The Original “Seven Countries in Five Years” and the Seven Nation Trump Ban
“Jerusalem’s only rational and historical choice is to link up once more with the Christian community of Lebanon.” – Trump Foreign Policy Advisor Walid Phares writing in a 1997 paper.
Ten days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 a member of the Joint Staff told General Wesley Clark that the United States was going to take out seven countries in five years. The countries were listed as – Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. This story and the subsequent history which unfolded are well known to most readers.
It was widely discussed in military and state government circles that Iran was the nation which should be invaded as opposed to Iraq. Regardless the Bush administration decided to attack and invade Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Nowhere in any action was it suggested that Saudi Arabia should be the target of any military action.
Current President Donald Trump had spoken out against the military action in Iraq at the time and has been even more vocal throughout the course of the 2016 election. Even a few days ago he referenced again that they shouldn’t have went in but once they did they should have completed the operation and taken Iraqi oil.
These statements are widely condemned in the liberal establishment media as well as widely misunderstood and misrepresented. Taking Iraqi oil is referring to the process of controlling the resource and ensuring it wasn’t used to enrich and support further terrorist organizations, which subsequently happened with ISIS.
Also taking place lately is the slow encroachment of Iranian forces into Iraq as they battle ISIS and provide “assistance” to the Iraqi forces. The Trump administration has an issue with this and is positioning itself in opposition to Iran.
Iran is of course one of the main hinges in the Middle East which can either make or break any peace process which is attempted. Saudi Arabia also serves this function on the other end of the religious and ideological Islamic spectrum. The whole region has been caught between these opposing diametrical nations for many decades with Israel providing a sort of convenient western distraction and scapegoat, though often times warranted, for many of the events and road blocks which have prevented peace.
President Trump is very outspoken about Iran and the nuclear deal made a few years ago with the Obama administration. Just yesterday he also told Iran that they were put “on notice” after Tehran test fired a ballistic missile. Iran correspondingly responded with statements amounting to a “screw you Trump, you don’t scare us” and are planning on more tests.
President Trump is also very outspoken about ISIS and the need to wipe them from the face of the Earth. It is common knowledge throughout the Middle East that Saudi Arabia has been the main supporter of ISIS and its attempts to overthrow Assad in Syria and maintain a state of opposition with Iran.
So what are we to make of this? Syria was on the original list of nations which were meant to be taken out over a five year period. ISIS continued this mandate with the support of Saudi Arabia and America but was thwarted by Syrian allies Russia and Iran. ISIS was also attempting to take out Iraq as its elected government began to turn away from America after the troop pullout.
This hornets’ nest of religious and ideological quicksand becomes even more confusing when we consider and contrast the recent Trump immigration ban on seven Muslim nations. These nations are – Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran. All of these countries are the same as the original seven mentioned by General Wesley Clark except Lebanon was replaced with Yemen.
Two interesting things happened over the last few years. First, Yemen, a staunch Saudi ally, has been embroiled in a civil war against the Iranian supported Houthis. Second, Lebanon elected a new leader by the by the name of Michel Aoun who is now attempting to reach out to Saudi Arabia in attempts to make better relations while also maintaining the Lebanese relationship with Iran supported Shia groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.
What do we make of this?
While Lebanon is attempting to stay neutral, at least for the time being, Yemen is stuck in-between the religious and ideological fight of Shia Iran and Sunni Saudi. But another interesting fact has emerged which warrants discussion.
During the Lebanese civil war which started in 1975 the Christian militia was led by General Michel Aoun, who now, after years in exile in France, has returned to become the President. The history of the Christian militia is important because it ties directly into a connection with the Trump administration.
One of Trump’s foreign policy advisors is Walid Phares, who was once a member of the Christian militia in Lebanon and supporter of Michel Aoun. The obvious Christian leaning nature of the Trump administration aligns with the new Christian leadership in Beirut, with both nations using a shared resource in Walid Phares.
It should also be noted that Walid Phares suggested that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner would serve as a Middle Eastern policy advisor months before it became a reality. The connections and flow of information between Trump’s growing administration and the new Christian-oriented Lebanese government, and the need to re-align Russia away from Iran (something the nomination of Rex Tillerson could help as he has a good relationship with Putin), are coalescing into a clear and viable strategy on Middle Eastern peace.
Also worth mentioning is that Lebanon is moving towards its first oil production in 2018. This will obviously be a factor in any on-going and future negotiations between Israel and Lebanon when it comes to peace and the Palestinians.
This evidence is strongly suggestive of why Lebanon has now been removed from “the list of seven Muslim nations” and replaced with Yemen. On the original list Lebanon was aligned with Iran, which is why they were included, and Yemen at the time was aligned with Saudi Arabia. On the new list Yemen is aligned with Iran while Lebanon is now aligning itself with the United States. This is an interesting turn of events as it means Lebanon and its President Michel Aoun could manage to get Hezbollah and Hamas aligned with the larger mandate involving Israel and the Palestinians.
But this would also mean taking out Iran and its support to both Hezbollah and Hamas, which would isolate both groups within the new arrangement. This could be accomplished with broader agreements between Trump and Russia on Europe and specifically the situation in Ukraine. This could even include broader agreements between America and Russia negotiated by former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson regarding oil and gas resources and Arctic drilling programs. Canada would have to be in alignment with this strategy to facilitate the transportation of goods and services and access to the full Arctic resource deposits.
In previous articles I speculated that Iran was the hinge in the Middle East that would determine whether peace was achievable or not. This is still the case. It would appear that the region only has room for either Saudi Arabia or Iran, but not both. The leading indicators would now suggest that Trump is moving towards action against Iran as opposed to Saudi Arabia.
The recent US Special Forces action in Yemen and the telephone conversation with Saudi Arabia would suggest this to be the case. Further military action taken in Iraq, which is being discussed, would be ultimately targeted at Iran and either taking out their abilities to influence the region or outright regime change which is something Washington and Israel have both wanted for a longtime.
Will Putin let Trump take out Iran in exchange for Ukraine and natural gas control over Europe? This could be the game play which is taking place as Trump steps back from NATO and Great Britain exits the EU so the EU can be integrated within the larger Eurasian Union.
There could even be a strategy where both Iran and Saudi Arabia are removed and/or restructured into a larger Middle Eastern union or regional economic alliance. Peace with Israel in the region could possibly mean that America would no longer need to support the destabilizing House of Saud.
This convoluted and confusing mess will continue, but perhaps now we have a somewhat clearer vision and understanding of what might be playing out in the coming months. The world is changing faster than at any time in the last eight decades. It’s both fascinating and frightening at the same time.
JC Collins can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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