Media on Iraq

A very interesting 4 part interview on AlJazeera English concerning the Iraq War. Give it a look here. The analyst is Phyllis Bennis from the Institute of Policy Studies. Her bio here. Her viewpoint is obvious and not one I completely share (she’s in the Chomsky mold), but what it does show is what US media could actually do, how there actually could be a debate. I had never heard of her work before this interview.

Notice how many facts she cites as opposed to threats (“Iranian influence”) and emotion-filled slogans (“victory” “no surrender”). Her analysis of the base issue and the move towards permanency and what withdraw really means–i.e. actually leaving the country or just retreating to enclosed base compounds.

She rips Petraeus’ testimony in ways that will not and is not being covered in MSM US press.  She also describes how the US has imposed a free-market (so-called) scheme on the Iraqi oil industry as opposed to the Saudi model where the Saudi state owns the oil and contracts with foreign companies to do work (versus the foreign companies owning the profits per se, writing laws that break unions in the country which we’ve seen especially in Basra, and leave the people screwed).

Very sharp analysis of the long term US policy towards the region which given the exigencies of size, culture, and natural resources made clear that only Iraq and Iran could ever be regional powers in the Middle East.  The US policy of bases and now the breakup of the country, whether intended or not, feeds the narrative on the Arab street that US policy has always been to divide and conquer the region–or at least prevent any other power from rising.  The saber-rattling with Iran is of course of this same ilk.  If we do in fact enter war with Iran particularly this summer (and/or rising threats of an Israeli-Syrian conflict), then the US/Israel may end up in this position regardless of original intent.

I think she vastly vastly underestimates seriously how much violence there will be after a US draw down (this is an inevitable move given her ideological parameters), but she actually knows the situation as opposed to the unending punditocracy/talking heads class.

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Published in: on April 15, 2008 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  
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