Bush has stated at least twice that the Iraq War and “war on terror” are World War III, a name Bush first stated was coined by bin Laden and then recently Bush implied it was coined by the father of a 9/11 hero. Is this merely semantics or a reflection of world events that are now being triggered by Bush’s policies? A brief review of some world events indicate that the global community is seething with divisiveness that did not exist to this extent prior to policies implemented by Bush. Specifically, the Bush administration is using the “war on terror” as a shield, expanding and changing its definition like a chameleon to fit the particular country, and then expanding or creating conflicts as the means to obtain the desired ends, whether it be geopolitical, natural resources, power, pure corporate greed or some other goal.
(1) The Iraq War is gradually spreading into Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia while other Middle Eastern countries fear the same.
The violence, insecurity and chaos in Iraq is providing great cover for Iran and Turkey to resume their fight with the Kurds. In Northern Iraq, Kurdish villagers flee their homes after “shelling and incursions by Iranian forces and a massive build-up of Turkish troops as both militaries move to crush separatist guerrillas.” Turkey has been positioning 40,000 troops at the border while Iran bombs the Kurdish villages for hours at a time. Predictably, Kurdish rebels then mount counter attacks against the Iranian army.
For many Americans, the Iraq war is an isolated event that may end when our troops are withdrawn while the reality is that the sectarian violence in Iraq is already spreading to other Middle Eastern countries. The Iraqi sectarian violence is spreading divisiveness to Saudi Arabia, “breathing new life into the ancient rivalry between the country’s powerful Sunni Muslim majority and the long-oppressed Shiite minority.” The result is that “Saudi Sunnis are defending Iraqi Sunnis, and Saudi Shiites are defending Iraqi Shiites. There’s a fear that it will cause a struggle here.”
Given that many Middle Eastern countries have similar Shiite and Sunnis populations, this type of sectarian unrest could infect other countries, and along the lines seen in Iraq, with hundreds of thousands of Iraqis that once lived alongside each other now displaced as they flee mixed neighborhoods to avoid death, property destruction and violent crimes like kidnappings. A similar spill-over effect is seen in Turkey, which now faces the worst civil unrest in years amid clashes between Kurdish separatists and security forces.”
(2) Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds establish armed forces and positions in Kirkuk to determine who will control the oil-rich city.
In addition to Iraqi Kurdish rebels fighting Iran and Turkey, hundreds of Shiite Muslim militias have deployed in recent weeks to Kirkuk — “widely considered the most likely flash point for an Iraqi civil war” — to fight Kurdish control of the area. And, the US watches on the sidelines as Shiites, Kurds and Sunnis all prepare for open war for the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.
(3) An escalating war of words over who is to blame for intelligence failures in Afghanistan has resulted in increasing hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and another US bombing attack in Pakistan.
As Taliban attacks increased in Afghanistan, the Afghan-Pakistani relationship deteriorated as Afghanistan advocated the US position that Pakistan was not doing enough to fight the “war on terror” and both sides blamed the other for bad intelligence in the fight against the Taliban. As is typical in such disputes, it began with a war of words over who is responsible for the increasing number of Taliban attacks in Afghanistan. Blame then grew into charges that the Pakistan secret service attempted to assassinate a former Afghanistan president and then action as the two countries are now using police raids to locate and then deport nationals from the other country.
And now the US pushes the growing hostilities further by bombing in Pakistan after its Afghanistan surrogate’s dispute with Pakistan did not stop Taliban attacks. The US was so concerned over the rise of Taliban attacks that last week it “suggested” that Pakistan conduct a Tora-Bora type air bombing attack against Pakistani tribal areas suspected of housing Taliban recruiting and/or training camps. As the Taliban is “integrated into the local population,” there would be “high civilian casualties,” but that is deemed permissible because the civilians would be “deemed Taliban sympathizers.” Three days after the “suggestion,” US helicopter gunships wounded at least 3 Pakistani workers in a missile strike against suspected Taliban inside Pakistan’s tribal region, but it is unclear if the US had Pakistan’s permission or even notified Pakistan before bombing.
(4) Neocon hawks now promoting confrontational stance against Russia and China.
