A Middle East with No Master

The American abandonment of diplomacy in the Middle East has allowed its clients to pretty much do what they want leading to an ongoing realignment in the region, says Chas Freeman.

By Chas W. Freeman Jr.

Time was, the countries of the Middle East relied on the United States for patronage, protection, and guidance.  Suez taught Israel, Britain, and France that without Washington’s acquiescence, their policies could not succeed.  Egypt’s defection showed Russia the limits of its ability to compete for clients in the region.  It was U.S. leadership that enabled Israel, Egypt, and Jordan to end the state of war between them.

The standing of the United States in the region derived in part from its centrality to diplomacy aimed at finding a formula for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians and acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy by its Arab neighbors. Except on issues related to Israel, many Arab governments followed America wherever it led. The collapse of the Soviet Union erased Russian influence in the Middle East, as it did elsewhere.

To recall this history is to underscore the extent of the geopolitical changes that have occurred so far this century. The United States no longer enjoys primacy in the Middle East.  The former colonial powers need American military support to intervene in the region, but the countries of the region itself now act independently, confident that they can gain American backing for whatever they do. They do not seem to be wrong about this, judging from U.S. backing for Israel’s wars on its neighbors, Gulf Arab efforts to topple the Asad government in Syria, and the ongoing devastation of Yemen by Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E.

In this century, the U.S.-managed “peace process” between Israelis and Palestinians served as a distraction while Israel evicted Palestinians from their homes, annexed their lands, and denied them self-determination. The ever less credible “peace process” ended by severely damaging U.S. diplomatic standing in the region and beyond it. Unilateral U.S. recognition of an undivided Jerusalem as Israel’s capital capped what had come to be seen as the world’s longest–running diplomatic farce.

In the absence of strategy, a desire to sustain relationships in the region by supporting clients’ actions drives U.S. policy. The clients themselves have moved beyond relationship-driven diplomacy and are into transactionalism. The extent to which the U.S. now follows rather than leads its client states in the region is reflected in the Trump administration’s obeisance to Israeli and Saudi hostility to Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA—Iran nuclear deal.)

Meanwhile, minimal commitments of force accompanied by deft diplomacy have enabled Russia to exploit the Syrian tragedy [having been invited into Syria by Damascus] to become the most sought-after external actor in the region’s affairs. Turkey, once outside the region and Russia’s NATO enemy, is again part of the Middle East, this time cooperating with Russia there more often than not.  Egypt, Iran, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey are all cultivating ties with Moscow.  Their objective is to correct over-reliance on the United States by diluting it.  The same purpose inspires their efforts to build markets in China and India and to enlist Chinese and Indian support for their foreign policies.

Ongoing Consequences of U.S. Invasion of Iraq

A tank from the U.S. Marine Task Force Tarawa sets up position in front of a painting of Saddam Hussein March 24, 2003 at the garrison of the Iraqi 23 Infantry brigade in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriyah. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The U.S. invasion of Iraq thrust that country into anarchy and religious warfare that embittered relations between Sunnis and Shiites throughout the region.  U.S. policies focused on regime change gave Iran political hegemony in Iraq, entrenched its influence in Syria, and consolidated its alliance with Lebanese Hezbollah.  The collapse of order in the Levant spawned vicious new  terrorist movements that spread from Iraq to Syria, Somalia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, and the Sahel.

From the outset, Islamist forces in Syria enjoyed support from foreign enemies of the Asad government, including Islamists, the Syrian diaspora, most of the Gulf Arab states, Turkey, Israel, and the United States.  As proxy warfare escalated, an avalanche of refugees from Syria destabilized the EU. Six hundred thousand dead and 11 million displaced Syrians later, Asad remains in the saddle in Damascus.  He has defeated his armed opposition but is beholden to Iran, its Shiite allies in Lebanese Hezbollah, and Russia for this victory. Syria’s agonies are ending in a phony war between the United States and Turkey. Israel, which wanted anarchy or partition in Syria, now struggles to contain a hostile Iranian presence there and in neighboring Lebanon. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states that sought to overthrow Asad must now find a way to live with him.

