I’m sure you’ve heard the old axiom, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?” Well, that’s just been blown to bits by the Brits, who say they will not take sides with Syrian President Assad in his fight against the ISIS Army, even though there are now more than 191-thousand dead in that particular conflict and ISIS has spread out to threaten a much broader area than Syria proper.
Okay, so we are expected to hate Assad because he is alleged to have used chemical weapons. At the same time, we are now kinda-sorta allied with him, as, like it or not, we are all now fighting ISIS, which threatens to attack almost everyone in sight if they refuse to convert to their particular brand of (death is good) Islam.
So the enemy of my enemy is my friend, unless that person happens to be Bashar al-Assad? Even while ISIS decapitates American journalists?
It becomes really complicated when you consider that ISIS is being funded by wealthy Sunnis in Qatar, Kwait and perhaps Saudi Arabia, and that those countries are all alleged to be our allies in the Middle East. Not to mention our history with Kuwait, where we sent in our troops to drive Saddam from their oil fields in the first Gulf War. And now the Kuwaitis are funding our enemy ISIS? How’s the United States supposed to feel about that? We fought a war for these oil rich jokers and now they are funding our enemies?
Have we gotten hooked on a lost cause? Is it possible that we alone cannot save the world, and expecting us to do so is simply irrational? Is it possible the various conflicts of the Middle East can only be solved by those who live there and not by an invading or occupying force?
But back to our original (updated) premise of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend…..sometimes, but not always.”
It hasn’t always been this way. We sided with Osama bin-Laden, setting up camps to train his recruits and supplying him with weaponry in his fight against the Russians in Afghanistan. We also sided with Saddam Hussein, during the Iran-Iraq war. Where do you think Saddam got the chemical weapons he eventually used on some of his own people? The Washington Post reported in September of last year, ” As documented in 2002 by Washington Post reporter Michael Dobbs, the Reagan administration knew full well it was selling materials to Iraq that was being used for the manufacture of chemical weapons, and that Iraq was using such weapons, but U.S. officials were more concerned about whether Iran would win rather than how Iraq might eke out a victory.”
The United States supplies training, weapons, bandages and other assorted military equipment to freedom fighters or “nationalists” who are temporarily on our side and then turns around and buys a whole new cache of weaponry when we decide they are suddenly our latest enemy because they threaten the profits of big oil – or as our political pros like to say, our “economic interests overseas.” And we pay for it all as our military at times, appears to be little more than a mercenary force for the new corporatocracy.
Do you really need more convincing that oil was a prime motivator for the U.S. invasion of Iraq? As former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan writes in his memoirs, “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”
Then there is ISIS. A gathering storm which appears determined to eliminate anybody who disagrees with their twisted and barbaric ideology, leaving the thinking world no real option but to fight back.
Among the troubling issues in the ISIS battle, is the degree to which ISIS terrorists have been supplied by the United States. First, intentionally, when the U.S. sent arms to the rebel fighters opposing Syrian President Assad. Those rebel fighters presumably included Al Qaeda and their then affiliate, ISIS. You can be sure that possibility was known to U.S. operatives supplying the weapons. Beyond that, the U.S. unintentionally helped arm ISIS, after ISIS split from Al Qaeda and the ISIS Army obtained even more U.S. military equipment after marching into Iraq, defeating the Iraqi Army, and taking the gear it left behind.
We arm our friends. Our friends become our enemies, turning the weaponry we gave them, on us. It’s happened repeatedly in the Middle East.
Things are no less complex in the ongoing “war” between Israel and tiny Gaza, particularly when dealing with the question of whether American journalists will ever address the issue of whether Netanyahu and other Israelis on the right have any real desire to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Some argue their motive is to prolong the war until what’s left of Gaza has been laid to waste, all the Gazans leave, and Israel can then push it’s borders to the sea – all the while expanding the settlements on the West Bank, until the Palestinians have been driven from that piece of land as well.
It has been suggested that for these reasons, Netanyahu, is not eager to keep his people involved in the peace negotiations in Egypt, and that it is no coincidence that this latest attack on Gaza occurred only days after Gaza had agreed to join the Palestinian Authority on the West Bank in a new “unity government” for all Palestinians. It has been suggested that Netanyahu, might have been forced to drop the blockade of Gaza and negotiate a long-term peace, or, alternately, to give the appearance of having no interest in peace at all.
It can be charged that with the rocket fire from Hamas, Israel has no choice but to fight back. It can also be charged, that with their western-supplied military and “Iron Dome” defense, Israel is so vastly superior to Hamas, that it will be incumbent upon the well organized and overwhelmingly more powerful Israeli military to stand down, even if a rocket or two continues being fired from Gaza onto Israeli soil while the talks commence. It’s not like all the fighters in Gaza, are all that well organized, right? Or, Israel can withdraw from the negotiations every time some wild-eyed extremist fires a rocket, blame it on Hamas, and the fighting will continue forever. Or at least until Palestine, no longer exists.
There are surely those on both sides who find war preferable to peace because it supports a particular power base, and who will do what they must to prevent peace from happening. Again from the Washington Post, Ishaan Tharoor blogs that, ” Hamas is an institution whose raison d’etre is to resist Israeli occupation with the strength of arms. Every single time Israel has decided to “mow the grass” — as the chilling euphemism goes — in Gaza, Hamas’s main base of operations, it has hurt the militants, but the grass and weeds have always grown back.”
That being the case, is there any room at all for peace between Israel and the new “unity government” representing the Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank? Is that even a possibility? If not, and considering how superior the Israeli military is to the Palestinian’s relatively puny force, then what are we really talking about? Or not talking about? At least, not in the American media.
When and why did peace become so unpopular? Was it that night in 1980 when David Chapman shot John Lennon? Is that when we all decided we would no longer “give peace a chance?” Was it when George W. Bush declared himself to be our “wartime president,” naively committing to democratize all of the Middle East? Or is it because elected political leaders and tyrants alike have a much easier time acquiring and then holding power by selling war and the fear it generates?
If mindset matters, and you can be sure that it does, then perhaps we need to get back to thinking and talking about peace as opposed to what feels like an ongoing promotion of war? Regardless of what our children are being taught through the media, war is not a good thing, it’s bad. We need to get back to seeing it as something we need to avoid rather than promote and celebrate. It’s something we can all do, and it is at the very least, a start.