This article has been reproduced from the Socialist Standard (February 2003), the monthly journal of The Socialist Party of Great Britain.
The whole history of the Middle East since the 1930s has revolved around the lengths to which the UK and USA will go to maintain control of the oil resources there and to prevent any rival, especially Russia, from gaining a foothold. Political coups, assassinations and the arming of any opponent to Russian influence have been just some of the clandestine activities that have created instability in the main trouble-spots of Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan. The more the statements from politicians and the media are analysed, the more it becomes apparent of what we are not being told. This amounts to deceit and lies because the purpose is to deliberately mislead.
How can President Bush and PM Blair make such distorted and hypocritical statements without being challenged? What does this tell us about our “free” media outlets, none of which remind the population or assist in overcoming their obvious collective amnesia?
Although gaining their independence during the early half of the 1900s, Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran had all experienced British Imperialism which had fostered a general anti-British sentiment. During World War II both Iraq and Iran were invaded and occupied by allied forces to protect the oil-fields, thus surrounding land-locked Afghanistan with Allied-occupied countries. After the war the allied armies withdrew but anti-West feelings remained in Iran. In 1951 Dr. Muhammad Mossadaq was elected as Prime Minister and he made moves to nationalise the country’s oil. The West responded by deposing Mossadaq in a coup in 1953 and foisting their pro-West puppet, the Shah, upon the Iranian people thus retaining the oil in private hands of 8 companies.
The arrogant, opulent and dictatorial Shah became increasingly unpopular among the people who eventually rallied to a revolution by Islamic Fundamentalists led by Ayatollah Khomeni. Supported by the masses, the revolution succeeded in 1979 and the Shah fled. Having lost their puppet in Iran, the West set up and armed Saddam Hussein in Iraq and prompted an all-out war with Iran during which the USA provided Saddam with chemical and biological weapons and know-how along with conventional military hardware and training, from 1980-88. All of these weapons were used against Iran by Saddam during these years.
American armament manufacturers enjoyed a profit bonanza by secretly selling arms to Iran at the same time – “Irangate” organised by Oliver North on behalf of corporate America. Iranian capitalists within their Islamic movement also profiteered by secretly selling oil to Israel. A cease-fire was negotiated in 1988 and led to peace terms in 1990 from which Iraq achieved absolutely nothing. From 1988-90 Saddam had used the weapons supplied to him to attack the Kurds in Northern Iraq who had supported Iran. He then made territorial demands and invaded Kuwait which led to Iraq up till then a staunch ally of America suddenly becoming an enemy in the Gulf War.
US President George Bush is now effectively condemning Saddam Hussein for developing the weapons which were presented to Iraq by the U.N. in the war against Iran while America has stockpiled the greatest arsenal of such weapons the world has ever known. Russia, China, Pakistan and India are among a collection of countries having nuclear weapons, and none of these “leaders” could be described as nice, friendly, reliable or gentle individuals. Saddam is different only because his country is floating on, and is surrounded by oil, on which America in particular is coming to depend, and demands control. Before the enthusiasm of Britain and Australia to become a close ally of the USA in a war becomes an irreversible obsession, they would be well advised to dwell upon the cost of such “loyalty”. There are numerous examples that clearly show such a move can become a disastrous and fatal health hazard. Apart from military blunders that cause habitual casualties from American “friendly fire”, there are the far more sinister political decisions based purely on American business interests which completely override any consideration for the plight of any ally.
President Bush states he has no quarrel with the Iraqi people but wants to replace the “evil Saddam Hussein and his regime”. But let us not forget that this was on the point of being achieved at the close of the Gulf War when the Kurds and Shi-ites of Iraq rose up in armed revolt against Saddam at the promptings of President George Bush senior. America then suddenly abandoned their new allies and allowed a vengeful Saddam to annihilate them by using the chemical weapons previously supplied to him by the USA It seems it was realised that it was in America’s interest to have the oil controlled by a single evil dictator rather than be spread out among several factions. And let us never forget the pro-American South Vietnamese allies who were suddenly abandoned when the US withdrew from that conflict, and left the complete list of names and details for the “Communists” to find – and subsequently deal with.
Meanwhile, Russian influence in Afghanistan was being opposed by Western capitalism. Having failed in Iran and Iraq, the Soviets organised a coup in Afghanistan in 1973 which led to steadily increasing unrest. This eventually prompted a Russian invasion of the country in 1979. The “West” countered this by organising, setting up, supporting, arming and training Islamic Fundamentalists to indulge in a guerilla Holy War against the invaders. These fanatical religious nutters were ideal for tackling the Russians in suicidal terror tactics to serve “Western interests”. The British SAS trained these fanatics and the USA supplied and supported the likes of Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida group.
Our war-mongering “Western” Christian Bible-punchers, Bush and Blair, are now desperately attempting to convince workers of the necessity to attack Iraq and remove Saddam. They allege they have proof that Saddam trained members of al-Qaeda but conveniently forget that Britain’s SAS did exactly the same thing when Iraq was an ally in armed conflicts against Iran and the Russians in Afghanistan. What sort of memories do our “Leaders” have? Alzheimer’s specials?
The real evil in this world is caused by the rival gangs of ruling class hoodlums who control all media outlets, and the ignorance of the masses who support them and the divisiveness of class, race, nationalism and religion. These are the factors preventing us from working together to repair our ecologically and environmentally damaged planet which has brought us again to the brink of a blood-bath for possession of oil.
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