About 'Behind the
War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq' by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
[ From http://www.clairviewbooks.com/pages/behindwar.html:]
[ Read the Introduction to this book ]
Following the US declaration of a 'war on terror', Washington
hawks were quick to label Iraq part of an 'axis of evil'. After a tense build-up, in March
2003 the United States and Britain invaded Iraq, purportedly to protect Western publics
from weapons of mass destruction (WMD). But was this the real reason, or simply a
convenient pretext to veil a covert agenda?
Using official sources, Ahmed investigates US and British claims
about Iraq's WMD programmes, and in the process reveals the hidden motives behind the 2003
invasion and the grand strategy of which it is a part. He shows that the true goals of
US-British policy in the Middle East are camouflaged by spin, PR declarations, and
seemingly noble words. The reality can only be comprehended through knowledge of the
history of Western intervention in the region. Ahmed demonstrates that such intervention
has been dictated ruthlessly by economic and political interests, with little regard for
human rights. He traces events of the past decades, beginning with the West's support for
the highly-repressive Shah of Iran, his subsequent usurpation by the Ayatollah's Islamist
regime, and the West's resultant backing of Saddam Hussein. The sponsorship of Saddam's
tyranny - a self-serving tactic intended to strategically counterbalance Iran - included
the supply of technology to build WMD as well as tacit complicity in their use against
Iranians and Kurds.
Ahmed's meticulous research into the secret history of Western
manoeuvrings in the Middle East since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, reveals the
actual causes of the first Gulf War, the humanitarian catastrophe created by the
twelve-year sanctions policy against Iraq, and the consistent obstructions of the 'Oil for
Food' programme. He also provides information on the West's own widespread use of WMD, and
the likely culprits of the 2001 anthrax attacks in the US.
About the Author
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is a political analyst specialising in the
study of conflicts from a human rights perspective. He is the founder and Executive
Director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development (IPRD) in Brighton, an
interdisciplinary think-tank dedicated to the promotion of human rights, justice and
peace, by providing a forum for the publication of relevant papers, articles and other
commentary in the fields of politics, philosophy and religion. The Institute is currently
a small organisation publishing contributions from academics and researchers from
different parts of the world who are working in their own fields, aiming to illuminate
interrelated global crises from an integrated perspective that accounts for social,
historical, political, ideological and cultural influences and processes. The Institute
aspires to eventually commission dialogue and research on specific areas and problems in
the hope of proposing new and alternative policies.
Ahmed is the author of the bestselling book on 9/11, The War on Freedom: How and Why America
was Attacked, September 11, 2001. The War on Freedom,
which received a lengthy review by Gore Vidal - former adviser to President John F.
Kennedy - in The Observer last year,
is a comprehensive study of the September 11th terrorist attacks, their causes,
consequences and linkages to domestic and foreign U.S. policies. It has been published in
the United States, Canada, Italy, Germany (by Random House/Bertelsmann), Malaysia, Singapore,
and Lebanon. It has also been highly recommended by many academics and organisations as a
key study of terrorism, including the Michigan-based media watchdog the Grand Rapids
Institute for Information Democracy (GRIID), and the UN-affiliated NGO 'Veterans for
Peace' consisting of former U.S. military veterans. Additionally, the book was heavily
featured in a prominent Canadian TV documentary on 9/11 last year, 'The Great Deception:
What Really Happened on September 11, 2001' by Barry Zwicker, a respected media critic who
taught Media & Society at Ryerson Polytechnic University for seven years, and who has
written frequently for national newspapers such as the Globe
and Mail, Toronto Star, and
Ahmed is also author of Behind the War on Terror: Hidden Agendas and the
Struggle for Iraq, Clairview Press, which studies the latest conflict with Iraq within
the historic context of Western intervention in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
Focusing on Western foreign policy in the Gulf, specifically Iraq, the work begins by
analysing the impact of colonial policy on the Middle East in the early 20th
Century, and moves on to discuss how this imperial policy of direct regional control
effectively evolved into a more sophisticated system of indirect influence after the
Second World War. Ahmed also discusses how Western policy effectively opposed and
forestalled indigenous development strategies adopted in the region, in favour of
socio-political and economic structures that favoured Western interests.
For two years, Ahmed worked as a researcher for the London-based
UN-affiliated NGO, the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). As an IHRC Researcher, he
authored a number of country reports on human rights practices, briefings for Members of
Parliament, and press releases. His reports have been used by lawyers to build cases for
their clients seeking asylum in the UK from their home countries where they have faced
significant persecution and/or abuse. Indeed, he specifically authored expert reports on
behalf of IHRC for two such court cases in the UK, and has been called to attend a court
session as an expert witness.
