Terrorists around the world have blueprints for a compact nuclear weapon, because the father of Pakistan's nuclear weapon program, Abdul Khan, arranged deliveries to Iran, Libya and North Korea. The Pakistani Government has not let the U.S. investigate the network of  Pakistanis that worked with Khan. (!)

Also: Pakistan has hidden its nuclear weapons in various sites so that the U.S. will not be able to destroy their arsenal. Their intelligence service, the I.S.I., helped create the Taliban, and according to the regular media (CNN, WSJ, NPR, NYT etc.), I.S.I. agents are still working with the Taliban, and some reports say the I.S.I. has connections with Al Qaeda.

This means, as a U.S. government official recently acknowledged on NPR , that there is a good chance Islamic Militants have a working nuclear bomb.

(Note: Isn't it great that we have such a good ally as Pakistan in the war on terror?)



    Islam and the West --

U.S. policy in the

Middle East




Readers: This page had not been modified since the "Arab Spring," so please keep that in mind. I would like to point out, in the context of these new circumstances , the hypocrisy of  U.S. agents like Hillary Clinton crowing about democracy when they would still be endorsing "stability" if Mubarak were still in power. The U.S. has never wanted democracy in Muslim countries because, among other reasons, it doesn't want Islamic governments to come to power, and up until the end of the second Iraq war used to preach separation of church and state to the Arab world, except of course to Saudi Arabia. Separation of church and state has only worked under the gun of a police state in these countries, except for Turkey where Kamil Ataturk's pervasive legacy made it possible. Now we are seeing the emergence of government by the people, and, although the people are of diverse views on what they want, it is nice to see the U.S. have to take a back seat to the foment of real indigenous politics. Involvement of church and state does not have to mean a theocracy -- a la Iran, and even in places like Egypt which the U.S. used to tout as a fine example of church/state separation it was never true, beyond nominally outlawing the Muslim Brotherhood in the legislature. In Egypt the municiple courts have long been sharia courts, they practiced religious law. Although the government could trump any decision, it rarely did so. My question is, did the U.S. ever believe its call for church/state separation could be realized? Or were they just bluffing as an expedient? It was when the U.S. was faced with forming a democracy in Iraq that the reality of this issue became undeniable. ............ For an article on the recent history of  the views pertaining to democracy of Islamic intellectuals Click here. ( Article by Anthony Shadid, New York Times reporter who recently died while reporting from Syria.)


 A Science Magazine article reports that in Iraq the U.S. deliberately arrested thousands of civilians with no terrorist affiliation because these people, when interrogated, would create an information network that can be submitted to computer programs which would reveal information about terrorists. All during the Cold War and now in the Middle East the U.S. has supported ad carried out brutal, murderous treatment of civilians. In the Cold War this drove people into the communist militias, and in the Iraq and Afghanistan maltreatment has driven young people to join the militants. Many U.S. soldiers have  spoken of how our military abuses people we are supposedly trying to help, treating everyone they encounter as an enemy, trashing homes and terrorizing the people in them, killing for no reason. This new twist, throwing people in jail just to create a database, is about as Orwellian as it gets. For Science Magazine article click here.

U.S. is prosecuting army snipers who killed people who picked up "bait," such as a gun, left on the ground by the army personnel. The people killed were innocent, and the snipers, who follow orders, are being unfairly prosecuted. click here for articles Through the course of the Iraq war GI's have taken the blame for malfeasance while officers are not charged. The torture of prisoners is another example.

Is the following not unbelievable? ..... Abdul Khan, creator of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, sent blue prints and hardware for nuclear weapons to Libya, Iran and North Korea, and yet the Pakistani government has basically exonerated Khan, with U.S. blessings.  Pakistan has not let the U.S. investigate Khan's network among government employees, although it was obviously extensive. The U.S. government position on this? No comment. The U.S. obviously doesn't want to say bad things about our ally in the war on terror.  For articles on Khan's network click here

Also unbelievable: the FAA and Air Force failed to send Air Force jets into the air on 9-11 as per their normal practice when a commercial jet deviates from its flight plan, and at first both agencies gave a false account that denied this lapse. After two years of pressure from certain members of the 9-11 Commission and others, the FAA and Air Force admitted their version was wrong. So then, for two more years the FAA and Air Force have studied how their false claims happened. Then, in 2006, they issued reports that the errors were innocent, paperwork and the like. To read more click here.

