My All Hell Breaks Loose in the Middle East provides (I think) a certain strategic perspective on the Mideast crisis/war. More specifically, I see it as a direct consequences of the failure of the Bush/neocon project in the Middle East. Some interesting updates: The Iraqi PM leading the Shiite-led government in Baghdad has defended Hizbollah and conemned Israel. Waiting to see how Kristol, Brooks, etc. will make sense of that. Well, their predecessors in the old Comintern didn't have any problem defending the Stalin-Hitler pact based on some complex dialectics. My guess is that if Saddam was still in power he would by congragulating Israel... I wasn't surprised by the mild Saudi reaction. Some of their guys who have been visiting Washington in recent months have warned the Bushies that they would be forced to make deals with Iran (appease them) unless the Americans take some action against Tehran to restore the balance of power in the Persian Gulf. As In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace published in the Washington Post today makes it clear, President Bush has given Israel a Green Light to attack Lebanon and destroy the Hizbollah as way of countering the rising influence of Iran. Reminds me very much of the 1967 war when LBJ had given the Israelis a Yellow Light to attack Egypt as a way of counterbalancing Soviet influence in the Mideast. Israel would punish a proxy of the Soviets as the Americans were fighting another Soviet proxy in the Mideast (that's how they saw it). (See my earlier 1967/2006 post and check-out Vietnam, Jews and the Middle East: Unintended Consequences.) We will have to see whether Israel will be able to deliver the goods also this time. They seem to face a clear dilemma: Entering southern Lebanon with ground troops will embroil them in guerrilla warfare which is difficult to "win." But if they don't enter Lebanon they certainly won't be able to get rid of the missiles and destroy's Hizbollah's military infrastructure. So they have to square the circle here: a limited incursion of ground troops? If Israel fails (in a sense that it doesn't win Big), the Bushies would have no choice but to deal with Iran and Syria in order to resolve the crisis. So Washington is now praying for a swift Israeli military victory which they Bushies are bound to use as a way of demonstrating that their Mideast project IS working. But I think that they are dismissing many potenial problems, including the renewal of the civil war in Lebanon.


Anonymous said…
I've been going back and forth with a thought that I am not certain is quite ethical. The thought is that maybe we should have not have isolated Saddam Hussein for all those years. Maybe we should have just remained neutral and on good terms with him, and bought the oil we needed and tended to our own business.

In fact, my oilman father did not agree with getting involved in the war involving Kuwait. He told me that his cohorts who dealt with oil in the Mideast all thought that Hussein was more rational and easier to deal with than the leaders of many of the other countries.

I know that he had these rape rooms and that he fed people into paper shredders and gassed Kurds. My question is whether or not the other Middle Eastern dictators we do business with are any better.
They all seem slightly nutty to me.

Perhaps being on decent terms with Hussein might have been in our strategic interest. Perhaps I'm thinking heresy. I do that on occasion. Your article got me to thinking that way again.
Leon Hadar said…
Sue: Foreign policy is based mostly on consideration of national interest, and from that perspective I think that both Gulf wars were mistakes. I despise Saddam and if I were an Iraqi, I would have fought against him. But that when a foreign government (U.S.) goes to war another country it has to place on the top of its agenda its interests. Please, read my book "Sandstorm" (links available on my blog) which will help you make sense of all of this. Leon

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