Bush’s war plate is not full enough with Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan as “some influential hawks are now promoting a more confrontational stance against Russia and China as well.” Hints of this new stance can be seen in “Cheney’s blistering verbal assault on Russia” this week as well as Rice’s characterization of Beijing as a “negative force” in Asia. It is also evident in Bush’s “courtship of both Japan and India as strategic allies against Beijing.” At this initial stage of conflict, or war of words, Russia then predictably responds with President Putin comparing the US to a wolf who “eats without listening” as the “public spat” between the two countries “intensified.” Indeed, Putin this week stated that “Russia needed a strong military not only to guard against potential attackers but also to resist foreign political pressure.”
(5) Latin America is ground zero for Bush’s “war on terror” which now includes corporate globalization, and countries which oppose are placed on the US enemies list.
During the Clinton years, Latin America was a “crown jewel” with allies that shared similar values. Today, Latin American leaders openly rebel against the Bush administration, which views the countries as places where “enemies lurk.” Problems that Clinton’s Pentagon categorized as discrete issues — “drugs, arms trafficking, intellectual property piracy, migration, and money laundering” — and which have been described as the “five wars of globalization,” are now packaged together by the Bush administration as terrorism.
Bush uses this broad definition of terrorism to justify militarization of police work and constant surveillance of everyone. And this is the message that Rumsfeld brings on regular tours of the region, that “local police, military and intelligence services” should “act in an integrated manner.” However, the Pentagon’s true focus is that of “globalization’s Praetorian Guard, making the opening up of markets across Latin America a central objective of its mission.” So, the US sends troops to the region to train security forces and the Pentagon teaches recruits about their new “internal enemy,” which is “anti-free trade populists” who “incite violence against their own government and their own people.”
However, not all countries buy into the Bush plan, and this is where the potential for future conflict lies. “Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, and Bolivia, among other countries, are now working together to contest Washington’s hemispheric authority.” The penalty for failure to buy Bush’s “war on terror,” which may be more appropriately entitled US corporate globalization takeover, is that the Pentagon is now establishing a “chain of small but permanent military bases” to be used to “project its power deep into Latin America.”
(6) Bush’s attempt to effect regime change of Hamas government produced the predicted internal violence, which for now may be stopped because Israel and the world forced Bush to blink.
Ever since Bush cut off financial aid to the new Hamas Palestinian government to effect regime change, there has been a gradual build up of internal tensions. Bush’s economic sanctions also included a ban on providing medical supplies to hospitals, which has resulted in patients dying.
Internal unrest grew as Palestinian policemen seized a government building to protest unpaid salaries while Palestinian civilians faced a financial crisis from banks refusing to cash checks, retailers refusing credit and gas stations imposing limits due to fuel shortages. Analysts also feared the lawlessness created by the lack of financial aid was creating new breeding grounds for al-Qaeda recruiting.
The Palestinian territory was reaching a breaking point ready to “explode at any time.” Similar to divisiveness in Iraq, the Palestinian Fatah loyalists decided to form a militia to counter Hamas security forces while Palestinian students supporting Fatah clashed with Hamas supporters. Events seemed to culminate with Israel foiling a Hamas plot to kill Palestinian President Abbas shortly after Hamas warned that regime change could end the Palestinian Authority and cause a new intifada.
Recently, the UN warned that Bush’s no aid policy was fueling tensions and could “create an explosive climate in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.” In addition, an international envoy report questioned Bush’s decision to cut off aid to the Hamas government after billions spent to build government and economy, warning UN and nongovernmental groups could not “fill the void if Palestinian Authority institutions collapse under Western pressure.” Now, Israel no longer objects to aid, and “US, UN, EU, and Russia say they will release international aid, but bypass Hamas government.”
The failure of TV news to provide detailed coverage of world events has been so beneficial to Bush, but Americans need to wake up. The MSM and the GOP love to designate Bush critics in the US as angry, but this anger is spreading across America, and not because we face death and physical wounds from US troops or policies that withhold needed medical supplies. Can we understand the different and more intense level of anger and rage and powerlessness that people feel across the world? At what point will someone or some activity step in to stop the actions feeding this rage?