What the US has wrought in the Middle East

Robert Fisk of The Independent describes the enormous tangle of fighting that is going on in the Middle East and that given the number of nations bombing the region, it is amazing that they are not crashing into each other.

Let me try to get this right. The Saudis are bombing Yemen because they fear the Shia Houthis are working for the Iranians. The Saudis are also bombing Isis in Iraq and the Isis in Syria. So are the United Arab Emirates. The Syrian government is bombing its enemies in Syria and the Iraqi government is also bombing its enemies in Iraq. America, France, Britain, Denmark, Holland, Australia and – believe it or not – Canada are bombing Isis in Syria and Isis in Iraq, partly on behalf of the Iraqi government (for which read Shia militias) but absolutely not on behalf of the Syrian government.

The Jordanians and Saudis and Bahrainis are also bombing Isis in Syria and Iraq because they don’t like them, but the Jordanians are bombing Isis even more than the Saudis after their pilot-prisoner was burned to death in a cage. The Egyptians are bombing parts of Libya because a group of Christian Egyptians had their heads chopped off by what might – notionally – be the same so-called Islamic State, as Isis refers to itself. The Iranians have acknowledged bombing Isis in Iraq – of which the Americans (but not the Iraqi government) take a rather dim view. And of course the Israelis have several times bombed Syrian government forces in Syria but not Isis (an interesting choice, we’d all agree). Chocks away!

And all that does not include the various ad hoc alliances fighting one another on the ground. The foreign countries that are quite happy to wreak death from the air know that they need ground troops to capture and hold territory and this has resulted in further strange alliances. The Saudis have even gone to the extent of asking Pakistan to send in ground troops to the region but with the outrageous stipulation that they send only Sunni soldiers, although the Pakistani army is around 30% Shia, leading one Pakistani analyst to write that “the Saudis are now trying to not only divide the population, but divide our army as well.”

Fisk concludes with something that we must always bear in mind, that these wars don’t just happen for no reason and that it is not the case that the winners and losers consist of nations and sectarian groups.

And then, of course, there are the really big winners in all this blood, the weapons manufacturers. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin supplied £1.3bn of missiles to the Saudis only last year. But three years ago, Der Spiegel claimed the European Union was Saudi Arabia’s most important arms supplier and last week France announced the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar at a cost of around £5.7bn. Egypt has just bought another 24 Rafales.

The arms manufacturers are always the winners and ordinary people are always the losers.


  1. says

    . The Saudis are bombing Yemen because they fear the Shia Houthis are working for the Iranians

    Not just that. It’s also that the Yemeni insurgents were poorly armed before the US up-armed the Yemeni government, which collapsed, and now the insurgents -- exactly like ISIL in Iraq -- have state of the art gear. The Saudis started bombing Yemen to try to destroy the government’s arsenals and air power. It’s probably US-supplied Saudi gear being used to blow up US-supplied Yemeni gear.


  2. atheistblog says

    And our short lived dream hero Bernie also unconditionally support apartheid occupation, in which all the military industrial complex gains the most.

  3. jufulu says

    I’m find it so telling that the Saudi’s are going to Pakistan for ground troupes. They are used to going out of country for labor so they don’t have to get their hands dirty.

  4. Bakunin says

    I’m going to need a source for that claim about Sanders. And supporting a candidate and praising his views does not make them a hero. You sure you don’t spell your name authoritarianatheistblog?

  5. atheistblog says

    First, all those people demanding source must have some introspect. If you are not self critical you wouldn’t expect others to spoon feed you on everything.
    Now we know Sanders unconditionally supporting an Apartheid occupational state. If he doesn’t agrees to 1967 border, remove all settlement, stop sending all the mass destruction weapons to kill people of gaza, he is no different than hillary.


  6. atheistblog says

    Of course my name will sound like authoritarianatheistblog for you, when your name is “Bakunin -- The Apartheid Occupier Supporter”.

  7. Bakunin says

    Occupier supporter? Israel has committed war crimes against Palestine, Syria, and the U.S., is an openly racist and discriminatory anti-democratic state, and was founded after an organized terror campaign to drive out Palestinians. Furthermore, I will go on record here as denouncing the apartheid policies and eugenics programs of the Israeli government, state my belief that a two-state solution will never work, and condemn Sanders’ 2012 remarks that you linked. If Sanders still holds those views, I will condemn them again.

    However, the person making the claim is responsible for their sources and making a tangential claim that supporting a public figure is hero-worship, and that said support extends to all views of a public figure regardless of stated disagreements are hallmarks of an authoritarian mindset.

  8. atheistblog says

    If I am like Bakunin, then I have to spend time on discussing about how can you say I am authoritarianatheistblog.

  9. krambc says

    How can this be ??
    Operation Iraq Liberators were greeted with flowers and songs of gratitude -- just like grandaddy on VE Day.
    No-one could have expected anything different. Well -- except maybe this old fogey.

    Need a scorecard for keeping up with all the latest on the team rosters.

    But Canada ?? Yes, believe it or not Harper’s Canada

  10. says

    Krambc is right. The Harper government has spent a lot of advertising dollars to make Canadians proud of our military past and is more than eager to make our military present a far cry from our former peacekeeping heritage.

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