Guest Column: Caught in our own meddling; history of the CIA in the Middle East

Iran: After World War II, the U.S. was the primary backer of the Shah, and England controlled Iran’s oil. In 1951, democracy was emerging, and Mossadegh was elected prime minister. He was a nationalist and tried to get a better deal for Iran’s oil from England. When England refused, he nationalized the oil industry. The CIA and England’s MI6 engineered a coup in 1953 and put the Shah back in power. Mossadegh is still a hero in Iran, and they blame the USA for 25 years of suffering under the Shah. SAVAK, the Shah’s brutal secret police, suppressed the people, who were getting poorer as the Shah got richer.

Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979, and the Shah fled to the USA. Fearing another coup by the CIA, the Iranians stormed the U.S. embassy and took hostages. The USA supported Iraq when it invaded Iran in 1980.

Iraq: The USA and Britain sold Saddam Hussein the technology and materials to develop nuclear, chemical and biological WMD from 1985 to 1990 during the Reagan and Bush Sr. years. Iraq was at war with Iran. The Kurds were gassed in 1988. Britain sold nerve gas-related material as late as 1992, after the Gulf War. Bush & Blair used this knowledge to justify the current war, even though the U.N. had destroyed more than 90 percent of the WMD, and the rest were thought by Scott Ritter to have been destroyed during the Gulf War. Not “everyone” thought there were WMD before we invaded.

Afghanistan: Was a nonaligned buffer between the USA and the USSR during the Cold War. When the Shah was overthrown in Iran in 1979, the USSR expected the U.S. to try to install a pro-U.S. government in Afghanistan and sent troops to prevent that. The CIA spent $6 billion to fund the war against the Soviets. They recruited young Muslim men, mostly uneducated and unemployed, from around the world in the name of Islam to fight the “Communist infidels” in what they called a “holy war” or jihad. Fundamentalist parties were formed who were anti-education, anti-women and anti-West. The CIA didn’t care as long as the Soviets were defeated. The CIA funneled most of the money through mullah Gulbuddin Hekmatyr. The U.S. abandoned Afghanistan after the defeat of the Soviets, and chaos resulted as the groups fought each other for power. Pakistan and the CIA supported the Taliban to end the chaos and then lost control of them. The Taliban came from the types of schools (madrassas) that the CIA had set up during the war against the Soviets. Hekmatyr’s forces, allied with the re-formed Taliban, have been causing the recent havoc. For more information, Google the people and the countries.

Maybe we should have more oversight on what the CIA is doing, not less.

Maybe we would be better off in the long run if we let others run their own countries.

Curt Freeburg is a resident of Byron, Ill.

From the Nov. 15-21, 2006, issue

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