Table of Contents
The American Lofty Project for the Middle East
The Neoconservatives’ View
Neoconservatives Plan for the Region’s Future
Another Conspiracy Theory? Does it Matter?
Failure of Democratization
How Does ISIL feature in all this?
US Record on Interventions Abroad
The Mirage of the Arab Spring
Abstract: The supercilious idea of the United States that, by toppling Saddam Hussein, can rapidly democratize Iraq and unleash a democratic tsunami in the Middle East, has metamorphosed into an apocalypse that swept the core nations of the region. Chaos and destruction became the “manifest destiny” of these peoples and democracy became a dangerous fantasy. The U.S. record of building democracy after invading other countries is mixed at best and the Bush administration’s commitment to state-building efforts in Iraq is doubtful. The United States have failed at developing democracy in the Middle East – which has led to increased instability and anarchy – because U.S. foreign policy has misunderstood the formula for building democracy in the region. The United States is just the latest Western nation to fail in the Middle East. The repercussions of a miscalculated intervention in Iraq were likely to complicate the spread of democracy in the Middle East rather than to promote it. Instead of developing democratic governments in the region the US intervention paved the way for the emergence of more oppressive radical groups that hijacked the reins of power from the legitimate governments and anguished peoples’ lives through acts of terror and bullying. The new paradox that Bush’s neoconservative government created in Iraq and the Middle East has turned a lofty project of democratization into a disaster of destruction. While ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) has seized core leadership positions in Syria, Iraq and other places, it is putting in practice the larger tripartite plan of the disintegration of the Middle East . In the process of establishing the Islamic Caliphate, ISIL is sowing the seeds of its own destruction as the U.S. contemplates increased military action in the Middle East, specifically authorization of military force in Syria. However, if the US desires to preserve American preferential treatment in the region it should reconsider the policies that created so much anarchy.
Key words: American foreign policy, neoconservatives, Middle East, democracy promotion, ISIL.
American claims of a special status as the sole guardian of the Western Hemisphere’s security - proclaimed earlier in the century by the Monroe Doctrine and subsequently justified by America’s alleged ‘manifest destiny’ - have now even been further enhanced by the American imperial stretch all over the world. The US global war on terror and its coercive domination over the oil-rich countries of the Middle East have disseminated images of bloodshed and disarray. Since the attacks of 9/11 the United States have begun an idealist mission of democratizing the Middle East countries which are supposed to harbor and support terrorism to drain the swamp of radical backup in what was dubbed the Global war on terror. However, by the end of this mission it seems that the US has been paradoxically entangled in another war against ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant).
Despite a plethora of justifications, America had been behind the creation of ISIL. Fairly speaking, it is America who set the stage for the Islamic State’s development in its present picture and escalation to power in both Syria and Iraq. The destabilization of the region provided a fertile battleground for illegal, radicalized, and fraudulent groups to mushroom in such a quagmire. The war on terror and its subsequent war on Iraq had unleashed plenty of brutality with violent warring militias appearing from nowhere. In this process, the U.S. effectively dismantled and destroyed state power in each of the three main countries in which it intervened, while ensuring the destabilization of neighboring countries and finally the region itself.
By drawing Parallels between the conflict areas where ISIL is expanding (be it in Iraq, Syria or Libya; Yemen or sub-Saharan Africa), the systematic and strategic dispatch of the group’s fighters reveals that they are the same places where the US and its Western allies had managed to have a foothold in a way or another in the name of freedom and human rights. The U.S. invasion set off the Sunni-Shia conflict in Iraq, and out of that came ISIL. In Libya, where the U.S. and NATO initially had a mandate to stop a potential massacre in Benghazi (A military intervention was contemplated by US NATO forces1 under a “humanitarian mandate”), right away helped topple Gaddafi and instigated sectarian violence that involves ISIL2. In Syria, Prior to Bush’s invasion of Iraq and because of El Assad’s strategic calculations, there was no apparent discord between the Shia and Sunni factions. Imbalance in power representation in Iraq as a result of American support for Iraqi Shia and their campaign of terror against Iraqi Sunnis drove them into Syria and inflicted disaccord.