Misguided American interventions and freelancing by U.S. client states have thus transformed the region’s politics, entrenched anti-Americanism with global reach, and facilitated its spread in Africa and Asia.  The wars that did this – the pacification campaigns in Afghanistan that followed the post-9/11 punitive raid of 2001, the destabilization of Iraq, the overthrow of the Libyan government, and incoherently contradictory policies that supported mutual antagonists in Syria – have yet to end or are ending in American defeat.  No longer the playground of imperial powers, the Middle East is now dominated by religious strife, Arab efforts to roll back US-abetted Persian hegemony, and cynical manipulation of Washington’s policy decisions by U.S. client states.

Four Trends in the Region

Let me conclude with four broad observations about overall trends in the Middle East.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

First, religion is back as a driver of history.  Once a contest of nationalisms, the Israeli-Palestinian struggle is now part of the region’s multi-dimensional religious strife.  Both Sunni and Shiite extremists have made violent opposition to Zionism – as opposed to support for the Palestinian cause – a central feature of their ideologies.  This position enjoys broad support in the Muslim world.  Despite common interests with Israel, Arab pragmatists are constrained by Muslim loathing of Zionism in what they can do with it.  Meanwhile, the transformation of Judaism into a racist state ideology by Zionist extremists risks separating Israel from mainstream Jews abroad, who recoil from identification with the so-called “Jewish state’s” perversion of Jewish values and its increasingly amoral and inhumane behavior.  Ironically, however, as Hindutva tightens its hold on Indian politics, India’s Islamophobia is drawing it closer to Israel, which is becoming an increasingly important source of the country’s defense imports.

Second, the rising powers that Middle Eastern countries seek to engage in their affairs are unlikely to meet their expectations. China and India are the fastest growing markets for the Middle East’s energy exporters. But China has assiduously avoided entanglement in the region’s conflicts – whether Israel-Palestine or Gulf Arab-Iran. China is now the major foreign presence in Iraq’s oil sector, a significant investor in Egyptian and Iranian industry, a growing force in engineering management and construction in the Gulf, and a lucrative market for Israeli defense and internal security technology. Indian and Pakistani labor is a mainstay of Gulf Arab economies. But with the exception of an effort to loosen Pakistan’s hold on Afghanistan by investing in the Iranian port of Chabahar, India too is keeping its distance from Middle Eastern politics.

Third, with the exception of the United States, external powers have all declined to associate themselves with Israel’s, Saudi Arabia’s, and the United Arab Emirates’ hysteria about Iran. U.S. policy follows that of Israel in its focus on Iran’s potential to become a nuclear weapons state. Americans remain in denial about our role in expanding Iran’s political sway in the region, which is the principal concern of the Gulf Arabs. Washington’s confused approach to Qatar’s blockade by the Emirates and Saudi Arabia reflects this. The U.S. withdrawal from the JCPOA will not be followed by other great powers. It is more likely to isolate Israel and the United States than Iran.

Finally, there is a very real danger that the low intensity conflict now underway between Israel and Iran in Syria and the Gulf Arabs’ proxy wars with Iran could escalate into a major war. One scenario for such a war would be a Saudi-assisted Israeli assault on Iran calculated to drag in the United States or a direct attack on Iran by U.S. forces. This would likely trigger strikes on Israel by Iranian forces and their allies in Syria and Lebanon and efforts by Iran to sabotage Saudi and Emirati oil production. It is unclear how such a war would end. But, having delegated U.S. policy toward Iran to Israel and the Gulf Arabs, the United States is in no position to decide that question or very much else.

Remarks delivered to the Middle East Project by Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. in Washington, D.C. on May 10, 2018.

Ambassador Freeman chairs Projects International, Inc. He is a retired U.S. defense official, diplomat, and interpreter, the recipient of numerous high honors and awards, a popular public speaker, and the author of five books.

