Miles Report No. 49 - Empire of terror 2014 10 08
While I did not watch all of the ‘debate’ in the House yesterday or today (October 06-07, 2014) I did catch enough to be more than aware of the double standards, dissimulation, and rhetoric that make up the Conservative government’s rationale for bombing in Iraq.
Our noble allies
Lets start with a quote from Joe Biden, the U.S. VP. Mr Biden told a meeting at Harvard University’s Institute of Politics on 2 October that the Turks, Saudis and UAE
“poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons against anyone who would fight Assad, except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist element of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.”
Well isn’t that swell, the U.S. VP clearly telling everyone what was more or less known anyway - at least outside the mainstream media.
Saudi Arabia, that paragon of democratic virtue for the Middle East, has helped supply and train ISIS. Wonderful that Canada supports the Saudis by helping with surveillance and military training assistance, and also supporting the U.S. in its militarized role that includes protecting and arming the Saudi tribal monarchy.
The U.A.E. is another of those wonderful autocratic regimes that Canada supports in the Middle East with nuclear materials (all nuclear materials are possible precedents towards nuclear weapons). Canada has also signed agreements with this country to aid in the fight against poverty in a country that the CIA Factbook describes as, “Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago,” having “undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living.”
Finally there is Turkey. Turkey is known to have trained or allowed training to proceed for insurgents who became our modern day ISIS. It has supplied them with money, training, supplies, and an operationally safe rear area from which to operate. Forty-nine diplomats and security personnel recently captured in Mosul were released by ISIS without incident or confrontation. If they had been U.S. or U.K. or other western citizens, it would have been “off with their heads.”
As of this writing, Turkish tanks line the Turkish/Syrian border at the town of Kobani but are not doing anything to halt the ISIS assault on Kobani. If ISIS gains the town, they control the border between Turkey and Syria from Aleppo to Mosul. Turkish interests are convoluted. It is a NATO member, wants to do away with Assad, but also wants to do away with the Kurds who present a serious threat to their own national contiguity. They are trying a fine juggling act between ISIS, the Kurds, and Assad’s Syria - no honourable intentions anywhere, just self interest.
Saudi Arabia - our favourite ally
Saudi Arabia is essentially all about oil. This of course represents the largest world topic for modern history as it has been that cheap energy, millions of years of the sun’s energy flowing easily out of the ground, that has supported our modern technological, mobile society.
Saudi Arabia is a non-democratic autocratic monarchy, ruled by one tribal clan, the Saudis, who are supported by another clan, the Wahhabis. It is the latter that prescribe the archaic doctrinaire, regressive fundamentalist Islam that is one of the root causes of people like those working for ISIS. When Bahrain’s “Arab spring” arrived the Saudis sent in their troops to help quell the demonstrators demands for more democracy, helping the minority Sunni control the majority Shia population. The U.S. Fifth Fleet is stationed in Bahrain.
The Saudis survive essentially because of U.S. support. It was U.S. oil companies that originally had the rights to Saudi oil:
The entreaties of the oil company paid off in February 1943. At the urging of Harold Ickes, Secretary of the Interior and wartime oil administrator, Roosevelt declared Saudi Arabia vital to the defense of the United States and therefore eligible for financial aid. As the British journalist David Holden wrote in his history of Saudi Arabia, "The great American takeover had begun."
After Roosevelt’s visit in 1945, which some sources indicate was mainly about the Palestine/Jewish problem, Aramco and the U.S. military became substantially involved in
Saudi affairs. Whatever was truly said, it is apparent that the U.S. was becoming - and remains - the Saudis big protector.
Oil and the US$
The U.S. does not really care if it owns all the oil, but it does care that it controls the trade mechanism, the currency, being the US$. US$ hegemony is what is keeping corporate America strong, and as it serves as the world’s ‘reserve currency’ or the main currency for international transactions, the currency other countries hold on to for future purchases.
The country holding the reserves status can print as much as it wants, and can run up as much debt as it wants because it can - theoretically - keep on printing more money to cover expenses of a debt based economy and an economy based on importing consumer goods rather than on its own manufacturing.
Countries that try to sell oil outside of the reserve currency soon find themselves at the end of the gun barrel: Libya, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, and now Ukraine/Russia are all major oil producing states that have run up against US$ oil hegemony. Countries that trade with US$, regardless of their terrible democratic and human rights credentials as is the case with Saudi Arabia (and Bahrain, Yemen, UAE, Kuwait, Nigeria), are supported by the U.S.
Saudi intentions with oil….?
There is dissent in OPEC as some countries are questioning whether or not the Saudis are intentionally driving down the price of oil to help their U.S. ally in the war against the East....It could be that the Saudis are trying to put a little pressure on Russia.
So the Saudis are demonstrating to the world that they still control the oil price. Oil consumption has dropped in the West but it has increased dramatically in the East. China is consuming more oil and this is benefitting Saudi Arabia. And, importantly, soon they will begin to trade that oil to China in yuan, not dollars.
The game is changing and it’s going to keep changing very fast….Regardless, once we start to see oil trading in currencies other than dollars, the world will change dramatically. This could happen much faster than people think.
