Tuesday, July 24, 2007

[wvns] Zionism, Puppet Regimes & Political Allies

Zionism, Puppet Regimes and Political Allies
By James Petras

An understanding of US imperial policy in the Middle East requires an
analysis, which centers on four points:

1) The power and influence of Israel and the Zionist power
configuration over US political institutions (Congress, the Executive
branch, the mass media, the two major political parties and electoral
processes), their economic leverage on investment and financial
institutions (state and trade union pension funds, investment banks),
their cultural domination of journals, the performing arts, magazines,
films and newspapers. Zionist political, economic and cultural power
is directed exclusively toward maximizing Israel's military, economic
and political expansion and superiority in the Middle East even when
it conflicts with other US imperialist interests.

2) The capacity of the US Empire to construct and instrumentalize
Middle East client states and mercenary forces to implement US
policies. The most prominent and important current instruments of US
policy in the Middle East include the puppet regime in Iraq, the
Abbas-Dahlan group in Palestine, the Kurds in Iraq, the
Sinoria-Harari-Jumblat regime in Lebanon, the Mujahideen-e Khalq
Organisation, Kurds and Sunni tribalists in Iran and the puppet Somali
`regime' backed by Ethiopian-Ugandan mercenaries.

3) An alliance with right-wing regimes and rulers in Jordan, Egypt,
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Israel to provide military
bases, intelligence and political backing for the colonial occupation
in Iraq, the division of Iraq, economic sanctions and war against
Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and any other clerical-nationalist and leftist
movements in the Middle East.

4) The capacity to contain, repress and limit the opposition of the
majority of the US public and a minority of Congress members to the
current war in Iraq and a future war against Iran. The key problem for
US imperialism is the discrediting of the civilian-militarists in the
White House and their increasing tendency to resort to new political
`adventures' and `provocations' to recover support and to concentrate
dictatorial powers in the President's office.

These `vectors' of US Middle East policy are increasingly challenged
from within and without, are subject to sharp contradictions and face
the probability of failing. Nevertheless the `machinery' of imperial
power is still operating and defining the nature of US Middle East


The Vectors of US-Middle East Power: The Israel-Zionist Power
Configuration For the first time in the history of world empires, a
tiny ethnic-religious minority, representing less than 2% of the
population is able to shape US policy in the Middle East to serve the
colonial interests of a foreign country (Israel), which represents
less than 1% of the population of the Middle East. The Zionist power
configuration in the US with several hundred thousand fanatical
activists, throughout the country, can mobilize close to 98% of the US
Congress on any legislation favoring Israel, even when their approval
prejudices major US oil multinationals. AIPAC (the America-Israel
Political Affairs Committee) with one hundred thousand members and 100
full time agents writes over 100 pieces of Congressional legislation
affecting US trade, military aid and sanctions policies favoring
Israel every year. In March 2007, the leaders of both political
parties, Congress and the Senate and over 50% of all members of the
Congress attended and pledged allegiance to the state of Israel at the
most recent AIPAC convention in Washington. This was despite the fact
that two leaders of AIPAC are currently on trial for spying for Israel
and face twenty years in prison!

The Zionist power configuration (ZPC) includes far more than the AIPAC
`lobby'. In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, Zionists controlled
the Vice President's office including convicted felon Irving `Scooter'
Libby, the Pentagon and its `intelligence' operations (Wolfowitz,
Feith and Shumsky) and held strategic positions in the White House and
National Security Council (Frum – author of Bush's `Axis of Evil'
speech, Abrams – pardoned felon from Iran Contra scandal, now in
charge of Middle East policy, and Ari Fleischer – President Bush's
spokesman). Zionists dominate the editorial and opinion pages of the
major newspapers (Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and New York
Times), major television networks and Hollywood. Hundreds of regional
state and local Jewish federations intervene to prevent any criticism
of Israel, attacking any critics, meetings, theatrical or cinema
productions – successfully forcing cancelations.