U.S. government covered for Pakistan's nuclear bomb program in 1980's. CIA whistle blower squelched. Pakistan's nuclear bomb program was kept secret by the U.S. government as it evolved in the 1980's because exposing it would have mandated a cutoff of funds to Pakistan, funds that bought Pakistan's cooperation in helping Afghanistan's mujahedin fight the Soviet occupiers. Richard Barlow, a whistle blower in the CIA who wanted to stop the nuclear traffic and cover up, which included letting private U.S. companies ship prohibited technology to Pakistan, was ousted from the CIA and then the Department of Defense for his efforts. Compensation for his unjust treatment and reinstatement of his pension and have been scuttled by various ruses (National Security) and he now lives poor in Montana. The basic facts of this case are not in dispute, but it remains little known, even though the lunacy of our relationships with the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan are being widely debated in the press. The New York Times and Washington Post and Wall Street Journal have have been their mouths zipped on this one in recent years. For articles click the following: The Guardian 2007 article, click here, for an article with lots of links by POGO.org -- the Project on Government Oversight -- click here, for a review of Barlow's case by the Congressional Research Service, click here. For and article from The Economist, January 3, 2008 click here. This article discusses the book "The Nuclear Jihadist," which addresses various related issues. (Amazon has it.)

Pakistan and the blasphemy law. Following the January 2011 killing of Punjab's governor for denouncing Pakistan's blasphemy law, an outpouring of Pakistani support for the killer has got U.S. policy-makers in a sweat, and reporters are noting that a younger generation is leading this hard line Islamic cause. For NYT's article click here. For AP article click here..  An Islamic hard line among young Muslims has been observed by journalists who claim that where parents are more moderate and ambivalent, their children are declaring a hard line. I specifically remember a NYT's article to this effect on Algeria.


The following paragragh was written before the "surge," which seems to have suppressed the violence in Iraq to an extent. But the basic point of the paragragh, that we have used wanton imprisonment and brutal treatment of civilians, instead of doing what Patraeus tried to  do in Mosul, and that this has created instability and militancy, remains true.

The war in Iraq, like all the U.S. Cold War operations, is a political endeavor, not just a military one. But just as the U.S. supported Cold War governments that abused their own people viciously, exterminating dissenters and union leaders calling them communists, and thus drove people to join communist rebellions,  the U.S  in Iraq has failed to grasp that abusing innocent people is a recipe for strengthening the enemy. It is also against the principles that are supposedly the basis of overseas coampaigns. Perhaps the most cruel and reckless thing the U.S. has done in Iraq is throw men and boys in jail for nothing and leave them there with no right to communicate with their families. For months, for years. If the U.S. leadership wants more terrorism, the war in Iraq has been prosecuted in a manner that seems intended to achieve that goal. Trying now to reduce U.S. casualties, policy makers have called for more air strikes, fewer foot patrol searches. The result is more civilian death. When General Patraeus took control of the Mosul area early on, he tried to use political engagement, rather than strong arm methods. Mosul has spun out of control, but the picture in Mosul and elsewhere might be very different if Patraeus's approach had been employed in all parts of Iraq by the U.S. .....General Peter Chiarelli said he wants his troops to do less shooting and more rebuilding, but the troops retort that building projects failing because of insurgent attacks. It appears too late to hope for Chiarelli's method to succeed. It seems obvious brute force isn't going to work. Maybe if the U.S. had worked on a post-invasion strategy before invading, the Chiarelli/Patraeus way of thinking would have prevailed over the brute force approach. President Bush has apologized for his "bring it on" remark, but it is not just that he said this -- with regard to the Iraqi resistance -- but that  this is how the administration actually was thinking -- brute force will prevail.

A report issued in November, 2004 by a Pentagon advisory panel, the Defense Science Board, made the following assertions with respect to the U.S. political agenda in the Middle East:   ''Today we reflexively compare Muslim 'masses' to those oppressed under Soviet rule. This is a strategic mistake. There is no yearning-to-be-liberated-by-the-U.S. groundswell among Muslim societies -- except to be liberated perhaps from what they see as apostate tyrannies that the U.S. so determinedly promotes and defends......Muslims do not 'hate our freedom,' but rather they hate our policies.........When American public diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies, this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy.'' In the eyes of the Muslim world, the report adds, ''American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has not led to democracy there, but only more chaos and suffering.'' The report also says: ''The critical problem in American public diplomacy directed toward the Muslim world is not one of 'dissemination of information' or even one of crafting and delivering the 'right' message. Rather it is a fundamental problem of credibility. Simply, there is none -- the United States today is without a working channel of communication to the world of Muslims and of Islam.''  To view article, click here.


