Divide and Conquer Implied in Proposed Map of the New Middle East
By Genevieve Cora Fraser
Al-Jazeerah, November 8, 2006
It was meant to be a joke and it got a big laugh from TV host Tavis Smiley when his guest, political pundit Andy Borowitz quipped, “George Bush plans to withdraw all his troops from Iraq – to Iran. That’s the plan – the exit strategy.”
But no one was laughing, least of all Turkish military officers, on September 15th when a map was presented at the NATO’s Defense College in Rome that included a reduced Turkish landmass. The new Middle East map prepared by retired US Col. Ralph Peters and published in the Armed Forces Journal in June featured a “Free Kurdistan” that included additional territory taken from Syria and Iraq. Indeed, Iraq was a fragment of its former self and had been carved up to also include Sunnis Iraq and the Arab Shia State.
Within the proposed new Middle East, Iran was also reduced, not only by Free Kurdistan, but by “Free Balochistan” which had also borrowed heavily from territory currently claimed by Afghanistan and Pakistan. Balochistan, which lies in the southwest corner of Pakistan, is the largest but least populated of the Pakistani regions. Lately the Chinese have invested heavily in the area by expanding the port city of Gwader. Natural gas, coal, copper and gold offer vast wealth and pipelines will be stretched from Iran to India through the province. Balochistan is also rich in opportunities for drug smugglers with its massive border alongside Afghanistan’s most frequented heroin routes. Some political pundits have labeled heroin as the new American Gold Standard – the only thing propping up the bankrupt American economy and the real reason we occupy Afghanistan. Yes, endless war is very expensive for taxpayers but the fat cat international banking and corporate interests in armaments and energy grow wealthier by the minute.
Of course, Pakistan itself was a creation of foreign intervention by the British in 1947. As the British Empire abandoned colonial rule in India they insisted it be broken in two – just as they helped to break Palestine up but in that instance to insert a population foreign to the region, citing religious claims of having occupied the region 2,000 years. The resulting boundary conflicts between India and Pakistan and Palestine and Israel have been a source of unending conflict. Do the Anglo-American and Israeli interests believe that a Free Kurdistan and Free Balochistan would be any different or do they feel establishing military bases there might be a boon for the local population and protect them? Both would be geopolitical assets to the West with their wealth of natural resources. Not only would the oil wells of Northern Iraq in Kirkuk be “freed” from Iraqi control but also the natural gas and oil supplies of Turkey. In addition, the Tigris and Euphrates is one of the most important river systems in the world, with headwaters in Eastern Turkey in the area proposed for a Free Kurdistan. Both rivers flow through portions of Syria and Iraq that would be lost to them if retired US Col. Peters and his backers have their way. Though the lower Mesopotamian section of the river basin would remain in the Arab Shia State, little would remain of the waters. But of course we are discussing hypotheticals.
The West’s latest plans to divide and conquer are very much in evidence if you look at the Iraq War not as a failure of the Neo-Conservative Israeli-First agenda, but as a somewhat qualified success. Much has been made of US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s underestimation of the number of troops needed to stabilize the country from backsliding into a civil war after Saddam’s defeat – and the dismissal of the generals who dared to point the error of his ways. And though there was a clash of Titans within the inner sanctum of the administration, I suspect the overriding strategic Neo Conservative goal was Civil War and the ultimate partitioning of Iraq into three sections. The added benefit, as seen from Neo Conservative and Israeli eyes, is further disintegration of the social and political fabric of the Middle Eastern region.
In the PBS FRONTLINE documentary, “The Lost Years in Iraq,” retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner spoke of his attempts to stabilize postwar Iraq as director of the Office for Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (OHRA) following the American invasion in March 2003. He and his office were replaced after only one month by L. Paul Bremer, III and the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
During an interview conducted on Aug. 11, 2006 by FRONTLINE, Garner stated, “I had lunch with one of the company managers. His company manager was getting ready to pull out of his location, which was in Najaf, and he said, ‘You know, sir, we’ve got a big problem here.’ I said, ‘Yeah, what is it?’ He said: ‘As we pull out, the real fundamental Shi’a are pulling right in behind us. I’m going to tell you, they’re Iranians. They’re not Iraqis; they’re Iranians. They’re filling up everything that has to (do) with quality of life. They’re taking over the schools; they’re taking over the medical facilities; they’re taking over the electricity; they’re taking over security; they’re taking over everything. Anything that controls the quality of life, they own as soon as we get out of here.’”
“I said, ‘Wow.’ So I had a State Department guy, very good Arabist named Mike Cathor, spoke incredible Arabic. He’s been studying the Middle East all his life. I said: ‘Mike, I want you to go down there and spend the day and walk around and talk to everybody. (Find out), is this really happening?’ So he came back that evening; he said: ‘Boy, it’s worse than he told you. We’re really being infiltrated by an Iranian-influenced Shi’a element that is controlling the quality of life.’
I called Rumsfeld that night and said: ‘Hey, we don’t need to do this. Here’s what’s happening.’ And I told him. And he said: ‘Oh. Well, that’s interesting. Thank you very much.’ Now, he never said he wasn’t going to stop it; he never said he was going to send more, anything like that. He just said, ‘Thank you very much.’”
