5 August 2003
An essay by Stephen J. Sniegoski ‘The war on Iraq: Conceived in Israel,’ poses the idea that US foreign policy is controlled by a ‘cabal’ of right-wing Zionists, who have effectively hijacked the White House in pursuit of a ‘Greater Israel.’ The essay written in February 2003, before the invasion of Iraq proposes:
“[T]he idea of a Middle East war has been bandied about in Israel for many years as a means of enhancing Israeli security, which revolves around an ultimate solution to the Palestinian problem.”
It further proposes the idea that 9/11 was used as a pretext to launch a final onslaught on the Palestinians, the Arab nations of the Middle East plus Iran, and in doing so, produce a ‘final solution’ to the Palestinian question. This ‘solution’ could be effected if the Middle East entered what one Zionist ideologue refers to as “revolutionary times” such as that presented by the (fortuitous) attack on the WTC.
Sniegoski is proposing that the right-wing Zionist clique headed by Richard Perle, the ‘Prince of Darkness,’ have taken over the Bush administration, largely because Dubya is too stupid to know any better:
“In order to directly influence White House policy, Wolfowitz and Perle managed to obtain leading roles on the Bush foreign policy/national security advisory team for the 2000 campaign. Headed by Soviet specialist Condoleezza Rice, the team was referred to as “the Vulcans.” Having no direct experience in foreign policy and little knowledge of the world, as illustrated by his notorious gaffes — confusing Slovakia with Slovenia, referring to Greeks as “Grecians,” and failing a pop quiz on the names of four foreign leaders — George W. Bush would have to rely heavily on his advisors.” – http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_conc2.htm
And Bush’s main advisor, Condoleeze Rice, is a novice on Middle Eastern affairs at least according to Robert Novak:
“[s]ince Rice lacks a clear track record on Middle East matters, Wolfowitz and Perle will probably weigh in most on Middle East policy.” – Ian Urbina, “Rogues’ Gallery: Who Advises Bush and Gore on the Middle East?” Middle East Report 216, Fall 2000, http://www.merip.org/mer/mer216/216_urbina.html
Sniegoski further backs up his argument by referring to an article in Counterpunch that says as follows:
“The suggestion that the war with Iraq is being planned at Israel’s behest, or at the instigation of policymakers whose main motivation is trying to create a secure environment for Israel, is strong. Many Israeli analysts believe this. The Israeli commentator Akiva Eldar recently observed frankly in a Ha’aretz column that [Richard] Perle, [Douglas] Feith, and their fellow strategists “are walking a fine line between their loyalty to American governments and Israeli interests.”
Kathleen and Bill Christison, “A Rose By Another Other Name: The Bush Administration’s Dual Loyalties,” – CounterPunch, December 13, 2002, http://www.counterpunch.org/christison1213.html
Of course it could just be a ‘happy coincidence’ in the sense that it suits the builders of empire. The crunch could come, or if you like, the test, if the interests of the hardline Zionists intent on building a ‘Greater Israel’ find their connivings coming into direct conflict with the larger interests of US capital (I suggested as much in an earlier piece). Of course, it’s not inconceivable that the strategists of big capital could be ‘seduced’ into thinking that the overarching interests of the US and the sectarian interests of Israel are in complete sync. But how long could such an alliance survive? If the Zionists achieve their goal of ‘expulsion’ this would only trigger a complete destabilisation of the entire region. There’s only one place the Palestinians could be expelled to (short of extermination) and that’s Jordan and how would the Jordanians react to this?
The other major reason that Sniegoski uses to back up his argument is that oil is not the central reason for US strategy in the Middle East. He uses the following argument:
“”First, oil industry representatives or big economic moguls do not seem to be clamoring for war. According to oil analyst Anthony Sampson, “oil companies have had little influence on U.S. policy-making. Most big American companies, including oil companies, do not see a war as good for business, as falling share prices indicate.”” – Anthony Sampson, “Oilmen don’t want another Suez,” Guardian Unlimited, December 22, 2002, http://www.observer.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,864336,00.html
He then goes on to say that:
“Further, it is not apparent that war would be good for the oil industry or the world economy. Why would Big Oil want to risk a war that could ignite a regional conflagration threatening their existing investments in the Gulf? Iraq does indeed have significant oil reserves, but there is no reason to believe that they would have an immediate impact on the oil market.” – http://www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_conc5.htm
However, I think this analysis is flawed as it doesn’t take into account the role of the petro-dollar in shoring up a de facto bankrupt US economy. The invasion ties in with the switch that Iraq had made to the Euro (and here too, both Venezuela and Iran have both contemplated the switch). Were this to happen, it would undermine the value of the dollar completely. The US debt, currently running at over $4 trillion could effectively bankrupt the US economy if a switch were made to the Euro as the currency of choice for oil payments. Hence I see the takeover/emasculation of OPEC as one of the key objectives. That this coincides with Israeli policy could be viewed as merely fortuitous especially when one considers Israel’s need for cheap oil.
The dollar, is effectively the world currency, which forces the rest of the world to pay the US debt. Take this away, and it’s in deep doo-doo!