Historically, the U.S. has attempted to generate change in foreign countries by exporting liberal democratic institutions through military occupation and reconstruction. However, history bears witness that despite its efforts, the record of US-led reconstructions has been mixed, at best. In the aftermath of September 11, therefore, the Bush administration insisted that the exceptional nature of the USA had not changed. Indeed, President Bush merged a Christian world-view with the rhetoric of democracy promotion to create a new exclusive strain of US exceptionalism imbued with a fundamentalist moral purpose. President Bush promised ‘to whip’ terrorism and confidently predicted that the USA would ‘lead the world to victory’ in the new war on terror. He said the new war against terrorism ‘is the calling of the USA, the most free nation in the world’.3
The process of liberation and nation-building in Iraq opened a Pandora’s Box. It eventually evoked a hell of violence and revealed mischievous planning. The Bush government was accused of ‘incompetence and lack of foresight’4 that gave rise to the Islamic State, and plenty of criticism has come out from both the left and the right assailing President Obama for the wreckage of ISIL in the region. America’s entanglement in Iraq and later its forced withdrawal after brutally decimating the country, spawned ISIL and it was to President Obama to deal with the despicable legacy of Bush’s Iraq war. The new paradox that Bush’s neoconservative government created in Iraq and the Middle East has turned a lofty project of democratization into a disaster of destruction. As the U.S. contemplates increased military action in the Middle East, specifically authorization of military force in Syria, the U.S. needs to consider the path that created so much anarchy instead. The U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the American military occupation there represented only the latest stage of American militarism in the Middle East.
The American Lofty Project for the Middle East
The strategic and influential geopolitical location of the Middle East as a core component of the broader Western imperial cupidity yields more room for recurrent meddling in the affairs of the region. This huge region, historically caught up in volatile hatreds and situated within a powerful competing area, has been vulnerable to major conflicts: both as wars among nation-states and, more likely, as lingering ethnic and religious violence. Western actors such as the US and Britain have taken advantage of some opportunity to impose their will and political agendas on the people and their systems. Iraq is just one of many examples of the Anglo-American strategy of “divide and conquer” that swept the entire region following the 9/11 attacks and even long time before.
The areas extending from the Gulf of Guinea to the Caspian Sea going through the Persian Gulf have endless riches in hydrocarbons and had been the focus of competing interests for big powers. Zginiew Brzezinski5 and Bernard Lewis6 defined these areas as an “arc of crisis” because of the persistent attempts of neocolonial and imperial powers to put their hands on that wealth. Control of these areas have always constituted one of the major goals of these powers and required a redefinition of borders, States and political regimes using different tactics from World War I to the present. Recent attempts at this aim led George W. Bush to put the adequate approach by baptizing it a “remodeling of the Greater Middle East.”
One of the persistent problems in the contemporary Middle East is the undemocratic nature of its regimes. The lack of genuine democracy which U.S. and British foreign policies has actually been deliberately obstructing for so long put the region into the eye of the storm since most the Arab and Middle Eastern regimes have not been part of the second wave of democratization. Ironically, Western-style “democracy” has been a requirement only for those Middle Eastern states which do not conform to Washington’s political demands. Additionally, the United States has deliberately blocked or displaced genuine democratic movements in the Middle East from Iran to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey, the Arab emirates, and Jordan where the Anglo-American alliance supports military despots, absolutists, and dictators in many ways. The US has exclusively used the rhetoric of democracy and human rights as a pretext for altercation with unfriendly regimes only.
For decades, Washington’s Middle Eastern policies consisted of backing authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, opting for political stability over pushing for democratic alternatives and reforms. Such political conditions were imposed and patronized by Washington to guarantee US geopolitical supremacy and to preserve Tel Aviv’s security and hegemony, as well as supporting regimes in the oil-rich Gulf countries in order to maintain the regular flow of oil to the West and guarantee their peoples allegiance. The United States have always been keen on regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan because they are firmly aligned with the Anglo-American political design.
By June 2006, the project for a “New Middle East” was launched to the world from Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in tandem with Israeli Prime Minister as a revised version of the older more imposing project - the “Greater Middle East.”7 The announcement of the plan had a connotative aim as it coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean.8 With the control of the Eastern Mediterranean coastline, the western economic globalists will be able to expand the oil terminal outlet in Ceyhan, Turkey down the coastline to Israel and secure Israel’s position into the global energy community. Is it any wonder that it was announced in the Jerusalem Post on January 23, 2006, that the National Security Council was completing a “position paper that will include guidelines and a strategy for turning Israel into a full-fledged member of NATO?”9
The conception of the “New Middle East,” project was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American-sponsored Israeli assault on Lebanon. This announcement, as it were, was a confirmation of the tripartite “military roadmap” in the Middle East. The project, which has been in concoction for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, with possible extension to central Asia.10 The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that the Israeli aggression against Lebanon (as a show of force) would be the pressure point for intimidating the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.”