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18 comments for “A Middle East with No Master

  1. Berna
    June 12, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    “The head of the Iranian army on Saturday said Iranian forces were working to “annihilate” Israel and predicted they would achieve success within 25 years. The threats from the Commander of Iran’s Army Major General Abdolrahim Mousavi ” April 21, 2018

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative at the Quds Force, cleric Ali Shiraz, was quoted by local news agency Fars as saying: “If Israel wants to continue its treacherous existence, it should avoid stupid measures. “If they give any excuses to Iran, Tel Aviv and Haifi will be destroyed. Iran can destroy Israel.” April 13, 2018

    Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Threaten Israel: ‘Finger’s on the Trigger, Missiles Ready for Launch’
    Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami says ‘Israel is surrounded and you have nowhere to escape to except to fall into the sea’. April 20, 2018

  2. Jerry Ogden
    June 7, 2018 at 2:34 am

    Hi Chas: Great to read your incisive analysis of the Mideast miasma, uncluttered by the Orwellian Newspeak that passes as foreign policy in Washington today–specifically, the metamorphosis of neoconservatism into “principled realism.” Kissinger must roll his eyes whenever he hears the word “realism” applied to our current Mideast tantrums.

  3. Abe
    June 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Speaking of “hysteria”, let’s not forget the unique “chemistry” and miraculously timed “drop-ins” of the Israeli-Saudi-U.S. Axis “regime change” project in Syria.

    Fake “citizen investigative journalist” Eliot Higgins and Bellingcat drawing the usual “conclusions”:

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2018/05/30/watch-upcoming-opcw-ffm-report-douma-chemical-attack/

  4. WILLIAM E FLOWERS
    June 2, 2018 at 11:12 am

    “The American abandonment of diplomacy in the Middle East”

    Like the CIA’s interference over several decades!?!

    “The standing of the United States in the region derived in part from its centrality to diplomacy aimed at finding a formula for peaceful coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians and acceptance of Israel’s legitimacy by its Arab neighbors.”

    Like the Zionist movement to expel the Palestinians from their homeland and still occurring genocide. Again, for the past several decades!?!

    “No longer the playground of imperial powers, the Middle East is now dominated by religious strife,”

    It is exactly that! A play ground for the always lacking diplomacy and intentional interference of America throughout the middle east and by other westernized countries. If it was possible, Mr. Parry would be rolling over in his grave with the lack of history within this article.

  5. Abe
    June 1, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    “As Israeli leaders and the Trump regime grotesquely celebrated the moving of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem on the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, May 14, just 40 miles away Israeli troops were massacring unarmed Palestinians trapped inside Gaza. At least 61 Palestinians were killed, and more than 2,700 wounded, over a thousand shot by snipers firing military grade ammunition against unarmed protestors who were demanding an end to their isolation and the right to return to their homeland.

    “There was a bitter historical irony in the juxtaposition of these events

    “Most of the two million residents of Gaza are refugees and their descendants (who also have refugee status), driven from other parts of Palestine in 1948. Altogether, more than 750,000 Palestinians were expelled in 1948-49 to make way for the creation of the Israeli state. Another 300,000 were driven out after the Six Day War in 1967. Today, there are seven million registered Palestinians refugees, many still living in 59 refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza. None have ever been allowed to return to their stolen homes, farms and shops, in blatant violation of their rights.

    “For many decades, Israeli leaders and their American apologists maintained the fiction that the Palestinians who left did so at the urging of their leaders. Even if that had been the case, it would have in no way invalidated their right of return, an inalienable right under international law.

    “But it was not the case. As has been irrefutably documented by numerous Israeli as well as Palestinian historians, mass ethnic cleansing was carried out by means of massacre and other forms of terror. It could not have accomplished otherwise. […]

    ‘The leaders of the Zionist movement that manifested itself as the Israeli state in 1948 had often been quite open about their intention to conquer all of Palestine and to force the indigenous population out. […]

    “Ben-Gurion and his commanders began to implement a new military doctrine under the name Plan Dalet, or Plan D. Under the plan, the official Zionist army, the Haganah, along with its supposed rival militias, Irgun and Lehi (Stern Gang), both of the latter self-proclaimed terrorist organizations, began attacking ‘quiet’ Palestinian villages, those not involved in fighting. […]

    “Plan Dalet escalated the level of violence directed against the Palestinian civilian population to an extreme. A typical operation carried out by Zionist military units would involve planting explosives around Palestinian houses in the middle of the night, drenching them with gasoline and then opening fire. The point was to terrorize and expel the population. Arbitrary executions became routine, particularly targeting men and boys simply deemed to be of ‘fighting age,’ regardless of whether they were actually engaged in combat.”

