Want to know what’s really going on behind the scenes as the American war on Iraq spirals to its fiery conclusion? Ask someone who knows, who moves among the top players, who has been there, on the  bloodstained ground, in the gold-plated palaces: Paul William Roberts.  The intrepid Senior Writer for Atlantic Free Press, is  back with his latest report on the American debacle and Iraq’s agony.  His piece, Decline and Fall: America in Retreat, is packed with the insider dope and savage wit that characterizes all his work. Get over to Atlantic Free Press now and read the whole thing, after a taste of these excerpts:

According  to the Iraqi newspaper Al- Quds al-Arabi, James Baker, the Bush  family’s Mr. Fixit, recently met with one of Saddam Hussein’s lawyers  in Amman, Jordan, and told him that the former deputy prime minister of  Iraq, Tariq Aziz, would be released from detention by December in order  to negotiate with the US on behalf of factions of the Iraqi resistance  movement still controlled by old Ba’ath Party leaders. Sources in  Jordan tell me that the first stage of such negotiations has indeed  already taken place. Two weeks ago, Aziz was whisked from his jail cell  and, along with other representatives of Iraq’s Sunni Resistance, taken  for three days’ of secret discussions in Amman with senior US  officials. It is heartening to note that this course of action was  advised by the Atlantic Free Press three weeks ago. Aziz and his  colleagues are currently discussing America’s proposals with the  divisional resistance leadership, whose response and counter-offers  they will present to Washington early next month.

Jordan’s  Crown Prince Hassan tells me, furthermore, that Condoleeza Rice made a  personal appeal to the Gulf Cooperation Council last month to act as  intermediaries between the US and the armed Sunni resistance, not  including Iraqi al-Qaeda leaders. Rice evidently joked during the  closed-door meeting that “if Donald Rumsfeld could hear me now he would  wage war against me fiercer and hotter than he waged in Iraq…”

Iraqi  Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki was evidently unable to accept these  proposals, or so I am told, because his office ties him institutionally  to the Shia parties, which view any concessions to the Sunni as a  religious betrayal. Iraqi Shia Muslims believe their moment in history  has arrived and they have finally thrown off a millennium of Sunni  domination. Most chickens still remain in their eggs, however, so  counting them may be misleading. The view in Washington is that  Al-Maliki’s usefulness has ended, and a political coup is now underway  to oust him and reorganize his regime along lines more amenable to a  revival of America’s old bias toward Sunni Arabs. In the Situation  Room, the situation always has room for change, and two opinions are  better than one even when they’re mutually contradictory.

  Along  with burying Al-Maliki in Quisling’s Graveyard, some of the Pentagon’s  less repentant serial killers feel that cranking up the battle of  Baghdad a notch would make an even better prelude to withdrawal, since  it might help prevent US troops being picked off like lame antelope by  a triumphant resistance….

  In  this, as in all Middle Eastern political poker these days, Teheran  holds better cards than Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, or Baghdad. While  state media ply us with tales of Iran’s profligacy as chief arms  merchant to violent dissent, the real story is that of Iran’s  restraint. There were larger shoulder-launched missiles to supply  Hezbollah fighters in Lebanon – ones capable of reaching every city in  Israel – yet Teheran chose not to make them available. There is an  awful lot more that the Iranian military could provide to Iraqi  resistance groups, too, yet to date it is the Russians, via Syria, who  have provided most of the weaponry….

The  real power in Teheran is an oligarchy linked to oil and interwoven with  senior clerics yet essentially secular in its goals. Your media don’t  bother you with this reality, however, for reasons best known to  themselves. To retain the status quo, however, the oligarchs must  placate the impoverished masses with a myth of spiritual warfare in  which Iran fights for God against Satan….At least no one in Teheran’s  corridors of power actually believes this yarn, though, while  Washington is infested with religious psychopaths who seriously (or  rather comically) think they’re up against a guy with horns who has set  himself up as the Competition.

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