Ahmed's work has been published and used by respected news outlets,
journals and organisations. To give a few examples, his study of the geopolitical roots of
conflict in Afghanistan - Afghanistan, the Taliban and the
United States: The Role of Human Rights in Western Foreign Policy - was
published by the U.S. Institute for Afghan Studies and recommended as a resource by the
Programme on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University. It is also
recommended reading in the course in Peace and Conflict hosted by the Department of
Communication Studies at California State University. Another study of the recent history
of the Israel-Palestine conflict - The Impending Abyss: A
Comprehensive Assessment of the Past and Future Trajectory of the Israel-Palestine
Conflict - was used by the peer-reviewed webjournal, The Global Site,
affiliated to the University of Sussex. His study of Western intervention in the conflict
between East Timor and Indonesia - Indonesia, East Timor and the
Western Powers: A Case Study of the Role of Western Foreign Policy in Conflict Creation
and Peace Sabotage - is listed as a key text by Washington D.C.'s East Timor
Action Network. His IHRC human rights report on racial and religious discrimination in the
UK - The Oldham Riots: Discrimination,
Deprivation and Communal Tension in the United Kingdom - is cited in reports by the Runnymede Trust's Commission on the Future of
Multi-Ethnic Britain, and endorsed by the latter as "Clear political analysis of
events in northern Britain in 2001." He also regularly publishes papers and
commentaries on current affairs with the Media Monitors Network in Los Angeles.
Ahmed has traveled widely to lecture on current affairs. In 2001,
for example, he participated in the UN Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa,
as a member of a joint NGO delegation from the IHRC and Neturai Karta International, to
present a paper on the parallels between South African apartheid and the Israel-Palestine
conflict. Most recently, he joined the expert panel in a 'War & Peace' symposium in Germany
organised by Professor Peter Sloterdijk of Karlsruhe University, to present a paper on the
relationship between international terrorism and U.S. foreign policy in the aftermath of
the 11th September attacks. He also appears frequently on U.S. radio shows as
an expert on U.S. foreign policy.
Ahmed is a member of 'Transcend,' the international network of
scholars specialising in peace & conflict studies chaired by Professor Johan Galtung
of the University of Hawaii, and has been named a Global Expert on War, Peace &
International Affairs by The Freedom Network of the Henry Hazlitt Foundation in Chicago.
In October this year he will be Reader in Contemporary War and Peace Studies at the University
of Sussex, UK.
Table of Contents
for 'Behind the War on Terror'
Post-War Planning for World Control................................................
II. Propaganda and The Necessity of a Permanent Threat to
III. Post-Cold War Propaganda..........................................................
IV. 11th September and the Function of Terror.................................
The 1991 Gulf Massacre: The
Historical and Strategic Context of Western State Terrorism in the Persian Gulf 23
I. The Manipulation of the Middle East............................................... 24
II. Defending Western Values in Iran.................................................. 32
II.I The Shah.....................................................................................
The Iranian Revolution.............................................................
The Iran-Iraq War: Still Defending Western Values......................
III.I Befriending Tyranny..................................................................
Protecting Order in the Gulf...........................................................
IV.I The Creation of Saddam Hussein.......................................... 54
The Domestic Scene in the US.............................................
The International Scene.........................................................
US War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity................
Bleeding the Gulf: The
United Nations Sanctions on Iraq and the Corruption of Human Rights Discourse 84
US-UN Sanctions on Iraq..........................................................
I.I US Foreknowledge of Humanitarian Crisis Due to Sanctions Policy
Experts on the Impact of the Sanctions Regime....................
The Impact of the Sanctions............................................................
II.I Genocide through Economic Warfare................................... 94
Oil for Food or Oil for Blood?.................................................
The Objective of the Sanctions: Paying the Price.............
An Illegal Policy....................................................................
III.I Weapons of Mass Destruction: Permissible for Our Clients 124
Weapons of Mass Destruction: Reserving the Right........
The United Nations Weapons Inspections........................
Inspections or Intelligence Gathering?...............................
The 1998 Intervention..........................................................
9/11, Anthrax, and War Plan Iraq......................................
Manufacturing a New War: "Regime Change"?.............
Manufacturing a New War: UN Inspections......................
The Grand Strategy...............................................................
Conclusions: Subjugation or
Introduction to 'Behind the War on
The terrorist attacks
of 11th September 2001 opened the eyes of many to the turbulence and turmoil of
political events in the Arab and Muslim world. Those attacks to some extent signalled the
beginning of a new age - both in terms of the new dangers to world order from amorphous,
fluid, non-State terror structures such as Al-Qaeda; and in terms of the response to these
dangers on the part of Western governments, under United States leadership, in the new
'War on Terror.'
President George W.
Bush, and along with him many respected political commentators, characterised the 9/11
atrocity as an attack on freedom and civilisation by people who hate both. Indeed, many
opinion-makers deride the idea that the September 11th terrorist attacks could have been
somehow linked to American foreign policy. To seek such connections may be seen as adding
insult to injury, or unpatriotic. At the same time, it is clear that such an outrage could
not appear simply out of the blue.
No attempt to
understand the new 'War on Terror' and the terrorist attacks that preceeded it can succeed
without attempting to analyse the context of both. Such an analysis, of course, is not an
attempt to justify such appalling terrorism - but simply to scientifically discover the
political, economic and historic policies on the part of the United States and the West
that may have cultivated the extreme psychological grievances that inspire terror.
wisdom portrays the 9/11 attacks and previous such terrorist atrocities against US and
Western targets in a false ahistorical light that isolates such events from the wider
context of Western policy in the non-Western world. The general idea is that the
terrorists responsible for such atrocities, due to their inexplicably and intrinsically
evil nature, possess an unfathomable hatred against Western civilisation and the values
it, supposedly, holds most dear. This idea is integral to legitimising the new 'War on
Terror' that has commenced in the aftermath of 9/11.
scientist Professor Samuel Huntington is well known for establishing a theoretical context
for this idea in the form of an academically acceptable theory of international relations.
