24 May 2024 07:59 PM



Is 'Regime Change', an Euphemism For New Borders in West Asia?

NEW DELHI: Several significant developments have taken place in the Middle East in the last fifteen years. It is tempting to take the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003 as the starting point of this analysis. However, the Iraq war was linked by the Bush Administration to 9/11 (in addition to alleged Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction) which, in turn, has links with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in Dec. 1979 and the decade-long proxy war waged against it by the US, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. It might, therefore, be useful to take the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan as the point of departure for this piece.

To begin with, it is important to note that the Soviets walked into a trap in Afghanistan laid by the US. The then US National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said so clearly, in an interview with the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur in Jan. 1998. Brzezinski was asked:

The former director of the CIA, Robert Gates, stated in his memoirs [From the Shadows], that American intelligence services began to aid the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviet intervention. In this period you were the national security adviser to President Carter. You therefore played a role in this affair. Is that correct?

Brzezinski: “Yes. According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention. is exactly what happened.”

When asked if he regretted that decision, which ultimately resulted in the emergence of the Taliban and Al Qaida, Brzezinski responded:

“Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, in substance: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.”

Probed further if he regretted helping future terrorists, Brzezinski made his views clear:

“What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

It is also important to point out that the US and its allies framed the opposition to the Soviets in religious terms, calling it a Jihad, and mobilising Muslims from more than 40 countries to fight in Afghanistan. This was a conscious strategy which politicised religion and led to the emergence of Jihadi groups in due course. Once the Soviets were defeated and withdrew in 1989, the US walked away, leaving the field open for the Taliban and other extremist outfits to turn Afghanistan into a sanctuary for terrorist groups from all over the world. One of the "mujahideen" was Osama bin Laden, and one of the terrorist groups was Al Qaida, blamed by Bush for 9/11. However, evidence for doing so is increasingly being questioned by the families of those killed in the attacks, as also by many scientists, architects, engineers and experts all over the world. There is a growing body of information in the public domain which suggests that there is more to the events of 9/11 than meets the eye.

As mentioned above, Brzezinski has no regrets for doing what he did, despite all the events that followed directly from his actions. These included, in addition to the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq in 2003, though there was absolutely no evidence to link Iraq to 9/11. Nevertheless, the Bush administration was able to fabricate a connection, in the minds of the American people, and even US military personnel, between 9/11 and the Saddam regime.

There is plenty of evidence to suggest that US strategists such as Brzezinski believe in a master plan to create a “New Middle East”, aimed at controlling the vast natural resources of the region, eliminating the threat to Israel, and facilitating Israeli expansionism. In his well-known book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives” published in 1998, Brzezinski talks, inter-alia, of “microstates and ministates.” He suggests the construction of weak, impotent states based on ethnicity, religion, and other identities, without the ability to resist the will of larger nations, coalitions, and banking/industrial corporations.

The same strategy is reflected in the “Oded Yinon Plan” for Greater Israel, enunciated in Feb. 1982 by Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry. It envisages the break-up of existing Arab states into smaller states, and is believed to enjoy wide support in the Israeli political, military, and intelligence establishments. A report entitled “Greater Israel: The Zionist Plan for the Middle East” by the publication ”Global Research” dated April 2016 has this to say about the Yinon Plan:

The Yinon plan is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanisation of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states

According to the founding father of Zionism Theodore Herzl, “the area of the Jewish State stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” According to Rabbi Fischmann, “The Promised Land extends from the River of Egypt up to the Euphrates, it includes parts of Syria and Lebanon.”

When viewed in the current context, the war on Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing war in Syria and Iraq, the war in Yemen, the process of regime change in Egypt, must be understood in relation to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The latter consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighbouring Arab states as part of an Israeli expansionist project.

The Zionist project supports the Jewish settlement movement. More broadly it involves a policy of excluding Palestinians from Palestine leading to the eventual annexation of both the West Bank and Gaza to the State of Israel.”

Similar views were expressed by Linda Heard, a British writer on the Middle East, in an article published in Counterpunch in April 2006. She states:

Yinon’s strategy was based on this premise. In order to survive Israel must become an imperial regional power and must also ensure the break-up of all Arab countries so that the region may be carved up into small ineffectual states unequipped to stand up to Israeli military might. Here’s what he had to say on Iraq:

“The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.

“An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organise a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon.

Former Israeli Defence Minister, Moshe Yaalon, recently echoed the same thoughts when he said he was “very pessimistic” about the prospect of a truce in Syria.

Referring to some of the warring sects [in Syria], Yaalon said: “We should realise that we are going to see enclaves — ‘Alawistan’, ‘Syrian Kurdistan’, ‘Syrian Druzistan’. They might cooperate or fight each other.”

The above ideas provide a strategic framework for understanding the developments in Iraq, Libya, and Syria since 2003. The common thread running through all of them is the fragmentation of the major Arab states, particularly those opposed to Israel, into smaller entities, incapable of standing up to it. They also provide a pointer to what might happen in Syria in the coming months.

It should, therefore, be obvious that the wars of “regime change” in Iraq, Libya, and Syria should not be seen as isolated, unconnected events, but part of a carefully thought-out plan, elements of which have been outlined above. Some objectives of that plan have already been achieved—the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s [ in which the West enthusiastically supported Saddam Hussein and supplied him with materials and technology to produce chemical and biological weapons ]; and the regime changes in Iraq and Libya.

The ongoing operation in Syria to dislodge Assad is a work in progress, which has been complicated by the unexpected entry of Russia into the picture last September. But even that has not changed the objectives of the anti-Assad coalition, which is determined to get rid of him. The question is whether they will succeed in doing so against the combined forces of Russia, Syria, and Iran, and at what cost.

How many more innocent Syrians will be killed, how many more will be made homeless, and how much more of the country will be destroyed, before the conflict in Syria ends, and the dust settles down.

(Ambassador Niraj Srivastava, retired from the Indian Foreign Service, served in Syria, Libya, Saudi Arabia amongst other countries.)