The Zionist power structure has been the leading force pushing US war
plans and sanctions against Iran. They backed Bush's invasion of Iraq.
The ZPC secured US backing for Israel's bloody attack on Lebanon
weakening US puppet ruler Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. The ZPC
authored and secured Congressional legislation blocking any contact
with the Palestinian unity government. They successfully lined up US
congressional support for Israel's starvation blockade of Palestine
over the last 20 months. The scope and depth of Zionist power over US
Middle East policy goes far beyond influencing `public opinion' – it
penetrates key institutions, designs and enforces policy
implementation and promotes wars, which benefit Israel.

In a word, the Zionist Power Configuration's primary loyalty is to the
state of Israel and its policy is designed to colonize the US Congress
on behalf and benefit of the `mother country', Israel.

The Zionists have 30 congress-people and 13 senators and lead some of
the key committees in Congress. The head of the key Democratic Party
Caucus is Rahm Emmanuel, a former member of the Israeli Defense
Forces. Emmanuel was instrumental in having the Democratic Party
majority in Congress eliminate a key clause in a war appropriation
bill which would have prevented Bush from going to war with Iran
without consulting Congress. The ZPC has secured the absolute,
unconditional support of all presidential candidates for Israel and
its promotion of a `war option' against Iran. The Zionist Power
Configuration succeeded in driving the US to war with Iraq but it has
not been able to prevent the great majority of Americans (including
American Jews) from turning against the war. The Zionist Power
Configuration following the line from Israel has now made US sanctions
and war with Iran its top priority. Having accomplished their goal of
destroying Iraq, the ZPC are downplaying their support for the Bush
regime's policies in Iraq, to focus all their efforts on pushing the
US to secure UN Security Council approval for harsh economic sanctions
on Iran. The Israeli-Zionists policy of escalating sanctions have
succeeded as they openly declare in their publications. Their
overwhelming effectiveness in deciding US-Iran policy has even led
their Israeli mentors to urge words of caution against overplaying
their power.

The Zionist Power configuration's blatant and open dominance of US
Middle East policy have for the first time provoked widespread
opposition among patriotic nationalists among US military officials
and conservatives, as well as a growing number of academics and even
among a tiny group of Jewish millionaires (Soros) and intellectuals.
For the first time major debate has opened up regarding whether Israel
is a `strategic asset' or `strategic liability' to US imperial
interests. The opposition to the ZPC includes both pro-empire and
anti-imperialist individuals. The pro-empire critics of Israel argue
that Israel has taken over $110 billion dollars in outright grants and
loans and they have privileged access to US weapons technology and
compete with the US arms industry. They argue that Israeli colonial
oppression in Palestine creates tensions and conflicts prejudicial to
the US oil industry. They argue that the Zionist-backed Israeli war
policies in the Middle East undermine the economic expansion of US
financial and oil interest allied with conservative Arab `oil states'.

The anti-empire opponents to Zionist control of US Middle East policy
argue that the invasion of Iraq led to the killing and wounding of
millions of Iraqis, the killing and wounding of tens of thousands of
US soldiers, has cost over $500 billion USD and has led to the
destruction of US constitutional protections of civil rights. They
call for the immediate withdrawal of US troops and demand the
denuclearization of the Middle East, starting with Israel.

As the Zionists lead Congress by the nose toward another major war
with Iran (the `military option'), they have to face growing
resistance worldwide. Iranian allies in Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq
and throughout the Middle East can attack and destroy the most
important oil installations in the world – Saudi Arabia, the Gulf
States – and the world's most important oil tanker routes (Hormuz
Straits). The ZPC's fanatical extremism in support of Israel is
evident in their willingness to risk a world war and world depression
in defense of Tel Aviv's ambitions to rule the Middle East and destroy
its key adversary, Iran, a country of 80 million people.

The struggle against the ZPC in the US is the key to peace in the
Middle East, the key to stopping the US from pressuring the Security
Council, NATO and the Middle Eastern countries from committing
collective suicide. Unfortunately, the US left, especially the
Zionist-influenced peace movement refuses to face this reality. This
leaves only one road to changing US war policy in the Middle East –
outside resistance. Only mass resistance in the Middle East and
elsewhere can impost heavy costs on the US economy and military, which
force the American people to counter the ZPC. Only when the costs of
the Zionist-influenced Middle East wars have devastated the US can we
expect a major popular backlash against the Zionist power structure's
stranglehold over Congress. Only then can we hope for the beginning of
a US military withdrawal from the Middle East.