His 'clash of civilisations' thesis is a particularly stark example of how many elements
of Western academia attempt to justify the concept of an unfathomable Islam-West divide
and a new inevitable Cold War with Islam.[i] The thesis is also highly influential in US
policy-making circles. Tim Hames, a leading politician in the Republican Party who is very
close to the Bush administration, claimed only one day after the attacks that Huntington's
thesis was dominating the US political scene.[ii]
Huntington has most recently presented a summary of his work in an article titled 'The Age
of Muslim Wars' for Newsweek magazine. The
article's introductory synopsis asserts that:
"Contemporary global politics is the age of Muslim wars. Muslims fight
each other and fight non-Muslims far more often than do peoples of other civilizations.
Muslim wars have replaced the cold war as the principal form of international conflict.
These wars include wars of terrorism, guerrilla wars, civil wars and interstate conflicts.
These instances of Muslim violence could congeal into one major clash of civilizations
between Islam and the West or between Islam and the Rest."[iii]
Huntington's thesis builds upon a
long tradition of Western political animosity - motivated by geostrategic interests - in
the Middle East, since the end of the Cold War. Such animosity, it seems, is justified by
repeated reference to the intrinsically violent character of the 'Other,' in this case, of
"Islam." This ideological duality between the intrinsically superior
civilisation of the West and the intrinsically bestial civilisation of the 'Other,' is not
a new phenomenon in international relations, but rather builds upon a longstanding
tradition of warmongering.
Indeed, the new 'War
on Terror' being led by the United States in the aftermath of the 11th
September terrorist attacks is an extension of the same fundamental plans and principles
that have motivated and directed US foreign policy since the Second World War. On the
pretext of fighting against international terrorism, the US government is in reality
attempting to expand and consolidate its global pre-eminence in accordance with
longstanding strategies that have been contemplated and elaborated over a period of
decades. The roots of the new 'War on Terror' go all the way back to the international
political climate that resulted in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. In order to clearly
grasp the continuity between these successive periods in the development of world order,
we need to go back to the foundations of that order under US direction.
structure of world order envisaged by the US government in the post-Second World War
period was candidly described in a now declassified top-secret planning report produced by
the US State Department's policy planning staff, headed at the time by George Kennan. The
secret memo, produced in February 1948, states as follows:
"We have about 50 per cent of the world's wealth, but only 6.3 per cent
of its population... In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and
resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships
which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to
our national security. To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and
day-dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate
national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford the luxury of
altruism and world-benefaction... We should cease to talk about vague and... unreal
objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The
day is not far off when we will have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are
then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."[iv]
This document affirms
that primary US goals are orientated toward securing economic domination, or in other
words, control over world resources. This domination must be institutionalised by
establishing a global pattern of political relationships throughout the world, in which
such US domination can be maintained. Altruism and world-benefaction are therefore not
relevant to US goals. In fact, the very ideals that have always been traditionally
associated with the United States are here being dismissed as "vague" and
"unreal objectives". US monopoly over world resources will inevitably create a
global economic disparity, at the expense of the human rights, living standards, and
decisions of the populations of the non-Western world.
It comes as no
surprise then that the process of decolonisation initiated by the British Empire was, in
reality, an attempt to reconfigure that Empire in order to allow colonial control to
continue to survive in the face of increasing problems. Decolonisation therefore
constituted a front for covert colonialism - or rather, neo-colonialism.
As historian Professor Cranford Pratt of the University of Toronto
observes in his study of decolonisation, "all that Hailey, Cohen and other colleagues
[the British planners who drew up the plans for decolonisation] advocated can be
interpreted as shrewdly designed to protect and advance British economic and political
interests in these changing circumstances."[v] In fact, the planners even admitted that
the essence of the so-called process of decolonisation "was a plan to convert (or
reconvert) formal into informal empire as the need arose" in order that "such
colonial reform would extend the life of colonial control."[vi] Thus, regarding the process of
decolonisation in the Middle East, British Prime Minister Clement Attlee observed in 1947
that "we shall constantly appear to be supporting vested interests and reaction
against reform and revolution in the interests of the poor" - in other words,
maintaining the entrenched domestic social, economic and political structures under
colonial rule favouring colonial interests, despite the withdrawal of colonial forces.[vii]
The form of imperialism that resulted from this strategy was described well by Kwame
Nkrumah, Ghana's first post-colonial President. Nkrumah, as part of a growing awareness
among the elite in post-colonial Africa, saw firsthand that the granting of formal
independence and national sovereignty to African states by the colonial powers was a
purely token gesture that failed to substantially alter relations between the former and
the latter. The term he coined to describe this stage of imperialism was
"Neo-colonialism is... the worst form of imperialism. For those who
practise it, it means power without responsibility and for those who suffer from it, it
means exploitation without redress. In the days of old-fashioned colonialism, the imperial
power had at least to explain and justify at home the actions it was taking abroad. In the
colony those who served the ruling imperial power could at least look to its protection
against any violent move by their opponents. With neo-colonialism neither is the
But as British global power steadily declined, the US gladly took
its place, taking Britain in particular under its wing as a "junior partner in an
orbit of power predominantly under the American aegis," as described in a
declassified British document.[ix] A series of other documents produced during
the Second World War by the War and Peace Studies Project of the Council on Foreign
Relations, which enlisted the participation of top government planners, confirms that
"the British Empire as it existed in the past will never reappear... the United
States may have to takes its place."[x] Policy planners set out to fulfil the
"requirement[s] of the United States in a world in which it proposes to hold
unquestioned power" (1940). This implied the implementation of "an integrated
policy to achieve military and economic supremacy for the United States", including
the plan "to secure the limitation of any exercise of sovereignty by foreign nations
that constitutes a threat to the world area essential for the security and economic
prosperity of the United States and the Western Hemisphere."