By focusing only on the oil industry, Sniegoski ignores the fact that the entire US economy is carbon-based with the automobile as the main engine (excuse the pun). And whilst it’s true that other sections of big US capital want stability, all this points to is the fact that the leaders of big capital are divided over the issue of how best to tackle the crisis of capital in a post-Soviet world. Sniegoski acknowledges as much when he says:
“”War poses tremendous risk. In his evaluation of the possible economic impact of a war on Iraq, economic analyst Robert J. Samuelson concludes: “If it’s peace and prosperity, then war makes no sense. But if fighting now prevents a costlier war later, it makes much sense.””
Robert J. Samuelson, – “The Economic Impact of War,” Newsweek, December 2, 2002, http://www.msnbc.com/news/839098.asp
And Sniegoski also acknowledges that the larger strategic interests of US capital, of which oil is a central component, plays a major role when he quotes Robert Kagan, high priest of the neo-cons:
“”When we have economic problems, it’s been caused by disruptions in our oil supply. If we have a force in Iraq, there will be no disruption in oil supplies.” – “The president’s real goal in Iraq,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 29, 2002, http://www.accessatlanta.com/ajc/opinion/0902/29bookman.html
And any capitalist worth his or her salt, knows that business is a risk, that the risk involves the lives of millions of people has never stopped them in past, so I see no reason why it should be different this time around. To paraphrase, ‘war is an extension of business by other means.’ That some businesses benefit and others lose, is just the ‘breaks’ as they say.
The other interesting aspect of the entire, murky affair is whether it really is possible for a cabal of extremist Zionists to effectively hijack US foreign policy, even if it negatively impacts on the long term interests of big US capital? It assumes that the other sections of big capital are just standing idly by, twiddling their thumbs and what? Awaiting the outcome?
It also raises the question of just how smart and forward thinking the political class of big capital really are? Sniegoski’s observation, made early on in the piece about the creation of Israel in 1948 as a stake driven into the heart of Arab nationalism over the oil, and to counter Soviet influence in the region, was of course apposite for the times (post-WWWII/Cold-War), but does the same still hold true?
Again, as I’ve suggested before, is the wholesale removal of the Palestinian population anymore doable now than it was in 1948, ’56, ’67 or ’73? As things stand, I’d say that it’s even less realistic an option now than at any time in the past. Zionist propaganda that relies on the entire Holocaust sympathy claptrap as a rationale for denying Palestinian rights is running out of steam. In many ways, the Zionist actions reflects a state of desperation that mirrors that of the US (the Israeli economy is in as bad a state as the US’s). The latest racist attack on Palestinians over the nationality issue is a prime example, that if anything, it’s the Zionists who have lost touch with reality.
Again, as I have also suggested, the US is caught between a rock and a hard place of which the ‘road map’ compromise is a perfect example. Forced into being seen to be doing something because of the fascist actions of Sharon, at the same time, as a result of the stranglehold of the pro-Zionists in the Bush admin, it could only go so far. Frankly, my feeling is that if the US political class as a whole, could dump Israel tomorrow, it would, but for a variety of reasons, this simply isn’t possible (at least in the short term).
The other major issue is the actions of the PLA and the various ‘breakaways’ (Islamic Jehad etc). As long as they keep supplying pretexts for Sharon to further disassemble what remains of the ‘proto-Palestinian state,’ the less likelihood there is of a solution. Clearly, the ‘road map’ is a non-starter.
It raises the issue, which I have long felt is the only solution, and that is the abandonment of the ‘two-state’ policy of Arafat’s PLO and points toward the fact that ultimately, the solution has to come from within Israel itself. The question is how likely is this to happen? After all, the fascist faction in Israel has a similar lock on Israeli policy as the Perle/Feith etc cabal has in DC. And interestingly, Sharon’s Likud and its allies, have all along, divided Israel’s population right down the middle over the issue.
It raises the issue of the effect of the desperate policies of the Palestinian ‘extremists’. The first Intifada was effective precisely because it was largely non-violent. The Israeli right lost the ‘moral high ground’. But obviously, the first Intifada ran out of steam, there’s only so much you can ask of a population to do and to sacrifice. Israeli/US intransigence and Arafat’s sellout, finally produced the 2nd Intifada.
The other issue that I think is not taken fully into account in Sniegoski’s essay is whether or not the political class in the US is entirely rational? And how do you fit the PNAC and the other ‘official’ expressions of US empire-building plans into the thesis? After all, the imperial plans exist independently of Israel’s objectives (if anything, Israel complicates the entire objective), or indeed from where I’m sitting (in a baking, climate-changed London) with Blah’s role as a junior partner in the ‘new imperium’?
My fear is that as my good friend Patricia wrote me from the US, following 911, that “it was either socialism or barbarism” it looks more likely that it will be latter. It could be, as I’ve said before, that the inmates are now in charge of the asylum. Does this mean that it’s Zionist nuts or desperate imperialists nuts or none of the above?
Sniegoski’s essay is thought-provoking and packed with information on the workings of the Bush Imperium, replete with a stack of references for the doubters amongst you, who think anything that doesn’t come from the ‘established’ press, is dreamed up in ‘Conspiracy Central.’ And whether you agree or disagree with his conclusions, it needs to be read and discussed.
Stephen J. Sniegoski ‘The war on Iraq: Conceived in Israel’