Instrumental Clients Given the high political and economic costs of
prolonged, large-scale and the extensive involvement of US armed
forces in colonial wars, Washington has increased its reliance on
client regimes and terrorist organizations supplying mercenary
military and intelligence forces.

The massive US financing of the `Iraqi' security forces to eventually
replace US ground soldiers as the prime defenders of the puppet regime
and US military bases is one example. Washington and Israel's
training, advising and financing of the Kurds in northern Iraq, Iran
and Syria is another example. By `instrumentalizing' local
mercenaries, Washington achieves several political and propaganda
goals. In the first place, the use of local mercenaries creates the
illusion that Washington is gradually `handing over' power to the
`local' puppet regime. Secondly it gives the impression that the
puppet regime is capable of ruling. Thirdly it can propagandize the
myth that a `stable' and `reliable' locally-based army exists.
Fourthly, the presence of local mercenaries creates the myth that the
conflict is a `civil war' instead of a national liberation struggle
against a colonial power.

Imperialist use of the Kurds of Northern Iraq serves strategic US
imperial goals in several ways. First the Kurds are utilized to
repress opposition from Iraqi Arab and Turkmen anti-colonial forces
throughout Iraq but especially in the North. Secondly the imperialist
project to break up the Iraqi republic into three or more fragments is
aided by Kurdish separatism and seizures of the oil fields in
ethnically mixed regions and the contracting out exploration rights to
foreign multinationals (Financial Times p.5, March 23, 2007). The US
has pressured the Iraqi puppet government to allow the Kurds to engage
in massive ethnic cleansing of Arabs and Turkmen in Kirkuk and other
ethnically mixed cities in Northern Iraq (Al Jazeera, March 31, 2007).
The US client Kurdish regime also serves as a base of operation for
Kurdish separatists and commandos into Iran, Syria and Turkey (despite
US denials).

US client regimes in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa have
specific functions in building the US Middle East empire and serving
Israeli interests. In Lebanon, the Christian Maronites and the puppet
Fouad Sinoria regime are financed and armed to undermine the
independent mass anti-imperial Hezbollah-led political-military
coalition. The client Gulf States and Saudi Arabia provide oil,
intelligence and military bases as launching pads for policing the
Middle East. Egypt and Jordan provide intelligence via torture
interrogation of US captured and kidnapped political and military
prisoners, especially from the Afghan and Iraqi resistance.
Afghanistan is headed by a US puppet `president',Hamid Karzai, in
alliance with Afghan narco-warlords who produce and supply 80% of the
heroin sold in Europe and the rest of the world. US-backed and
directed Ethiopian dictator, Meles Zenawi, intervened in Somalia to
overthrow the independent Islamic Councils government and install the
US puppet Mohammed Yousef. Subsequently a new contingent of African
mercenaries was sent by Ugandan dictator-client, Yoweri Museveni, to
prop up the Ethiopian imposed Yousef regime in the face of massive
armed resistance from the Somali anti-imperialist insurgency.

A rigorous analysis of the performance of US reliance on client
regimes and mercenary forces reveals numerous failures and declining
support. The Iraqi mercenary army has high levels of desertion and
plays a continued `double role' – serving the US but providing the
resistance with intelligence, arms and off-duty fighters. More
important, the failure of the US policy of using Iraqi mercenaries to
defeat the resistance is evident in the escalation of US combat
military forces in Iraq after 5 years of colonial warfare in the
spring of 2007—from 140,000 to 170,000 troops.

