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Monday, April 13, 2015

ISIS, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen

ISIS is smashing 3000 year-old historical relics in the Iraqi city of Nimrud, in what has been called an orgy of destruction. In the picture below, barrels filled with explosives have been placed next to ancient Assyrian bas-reliefs:

Here's what came next:

The video cuts to jihadists speaking directly to the camera with one declaring they destroyed the site because it is 'worshipped instead of God'.

Last month, ISIS terrorists were pictured toppling crosses, smashing Christian relics with hammers and erecting the black flag of ISIS on churches in Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian empire.
ISIS has also been
destroying ancient works displayed in the Mosul museum.

Our mainstream media won't tell you that this outrage might have been prevented if the United States had worked with Iran from the start. From CNN last month:
A CNN team that's seen the offensive at close quarters noted that Iraqi army commanders appeared to be taking a subordinate role to leaders of the Shia militia, notably Hadi al Ameri, leader of the Badr Organization. Iranian military advisers are on hand, and highly influential on the battlefield...

So just why are the ISF incapable of reclaiming territory seized by ISIS?
Because George W. Bush stupidly disbanded the Iraqi military. That's why.

Right now, the Iranians have soldiers and advisers fighting ISIS in the field. Our anti-Muslim hatemongers continually tell us that the Iranians are extremists, even though Iranian soldiers are putting their asses on the line in the fight against Sunni extremism.

The following excerpt quotes Christopher Harmer of the Institute for the Study of War:
"The U.S. may not like Iranian influence in Iraq," says Harmer, "but what it absolutely cannot do is provide direct support to an Iranian-led military operation."
Why not?

Seriously. The time has come to ask that question.

Why shouldn't we support what the Iranians are doing in Iraq? If Iran and the US had worked together, those irreplaceable historical artworks might not have been blown to bits. If we could work with Stalin to combat Hitler, why is it so unthinkable for us to forge a truce with Tehran in order to polish off ISIS?

The alleged Iranian nuclear program is not the problem. Eric Margolis gets us closer to the truth:
Israel’s anguished alarms over Iran’s supposed nuclear “threat” were not even believed by its own crack intelligence services or those of the United States, but the relentless drumbeat of hate Iran propaganda convinced many in North America and even better-informed Europe that Iran is a menace.

What Israel really feared was not Iran’s non-existent nuclear threat but rather its ongoing support for the beleaguered Palestinians.

Iran became the last Mideast nation giving strong backing to creation of a Palestinian state. The Arab states opposing Israel have been silenced: Syria, Libya and Iraq crushed by war and torn asunder, Egypt and Jordan bought off with huge bribes. The Saudis have secretly allied themselves to Israel. So only Iran was left to champion Palestine.

That is why Israel made such a determined effort to push the US into war with Iran. With the feeble Arab states largely demolished or gelded, Israel’s hold on the Occupied West Bank and Golan would be unchallenged.
Everything comes down to Israel's ruthless determination to fulfill a slow but merciless campaign of ethnic cleansing. If a nation aids the Palestinians, that nation must fall.

The last time Iran invaded another country was more than two centuries ago. Iran signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Iran spends less on its military than do other regional powers.

And what if Iran did get the bomb? They are almost encircled by nuclear weapons located in Russia, Pakistan and India. It is very hard to make the argument that Pakistan may be trusted with nuclear weapons while Iran may not.

While I am hardly an admirer of  the Ayatollah Khameini, the Iranian government does have some of the trappings of democracy. Saudi Arabia does not. Yet we are aiding the Saudis in their unjustifiable war of aggression against the Houthis in Yemen.

Absurdly, we have aided in the rescue of Saudi pilots in Yemen, even though we've abandoned our own citizens.
A Michigan family with two toddlers and an infant was stranded in Yemen after being forced from its home by rebel gunmen. A California woman tried to flee through an arrangement with the embassy of Djibouti, but failed. A mother of four from New York also tried that route, at the State Department’s suggestion, only to hear the same reply: There would be no help.
At least eight other countries – including Russia, China and India – have rescued their citizens, but the United States has refused to launch an evacuation effort. U.S. officials claim that Yemen, where a U.S.-backed, Saudi-led air campaign is pummeling targets, is too dangerous for U.S. personnel to risk their lives, though U.S. aircraft have refueled Saudi bombers for the last two days, Pentagon spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.
Also see here.
Aerial bombardment and street battles have become a daily reality for people in Yemen. “We hear a few bombings a day. It’s very scary right now,” Arwa Al-Iraine, a US citizen trapped in Yemen told RT.

“Nobody will help us evacuate. The reply [of the US government] was an automated message that they do not have any evacuation plans. Basically we are left on our own.”

Another US citizen Shamsan Mansoob stranded in the strife-stricken country hit out at Washington, saying that “we never heard anything from them.” He told RT that his family - a pregnant wife and his son – couldn’t even leave the war zone as “there is no gas at the stations.”
Here's the kicker: Very recently, 300 foreign citizens trapped in Yemen -- including US nationals -- were rescued by Russia. Have you seen any coverage of that rescue on mainstream cable news? I haven't.

We did nothing to help U.S. citizens trapped in a war zone, yet we have done everything possible to aid the invaders who created that war zone.

"Scandalous" is too small a word to describe US policy in the region. Don't expect the Republicans to discuss any of this. Conservatives will slam Obama on Benghazi endlessly, but Saudi Arabia remains untouchable.
Joseph, I thought I'd draw to your attention two outstanding pices that may interest you.

Dilip Hiro has written a terrific commentary on the current geopolitics of Afghanistan.

And Philip Giraldi has written a history of the US-Israeli dealings with Iran.

These are terrific pieces, as good a summary of those countries as I've seen in a while.

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