L. Paul Bremer III served as the head of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq from May 2003 to June 2004, and is considered by some to be one of the world’s leading experts on crisis management, terrorism and homeland security. From 1989 to 2000, he was Managing Director of Kissinger Associates, a strategic consulting firm headed by former Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger. Bremer was approached by leading Neo Conservative Paul Wolfowitz, who at the time was deputy secretary of defense, and Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff now under indictment for obstruction of justice, to take on the Provisional Authority leadership position.
“I was deeply concerned about terrorism and homeland security and felt that it was important that we had defeated Saddam Hussein who, as far as we knew, was (the head of) a state which supported terrorism,” Bremer stated. One of the interesting points here is that it was clearly understood that Osama Bin Laden and his minions were not welcomed into Iraq by Saddam, however the terrorism Saddam did support was against Israel – to end the occupation of Palestine.
Bremer was in charge of the de-Baathification of Saddam’s regime which he now admits went too far. “The implementation is where I went wrong. I knew that we, the foreigners — whether it was Americans or British or Australians or Romanians or Poles — we were going to have a hard time making the kind of fine distinctions that de-Baathification policy required. Did (a person) join the party because he was a real believer, or did he join it because he wanted to be a teacher, and to be a teacher you had to join the party? I said: ‘We’re not going to be able to make those distinctions. I need to turn it over to Iraqis,’” Bremer commented to FRONTLINE.
“The mistake I made was turning it over to the Governing Council. I should have turned it over instead to a judicial body of some kind. The Governing Council, in turn, turned it over to Chalabi. I did not turn it over to Chalabi. It is true that once the Governing Council took it over, they started interpreting the policy, implementing the policy much more broadly, and we had to walk the cat back in the spring of 2004.” Bremer continued.
Bremer also chose to disband the Iraq army believing that “to recall the army would have been a clear signal to Iraqi people that while we got rid of one terrible man, Saddam Hussein, we were prepared to see the Sunni elite come back in the form of the officer corps.” However, many military people felt “this fundamentally cuts away the force that they were hoping to rely on.” Garner claimed that “he had a lot of guys lined up who were ready to come back to work on the 15th of May. … Bremer wouldn’t even listen to me about this; that this was really, of all the things, the most fundamental error the guy made during that time.”
In contrast, Bremer insists, “I think the decision not to recall Saddam’s army, from a political point of view, is the single most important, correct decision that we made in the 14 months we were there.” However, “the the interim constitution is the primary legacy of the CPA in Iraq,” Bremer claims. It was in this constitution that Bremer introduced the concept of three political parties representing three distinct groups – the Kurds, Sunnis and Shia – which still may serve as the blueprint for the ultimate outcome, the break-up of the country, despite the wishes of the average Iraqi.
Whether or not the Insurgency is led by Iran or by Iraquis themselves, it would appear the Anglo-Americans are on their way to counter Iran by force – or is it merely a training exercise as the American military would have us believe – to prepare for that day when Iran is capable of a nuclear attack. But is Iran’s claim to nuclear technology the real issuue? Might it instead be to manhandle Israel’s nemesis and prevoke a coup, and to get rid of Iran’s influence in Iraq? Whatever the motivations, according to a number of published reports the build-up of naval forces in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean is formidable.
As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya writing for Alarab states, “It must be noted that the Iranian Armed Forces are characterized by well structured military organization, with advanced military capabilities, when compared to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has been preparing for a scenario of war with the Anglo-American alliance for almost a decade. These preparations were stepped up following the NATO-U.S. led attack on Yugoslavia (1999).”
Meanwhile, “the types of military units and weapons systems being deployed in the Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea by the United States are considered to be best suited for combat against Iran, also with a view to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open for oil tankers. This also includes forces that would be able to secure bridgeheads on the Iranian coastline. These U.S. forces consist of early warning units, recognizance, amphibious elements, maritime search and rescue units, minesweepers, and rapid deployment units,” Nazemroaya reports.
According to Alarab and other sources, “The U.S.S. Enterprise, a U.S. Navy flagship is under deployment to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. This includes all the warships and vessels that compose Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) Destroyer Squadron 2 (DESRON 2), and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1). The stated objective for the deployment of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and other U.S. Navy vessels is to conduct naval security operations and aerial missions in the region. The deployment does not mention Iran, it is said to be part of the U.S.-led “War on Terror” under “Operation Enduring Freedom,” Nazemroaya reported.
“The Eisenhower Strike Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has also received orders to deploy to the Middle East. The strike group is led by the U.S.S. Eisenhower, another nuclear battleship. It includes a cruiser, a destroyer, a war frigate, a submarine escort, and U.S. Navy supply ships. One of these two naval strike groups will position itself in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea while the other naval strike group will position itself in the Persian Gulf, both off the Iranian coast.” According to the Alarab report,
Canada is also contributing to the American-led naval build-up in the Persian Gulf as well as NATO forces stationed in Lebanon and around the region.
As Henry Kissinger sardonically stated in reference to the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s that resulted in one million casualties, “Our policy was to get them to kill each other.” I suspect the same American policy applies today, and true to form Anglo-American forces, Israel and their other allies will be around to help get things started.