The following are among most important issues pertaining to the Middle East and Western policy.................           Do Islamic militants and many ordinary Muslims resent the West more for what it is, modern, changing, sexy, democratic? Or do they mainly resent what the West has done for decades politically with respect to the Muslim world: preach democracy while supporting oil dictatorships, and preach separation of church and state, which will not fly in a Muslim democracy? Since the U.S. has occupied Afghanistan and Iraq it has learned that Muslims will not accept a Democracy that separates church and state, but this is after years of steadfast preaching church /state separation. Whatever the true nature of Islamists' hatred for the U.S.,  and there is surely variety, it should be clear that U.S. pro-dictatorship policy, combined with a call for church state separation, has been a major factor in the rise of anti-Western Islamic extremism, such as the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran 25 years ago and including Al Qaeda.  U.S. policy for decades has been one that holds people down, politically, while trying to inject them with a version of culture that is akin to cultural rape -- separation of church and state, and all the sleazy, sexy, money-grubbing Western ways that we take for granted and think they should too.  And then there is the the Israeli/Palestinian issue.  Something that few seem to understand in the West is that when Jews seized the land and homes of Palestinians and other Arabic people in 1948-9, thus forming the state of Israel, the action was nothing but armed robbery. There was the fact of a U.N. resolution backing of the event, born of sympathy for Jews after the WWII Nazi extermination of Jews, but that doesn't make what happened on the ground justifiable. The Western world looks at the statement that Israel has no right to exist as some sort of extremist hate rhetoric, but it is not.  Israel stole other peoples' property, house by house. What right does it have to keep what it stole?  That Jews lost homes in subsequent expulsions by Arabs in surrounding Muslim countries cannot be denied, but that does not constitute a justification.   Of course, stealing land is what history is all about, but this theft was too recent for it to fade already into the lie of legitimacy. What needs to happen, if Muslims are to begin to accept Israel as a neighbor, is that the theft of Palestinian lands be acknowledged as fact, in front of the world, by Israel and its sponsors, and that the media and the world recognize that Israel stole its land from Palestinians. Ample monetary compensation must be made to the families who lost their homes, and we are talking about many billions.  It is possible Arab countries may come to a peaceful reckoning with Israel, but not until the Zionist travesty of 1948-9 is recognized as an act of thievery by armed force. ............Before the current experiments in forming democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S. has always and only supported dictatorships in the Middle East, Israel excepted. Egypt and Turkey are not democracies, as the U.S. has long claimed. Among many restraints in Turkey and Egypt,  there is no freedom of speech and the courts are corrupt tools of the ruling elite. (Turkey is a little better than Egypt, if you're not a Kurd.) Egypt's ongoing crackdown on protests calling for an independent judiciary may provoke some U.S. complaints, but political freedom and fair elections would bring the Islamic brotherhood to power immediately, so, obviously the U.S. does not want democracy in Egypt. What we can only speculate on is how things would be if the U.S. and Europe had not been forever manipulating this part of the World. There is much to suggest that Western manipulation and maintenance of Middle East dictatorships has been the major factor in bringing Islamists to the fore. This is like the Cold War, in which rebellions with communist slogans and Soviet backing arose or  intensified because the West forced vicious, murderous governments down the throats of the people in the name of anti-communism. ......Church-state separation used to be what the U.S. called for in the Middle East, but now in Afghanistan and Iraq, which are post-war showcases, the U.S. has been forced to realize that an Islamic democracy will not submit to a U.S. mandate to separate church and state, any more than Israel would. (Israel grants a serious role in government to the clergy.) The arrogance of the U.S., glowering as if from some moral high ground on the church/state issue, pointing to a corrupt and sold-out government like Egypt's as lighting the way for the Muslim world, is what Muslims see and deplore. They are not going to let the U.S., long time supporter of butchers like the Shaw of Iran, dictate the terms of democracy. .... Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran and his anti- Western venom resulted from years of brutal repression by the Shaw, whose dictatorship the U.S. installed, or helped install, crushing a democracy that gave the Muslim clerics a role in government.  We would like to remind readers that  up until the first gulf war (1991) the U.S. supported Sadam Hussein while he slaughtered Iraqis, and the U.S. ignored his chemical-weapon extermination of Kurds, while supporting the war he started against Iran.  U.S. supported the Taliban in Afghanistan until they backed out of a major pipeline deal, something Americans don't know because the media never mentions it.

