If recent congressional testimony is to be believed, now top U.S.
military leaders say, in the words of Gen. John Abizaid, “that Iraq
could move toward a civil war.” (This is hardly surprising to Iraqis,
as shown by the words of a senior government official, who told Reuters,
“If this is not civil war ….., then I don’t know what is.”) Not
surprisingly, this belated observation is being used, not to draw down
the U.S. occupation, but to justify the even longer presence of American
troops in the beleaguered nation.
What military leaders are now seeing, was seen months ago; indeed, years
ago, when an intentional policy of defining Iraq in purely sectarian,
ethnic, and religious terms, as opposed to its inherent nationalism, began.
From the very inception of the Iraq adventure, from the days of former
U.S. Secretary of State, Colin Powell, came the now prophetic warning
(known as the ‘broken pottery’ rule), ‘If you break it, you own it.’
Iraq, if not now surely broken, is breaking by the day, into a deadly,
sectarian battleground, where one’s name, and ethnic identity decides
whether one may live or die. Remember the recent elections, and U.S.
rosy predictions that ‘democracy was just around the corner?’ Those
words taste like ashes in the mouth, false, and foul, as a grim, bloody
reality pierces the lie that led to this disaster.
It didn’t have to be this way.
This war, and this impending civil war, is the bitter fruit of the
hubris of American elections, and the long-held belief of
neoconservatives, who have long had their eyes on Iraq, and the
surrounding lands and resources. As author Elizabeth Drew makes plain
in her book, Fear and Loathing in George Bush’s Washington (N.Y.: New
York Review Boos, 2004):
“The word ‘neoconservative’ originally referred to former liberals and
leftists who were dismayed by the countercultural movements of the 1960s
and the Great Society, and adopted conservative views, for example
against government welfare programs, and in favor of interventionist
foreign policies. A group of today’s ‘neocons’ now hold key positions
in the Pentagon and in the White House and they even have a mole in the
State Department.” [pp. 21-22]
Drew named names, but they are as familiar as today’s newspaper, on
virtually every talk show, and their magazines glut the market.
They suckered an intellectually challenged president, and the rest is
disaster. Now, on the brink of civil war, this perverse ‘democratic
imperialism’, or ostensibly wars for democracy, have reached their
These same social forces, which led America into a war which threatens
to poison its borders with chaos, has left the regional minority Shi’as
in a place of potential power, unseen since the Islamic Revolution under
Ayatollah Ruhullah Khomeini.
Now, in the midst of massive bombing, bloodletting, and destruction, we
hear U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, define the
Israeli-Lebanese war, as but “the birth pangs of a new Middle East.” In
the place of a competent foreign policy, there is mere madness!
Such American disenlightenment in foreign policy has led to the
spectacle of 100,000 Shi’ites, in occupied Iraq, rallying on behalf of
Hezbollah, calling, quite ironically, for “Death to America!”, that is,
the occupying power.
Remember the ‘remake the Middle East’ line? It is farther away today,
than it has been in a lifetime.
That’s because methods are important.
This war, started on lies, pretexts, and false justifications, has led
to this unhappy (for Iraqis) hour.
If (as many think is unavoidable) civil war becomes the path, three
separate states, Sunni, Shi’a, and Kurd, are recipes for further war.
For Turkey, the idea of an independent Kurdistan, threatens their notion
of nation, for Turkish Kurds would be mightily tempted to declare
independence. Will that spawn a Turkish civil war?
A Shi’a state naturally would find affiliations with its bigger Shi’a
brother to the east — Iran. Two Shi’a states, one Persian, the other
Arab, truly mark a transformation in the Middle East, but not the kind
dreamed of by neocon unipolarists.
The world has changed.
But, who can dare claim that it’s changed for the better?
Copyright 2006 Mumia Abu-Jamal
[Sources: Drew, Elizabeth. Fear and Loathing in George W. Bush's
Washington (N.Y.: New York Review Books, 2004); Taylor, Mark L.,
Religion, Politics and the Christian Right (Minn., MN: Fortress Press,