In Lebanon Hezbollah defeated the Israeli invasion and has
increasingly isolated the Sinoria puppet regime in Beirut, even though
the US secured a UN military presence in a failed attempt to isolate
Hezbollah. Washington's massive arms shipments to its mercenaries –
Christian, Druze and Sunni – in 2007 portend a new effort to provoke a
`civil war' to weaken Hezbollah and its anti-imperialist Palestinian

The US-Israeli blockade and massacres in Palestine (Gaza and the West
Bank) since the election of the Hamas government and their use of the
US client Abbas and Dahlan have failed to weaken the Palestinian
national liberation struggle. Nevertheless they succeeded in provoking
a mini-civil conflict.

In Somalia the resistance has re-grouped and advanced throughout the
country, especially in Mogadishu where fighting has intensified around
the Presidential Palace. The US-Ethiopian conquest has failed to
defeat the anti-imperialist movement and to stabilize the puppet
regime. With the forced withdrawal of Ethiopian colonial mercenaries
it is highly likely that the puppet Yousef regime will collapse in a
matter of days despite the presence of Ugandan mercenaries.

The US backing of the `autonomous' client Kurdish regime in Northern
Iraq and its expansionist pretension toward `Greater Kurdistan'
including wide swaths of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria has created
intense contradictions with its Turkish `allies'. A new Kurdish state
carved out of Northern Iraq serves as a jumping off point for cross
border attacks into Anatolia, especially by the PKK but also backed by
the governing Iraqi Kurdish elite. This may lead to a Turkish invasion
of Northern Iraq to destroy the PKK bases. This, in turn, could lead
to a general Turkish-Kurdish war and severely weaken the US mercenary
strategy in Iraq and the fragile structure of its alliance sustaining
US-Middle East dominance.

The US-Israeli strategy of dividing and destroying the Palestinian
resistance through an economic boycott is collapsing. Since the Mecca
agreements between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, numerous
European and Arab countries have opened negotiations, renewed economic
aid and trade and recognized the Hamas-led coalition as legitimate.

In Lebanon, the Sinoria regime holed up in Beirut has failed to weaken
Hezbollah and only exists because of US, European and Saudi financial
(and military) support. The Lebanese army is divided. The UN forces
refuse to disarm Hezbollah. Israel has no appetite for another
invasion. Clearly the US has lost influence in Lebanon while
increasing the power of the Hezbollah-Hamas-Iranian bloc.

The US effort to coalesce an alliance stretching from Saudi Arabia
through the Gulf States, Jordan, Israel and Egypt has failed mainly
because of Israel's colonial ambitions in Palestine and its military
threats to all `Muslim' countries. Israel's disastrous invasion of
Lebanon forced the US client regimes into opposition to the US-Israeli
policies. Israel's rejection of the Mecca-Palestinian pact and AIPAC's
power to force Washington to follow Israel's lead has alienated Saudi
Arabia and several European allies. In fact as a result of US
rejection of the Saudi-authored peace proposal, approved by the Arab
League, the Monarchy has criticized the US occupation of Iraq and its
threats to Iran. Even the Gulf mini-states, like the Emirates, have
declared their opposition to a US military attack on Iran. The
opposition of the US `Gulf Clients' indicates the decline of US
dominance and the failure of its pro-Israel policies. There can be no
stable relation between US imperialism and its Middle East Arab
clients, which includes an expansionist, colonial Jewish regime in
power in Israel. The Zionist power configuration has successfully
ensured the instability of US-Arab client relations through its
capacity to subordinate US policy to Israeli interests.

The US strategy of `instrumentalized' local clients and mercenary
armies to police the Middle East in the interest of the US empire is
failing and finds little basis for restoration under present

Regional Alliances: Middle East Power Sharing? The major obstacle
preventing Washington from advancing its `Arab agenda' – consolidating
its influence over its Arab clients, organizing Arab state support for
the war in Iraq, isolating Iran and expanding US oil interests – is
the pervasive veto power of the Israeli `fifth column', the Zionist
power configuration and its control over the US Congress and its power
in the Executive branch. As a result, Washington has rejected the
Saudi's `land for peace and recognition' proposal to Israel; it has
rejected the Saudi's Mecca agreement creating a unified Palestinian
government; it has rejected Arab Gulf State, Syrian, Iraqi, Saudi,
Russian and Chinese proposals for diplomatic negotiations with Iran
and Syria.