The ‘ultimate other’
Note that it was not until ISIS threatened Iraqi/Kurdish oil supplies did the U.S. decide it might be time to do something about them. One should wonder how and why the group was set up and thrived in the first place.
Whatever the setup, ISIS has proven to be the best ‘other’ created by the enduring conditions of war throughout the Middle east. It has been demonstrably inhumane in its actions, and that becomes the great moral compass to persuade the voting masses of our countries that they need to fear them and thus fight them.
This is a war without compass, other than the artificially created one of terrorism, of the created fear factor in the ‘homeland’, supported under the rhetoric of atrocities and the fight for freedom and democracy, masking the underlying motives of controlling the oily US$ reserve status for the corporate elites, and to create a politically smaller and weakened Arab world that serves Israel’s best interests.
The roots of ISIS
Ever since Justin Trudeau mentioned something about looking at the “roots” of the problems in the Middle East, the Conservatives have gratuitously thrown the word into their talking points. What little reference they give it, the provide the wrong answer. The Conservatives see the roots as poverty and lack of ‘freedom.’ This sounds good but is not supported when one looks at global poverty statistics and where the terrorists generally originate.
It is western imperialism since the fall of the Ottoman empire that has created the disharmony and the conditions ripe for ‘terror’ to take hold. The UK was the first country to use chemical weapons in aerial bombing in 1923 - in Iraq. Churchill suggested that chemical weapons should be used "against recalcitrant Arabs as an experiment." He added "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes to spread a lively terror" in Iraq.
Churchill was perhaps the right man for the hour in World War II, but he was as racist and violent as British society in general can get.
After World War I and the Versailles Peace, Great Britain and France, hiding behind the secrecy of the Sykes-Picot agreement, divided the Middle East up into their own imperial holdings, setting artificial boundaries around a wide range of somewhat disparate peoples. The UK provided military support for its puppet regimes in the region, or used military force to control them.
Without getting into the detailed history, it is these forces of imperial drive, from the UK and France through to the United States and Israel, the occupations, the invasions, the huge double standards, that set the table for rebellions that have over time changed from local rebellions, into transnational insurgencies (al-Qaeda - itself created and supported by the U.S.) and into its more violent and extreme offshoot, ISIS.
It is neither religious extremism nor poverty that produces ‘terror’. It is the occupation and violence of the empires - in particular the U.S. and the U.K. - that leads people into resorting to ‘asymmetrical’ warfare and more violent means of obtaining their goals. This is combined with the current geopolitical mix of Sunni versus Shia, of Kurds versus Arabs and Turks, of Jews versus Muslims and Christians, to create the ongoing violence that seems at once purposeless yet somehow guided by an empirical and ideological path not readily visible.
Remember Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge?
The Vietnam war included a mass campaign of aerial carpet bombing in Cambodia, which Henry Kissinger described as hitting “everything that moves with everything that flies.”
The terror [from carpet bombing in Cambodia] was unimaginable. A former Khmer Rouge official described how the survivors “froze up and they would wander around mute for three or four days. Terrified and half-crazy, the people were ready to believe what they were told … That was what made it so easy for the Khmer Rouge to win the people over.”
What Nixon and Kissinger began, Pol Pot, their beneficiary, completed. Under their bombs, the Khmer Rouge grew to a formidable army of 200,000.
Between 1969 and 1973, U.S. bombers killed perhaps three-quarters of a million Cambodian peasants in an attempt to destroy North Vietnamese supply bases, many of which did not exist. During one six-month period in 1973, B-52s dropped more bombs on Cambodians, living mostly in straw huts, than were dropped on Japan during all of World War II, the equivalent of five Hiroshimas. Evidence from U.S. official documents, declassified in 1987, leaves no doubt that this US. terror was critical in Pol Pot's drive for power. https://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/190/39190.html
The U.S. backed Pol Pot covertly, using the Khmer Rouge as a means of attacking Vietnam.
Iraq suffered a similar bombing fate,
Bush and Blair blew all this [the secular non-radicalized Iraqi state] to bits. Iraq is now a nest of jihadism. Al-Qaeda — like Pol Pot’s “jihadists” — seized the opportunity provided by the onslaught of Shock and Awe and the civil war that followed.
ISIS is the progeny of those in Washington and London who, in destroying Iraq as both a state and a society, conspired to commit an epic crime against humanity. Like Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, ISIS are the mutations of a western state terror dispensed by a venal imperial elite undeterred by the consequences of actions taken at great remove in distance and culture. Their culpability is unmentionable in “our” societies.
Canada is setting its path into this mix on the side of the imperial forces, defining the ‘other’ as an evil that needs fighting. There is no game plan other than to sustain the mythology of this ‘other’ or perhaps later some ‘other’ new belligerent group - just as there was a previous belligerent ‘other’, al-Qaeda - in order to maintain the imperial hegemony over the region. It does not matter whether it is democratic or not, as long as the region is servile to the needs and wants of the empire.
The assumption of moral superiority under the governance of a racist empire when using aerial bombing - a technique that creates its own terror - is both absurd and dangerous. It does not win wars, nor hearts and minds. It does create breeding ground for some future ‘other’ terrorists. Unfortunately that is what the empire needs to maintain its ongoing wars of control - we are fully complicit in the U.S. empire of terror.