The Vast and Messy Neocon Experiment in Iraq and the Middle East

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Rodrigue Tremblay

"We shall have no peace as long as the whole territory of the Land of Israel will not return under Jewish control.... A stable peace will come only then, when Israel will return to itself all its historical lands, and will thus control both the Suez and the Ormudz channel.... We must remember that Iraqi oil fields too are located on the Jewish land." - Avrom Shmulevic, rabbi and historian

"[American] strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power."..[His removal is absolutely vital to] "the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century" and for "the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil." - Neocons' January 26, 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton

"Israel made a large contribution to the decision to embark on this [Iraq] war. I know that on the eve of the war, [Ariel] Sharon said, in a closed conversation with senators, that if they could succeed in getting rid of Saddam Hussein, it would solve Israel's security problems." - Robert (Bob) Novak, American veteran reporter

“We do know, with absolute certainty, that he [Saddam Hussein] is using his procurement system to acquire the equipment he needs in order to enrich uranium to build a nuclear weapon.” - Vice President Dick Cheney, September 2002

Like apprentice sorcerers, a group of pro-Israel Neocons, took hold of U.S. foreign policy under President George W. Bush and designed the most wicked and the most improvised war of aggression by any country against another that one can remember. This small group of ideologues, lacking in judgment, knowledge and wisdom but full of fanaticism, arrogance and hubris seized upon a double opportunity to advance their narrow interests at the expense of the American people, the Iraqi people and world peace and order.

Their first opportunity came when an inept and an inexperienced politician was barely elected president of the United States in November 2000, Texas Governor George W. Bush. Clustered around Vice President Dick Cheney and around then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, they successfully established a parallel government within the Bush-Cheney administration, de facto independent of the Office of the National Security Advisor (Condoleezza Rice), of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) (George Tenet) and of the State Department (Colin Powell).

The leading warmongering Neocons were Cheney's Chief of staff, Lewis 'Scooter' Libby (recently convicted of perjury) and Cheney's Middle East advisor, David Wurmser, plus the top decision makers at the Pentagon, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Under Secretary Douglas Feith, assisted by the head of the Defense Policy Board, Richard Perle and by Elliott Abrams, head of the Middle East policy at the National Security Council. On the ground in Iraq, they later could count on an advisor and protégé of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and a director of Kissinger Associates, L. Paul (Jerry) Bremer, whose fateful decisions involved dismantling the entire Iraqi government and firing the heavily armed 400,000 strong Iraqi army. —This small group of insiders was supported by a host of outside lobbies, by an army of sycophants in Washington pro-Israel think tanks and by far-right journalists and media at large.

The second opportunity arose with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks that traumatized the American people and made them vulnerable to manipulation, deception forgery and lies, and any other tactics used to justify an illegal war of aggression against Iraq.

The Neocon plan for the Middle East was initially crafted in Israel, in 1996, by a group of advisors to then-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of the Likud Party. These advisors were Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser, all of them directing or collaborating with the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies (IASPS), a think tank headquartered in Jerusalem, with a Washington office, and supported by the Scaife Foundation and the Bradley Foundation. —It is to be noted also that many of these individuals later found their way to the highest echelons of the Bush-Cheney administration. Their Israeli policy plan for the Middle East entitled "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", was published by IASPS, and it called for a grand strategy of total war in the Middle East, using the military power of the United States to do the job.

Iraq became the testing ground for the Neocons' grand plan. The Neocons viewed Iraq as an immediate threat to Israel, and in the long term, they dreamed of overthrowing the ruling Iraqi Baath Party in order to transform the entire Middle East in Israel's favor. Indeed, Saddam Hussein got into the Neocons's sight even before he took three annoying decisions in the early 2000s.

First, Iraq announced in September 2000, in the middle of the U.S. presidential election, that from then on, it would demand to be paid in euros instead of dollars for its oil exports. Second, Saddam Hussein began rewarding the families of suicide bombers in Israel with a compensation of $25,000, a move that enraged the Israeli government and its allies within the U.S. government. And third, in a move that deeply shook up oilmen Bush II and Cheney, he announced on April 8, 2002, that Iraq would suspend its oil exports for one month, as a protest against the slow pace toward settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and against Israel's refusal to cease its illegal occupation of the Palestinian territories.

The Oil-Israel nexus is at the core of the motivations for Bush-Cheney's fateful decisions to launch an illegal war against Iraq on March 20, 2003. Maintaining U.S. control over Middle East oil and shoring up the state of Israel are the two fundamental and interrelated rationales for involving American military might in a string of wars in the Middle East. —Last November 1, (2006) President George W. Bush finally all but confessed that the U.S. must maintain occupying troops (indefinitely) in the Middle East to keep the flow of oil coming, because (if we leave) "extremists [may] be in a position to use oil as a tool to blackmail the West... and they will do so unless we abandon Israel". He has also said in the past that the U.S. is committed to defending Israel, no matter what. Thus, in Bush's own words, the invasion of Iraq was a 'preventive aggression' to grab Iraqi oil, turn Iraq into an oil colony and support anything Israel does to the Palestinians!

In my book 'The New American Empire', 'Oil and Israel' were precisely the two main reasons I identified for the U.S. invading a Middle East country that had not attacked the United States; it had nothing to do with the hogwash of 'weapons of mass destruction', 'al Qaeda', the 'war on terror' or 'democracy'. It had everything to do with oil and Israel and the power of such related interests within the American political system.

What Bush was echoing in his declaration is that grand plan designed by pro-Israel neocon ideologues within and outside the Bush-Cheney administration to reshape the entire Middle East region to fit American oil interests and Israel's strategic interests. —Unfortunately, this is a flawed and illegal plan that was crafted and implemented in a climate of arrogance, amateurishness, stupidity and incompetence on a high scale. The gruesome and messy results are all there to be seen by everyone with eyes to see.

The great scandal is that much of the raw truth about the Iraq War has been hidden from the vast majority of Americans. Maybe a paper like the New York Times should publish this article to compensate for all the falsehoods it published on their front page during the months that preceded the war.


June 17, 2007 Rodrigue Tremblay lives in Montreal and can be reached at

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