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Duel in the Sun: America's Iraqi Clients Play the Al Qaeda Card on Syria
First published in Empire Burlesque earlier today, 31 August 2009
Sectarian extremist Nouri al-Maliki has turned to the time-honored tactic used by governments since time immemorial to divert attention from its own manifest failures: blaming foreign devils.
The American client government in Iraq has embarked on a remarkable campaign of diplomatic hostilities with its neighbor, Syria, accusing Damascus of, among other things, the modern-day blood libel that immediate consigns a nation to diplomatic hell, and makes it a target for what George W. Bush used to call "the path of action": supporting al Qaeda.
As Jason Ditz reports, America's Baghdad satrapy has been broadcasting confessions "obtained" (via "strenuous" but no doubt justified and right-minded interrogation) from captives blamed for the recent bombing attacks that have shaken the PR image of a calmer, surge-soothed Iraq. The bombings also pointed up the vast failures of the client regime to provide security or bring together the warring factions inside the country. These goals are of course impossible for a regime installed and maintained in power by foreign invasion; even so, they represent the Green Zoners' sole claim to "legitimacy." Thus any threat to the PR image undermines the regime's hopes to survive the partial reduction of American occupation forces (erroneously termed a "withdrawal" in the obfuscating argot of imperial message management).
And so the client state led by sectarian extremist Nouri al-Maliki has turned to the time-honored tactic used by governments since time immemorial to divert attention from its own manifest failures: blaming foreign devils. Naturally, the Maliki regime cannot blame its foreign masters in Washington for unleashing, arming, abetting and exacerbating the murderous chaos in the conquered land. Nor can they blame their long-time mentors and supporters in Iran. So that leaves Syria.
With the televised confessions, the Maliki regime has moved swiftly from blaming Baathist diehards who have been hiding amongst the multitude of Iraqi refugees to accusing the Damascus regime of openly directing the attackers -- and now, in the latest show-trial spectacle, of supporting al-Qaeda training camps on Syrian soil.
This is heavy stuff indeed. For as we all know, the presence of al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan was the sole, purported reason for the American invasion in 2001; and preventing the re-establishment of such camps is still one of the primary excuses for continuing the slaughter there. The presence (or threat) of al-Qaeda camps is also proffered as justification for extending the Terror War into Pakistan and Somalia. What's more, the continual -- and blatantly false -- trumpeting of a "connection" between al Qaeda and Iraq was, in the end, the principal reason why the Iraq invasion garnered so much initial public support; the act of unprovoked aggression was seen as "payback for 9/11," as so many U.S. soldiers put it in those heady early days.
The "al Qaeda" card trumps everything else. It justifies any action: invasion, torture, drone attack, rendition, death squads, covert ops, war profiteering, draconian power -- "the dark side, if you will," as one great American statesman put it. By openly accusing the Syrian government of sponsoring al Qaeda and directing terrorist attacks inside Iraq, the Maliki regime is laying the groundwork for any action their Washington masters might want to take against Damascus at any time.
The regime is also giving one more reason to delay and dilute the American drawdown (which is also a cherished goal of the American militarists): are you going to pull out troops from Iraq when al Qaeda is getting state protection on Iraq's borders and launching terrorist attacks?
As I noted way back in caveman times -- April 2003, to be exact -- the neo-cons had been putting Syria in the crosshairs for years:
In the end, of course, Iraq represented too glittering a prize for all the various militarist factions to pass up on the first course. But you must never underestimate the appetite -- and persistence -- of our militarists. The latest accusations of the Iraqi client regime will be used to stoke the never-ending fires of militarist warmongering; they won't rest until every knee bows to their god of American Dominance.
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published in the Baltimore Chronicle on August 31, 2009.
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