Right to Intervene

The West led by the United States, has taken on itself the right to intervene in the affairs of others and, in the case of the Arab World, has created situations that justify subsequent military interventions which have had a high cost in both human and financial terms. It’s their divine right because ‘God is an American’. This rhetoric has been gaining currency worldwide since the days of Reagan. Not that Obama has reversed the trend. In truth for eight years President Obama has vowed to end the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but he has been dragged back by ever newer waves of fighting and by the weakness and corruption of the client regimes set up by his predecessor. As an alternative to ‘‘boots on the ground’’, he has ramped up the drone war that has hastened the distintegration of Yemen and destabilisation of Pakistan.

With every passing day the situation in the Middle East is becoming more complex than ever before, making it difficult for ordinary people to live in peace. Events across the region testify to the failure of America and its local lackeys to impose their wills. Whatever seeming alliances exist among various state actors and their regional allies, the incoherence among them is more significant. Thus the US works openly with Iranian supported Shia militias in fighting the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, takes a symbolic distance from Iran’s client Assad in Syria, and participates in the Saudi bombing campaign against the Houthi militia in Yemen that Iran sympathises with.

What does stand out in the last four years of US policy toward the Middle East is its consistently devastating role, from its support for Egypt’s military to its efforts to limit international support for Assad’s secular opponents.

Also, it turns out that Bush had an indirect responsibility for the creation of the notorious IS—Islamic State.

All this starts in Iraq. The first governor at the end of the US invasion was retired US Army Lieutenant-General Jay Garner who did not last very long because his ideas about how to reconstruct Iraq were considered too lenient. He was replaced by US diplomat Paul Bremer.

Bremer took two fateful decisions: to eliminate the Iraqi army, and to purge all those who were members of the Baath party from the administration, because they were connected to Saddam Hussein. This left thousands of disgruntled officers and a very inefficient administration.

The mind behind the creation of IS was a former Iraqi colonel from the secret services of the Iraqi Air Force, Samir Abed Al-Kliifawi.

The details of how he planned the takeover of a part of Iraq (and Syria), have been published by Der Spiegel, which came to have access to documents found after his death. They reveal an organisation which is externally fanatic but internally cold and calculating.

After the invasion of Iraq, he was imprisoned by the Americans, and there he connected with several other imprisoned Iraqi officers, all of them Sunnis, and started planning the creation of the Islamic State, which now has a number of former Iraqi army officers in its ranks. Without Bremer's fateful decision, Al-Kliifawi would probably have continued in the Iraqi army.

When the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) was rendered useless by the Cold War, and many saw its demise, it was given the war against Serbia as a new reason for existence, and the concept of the West, embodied in a military alliance, was kept alive.

According to a report by scholars with the "Costs of War" project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, the terrible cost of the Iraqi invasion had been 2.2 trillion dollars by 2013, not to speak of 190,000 deaths.

If one adds Afghanistan, one may reach the staggering amount of 4 trillion dollars—compared with the annual 6.4 trillion dollar total budget of all 28 members of the European Union—for "resolution" of the conflict.
In the case of Libya, under the prodding of France's Nicolas Sarkozy and the United Kingdom's David Cameron, both for electoral reasons, Europe entered with the aim of eliminating Muammar Gaddafi, then leaving the country to its destiny.

Now thousands of migrants are using Libya in the attempt to reach the shores of Europe and Cameron has decided to ignore any joint European action.

For some reason, Europe always follows the United States, without further thinking. The case of Ukraine is the last of those bouts of somnambulism. It has invited Ukraine to join the European Union and NATO, prodding a paranoiac Putin (with the nearly unanimous support of his people), to act to finally stop the ongoing encirclement of the former Soviet republic.

Saudi Arabia has already spent 87 billion dollars in promoting Wahhabism, has paid for the creation of 1,500 mosques, all staffed with Wahhabi imams, and continues to spend around three billion dollars a year to finance Jihadist groups in Syria, along with the other Gulf countries.

Meanwhile, thousands of refugees try crossing the Mediterranean every day (with the known number of deaths standing at over 20,000 people) to reach Europe, thus strengthening support for Europe's xenophobic parties which are exploiting popular fear and rejection though Europe needs at least an additional 120 million people to remain competitive in global market.

The transformation of the ‘‘mission accomplished’’ 2003 invasion of Iraq into a failed occupation is one aspect of the crumbling of the post-Cold War ‘‘new world order’’. But this decline of US power is hardly an unqualified victory for popular revolts, as it has led to dozens of sectarian conflicts and the rise of barbarous IS.

Vol. 47, No. 50, June 21 - 27, 2015