Imperial Troubles In Iraq And Afghanistan
07 April 2010
By Jacob G. Hornberger
Things are not working out as well as the U.S. Empire
intended in either Iraq or Afghanistan.
The original plan called for the installation of U.S.
puppet regimes in both countries, regimes that would
do the bidding of the Empire while maintaining the
false semblance of sovereignty and independence.
For a model of what was intended for both countries,
think Iran from 1953 to 1979. In 1953, the CIA
instituted a coup in Iran that ousted Iran’s
democratically elected prime minister, Mohammed
Mossadegh, and replaced him with a U.S.-approved,
compliant ruler, the Shah of Iran.
From 1953 to 1979, Iran was a dream-come-true for the
CIA and the U.S. Empire. The country was ruled by the
Shah, whose loyalty to the U.S. Empire was complete.
He would do whatever the Empire requested of him. At
the same time, the CIA permitted him a free hand to do
whatever he wanted inside Iran, which he ruled with an
iron fist. During that entire period, Iran was
officially considered a friend of the Empire.
It all came to end in 1979, when the Iranian people
revolted against this brutal, CIA-installed dictator,
who had tortured his own people with the support of
the CIA. The Shah was replaced by an extremist Islamic
regime. At that point, Iran lost its status as friend
of the Empire and became an official enemy.
Now, back to Iraq. Guess where representatives of the
top three political alliances traveled immediately
after Iraq’s recent election. If you guessed Iran, you
guessed right! According to the New York Times, “The
ink was hardly dry on the polling results when three
of the four major political alliances rushed
delegations off to Tehran. Yet none of them sent
anyone to the United States Embassy here, let alone to
The reason they traveled to Iran, rather than
Washington, was to strategize on how to overcome the
recent electoral victory of Ayad Allawi, whose
coalition won the most votes, thereby possibly making
him the next prime minister of Iraq.
That trip to Iran exposes one of the dark secrets of
the U.S. invasion of Iraq: The invasion succeeded in
installing a radical religious regime that has always
felt more affinity for Iran (which, again, is now
viewed as an enemy by the U.S. Empire) than it has for
the Empire whose invasion installed it into power.
Moreover, everyone in Iraq knows that Allawi was the
man the CIA had chosen to run Iraq. In fact, in the
early days of the occupation, it was Allawi who was
running the country, and with the type of brutality
that characterized the Shah of Iran or, or as a better
example, Saddam Hussein. (See my 2004 article “Saddam,
Chalabi, and Allawi Epitomize U.S. Foreign Policy.”)
Did the CIA help Allawi win the recent election?
Allawi says he hasn’t heard from U.S. officials, but
it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the CIA is
at least celebrating his victory, especially since,
according to the New York Times, Allawi was allegedly
committing terrorist acts in Iraq on behalf of the CIA
during the 1990s.
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan the Empire is in a horrible
quandary because it’s trying to act like it’s not an
Empire while simultaneously behaving like Afghanistan
is one of its colonies.
When the Empire invaded and installed the Karzai
regime into power, it desired to create the appearance
that Afghanistan was still a sovereign and independent
country, but with the underlying realization that
Karzai could be counted on to loyally do the bidding
of the Empire. In other words, another Shah of Iran
and another 1953-1979 Iran-type relationship.
The problem is that Karzai is now publicly behaving
like his regime really is sovereign and independent.
For example, he is telling people that the U.S. did
invade and occupy his country and that it participated
in the fraud that marred the recent election. That’s a
no-no, and U.S. officials are furious about it. (See,
for example, this ABC News article.) Karzai is
supposed to maintain the official line that the Empire
is a liberator and is now serving as an invited guest
in Afghanistan and that it would never rig elections.
U.S. officials are now lashing out against corruption
in the Karzai regime, forgetting that the Empire’s
occupation of the country has also been riddled with
The pitiful part of all this, however, is not the
problems the Empire is experiencing in Iraq and
Afghanistan but rather that all too many Americans
continue refusing to confront the obvious: that all
this is what American soldiers have killed, died, and
destroyed for in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The
Future of Freedom Foundation.