The US has completely failed to construct a `power-sharing' NATO-style
alliance in the Middle East (except with Turkey and Israel) for
several reasons. First, the overwhelming majority (ranging from
80-95%) of the Arab population reject such an agreement and it would
undermine the little authority which the client regimes still have.
Secondly, the US offers nothing in `compensation' (quid pro quo) for
Arab support in exchange for defending US imperial supremacy – not
even pressure on Israel to concede semi-arid territory of the West
Bank to the Palestinians. Thirdly the power structure of a US-Middle
East alliance is so asymmetrical – the balance of power so skewed in
Washington's favor – that there is little bases for negotiations and
sharing of costs and benefits. Fourthly, because of the inequality of
power, some governments (like Saudi Arabia) with a wealth of economic
power are fearful of being absorbed by the US. As a result, rather
than a formal Middle East US-Arab alliance, there are bilateral
agreements and specific concessions, such as military bases (Oman,
Saudi Arabia and Turkey), intelligence and torture/interrogation
agreements (Syria, Egypt and Jordan) and petroleum distribution
agreements (Gulf States-Saudi). These bilateral agreements provide
Washington with significant leverage and influence but not the formal
control of wealth (because of Arab state ownership of oil) nor the use
of local military forces for promoting US and Israeli regional supremacy.

The US `alliance' with Israel is based on a different kind of
asymmetrical influence and benefits. Because of Israeli-Zionist power
over US political institutions, the US can only pursue policies, which
further Israeli strategic interests in the Middle East. The asymmetry
of power in Israel-US relations is evident in the costs and benefits
of economic, military, political and diplomatic relations. The US pays
`tribute' of over $3 billion USD a year (mostly in outright grants) to
Israel, a country with a per capita annual income of $25,000 (as of
2006), higher than 25% of the US population! Israel receives free
entry to US markets, unhindered and unlimited immigration to the US,
tax exemptions on the purchase of Israel bonds, the most advanced US
military technology which allows Israel to successfully `out compete'
the US military industrial complex in major arms markets such as
billion dollar sales to India, Africa and in the US! Israel runs a
massive 100,000-member Zionist lobby influencing US policy: Washington
does not have a single pro-US lobbyist in Israel.

During the Reagan years, to cover up Zionist influence in shaping US
policy to serve Israeli interests, key lobbyist and indicted spy
suspect, Steve Rosen promoted the idea that Israel was a `strategic
asset' of the US in the Middle East (Edward Tivnan, The Lobby, Simon
and Schuster, NY 1987, page 180) - the line now parroted by `Left'
Zionists who downplay the role of the Lobby.

In other words, the so-called US-Israel alliance subordinates
Washington's foreign and diplomatic policy and military resources in
the Middle East to the needs of `Greater Israel' because the Zionist
power configuration has greater political leverage in the Congress
than the petroleum and arms industries, the military and even the

The US-Turkish alliance is asymmetrical: Turkey supplies the US with
military bases, allies itself with Israel (despite majority popular
opposition), supports the US war against Iraq at an enormous loss of
trade and tax revenues. In exchange, Turkey faces a US-sponsored
separatist Kurdish state on its border with Iraq, which permits cross
border attacks by Kurdish armed insurgents. US policymakers have given
the highest priority to satisfying Kurdish territorial demands as a
mechanism to secure Peshmerga military support in repressing Iraqi
national resistance. Turkish demands for US control over Kurdish
expansionist claims over Anatolia are ignored. Washington believes
that the Turkish government will submit to the US alliance with the
Kurds. The White House dismissed Turkey's threats to invade de facto
`Kurdistan' as inconsequential. Given the Turkish government's pursuit
of European Union membership, Washington believes that Ankara will
refrain from any military intervention into Northern Iraq.

