Whose interests are being served by a US attack on Iraq?
An Interactive Opinion Editorial*
By Fredric Peters and Hassan El-Najjar**
Most people in the West and the Middle East are now educated and aware that nations go to war over strategic economic and political interests. Yet the media are avoiding any discussion of this issue in the current coverage of US intention to attack Iraq. At the same time, CNN freely admits that few Americans know exactly why the US administration is so bent on going to war.
A little analysis would show that even if Mahatma Ghandi were leader of Iraq, America would still be threatening war, because this really isn't about Iraqi leadership or lack of democracy -- it's about the balance of power in the Middle East.
Israel's military preeminence is threatened by any Muslim nation acquiring nuclear weapons, and that is the reason the Bush administration is so anxious to get into Iraq. If Egypt were known to be acquiring similar weapons, America would be threatening Egypt.
The Bush administration has been avoiding any extended discussion in the media of exactly why it wants war because of the fear that the centrality of Israel's strategic interests would become too glaringly apparent. And with that would come an awareness in America at large of the extent to which US policy has become harnessed to Israeli interests.
In short, it's not surprising that the US government is trying to disguise its real motives, but it is surprising that the media is allowing it to take the nation to war without any serious examination of whose interests are being served. American soldiers could end up dying for a cause that really isn't theirs at all.
I hope you that this is one rare instance where a war might be averted merely by the addition of some "truth". If the American populace at large become aware of exactly who they are being asked to die for, they won't go along with an Iraq invasion.
I think the points raised here have become even more poignant now that Israel has threatened to nuke Iraq in the event of attack. As I point out above, the maintenance of Israel's nuclear superiority has been the objective all along. It has nothing to do with Saddam as leader.
Fred, your analysis is excellent. Israel is the major beneficiary of any US attack on Iraq. In addition, such an attack will distract the world away from the war crimes, massacres, and atrocities the Israelis have committed against the Palestinian people. A US attack on Iraq will also destroy the last Arab government that has not surrendered to the hegemonic Israeli power in the Middle East. Further, a US invasion of Iraq and a change of the Iraqi government may enable Israelis to transfer Palestinians to Iraq, Jordan, or any other Arab state. There will be nobody else to object to the US-backed Israeli policies. Most important than all is that a US invasion of Iraq may quicken the realization of the Zionist dream of extending Israel to include the Arab lands between the Nile and the Euphrates. All this is possible, as the Bush administration has demonstrated so far a full support of any policies Sharon may decide.
You expressed your surprise about how the US media is allowing the Bush administration to take the American people to war without any serious examination of whose interests are being served by this war. I would like to add that, with the exception of MSNBC and PBS, the US media has been instigating the Bush administration and the American people against Iraq, in particular, and against Arabs and Muslims, in general. Al-Jazeerah has published several articles about this point, particularly the bias towards Israel, readers can find them in the Media Watch section. A more serious question is about who are the owners, anchors, and senior journalists of the US media. It's not hard to point to a considerable number of them as staunch supporters of Israel. I take this opportunity to call on readers to write about the topic or point to any studies about who really owns and controls the US media.
But why would the Bush administration take the nation into a war that mainly serves the interests of another nation? The answer to this question points to the hegemonic position occupied by pro-Israel officials in the administration. The top two who are the prime movers towards war against Iraq, and after that against other Arab and Muslim nations, are Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle of the Defense Depart. There are no Arab-Americans or Muslim-Americans in top positions of the administration to counterbalance the influence of pro-Israel officials. This is a problem in the US political system. Elected officials in the executive and legislative branches of the government appoint more pro-Israel experts to senior positions than any other interest groups. This is a problem that indicates the lack of checks and balances in the US government. That is why the US foreign policy in the Middle East is biased towards Israel, and that is why the whole world describes the US government as following double standard policies.
However, it will be very simplistic to think that the Bush administration is going to war against Iraq just to fight on behalf of Israel. There are several other reasons. The second major factor, after Israel, that pushes the Bush administration towards war in general, is serving the interests of the military-industrial complex. The military industry, the military establishment, and their beneficiaries have a vested interest in keeping the United States in war against other nations. As I argued in my book about the Gulf War, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War were bad news to them. They had to find a new enemy. They spent the entire 1990s to install Muslims as that new enemy, so that Cold War II can start. We saw, heard, and read about how much money have been spent and will be spent on the military and the homeland security, as a support for this argument.
The third factor is enhancing the interests of the US oil industry. The US oil companies can't wait to divide the Iraqi oil with Israel. The former Kurdish leader, Mustafa Barzani, promised the Israelis to give them oil concessions in northern Iraq in the event the Kurds control it. A lot has been written and circulated about this factor, but of course outside the establishment media. Last but not least is the influence of fundamentalists who are more staunch in their support of Israel than many Israelis, particularly those in the Israeli peace camp.
Finally, I hope, like you, that this war can be averted by more education about the real intent of the prime movers inside the Bush administration. We knew lately that senior military officers in the Pentagon oppose the war. That's why they leaked documents to some newspapers. I hope that as more people oppose the war, they start to protest against it in every state and in the nation's capital to let the President know that they are against the war. Peace to the US, peace to Iraq, and peace to the world.
* In interactive editorials, the editor of Al-Jazeerah answers questions and or responds to comments of readers, which are more general than readers' responses to specific articles or issues. It is an effective method of interaction in electronic journalism.
** Fredric Peters is a US citizen who has BA, MA (Q1d).
** Dr. Hassan El-Najjar is the editor of Al-Jazeerah.