The current shambles in the Middle East came about as a direct consequence of the criminal invasion of Iraq in 2003.
There’s no point arguing about this: sensible people know it anyway, and the neocon fanatics will remain deaf to reason and blind to facts no matter what.
The immediate question is how to handle the situation, now it has arisen. What do we do next? More important, what should we not do?
One doesn’t have to know the difference between Shiite and a trip to the lavatory to answer this question. Good old common sense will suffice.
The invasion set the whole region on fire, and there’s little we can do now to extinguish it. Our first concern ought to be not to let the Arab Spring turn into a nuclear winter.
Again, preventing a homemade dirty bomb from going off in the middle of a Western capital is worth an effort, but it’s likely to be futile.
With the European countries having lost control of their borders de jure, and the USA de facto, it’s unrealistic to expect our police to be able to examine every suspicious-looking suitcase carried by every swarthy-looking person.
Partly this is because singling out swarthy-looking persons for such treatment will result in crippling lawsuits faster than you can say ‘racial discrimination’. Either our policemen check all suitcases or they check none, and the former is a logistic impossibility.
Hence the doomsayers predicting an imminent terrorist act somewhere in the West are probably right. The nest has been poked, and the hornets are buzzing all over the place.
The cause to which we must devote all our efforts is keeping factory-made nuclear weapons away from Muslim states likely to use them. In the most immediate future, this means Iran.
Thanks to earlier American blunders, the arguably nasty but generally pro-Western Shah was in 1977 replaced by Muslim fanatics, who remain in power to this day. Since then they’ve been hatching all sorts of madcap plans that can be summed up with one word: murder.
The potential victims cover a broad spectrum: every Israeli goes without saying, but then there are also Sunnis, Westerners, Christians, infidels, apostates, Iraqis, anyone who disputes Iran’s leadership of the Muslim world and so forth.
The list is long but, without nuclear weapons, Iran’s reach is short. Granted, some of the entries in the hit list can be dealt with without such weapons. An AK would suffice or, for old times’ sake, a scimitar.
But neither Israel nor the West can be defeated, or even grievously hurt, with conventional weapons, and without those targets the list looks woefully incomplete. That’s why a nuclear capability is a must for the ayatollahs, and that’s why they’ve been striving to acquire it with their characteristic combination of fanaticism and stealth.
When Iraq harboured similar ambitions, the Israeli Air Force took out the Osirak nuclear reactor in a daring 1981 raid. Since then the possibility of Iraq developing a nuclear capability has existed only in the fevered imaginations, and mendacious propaganda, of the Dubya-Tony set.
The Israelis could probably do a similar job on Iran, though some experts dispute their technical capability to succeed. Yet should the Israeli force be augmented by US aircraft carriers, the task would definitely become feasible.
However, one critical element is missing: the will. The most sophisticated and devastating military force is impotent in the absence of the determination to use it, and such determination is nowhere to be seen.
Instead our wishy-washy leaders have relied on sanctions, which at best could slow down the process of Iran’s nuclear empowerment, not stop it. But at least until now the West, specifically its Anglophone part, has been making the right noises.
Now even the noises have changed. The Sunni thugs are close to overrunning Iraq, Syria and possibly Afghanistan, a prospect that understandably displeases Nato analysts. The onslaught has to be stopped, but the question is how. And by whom?
The Americans have punched themselves out, as they usually do after a few years. The Brits, ably led by Tony, only went to war to kiss a certain part of Dubya’s anatomy and, now that part is no longer in the presidential chair, we’re certainly not going to go it alone.
Who then? Who will wipe out the ISIS, especially now it’s about to be reinforced by a large Syrian contingent? The answer the battle-weary Yanks have come up with is similar to that first proffered by the jaded Romans.
The latter had lost their taste for fighting and decided instead to hire others, specifically the Visigoths, to do their fighting for them. To that end they trained and equipped those chaps, gave them battle experience and elevated some of them, such as Alaric, to reasonably high command. We all know what happened next.
In an exact parallel, the Americans, presumably with our acquiescence, have decided to use Iran in the same capacity as the Romans used the Visigoths, as mercenaries.
But mercenaries have to be paid – not just in cash but also in respect. Alaric eventually turned against Rome because he felt underappreciated, not just because he was underpaid.
We know how the West will pay the Iranians in cash: the Fed’s printing presses are in working order, and no amount of paper will present a problem. But how, besides money, will the West show its gratitude?
The only gesture the ayatollahs will accept is the West’s help, or at least acquiescence, in Iran’s fulfilling her strategic objectives. These, as I’ve suggested, are inseparable from their push to acquire nuclear weapons.
Therefore, using Iran the way Rome used the Visigoths is tantamount to arming Iran with nuclear weapons. The consequences of this could be, almost certainly will be, even more catastrophic than Alaric sacking Rome, and yet the only alternative the West has so far come up with is sending 300 Special Forces men to Iraq.
One wonders if all those neocon champions of democracy in the Middle East are beginning to have second thoughts about the whole enterprise. Probably not: these chaps are incapable of any thought, first or second.
In their own way they’re as fanatical as the ayatollahs, which is perhaps why they feel a certain affinity for them. The rest of us can feel nothing but disgust tinged with fear.