Letter to the Editor: Managing the Middle East

Middle East

I joined the Marine Corps in 1990 because Saddam Hussein appeared the Hitleresque figure Washington said he was. But after hearing what the intel community had to say it quickly became apparent the war was a favor to wealthy Kuwaitis who wanted their oil revenues back. Chemical attacks cited in justification were carried out under surveillance that didn’t appear to alarm Washington. In fact, they weren’t mentioned until they were used to build support for Kuwaiti Liberation.

As the years wore on I became interested in al Qaeda and preparing the Marine Corps to confront that challenge. In 1998, I began serving under Marine Corps Intelligence Schools and Naval War College towards that goal. The color coded terror alert system is about all you saw of the work we did because Congress would refuse to let us go after the Saudi Arabian Wahhabists who funded and recruited the primarily Saudi Arabs sent to train at militia style facilities in Afghanistan. The plan carried out on 9/11 was also on our radar, but Congress refused to fund the airline security requested to thwart those hijackings.

Why am I telling you this? Because I think it is important that you hear the truth at least once. The experts I worked with warned Washington to avoid regime change in the Middle East because similar actions had led the Saudi Wahhabist to build al Qaeda with Osama bin Laden’s help. Their training camps were located in Afghanistan because that was the site of the Soviet led regime change operation responsible. Although the Taliban were responsible for defeating that Soviet operation, by the 90s they were little more than landlords accepting payment from the Saudis who financed al Qaeda’s training facilities.

Al Qaeda has grown and spread as we said they would given the instability generated by regime change in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, and Yemen. The attempt to overthrow Syria’s Assad gave birth to ISIS, who have since spread throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East along with al Qaeda. Regime change in Iran would only contribute to this mess.

Jamie Beaulieu

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