    Massacres were indispensable to creation of the Israeli state
    By Richard Becker
    https://liberationschool.org/massacres-were-indispensable-to-creation-of-the-israeli-state/

  6. sayed shear.
    June 1, 2018 at 10:21 am

    the analysis is deep but it disregards some essetial preset and historical facts .Such need a
    bird eye view to concentrate on how to build a new concept as new vision suitable to be frame work for such cooperation.
    Thanks/ sayed shear

  7. vinnieoh
    May 31, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Persian hegemony? I’m having a problem with that rote assertion. That alone made me re-read this piece several times. Mr. Freeman, a career diplomat, writes with the measured diplomacy-speak of a by-gone era. And that is why I found his several references to Persian or Iranian hegemony so out of place, non-sequitor, and unworthy of his other remarks.

    If I’m not mistaken, the totality of Islam in the ME is comprised of approximately on-quarter Shiite and three-quarters Sunni, and worldwide adherents of Islam reflect a similar proportionality. The Shiite Ayatollahs in Iran may indeed be fundamentalist hardliners, but they are not foolish. And it would be foolish for them to expect to impose a regional, let alone global, Shiite Islamic hegemony.

    Of course there are many examples of an ethnic or sectarian minority controlling the positions of power in a region or a nation state. Rwanda, before the bloodbath, and the Baathists in Iraq, are two that readily come to mind. This is not the case, in my observation, of the behavior of Iran since the Islamic Revolution. Their actions can be explained logically as a response to the continual threats from Israel, KSA, and of course the US. I don’t fully comprehend Iran’s support and funding of Hamas and Hezbollah beyond creating a buffer resistance between them and their mortal enemy Israel. But it is obvious that Palestinians have no other reliable ally and defender in the “Arab” region (an unfortunate western over-simplification of the ethnic and sectarian diversity there.)

    I will continue to believe that if there could be a final just resolution to the fundamental human rights of Palestinians, that official Iran would eliminate all rhetoric about the “destruction of the illegitimate state of Israel.” Many here are aware of Iran’s many initiatives and overtures for cooperation with the US since 9/11, all conveniently buried under the constant propagandistic vilification of Iran by the US. Because Iran has committed the one unforgivable sin of this present age – it spit in the face of the current hegemon – the US.

    But Mr. Freeman’s piece was not specifically about Iran, the one nation state in the region that the US can not influence , except in a reactionary or retaliatory way. So KSA has purchased a boatload of arms from the US, UK, and others; well actually a convoy of boatloads. Who here believes that ordinary Saudis could comprise an effective fighting military force in the field? I certainly don’t. What would they be fighting for? Religious purity? Land and plunder? For the Zionist cause? I think it more likely that all those fancy jets and tanks would be operated by western mercenaries, as KSA has consistently exhibited their desperate belief that they can buy respectability.

  8. Broompilot
    May 31, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Great article but my impression is that Israel and The Saudis are trying to get the U.S. to take some sort of military action against Iran, not that the U.S. has delegated that to the Saudis or Israelis. Why else would Trump be staffing up with Iran haters like Bolton (and now Fleitz)? Besides, it seems unlikely that Israel and certainly not the Saudis would fare well against the Persians.

  9. robjira
    May 31, 2018 at 2:50 pm
  10. incontinent reader
    May 31, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Wise and insightful commentary and advice by perhaps our very finest diplomat- someone who should have been our Secretary of State, and under multiple Administrations.

  11. Mark Thomason
    May 31, 2018 at 1:00 pm

    It is refreshing to read such clear thinking so plainly expressed. This column accords with everything else I’ve read about the region for years, in a neat summary. Two things need special emphasis.

    First, “Israel, which wanted anarchy or partition in Syria.” It did not get that. It is a major strategic initiative that failed completely. Such failure can only lead to difficult consequences. What?

    The very forces Israel feared most are now rampant next door in Syria and Lebanon. They threaten to break out in Jordan too, which allowed itself to be a base, and is now in the lurch, and weak. They are already loose in the Sinai, as Egypt loses what little control it had of that place. The biggest risk of all may be that the losers driven out of Syria will infest the West Bank, al Qaeda and ISIS inside Israel (and the Sinai) while Iran moves in close.

