiefly the United States and its allies, should be economically crippled. It levels the playing field. After all, it is unfair, to some, that the United States has garnered so much wealth, particularly under a system of free enterprise.
And when you consider that the earth is populated by 6 billion people, what are a few thousand deaths at the hands of terrorists? It is nothing more than a nuisance. Let law enforcement handle it. In the view of Kerry and his supporters, it isn’t fair that America be the world’s only super-power. Perhaps the terrorists can help level the playing field. And if nothing else, “fighting” them can bring dividends of ever more control over individual Americans.
Related: The Coming Conflict - It Has Finally Dawned On The Liberal Press That The Incursion Into Iraq Was More About Iran Than Saddam Hussein. The Real Question Is Can Establishing Western-style Democracies Alone Contain Iranian Mullahs?
About the Author.....
Perry Hicks is the senior writer for GCN. He is a former Mississippi Coast resident and was a correspondent for the old Gulfport Star Journal. He has appeared on Fox News Channel. Perry has also hosted his own radio talk show on the auto industry with a mix of politics. Perry is a former college professor and a frequent contributor to GCN writing on stories of national importance with local interests. His articles can be found in the GCN Archive.
Contact the Author: firstname.lastname@example.org