The documents further state that the United States "must
cultivate a mental view toward world settlement after this war which will enable us to
impose our own terms, amounting perhaps to a pax-Americana." Accordingly, it was
decided that the definition of the "security interests" of the United States be
extended to include regions of the world that are "strategically necessary for world
control." A State Department memorandum of April 1944 clarified the philosophy behind
this concept of Western 'access to resources.'[xi] The philosophy was: equal access for
American companies to world resources - but not for others;[xii] the US domination of Western Hemispheric
production while US holdings are diversified elsewhere;[xiii] and in summary "the preservation of
the absolute position presently obtaining, and therefore vigilant protection of existing
concessions in United States hands coupled with insistence upon the Open Door principle of
equal opportunity for the United States companies in new areas."[xiv]
It was well understood that these policies, if expressed honestly,
would be highly unpalatable to the general public around the world. For example, Council
on Foreign Relations documents from mid-1941 recognised that a "formulation of a
statement of war aims for propaganda purposes is very different from a formulation of one
defining the true national interest." It was further noted: "If war aims are
stated, which seem to be concerned solely with Anglo-American imperialism, they will offer
little to people in the rest of the world... Such aims would also strengthen the most
reactionary elements in the United States and the British Empire. The interests of other
peoples should be stressed, not only those of Europe, but also of Asia, Africa and Latin
America. This would have a better propaganda effect."[xv]
In accordance with
the need to establish ideological legitimacy for Anglo-American imperialism, it was
essential - as part and parcel of war propaganda - to manufacture a global threat that
would provide justification for military interventions designed to expand the US Empire.
By fabricating a
malignant global threat to the very existence of Western civilisation, the great powers
could legitimise the illegitimate use of force. And this is how the Cold War, the
apparently noble defence against global Communist aggression, escalated. Former US
statesman and noted scholar George Kennan, who had originally proposed the aggressive US
strategy of Russian containment, admits that the threat of Russian military expansion that
justified US policy during the Cold War did not exist:
"I... went to great lengths to disclaim the view, imputed to me by
implication... that containment was a matter of stationing military forces around the
Soviet borders and preventing any outbreak of Soviet military aggressiveness. I
protested... against the implication that the Russians were aspiring to invade other areas
and that the task of American policy was to prevent them from doing so. 'The Russians
don't want', I insisted, 'to invade anyone. It is not their tradition... They don't want
war of any kind'."[xvi]
Kennan also noted
that "the image of a Stalinist Russia poised and yearning to attack the West, and
deterred only by [US] possession of atomic weapons, was largely a creation of Western
threat was therefore certainly exaggerated far beyond reality to legitimise Anglo-American
imperialism. This has been further documented in detail by British historian Mark Curtis,
a former Research Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, in his book The Ambiguities of Power. Curtis digs deep into
newly declassified British documents proving country-by-country that the real motivation
behind US military interventions during the Cold War was not Soviet deterrence, but the
crushing of popular, indigenous nationalist movements for independence, and the
establishment of US control over strategic regions.
On 1 January 1999, The Guardian reported on some such documents from
1968. Among them was one based on an analysis by the Foreign Office Joint Intelligence
Committee, summarised by The Guardian as
"The Soviet Union had no intention of launching a military attack on the
West at the height of the Cold War, British military and intelligence chiefs privately
believed, in stark contrast to what Western politicians and military leaders were saying
in public about the 'Soviet threat'. 'The Soviet Union will not deliberately start general
war or even limited war in Europe,' a briefing for the British chiefs of staff - marked
Top Secret, UK Eyes Only, and headed The Threat: Soviet Aims and Intentions - declared in
June 1968. 'Soviet foreign policy had been cautious and realistic', the department argued,
and despite the Vietnam war, the Russians and their allies had 'continued to make contacts
in all fields with the West and to maintain a limited but increasing political dialogue
with Nato powers'..."
Council Directive - NSC68 - clearly affirms that US military interventions during the Cold
War would have been pursued whether or not the Soviet Union constituted a threat.
