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Tony Blair is no more. The now-former British prime minister, a neo-con soulmate, was destroyed by the war on Iraq. Before tendering his resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, maybe with echoes of Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back in Anger” ringing in is mind, Blair at least had the decency to apologize publicly for the times he has “fallen short.” No words to that effect will ever emanate from George W. Bush’s White House.
Young Americans – 17-29 years old – want the end of the war on Iraq, according to a New York Times/CBS News/MTV poll. Some Americans still insist on the vapid question “Can we win?” (no, no one can). Most Americans can only mobilize themselves toward “collective causes” such as the well-being in the slammer of Paris Hilton or the paternity of the daughter of dead Bunny Anna Nicole Smith. As for the bulk of humanity, they’re just trying to dodge stray bullets or postpone their drowning in the flood of a liquid world, observed absentmindedly by a few hyper-capitalists at the top of their post-mod ziggurats.
Hot fun in the summer
Summer in Baghdad means temperatures bordering 50 degrees Celsius – of course with non-existent air-con; there’s only one hour of electricity a day in the Red Zone. There’s also a widespread outburst of typhoid due to water pollution and the extreme heat.
At least 20, most of the time about 50 bodies a day, every day, victims of torture or summary execution, continue to show up. There’s no more fishing in the Tigris because of the inflation of cadavers. More than 250 Iraqi journalists have been killed – or executed – since “shock and awe.”
Any remaining US credibility with the Shi’ite street – already improbable to start with – has turned to ashes. The US military continues to harass Sadr City virtually on a daily basis. After an aborted attack on the crucial Shi’ite shrine in the Kadhimiya district of Baghdad, the Mahdi Army controls the neighborhood. Muqtada al-Sadr is lying low and sewing up trans-sectarian support.
There are insistent rumors in Shi’ite neighborhoods in Baghdad that the recent repeat bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra – as well as the bombing of the Khillani shrine to Imam Mahdi’s second deputy – were US black ops. Shi’ites suspect that the Washington/Green Zone axis badly wants the return of the Ba’athists, and they believe that the bombing of the Askariya shrine’s twin minarets was undertaken under supervision of former security agents of Saddam Hussein.
Meanwhile, the recent joint US/Badr Corps offensive against Salafi-jihadis in Baquba turned out to be another farce. Salafi-jihadis relocated and counterattacked … in Baghdad. Dozens of thousands of Baquba’s 300,000-plus population – a Sunni majority – became refugees for nothing.
The powerful Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars denounced this mini-surge as “barbaric acts.” But these “barbaric acts” are just snapshots of what the Bush administration – helped by faithful Blair – managed to create: the world’s second-biggest failed state, only behind Sudan, according to the 2007 Failed States Index compiled by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace.
Planet Gaza is in the house
The relentless destruction of Iraq is mirrored by similar devastation in Gaza. Twelve years of US-imposed, United Nations-approved sanctions literally destroyed Iraqi society. Western sanctions are meant to do the same to Palestinian society.
In Iraq, “shock and awe” was the coup de grace. Gaza has suffered myriad smaller “shock and awes” for years. In Iraq, the real blowback will only manifest itself when the “sanctions generation” – who grew up seething in anger, sickness and deprivation – starts deploying its anger with the help of new technologies. The current stage, though gruesome, is just an apprenticeship.
Worse: it’s in fact irrelevant, as far as imperial strategy is concerned. Blowback is already factored. The Bush White House’s ends justify the means. These include the largest US Embassy on the planet, the military mega-bases as the “eyes and ears” of the Middle East-Central Asia “arc of instability” and, it is hoped, an Iraqi oil law to legalize the plunder of Iraq’s wealth.
As much as Washington invented a civil war in Iraq, it has also invented a civil war in Gaza. With crucial interference, among others, of US Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott Abrams, a notorious neo-con, Fatah militias were trained by the US, the so-called Fatah Badr Brigade was nurtured by Jordanian intelligence, and all these unsavory characters were dropped into Gaza to destroy the popularly elected Hamas government.
The US in fact killed the Saudi-sponsored Mecca agreement between Fatah and Hamas (and the Saudis have not uttered a single peep). Blowback in this case was fast (Hamas prevailed, at least for now). Anyway, Israel’s ends – no possibility of Palestinian union – have been achieved. And once again, using the same old divide-and-rule methods; let’s sit back and watch all those Arabs killing one another.
Gaza is a gulag. The West Bank is a series of unconnected ghettoes. Baghdad is now a gulag. Iraq has been reduced to a series of unconnectable ghettoes. Palestinian land is being stolen. Iraqi oil will be stolen. “Terrorist” Gaza has been already downgraded to Hamastan. The Red Zone – that is, real Baghdad – is actually Red Zoneistan.
US-Israeli-approved Fatah may get some crumbs in the West Bank. Blair – not popular on the Arab street – will be the West’s “peace envoy” to seal the deal. No wonder London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi, in an editorial, stressed that the only possible reception for Blair’s next visit to Palestine should be embodied by tomatoes and rotten eggs.
Planet Gaza is a technical model of repression developed by Israeli know-how, implemented by the Pentagon in Iraq, and then redeveloped for reapplication in Gaza. It may, and it will, be deployed in other parts of the world that do not “behave.”