Posted by howard in nyc
Remember, folks: the causes and reasons for war are often remembered far differently than as stated or widely understood at the beginning of the conflict.
This has been the case over and over. Sure, Libya is 'different'. Actually, it is quite remarkable that a coalition of Arab states is welcoming this US intervention (sure, the French and Danes would've gone ahead had we decided to sit on the sidelines), as are the people of eastern Libya.
But rest assured. In short order, the Muslim world and beyond will soon be saying, "sure, Gaadafi was bad, but they had no business invading Arab North Africa." And that is if Libya comes to a swift, happy conclusion, with Gaadafi gone, rebels in charge and committed to popular democratic rule. And oil continues to flow to Italy and elsewhere in the EU.
Anything goes wrong, and the ire of the world at yet another American intervention will grow. Again.
The obvious hypocrisy of Yemen and Bahrain, where the US government and military are on the side of the dictators literally shooting their own people, while we assist the people of Libya rebelling against another dictator who this year we don't like. A dictator who was a pariah, but then he paid a big bribe to the west, gave up some uranium, and was off our shit list, from 2003-2011. A horrible terrorist murderer, who six months ago was an ok guy, allowing Halliburton and other western companies profit from that oil trade.
There are two huge forces at work, as I see it. First is the obvious geopolitics of oil. Keep the oil flowing is the overwhelming factor in all American policy, regardless of refusal to state the obvious by almost everyone. China has developed a similar addiction to Middle East oil. Inevitably they will gradually get more and more involved in this region. Eventually with military force, by proxies or directly. So far their actions have been small, subtle and non-military. India, and thus Pakistan, will get into this mess too.
Second is the Sunni-Shia division in the Arab Muslim world. They love fighting one another only slightly less than they love killing Jews. The first shot of the coming battle along this religious schism has been fired with the Saudi invasion of Bahrain. On behalf of the Bahrain (Sunni) royals; against the Bahrain (Shia) majority population, up until this week protesting peacefully for democratic reforms.
Throw into the mix Iran: sitting on one of the larger pools of oil, a nation on the Shia side of Islam; a longtime enemy of the Saudi Kingdom. And an active supporter of any Arab, Sunni, Shia, Druze or whatthefuckever who wants to kill Jews in Israel.
I can't help to draw parallels to the late summer of 1914. Yeah, I know, a tired metaphor, a ragtag group of Serbian anarchic rebels assassinate the heir to the occupying kingdom throne, the Archduke of Austria-Hungary. But I see the multiple sparks ultimately resulting in these two large forces dictating how leaders and nations line up and fight a big hanging hairy conflict. Foreign powers that need oil--America and our baby brothers in Western Europe, India and China. And Arab Muslim states that have that oil, but some of them hate each other on strong religious terms.
Exactly how the nation-states line up into sides will be determined. The Saudi's have the biggest pool of oil, and they will only accept dollars if you want to buy some. The Chinese are tightly tied to the US dollar. Those two dollar facts are subject to change.
I will guess that Sunni will line up against Shia, China against the US and the West, Pakistan against India. Pakistan is 80% sunni (according to the wiki); Iran is 92% shia, and officially a Shia State, the Ayatollahs and all.
Yep. US, Europe, India and Iran on one side; China, Pakistan and Sunni Arabia on the other. of course Israel with the West team. Despite the rhetoric of the current monkey in Iran, who remember lost his election in 2009, the people there and ultimately the old men in clerical robes that call the shots could give a crap about Israel. They are much more concerned with what happens in next door Iraq, whose leader killed a couple of million Persians not all that long ago. They were quite happy to see Mr. Saadam go; they are cool with Iraq as long as their Shia brethren get a fair shake, and they probably have more control over events there than the Obama administration, as we withdraw many of our ground troops.
Iran, to oversimplify, despite all the blab blab you hear, hate the Sunni and Saudi much more than they hate the US and Israel. But they don't hate China at all yet.
A lot of my thinking is influenced by John Xenakis and his work at his Generational Dynamics website.
Which in turn is based on a foundation of Strauss/Howe and their Fourth Turning explanations of major historic events based on the turning of four generations.
Obama's action here is typically incoherent, hypocritical, illegal and likely to be counterproductive. I think it is folly for the US to start another military action, with the stupid Iraq and Afghan actions continuing, with the covert Pakistan and Yemen actions against Al Qaada (i don't know if i support or oppose those two, if they are smart or stupid, because my leaders don't trust me to tell me what they are doing and who they are killing). Without clear, discussed objectives, without any clue as to what is likely to happen next or how we may be drawn further into a post-Gaadafi situation. In the context of rebellion in Yemen and protest suppression in Baharain. Without Congressional debate, much less constitutionally mandated declaration. Yeah, I know, how quaint, the fucking constitution. I'm just old fashioned.
And even if I concede for a moment that it truly is in the vital interests of the USA to act to support the Libyan rebels, against Gaadafi. Why today? Did that vital interest not exist one week ago? two weeks ago? When Gaadafi could've been toppled with a feather, and with minimal bloodshed?
Even if this is a good idea, it was a much much better idea two weeks ago. And obviously, Obama was ignorantly hoping events would play out as they did in Tunisia and Egypt, without strong decisive action by the US. That just a few speeches would turn the trick. Despite the long history of rebellions against brutal dictators generally being protracted, bloody affairs. Being fooled by these two outliers in Tunis and Cairo. Didn't these fuckers ever read a history book at Harvard or Yale?
Regardless of the rhetoric of the moment, or the excuses that will follow, about being forced by events or by the looming shadow of humanitarian crisis, this is Obama's war of choice. For oil. For Italy's oil. Against a nation that bears zero threat to the United States. Without congressional approval, much less a declaration of war. Even if this goes perfect, and is over in a few weeks, it is wrong beyond what I imagined possible a couple of years ago.