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Commentary Last Updated: Jun 16th, 2008 - 00:54:58

Plans rapidly proceeding to make Iraq our Middle Eastern launching pad
By Michael Payne
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jun 16, 2008, 00:15

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The Bush administration is working overtime on two key objectives, both specifically designed to reshape the Middle East in the mold envisioned by the U.S. and Israel, our loyal and very aggressive ally.

I have now come to believe that Bush and Cheney have no intentions of leaving Iraq under any circumstances and that they are following a carefully crafted plan to assure a permanent, dominant U.S. presence in the Middle East. Can they, will they find the way to succeed? We better hope not but it appears that we may be heading into a very dangerous and worrisome time for the Middle East and the entire world.

The first of these objectives involves the "status of forces agreement" that the Bush administration is feverishly trying to ram down the throats of the Iraqi government. Under this agreement, Iraq would agree to let U.S. troops occupy 58 or more permanent bases, control Iraqi airspace, have the right to arrest Iraqis at will, allow the U.S. to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq and, thereby, allow the U.S. to conduct military strikes against Iran or any other country without the permission of the Iraqi government; it would also grant immunity from Iraqi law to U.S. troops and contractors. In short, the U.S. would become a permanent occupying presence that would, in effect, conduct the total affairs of the Iraqi people with no constraints of any kind.

This agreement is being hotly pursued as a critical, high-priority need and Bush negotiators in Iraq are applying extreme pressure on the Prime Minister Nouri al-maliki. Bush & Co. say they need no treaty approved by Congress, they need no involvement of any kind by Congress and that they are solely responsible for making this agreement that would perpetuate the American occupation of Iraq indefinitely. This also means that the entire rich petroleum reserves of Iraq would fall under the complete control of the United States, and our current national emergency relating to high costs and critical oil supply problems would magically disappear. I wonder how much longer it will take for the majority of Americans to finally come to the conclusion that the decision to attack Iraq was never about anything else except to gain control of its oil?

What has been the response from this Congress about this special agreement between the Bush administration and the government of Iraq, which totally excludes involvement by Congress? What has either Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, the respective leaders of the House and the Senate, had to say to this total affront to their constitutional authority? Little to nothing. Not one strong statement to make it clear to this rogue administration that it does not have the authority to make any such agreement without the involvement and approval of the Congress. There have been no hearings on this issue by any congressional committee as far as I know; no discussions of a resolution that would condemn such an action -- only a deafening silence from our stalwart leaders. Another glaring example of the complete failure of this Congress and its leadership to exert its oversight authority.

The second objective involves the continuing effort by this administration, led by Cheney, to find some way, some excuse to attack Iran in an attempt to begin the process of controlling the entire Middle East. Bush, Cheney, and Israel badly want to attack Iran. Their entire reasoning is based upon their contention that Iran is in the process of enriching uranium in order to develop nuclear weapons. Both the NIE (the U.S. National Intelligence Estimates) and the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency, an independent entity working with the United Nations) have continued to report that there has been no evidence found to date that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapons program. But, as is their habit, if any intelligence report by any agency does not agree with their established thinking, this administration totally ignores it.

Is there a connection between these two objectives? You bet. There is a direct connection that shows the ingenious and deadly planning abilities of the Bush cadre of neocons. It's not difficult to connect the dots and show exactly how these two objectives are tied together in this very ambitious plan. The status of forces agreement, formally known as a "Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship of Cooperation and Friendship Between the Republic of Iraq and the United States of America," explicitly grants the U.S. the right to determine whether hostile acts from another country have been committed and gives it the authority to launch military strikes against that country. The U.S. and Israel have openly stated their desire to strike the supposed nuclear facilities in Iran and this agreement gives them the means by which they can do just that in a supposed legal way. The connection and the intent could not be more clear. All that needs to be done now is for the Iraqi government to bow down to the dictates of Bush & Co. and the stage will be set for more chaos and bloodshed in the Middle East.

So far al-Maliki and key members of the Iraqi parliament have voiced strong opposition to this agreement that would put their country under total, complete domination by our occupying forces. However, the pressure from the Bush/Cheney war machine is very intense and, if they can find some way to pull off this coup, then the nation of Iraq will, for all practical purposes, cease to exist. Iraq would, in effect, then become a colony or some kind of protectorate.

If the United States and Israel completely lose their sense of reason and morality and embark upon this kind of attack on the nation of Iran, the Middle East will be thrown into complete chaos. Key Middle East experts have stated that Iran would definitely respond by raining their advanced Chinese and Russian built missiles upon the Strait of Hormuz and the U.S. fleet, as well as the Green Zone in the center of Baghdad. Shiite and Sunnis would probably erupt in a massive, violent attack upon American troops, as they would consider these insane actions as the last, final straw. What would Hamas and Hezbollah, together with the countries of Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinians do? Who knows for sure, but I doubt that they would just stand by and allow such a blatant attack upon the region. The result could be a Middle East inferno of monumental impact upon the entire world.

Our congressional leaders may have the feeling that, even if the Iraqis cave in and acquiesce to this agreement while Bush remains in power, it would be rendered invalid and canceled when this administration is replaced. Two things are wrong with that thinking. First, there is no guarantee that the November elections will see either an incoming Democratic president or a veto-proof Democratic majority in the House and the Senate. And most chilling to think about; if John McCain can somehow trick and completely fool the American electorate, as happened in 2000 and 2004, and gain the presidency, we will be on a direct path of implementing this dangerous plan for Middle East domination.

Secondly, does anyone want to take a chance that it will be impossible for this administration to force the agreement on Iraq, find some way to trump up a phony charge of aggression by Iran, and then launch a military strike on that nation from Iraq? They are entirely capable, based upon past actions, to do just that, with or without the agreement in question. However, the agreement would, in their way of thinking, given them a supposed legal right to take such action. So they will continue to press for it.

America now stands at the edge of a precipice, a very critical, very dangerous time for this nation and the world.

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