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The Splendid Failure of Occupation Last Updated: Jan 4th, 2007 - 01:08:31

Part 35: When an American Hulagu invades Mesopotamia
By B. J. Sabri
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Aug 12, 2005, 16:15

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�What we want is, for the countries of the Third World to experience the God of the First World��African-American televangelist, Bishop Eddie Long, New Birth TV Show, July
17, 2005

George Bush is a crafty politician: he hides his strident demagogy behind the armor of the presidency. For example, when journalists ask him if the United States would withdraw its forces from Iraq, seeing the intense resistance to his occupation and the devastation of Iraq, he and the mouthpieces of his regime always reply in the same manner, �Not before we complete our mission.� What mission might that be?

Missions can be religious, educational, humanitarian, exploratory, etc., but none of these fit Bush�s pattern in Iraq. Instead, his �mission� has all the tested principles of colonialist conquest as evidenced by the protracted occupation, destruction of Iraqi cities, mass murder, and the building of military bases.

By now, it is evident that Bush�s mission has three objectives: (1) the political, physical, and economic destruction of Iraq as a state opposing Israel�s expansionism, (2) turning it into an oil colony and a large hub for U.S. military forces to implement further conquest, and (3) the naturalization of the illegal racist state of Israel inside Arab lands. Implicit in all these platforms, of course, is the subjugation of the Arabs as people, control over their oil, liquidation of the Middle East as a cultural historical entity, and liquidation of the Palestinian Question permanently.

But by its own definition, conquest is neither a pacifist mission nor a humanitarian enterprise. Rather, it is a violent, foreign-imposed revolution of the pre-existent order of a conquered land. Such revolution will only serve the interests of conquerors, and comes at a calamitous price for the conquered. Chaos, death, destruction, disease, and plunder are only the most notorious results of conquest.

Interestingly, Bush as a conqueror of Iraq is a replica of Hulagu the Mongol (grandson of Genghis Khan) who destroyed the Arab Abbasid Empire in Iraq and its capital, Baghdad, in 1258. There is a difference though: in contrast to Bush, the Mongolian intruder did not espouse any elaborate ideological �mission.� He did not seek to export Mongolian �democracy� to Mesopotamia (Iraq), and he did not invade it to �free� the Iraqis from their caliph.

Still, Bush and Hulagu differ in one prominent aspect: Hulagu was an awesome warrior and a fighter who invaded while riding and leading his hordes; Bush is a civilian who thinks that he is a warrior because the constitution designates him the commander-in-chief. Nevertheless, Bush and Hulagu have something in common: both men have a Christian mother. How is this important? We shall discuss this in a moment.

In the meanwhile, are there similarities between the Mongolian onslaught on 13th-century Mesopotamia and the American invasion of the same in the 21st Century? And is it important that we go back to the Mongolian invasion of the Middle East to find some answers to the U.S. invasion of Iraq?

While the answer to the first question is affirmative and requires some qualifications that I shall explain below, the answer to the second question is yes. This is because investigating the ideology of conquest in historical frame and defining its purposes would not only shatter pretenses and �liberation� mythologies of present conquerors, but also powerfully debunks their claim for having superior morality or civilization. Besides, if history does not matter, why do we keep debating Moses, Jesus, and Mohammad; the French Revolution, American Civil War, and the status of Taiwan; and the mess around us, if not were for history and its makers?

Historically, while the Mongols' onslaught on Iraq had permanently destroyed the country and its political system, the current onslaught by the axis U.S.-UK achieved the same results. Yet, despite Iraq�s political, economic, and territorial destruction at the hands of the United States, Bush failed to repeat Hulagu�s exploit�his onslaught upholds neither an American success nor Iraqi failure as manifested by (1) the fierce Iraqi resistance against the American occupation, and (2) the failure of Bush to defeat it.

Why did I allude earlier to the religion of Bush's and Hulagu�s mothers, and, is that an important factor? Let me first remind you of two historical facts:

  • Once Genghis Khan (Temujin), Hulagu�s grandfather, subjugated parts of China and most of Central Asia, he then aimed at conquering Iraq, headquarters of the Arab Islamic Caliphate. But religion was not among the factors motivating conquest. In fact, Temujin tolerated Christianity, Islam, Taoism, Buddhism, and continued to practice Shamanism all his life. So why did he want his sons and grandsons to destroy the Abbasid Caliphate? The key answer is seizure of wealth, that is, appropriation of wealth owned by others is that one objective that drives pillage and conquest.
  • After Hulagu conquered Persia (Iran), conquering the Abbasid Empire, i.e. Iraq, had become inevitable. Remember, once the ideology of conquest sets in, the drive to implement it becomes irresistible regardless of whatever conditions. Were there other ulterior motives for Hulagu�s decision to end the Islamic Arab Caliphate in Iraq? It is possible. Since Hulagu�s strong willed mother (Sorghaghtan Beki) was Christian, it is permissible to speculate that she was the inspiration (maybe out of hate or rivalry) behind the invasion of Abbasid territory. Was Christianity a cause in that invasion? The answer is a resolute no. Religions do not make wars; those who adhere to them do for reasons alien to religious beliefs. Although Hulagu was apparently a theist who believed in God and his will (as you will read bellow in his warning to the caliph), and his mother was a Christian, he did not practice Christianity. In fact, after the Mamluks defeated him in Syria, in 1260, he withdrew to Azerbaijan where he converted to Islam in that same year. And that was only two years after he burned Islamic Baghdad to the ground and killed hundreds of thousands of its citizens.

