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Washington’s New Boogeyman – “the Axis of Resistance” – What it is, What it isn’t – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. August 27, 2019 – Transcript – Part One

August 28, 2019

Strategically vital Khan Sheikhoun on the road linking Aleppo to southern Syria via Hama. ISIS has just (August 27, 2019) been expelled by Assad’s Syrian Army.

Transcript – KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogue – August 27, 2019 – Part One.

Jim Nelson – This evening’s topic for analysis and discussion is “Washington’s New Boogie Man – The Axis of Resistance. What is it? Why did it come into being?

They are going to respond to a recent interview with Henry Kissinger in the Independent, a British news source. Kissinger claimed that Iran is creating an “Iranian empire” in the Middle East. This initiative to create a so-called Iranian empire must be stopped; in order to do so, the U.S. must support its allies in the region (Saudi Arabia, Israel, etc). On the other hand, many countries in the region see Iran not as trying to dominate the region politically but as an ally or at least trading partner, and one not afraid to stand up to Washington.

So gentlemen – I’ll turn it over to Rob.

Rob Prince: Once again, it’s a pleasure to be here on KGNU. We’ve been preparing for this program for a couple of days. As usual over this most recent period, a number of new developments have entered into the picture. We’ll begin by just mentioning a few of these latest developments before getting into the body of the program. Perhaps we can come back to them later if people have specific questions.

For starters to set the stage something to keep in mind

∙ A month ago, at about the time of our last program, the U.S. Congress approved a two year military budget of a sliver below $1.5 trillion – approximately $750 billion a year for the next two years. Keep in mind this figure doesn’t include the funding to the Department of Energy which controls the country’s nuclear weapon arsenal nor does it include the so-called “Black Box’ budgets – secret budgets for intelligence services that are top secret. So the overall total is probably even greater than $1.5 trillion, closer to $2 trillion if these other factors are taken into consideration.
∙ More recently there has been an intensification of tensions. Over the weekend Israel sent two heavily armed attack drones to Beirut, Lebanon. Hezbollah’s leadership has promised a response. This likely exchange has created a new level of tension
∙ The French president Macron invited the Iranian foreign minister Mohammed Javid Zarif to Biarritz, France where the G-7 was meeting. Zarif’s presence undoubtedly embarrassed U.S. President Trump. It produced no progress in U.S. Iranian relations
∙ Another incident that has hardly been covered in the U.S. media – the Syrian government has begun its military campaign in the northwest of Syria in Idlib Province. The Syrian government has begun a military campaign to liberate Idlib Province. It has succeeded in defeating the U.S. backed ISIS mercenaries and has liberated a from towns from the yoke of ISIS including the towns of Khan Shaykhoun, Mork, Latamna, Sayad Hill. There are photos and video clips of people in a number of these towns celebrating their liberation and the defeat of ISIS. This is barely mentioned on mainstream television in the USA.
∙ Finally in this introduction, there was an attack in recent days on Shi’ite militia in Iraq. While it was unclear the source of the attack, more and more evidence suggests it was “made in Washington DC.”

All of these events, as disconnected as they may seem to be – we’re going to try to thread them together.

∙ Another incident that has hardly been covered in the U.S. media – the Syrian government has begun its military campaign in the northwest of Syria in Idlib Province. The Syrian government has begun a military campaign to liberate Idlib Province. It has succeeded in defeating the U.S. backed ISIS mercenaries and has liberated a from towns from the yoke of ISIS including the towns of Khan Shaykhoun, Mork, Latamna, Sayad Hill….This is barely mentioned on mainstream television in the USA.

∙ Finally in this introduction, there was an attack in recent days on Shi’ite militia in Iraq. While it was unclear the source of the attack, more and more evidence suggests it was “made in Washington DC.”

In any case, to begin with we want to respond to the article in the Independent that quoted Henry Kissinger as Jim noted at the outset of the program.

On August 7, 2019, the Independent ran an on-line story “Kissinger warns that destroying ISIS could lead to “a radical Iranian Empire.”

He goes on to comment – this is Kissinger commenting in the article:

“If the ISIS territory is occupied by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards or Shia forces trained and directed by it, the result could be a territorial belt reaching from Tehran to Beirut, which could mark the emergence of an Iranian radical empire.”

So said Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Agency head – considered a war criminal in some countries.

For starters Let’s look at least a part of the logic here, the spin of this article…

1. It assumes that it is “Iran’s Revolutionary Guards” that have liberated ISIS-held territory, not the Syrian army that had done the liberation.

2. It suggests that rather than praising or celebrating defeating ISIS that we should be weary of it.

3. It assumes that ISIS is actually working in U.S. interests, and that if it is defeated, it will be a defeat for U.S. Middle East policy…There was another report in the Israeli media admitting that Israel supported ISIS in Syria.

By the way, none of this is particularly new news. We’ve talked about these relationships repeatedly on this program. What is new though is this kind of news appearing in the Western media.

Jim Nelson: Concerning the lack of coverage, it suggests that the United States has not been particularly keen on advertising these relationships (its ties and those of its allies with ISIS and like groups).

Rob Prince: Yes, the whole situation becomes surrealistic as you are aware.

4. Finally, Kissinger essentially argues that US support of ISIS should continue because it supports U.S. regional goals

5. It fears the growth of “a radical Iranian Empire”… What is the new great fear? Thirty, forty years ago it was the domino theory, fear of Communism spreading. Now, in the Middle East at least, it’s “the radical Iranian Empire.”

