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Our Desert Dunkirk?

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Here's a brain twister for you. What do George W. Bush and Gavrilo Princip have in common?


They both started a world war; Princip when he assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria – starting WW I, and George W. by invading Iraq and starting World War III.

Oh yes, he did. And it's become perfectly clear to anyone who gets his or her news from more than one source. The only surprise in all this is that, those of us of a certain age lived most of our lives assuming that WW III would be a nuclear fight to the death between the capitalist west and communist block east.

Instead when WW III finally arrived it turned out being a low-tech, bloody, old-fashioned fight to the death between moderate Muslims thirsting for progress and fundamentalist Muslims determined to repeat the Inquisition and return to the middle ages.

Now in all fairness, George didn't create basis for this epic confrontation. It's been stewing at a slow-boil for centuries. All George did was turn it up to a full-boil. This month it boiled over, and there'll be no putting it back in the pot.

It's a shame that Americans are so provincial in their choice of news sources. Because proof that World War III has begun, and that it's about to consume the entire Muslim Middle East, is all over the foreign press.

Here's a sampler:

Hamas Seizes Base In Gaza -- Fatah Abandons Posts
JERUSALEM, June 14 -- Hamas gunmen wrested control of a key security base in Gaza City from the rival Fatah movement Thursday morning, further consolidating their hold over large swaths of the Gaza Strip. (Full)

Sunni mosques attacked after Shia shrine bombing
14 June 2007 -- BAGHDAD, Iraq - Three Sunni mosques were bombed in Iraq on Thursday in apparent reprisals for an attack on a revered Shia shrine, sparking fears of fresh sectarian bloodletting.
....Al Qaeda militants on Wednesday bombed the Al Askari mosque, but at least six Sunni mosques have been attacked, including one in the capital. The destruction of Samarra’s two gold-covered minarets came after an initial attack on the shrine in 2006, also blamed on Al Qaeda, sparked Sunni-Shia reprisals that have claimed tens of thousands of lives. (Full)

Gates: Iran leaders likely know of arms shipments
RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — Iran's government likely knows about the shipment of weapons from Iran to Taliban militants in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday. Gates said the volume of weapons shipments makes it "difficult to believe" they're coming from smugglers "or that it's taking place without the knowledge of the Iranian government." (Full)

Dramatic Taliban resurgence detailed
June 14, 2007 -- OTTAWA — An analysis of the situation in Afghanistan last fall prepared for top levels of the Canadian government warned that the country was becoming "two Afghanistans" with the situation in the fractious South and West continuing to deteriorate and the position of President Hamid Karzai "weakening to a new low." (Full)

Pro-Taliban militants taking over Tank
TANK AFGHANISTAN: Pro-Taliban militants have transformed the once-bustling community here into a city under siege. Following militant raids on government offices, business and a school, Tank’s streets and bazaars are largely empty. An opposition politician and tribal elder believes that one-third of the residents have fled the city. “The government has lost its writ in Tank,” said Sardar Ahmed Gul. “Every evening there is shooting and people cannot go out.” (Full)

Another day of mourning in Lebanon after another murder
14 June, 2007 -- Beirut - Tens of thousands of mourners marched in a funeral procession Thursday for a prominent anti-Syrian legislator killed by a car bomb in a new blow to the stability of Lebanon. The slaying was likely to further inflame Lebanon's bitter power struggle between Saniora's Western-backed government and its Syrian-backed opponents, led by the Hezbollah militant group. (Full)

Soldiers clash with militants in Lebanon
TRIPOLI, Lebanon: Lebanese tanks pounded an Islamic militant group's headquarters in a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli on Sunday after the northern city's worst fighting in two decades killed 22 soldiers and 17 militants. (Full)

Monitors find rampant fraud in Egypt election
CAIRO • An independent Egyptian monitoring group said yesterday that this week’s elections for the upper house of parliament were marred by widespread fraud and estimated voter turnout at just three per cent...Egypt’s ruling party won 69 out of 88 seats outright in Monday’s parliamentary election while the opposition (Islamic fundamentalists) Muslim Brotherhood got none... (Full)

Palestinian Ambassador in Egypt Asks Muslim Brotherhood To Intervene
On instructions from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Ambassador to Cairo Monther Al Dajani met with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt General Guide Muhammad Mahdi 'Akef at Muslim Brotherhood headquarters in Al-Manil and asked him to intervene to persuade Hamas to stop the internecine Palestinian fighting. 'Akef has agreed to the request. (Full)

Iran: Khatami flayed for shaking hands with women
TEHRAN • A hardline Iranian daily yesterday launched an attack on former reformist president Mohammad Khatami who it said had publicly shaken hands with women while on a visit to Italy last month..."Recently a video has been circulating on the Internet showing a former top official visiting Italy, shaking the hands with several women and young girls," said the Siasate Rouz daily, one of Iran's most ultra-conservative papers. "We do not want to publish the address of the Internet site where this film can be seen, in order to avoid propagating corruption in society," it added. (Full)

Iran: Five Soldiers Killed While Fighting Kurds
June 13, 2007: Five Iranian soldiers have been killed in fighting with Kurdish rebels in Northwest Iran, local Iranian papers reported June 13. Two soldiers were killed near the West Azerbaijan border town of Maku on June 10, another two in fighting on the road to the Kurdish city of Mahabad, and one was killed in a land mine explosion near Piranshar, close to Azerbaijan. The area has seen regular conflicts between Iranian security forces and the Pejak, a group linked to Turkish separatist group the Kurdistan Workers Party. (Full)

Get the picture? Pretty grim. This is how most great wars begin --long-simmering ethnic/religious hatreds are ignited by some fool playing with matches. And once ignited the resulting war consumes everything and anyone in it's path, until one side vanquishes the other or both sides collapse in physical and/or fiscal exhaustion.

The Muslim Middle East is just beginning that process. The smack-down pits radial Islam against moderate/progressive Islam. It's too soon to pick a likely winner, but we know who thefool with the matches was, own Hemorrhoid-in-Chief, George W. Bush. The events he sparked are now out of his hands, and everyone else's. The dogs of war are loose in the Muslim world. They've already tasted blood in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon and, as any livestock farmer knows, there are only two cures for such dogs -- old age or a bullet between the eyes.

What does the start of World War III in the Middle East mean to the US? Well, first it means we better figuring out fast how to live without oil from that part of the world. Because our traditional oil-buddy, the Saudi Arabia, is to the fundamentalist fighters what Berlin was to the Allies during WW II.

And it means we should start now getting our troops the hell out of there, before we they find themselves stuck in a desert version of Dunkirk.
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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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