Curiously, and in epochal terms, the timing of the Mongol invasions of central Asia, the Middle East, and of Eastern Europe, appear to have coincided with the assault of European Crusaders on the Middle East and Palestine. In fact, while the Mongol invasions lasted from 1206 -1368, the Christian Crusades lasted from 1096 - 1290. Most interestingly, while Hulagu was burning Iraq, the Seventh Christian Crusade on Arab land was in progress.

In practice, the axis�Christian crusaders and Mongol conquerors�squeezed, crushed, and suffocated to death the Arab Middle East. Was that a coincidence? No doubt, despite the fact that many Mongol khans sent emissaries to Europe requesting cooperation. It is possible, therefore, to speculate that Hulagu, prior to his conversion, was tilting, via his mother�s religion, toward European Christians in their hostility against Muslims and Islam.

Regardless of circumstances, the Mongol invasion of Iraq and Syria, (2) European crusaders� invasion of Bilad al-Sham [today Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and all of historical Palestine], and (3) the American invasion of Iraq, share three denominators:

  1. Mass murder and barbarity towards the original inhabitants of the invaded lands.
  2. Destruction of their infrastructure and cities.
  3. Expropriation of their wealth.

Because the Crusades are not the subject of this article, the following is a brief comparison between Hulagu�s invasion of Iraq and Bush�s invasion in 2003, that I organized in two categories: Warning and war, and aftermath.

Hulagu the Mongol Warns the Caliph

As he was marching toward Baghdad, Hulagu sent the following message to the last Iraqi Abbasid Caliph, al‑Mustaa�sim bil-Lah:

When I lead my army against Baghdad in anger, whether you hide in heaven or in earth
I will bring you down from the spinning spheres.
I will toss you in the air like a lion.
I will leave no one alive in your realm.
I will burn your city, your land, your self.
If you wish to spare yourself and your venerable family, give heed to my advice with the ear of intelligence. If you do not, you will see what God has willed." [

American Presidents Warn Iraq

To conquer Iraq in stages, three American presidents: the traditional imperialist George H. W. Bush, the Zionist Bill Clinton, and the ultra‑zealot Zionist George W. Bush, have murdered about 2.5�3 million Iraqis since 1991. The following are extracts from warnings issued respectively by the three presidents:

George H. W. Bush�s letter to the then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in January 1991:

I am writing you now, directly, because what is at stake demands that no opportunity be lost to avoid what would be a certain calamity for the people of Iraq . . . More immediately, the Iraqi military establishment will escape destruction. But unless you withdraw from Kuwait completely and without condition, you will lose more than Kuwait . . . What is at issue here is not the future of Kuwait�it will be free, its government will be restored�but rather the future of Iraq . . . [Italics added]

Bill Clinton�s address to the nation, as why he ordered strikes on Iraq in December 1998:

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. . . . At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. [Italics added]

George W. Bush�s ultimatum to the then Iraqi president Saddam Hussein in March 2003:

Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed. I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services, if war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life. . . . And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning. In any conflict, your fate will depend on your action. . . . Yet, the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so. . . . If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them, will face fearful consequences. . . . [Italics added]

The Aftermath of Mongols' Invasion

Wikipedia describes Hulagu�s destruction of Iraq in the following words:

The caliph was not sure how to react to Hulagu's invasion, but weakly defended the city. Hulagu ordered various sections of Baghdad's population spared, such as learned men and Christians, but killed at least 250,000 people (contemporary sources say 800,000). Hulagu killed the caliph by wrapping him in a rug and having him either "beaten to a pulp" or trampled by horses. Thus was the caliphate destroyed, and Iraq ravaged�it has never again been such a major center of culture and influence. . . . [Italic added]

Note 1: The fact that Hulagu spared Christians proves my contention that he sympathized with them but disliked Muslims enough to destroy them.

Note 2: Wikpedia�s writers, intentionally, skipped two important facts. First, once the Mongols destroyed it, Iraq fell under the occupation of the Ottoman Turks who kept it as a colonial province and food basket, which means a colonized land can never develop or prosper. Wikipedia then demeans Iraqi Arabs by categorically stating that ravaged Iraq had never risen again to prominence. This is a deliberate attempt at portraying the Iraqis as incapable of social resurrection. But that fact is that from its independence in 1921 until the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq reached a very high level of civil and industrial progress, especially under the rule of Saddam Hussein, who despite his despotism, re-invented Iraq again to make it a major center of culture and influence inside the Third World.

Note 3: It is not correct to say that the U.S. wars destroyed all of Iraq. In fact, while it destroyed the Arab regions of Iraq, it spared the Kurdish areas. This is because the Kurds, acting from a narrow angle of their history, have become the spear of America and Israel�s fascism to dismantle the Arab states and conquer them, as well as the potential tools to destabilize Iran, Syria, and Turkey.