    Second is the growing isolation of Israel. They point to the Saudis, Indians, and Chinese to deny that, but as explained here all of those are using the link but keeping a distance. Meanwhile, Israel’s economy is dependent on the EU, over 60% of its economy, and the EU is being driven away by the horrifying behavior of Israeli extremists. That same behavior may be fine with Trump, but whoever follows Trump is likely to follow the US domestic Jewish revulsion, which is blossoming. Losing the EU and the next US Administration would be near total isolation.

    This moment is Israel’s high tide mark, and they are wasting that opportunity on an Iran hysteria not shared elsewhere, and which antagonizes the most important elsewheres.

  12. Realist
    May 31, 2018 at 2:47 am

    We’ve seen Israel and Saudi Arabia champing at the bit for a region-wide war involving Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran as the countries they want to vanquish, occupy, change regimes in and steal resources from. Of course, this would be a non-starter without the participation of the United States on their side, which could well see the entry of Russia and perhaps even some other countries such as Turkey and Egypt into the conflict, not to be left out of the spoils.

    Just what do fools like Netanyahoo and Mohammed bin Salman see as the end game of such a conflict and an exit strategy when their dreams of an easy victory and modern-day Lebensraum come a cropper? Washington has had a tiger by the tail in both Afghanistan and Iraq for nigh on 20 years of occupation in those lands, and the lasting derangement of the social order in both places has fueled greatly the emergence of entities like ISIS, Daesh and Al Nusra, which America has schizophrenically both fought against and exploited as a manpower resource, neither of which has been without substantial cost to the American economy, revenue stream and standard of living.

    Israel and tKSA certainly don’t assume they are immune to such considerations, do they? Even in a best case scenario (from their point of view), this “Shia crescent” they want to conquer, occupy and dominate will never be pacified even if they (heaven forbid) achieve a military victory, some forced nominal regime change, and succeed in stealing a significant tranche of fresh water and petrol reserves. The geopolitical condition will simply be transformed from a festering wound to a total systemic life-threatening infection of the entire body politic throughout the Middle East for generations to come.

    It will be the “Palestinian Problem” writ very large. Every Jewish-born Israeli will be tasked with carrying a gun and patrolling some province in the newly-created Israeli Empire till that empire rots from within and collapses with predictable payback. The same fate awaits the emirs, caliphs and pashas in the Saudi half of this de-facto dual monarchy, should it ever be birthed.

    More likely, it would be still-born with both the Sabras and the House of Saud being swamped by sheer numbers of restive, resentful occupied peoples. Should the Jerusalem-Riyadh Axis prevail in a regional war bolstered by American firepower, the condition will simply unite the Palestinians with the multi-millions more of dominated peoples throughout the region, a chunk of territory and humanity far too large for the Zionist-Wahabi state to adequately digest for there to be any semblance of peace, tranquility and political stability. The war goes on at a guerrilla level for years if not decades until the hubristic folly of the Wahabists and Likudniks is brought down through attrition.

    Even if Washington attempts to prop it up, eventually the American people impoverished by the folly of their own leaders will demand an end to the bleeding, leaving the Israelis and Saudis to be gruesomely overthrown as they will richly deserve. Picture Saigon circa 1975 simultaneously played out in Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, possibly Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Mecca too. So, I ask you Bibi, and Mohammed, what will be the point? Save yourselves some bad future press and history book chapters by scotching the war plans now. You can’t win the long game. You can’t even duck out gracefully if you gin up the ultraviolence and mayhem as high as you seem to want.

    • Hans Zandvliet
      May 31, 2018 at 8:35 pm

      You’re absolutely right Realist (you deserve your nickname ;-)
      Then again very similar arguments could have been brought against any empire the world has ever seen and yet, apparently, it continues to be very tempting to build an empire. Nothing lasts forever, but for as long as an empire does last the spoils from plundering other territories and peoples is tempting enough to build an empire nevertheless.
      There is nothing new under the sun.
      It seems to be humanity’s curse: the desire to dominate and profit from other peoples’ riches.
      I’m afraid that, by the same token, the last empire to fall on planet Earth will be Homo Sapiens’ hegemony over all other species: we’re exploiting and exhausting all living and non-living resources on our planet at an astonishing rate, after which there will be nothing left to sustain our industrialized civilisations. As you said, once an empire falls there will be a day of reckoning and the same counts for Homo Sapiens.

