Is yet another war in the Middle East in our future?
President Donald Trump campaigned on a platform to stop our endless wars in the Islamic World. But, this week he ordered the assassination of Iran’s top general during a visit to Iraq. That general, Qassem Soleimani, was commander of the Quds Force, a branch of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. His mission since 1998 was to run the proxy armies Iran bankrolls in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon. Envision the Nazi Waffen SS – “Armed Protection Squadron” – that carried out Hitler’s dirty work outside of Germany.
Quds’s dirty work is multi-layered. Iran is a Shi’ite nation of Persian ethnicity. Its forever enemies are Arabs and Sunnis. Shi’ites and Sunnis are diverse branches of Islam that split when the Prophet Mohammed died leaving a power struggle for his successor – between his family (Shi’ites) and his second in command (Sunnis). But one thing both branches agree on is the destruction of Israel. In fact, Soleimani’s Quds Force translates as “The Jerusalem Force” – a clear sign of its ultimate mission.
As fate would have it, with the rise of ISIS (a Sunni terror group) our military in Iraq found itself on the same side as this Shi’ite force during the elimination process. Now that ISIS is degraded, Quds is back on our hit list.
Liquidating Soleimani is a boon to Israel. Destroying Iran would be the work of a Messiah.
Neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama dared assassinate Soleimani on their watch for fear of an Iranian war. Thanks to W’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and the hell-hole and vacuum he created, Iran has transformed Saddam’s once Sunni-led Iraq into a Shi’ite-ruled country. President Trump, and surely most Americans, want out of this religious hornet’s nest. Is Soleimani our ticket out?
Today, the Iraqi Parliament voted to evict all U.S. troops from their country. Was this Trump’s ingenious plan: being kicked out is more honorable than “abandoning an ally.” Even FOX’s Tucker Carlson hopes this is what’s coming. But, not all his FOX colleagues feel that way. There are too many American warmongers on both the right and left who want Trump to destroy Iran for Israel’s sake, in short, continue to make the U.S. military Israel’s Quds Force – its proxy army.
But Israel is not the only nation that needs our blood and treasure to resist Iran. The Arab/Sunni Saudis have, for some reason, a special place in the hearts of American presidents. It was a plea from Saudi Arabia that launched the thousand ships of the Gulf War, after Iraq’s Saddam Hussein annexed little Kuwait. The stationing of U.S. troops near Mecca gave birth to Al Qaeda and the carnage of 911.
As a student of history, I cannot help but see the tragedy in all of this. If there is one lesson that has come out of 2,000 years of Western involvement in the Middle East (from Syria to Iran), it is that it is a region of fanatics. From the Judean Zealots and Sicarii (dagger-men) who caused the Romans to disperse the Jews, to the 1983 Muslim bombing of the NATO peacekeeping force in Lebanon that killed 241 Marines, the message is clear: GET OUT!
Mussolini considered Palestine an Islamic preserve, warning both the British and Americans in 1938 not to create a Jewish homeland there with refugees from Nazi persecution. He once offered a portion of the Jewish region of Ethiopia – home of the Falasha Jews – as a resettlement area. Today, most Falashas have moved to Israel.
The most vociferous voice against mixing Western and Muslim cultures was journalist Oriana Fallaci. She famously tore off her mandated chador (modesty cloak) while interviewing Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979, calling it a “medieval rag.” Her hatred of Muslim fanaticism and the degradation of its women only intensified with 911. (She was living near the Twin Towers that year.) Her books The Rage and the Pride, and The Force of Reason spewed enough venom to earn her a fatwah (death decree) from the Union of Italian Muslims. [See The Italic Way XLI on-line for her full story]
When W. Bush asked Congress to vote for the invasion of Iraq, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi voted against it, as did many Italian American legislators. Looking back, that opposition now seems a touch of genius. -JLM