This “‘constructive chaos’ - which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region - would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives” Nazemroaya explained11. Secretary Condoleezza Rice boasted her intents during a press conference: “I have no interest in diplomacy for the sake of returning Lebanon and Israel to the status quo ante… What we’re seeing here [the Israeli aggression on Lebanon], in a sense, is the growing - the ‘birth pangs’ - of a ‘New Middle East’. And whatever we do, we have to be certain that we are pushing forward to the New Middle East, not going back to the old one.”12 Yet, Rice was immediately criticized for her indifference to the suffering of an entire nation being bombed indiscriminately by the Israeli Haganah.13
Since the 9/11 attacks of 2001, U.S. policy has emanated from its global war to counter terrorist threats by working to “strengthen alliances to defeat global terrorism and work to prevent attacks against us and our friends”.14 The U.S. has developed a network of diplomatic relations with all countries in the Middle East except probably for Iran. In the aftermath of the events of September 11, ‘terrorism’ has become a major threat to security in the Middle East and the main focus of US policy-makers. Consequently, the US so far has led a policy of ‘confronting the symptoms rather than the cause’ (Zunes 2002 237) relying on its military might as the only hegemon at the detriment of the socio-economic situation of the peoples of that particular region. Yet, the U.S. government prioritized the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict and limiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction among regional states. So U.S. interests in the Middle East transcend shortsighted objectives of peace and stability.
Some in Washington and Tel Aviv were rejoicing about the military operations taking place in the Middle East. Depending on the expression of Condoleezza Rice, the pains of Lebanon would be “the birth pangs of a New Middle East”. But what kind of Middle East should it be an eastern Middle East or a western one? For the theoreticians of a “constructive chaos”, blood must be shed in order to bring about a new order in that region rich in hydrocarbons and history. Planned a long time ago, the Tsahal15 offensive against Lebanon was supervised out of the United States Defense Department.16
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s speech on the “New Middle East” had set the stage. The Israeli attacks on Lebanon – which had been fully endorsed by Washington and London – have further compromised and validated the existence of the geo-strategic intentions of the United States, Britain, and Israel. According to Professor Mark Levine the “neo-liberal globalizers and neo-conservatives, and ultimately the Bush Administration, would latch on to creative destruction as a way of describing the process by which they hoped to create their new world orders,” and that “creative destruction [in] the United States was, in the words of neo-conservative philosopher and Bush adviser Michael Ledeen, ‘an awesome revolutionary force’ for (…) creative destruction…”17 Anglo-American forces occupied Iraq and made of Iraqi Kurdistan , for purposeful reasons, the introductory ground for the balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification) of the Middle East. Already under the newly conceived legislative framework, Iraqi federalization suggested the partition of Iraq into three portions Sunni, Shia and Kurdish Free States.18
The Neoconservatives’ View
Understanding the ongoing process of destabilization and political fragmentation of Iraq, Syria and Yemen (other states have already undergone such process) depends greatly on the outcome of analyzing the US neoconservative foreign policy toward the region. Probably, the United States has a two-fold center of attention in the region: security strategic interests and moral humanitarian and existential interests. The three strategic interests revolve around basically keeping the steady flow of oil and gas from the region to world markets; secondly, minimizing the danger of anti-American terrorism and restrain Islamic fundamentalism; and thirdly, inhibiting the spread of weapons of mass destruction especially with Iran.
While the two moral interests involve the promotion of democracy rule and helping ensure Israel’s survival as America’s protégée, the latter (strategic and moral) hidden objective relates to the Yinon Plan19 which was conceived to ensure Israeli regional superiority through the balkanization of the Middle Eastern and Arab states into smaller and weaker states. Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. However, following a decade-long embargo, Iraq lost much of its strength and unity and became an easy prey for foreign intervention.20 This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. On the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims.
Neoconservatives strongly advocated the American idealist notion that western democracy should be spread all over the world and specifically to the Middle East region. Therefore, Charles Krauthammer advanced the idea that the promotion of democracy should become the cornerstone of US foreign policy (Krauthammer 1990). In conceiving this goal, neoconservatives committed themselves to promoting democracy globally, as “the heirs of Wilsonian liberalism” (Williams & Schmidt, 2007). Consequently, as a first step in the democratization of the entire Middle East the invasion of Iraq was set as an exemplar. Washington argued that democracy was the solution for all problems in the Arab world, namely Islamic fundamentalism which threatens American and Israel’s strategic interests.
