Monday, November 26, 2007

The Surge is Working - Not.

Euphoria about Iraq is gripping the right. Violence is down as 162,000 now operational troops provide some semblance of security. “The surge is working!” Is the cry. Only it isn’t and the Bush White House knows it.

The original aim of the surge was to provide breathing space for the Iraqi government to come together and begin to legislate. Reducing the violence was not an aim but a means to get there. However despite the encouraging drop in bombings and sectarian attacks, Iraq’s government remains rooted to the spot, frozen and unable to move.

It’s yet another example of the underestimation of the way third world nations function by the American ruling class. Let’s go back a few years, back to the toppling of Iran’s first duly elected Prime Minister. The reason things came to a head was because the British underestimated the Iranians. The Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, which was ostensibly part of the British government, treated Iranians like dirt. The refinery workers earned less than 50cents a day, slept in ramshackle metal tenements cobbled together with no running water and no sanitation let alone electricity. A communiqué at the time by a British Diplomat described Iranians as being motivated by:

“an unabashed dishonesty, fatalistic outlook and indifference to suffering… The ordinary Persian is vain, unprincipled, eager to promise what he knows he is incapable or has no intention of performing, wedded to procrastination, lacking in perseverance and energy but amenable to discipline……although an accomplished liar, he does not expect to be believed….”

Now, being brutally honest, one could probably say that that could be taken as a pretty close description of how many Americans might view Iraqis today. It isn’t because Iranians or Iraqis are like that. It’s because our differences in culture make us see them that way.

At the bottom of this, is a belief that we can outwit them and that they won’t even mind even if they realize they are being outwitted. This outlook cost the AIOC its foothold in Iran. Whilst American companies were viewed at the time as being fair – Aramco was offering Saudi Arabia 50% of it’s profits, the Anglo-Iranian was stuck on 15% of profits from books cooked so that less than $100,000 a year flowed to Iran from His Majesty’s coffers. The result was a revolution and the privatization of Anglo-Iranian under the leadership of Mossadegh. The British were so incensed that they brought about his downfall using the Americans who were coerced into worrying that Iran would fall into Soviet hands.

This little piece of history is vitally important today, because it highlights the fact that we in the West still believe we can nation-build and that we can mold those nations to our liking. Nothing can be further from the truth and today, the evidence is in Iraq where the surge has worked, but it has failed. The Iraqi government will not divest itself of all its resources and hand them over to British and American oil companies just as the Iranians refused to back then.

To counteract this threat, the US is rapidly building military bases on top of oil platforms and fields. It’s truly like a vision of the apocalypse in Mad Max where countries will finally wage battles for the last drops of oil in fortresses defended by the West.

Already, as reported in a New York Times article, the original aim of the surge has already been changed to accommodate the latest developments:

While Bush officials once said they aimed to secure “reconciliation” among Iraq’s deeply divided religious, ethnic and sectarian groups, some officials now refer to their goal as “accommodation.”

So accommodation is the new ‘reconciliation.’ What this means in real terms is that the surge is not working as part of a solution for the country ‘Iraq’, but that it is part of the ongoing catastrophic quagmire that that land has become. Unable to reach consensus on any broad issues let alone details, the Iraqi government will falter and trip until the USA loses patience with Maliki. Desperate they will search for an alternative and like a Jack in the Box, up will pop one of the skeletons that has been plaguing the country for the past 25 years. The end result will be a crippled country, bereft of any income whilst its natural resources are plundered by an insatiable Western metal juggernaut of SUVs and a poverty stricken population with only the knowledge in their hearts that they were robbed. Together, that will most certainly provide the ultimate breeding ground for radicalism and hate towards the West.

Well done Mr. Bush. Your legacy is set to go.

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