  13. Realist
    May 31, 2018 at 2:32 am

    Nothing seems to be posting. Testing. Testing. 1, 2, 3, 4…

    Okay, what is the deal with “moderation” now?

    Posts are blocked without even being characterised as “moderated?”

    Why? Can nothing be said about this topic?

    Very disappointed in this site right now. I said nothing out of line in my remarks. So, where are they?

    • .
      May 31, 2018 at 3:51 am

      There was a technical problem in the automated system with your comment Realist. It cannot be restored so we are reproducing here. There was no decision made by an editor to block your comment:

      REALIST: We’ve seen Israel and Saudi Arabia champing at the bit for a region-wide war involving Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran as the countries they want to vanquish, occupy, change regimes in and steal resources from. Of course, this would be a non-starter without the participation of the United States on their side, which could well see the entry of Russia and perhaps even some other countries such as Turkey and Egypt into the conflict, not to be left out of the spoils.

      Just what do fools like Netanyahoo and Mohammed bin Salman see as the end game of such a conflict and an exit strategy when their dreams of an easy victory and modern-day Lebensraum come a cropper? Washington has had a tiger by the tail in both Afghanistan and Iraq for nigh on 20 years of occupation in those lands, and the lasting derangement of the social order in both places has fueled greatly the emergence of entities like ISIS, Daesh and Al Nusra, which America has schizophrenically both fought against and exploited as a manpower resource, neither of which has been without substantial cost to the American economy, revenue stream and standard of living.

      Israel and tKSA certainly don’t assume they are immune to such considerations, do they? Even in a best case scenario (from their point of view), this “Shia crescent” they want to conquer, occupy and dominate will never be pacified even if they (heaven forbid) achieve a military victory, some forced nominal regime change, and succeed in stealing a significant tranche of fresh water and petrol reserves. The geopolitical condition will simply be transformed from a festering wound to a total systemic life-threatening infection of the entire body politic throughout the Middle East for generations to come.

      It will be the “Palestinian Problem” writ very large. Every Jewish-born Israeli will be tasked with carrying a gun and patrolling some province in the newly-created Israeli Empire till that empire rots from within and collapses with predictable payback. The same fate awaits the emirs, caliphs and pashas in the Saudi half of this de-facto dual monarchy, should it ever be birthed.

      More likely, it would be still-born with both the Sabras and the House of Saud being swamped by sheer numbers of restive, resentful occupied peoples. Should the Jerusalem-Riyadh Axis prevail in a regional war bolstered by American firepower, the condition will simply unite the Palestinians with the multi-millions more of dominated peoples throughout the region, a chunk of territory and humanity far too large for the Zionist-Wahabi state to adequately digest for there to be any semblance of peace, tranquility and political stability. The war goes on at a guerrilla level for years if not decades until the hubristic folly of the Wahabists and Likudniks is brought down through attrition.

      Even if Washington attempts to prop it up, eventually the American people impoverished by the folly of their own leaders will demand an end to the bleeding, leaving the Israelis and Saudis to be gruesomely overthrown as they will richly deserve. Picture Saigon circa 1975 simultaneously played out in Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, possibly Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Mecca too. So, I ask you Bibi, and Mohammed, what will be the point? Save yourselves some bad future press and history book chapters by scotching the war plans now. You can’t win the long game. You can’t even duck out gracefully if you gin up the ultraviolence and mayhem as high as you seem to want.

    • cjonsson1
      May 31, 2018 at 7:55 pm

      Realist, I just read your post and think it is brilliant. I hope you are right. The US should disengage in this Middle Eastern fiasco immediately and not wait for the whole greedy empire to fall in ruins. But we all know the US can’t resist a chance to grab more resources from poor countries.

  14. JWalters
    May 30, 2018 at 10:35 pm

    Very glad to see this article by Mr. Freeman. His realistic thinking is why the Israelis torpedoed his appointment to chair the National Intelligence Council by President Obama. The Zionists have been working assiduously to control America’s policies in the Middle East since Woodrow Wilson. For new CN readers a concise history is in “War Profiteers and the Roots of the War on Terror” at
    http://warprofiteerstory.blogspot.com

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