Following the 9/11attacks, one of the main rationales for the Iraq war was that by overthrowing Saddam Hussein, democracy would be promoted in Iraq and the whole Middle East. Concurrently, many U.S officials and intellectuals pointed to the issue of the absence of US democracy planning in the Middle East. They highlighted the need for legitimate democratic institutions as means to fight terrorism and promote stability in this part of the world (Rice 2011, Dermer & Sharansky 2004). Hence, Washington adopted a new diplomatic approach that underlined the need for democratic openings and reform in order to undermine terrorism, and the invasion of Iraq initiated the administration’s new Middle Eastern plans (Ignatius 2008).
Likewise, the Bush administration advocated a global interventionist foreign policy based on unilateral action. Natan Sharansky and Ron Dermer (2004) argued that coercive regime change in the Middle East is a morally legitimate objective and strategically sound for the enhancement of stability. Sharansky believes that peace in the Middle East is impossible without the spread of democracy, and consequently the West should use its power to encourage the development of democracy rather than seek Oslo-style accords. The democratization project was vital for America’s grand strategy of economic and political expansion globally. Many intellectuals such as Jervis (2003), Sniegoski (2008), Ashkar &Chomsky (2007) argue that the administration’s policy in the wake of the attacks can only be explained by its ambitious hegemonic yearning. For instance, Michael Klare claims that to safely extract oil and in order to ensure the preservation of US hegemony in the Persian Gulf, the US had to develop a plan, months before 9/11, which put the removal of Saddam Hussein and the need for a military presence in Iraq as a top priority for the Bush administration (2004).
1 Michel Chossudovsky, “Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup d’Etat in Libya?” Global Research, March 07, 2011. http://www.globalresearch.ca/insurrection-and-military-intervention-the-us-nato-attempted-coup-d-etat-in-libya/23548
2 The real objective of “Operation Libya” is not to establish democracy but to take possession of Libya’s oil reserves, destabilize the National Oil Corporation (NOC) and eventually privatize the country’s oil industry, namely transfer the control and ownership of Libya’s oil wealth into foreign hands. An invasion of Libya under a humanitarian mandate would serve the same corporate interests as the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq. Michel Chossudovsky, “Insurrection and Military Intervention: The US-NATO Attempted Coup D’état in Libya?” Global Research, March 07, 2011. http://www.globalresearch.ca/insurrection-and-military-intervention-the-us-nato-attempted-coup-d-etat-in-libya/23548. France (as the staunchest opponent to Iraq’s invasion) will be compensated for its share of oil in the gulf.
3 President George W Bush, BBC World TV News, 11 October 2001.
5 Arthur Lepic, “Zbigniew Brzezinski: The Empire’s Adviser, The Outrageous Strategy to Destroy Russia”, Voltaire Network | 22 October 2004. http://www.voltairenet.org/article30038.html
6 “The Arc of Crisis: The Grand Chessboard”, Conspiracy School. http://www.conspiracyschool.com/arc-crisis
7 After the Israeli war on Lebanon and the ousting of the former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, the two terms of “New Middle East” and “Greater Middle East” surfaced, as well as the “Creative Chaos” term. During that decade and since, President George W. Bush’s administration has been blamed for the instability in the region.
8 Read more about the pipeline spanning three countries from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean coast http://www.bp.com/en_az/caspian/operationsprojects/pipelines/btc.html
9 Robert Mock MD, “The Map of the ‘New Middle East’: Golden International’s Final Bid in its Triumphant Battle for World Domination, Daniel's Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat”, biblesearchers.com. January - February 2007. http://www.biblesearchers.com/prophecy/daniel/daniel8-14.shtml
10 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, “Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’”. Global Research, May 19, 2015.
11 Opt. Cit
12 Secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, special briefing on the travel to the Middle East and Europe of secretary Condoleezza rice (press conference, U.S. state department, Washington, D.C., July 21, 2006).
14 NSS 2002.
16 Thierry Meyssan, “Lebanon as a New Target: The Neo Conservatives and the Policies of Constructive Chaos”, Voltaire Network | Paris (France) | 27 July 2006 http://www.voltairenet.org/article142429.html
17 Mark Levine, “The New Creative Destruction,” Asia Times, august 22, 2006.
18 This is according to a map which was prepared by retired lieutenant-colonel Ralph Peters of the U.S. National War Academy. It was published in the armed forces journal in June 2006.
19 It refers to “Greater Israel” which consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates. http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815
20 It is important to remember that until the 2003 U.S. invasion and occupation, Iraq had maintained a longstanding history of secularism and a strong national identity among its Arab population despite its sectarian differences.