"Our overall policy at the present time, may be described as one designed to foster a
world environment in which the American system can survive and flourish... This broad
intention embraces two subsidiary positions. One is a policy which we would probably
pursue even if there were no Soviet threat."
But as Kennan confirmed, there was no such "monolithic and
ruthless conspiracy" emanating from the Soviet Union, as it had been described by
President John F. Kennedy. That did not stop British and American government officials
from pretending that there was in order to justify imperialism. Former Under-Secretary of
State and future Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Lovett, said pointedly about the
international Communist threat: "if we can sell every useless article known to man in
large quantities, we should be able to sell our very fine story in larger
During the Cold War, as noted by historian Howard Zinn, Professor
Emeritus at Boston University, the US administrations of the time "worked to create
an atmosphere of crisis and cold war". Even though "the rivalry with the Soviet
Union was real", the United States "presented the Soviet Union as not just a
rival but an immediate threat. In a series of moves abroad and at home, it established a
climate of fear - a hysteria about Communism - which would steeply escalate the military
budget, stimulate the economy with war-related orders. This combination of policies would
permit more aggressive actions abroad, more repressive actions at home... Revolutionary
movements in Europe and Asia", that were in fact 'nationalist' in orientation,
"were described to the American public as examples of Soviet expansionism."[xix]
The process of Empire-building that occurred during this period has
been extensively analysed by Professor Andrew Bacevich, Director of the Center for
International Relations at Boston University, in his seminal study American Empire.
Professor Bacevich's well-documented thesis is that the emergence of the American Empire
was the meticulously planned product of a concerted design. Building upon the works of the
American historians Charles Beard and William Appleman Williams, Bacevich observes that
during the Cold War the US was consciously attempting to expand its Empire using every
excuse possible resulting from the bipolar division of global power. Prior to the Cold War
period, the US exploited the two world wars in the same manner. The basic policy was to
conduct pre-emptive strikes often without justification, when considered necessary (for
instance, when annexing the Spanish empire); delay entry into world conflicts until
potential competitors were suitably weakened; intervene to stabilise the situation and
collect the spoils. The US was thus able to establish its global leadership unchallenged.[xx]
Thus, as former State
Department official William Blum observes, between 1945 and 1999 the US had conducted
extremely serious military interventions against over 70 nations to secure the following
the world safe for American corporations;
the financial statements of defense contractors at home who have contributed generously to
members of congress;
the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to the
political and economic hegemony over as wide an area as possible, as befits a 'great
concludes: "The question that urgently demands attention - the question that
Americans can no longer afford to dodge - is not whether the United States has become an
"The question is what sort of Empire they intend theirs to be. For
policy makers to persist in pretending otherwise - to indulge in myths of American
innocence or fantasies about unlocking the secrets of history - is to increase the
likelihood that the answers they come up with will be wrong. That way lies not just the
demise of the American empire but great danger for what used to be known as the American
After the collapse of
the Soviet Union, US plans and strategies for the expansion and consolidation of the
American Empire required a new threat, and a new pretext, to provide humanitarian
legitimacy to those plans and strategies. Successive US administrations thus began working
incessantly on new threats and pretexts with which to replace the dead threat of
Communism. Several spectres of doom came to the fore: rogue states, weapons of mass
destruction, and most dangerous of all, Islamic terror.
Former bureau chief
of the Jerusalem Post and
adjunct scholar of the Cato Institute, Leon T. Hadar, documented in the early 1990s how
terrorism with an Islamic face became the most prominent new threat: "Now that the
Cold War is becoming a memory, America's foreign policy establishment has begun searching
for new enemies. Possible new villains include 'instability' in Europe - ranging from
German resurgence to new Russian imperialism - the 'vanishing' ozone layer, nuclear
proliferation, and narcoterrorism. Topping the list of potential new global bogeymen,
however, are the Yellow Peril, the alleged threat to American economic security emanating
from East Asia, and the so-called Green Peril (green is the color of Islam). That peril is
symbolized by the Middle Eastern Moslem fundamentalist - the 'Fundie', to use a term
coined by The Economist."[xxiii] In 1995
then NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes described Islam as "at least as dangerous as
communism was." He added: "NATO is much more than a military alliance. It has
committed itself to defending basic principles of civilization that bind North American
and Western Europe."[xxiv]
Mamoun Fandy of the
Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University reports: "The US has
placed counterterrorism at the top of its international and domestic agendas, and much of
the political mobilization to win support for antiterrorism measures has been focused on
the need to confront and overcome 'Muslim fundamentalism' or 'Islamic terror'.