Nevertheless there is reason to believe that the Kurdish guerrilla
strongholds in Northern Iraq are receiving arms, money, recruits and a
`green light' from the `autonomous' Kurdish government. It is likely
that the conflict in Anatolia will intensify now that the Kurds have
the financial backing from the US military in Iraq and oil revenue
from recently seized well sites.. There are few doubts that US arms to
the Kurds in Iraq are passed on to the Kurds in Anatolia. The question
is whether and how long the Turkish military will continue to submit
to the US-Kurdish strategy in Northern Iraq and its spillover effects
in Anatolia or whether Ankara will launch a full-scale military
incursion against the Kurdish `revolutionary' supporters of
`democratic colonialism' as the PKK has referred to the US imperial
army occupying Iraq.

The 21st Century Experience of US Empire Building in the Middle East

A serious analysis of US empire building strategy must take account of
the changing tactics and unchanging rigid strategic goals. Washington
launched the invasion of Iraq unilaterally; confronted with
intensified resistance Washington turned multi-lateral seeking support
and mercenary forces from European allies and Third World clients. As
the national liberation forces gained the upper hand, Washington
recruited a large contingent (50,000) of overseas professional
mercenaries and 200,000 Iraqi collaboraters. At first Washington
brought over `exiled' Iraqi politicians to form a puppet regime; then
it backed the conservative Shia clan leaders; then it recruited
heavily among the Kurds. As each imperial `tactic' failed to defeat
the resistance, Washington increased its occupation army and its Iraqi
colonial army. But each escalation increased domestic opposition. Each
tactical alliance created new antagonisms with Sunni, Baathists and
Turkmen. Major military allies and client regimes began to retire
their forces from the US dominated `coalition' in the face of an
inevitable defeat.

Facing increasing military isolation in Iraq, declining public support
in the US, Washington's response is to increase the militarization of
the Middle East and prepare a new war against Iran. Washington
believes that an attack on Iran will mobilize the entire Zionist power
configuration (from hundreds of local Jewish federations to Washington
lobbies), which will exercise control over Congressional behavior, the
two parties (especially the Democrats) and the mass media. The White
House believes that an attack on Iran will serve to rally the American
people behind the President, arousing chauvinist fervor and increase
Bush's popularity. The White House believes it can engage in an air
and sea war in which the US air force can destroy Iran's defenses
without suffering serious US casualties. Washington believes it can
isolate the conflict to Iran and subsequently attack Syria, Hezbollah
and facilitate the Israel's `final solution' of the Palestinian question.

Washington's policy of permanent warfare is a wild irrational gamble
comparable to Hitler's attack on Russia following its conquest of
Poland and parts of Western Europe. New wars in the face of failed
wars can only lead to greater defeats, greater domestic rebellion and
wider wars.

Launching an attack on Iran means facing a country three time larger
than Iraq with a highly motivated army easily capable of crossing the
frontier and attacking US ground troops in Iraq, in alliance with
pro-Iranian militias in Baghdad and elsewhere. Secondly the regional
configuration of Arab countries is already highly polarized against
the US, unlike the period prior to the US invasion of Iraq. Thirdly
Iran has powerful allies in Lebanon, Iraq and throughout the Muslim
world who will retaliate against US strategic assets and clients.
Fourthly, Iran can easily target the Hormuz Straits and major oil
installations in the Gulf States, Saudi Arabia, Iraq as well as Iran –
leading to massive shortages of petroleum and quadrupling of oil prices.

However a US attack against Iran goes in the short run, ultimately the
US loses: The military losses will be felt throughout Iraq, the oil
catastrophe will reverberate throughout the world, the political
consequences will be greater polarization against the US-Israel axis
throughout Europe, Asia and of course, the Middle East. The result
will be the final demise of the Bush regime and the total discredit of
the Zionist-controlled Democratic Party. A major economic recession
will incite open class and national conflicts. Once again, an
imperialist war may be the midwife of revolutions: the Russian
Revolution followed World War I, the Chinese Revolution followed World
War II; will World War III lead to a new revolutionary cycle?

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton
University, New York, owns a 50 year membership in the class struggle,
is an adviser to the landless and jobless in brazil and argentina and
is co-author of Globalization Unmasked (Zed). His new book with Henry
Veltmeyer, Social Movements and the State: Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia
and Argentina, will be published in October 2005. He can be reached
at: jpetras @ binghamton.edu



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