Kissinger to al-Hakim: Stay the course

Published on Online Journal, by Abbas J. Ali, Jan 3, 2008.

Henry Kissinger is neither an ordinary politician nor a typical global deal maker. His name is invariably associated with gamesmanship, partisanship, and secrecy.

Since the day William Buckley introduced him to Richard Nixon in the late 1960s, Kissinger has played a controversial role in global politics. He is admired by powerful elites, decried by his critics, and feared by disadvantaged people across the globe. Those who know him understand the scope of his political design and the dire consequences of his involvement.

Kissinger’s recent meeting (Dec.3, 2007) in Washington with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC), arouses anxiety among Middle East experts as to what neoconservatives have planned next for Iraq. Though, at least since 2002, the neoconservatives have maintained close consultation with al-Hakim, this is probably the first time that a neoconservative elder has had a private session with him. It is possible that al-Hakim’s meeting with Kissinger is meant to reaffirm neoconservatives’ confidence in him and to convey to the outside world that the Iraqi venture is still their own.

As a neoconservative patriarch and strategist, Kissinger’s vision constitutes a blueprint for neoconservative design and action. Kissinger’s focus on the Middle East is not a mere political curiosity but more likely a fulfillment of neoconservatives’ perception of Biblical prophecies. Though Iraq was mostly a secular state with a strong liberal tradition, Kissinger, in the Washington Post (August 14, 2001), called for the Bush administration to initiate an alliance with India, China, and Russia against Muslim radicals for the sake of Israel. A year later he wrote in the Post that there was no possibility of a negotiation between Washington and Baghdad. And in 2005, he was adamant that the invasion of Iraq was essential to fight radical Islam, stating the Iraq war was intended to send a larger message in order to make a point that we’re not going to live in this world that they want for us …

… Neoconservatives have long recognized that Iraq had been a center of the Arab cultural renaissance and was endowed with people who were motivated and who attached high value to dignity, moral integrity, and achievements. According to Eric Margolis, for the neoconservatives, the primary objective was to destroy Iraq, not to rebuild it; for Iraq, once the Arab World’s best educated, most industrialized nation, had to be expunged as a potential military and strategic challenge to Israel.

Since August 2003 Iraqis who oppose federalism, fragmentation, and the occupation of Iraq have been targeted by groups which benefit from keeping Iraq occupied and under constant threats of terrorism. In a series of articles, the London based newspaper, Alhayat, reported that Iraqi patriots were being jailed, kidnapped, or killed. Those who have been fortunate left the country searching for safety and dignity.

On December 9, 2007, Alhayat reported that illiterate individuals who belong to SIIC, the Badr Organization, and other clannish and sectarian groups have been given senior ranks in the Iraqi security forces and other positions in government. As the educated have either been killed or been forced to leave the country, the newly appointed people who do not read or write or have only an elementary school education are certain to lead Iraq into darkness and backwardness; a realization of the neoconservatives’ goal.

On December 23, 2007, the New York Times magazine reported that Kissinger did things that were very damaging to human beings. In that light, his meeting with al-Hakim should not be underestimated. Middle East experts may argue that Kissinger simply briefed al-Hakim on how Washington views the situation in Iraq and the region. More plausibly, however, is that Kissinger in meeting al-Hakim has offered the neoconservatives’ blessings and reaffirmed their approval and support for his strategy and action in Iraq. (full text).

(Abbas J. Ali, Ph.D., is a professor and director in the School of International Management, Indiana University of Pennsylvania).

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