Domestically, the US government won support for sweeping new antiterrorism legislation
through repeated references, both veiled and overt, to the threat posed by Islamic
terrorists... The US identifies all political activities that mobilize using Islamic
symbols as 'terrorism' aimed at undermining Washington's grand strategy in the Middle
East... US policymakers continue to use 'Islamic terror' as the replacement for 'the
communist menace' or the 'evil empire', as the ideological enemy against which all US
policy should be aimed. The US is still thinking in state-based, cold war terms".[xxv]
And that, of course, brings us
back to the controversial "clash of civilisations" thesis of Samuel Huntington,
a thesis which projects the probability of a future cataclysmic war between Western and
The "clash of
civilisations" thesis provides a stunningly convenient ideological framework in which
to situate the new threat posed by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda is a fluid
non-State international network of terrorist cells which has tentacles all over the world,
and yet due to its fluidity remains as elusive as ever. And such international Islamic
terrorism, the reach of which is indefinite and the defeat of which is indeterminable,
provides a permanent spectre of imminent doom that is highly convenient for a US
government which plans to conduct worldwide operations to expand and consolidate its
The new 'War on
Terror' undoubtedly builds upon this pre-9/11 policy in the Middle East, a policy
motivated less by the reality of an all-pervading terrorist threat, and more by a
longstanding regional "grand strategy" designed to consolidate and expand US
global power. Indeed, the series of interventions and the essential strategy deployed in
the new 'War on Terror' were extensively planned prior to the 11th September
terrorist attacks, in order to target key strategic regions heavily laden with energy
reserves, particularly oil. Scotland's Sunday Herald
refers to "a secret blueprint for US global domination" revealing extensive
military plans endorsed by "President Bush and his cabinet... even before he took
power in January 2001...
"The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a
'global Pax Americana' was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld
(defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld's deputy), George W Bush's younger brother
Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney's chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America's
Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September
2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC)."[xxvi]
Other members of the
Bush administration who contributed to the report include John Bolton, Undersecretary of
State; Stephen Cambone, head of the Pentagon's Office of Program, Analysis and Evaluation;
Eliot Cohen and Devon Cross, members of the Defense Policy Board, the powerful Pentagon
advisory group; and Dov Zakheim; Defense Department Comptroller.[xxvii]
outlined in the PNAC document, representing the essential sentiments of Bush's cabinet, is
therefore worth exploring here in some detail. Principally, the document supports a
"blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great
power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles
and interests." It also cites approvingly an earlier 1992 Pentagon document authored
by Wolfowitz and Libby advocating that the US must "discourage advanced industrial
nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global
In this vein, US
armed forces operating abroad are described as "the cavalry on the new American
frontier." A "core mission" for the "cavalry" is to "fight
and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars." To thus preserve the "global Pax
Americana", the report concludes that US forces must perform "constabulary
duties" - in other words, act as policeman of the world thus undermining the United
Nations. Peacekeeping missions, for instance, "demand American political leadership
rather than that of the United Nations." Instead of the UN, the United Kingdom is
pinpointed as a convenient instrument of the American Empire, or in the words of the PNAC:
"the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global
leadership." Moreover, this overall imperial blueprint amounts to an "American
grand strategy" that must be advanced for "as far into the future as
To secure this state
of affairs and to prevent any State from challenging the US, a much larger US military
presence must be spread throughout the world in addition to the approximately 130 nations
where US forces are already stationed. To that end, permanent military bases must be
installed in the Middle East, in southeast Europe, in Latin America and in southeast Asia,
where no such bases previously existed. Even further, the report endorses the creation of
"US Space Forces" to dominate space, as well as absolute control of cyberspace
to counter "enemies" attempting to use the internet to thwart US interests.
Most pertinent to
this study, the PNAC blueprint shows that Bush's cabinet had planned to establish military
control over the Persian Gulf regardless of Saddam Hussein and any threat his regime may
or may not have posed to the world, or to his own people. "The United States has for
decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security," the document
notes. "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification,
the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the
regime of Saddam Hussein." In one fell-swoop, the document dispels the myth that the
Bush plan to invade Iraq was fundamentally motivated by concerns regarding Saddam's regime
such as weapons of mass destruction and so on. Such "unresolved" issues were
only useful in providing "immediate justification" for an intervention designed
to expand "the new American frontier" in order to maintain "global US
But Iraq is only the beginning. Among the other pertinent points
raised by the PNAC report is the fact that "even should Saddam pass from the
scene," the US intends to maintain bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait permanently,
despite domestic opposition. The document further lists several other States as dangerous
rogues representing a threat to US designs, namely, North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran.
The existence of such regimes requires the establishment of a "world-wide
command-and-control system" under US tutelage. Iran in particular, the report
observes "may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has", raising
the spectre of another US intervention. Worse still, the document advocates "regime
change" in China, to be supported by increasing "the presence of American forces
in southeast Asia" in order that "American and allied power" provide
"the spur to the process of democratisation in China." Europe is also targeted
as potentially rivalling the US.[xxviii]
Labour MP Tam Dalyell, the highly-regarded father of the House of
Commons, described the PNAC report as "a blueprint for US world domination-a new
world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who
want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have
got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing."[xxix]
grand strategy" outlined by the PNAC in 2000, however, was in the making for at least
almost a decade. As noted by David Armstrong, an investigative reporter for the Washington
D.C.-based National Security News Service, unclassified documents from the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, authored principally by current Vice-President Dick Cheney as well
as by other key government officials such as Paul Wolfowitz, Colin Powell and Donald
Rumsfield, reveal continually updated planning "for global dominance."[xxx] The series of documents outlines a
consistent direction for US foreign policy that Armstrong characterises as "the
Plan." The Plan was published in unclassified form most recently as Defense Strategy for the 1990s, when Cheney was
ending his term as Secretary of Defense under the Presidency of George Bush Snr. in 1993.
