There is a depressing chain of causality regarding the events that have happened in the Middle East over the past several decades.
World War II: Iraq is controlled by the British. Meanwhile, Iran is occupied by the Allies in order to provide the Soviet Union with a supply line to help it stand up to German invaders. After the war, Iraq gains its independence.
1953: British and American oil companies control most of Iran’s oil fields. The democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, tries to nationalize the oil fields and then is overthrown by a coup engineered by the CIA. The Shah takes absolute power over the government and people of Iran.
1979: The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan to support a Communist government there. In response, the USA boycotts the upcoming Olympic Games in Moscow the following year. Meanwhile, Iranians overthrow their USA supported Shah and replace him with an Islamic government under the Ayatollah Khomeini. Iran thus becomes one of the USA’s worst enemies.
1980s: The USA supplies aid to the anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan, who are the political ancestors of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The USA also supplies aid to Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, after he starts a war with Iran.
1990-1: After Iraq invades Kuwait without the permission of the USA, President George Bush turns on Iraq and organizes a coalition against Saddam. Then they drive Iraqi forces from Kuwait, despite the dispute between Saddam and Kuwait being none of the USA’s business. Osama Bin Ladin, who fought as an ally of the USA in Afghanistan, notices this hypocrisy and starts organizing Al-Qaeda as an anti-American movement now that the Soviets have been defeated in Afghanistan.
1990s : Al-Qaeda makes several terrorist attacks against American targets. President Bill Clinton tries to deal with the threat, but with little success.
2001: On September 11, Al-Qaeda makes attacks destroying the World Trade Center, and badly damaging the Pentagon. In response, the USA goes to war against the Taliban led government in Afghanistan and overthrows it within a few weeks.
2002: President George W Bush (son of the previous President Bush) starts claiming, despite a lack of evidence, that Iraq has Weapons of Mass Destruction that could threaten other nations. Saddam Hussein not only denies the claim, but is not even threatening to invade any other state. Bush Jr whips the American people into a frenzy to wage another war against terrorism, despite no confirmed link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda.
2003: The USA attacks Iraq and overthrows its government in only a few weeks. No Weapons of Mass Destruction are ever found.
2003-2010 : Both Afganistan and Iraq continue to be unstable for years as a result of Al-Qaeda operatives and local rebels fighting against USA-led coalition forces.
Could all this have been avoided? YES! Imagine this alternative timeline.
1953: British and American oil companies control most of Iran’s oil fields. The democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran, Mohammad Mosaddegh, nationalizes the oil fields. The USA and Britain take no action at first, but later negotiate a fair trade agreement with Iran in which it remains a supplier of oil to both countries exclusively. They encourage Iran to depose their Shah, who is seen as a would-be tyrant.
1980s: The USA supplies aid to the anti-Communist rebels in Afghanistan. The USA also denounces Saddam Hussien, dictator of Iraq, after he starts a war with Iran. The USA supplies aid to Iran’s government.
1990-1: After Iraq invades Kuwait, President George Bush declares himself neutral in that conflict, but warns Saddam that further attacks against Iran or Saudi Arabia will not be tolerated. He then encourages Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to join forces and attack Iraq. As a result, Iraq is defeated and Saddam Hussien is overthrown.
2001-2010: The World Trade Center is still standing, and Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Afghanistan are all dedicated allies of the USA. Most of the Middle East is at peace.
Much better for Americans, don’t you think?
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Everything always goes better in my imagination too…
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