To go to comment page for Islam, and the West click here. And please send us your thoughts by e-mail or letter or telephone and we will post them on this page.

For an Associated Press article on Israeli seizure of Palestinian property, invoking a 1950 absentee owner law that was written for the sake of seizing the homes of refugees from the '48- '49 war, click here.   Note: the West Bank settlements, and the routing of the wall to define West Bank property as Israeli, are examples of more pilfering to go along with original Zionist theft.

 For a New York Times article on Mali, where a flexible clan culture goes back centuries, surviving empires and colonial rule, and clerics don't get involved in politics, click here. (We would like to note that this example of separation of church and state emerged under special circumstances over centuries, and Muslims around the world now are not likely to adopt this model.)

 Article: A new Moroccan law gives women political rights, based on passages and interpretations of the Koran that support women's rights. For article click here.

Click here for a 9-2-04 Wall Street Journal editorial describing the confrontation between Islamic terrorists and the West as "a bloody battle for civilization itself," in which terrorists attack the innocent and deserve no mercy themselves: "We say: Look at the pictures. Look at the children who die not because they are collateral damage but because they are targets. And ask yourself the uncomfortable but defining question of this campaign: Is this the kind of enemy that requires a "more sensitive war?"  What this WSJ editorial fails to grasp is that critics of the war are not complaining about brutality against actual enemies, but brutality against innocent civilians, which includes jailing men and boys for years without charges and denying them any communication with their families. Army spokespersons have not denied that very few of these prisoners are actually insurgents. And then there is the torture of prisoners, mainly innocent individuals.

Article: NY Times Sept. 4, '03. The 101's Airborne managed a diplomatic, sensitive occupation in the North of Iraq, under General David Patraeus. His approach has been to respect people and their rights, unlike the occupation in Baghdad. Click here.  .......... The sector under Patraeus has experienced violent rebellion like the rest of Iraq, but if all of Iraq had been administered with Patraeus's approach it is possible there would be stability in Iraq now.



Below is an editorial from the New York Times about the government in Azerbaijan and the support it gets from the U.S.  Illustrated is the absurdity of the the belief that the U.S. is an advocate for democracy in the Middle East, anywhere other than Afghanistan and Iraq. In a more recent Azerbaijan election the U.S. has taken a more genuinely pro-democracy stance, but after the phony election the U.S. has gone back to embracing the dictatorship. In Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Georgia the U.S. has  backed those fighting for democracy. But these are exceptions to the historical and current rule in U.S. policy.

The New York Times, Oct 27, 2003 pA22

Nepotism in Central Asia. (Editorial Desk)  COPYRIGHT 2003 The New York Times Company

On Oct. 15, Ilham Aliyev, businessman, playboy and novice politician, received a nice gift from his father -- the country of Azerbaijan. Heydar Aliyev had ruled Azerbaijan almost continuously for 34 years, first as an agent of the Soviet Politburo and then as an autocrat in his own right. When he became too ill to continue, he anointed his son to run for president in his place. Ilham Aliyev ran a rigged campaign, using all the powers of the state, and then celebrated his victory by arresting most of the opposition. To conclude this nasty exercise in dynasty building, Azerbaijan's new president accepted the fawning congratulations of the outside world -- including Washington.

 It was an ugly month for Azerbaijan -- and for American goals in the region. President Bush has said he went to war in Iraq in part to create democratic models in Islamic nations. But America's support for the Aliyevs suggests the administration has not learned the lessons of its oil-inspired support for the shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein and successive Saudi governments.

 Mr. Aliyev's election was rigged from the start. The government appointed supporters as election officials. Police blocked opposition rallies and beat up opposition supporters. Citizens' groups were banned from monitoring the vote. When the opposition began to protest Mr. Aliyev's declaration of victory with 80 percent of the vote, the police charged the crowds. Hundreds of people were seriously injured and several killed. Hundreds more were arrested, including polling-station workers who refused to sign falsified vote totals.