One thing – Kissinger is thinking geo-politically but in so doing he exposes his own – and U.S. biases in their Middle East policy.

It also exposes something that is common knowledge in the Middle East, but generally unappreciated and hardly mentioned here – that ISIS is essentially a creation of the U.S. and its allies and ultimately serves their interest.

What is Kissinger referring to? “A radical Iranian Empire? – Iran hasn’t invaded or tried to expand its borders for more than 200 years nor are they now…

But something is going on…and it is true that the U.S. and its regional allies are in a tizzy, and to a certain degree losing influence? Losing influence to who or to what? To as “the Axis of Resistance”..

Ibrahim…for starters, what is the Axis of Resistance – who are its major players? How did this alliance come into being, what we used to refer to as “a united front” come about?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Between the two of us we could even craft (put together) a course for a quarter, two quarters, or even two semesters to be taught about the nitty-gritty underlying dynamics that led to the construction of the Axis of Resistance.

First of all, the term “Axis of Resistance” that is primarily used in the West more than anywhere else referring to any nation, social movement that stands up and opposes what Condoleezza Rice
in 2006 referred to as “the pangs of the birth of the New Middle East.” That vision is of a Middle East that centers upon or at least succumbs to American diktat, agrees with American foreign policy accepting American regional influence.

To understand this we have to come to understand, the nature of inter-state relationships. Post WW2 the world was divided between the Soviet Union and the capitalist camp. But since 1991 at least with the collapse of the Soviet Union a kind of interstate relationship, what might be referred to as “a pyramid of power” was created globally which is dominated at the top of the pyramid by the United States because of its military capacity and extreme military power.

These Neo-cons and operatives within the American foreign policy structure – they have divided the world into what we call two parts: the major section covering the entire world and is controlled by the United States and its close allies such as the United Kingdom – primarily one, or two or three UN Security Council veto holders, but whose votes are dictated by the United States.

There are a series of so-called doctrines, starting with Woodrow Wilson, that essentially claim that the United States has global interests and reserves the right to dictate and use military force in protecting those interests.

There are a series of so-called doctrines, starting with Woodrow Wilson, that essentially claim that the United States has global interests and reserves the right to dictate and use military force in protecting those interests

The rest of the world is divided into two groups: those who follow and support American interests, diktats and instructions on the one hand and those who resist on the other hand. Concerning those resisting U.S. policy there are various narratives have been employed to describe them in Washington DC. George W. Bush referred to those outside the bounds of U.S. policy as “the axis of evil.” This included North Korea, Libya, Iran, Syria and a few others – Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Another terminology used to describe those whose policies are not in accord with Washington is “the axis of resistance.” It is a less obnoxious term than “the axis of evil” that George W. Bush used, but in essence it refers to a group of countries and local social movements that primarily have some issue with going along with Washington’s plans. I would prefer to use another term, “axis of refusal” than “axis of resistance.” The politics of the countries included in “this access” center around their resistance to Washington’s attempt – along with its regional partners – Saudi Arabia, Israel and a number of Arab states – to impose its hegemony on the region.

One way or another, these countries have been pressured, their political destinies controlled by the West. They have been mistreated but in response they have stood up and said “No” to Washington’s policies. Each member uses their own experience for guidelines to craft their own behavior. Primarily the Axis of Resistance is an anti-American alliance and power block, a coalition that says “no.” It includes Sunnis and Shias, Christians and Muslims, Arabs and Iranians, Afghans and others. It’s a mixed group of people that primarily will not accept U.S. diktats in the region. They refuse to capitulate to American interests in the Middle East.

Technically I would call them a coalition of partners – one could describe them as “an axis of refusal” – they don’t want to capitulate; they are vis-a-vis Washington, rejectionists. They are an anti-imperialist group of people, or power block that does not accept orders from Washington, nor follow orders.

The 2006 Israeli-Lebanese War was a part of a strategy chosen to destroy what Washington called in those days “the Axis of Evil.” As mentioned earlier, they consist of a number of countries along with them some social movements. As far as the countries go, it would include the Taliban (of Afghanistan) – technically they should be included because they stand in opposition to the United States – Iran and the others do not consider the Taliban as a part of the coalition – certainly Iran, Iraq, Syria , Yemen that consider themselves a part of this alliance, this powerful block.

Also local social forces such as Hezbollah and a few others consider themselves a part of the coalition.

_______________

Part Two of series

 

7 Comments leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    August 28, 2019 4:27 pm

    Well, I would like to live long enough to see a power shift in the middle east, I am tired of Israel and its Uncle, that old guy Sam controlling everything. Time for change.

  2. mikewilzoch permalink
    August 28, 2019 10:04 pm

    Rob, When does Part 2 get to print? ___________________Mike Wilzoch5967 S. Quemoy WyAurora, CO 80015720-238-0000wilzoch@yahoo.com

  3. Sarge Cheever permalink
    August 29, 2019 4:09 pm

    Rob–“succeed in doing” something, not “succeed to”   Some verbs prefer gerunds to infinitives.

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  1. Washington’s New Boogeyman – “the Axis of Resistance” – What it is, What it isn’t – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. August 27, 2019 – Transcript – Part Two | View from the Left Bank: Ro
  2. Washington’s New Boogeyman – “the Axis of Resistance” – What it is, What it isn’t – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. August 27, 2019 – Transcript – Part Three | View from the Left Bank:

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