Sunday, December 29, 2013

Disastrous US Alliance With Sunni Islamism is in a Shambles


President Barack Obama's disastrously misguided five-year alliance with Sunni Muslim clerical fascism (Islamism) has disintegrated and blown back horribly across the Middle East and North Africa.

Anti-Western, antidemocratic Islamist militias are running wild In Libya as a result of an unnecessary military intervention by the United States and NATO that led to the murder of a U.S. ambassador in Benghazi. He was killed by U.S.-supported Islamist militia members--men who sympathize with but perhaps are not formally affiliated with Al Qaeda. The militias, on whom the U.S. relied, incredibly, for protection and influence, benefitted mightily from the U.S./NATO intervention that overthrow the regime of a secular dictator who had abandoned weapons of mass destruction and sponsorship of (secular) foreign terrorist groups and had cooperated closely in the struggle against Islamist terrorism.

In Egypt, the U.S.-backed Muslim Brotherhood, with which Obama aligned almost immediately after entering the White House in 2009, has been declared a terrorist organization by the military-baked interim government that ousted the organization following its overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian leader who served U.S. interests--and preserved the peace with Israel--for over three decades. Obama's embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood has created widespread hatred of the U.S. Government by secular Egyptians who blame him for their country's chaos--while driving the U.S.-armed-and-trained military closer to Russia, recalling Egypt's Nasser era alliance with the Soviet Union.

In Syria, a U.S./Saudi/Turkish-instigated-and-inflamed Islamist insurrection has failed to topple the Iran/Russia-allied (and still secular) Assad regime. The U.S. and Turkey backed the Muslim Brotherhood. But the group was eclipsed by car bombers, kidnappers and cannibals linked to Al Qaeda and supported by Saudi Arabia. Fearing both the MB's Islamist republic idea and Al Qaeda, the Saudis support so-called salafists--religious fanatics essentially as extreme in their views as the maniacs openly associating with AQ.

Considered the cultural and political heartbeat of the Arab world, Syria has become a giant killing field and a magnet for jihadists from all over the globe, including some from pro-Western Morocco who have returned to their country to conduct terrorist operations on behalf of a domestic Al Qaeda affiliate.

As for Islamist-led, non-Arab Turkey--hailed as a model Islamocracy by Obama--the increasingly despotic government led by Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, an anti-Israel, wannabe sultan of a revived Ottoman Empire, is in the grip of an intensifying corruption scandal that makes it anything but a model. For Turkey's secular Muslims and minority groups--and for Syria's secular Muslims and Christian minority--Erdogan is a menace.

Obama turned to Erdogan to counter nuclear-arming, Shiite Islamist Iran, with which Obama initially sought a Grand Bargain to pacify Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now that the Grand Bargain is back on the table--Obama's objective transcends the nuclear issue--Turkey's importance to his administration could decrease. Time will tell.

This much is clear: the results of Obama's alliance with Sunni rightwing political Islam have been ruinous for the peoples of the Middle East and North Africa and contrary to the U.S. national interest. Given Iran's intentions, which are to dominate the Middle East by destroying Israel, destabilizing Saudi Arabia and driving the U.S. from the region, an alliance with Shiite Islamism could be downright catastrophic. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia is a duplicitous, dysfunctional family business masquerading as a country (with no civil or human rights). Oil-rich Iran is a totalitarian (as opposed to a mere authoritarian) power pursuing a foreign policy that aims to increase rather than preserve its power by overturning the status quo--that is to say, by radically altering Iran's power relations with other nations, globally and regionally.

Just as some six decades of U.S. support for Sunni Islamism, dating to the Eisenhower administration's covert backing of the Muslim Brotherhood against Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, a Third World icon, in the 1950s, culminated in the Carter/Reagan-created Islamist nightmare in Afghanistan--which blew back most horrifically on 9/11--the Obama administration's pro-Islamist policies could have even worse longterm consequences.

Mainstream media pundits often say the mega-Islamist terrorist attacks of 2001 "changed everything." Which seems true with regard to the awesome power of the national security state, the draining investments in "defense," i.e. permanent war, etc. When it comes to trying to ride the Islamist tiger without being eaten, however, and to unnecessarily intervening militarily in foreign countries in order to remake them under the banners of democracy and human rights for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with such noble causes, the policymakers in Washington--and this goes for Republicans as well as Democrats--appear to have learned nothing at all.

-André Pachter