 The outside world did nothing to discourage Mr. Aliyev from this raw display of power. The day after the vote, President Vladimir Putin of Russia called to say, ''The people of Azerbaijan support your balanced program for developing the country.'' That was predictable. Another call was a surprise, and embarrassing to Washington. Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state and former co-chairman of the United States-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, a group close to the Aliyev family, phoned to congratulate Mr. Aliyev on his ''strong showing.''

 A State Department spokesman said, belatedly, that the election featured serious irregularities and ''politically motivated arrests.'' He called for an investigation as well. But the United States would do better to keep the new president at arm's length and avoid repeating the unfortunate history of supporting autocrats who sit atop oil riches.



Re: the 1990 war and lapdog U.S. press.

After Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait there were these four response options frequently cited by the U.S. media at the time  (1) Western diplomacy -- that is, talks between the Western powers (U.S. and Europe) and Iraq;  (2) An Arab summit, which might coax Hussein into withdrawing, something Washington dreaded because it feared Hussein would get an easy out -- his aggression would be condoned instead of punished; (3) economic sanctions and (4) war. At first, following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait,  there was discussion in the U.S. press about Washington's fear of an Arab summit, Arab nations handling their own problems. "The nightmare scenario," was what a bemused  media claimed the Bush administration was calling the likely outcome of an Arab summit. But between the invasion and the war the press stopped talking about the "Arab summit" idea, seemingly due to pressure from Washington, but perhaps just due to editors who personally shared the administration's fear of an Arab summit.

A common response to the above observation is that an Arab summit would not have worked -- Hussein could not have been coaxed out of Iraq peacefully. But Washington obviously thought an Arab summit might succeed, which is why they were so afraid of it, and it is clear that only Arab diplomacy had a chance of influencing Saddam, who was not going to let the West scold him into compliance. And consider the sort of arguments Egypt and Syria and Jordan together might have made to appease Saddam. They could have allowed as how what Syria was doing by occupying Lebanon was not that different from Iraq in Kuwait. Lebanon was carved out of Syria by the French in a manner somewhat like the separation of Kuwait from Iraq by the British, and Syria's troops were in Lebanon dictating a solution to the civil war. And the assertion that Kuwait is properly part of Iraq had been voiced in the past by various individuals of prominence in the Middle East. Hussein might have been enticed into withdrawing by pointing out how terrified Washington was of an Arab-mediated, peaceful outcome, and that he could rub Washington's nose in it by taking part in an Arab solution. At the same time he could be reminded that he would lose in a war with the U.S., although he might not have been able to grasp that fact.

Could Hussein have been cajoled? Is it true that the U.S. press at first discussed then fell silent on the Arab summit idea? Did the U.S. press knowingly start pulling its punches when it fell silent on the peaceful option of an Arab summit? Did Washington lean on the press to stop talking about the Arab summit ?  Was the U.S. wrong to fear an Arab summit and stifle it? What would be the consequences of  Arab states peacefully inducing Saddam Hussein to exit Kuwait? Who were the people in the U.S. government and Middle East governments who tried to defend and promote the idea of an Arab Summit? These are important questions and we would much appreciate comments from readers, and we would much appreciate names of websites that give insight into these issues, or other issues on this page, so we can link to those sites...... A couple of  other related issues: the $3 billion dollars that went to Saddam through an Atlanta branch of an Italian bank before the first Gulf War, was a travesty blamed on one man at the Atlanta branch, who was prosecuted and took his humiliation without protest -- a team player. This case needs to be investigated and exposed........ Also, w/re to depleted Uranium. After Desert Storm (Jan. 1991) the U.S. press marveled that U.S. tanks had knocked out about 250 Iraqi tanks while not losing any tanks to enemy fire. The ten or so U.S. tanks knocked out were hit by misdirected fire from other U.S. tanks. ("Friendly Fire"). In the months following the war the U.S. press did not mention depleted uranium, which enhances tank armor and anti-tank rounds. U.S. tanks had it, Iraqi tanks didn't. And that is why the U.S. only lost tanks to its own fire. It was years later that discussion of depleted uranium began to appear in the press. Failing to mention it with the tank figures in 1991 was another case of U.S. press rolling over for Washington, was it not? And then there are claims that Madeline Albright told  Saddam before he invaded Kuwait that if he did he would not meet resistance from the U.S.  


