FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

ISIS: Yes, Mr. Blair, You Did Build This

Last month, in a tone which might best be called unlikely insistence, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reassured the public that “we” — the UK and United States — “have to liberate ourselves from the notion that we caused” the destabilization of Iraq by the ISIS insurgency. Well, actually you did.
Let’s go back to the Versailles peace conference at the end of WWI, when Britain — with the agreement of the other Western powers — carved the mandate of Iraq out of three former Ottoman provinces. These provinces — Sunni Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shia marsh Arab — were about as unwieldy as any other artificial country the imperial powers of Europe cobbled together around the world and displayed high potential for instability from the beginning.
In the 1930s the United States supported unification of the Arabian peninsula under the House of Saud, whose official religion was an ultra-fundamentalist Sunni sect known as Wahhabism (coincidentally shared by the al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the US on 9/11).
In 1953, the United States gave powerful impetus to Islamic political fundamentalism by overthrowing Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mossadeq, a secular democratic socialist, restoring the Shah to power. This created a state of affairs in which fundamentalist clerics constituted the primary opposition to the Shah’s autocracy, leading eventually to the overthrow of the monarchy and establishment of a theocratic regime.
Meanwhile, the Eisenhower administration quietly backed still another fundamentalist movement, the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt, as an alternative to Nasser’s secular socialist model of nationalism.
In the 1960s the United States helped engineer the Baathist military coup in Iraq, thus bringing to power the same regime it eventually went to war with twice.
In the late 1970s the US created the conditions which eventually gave rise to al Qaeda, deliberately destabilizing a stable, secular Soviet client regime in Afghanistan by providing aid to fundamentalist insurgents and provoking a Soviet invasion and decade of bloody civil war. Al Qaeda emerged from among the Islamic fundamentalists fighting a guerrilla war against Soviet occupation in the ’80s, an insurgency the United States armed and trained heavily. The Carter administration destabilized Afghanistan; Reagan poured gasoline on the fire, because giving the Russians their own Vietnam was just too delicious an opportunity to pass up.
In 1990 the United States — perhaps eager for a “splendid little war” to demonstrate the continuing need for a large “defense” establishment in the post-Cold War Era — basically instigated Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. US Ambassador April Glaspie reassured Saddam that the US took little interest in minor affairs like one Arab country invading another. Meanwhile, with US encouragement, Kuwait engaged in practices like slanted oil drilling on the Iraqi border that inevitably goaded Iraq to invade.
But despite the devastation of Iraq by massive US air attacks and an ensuing decade of sanctions, Saddam’s dictatorship remained a secular regime where most people paid little attention to sectarian differences. Marriages between Sunnis and Shia were about as unremarkable as marriages between Baptists and Methodists in this country. The one force in the Middle East that most objected to this secularism and sectarian peace was al Qaeda — America’s baby. And by overthrowing Saddam and creating a power vacuum, the United States did the one thing guaranteed to give al Qaeda an opening in Iraq. After defeating and dissolving the Baathist regime, the Coalition Provisional Authority established a puppet government organized along sectarian lines, with religious sects rather than ideologically oriented parties as the main axis of political division. That kind of divide-and-rule strategy made it a lot easier to auction off the country to Halliburton, see.
And ISIS itself? Well, as resistance to Assad in Syria turned into an all-out civil war, the United States and American proxies like the Saudis (you know, that country whose Wahhabi oil aristocracy included Osama Bin Laden) armed anti-Assad rebels — some of which went on to become ISIS, a Sunni fundamentalist group so extreme even al Qaeda disavowed them.
So yeah, Tony. You, Bush and Obama — and all the other swine who’ve used the world as their chessboard for the past century — did cause this. All this bloodshed is yours. You own it.
Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory.
More articles by:

Kevin Carson is a senior fellow of the Center for a Stateless Society (c4ss.org) and holds the Center’s Karl Hess Chair in Social Theory. He is a mutualist and individualist anarchist whose written work includes Studies in Mutualist Political Economy, Organization Theory: A Libertarian Perspective, and The Homebrew Industrial Revolution: A Low-Overhead Manifesto, all of which are freely available online. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
January 22, 2020
Melvin Goodman
The Media and the Military Mindset
John Davis
The Real Megxit Deal
John O'Kane
The Obama Legacy: Reform Versus Revolution
Kenneth Surin
The “Evolving” Scotty Morrison From Marketing
Martin Billheimer
“The Cops & the Klan Go Hand in Hand!”
Thomas Knapp
Executive Power: Alan Dershowitz’s Imagination Versus the Constitution
Jacob G. Hornberger
Egypt and the Destruction of Civil Liberties in America
Justin Podur
The People of Colombia are Cracking the Walls of War and Authoritarianism
Kelsey Hawkins-Johnson
Our Final Decade to Get Climate Policy Right
Jonah Raskin
Terence Hallinan: Fighter for the People and for the Legalization of Marijuana 
Colin Todhunter
Challenging the Flawed Premise Behind Pushing GMOs into Indian Agriculture
January 21, 2020
Sheldon Richman
Warmonger Cotton Accuses Antiwar Think Tank of Anti-Semitism
John Feffer
Trump Makes Space Great Again
Patrick Cockburn
The US and Iran’s Perpetual Almost-War is Unsustainable – and Will End Badly
James C. Nelson
Another Date That Will Live in Infamy: 10 Years After Citizens United
Robert Fisk
Iran Will be Changed Forever by Admitting Its Great Mistake, Unlike the West Which Ignores Its Own Misdeeds
Dean Baker
Did Shareholders’ Benefit by Paying Boeing’s Fired CEO $62 Million?
Susan Roberts
The Demise of the Labour Party and the Future For UK Socialism
Binoy Kampmark
Janus-Faced on Climate Change: Microsoft’s Carbon Vision
David Levin
The Teamster Revolt Against the Hoffa Era
Victor Grossman
Defender and Spearheads
Russell Mokhiber
BS Public Editor and the Disease of Contempt
Tiffany Muller
Get the Money Out of Politics: 10 Years After Citizens United
Laura Flanders
Iowa is Not the Twitterverse
Graham Peebles
Education: Expanding Purpose
Elliot Sperber
Handball in Brooklyn 
January 20, 2020
Paul Street
Trump Showed Us Who He Was Before He Became President
Eric Mann
Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Ipek S. Burnett
MLK and the Ghost of an Untrue Dream
Mark Harris
Better Living Through Glyphosate? Spray Now, Ask Questions Later
Katie Fite
Owyhee Initiative Wilderness and Public Lands Deal Critique: Ten Years After
Thomas Knapp
A Loophole for the Lawless: “Qualified Immunity” Must Go
REZA FIYOUZAT
Best Enemies Forever: The Iran-U.S. Kabuki Show
Jeff Mackler
Worldwide Furor Sparked by U.S. Assassination of Iran’s General Suleimani
William deBuys
The Humanitarian and Environmental Disaster of Trump’s Border Wall
Binoy Kampmark
A Matter of Quality: Air Pollution, Tennis and Sporting Officialdom
James Haught
GOP Albatross
Jill Richardson
Why Do We Have School Lunch Debt at All?
Robert Koehler
Nuclear Hubris
Patrick T. Hiller
Instead of Real-Time Commentary, Eight Common-Sense Reason for Not Going to War with Iran
Charles Andrews
A Note on Carlos Ghosn and Global Capitalism
Jeffrey St. Clair
Some Trees: Los Angeles
Weekend Edition
January 17, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: No Woman, No Cry
Kathleen Wallace
Hijacking the Struggles of Others, Elizabeth Warren Style
Robert Hunziker
The Rumbling Methane Enigma
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail