Saturday 22 April 2017

Why should Great Britain or America fight for the Sunnis?


Obviously, the USA and UK should never have invaded Iraq. They should have launched a short punitive expedition into Afghanistan in 2001, restored the monarchy and then allowed the Taliban to come back. Nation-building was always (a liberal) folly: Afghanistan and Iraq were not post-war Germany, as should have been clear.

But having broken it, as Colin Powell warned, the USA bought Iraq. Leaving it alone led to ISIS. So what is the solution?

I don't know. Unfortunately, the USA may now back the Israeli-Saudi-Sunni alliance against the Shia crescent (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah). I hope Mr. Trump resists this temptation.

Almost all the terrorist atrocities against Western Europe and the USA are committed by Sunnis, yet we are constantly told that Iran, which is fighting ISIS and Al Qaeda, is the great threat. Why? 

Because Iran is a great threat to Israel?

I have no animus against Israel but don't want the UK to fight wars for Israel. Israel is not our business. I don't see why it's the US's but I get it that the US must be loyal to allies like Israel and the monstrous Saudi monarchy.

The Saudis created IS to fight the Shias in Iraq and Syria. Al Qaeda, who fight with the Syrian "moderate" rebels whom the Anglo-American back, is a criminal organisation created and financed by Saudis.

We are told "Iran finances terrorism in the Gulf, Syria, and Lebanon" – though the same could be said of the Saudis. And Syria is a war zone where the Iranians are on the government side, so terrorism is not the mot juste there. 

Iran considers herself at war with Israel and is the reason why the Assad regime did not collapse five years ago. A Syrian Christian friend says that 'Iran is the devil'. Still, Iranians do not plant bombs or mow people down in trucks in Europe. I know they bombed Buenos Aires, but that was 25 years ago.

I fear Trump will turn out to be a traditional Republican with a traditional American foreign policy. I hope I am wrong and bombing Syria was merely a deserved punishment for using chemical weapons. 

I hope very much that the US does not start fighting the Assad-Iran axis. I certainly hope that Great Britain, or England as she used to be called, does not take part on the American side.

How paradoxical that, long before Obama's Iranian detente, George W. Bush overthrew Iran's two great enemies, Saddam and the Taliban, and gave Iraq to the Shias, while proclaiming that Iran was part of the Axis of Evil. Having done so much to aid the horrible Iranian regime it seems rather illogical not to try to rub along with the mullahs if possible.

Yet, in an article headlined How Trump Can Help Cripple the Iranian Regime in the Washington Post, neo-cons Reuel Gerecht and Ray Takeyh depressingly claim that
a consensus has developed in Washington for some“push back” against the Islamic Republic of Iran
and argue for committing American ground troops to fight Iran in Iraq and Syria:
It is way past time for Washington to stoke the volcano under Tehran and to challenge the regime on the limes of its Shiite empire. This will be costly and will entail the use of more American troops in both Syria and Iraq. But if we don’t do this, we will not see an end to the sectarian warfare that nurtures jihadists. We will be counting down the clock on the nuclear accord, waiting for advanced centrifuges to come on line. As with the Soviet Union vs. Ronald Reagan, to confront American resolution, the mullahs will have to pour money into their foreign ventures or suffer humiliating retreat.
And today the Times [what Americans quaintly call the London Times] reports that Mr. Trump has been told 20,000 troops are needed to beat the Taliban, a war that he rightly said last year was unwinnable.

The truth is that Russia and China, which both have very large Sunni Muslim minorities, are very scared of and want to defeat Sunni jihadism. This threat was vastly increased by George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq and, to some extent, by Mr Obama calling for regime change in Syria. 

Neocons like Reuel Gerecht and Ray Takeyh persuaded the US Government to make these mistakes. Do these people never tire of trying to squander lives pointlessly?

The answer to that, of course, is no. More importantly, will Donald Trump be true to his instincts and his words in the campaign about America First or will he be turned?

At this point a very traditional pro-Sunni, anti-Iranian foreign policy is emerging.

Donald Trump has announced a review of the Iran nuclear deal.

On Wednesday James Mattis said, speaking of Yemen

We will have to overcome Iran’s efforts to destabilize yet another country and create another militia in their image of Lebanese Hezbollah.
Yet it is arguably the Saudis who are destabilising Yemen.

On the same day, Rex Tillerson said Iran has

“the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and to take the world along with it.”


  1. You're honing this down to a perfection, where even your punctuation marks are morally and intellectually wrong, Paul. It's impressive. One can simply wait for a pronouncement from you on this subject, then invert it. Simon Jenkins must be jealous, he is only this wrong 75% of the time.

    Peter Risdon

  2. Let them fight their own battles.Interfering in every conflict is not necessary.

  3. I think Bush's intention (or that of his masters) was to quickly take over Iraq, get a foothold there and house troops, and contain (or invade) Iran. Allied with the Gulf States, Georgia, and with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Americans had Iran surrounded. Unfortunately for them, they got bogged down in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the Sunni resistance inadvertently saving Iran from invasion. I don't know what the end game was supposed to be.

    1. There were lots of possible reasons - in the end people couldn't remember what they were but it had a momentum. Those kind of Republicans should be swept into the sea - which they were last year.

  4. My thoughts as well. I felt the nation building aspect of the aftermath of 9/11 was highly suspect. The press was gushing over how foolish the Soviets had been in Afghanistan by not doing so and Bush has always had a Baptist evangelical aspect to his character, post recovery from alcoholism. A devastating punitive attack on the Taliban would have been the logical response to their support of Osama bin Laden — followed by withdrawal and possible future responses. Of course Clinton's missile attacks on his camp were an equal absurdity. Trump's administration is shaping into the standard model. His political base has been rattled, so he seeks support where he can find it. He now has AIPAC, and even Alan Dershowitz, firmly in his court. I regret that Rand Paul was not elected. He had the only sensible world view.