U.S. manipulation of the Middle East scenarios took an interesting twist in the months before 9-11. Something few Americans know is that the U.S. was happy with the Taliban police state, in Afghanistan, back when the Taliban were complying with U.S. intentions to build a pipeline through Afghanistan. The U.S. only turned hostile to the Taliban in July, 2001, after they began to argue with the U.S. about the pipeline plan. The pipeline was expected to run from west of Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean.  It is claimed the Taliban were largely installed by Pakistan with the consent and some say active input from U.S. agencies.

Are the above claims false claims? Misrepresentation? The point is these claims come from credible sources in the U.S. and in Muslim countries. Americans should be discussing these claims but we're not. The NY Times, Wall St. Journal, NPR, etc. are scarcely looking at the ugly history that has brought us to the ugly present. They have routinely talked about Turkey and Egypt as if they were democracies, up until the last year or two, and even now they're pretty coy about it. As with Cold War policy, there is a reasolable argument the U.S. is doing the right thing in supporting Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Algeria and other dictatorships and in supporting fake democracies like Egypt and Turkey. This website does not believe in propping up dictatorships, but there is an argument for supporting dictatorships. But what we don't respect is the ignorant belief that the U.S. has been defending democracies around the world since World War II. We have been crushing and preventing democracies from happening, from Iran to Zaire, in the name of anti-Communism and "stability." Furthermore there was a valid option in each case not to crush democracy but to support it, not just in the long term but in the short term as well.


And as for the notion that Turkey is a democracy, consider this dispatch regarding Kurds in Turkey, a persecuted minority.

 Turkey: Name Restrictions Lifted....The government announced that it was lifting a ban on Kurdish and other ethnic first names. CNN-Turk television broadcast the announcement after receiving it by fax in the form of a copy of new government orders to local authorities. The form said, "All names using the Turkish alphabet that do not offend public opinion or undermine public morals can be used."


Photos from New York Times  Jan. 6, 2002        




The following graphic explains why we are manipulating governments in Muslim countries in ways that make Muslims hate us, and love Bin Laden, according to many Americans with a perhaps somewhat jaundiced view of the whole process. It cannot be denied that oil causes statesmen to behave in very slippery ways. Iran fell into western clutches because of oil as much as politics.



Below is a little bit of history on Iraq and Saddam, excerpted from the internet.

While many have thought that Saddam first became involved with U.S. intelligence agencies at the start of the September 1980 Iran-Iraq war, his first contacts with U.S. officials date back to 1959, when he was part of a CIA-authorized six-man squad tasked with assassinating then Iraqi Prime Minister Gen. Abd al-Karim Qasim.

In July 1958, Qasim had overthrown the Iraqi monarchy in what one former U.S. diplomat, who asked not to be identified, described as "a horrible orgy of bloodshed."

According to current and former U.S. officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Iraq was then regarded as a key buffer and strategic asset in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. For example, in the mid-1950s,
Iraq was quick to join the anti-Soviet Baghdad Pact which was to defend the region and whose members included Turkey, Britain, Iran and Pakistan.

Little attention was paid to Qasim's bloody and conspiratorial regime until his sudden decision to withdraw from the pact in 1959, an act that "freaked everybody out" according to a former senior U.S. State Department official.

Washington watched in marked dismay as Qasim began to buy arms from the Soviet Union and put his own domestic communists into ministry positions of "real power," according to this official. The domestic instability of the country prompted CIA Director Allan Dulles to say publicly that Iraq was "the most dangerous spot in the world."

The assassination was set for Oct. 7, 1959, but it was completely botched. Accounts differ. One former CIA official said that the 22-year-old Saddam lost his nerve and began firing too soon, killing Qasim's driver and only wounding Qasim in the shoulder and arm. Darwish told UPI that one of the assassins had bullets that did not fit his gun and that another had a hand grenade that got stuck in the lining of his coat.
"It bordered on farce," a former senior U.S. intelligence official said. But Qasim, hiding on the floor of his car, escaped death, and Saddam, whose calf had been grazed by a fellow would-be assassin, escaped to Tikrit, thanks to CIA and Egyptian intelligence agents, several U.S. government officials said.
Saddam then crossed into Syria and was transferred by Egyptian intelligence agents to Beirut, according to Darwish and former senior CIA officials. While Saddam was in Beirut, the CIA paid for Saddam's apartment and put him through a brief training course, former CIA officials said. The agency then helped him get to Cairo, they said.
One former
U.S. government official, who knew Saddam at the time, said that even then Saddam "was known as having no class. He was a thug -- a cutthroat."

