Posted on January 4, 2020, by & filed under Jeff Halper, News.

The US killing of Iranian General Qassem Suleimani, hailed by Israel, only demonstrates the futility of Western military attempts to forge a Middle East conducive to its interests of oil and regional hegemony. It is a tragic game of the US, its Western allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia in which the peoples of the Middle East are held hostage, millions of lives wasted or ended so that the people of the West can enjoy cheap fossil fuels (destroying our planet), Western arms manufacturers can make their obscene profits of death, and US proxies like Netanyahu, Mohammad Bin Salman, Al-siss, Erdogan and all the others can stay in power. The aspirations of the region's peoples for democracy and development, human dignity and peace have been expressed in many "Arab Springs" throughout the region over decades.

The Middle Eastern "countries" (actually West Asia and North Africa) are creations of Western imperialism, particularly after WWI. The arbitrary lines defining "Iraq," "Syria," certainly Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and most of the others tore apart peoples and interconnected homelands and stuck remnants of others together that had little in common (like the Kurds, Sunnis and Shi'ites of modern Iraq). And when they tried to exert some sort of political independence, their leaders were killed or removed by Western countries and corrupt proxy dictators put in place.

That is what happened in Iran in 1954 when its democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was overthrown by the US, then the murderous secret police, the SAVAK, was trained by the CIA and the Israeli Mossad for Mosaddagh's repressive successor, the Shah.

The Iran Islamic state is certainly not any more representative of its people and just as repressive, as are most of the other regimes of the area put into place and protected by the West against the wishes of their peoples. But it is hardly a "global terror" state, certainly not on the scale of the West's ally, Saudi Arabia. Iran's military activities are pretty much confined to the Shi'ite world -- Iraq with its Shi'ite majority, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Houthis in Yemen (its involvement in Syria is at the invitation of the Syrian government, another artificial and repressive regime saved from its own people by Russia). And let us not forget that a political arrangement began to form with Iran, until the US, pushed by Israel, unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal, which might have led to further political, not military, initiatives.

It is Saudi Arabia, with its extreme Wahhabi Islam, that is truly global and violent. Its activities extend through the Sunni Arab world, from Nigeria to Indonesia, where its schools raise new generations of fanatics. It is Sunni Saudi that is responsible for al-Qaida and 9/11, not Iran, and it is Sunni Saudi that is the sponsor of the Taliban and ISIS -- which Iran is directly engaged in fighting. If anywhere, the US should have done regime change in Saudi Arabia rather than Iraq.

The Middle East is a mess -- with global implications -- and the last thing we need is more weaponry (the US just sold Saudi Arabia $350 BILLION of arms over the next 10 years) and more deadly, pointless, destabilizing military adventures. As always, it is up to the peoples of the region to rise up and resist. The disastrous results of the last two decades of US and Western involvement in Iraq, which is rapidly becoming a Shi'ite-dominated, anti-Western state, is only one case in point.

We are in the midst of a prolonged anti-colonial struggle, against outside powers and our own "leaders" as one. Ending the Israeli occupation is a key to this. It is not just a local affair. Israel exploits every division and source of instability to maintain its control over the Palestinians and protect American hegemony in the region. In fact, the very practice of targeted assassinations -- illegal under international law -- has become normalized in US policy because of Israeli precedents against Palestinian leaders, civilian as well as military.  Casting Iran as the enemy serves to deflect attention from Israel's occupation, Saudi terrorism and global destabilization, the role of arms salesmen and the anti-colonial struggles of the region's peoples, including the Iranians.

See also this analysis by historian, former ambassador and human rights activist Craig Murray


Jeff Halper
3 January 2020