Remember when America erupted in fury over France’s refusal to support the US invasion of Iraq in 2003? President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Dominque de Villepin warned that George Bush’s unprovoked aggression against Iraq would destabilize the Mideast and inflict untold dangers on Europe.
America’s response to the sage warning was to change the name of French fries to ‘Freedom fries’ and press ahead with the invasion of Iraq. President Saddam Hussein of Iraq warned that an America invasion would ignite the “Mother of All Battles” and would “open the gates of Hell.”
The French leaders and Saddam were absolutely right as confirmed by the waves of desperate Mideast refugees flooding into Europe and the rampaging wildmen of Islamic State.
In 2006, the Bush administration, cheered on by Israel, planned to invade Syria and destroy Hezbollah in Lebanon. This was during the period when Bush was boasting to Britain’s Tony Blair that the US would also go on to invade Pakistan. The invasion of Syria did not take place because a few intelligent people in Washington asked who would Washington put into power to run Syria? The only alternative at the time to the Assad regime was the underground Muslim Brotherhood. Washington wanted nothing to do with political Muslims so it deferred the invasion.
But then the Saudis created an alternative to the Brotherhood: a ragbag of bloodthirsty jihadist fanatics under a dozen different names, the so-called Islamic State, or IS. These were unleashed against the Iranian-backed Assad regime in Damascus, a former US ally, and slated for action against Afghanistan’s Taliban.
These jihadis were armed, directed and trained by the US, Britain, and France in Lebanon and Jordan. They were financed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
– on the strict proviso the jihadis stayed far away from the Saudi kingdom. US Psychological warfare teams fanned hatred between Sunni Muslims and Shia, a divide and conquer tactic that had proved its value in Iraq.
Four years later, the storm broke on Syria which has been reduced to ruins after more than four years of urban warfare. Over 9.5 million of Syria’s 22.8
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