The Iraq Study Group has described the situation in Iraq â€œgrave and deteriorating,â€ and recommended a quick drawdown of US forces. It is unlikely that the President will take that advice. Instead, the US, Israel and Britain have for some time been working on an alternative plan when it appeared that their initial plans were being derailed. The US, Israel and Britain are now working to incite a civil war between Sunnis and Shias across the Middle East. As Jonathan Cook puts it, taking a leaf from Israeli experience in the West Bank and Gaza, they expect to create â€œcontrolled chaosâ€ in the entire Islamic world.
The battle lines in this civil war have been drawn. The principal American-Israeli surrogates in this â€˜Islamic civil warâ€™ showed their colors last July when Israel launched devastating air attacks against Lebanese civilian targets in response to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah. Almost instantly, Cairo, Riyadh and Amman condemned the Hizbullah action. On the opposite side there is the crescent of resurgent Shia power stretching from Lebanon, through Syria and Iraq, into Iran.
During his recent meetings with Israeli leaders and Sunni Arab potentates, according to a headline in NY Times, British prime minister Tony Blair was working to lay the groundwork for an â€œalliance against extremism.â€ His plan is to erect an â€˜arc of moderationâ€™ against the Shia Crescent, with Iran as the principal â€œstrategic threatâ€ to Western imperial ambitions.
Iraq is already the theater of this â€˜Islamic civil war.â€™ Last July, one of the aims of the Israeli destruction of Lebanonâ€™s civilian infrastructure was to spread this sectarian war to Lebanon. That gambit failed miserably. Now Saudi Arabia is threatening to expand its support for Sunni insurgents in Iraq and destabililize Iran by raising its oil production. More ominously, some of its Wahhabi clerical allies are trying to rouse both Arab fears of Persian domination and Sunni concerns about the ascendancy of the â€˜hereticalâ€™ Shias.
The determining factor in this war will be the Sunni populations under the thumbs of the Arab potentates. It is doubtful if the anti-Persian and anti-Shia rhetoric of the Arab potentates will succeed in swinging them around to support governments they have long hated, especially now as their alliance with Israel becomes overt. There is also the risk that in fuelling the Sunni insurgency in Iraq, the Saudis will strengthen al-Qaida and their allies who are sworn to bring down the US-friendly Arab potentates. Moreover, if there is a real war in the region, the pseudo Arab states in the Gulf have no fighting ability they can bring to this conflict. In the event, does the US have the forces to occupy Iraq and also defend its Arab clients in the Gulf?
Paraphrasing prime minister Tony Blair, the NY Times writes, â€œâ€¦ the fate of the Middle East, ''for good or ill,'' would be felt around the world.â€ It is unlikely that adding an â€˜Islamic civil warâ€™ to the dynamics of the region will work for the â€˜goodâ€™ of the US, Israel or Britain.