The Iraqi quagmire:A Blessing for Israel [Archives:2004/750/Opinion]

June 28 2004

With the June 30 deadline approaching for the “handover” of Iraq to a provisional Iraqi Government, with the idea that Iraq is now regaining its sovereignty, albeit in US neo-con vocabulary or double-politic lingo, it might be worthwhile to look at the socio-economic arithmetic that has surfaced from the Iraqi mess. This would obviously entail a brief review of the winners and losers out of this predicament that is bound to have regional and international repercussions for some time to come.
In more ways than one, the observer is inclined to be lead to the conclusion that the ill conceived, poorly planned American misadventure in Iraq has so far shown more losers than winners amongst the various stakeholders, whether they are directly involved or simply part of the “collateral damage”. Even the Americans, who have been gulled to embark on a major escapade, of significant military engagement with poor assessment of risks and unclear perceptions as to the ramifications involved and the outcomes to be expected are not reaping noticeable gains, with a clear detraction of moral astuteness in the conduct of foreign policy never before known in the exercise of US foreign policy. For all intents and purposes, one is satisfied in assuming that there are still unclear rationales that seem to be of importance to those in the present US White House Administration, for going through such an immense effort to mislead even the American people themselves to such awesome commitments. We have yet to find comfort in any contentions by the sponsors of the Iraqi War and trying to look for answers in ideological persuasions is no less confusing. This tangent from responsible superpower behavior has yet to shed convincing light as to the “returns” hoped to realize from an American perspective, if we can rule out the few economic interests that will always thrive on a war setting, which in itself is simply not enough to be assumed as a logical justification for all this mayhem. With the American rationale for the war effort so fuzzy, one is tempted to seek some extraordinary forebodings that induced the United States to side track from the legitimate war on terror, which the whole world would have liked to take part in without hesitation, had the early momentum generated by 9/11 been fully taken advantage of.
It is no secret that up to now, the Israelis are the first to gain from the situation in Iraq, regardless of its short-term and long-term results for the major role player and they are not hesitating one bit on making sure that their gains are sustainable and extended. It is no secret that those leading personnel in the Bush Administration are staunch supporters for the Zionist state and it is surely to the credit of Israeli intelligence that much of the picture for the WMD rationale for the war is derived. The Israelis have more calculated reasons for enticing the present setting in the region. For one thing, the Israelis were troubled by the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the obviously effective influential role in the region Iran has wrested for itself. Israel regards Iran as its ideological anti-thesis. Thus, an American indefinite presence in Iraq would serve as relaxing buffer from any eminent direct threat from Iran. The Israelis have worked diligently in persuading the United States government and public of the “Islamic” threat to western civilizations, especially that coming from Iran. The strongly pro-Israel press in the United States spared no effort in constantly projecting a demonic posture for Iran, even though there is no real tangible evidence to support such an image, when recalling the rather sensible behavior that Iran has shown since the Khomeini Revolution removed the despotic regime of the Shah. Needless to say, the challenges overcome by the Revolutionary regime have even made Iran the more frightening to Israel and to even some of her fellow Moslem and Arab states. Thus, this factor is a strong possible rationale for believing that Israel was strongly involved in persuading the US to get bogged down in Iraq, as subtle as the effort may have been.
So, what is Israel making out of this adventure? Israel has been given a free hand in more ways than one to be present in the Iraqi theater. With sovereign decisions in the hands of the Americans now and for some time to come, the Israelis were quick to establish their presence. There are now over 250 Israeli firms with varying degrees of activity. Not surprisingly, many of these firms are owned or run by “former” Israeli officials, many of whom hail from the defense and security establishment in Israel. Needless to say, the Iraqis were not allowed to counter such an entry, since most Iraqis would obviously not be so enthusiastic about such an influx, especially as Iraq does not yet have any formal relations with Israel. Yet, the Americans in Iraq are persevering in imposing this open presence of the Israelis, without regards to the obvious unfavorable reactions of most Iraqis to this imposition of a country that has yet to prove its desire to live in mutual cohesion with the very people it has uprooted out of their land, let alone its neighbors. Moreover, the Israeli secret police is active throughout Iraq and are seeking to make ethnic integration impossible, with their active prodding of Kurdish nationalism. On the other hand, the recent troubles that Israel has caused for Turkey are indeed raising eyebrows among neighbors with whom Israel does enjoy some normalcy in relation. So when Turkey begins to make an issue of this meddling in Kurdish affairs, Turkey starts to witness a series of “bombings” that are of dubious backgrounds. The message is clear, Israel will insist on continuing to give everyone in the region a hard time, because, it first of all does not want to see countries like Turkey ever gain prominence in western eyes and second of all it can count on American cushioning to engage in any activities, open or clandestine that will serve its desire at monopolizing power in the region and dictating its will.
Of course, the biggest looser has been Iraq. For close to a year and a half, the Iraqis have watched helplessly as all semblances of normal secure lives is wrenched away from them without any apparent rest from the mayhem in the foreseeable future or even in the long run.