In their continued efforts to wedge the Sunni and Shia peoples in the Middle East (bearing in mind that Sunnis are by far the largest Muslim group in the Middle East generally) the Americans have decided to take a punt and are now planning to arm Sunni insurgent groups in Iraq (where Sunnis are a minority group) under the guise of the Sunnis combating ‘al Qaeda in Iraq’.
The reality is that there is no ‘al Qaeda’ in Iraq per se (nor, indeed, hardly anywhere else). There used to be an ‘al Qaeda’ years ago in Afghanistan and there are still remnants of it scattered throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan today, but the label ‘al Qaeda’ today has essentially been hijacked by the US and their allies in order to perpetuate the myth of a monolithic and highly organised extremist pan Islamic global movement out to take over the world and convert it to hard-line Islam; great for propaganda purposes and the rhetoric of Western leaders but the accusations are completely baseless and founded entirely on the imagination of assorted neoconservative think tanks and propagandists and totally lacking any actual evidence.
Whereas the Sunnis of Iraq in the past were the most aggrieved by the invasion of their country by the US and their allies and, indeed, did lead the insurgency in attempting to rid their nation of the invader, the Shiites are now also expressing their displeasure at the prospect of having the US and their allies continuing what is looking like a long-term occupation by the US. As a result of this Shiites are now increasingly joining the insurgency against the US and their allies and, of course, they are doing this with the help of the Iranians (whose population, like Iraq, is mostly Shiite).
Most of the bodies that have been turning up all over Iraq showing signs of having been tortured and then executed are not as a result of secular tit-for-tat killings as the western media has portrayed, but as a result of insurgents having been rounded up by covert Iraqi police and army units acting under the auspices of American commanders. While many are actually insurgents there have also been many men of military age that have innocently been caught in the round-ups and have suffered the same fate.
In the bigger picture, the real enemy of the US (and Israel) is Iran and it is for this reason that the US are trying to wedge the two groups, the Sunni and the Shia. Their thinking is that if they can stir up the Shia of Iraq enough to begin making overt, as against the current covert, connections with Iran then this will provide casus belli for the US to attack Iran under cover of stopping Iranian intervention in Iraq as against halting Iran’s so-called nuclear weapons ambitions. In other words, war against Iran would be seen simply as an extension of their efforts to keep a lid on Iraq rather than as a separate war of aggression against Iran on top of the continuing war in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan, something the American people will absolutely not tolerate.
Action against Iran, however, if presented to the American people as efforts to protect American troops in Iraq, might be a little more acceptable to the American people – or so some in and close to the administration hopes. It’s certainly the road that Sen. Joe Lieberman would like to see the US take and it’s a view that Dick Cheney would be likely to support. But, and this is what’s really frightening, it’s also a perspective that George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice, both of whom lean more toward a diplomatic solution to the ‘Iran crisis’ may also consider favourably.
As always, however, the neocons dream up these scenarios but they never seem to actually play out when they try to put them into practice. This present scheme is also due to fail simply because the neocons have failed to realise that, while there is some, but now diminishing, animosity between the two groups in Iraq, their animosity toward the US and their allies is far, far greater and the US could well find that they’ve bitten off far more than they are able to chew if they attack Iran for any reason.