In February 1963 Qasim was killed in a Baath Party coup. Morris claimed recently that the CIA was behind the coup, which was sanctioned by President John F. Kennedy, but a former very senior CIA official strongly denied this.
"We were absolutely stunned. We had guys running around asking what the hell had happened," this official said.
But the agency quickly moved into action. Noting that the Baath Party was hunting down
Iraq's communists, the CIA provided the submachine gun-toting Iraqi National Guardsmen with lists of suspected communists who were then jailed, interrogated, and summarily gunned down, according to former U.S. intelligence officials with intimate knowledge of the executions.
Many suspected communists were killed outright, these sources said. Darwish told UPI that the mass killings, presided over by Saddam, took place at Qasr al-Nehayat, literally, the Palace of the End.
A former senior U.S. State Department official told UPI: "We were frankly glad to be rid of them. You ask that they get a fair trial? You have to get kidding. This was serious business."
A former senior CIA official said: "It was a bit like the mysterious killings of
Iran's communists just after Ayatollah Khomeini came to power in 1979. All 4,000 of his communists suddenly got killed."
British scholar Con Coughlin, author of "Saddam: King of Terror," quotes Jim Critchfield, then a senior Middle East agency official, as saying the killing of Qasim and the communists was regarded "as a great victory." A former long-time covert U.S. intelligence operative and friend of Critchfield said: "Jim was an old Middle East hand. He wasn't sorry to see the communists go at all. Hey, we were playing for keeps."

Saddam, in the meantime, became head of al-Jihaz a-Khas, the secret intelligence apparatus of the Baath Party.

The CIA/Defense Intelligence Agency relation with Saddam intensified after the start of the Iran-Iraq war in September of 1980. During the war, the CIA regularly sent a team to Saddam to deliver battlefield intelligence obtained from Saudi AWACS surveillance aircraft to aid the effectiveness of Iraq's armed forces, according to a former DIA official, part of a U.S. interagency intelligence group.

This former official said that he personally had signed off on a document that shared
U.S. satellite intelligence with both Iraq and Iran in an attempt to produce a military stalemate.

"When I signed it, I thought I was losing my mind," the former official told UPI.

A former CIA official said that Saddam had assigned a top team of three senior officers from the Estikhbarat, Iraq's military intelligence, to meet with the Americans.

According to Darwish, the CIA and DIA provided military assistance to Saddam's ferocious February 1988 assault on Iranian positions in the al-Fao peninsula by blinding Iranian radars for three days.

The Saddam-U.S. intelligence alliance of convenience came to an end at 2 a.m.
Aug. 2, 1990, when 100,000 Iraqi troops, backed by 300 tanks, invaded its neighbor, Kuwait. America's one-time ally had become its bitterest enemy



Below is a  commentary which repeats many points made above in the editorial paragraphs at top of page, preceding the article listings. It's repetition, but it may read a little smoother.

