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Who Is Bombing Whom in the Middle East?

World  (tags: Middle East, bombing, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Israel, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait., ISIS, Egypt, Libya, US, EU, France Robert Fisk )

- 1416 days ago -
There are the really big winners in all this blood, the weapons manufacturers. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin supplied £1.3bn of missiles to the Saudis only last year.


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Evelyn B (63)
Monday May 4, 2015, 4:16 am
Information Clearing House:
Who is Bombing Whom in the Middle East?

By Robert Fisk

May 03, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "The Independent" - Let me try to get this right. The Saudis are bombing Yemen because they fear the Shia Houthis are working for the Iranians. The Saudis are also bombing Isis in Iraq and the Isis in Syria. So are the United Arab Emirates. The Syrian government is bombing its enemies in Syria and the Iraqi government is also bombing its enemies in Iraq. America, France, Britain, Denmark, Holland, Australia and – believe it or not – Canada are bombing Isis in Syria and Isis in Iraq, partly on behalf of the Iraqi government (for which read Shia militias) but absolutely not on behalf of the Syrian government.

The Jordanians and Saudis and Bahrainis are also bombing Isis in Syria and Iraq because they don’t like them, but the Jordanians are bombing Isis even more than the Saudis after their pilot-prisoner was burned to death in a cage. The Egyptians are bombing parts of Libya because a group of Christian Egyptians had their heads chopped off by what might – notionally – be the same so-called Islamic State, as Isis refers to itself. The Iranians have acknowledged bombing Isis in Iraq – of which the Americans (but not the Iraqi government) take a rather dim view. And of course the Israelis have several times bombed Syrian government forces in Syria but not Isis (an interesting choice, we’d all agree). Chocks away!

It amazes me that all these warriors of the air don’t regularly crash into each other as they go on bombing and bombing. And since Lebanon’s Middle East Airlines is the only international carrier still flying over Syria – but not, thank heavens, over Isis’s Syrian capital of Raqqa – I’m even more amazed that my flights from Beirut to the Gulf have gone untouched by the blitz boys of so many Arab and Western states as they career around the skies of Mesopotamia and the Levant.

The sectarian and theological nature of this war seems perfectly clear to all who live in the Middle East – albeit not to our American chums. The Sunni Saudis are bombing the Shia Yemenis and the Shia Iranians are bombing the Sunni Iraqis. The Sunni Egyptians are bombing Sunni Libyans, it’s true, and the Jordanian Sunnis are bombing Iraqi Sunnis. But the Shia-supported Syrian government forces are bombing their Sunni Syrian enemies and the Lebanese Hezbollah – Shia to a man – are fighting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s Sunni enemies, along with Iranian Revolutionary Guards and an ever-larger number of Afghan Shia men in Syrian uniforms.

Over the past three days, by the way, Hezbollah members in Lebanon have been told to stand by to return to Syria in the next two weeks to fight a great battle in the Qalamoun hills – across the north-east border of Lebanon – lest Isis tries to push into Lebanon itself and cut Hezbollah’s supply line from Hermel to Baalbek and southern Lebanon.

And if you want to taste the sectarianism of all this, just take a look at Saudi Arabia’s latest request to send more Pakistani troops to protect the kingdom (and possibly help to invade Yemen), which came from the new Saudi Crown Prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman who at only 34 is not much older than his fighter pilots. But the Saudis added an outrageous second request: that the Pakistanis send only Sunni Muslim soldiers. Pakistani Shia Muslim officers and men (30 per cent of the Pakistani armed forces) would not be welcome.

It’s best left to that fine Pakistani newspaper The Nation – and the writer Khalid Muhammad – to respond to this sectarian demand. “The army and the population of Pakistan are united for the first time in many years to eliminate the scourge of terrorism,” Muhammad writes. But “the Saudis are now trying to not only divide the population, but divide our army as well. When a soldier puts on a uniform, he fights for the country that he calls home, not the religious beliefs that they carry individually… Do they (the Saudis) believe that a professional military like Pakistan… can’t fight for a unified justified cause? If that is the case then why ask Pakistan to send its armed forces?”

It’s worth remembering that Pakistani soldiers were killed by the Iraqi army in the battle for the Saudi town of Khafji in 1991. Were they all Sunnis, I wonder?

