The case for abusive autocracies in the Middle East and America’s political what-ifs

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SHAFAQNA – Could it be that the answer to ISIS terrorism lies in the promotion of violent dictatorships in the Middle East? Washington certainly seems to think so now that a former CIA operative is nostalgically recalling the Saddam era.

What is America playing at this June arguing oppression as a safeguard against terrorism, at a time when both Iraq and Syria are making such significant advances against Wahhabi-inspired terror militants? Why the sudden nostalgy over time long gone and dictators deposed, when so much efforts, rhetoric, and theatrics were spent over a decade ago on the need for war?

I will recall here the words of one buoyant President Hugo Chavez before the United Nations General Assembly and argue that I too can “smell sulphur” in that new American volte-face.

Commenting on the meteoric rise of the so-called Islamic State complex, John Nixon, the former CIA agent who grilled former Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein following his arrest noted: “In hindsight, the thought of having an ageing and disengaged Saddam in power seems almost comforting in comparison with the wasted effort of our brave men and women in uniform and the rise of Islamic State, not to mention the £2.5 trillion spent to build a new Iraq.”

I would smile at the irony of the situation if not for the millions of lives that were shattered over America’s then-imperious needs to “liberate” Iraq and all those territories the light touches … Iraqis I’m afraid to say do not have the luxury of hindsight before the destruction that befell their nation on account a ruling elite chose to play political “musical chair” to better secure geopolitical hegemony.

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that war broke in the Middle East on account one US President George W. Bush imagined himself a grand liberator of men … or was it to prevent a lunatic tyrant to unleash weapons of mass destruction onto the Free World? History, I have to say, has been redacted so many times over the years as to adapt to politicians’ narrative it is hard to tell.

Maybe we ought to stick to facts and not imagine past events so that state officials could rationalise blame away from guilty parties.

But let’s put aside for a moment the rather distasteful longing Washington has chosen to display for the Saddam era and his ability to keep Iraqis on a tight leash – or so we are told.

This would-be mea culpa is but the introduction of a new rationale – one rooted yet again in division and covert sectarianism. One may argue that with ISIS on the run a new devil had to be risen, and the Middle East forever blamed for the chaos others in fact architected.

There it is … the infamous Shia label: “It is improbable that a group like ISIS would have been able to enjoy the kind of success under his [Saddam Hussein] repressive regime that they have had under the Shia-led Baghdad government,” Nixon wrote.

Call me crazy but it is as if Mr Nixon is trying to blame Iraq’s Shia population for the murderous insanity ISIS’s Wahhabism rose to carve itself an empire. Of course THAT would be incendiary criminal … and may I add eerily similar to those comments uttered by ISIS preachers when making the case for a grand religious cleanse against all things Shia.

Let me recap here: rather than blame the rise of Terror in Iraq – and by extension the Greater Middle East, on the ideology that has forwarded, supported and carried all ISIS-like militants: Wahhabism, a former CIA operative is blaming Iraq’s religious make-up?

Should we play political necromancy and resurrect Saddam Hussein then? But that would be making the case for another form of terrorism, surely America would never support despotism?

Unless of course it is … because really rationalising tyranny is exactly what Washington is vying for. You know now that ISIS is about to bite the dust of its own abomination.

According to Nixon, incoming US President Donald Trump will now have a chance to “play a very large role” in creating a new order in the Middle East. “This will require making tough decisions and, ultimately, recognizing that we may have to deal with people and leaders that we abhor if we want to help bring stability back to the region and limit the scope of terrorism’s reach.”

Here’s an idea: what about we leave Iraq’s fate to the Iraqis? Or better yet, what about we direct those eager pointed fingers at those parties, nations and ideologues, who, from the comfort of their plushy palaces … did I hear you say Saudi Arabia, have played genocide to satisfy their hunger for power?

Iraq was broken into by Terror by design, and not because of its religious demography. Arguing faith as the root-cause of Terror is ridiculous, unless of course the argument to be had is the criminalisation of the religious altogether.

But here is where Mr Nixon’s arguments no longer holds the road. Saddam Hussein’s legacy lives within ISIS! In which case why cry that complex which survived within the ranks of Wahhabist-exclusionists?

A report published by Reuters reads: “If Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is confirmed dead, he is likely to be succeeded by one of his top two lieutenants, both of whom were Iraqi army officers under late dictator Saddam Hussein.”

Terror as it were can reinvent itself under many different colours – especially when the goal is to rule through brutal force. Might it be through military force or religious fanaticism terrorism inner sanctum remains abject oppression.

The only real question we should ask is whose agenda Terror is best serving. Only then will we retaliate against it.

Exchanging one Terror for another might not be the most intelligent way forward, if Washington is to argue the moral high-ground.

Watch out for those quick sands!

By Catherine Shakdam – A version of this article was published in RT

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