Democracy in the Middle East  In Iraq and Afghanistan the U.S. has gone to war to topple dictatorships, and is now obliged to practice what it preaches with respect to promoting democracy. The fact that the U.S. supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq through his long history of horrors and exterminations, up until he got out of line and invaded Kuwait in 1990, and the fact that the U.S. has always supported dictators, not democracy, in the Middle East, should figure in Americans' thinking about this new democracy-building policy. U.S. support for oil-rich dictatorships as preferred business partners is one reason the U.S. sets aside the issue of democracy, and another is fear that honest elections will bring Islamic militants to power, just as the U.S. feared that elections would put Communists in power in the Cold War.  The war on terror is also given as a justification for supporting undemocratic governments like Pakistan's, whose complicity in sending nuclear secrets and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea has been diplomatically whitewashed by the U.S........People everywhere in the world (except for the U.S.) know that the U.S. programs to build democracy -- in Iraq and Afghanistan -- are a complete switch from past U.S. policy, and a contradiction to our current policy in other Middle East countries. But in the U.S. press there is a kind of pious swaggering -- the U.S. against the enemies of democracy -- that much of the U.S. public  seems to buy into, as if there were a history to support this claim to the moral high ground. (For an example of such editorializing click here).... President Bush declared over a year ago that he would like to see the whole Middle East democratize, and went so far as to say, "Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe, because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."  It is amazing that Bush spoke so honestly, in this instance. It seems very doubtful, however, that these words are going to going to be backed up by real pressure from the U.S. to allow freedom of speech and real competition in politics in countries like Pakistan, Egypt, Turkey*, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan etc. Only where the U.S. is conspicuously on the global stage, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is democracy arguably the real U.S. agenda. In Ukraine and Georgia the U.S. has supported democracy after it came to be, but the U.S. wasn't a factor in the change.   *(There has lately been some credible competition in Turkish politics, witnessed by the current administration, but Turkey remains a police state, thoroughly corrupt, where the Kurdish minority has no rights despite a few crumbs they have recently been thrown. Elections do not equal democracy. Look at Mexico.)

..... The U.S. has called for separation of church and state in the Middle East up until the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, and the subsequent effort to promote democracy.  It has since become clear that building  democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq can only work if the church, i.e. the Muslim clerics, is granted a role in government, and Islamic law figures legal affairs. The U.S. had long insisted that Egypt and Turkey should light the way for the rest of the Muslim world because the U.S. approved of their church/state posture. Now that the U.S. government  has had to face reality, the U.S. press has said nothing about the government's arrogance and stupidity over the years in thinking that a Muslim democracy would accept church/state separation. It is worth remembering that democracies that give religion a say in government are not a new thing. Consider Iran before the U.S. imposed the Shaw, or Israel. We never hear the U.S. complaining about the vested power of Orthodox rabbis in the Israeli government. Nor did the U.S. press ever rouse itself to point out, when the U.S. government was preaching  church/state separation to Muslims everywhere, that Israel violates that principle. It is worth noting that Greek Orthodox is the state religion of Greece, treated like a branch of government. .........The U.S. press is full of talk about the crazed Islamists who hate the West for trying to get Muslims to join the modern world. The Bush administration, allegedly under the influence of author Bernard Lewis, subscribes to the view that Islamists have a historical chip on their shoulder, having lost the driver seat of  civilization to Christians back around the 14th century, and so they seethe and fester in their self-imposed dungeon, refusing to come out into the light of the modern world. ..........What is left out of such arguments is that Muslims are being held down politically by dictatorships that  the West supports, and that it is against this Western-supported repression that Islamists rise up in retaliation, even though militants themselves are inclined to cast themselves as pure religious zealots. (Don't believe everything terrorists say.) And Muslims everywhere resent the U.S. for its controlling, pro-dictatorship policy, so that terrorists and ordinary peace-loving Muslims are of of one mind when it comes to what they think about U.S. policies in their part of the world. It is not simply a matter of their culture being threatened by T.V.,  mini-skirts, and pre-marital sex, it is that they are being held down politically while this debauched culture is injected into them. They have no voice against a corrupt elite which panders to Western corporations, betraying their countrymen and their history and religion.  The people turn to conservative Islam because it seems pure and decent compared to the likes of the Mubarak government and its "pro-democracy" U.S. backers. Militancy has a natural appeal after decades of the real people getting nothing while the elite kill and jail reformers, with U.S. blessings. .......A case worth reviewing is the rise in Iran of the Ayatollah Khomeini and his anti-Western movement in the 1980's. This movement arose as a reaction to years of state terror under the Shaw, who was installed in a Cold War coup engineered by the U.S. at the expense of a democracy which showed signs, as the U.S. read it, of falling to the Soviets. (The signs included nationalizing British Petroleum.) The Iranian democracy had granted influence in state affairs to the Muslim clerics, whereas the Shaw stripped the clerics of all power, and exterminated anyone who complained. Khomeini's anti-western virulence rose from the ashes of the Shaw's state terror. But people in the West, especially the U.S., typically clueless as to U.S. manipulation of  politics in the third world, stared at the specter of Khomeini as if he were a cobra that had risen inexplicably from a picnic basket. Current hatred of the West in Muslim countries arises, like Khomeini's movement, because the West supports dictatorships that hold people down and deny them the right to shape their own political future.