The Plan, "a perpetually evolving work" again surfaced in June 2002 as "a
presidential lecture in the form of a commencement address at West Point," and was
"leaked to the press as yet another Defense
"It will take its ultimate form, though, as America's new national
security strategy... The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme
is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United
States to maintain its overwhelming superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to
challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It
says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must
be absolutely powerful."[xxxi]
terrorist threat, following on from the 11th September terrorist attacks, is
being used to justify the US drive "to rule the world," implementing plans and
strategies that were formulated quite independently (i.e. long before), those attacks.
Under the guise of fighting international terrorism on a crusade for justice, the US-led
'War on Terror' in reality continues a far more familiar tradition of Western crusading
for the expansion of power and profit. International terrorism thus plays a functional
role in world order under US hegemony. President Bush needs terrorist Osama. Without bin
Laden, Bush would have no permanent worldwide target, and thus no legitimacy for the new
"pax Americana." Other bogeymen such as Saddam Hussein - who are alleged
(without evidence) to be linked to al-Qaeda - play a similar role in the strategic and
highly lucrative Persian Gulf region, which appears to be one of the first stepping-stones
by which the Bush administration intends to consolidate its Empire-building strategy in
the Middle East and beyond.
Although this study
does not specifically argue against Huntington, whose theory is in many ways a product of
a rising trend within the Western political establishment, it is intended in part to be a
thorough - if indirect - rebuttal of his essential thesis. The study attempts to uncover
the thrust of Western policy in the Middle East by contextualising current events in the
light of the historic pattern of that policy. Focusing on the history of Western policy in
the Persian Gulf, specifically in Iraq, the work begins by analysing the impact of
colonial policy on the Middle East in the early 20th Century. I then discuss
how this imperial policy of direct regional control evolved into a more sophisticated
system of indirect control in the period after the Second World War, whereby joint
Anglo-American power in particular manipulated the political fabric of the region in
accordance with Western interests consisting primarily of access to oil and gas.
As a matter of
necessity, this consistently involved creating and supporting pliant pro-Western dictators
and their corrupt regimes. In order to protect and maintain the stability of this system
of indirect control - what might be characterised as "surrogate-imperialism" -
Anglo-American power has routinely conducted military interventions and orchestrated
conflicts in the region. The end goal of such brutal overt and covert military policies
has been simply to secure and protect regional Western interests, normally at the expense
of the rights and wishes of indigenous populations.
I study the cases of
Iran; the installation of the Shah; the Iran-Iraq War; the installation of Saddam Hussein;
the 1991 Gulf War; the UN sanctions regime; the Western record viz-a-viz weapons of mass
destruction; the apparent renewal of the Anglo-American war on Iraq in 1998; and the
Anglo-American drive to invade and occupy Iraq in 2003 as outstanding examples of the
historic operation of this regional system of Western (primarily Anglo-American) control.
ultimately, is that this record of Western policy in the Middle East, specifically in the Persian
Gulf, is unambiguous evidence of a system of surrogate-imperialism that has been quite
deliberately developed by the Western powers in order to protect and secure their regional
interests which have remained fundamentally the same since the colonial era. The
significant difference between the new stage of surrogate-imperialism and the colonial
system from which the former has developed is the more sophisticated and subtle structure
of nation-States coopted, manipulated and to a high degree effectively controlled by
Anglo-American power. When that system of control shows signs of collapsing - for instance
by the rise of indigenous nationalism - the necessity of Western military intervention is
invoked to protect that system, and brutal military force is utilised to impose Western
will. The hysterical Anglo-American drive for war in the Persian Gulf since 11th
September 2001 is a late example of this, manifesting at once the imminent collapse of
this system of control due to a variety of factors (especially depletion of world energy
resources and regional political developments) and the consequent urgent desire on the
part of the Anglo-American elite to immediately intervene to protect, consolidate and
expand that system. Consolidation and expansion is hoped to be achieved by the military
invasion and permanent occupation of the Persian Gulf, converting the Anglo-American
alliance - under US leadership - into a direct regional power with the capacity to
restructure the entire Middle East.
By unveiling the
little understood record of Western policy in the Persian Gulf and its implications with
regards to the fundamentally imperial structure of the international system, this study
aims to clarify the roots and probable trajectory of current conflict in the Middle East.
In doing so, I also hope that this work will contribute to generating a more balanced
understanding of conflict and terrorism in the Middle East, thus reinvigorating the
Western approach to security, and perhaps helping to pave the way towards establishing a
genuinely peaceful, just and democratic world for all.
[i] Huntington, Samuel, Clash of Civilizations: Remaking of World Order, Simon
& Schuster, New York, 1996.
[ii] The Times, 12 September 2001.
[iv] Policy Planning Staff,
'Review of current trends: US foreign policy', 24 February, 1948, Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS), Vol.
1, Part 2, p. 510-29
[v] Cited in Gifford, Prosser
and Louis, W. Roger (eds.), The transfer of power in Africa:
Decolonisation 1940-1960, Yale University Press, London, 1982, p. 261
[vi] Cited in ibid., pp. 42, 51
[vii] Cited in Kiernan, V. G., European Empires from Conquest to
Collapse, 1815-1960, Fontana, London, 1982, p. 205.
