Monday, June 16, 2014

100 Years of Western Meddling in the Middle East (Or, Is the Friend of the Enemy of my Enemy's Friends an Enemy - Always?)

 In the timeline below, I'm not even including Afghanistan, long a proxy war between the US and Russia ... nor am I including the usual focus on Israel and Palestine. This is just an overview - a brief timeline - of the chaos that has been caused in a large part by the US, Britain, and France in the nations of Iran, Iraq, and Syria over the last 100 years. Follow along....if you can.....

1911:  WWI: Russia and Britain occupy Iran.  Britain stays10 years.
1916:  Britain and France develop the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret Plan to divide the entire middle east outside of the Arabian peninsula.

1920: Britain receives Palestine, Jordan, and what is now Iraq, and installs Sunni elites into power. France occupies what is today Syria and Lebanon. France transfers some Lebanese territory to Syria, and continues occupation of both until 1946.

1921:  Britain withdraws from Iran, and Reza Khan becomes Shah of Iran.

1941: WWII begins. Iraqis overthrow puppet British government in Iraq. Britain and Russia occupy Iran and Iraq to guarantee oil supplies for the Allied effort. Shah Reza Khan is deposed by the superpowers; his son Reza Pahlavi is installed as new Shah of Iran in return for western access to oil. Britain stays in Iraq until 1948.

1943: Lebanon gains independence from France; Britain occupies both Lebanon and Syria to avoid alliances with Germany.

1948: State of Israel established. Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria declare war on Israel. Syria undergoes years of internal revolts following their defeat, many based on ethnic and religious rivalries.

1951: Iranians elect Mosaddegh as Prime Minister.

1953: Mosaddegh nationalizes oil fields, and is subsequently overthrown in US-UK led coup d’etat. The Shah assumes complete control and crushes opposition with torture and secret police with US-UK support.

1958: Iraqis revolt against British-installed Monarchy and Saddam Hussein's Ba'athist party assumes control.

1966: Ba’athist Party also takes control in Syria, but the group is divided between pro and anti Iraq factions.

1970:  The Anti-Iraq wing of the Ba’athist Party, supported by the military, overthrows the Syrian government and installs anti-Iraq Ba’athist Hafez el-Assad as leader.

1975: Civil War breaks out in Lebanon.

1976: Syria begins a 30 year occupation and effective control of Lebanon.

1978: Iranians revolt against the Shah; The Iranian Revolution installs Ayatollah Khomeini in a  theocratic state.

1979: US refuses to return the Shah to Iran to face trial; students take Americans Embassy hostage for 444 days.

1980: Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein invades Iran, receiving financial, military, and chemical weapons from the US.

1988: Hussein’s Iraq launches chemical genocide against Kurdish minority in northern Iraq.

1990: Iraq annexes Kuwait.  US, France, UK, and Syria enter the Gulf War against Hussein; Kurds rebel in the north.

1998: US President Clinton signs Iraq Liberation Act, calling for “regime change” in Iraq.

2000: Syria’s Hafez el-Assad dies; his son Bashar al-Azzad takes control.

2001: Al Qaeda attacks the United States.  US State Department meets with Iran secretly in Switzerland to obtain cooperation on the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and al qaeda throughout the region.

2002: President Bush refers to Iran as being part of the “Axis of Evil” and US-Iran relations deteriorate quickly.

2003: US-led coalition enters Iraq and overthrows Hussein. Shi’ite led coalition government installed, with a semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the north.

2005: A series of assassinations of Lebanese officials is blamed on Syria’s Assad; protests and pressure from the west result in Syria’s withdrawal from Lebanon.

2008: Lebanon’s new Cabinet establishes Hezbollah, a Shi’ite paramilitary organization, with legal status. Hezbollah is committed to driving the Americans, French, and British out of the Levant, is funded by Iran, and allied with Syria’s Assad in the Syrian Civil War.

2011: US Troops leave Iraq, and Sunni-Shi’ite struggles accelerate. The “Arab Spring” spreads to Syria and full-scale civil war ensues, resulting in over 100,000 deaths and 2 million refugees.  Anti-Assad forces include Kurds and ISIS (“Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”) allies in the northeast of Syria.

2014: The Sunni-dominated ISIS military assume effective control over eastern Syria, and begin successful invasion of Western Iraq. 

News outlets and US Government Hawks reduce the march of ISIS to that of "al qaeda linked militants" - a simpleton's version.