The Aftermath of U.S. Wars on Iraq

George H. Bush and Iraq (Desert Storm):

  • The U.S. killed 300,000�600,000 Iraqis [The highest figure was reported by the London�based, but American owned, International Center for Strategic Studies, immediately at the end of the Gulf War; successive U.S. publications, however, tried to reduce the number.]
  • Destroyed most of Iraq's economic, military, and civilian infrastructures, including roads, airports, water purification stations, national electric power grids, basic but not all oil infrastructures, hospitals, schools, and of the 67 bridges that Iraq had, only seven remained intact.
  • Imposed land and sea blockade, and enacted total prohibition (sanctions) on imports and exports to impede recovery.
  • Placed the Iraqi airspace under U.S. control and non-fly zones; and stopped all air and land travel from and to Iraq.
  • Seized Iraqi money and obliged Iraq to pay $54 billions (this is the last figure issued by the United Nations in 2005) as a punishment for the invasion of Kuwait.
  • In the postwar years, leukemia, skin, thyroid, testicular, and ovarian cancers increased by over 10,000 percent in relation to prewar levels because of the American use of active uranium. In the meantime, the U.S. did not allow Iraq to import medical equipment and supplies including chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer patients under the pretext that the Iraqi regime could convert them to �weapons of mass destruction.�

Bill Clinton and Iraq:

  • Murdered over 1.5 million Iraqis by maintaining economic sanctions and blockades.
  • Expanded on the non-fly zones.
  • Kept destroying Iraq�s military and civilian infrastructures under the pretext that Iraq violated the American-imposed non-fly zones.
  • He launched Operation Desert Fox under the pretext that Iraq did not allow UN weapon inspectors into palaces and military installations.

George W. Bush Invades Mesopotamia:

As far as it concerns inflicting death and destruction, George H. W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, share a startling affinity with both Genghis Khan and his grandson, Hulagu. Yet, while Hulagu spared the �learned� in Baghdad, Bush�s forces have assassinated 307 university professors since the invasion.

Wikipedia describes Genghis Khan�s conquest as follows:

Genghis Khan's conquests were characterized by wholesale destruction on unprecedented scale and radically changed the demographic situation in Asia . . . China suffered a drastic decline in population. Before the Mongol invasion, China had about 100 million inhabitants; after the complete conquest in 1279, the census in 1300 showed it to have roughly 60 million people . . . Genghis Khan's used brutal measures against those who would resist him in order to inflict fear. Genghis Khan's campaigns in Central Asia and in the Middle East caused massive destruction and the loss of human life. For example, the cities of Rey and Tus, the two largest and most populous cities in Iran at the time and centers of literature, culture, trade and commerce, were completely destroyed by the order of Genghis Khan. Nishapur, Merv and Samarqand suffered similar destructions. [Source]

Conclusively, the atrocities committed by the American State in conquering North America are a carbon copy of the atrocities committed by the Mongols in conquering Northern China, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Consequent to this and other facts that we studied in this series, it does not require hard mental labor to reach a preliminary conclusion. The U.S.'s history of atrocity, conquests, interventions, and wars is a combination of three confluent but distinct categories: (1) Barbarity that exceeds that of the Mongols', (2) atrocity that exceeds that of the Nazis', and the third category should have its own paragraph.

This cannot be but the intrinsic quality of the American political system, its apparatuses, culture, and ideology, as it developed historically. It included and still includes racism, slavery and neo-slavery, a superiority complex, international chauvinism, violence as a means of foreign policy, duality (doing something, but pretending something else�occupation as liberation), deception (e.g., the Gulf of Tonkin and Iraq), super-ostentatious nationalism, endemic aggressive militarism, and rhetorical righteousness.

The question now is what did the American Hulagu do when he invaded and occupied Mesopotamia, and finally, how does his occupation relate to Indian issues?

Next: Part 36: George Bush occupies Iraq

B. J. Sabri is an Iraqi-American antiwar activist. Email:

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The Splendid Failure of Occupation
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Part 45: How the U.S. engineered the Iraqi holocaust
Part 44: Burning the cradle of civilization
Part 43: The scheme behind the bombardment of Iraq
Part 42: Postwar aftermath or imperialist mutatis mutandis?
Part 41: The choice: obedience or annihilation
Part 40: A one-way bombardment called Gulf War
Part 39: Iraq: The second stage of conquest
Part 38: Inside America's lab of horror
Part 37: Iraq, America�s Lab of Horror
Part 36: George Bush occupies Iraq
Part 35: When an American Hulagu invades Mesopotamia
Part 34: Iraq, another chapter of American fascism, colonialism, and extermination
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Part 32: From Alexander Hamilton and Iroquois to George Bush and Iraqis
Part 31: Achtung! We can invent a pretext to conquer you
Part 30: Iraq Occupation, pretext, encroachment, and colonialism
Part 29: Iraq Occupation, anatomy of pretext
Part 28: Imperialist expansions and 9/11
Part 27: Demystifying 9/11
Part 26: Dick Cheney, numbers and the metaphysics of 9/11