[viii] Nkrumah, Kwame, Neo-Colonialism:
The Last Stage of Imperialism,
Thomas Nelson and Sons, London, 1965.
[ix] Spoken by John Balfour of
the British embassy in Washington, to then British Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin, 9
August 1945, Documents on British Foreign Policy
(DBFP), London, 1954, Ser. 2, Vol. 2, pp. 244-5. For an extensive overview of
how the US and British powers developed the colonial system into a new order of indirect
control, see Curtis, Mark, The Great Deception:
Anglo-American Power and World Order, Pluto Press, London, 1998.
[x] From the series of
memoranda of the War and Peace Studies Project of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR)
during the Second World War, whose participants included top government planners and
members of the foreign policy establishment; this and the following comments made in the
next three paragraphs rely on Shoup, Laurence H., 'Shaping the Postwar World', Insurgent Sociologist, Vol. 5, No. 3, Spring 1975,
which includes references for the quotes in the next three paragraphs; see also, Shoup, L.
and Minter, W., Imperial Brain Trust,
Monthly Review Press, New York, 1977; Chomsky, Noam, Towards
a New Cold War: Essays on the Current Crisis and How We Got There, Sinclair
Brown, London, 1982
[xi] State Department
Memorandum, 'Petroleum Policy of the United States', April 1944
[xii] cited in Kolko, Gabriel, The Politics of War, Random House, New York, 1968,
[xiii] see Blair, John, The Control of Oil, Pantheon, New York, 1976
[xiv] see 'Multinational Oil
Corporations and US Foreign Policy (MNOC), Report to the Committee on Foreign Relations,
US Senate, 2 January 1975, Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1975
[xv] cited in Chomsky, Noam, Towards a New Cold War, op. cit., p. 100; for
further analyses of the design and execution of US imperial planning as documented in the
Pentagon Papers see Du Boff, Richard B., 'Business Ideology and Foreign Policy', in
Chomsky, Noam and Zinn, Howard (eds.), Critical Essays,
published as volume 5 of the Gravel edition of the Pentagon Papers (Beacon Press, Boston,
1972); see also Dower, John, 'The Superdomino in Postwar Asia' in the same volume; and
Chomsky, Noam, 'The Pentagon Papers and US Imperialism in South East Asia', The Spokesman, Winter 1972/3; Chomsky, Noam, For Reasons of State, op. cit. As Chomsky comments,
the central aim espoused in the Pentagon Papers involved the integration of Southeast Asia
into a US dominated global system that would ensure American "access to
resources", by preventing any possibility of independent domestic utilisation of
resources. This provided the primary basis for policies toward, for example, Vietnam,
under the guise of self-defence against the Communist threat - in actuality the only
"threat" was to American economic hegemony.
[xvi] Kennan, George F., Memoirs, Little, Brown, Boston, 1967, p. 361
[xvii] cited in Talbott, Strobe,
'Rethinking the Red Menace', Time, 1
[xviii] Record of a meeting of the
State-Defence Policy Review Group, 16 March 1950, FRUS,
1950, Vol. 1, p. 198.
[xix] Zinn, Howard, A People's History of the United States, Harper
& Row, New York, 1980, Chapter 16.
[xx] Bacevich, Andrew J., American Empire: The Realities and
Consequences of US Diplomacy, Harvard University Press, 2002.
[xxi] Blum, William, 'A Brief
History of US Interventions: 1945 to the Present,' Z Magazine, June 1999.
For a thoroughly documented review of such interventions see Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA
Interventions Since World War II, Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine, 1995.
[xxii] Bacevich, Andrew, American Empire, op.
[xxiii] Hadar, Leon T., 'The
"Green Peril": Creating the Islamic Fundamentalist Threat', Policy Analysis, Cato Institute, No. 177, 27 August
[xxiv] Guardian, 3 February 1995. Similar such quotes from
the Western press and academia are cited copiously in Said, Edward, Covering Islam, op. cit.
[xxv] Fandy, Mamoun, 'In Focus:
Islamists and US Policy', Foreign Policy In Focus,
Vol. 1, No. 21, December 1996
[xxvii] Bookman, Jay, 'The
president's real goal in Iraq,' Atlanta-Journal Constitution,
29 September 2002, http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html.
[xxviii] For full document, see
PNAC Report, Rebuilding America's Defenses:
Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, Project for the New
American Century, Washington D.C., September 2000,
[xxix] Mackay, Neil, 'Bush
planned Iraq "regime change" before becoming President,' op. cit.
[xxx] These documents are as
follows: Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999
Fiscal Years (Draft), Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992; Defense Planning Guidance for the 1994-1999 Fiscal Years
(Revised Draft), Office of the Secretary of Defense, 1992; Defense Strategy for the 1990s, Office of the
Secretary of Defense, 1993; Defense Planning Guidance
for the 2004-2009 Fiscal Years, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2002.
[xxxi] Armstrong, David, 'Dick
Cheney's Song of America: Drafting a plan for global dominance,' Harpers Magazine, October 2002, Vol. 305, No. 1892.