FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Beware ‘Sunni-Stan’: Neocons are Back and Their ‘Vision’ is Darker than Ever

by

John Bolton is a tarnished character. The once United States Ambassador to the United Nations is now promoted as a ‘scholar’ in the pro-Israel lobby group, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Bolton is not a peacemaker, nor, in his defense, did he ever try to appear as if one. When he was appointed as the US Ambassador to the UN by George W. Bush, his stint lasted for only one year, starting August 2005. His time in this position was marked with discord and conflict. He stole the limelight with such statements as “The (UN) Secretariat building in New York has 38 stories. If it lost ten stories, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.”

When the Iraq war failed to achieve any of its objectives, thus signaling an American retreat in the Middle East, neo-conservative politicians like Bolton retreated to their right-wing, neo-conservative institutions. Those who did not have one, established an organization of their own and began issuing press releases at random, hailing Israel at times, and chastising their President, Barack Obama, for one thing or another.

When the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ took place, neocons, like Bolton, saw in it an opportunity, but one that was difficult to discern. On one hand, they understood little of the mechanisms that propelled popular actions, for they are used to operate at the highest level of power with total disconnect from the people. On the other hand, it was clear for them from the start that Obama was taking no chances by stepping back into a Middle East quagmire that was originally designed by his predecessor.

Unable to affect much change in the region, as they once envisioned under the leadership of the likes of Richard Perle and his Project for the New American Century (PNAC), the neocons mounted a strategy predicated mostly on discrediting their administration’s lack of strategy.

In a sense the ‘Arab Spring’ invigorated the neocons, but also reminded them of their political impotence. Gone were the days of concocting foreign policies from neo-conservative think tanks such as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), of which, among others, Perle is an active member.

In fact, Perle is quite a cherished member of the American Enterprise Institute, where Bolton often mounts his occasional articles in mainstream US media, offering a ‘vision’ regarding how to take on Iran, how to reform Arab states and how to redraw the map of the Middle East in ways that are conducive to US foreign policy interests.

The latest of such intellectual charges by Bolton was published in the New York Times on November 24. Under the title, “To Defeat ISIS, Create a Sunni State,” he theorized once more, raging against “Obama’s ineffective efforts” to destroy ISIS and demanding, instead, a “clear view shared by NATO allies.” The main drive behind his logic is that once ISIS is destroyed, the region that the militant group designated as a ‘state’ should be turned into a Sunni state, which, as a working title he called “Sunni-Stan.”

Bolton’s reasoning is as predictable as it is arrogant. It is predictable in the sense that, like other neocon initiatives in the past, it has no respect for the wishes of the people of the Middle East. His arguments are constructed upon the same world view that sees conflict as an opportunity, and warring nations as pawns in a larger game, aimed at subduing people to achieve ‘security’ and ‘stability’ for the US and its supposed allies.

It is also arrogant for the obvious reason that he believes the world should be designed to fit the narrow, self-serving and often violent visions of failed politicians like himself, who, alas, has access to the US’s most respected newspapers.

Bolton’s conceit has completely blinded him to the failures of the Bush administration and the entire collapse of the neo-conservative’s intellectual discourse during, and following the Iraq war. On the contrary, he is asking to repeat exactly what went wrong in Iraq.

“As we did in Iraq with the 2006 ‘Anbar Awakening,’ the counter-insurgency operation that dislodged Al Qaeda from its stronghold in that Iraqi province, we and our allies must empower viable Sunni leaders, including tribal authorities, who prize their existing social structure,” he wrote.

Only an unreasonable person cannot appreciate how the sectarian seed that the US has sowed in Iraq, based on the recommendations of the likes of Bolton, has resulted in the disfiguring of the Iraqi nation. This massive tampering with the social, cultural, religious and political fabric of society – by first empowering the Shia, oppressing the Sunni, then turning the Sunnis against one another, and so forth – has paved the way for unity among various Sunni groups, which ultimately formed ISIS.

It is the grand experimentations of Bolton and his peers that made ISIS the ‘state’ that it is today, which he is proposing to replace with yet another sectarian state, thus slicing up two Arab countries that were once the seats of the two most prominent Caliphate civilizations in history, the Abbasid and the Umayyad.

But for what purpose and at what price? If meddling at a relatively small scale has turned the Middle East into a perpetual inferno, and roped in regional and international rivals into a war that seems to be in constant expansion, one can only imagine what such a large scale reconfiguration of the region could lead to; and for what? So that Bolton can ensure the complete dismantling of the region in favor of Israel and that a buffer state can be established to block the Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon? So that his country could gain access to more oil supplies? So that Russia’s attempt at having a stake in the future Middle East would be thwarted?

Whatever it is, the neo-conservatives should never be allowed access to the Middle East discourse, and their visions, those of doom and destruction, should remain confined to their ever mushrooming think tanks.

True, it is the perpetual war and horrific rivalries in the Middle East that have finally empowered the neocons to stage a comeback; but considering the damage that these groups have already done, one is certain that no good can possibly come from Bolton and his clique.

More articles by:

Dr. Ramzy Baroud has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London). His website is: ramzybaroud.net

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail