Success in foreign affairs, where domination is the goal, is often accomplished withn a divide-and-conquer strategy.
Conn Hallinan, 2004:
It was “divide and conquer” that made it possible for an insignificant island in the north of Europe to rule the world. Division and chaos, tribal, religious and ethnic hatred, were the secret to empire. Guns and artillery were always in the background in case things went awry, but in fact, it rarely came to that.
The parallels between Israel and Ireland are almost eerie, unless one remembers that the latter was the laboratory for British colonialism. As in Ulster, Israeli settlers in the Occupied Territories have special privileges that divide them from Palestinians (and other Israelis as well). As in Ireland, Israeli settlers rely on the military to protect them from the “natives.” And as in Northern Ireland, there are political organizations, like the National Religious Party and the Moledet Party, which whip up sectarian hatred, and keep the population divided. The latter two parties both advocate the forcible transfer of all Arabs — Palestinians and Israelis alike — to Jordan and Egypt.
And in Iraq, there was the Samarra mosque bombing in 2006.
The world-famed Golden Mosque, a Shiite religious shrine located in Samarra, Iraq, was bombed Feb. 22. The mosque’s golden dome was blown off in the explosion, which touched off a round of Sunni-Shiite discord across the country.
The Samarra mosque bombing happened in a city under complete US military lockdown, just after an all-night enforced curfew ended. According to witnesses US soldiers were observed in the area but of course al-Qaeda was blamed.
“I believe that it is al Qaida that has done the most in terms of trying to stoke sectarian violence, from the bombing of the Samarra mosque a year ago February to the second bombing of the mosque just a couple of weeks ago, and to try and provoke exactly the kind of reaction that happened after February of last year,” Gates said. “So I think that at least in terms of the combat operations that we’re conducting now, the principal enemy that they are facing is in fact al Qaida.” But when a McClatchy reporter asked him about the assertion, Gates said that he knew of no hard evidence linking al Qaida in Iraq to the explosion.
This event sparked an Iraq civil war which, according to design, required continued US military occupation.
January 26, 2007, Press Availability with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates at the Pentagon
SEC. GATES: Well, I would say this. First of all, General Casey has given something like 35 years of service to the United States. He has spent 30 months in Baghdad in an 18-month tour. He has responded to the changing circumstances. After all, a year ago there was a plan to bring home a substantial number of troops before the end of 2006, and after the Samarra mosque — (inaudible word) — attack and the rise of the sectarian violence, he adjusted the tactics and strategy and made it clear that the troops that had been planned to return home were going to be needed.
Could there be a Samarra II to again cause the US to change its withdrawal plans and continue the Iraq occupation indefinitely?
March 01, 2009, Secretary Gates Interview on Meet The Press with David Gregory
MR. GREGORY: General Odierno, Odierno has said he expects and would want, in fact, U.S. forces there at some level, perhaps 35,000, at least until 2015.
SECRETARY GATES: Well, I, I also have said that I thought perhaps we would need to have troops there beyond that time. That was all–what certainly my remarks were before the SOFA was signed.
MR. GREGORY: Mm-hmm.
SECRETARY GATES: And before we made a commitment to be out of there by 2011. If we’re there beyond that, it’ll be because of a new agreement and negotiated with President Obama and, and based on what he thinks is in the best interests of our country.
And there are problems:
SECRETARY GATES. Well, first of all, I think it’s important to remember we have another 18 months, and we are going to have a substantial force there. I would disagree that there is a, a significant instability in Basra. I think Basra is one of the real success stories from Prime Minister Maliki’s offensive down there last year. So I–Mosul is a problem. The Arab-Kurb tensions are a problem. The need to get an oil law is a problem.
So, so there are problems. We have the, the concerns associated with a national election at the end of this year, is one of the reasons why General Odierno wanted to keep those troops there as long as possible, or a significant number of troops. So there’s no question, we’ve had a significant military success. There has been real progress on the political side, but there is clearly unfinished business in that arena as well. But we will still be there with a significant presence for another 18 months.
Isn’t it wonderful that President Obama, as the new Decider, “based on what he thinks is in the best interests of our country,” might personally negotiate a new agreement? Call me cynical, but I would say that this is a real possibility, and is the logical result of (1) the Democratic senate’s (under the control of Obama/Biden) failure to treat the SOFA as a treaty, a law, last fall, as well as (2) a logical extension of Obama’s continued backsliding on Iraq withdrawal and (3) the US military policy of never leaving a defeated country.
Don Bacon is a retired army officer who founded the Smedley Butler Society several years ago because, as General Butler said, war is a racket.