House of cards

House of cards

House of cards

US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld
US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld

The United States has for a long
time played the major role in determining political and economic
outcomes for many countries throughout the world. This has been
achieved through lending, economic sanctions, political pressure,
the use of its forces, peace keeping or otherwise, and the sale
of armaments. There have been many different reasons for these
moves including oil, the threat of terrorist or communist states
and the expectation of the international community upon the
US.

Sometimes after many years of
success and flowing oratory we begin to believe our own press,
that all we do is right and that we can do no wrong. This may be
the very state that the US finds itself in at present. Following
September 11 the US could hardly sit on its thumbs after having
been openly attacked on home soil and now after having gone on
the offensive faces an entirely new enemy, itself. The US
currently walks a knife’s edge and any number of factors
could possibly spell its end.

IRAQ

Having entered Afghanistan and
toppled the Taliban the US has withdrawn most of its forces.
Sadly for them, they did not achieve success in disposing of Al
Qaeda, and are now coming to terms with and understanding how the
Russians were forced from that inhospitable country. Meanwhile
members of Al Qaeda and other fundamentalist Islamic terrorist
groups have regrouped in Pakistan and begun plans to cross back
into Afghanistan and lead raids against the foreign troops
stationed there.

Believing the job to be done,
leaving Afghanistan in a chaotic state the US turned its eyes
towards Iraq. With rhetoric and some stretching of the facts
about the links between Al Qaeda and Iraq they have gone after
Saddam, who had been in their sights long before September
11.

It would appear that the US
administration somewhat naively believed that once Saddam was
removed from power all would fall into place and a democratic
state would arise from the ashes. It’s also obvious that
the US little understood the culture with which they were
dealing, or the fervency with which they would hold to their
beliefs.

The People

Little has changed in the Middle
East for thousands of years and the last 100 or so years of
modernisation has not changed the tribal affiliations or mind
sets of the inhabitants. First and foremost they are fiercely
loyal to their religion, family and tribal roots. Saddam’s
regime consisted of the Sunni division of Islam and its
assortment of tribes. Under his rule Saddam persecuted other
tribes that belonged to the Shiite division. Despite the Shiites
welcoming the arrival of the coalition forces, in the right
situation they will remember that when push comes to shove, they
are Iraqi’s first and foremost, and will unite with all
those who want to see the US off their soil.

Recent reports reveal that US
raids in Iraq have netted some 8500 tonnes of ammunition and
several thousand tonnes of explosives and other weapons. Though
militant Iraqis may be outnumbered and out-supplied they will not
stop taking action against the coalition troops, as would many
individuals in our own countries were we put in the same
position. What makes them more dangerous are the fanatics who
believe that in laying down their lives for Islam fighting the
invaders they will secure themselves position and rewards in
heaven.

East vs West

To further compound the US
problems in Iraq, Iraq has become like a magnet for Islamic
fundamentalist terrorists. "Iraq is the nexus where many issues
are coming together — Islam versus democracy, the West
versus the axis of evil, Arab nationalism versus some different
types of political culture," said Barham Saleh, the prime
minister of this Kurdish-controlled part of northern Iraq. "If
the Americans succeed here, this will be a monumental blow to
everything the terrorists stand for." So it should be keenly
noted that according to Saudi authorities, up to 3000 males in
the last two months have gone missing, the assumption being that
many of them are now in Iraq.

Should the US be successful in
establishing their goal of a democratic ruling committee, without
their constant presence Iraq will quickly revert back to an
autocratic style of government. Democracy as we understand it is
as far from their way of thinking and understanding as a
dictatorship is from ours.

Over extended

Hitler lost Germany the Second
World War when he attacked Russia, underestimating the
conditions, stretching his supply lines, dividing and forcing his
armies to fight on two fronts. America is currently fighting on
two fronts, Afghanistan and Iraq, while also deploying troops to
hotspots such as Bosnia, Kosovo and Liberia. To make matters
worse they also have to consider the nuclear threat that has
arisen in North Korea and Iran putting the US military under
extreme pressure.

Despite calls from the experts,
current serving and retired senior Armed Force officers, the US
administration denies the fact that an increase is required in
the size of the armed forces to enable success mainly in Iraq but
also in other areas.

The rule of thumb, according to
military experts, is that except during crises, only one brigade
in three should be deployed abroad. Yet today 21 of the Army's 33
combat brigades are deployed overseas, 16 of them in Iraq. Using
the UN model used for assessing troop deployment in Bosnia,
250,000 troops are required in Iraq, that figure rises to 500,000
if you use the Kosovo model. Currently there are 170,000 troops
in Iraq of which 148,000 belong to the US.

Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of
State, has stated that further recruiting is not a consideration
as current deployments were sufficient to deal with the
difficulties they face. However more likely is the US
administration is considering the cost of increased deployments.
Financing Iraq alone is costing US$4 billion dollars a month and
the cost of recruiting to cover the shortfall has been estimated
as an additional US$29 billion a year.

The only other option available
which we see hit today’s headlines was that the US approach
the UN to authorise a multinational force. The approach is a
tacit admission that the current American-dominated force is
stretched too thin. This is where things could become interesting
for the US. We all know how the US sought and didn’t get
the backing of the UN Security Council to go to war against Iraq.
The UN was quite firm that there was insufficient evidence to
support the US claims that Saddam was manufacturing and storing
weapons of mass destruction. Regardless the US went it alone.

What we have now is a situation
where the US is saying to the UN, “sorry that we ignored
you guys before, but we seem to have gotten ourselves into a bit
of a bother and need a hand. The condition in your helping us is
that we maintain overall control and the leadership of Iraq and
UN forces. You just give us the troops to finish the job that we
started.”

In watching the lead up to the
Iraq war there was a certain amount of anti American sentiment
coming out of the Europe, particularly France and Germany. A
century ago France and Germany were major power brokers on the
world scene. Two world wars and the dominance of the US relegated
them to the minor leagues. A position neither of them like when
remembering past glories. Particularly so France, whom in recent
months through the EU has looked to develop a defence force of
the same size and capabilities of the US so that they too can be
seen as a world leader, never again having to tolerate the
humiliation of being ignored.

But now, if anyone is aware of it,
France is. They have perhaps for the first time ever the US over
a barrel. Remembering the snub of the UN by the US, France and
Germany both of whom sit on the UN Security Council could veto
any move to assist the US. Both countries are fully aware of the
drain on the US economy in occupying Iraq, and why should they
sacrifice the lives of their troops for a war they did not
support or agree with in the first place.

Chaos

By analysing the Iraqi tactics in
combating the coalition forces, it has been recognised that the
Iraqi dissidents (and others) realise they could possibly defeat
the occupying forces without getting into direct confrontation.
By keeping the coalition forces in a chaotic state through
harassing tactics they prevent the US from taking the next step,
which is Iraq’s reconstruction. It was estimated that the
first instalment required for the initial stages of
reconstruction is US 60 billion, this figure will take years to
raise off the Iraqi oil fields as was originally intended.
Therefore the longer it takes for the US to gain dominance and
begin reconstruction; matters begin to favour the dissidents.

President Bush now finds himself
in a damned if you do and damned if you don’t situation.
His Governments future hangs upon success in Iraq, to withdraw
will cost him the presidency. Never mind the weakness that this
action will show to budding terrorists, providing them with the
extra incentive to once more go on the offensive on US soil. So
the order has gone out from the White House that the US will
remain in Iraq for as long as it takes to achieve its goals of a
self sufficient oil producing democratic state. This means they
are stuck with an open-ended military occupation costing $4bn a
month which could drag on for years.

The Home front

Turning to home, despite evidence
and much advice to the contrary, President Bush recently cut
taxes in the US by 15%. This move was meant to free up and
encourage consumer spending, boosting the flagging economy, while
gaining favour with voters. On the other hand it has reduced
Government revenue by the same amount. This does not bode well
for a country that has just announced its expected budget deficit
for the 2004 fiscal year as 480 billion with it expected to peak
at 5.8 trillion by 2013. An interesting thing to consider here is
when the US Govt goes into such a huge deficit, who
possibly has the ability to bail
them out or
carry the debt?

The US economy is at an all time
low with its lowest interest rates in 45 years. The tax cuts
announced by President Bush are intended to help counter that at
a domestic level; however the US has trouble when outside markets
and countries play a direct part in keeping the US dollar and
economy down. Due to the weak US dollar other currencies, such as
the euro have leapt up against it. Japan determined to keep the
yen from climbing too high against the US and thus have its
exports remain competitive has been spending trillions of yen
buying US dollars on the foreign exchange market. As yet this has
bought no complaint from the US treasury, which is believed to be
because Japan supported the Iraqi war, combined with the US being
aware of how fragile Japans own economy and recovery is at the
present time.

Conclusion

It is no secret that at the Omega
times we believe that the US will have to make way to the EU in
fulfilling bible prophecy. There can not be two superpowers, nor
will the Anti Christ who will run the final empire (EU) put up
with having to answer to any other. Whether it be through a
collapsing economy due to a burgeoning deficit caused by the Iraq
war, an economy that collapses due to its interdependence upon
other markets such as the Japanese or a new wave of terrorism
never seen before in the history of the world launched on US soil
and targets, like a fragile house of cards, all could come
tumbling down.