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Iraq: A surreal consensus on withdrawal

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Pax Amercana vs offshore balancing


Whose 'mission accomplished'?
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The latest jargon justifying imperialism, as if straight from the business page contrasts Pax Americana, where if they behave well, clients become more prosperous and more democratic. If that fails but you have a few reliable regional partners, there is an offshore balancing system, where the empire's quislings bear the primary responsibility for dealing with crises on the ground, and US military strategy is oriented toward policing the seas and skies. Nothing new except the name. The British were masters of 'offshore balancing'.

Since the Cold War, and especially since 1991, the Pax Americana idea has predominated. But in the Middle East, Dohat lectures, there has been no real evolution toward democracy among our network of allies; instead, their persistent corruption has fed terrorism and contributed to al-Qaeda's rise. All is the fault of the stupid, greedy towel heads. Apparently Bin Laden can't see the difference between local and foreign greedy bastards.

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Hence the Bush administration's post-9/11 decision to try to "start afresh, by transforming a rogue state into a regional model", a foundation for a new American-led order that would be "less morally compromised than the old". That order did not, of course, emerge. Instead, the obliteration of Iraq destroyed the only vaguely functional regime in the Middle East, killing 100,000s of innocent Iraqis (who knows how many? According to the invader chief, General Tommy Franks, "We don't do body counts).

A "different bad actor", Iran, ended up empowered, which in a sense led to the Arab Spring and the civil wars that followed. Iran is the only Muslim country that has successfully resisted imperialism, and as such was an inspiration to Muslims both Shia and Sunni.

Withdrawal from Iraq and a " light-footprint approach to counterterrorism", the "strange dance with Bashar al-Assad", "limited intervention against ISIS" all aim at a more "offshore" approach to the Middle East's problems according to the shamelessly sycophantic guru of US atrocities Dohat. Likewise, the long-sought detente with Iran, which Dohat vainly hopes will push Tehran to join Riyadh, Cairo and Tel Aviv in a "multipolar order".

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The US 'matures'

The US has been shaping imperialism--the Great Games--even before the eclipse of the British Empire as a result of WWI. The US was a junior player, but admired as the up-and-comer by Kipling, who wrote his most famous paean to imperialism "the white man's burden" not in reference to the genocidal Boer War, but to the US war against the Philippines, where 10,000 of rebels had just defeated the Spanish in a war of independence and were duly dispatched by US forces, gunned down by nifty new machine guns.

Kipling justified the US slaughter as a noble enterprise: Go bind your sons to exile To serve your captives' need;... [in] The savage wars of peace. (first published in McClure 1899) The real US policy was the Monroe Doctrine (1823), promoting the idea of national and continental self-sufficiency and the drive for hegemony by the dominant power as much for supremacy as for economic interest. Poor Mexico, poor Cuba " but poor Philippines?

Apparently the conflicts over the years have had nothing to do with US aggression, despite the fact that the venerable FDR--icon of the liberals--created the Saudi monster in the 1930s (and had assassinated more than one Latin American leader), proto-Israel plotted brilliantly from the 1930s

Can I go home?
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for ethnic cleansing and just plain murder of the natives in the Zionist zeal to create a Disney 'Holy Land' (what must God be thinking). ISIS is not a result of the Bushes obliterating Iraq, but an age-old grudge match between Sunni and Shia.

Islamic politics

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Meanwhile, the local Muslims have been praying devoutly five times a day, celebrating the grueling Ramadan fast, but increasingly worried about the schemes plotted against their lands, which raised the alarm of jihad.

The first instance of the root word j-h-d in the Quran is: "Therefore do not obey the negators, but strive against them with the Quran. (25:52) The only clear call to armed jihad in the Quran is when you are directly attacked: it then is an 'individual duty' (fard ayn) to fight to defend yourself and your community. "To those against whom war is made, permission is given to fight, and ... [to] those who have been expelled from their homes in defiance of right for no cause except that they say: 'Our Lord is Allah!'" (22:39--40)

The wars against Israel in 1948 and 1973 were fard kifayah, which the community as a whole was pressed to support, announced by the Muslim leaders (in lieu of the absent Caliph). But the organizer of the boycott, Saudi King Faisal (the only Saudi monarch deserving respect), was abandoned by his Arab allies and assassinated in 1975 by his half-brother's son, Faisal bin Musaid, who had just come back from studies in the US. He was replaced by the more compliant King Fahd, who went as far as accepting a permanent US military presence on Saudi territory.

The disillusion from these intrigues and wars grated on all Muslims, who came to the logical conclusion that their Muslim rulers were serving imperialism and Israel, not Islam, The result was an underground fard ayn, relying on the Quran, but without clear authority. Self-styled theorists like Qutb and Osama Bin Laden, brilliant and charismatic scholar/activists, considered ways to fight the kufar, so insolently lording it over the ummah, forcing its degenerate culture on their children, educating its scholars in American secularism, filling its airwaves with pornography, violence, and even ridicule of the Prophet Muhammad.

Islam looks for ways of diffusing conflict even when neither side is 'correct', a timeless truth which the Dohats are unable to fathom. Political power is central to Islam; you can't relieve oppression/ injustice if you are weak.

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http://ericwalberg.com/
Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games" and "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" are available at (more...)
 

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