And then, of course, there are the really big winners in all this blood, the weapons manufacturers. Raytheon and Lockheed Martin supplied £1.3bn of missiles to the Saudis only last year. But three years ago, Der Spiegel claimed the European Union was Saudi Arabia’s most important arms supplier and last week France announced the sale of 24 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar at a cost of around £5.7bn. Egypt has just bought another 24 Rafales.

It’s worth remembering at this point that the Congressional Research Services in the US estimate that most of Isis’s budget comes from “private donors” in – you guessed it – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE and Kuwait.

But blow me down if the Yanks are back to boasting. More than a decade after “Mission Accomplished”, General Paul Funk (in charge of reforming the Iraqi army) has told us that “the enemy is on its knees”. Another general close to Barack Obama says that half of the senior commanders in Isis have been liquidated. Nonsense. But it’s worth knowing just how General Pierre de Villiers, chief of the French defence staff, summed up his recent visits to Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq, he reported back to Paris, is in a state of “total decay”. The French word he used was “decomposition”. I suspect that applies to most of the Middle East.

Ben O (135)
Monday May 4, 2015, 4:49 am
It's a bloody mess, that's all I know!

. (0)
Monday May 4, 2015, 5:42 am
Let me put it this way:

MOSSAD - it's other name:


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ I rest my case. . .

Evelyn B (63)
Monday May 4, 2015, 11:08 am
Well, Earl - they have certainly pulled enough strings!!
Although the arms industry certainly gains from such a mass of military activity. (Even ISIS feeds their coffers!!)

And one shouldn't forget the large place of the arms industry in Israeli GDP! 20% of export revenue ... (because they have international media-monitored field testing .... especially with Gaza testing grounds! ) - See New Film Exposes the Israeli Weapon and Security Industry ... so that's a vested interest along with Israel's strategic vested interests in ensuring that there are many "monsters" to point fingers at & distract attention from human rights abuses committed in Palestine (WB & Gaza) ....

Lona G (66)
Monday May 4, 2015, 12:09 pm
I doubt whether the civilians killed by those bombs care very much whose name was painted on the bomb that blew them to pieces. It starting to look like the world's "royalty" have upgraded their bloodsports from deer/bores and elephants/lions to people of "the wrong" religion.

Evelyn B (63)
Monday May 4, 2015, 1:32 pm
I fear there's a lot of truth in what you say, Lona

Angelika R (143)
Monday May 4, 2015, 2:18 pm
Exactly, Lona and Earl got it pretty accurately! Thx Evelyn. Maybe the author should better avoid flying that route... you never know about next time.

Alexa R (319)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 10:32 am
Such short memories .. Here's a photo to remind us all:

IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and John McCain

Past Member (0)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 10:36 am
Earl, don't paint Arabs as being completely dumb and so easily manipulated. Arab apologists will call you racist for doing that.

Shia and Sunni conflict started a way before the modern state of Israel was born. No need to scapegoat Israelis for something Arabs do to each other.

Colleen L (3)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 1:03 pm
I just wish it would come to an end! Sick of hearing who killed who every single day. Wish Mother Natural would shower down the world with PEACE. Thanks Evelyn

Janet B (0)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 1:32 pm

Janet B (0)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 1:34 pm

Lois Jordan (63)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 1:54 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Evelyn.
Just gets my blood boiling to know our U.S. tax dollars could've been better spent within our own borders to help those most in need. The war contractors will always have their hands out, happy to feed into the fear-mongering to fatten their wallets.

Birgit W (160)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 4:17 pm
The 1% like always. Lois Jordan says it all.

Adrienne L (9)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 7:19 pm
Thanks for sharing.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 11:18 pm
War is a wasteful use of energy.

Roslyn M (28)
Tuesday May 5, 2015, 11:23 pm
Of course the winners in any war are the arms manufacturers.

Sayenne H (92)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 4:16 am
No winners, only blood..

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 5:45 am
Good question!

Zoe and Art Oguyo (346)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 6:37 am
And then, of course, there are the really big winners in all this blood, the weapons manufacturers.( quoted from the article)

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 6, 2015, 9:15 am
POP QUIZ: Can you pick out the two anti-Semitics on this thread??
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