The debate over who benefits from our invasion of Iraq entered a new phase with the publication of a research paper by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, written by two prominent foreign policy scholars from the “realist” camp, John J. Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, “Israel and U.S. Foreign Policy.” The paper not only examined the pervasive power of the Israel lobby in the U.S., but identified “the Lobby” — as they call it — as the decisive (if not the only) factor that set us on the road to war:
“Pressure from Israel and the Lobby was not the only factor behind the decision to attack Iraq in March 2003, but it was critical. Some Americans believe that this was a war for oil, but there is hardly any direct evidence to support this claim. Instead, the war was motivated in good part by a desire to make Israel more secure.”
The Lobby struck back at Mearsheimer and Walt, smearing these two distinguished scholars as “anti-Semites,” but now we see, as the chorus crying for war with Iran hikes up the volume, that the same forces are gathering to support a U.S. strike against Tehran. Furthermore, one cannotÂ help but note that, although the U.S. is clearly not benefitting from an occupation that is draining American resources and destroying our credibility worldwide, Israel clearly is gaining — by establishing a military outpost in Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq. Seymour Hersh did the initial reporting on this development, and now the BBC has the pictures — a stunning video showing IsraeliÂ “ex”-military personnel training Kurdish pershmerga and setting up a base in Kurdistan. The idea is to establish an outpost from which Israeli planes can strike at Iran’s alleged nuclear facilities, and also create a presence on the ground that can strike, at will, across the Kurdish-Iranian border.
The war in Iraq, in this context, has to be seen as a necessary preparatory step before the real target — Iran — could be attacked. And now that they are getting ready to do it, we can see more clearly that Israel, and not the U.S., was and is the main beneficiary of American military operations in the region.
NOTE: The original version of this post had the wrong link for the BBC video, which has since been corrected.