Shiah, Meet Fan (Updated below)
By: Mark W Adams

Is it just me, or are things about to get way, way worse in the Fertile Crescent?

  • Sunni warlord tribal elder assassinated days after shaking hands with George Bush to seal the "peace" of Anbar. This very well could just be an opening salvo.

  • Parliament members loyal to Moqtada al Sadr have left the governing coalition, others soon to follow, rocking Prime Minister Maliki's ability to rule the fictional government of a nation formerly known as Iraq.

  • Sadrists also warned the US to keep it's hands of Basra as the Brits leave. I think they've got some scores to settle and don't want us watching. No Eddy, this is not good news either.

  • The real lunatics in the region threaten a surge in violence, and they're all using guns we supplied.

  • Israeli warplanes hit ... something ... in Syria, maybe as a test run/warning to Iran.

  • At the scene of an attack on a US State Department convoy, Blackwater Mercs security operatives might have gone too far and are being kicked out of the country. (I'll bet the thugs-for-hire get more down-time than our Marines who used to guard our embassy personnel -- and that ain't changing anytime soon.)

  • The war drums have grown louder and louder, and louder, warning of multiple strikes against Iran by President Nothing-Left-To-Lose.

  • Chaos increases. War and Occupation without end. This is, my friends, yet another feature, not a bug of your government on neoconservatism.

    And they're eyeing the prize:
    It’s simply a great-power struggle for influence. And while there’s nothing too shocking about that, people in the United States should ask themselves - and be asked by others - what sacrifices we are really willing to bear so that the Bush Administration can try to keep Iran from having the influence in Iraq that they would normally have - and almost certainly will have - if there is a democratic government in Iraq, given that 60% of the Iraqi population is Shiite and has strong cultural and religious ties to their co-religionists in Iran. How many U.S. soldiers’ lives is that goal worth? How many billions of U.S. tax dollars?

    The elder crackpots of the movement conservatives, languishing in their ivory towers, have never been exactly circumspect in what really is going on. There is so much truth in Alan Greenspan's understatement of the obvious that we would not be at war in Iraq if there were no oil there. This is the fundamental nature of neoconservative imperialism, the push for preeminence of our commercial republic as explained by Charles Krauthammer as the destiny, nay -- the responsibility of the "Unipower."

    Even the man who killed irony, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Henry Kissinger acknowledges our belligerence towards Iran evolves from an insistence that even a regional power who resists our position as world arbiter and unipower will not be tolerated if they have the gumption to exert influence on "our" flow of oil. Teheran should note this as a warning -- these guys don't play.

    Writers of science fiction from our past foreshadowed of our reality. The roads must roll! The spice must flow. War is Peace, Ignorance is Strength.

    We won't steal your oil or enslave your population directly (slavery is freedom, after all), but colonialism by another name still stinks. We'll buy your goods (wholesale), pay substandard subsistence wages for your labor, pocket the difference and use the United States military as a security force to ensure our ability to do so.

    It wasn't so much that Saddam was cheating on the oil-for-food program that led us to war. Even if you believed the WMD fiction that somehow this nation we'd been bombing every other weekend just for fun since 1992 was any sort of threat. There was no possibility the UN sanction regime enforcing his containment would somehow be lifted despite our veto over any such move. No. The sanctions were inconvenient, they had to go. Bad for business.

    The containment regime was too effective. Unfortunately for Hussein, a monster to be sure, but no more or less evil than say, Idi Amin, who we left quite alone to feast on the flesh of his victims. But keeping him in check was bottling up too much of the black sludge that grease the wheels of fortune and commerce. They had to go, the sanctions, and the idea that Saddam could remain free to cause mischief once lifted was simply unacceptable. Never before, and possibly never again would Baghdad be even a semi-legitimate target for a hostile corporate takeover. But in the Spring of 2003, it was ripe.

    Remember, this is the 21st century. The era of traditional colonial empires is long gone. Unfortunately, like all empires, Pax Americana requires conflict and expansion just as traditional colonial endeavors -- just not as we are used to thinking of them. Conflicts between rival sects and ethnic groups in the region (fictional or otherwise) serve to justify our military presence as long as they are contained. As long as we merely manage, but don't eliminate the violent rivalries, it serves as a disincentive to any organized threat from those disparate clients who might otherwise band together and present a formidable opposition to our interests. The expansion is not in territory or subjugated people, but in markets.

    A chaotic, haphazardly organized Iraq works just as well, if not more efficiently, than a true Jeffersonian democracy -- for the interests of the neocon's commercial empire. Chaos requires weapons, machinery and fuel. Demand must be maintained, and at a high enough level to ensure ridiculous profiteering, but not so chaotic to shut down the flow of money, blood and oil.

    They are truly dreamers, those neocon warmongers like Kagan and Kristol, Elliot Abrams and John Bolton, Rumsfeld and Cheney. Visionary, yet deluded sociopaths who believe with religious conviction that "The Market" is supreme, omnipotent and omniscient, and not merely the tool of greedy robber barons and war profiteers who are empowered by perpetual war and the free flow of oil. If fear, bigotry and xenophobic tendencies in our electorate can be exploited to advance their ends, so be it. They will not shy away from pandering to base primal instincts born of excess testosterone and the logic of the playground bully when it serves their goal. Their cynicism towards us, the ordinary Americans who suffer their tenure in power it most telling, since their real constituency are captains of industry. You are merely a asset or a liability, depending on your gullibility.

    They see themselves as the guardians of commercialism, the system of capital creation and distribution, the corporate fiction of legal entity not as mere enterprise but as a "person" unto itself that must be promoted and protected at all cost. 4,000 of our own soldiers and even up to a million of the natives are so much cannon fodder, a "small price" to pay for continued American hegemony -- because the business of America is business.

    I wait with great interest to see how the market forces play out.

    Karen Kwiatkowski, who was one of the first to blow the whistle on the fixing of intelligence to match the wet neocon dreams of invading Iraq, makes the case that without private security contractors like Blackwater (who have been asked to leave the country as noted above), the entire financial underpinnings of the occupation "will collapse."

    Hmmm, Blackwater isn't the only private army in town, but it's a big one. With them and the Brits no longer there, and the stalwart Iceland contingent leaving, the Webb Amendment limiting troop deployments to one year there, one year back looks like the camel that will either break the back of the occupation, or the Republican party.

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