by Zafar Bangash (Reflections, Crescent International Vol. 35, No. 11, Dhu al-Hijjah, 1427)
America’s defeat in Iraq is resulting in unforeseen consequences that will affect global politics in profound ways. Virtual civil wars have erupted both in Washington and in Riyadh among the hordes of Saudi “royals”. Fought only rhetorically, the war in Washington is more serious as it involves two powerful groups within the establishment: the oil lobby and the zionist lobby. Having wielded considerable influence for several decades, the zionist lobby took effective control of US foreign policy when George W. Bush became president in 2000. There were also other players who backed the zionists’ aggressive policy prescriptions—Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice—but the fact that its intellectual underpinnings were provided by the zionists gave them almost total control. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed were their pet projects, and part of their plan for world domination.
The oil lobby’s spokesperson is James Baker. He is a close confidant of the Bush family and a Texan wheeler-dealer who was instrumental in securing the presidency for Bush in 2000 through a legal coup, when Bush failed to garner the requisite votes to enter the White House. Baker is thus no ordinary American; he is the quintessential establishment insider. As co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, he has outlined a strategy for the US’s exit from Iraq because the establishment realizes that the war in Iraq is lost. Despite talk of sending more US troops to Iraq, ostensibly to lay the groundwork for a final withdrawal, this is a non-starter as there is no equipment to arm them. Besides, Baker cannot be dismissed so easily. He has enormous influence with several important groups, and he can make life very difficult for Bush and the Republican Party if his prescriptions are not followed.
The question we must ask is why Baker is so adamant about changing course in Iraq, and indeed the entire Middle East, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? Baker has crossed some zionist red lines; he has stated bluntly that the root of all problems in theMiddle East is the issue of Palestine and that Washington must pressure Israel to find a solution. He has also broached another subject declared taboo by the zionists: the US’s dealings with Iran and Syria. It was the Canadian-born neocon David Frumm who coined the phrase “axis of evil” for Bush’s State of the Union speech in January 2002, bracketing Iraq, Iran, Syria and North Korea. This was part of the neocon-zionist agenda to target Iran. Nobody had imagined at the time that five years later the US would be facing disaster in Iraq. Worse still, the US has lost much of the influence in the Middle East that successive US administrations had carefully nurtured over 60 years. Thanks to Bush’s stupidity and the zionists’ adventurism, all that lies in rubble now. But the Texasoilmen—Baker and his colleagues—are not going to allow their interests to be sacrificed to advance the zionist agenda. In 1991, Baker told Israel that Washington would deduct whatever money Tel Aviv spent on Jewish settlements from aid given by the US; and he followed through with this threat. The Iraq Study Group’s real intent must be seen in this light. Baker has made clear he will not take no for an answer. He has let it be known that the recommendations of his study must be accepted in full. “This is not a fruit salad that you can pick and choose from,” he told Bush pointedly.
The zionist lobby has been challenged from another quarter as well. In his latest book, Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, former president Jimmy Carter denounced Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Despite the zionists’ hysterical denunciations, and the fact that many Democrats have distanced themselves from him, Carter has stuck to his guns. Such criticism of Israel is unprecedented in theUS, where politicians recoil at the thought of offending the mighty zionist lobby. Carter has felt able to break this taboo as he does not plan to run for office again; he is considered an elder statesman of Democratic politics. As a result, for the first time in UShistory, the Israeli lobby finds itself confronted by two powerful segments of the establishment that regard Israeli policies as inimical to US interests. Jewish writers, such as Norman Finkelstein of New York State University, have predicted that if the USestablishment ever considered Israeli policies to be damaging its interests, Israel would be abandoned immediately.
Coupled with economic difficulties because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and Bush’s tax-breaks for the rich, the prognosis forAmerica’s future is bleak. With the military stretched to breaking-point and no money left to finance additional wars, the US is vulnerable today. Wars are a systemic need of the American establishment to sustain the illusion that the US is “making progress”. This myth is no longer sustainable. The civil war in the US political establishment caused by its defeat in Iraq should hasten the day when the world will finally be rid of the menace of this rogue superpower.