A Bloody Border Project

Zionist-Imperialist Dogma from the Armed Forces Journal

The United States has no strategic interest in the fact that there’s one Iraq, or three Iraqs.

– John Bolton1

To keep them all at each other’s throats is American policy.

– John Pilger

Assume some Arab, European, or Russian official papers or thinkers would propose to redraw the map of Turtle Island or partition the United States because of the danger it represents to the rest of the world. Likeliest, such groups would be scorned as interfering outsiders and told to tend to boundaries in their “own” backyard.

It is axiomatic that the borders of Turtle Island are “artificial,” and their functionality depends on who is doing the appraising. The question is: do the borders need to be redrawn? Also, while anyone has the right to pontificate on whatever topics swirl around in his mind, what kind of reaction would an outsider expect for fiddling with “artificial” lines outside his home region?

Ralph Peters is an ex-intelligence officer of the US military who apparently possesses the ego to front for such a project. He has put his name to a scheme for redrawing of the borders of the Middle East and farther afield.2 It should not be assumed that Peters took the initiative personally, as the design is consistent with the issues of the American empire in its Zionist phase. Peters, therefore, is but one spokesperson from among the many acolytes of hyper-imperialism.

As an agent of militarist imperialism, Peters is a pro-war agitator who openly espouses his prejudices.3 That the platform for his racist verbiage is the Armed Forces Journal (AFJ) serves as evidence of the hyper-imperialist program. AFJ, a part of Gannett Company, describes itself as the “the leading joint service monthly magazine for officers and leaders in the United States military community. Founded in 1863, AFJ has been providing essential review and analysis on key defense issues for over 140 years. AFJ offers in-depth feature coverage of military technology, procurement, logistics, strategy, doctrine and tactics.”

The June 2006 AFJ article by Peters provides insight into the evolving military doctrine of US imperialism.

While Peters asserts, “The most arbitrary and distorted borders in the world are in Africa and the Middle East,” he concedes that these borders were drawn by “self-interested Europeans (who have had sufficient trouble defining their own frontiers).” Peters omits his own backyard: Turtle Island. Even the invaders’ designation applied to the continent — North America — smacks of a similar gross injustice than undergirds Peters’ thought: that newcomers might ignore the Original Peoples and name the continent after a migrating kinsman.

This is intentional because Peters has a very precise agenda and that is the conquest of the Middle East through cumulative partitions and drawings of maps.

It is diversionary to criticize the conditions elsewhere. On Africa’s borders, Peters states: “they continue to provoke the deaths of millions of local inhabitants.” Borders cannot be tried in a court of law. Therefore, those who drew up or enforce such borders bear responsibility for those millions of deaths? Who are the people who drew up the borders and who are the powers they represent?

Peters claims that the “unjust borders in the Middle East … generate more trouble than can be consumed locally.” This is a strange and nebulous language. Locally? Is he writing as a Westerner concerned about problems caused domestically by overseas borders, or is he stating that borders drawn by western imperialists are harming Middle Easterners? If the latter, then that would seem a matter for Middle Easterners to decide for themselves unless they ask for outside assistance.

Peters opines that the Middle East’s “comprehensive failure” includes “cultural stagnation through scandalous inequality to deadly religious extremism.” Peters makes disparaging statements about the region without offering insight as to why such a failure came about and what keeps it in place. Historically, the decline of the region is linked with the beginning of western imperialist and Zionist infiltration. Being on the losing end of conquest is not conducive to success, cultural expansion, and moderation.

Peters’ arrogant solution is to redraw the map to “redress the wrongs suffered by the most significant ‘cheated’ population groups.” How does he identify the “most significant ‘cheated’ population groups”? By what authority does Peters decide on redressing wrongs? Peters’ entitlement to redress “wrongs” and draw up his new maps derives illegitimately from his connection to US imperialism. Would anyone in the Middle East suggest that someone from among the people who committed the initial “wrongs” in drawing up the “awful” and “dysfunctional borders” be self-appointed to redraw them? Would Americans accept self-appointed outsiders redrawing the borders of the United States? Self-interested outsiders do not have a legitimate right to finagle the borders of other countries. Legal convention holds that this must be determined by the peoples of the region, in accordance with the United Nations Charter-recognized right of self-determination.


A Hyperimperialist Rendering of a Further Divided Middle East and Beyond

Peters identifies many “cheated” population groups, such as the Kurds, Baluch and Arab Shia and many other numerically lesser minorities but he failed to mention the “cheated” majority. While living in the Middle East, the present writer became distinctly aware of a feeling expressed among many Arabs that they are one people.4 Imperialists and Zionist-colonialists have killed the realization, if not the dream, of a pan-Arabia for the time being.

Peters finds that one “haunting wrong can never be redressed with a reward of territory: the genocide perpetrated against the Armenians by the dying Ottoman Empire.” Armenia has its own state. More important is the ongoing genocide that Peters omitted: that being perpetrated against the stateless Palestinians. The return of their territory would go part way to redressing the “haunting wrong[s]” (in addition to dispossession, murder, impoverishment, and humiliation) that Zionists and their international (active or through silent complicity) accomplices have committed against the Palestinians.

Peters proclaims the only way to a “more peaceful Middle East” is through changing the geographical makeup of the area; the area stretches beyond the Middle East to Pakistan. It is, in fact, a redrawing of much of the Muslim World — the world between Christian Europe and Hindu India. As a purely intellectual exercise this may be fine, but this is more than mental gymnastics for Peters. It is a blueprint of the hyper-imperialist plan for the Muslim World.

Peters asks readers to accept that “international statecraft has never developed effective tools — short of war — for readjusting faulty borders.” This assertion is deceptive. There are dispute resolution institutions that have been “effective” in mediating border disputes: among them third-party diplomacy, the Law of the Sea Convention, and the International Court. While “effective” is a subjective adjective, one example is the 1992 settlement of the maritime boundary dispute between Canada and France around the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the International Court of Arbitration. Peters points to the “mental effort to grasp the Middle East’s ‘organic’ frontiers” as revealing the enormity of the task “we face and will continue to face.” [italics added] Who is this “we” that Peters is referring to? Why should anyone be concerned about difficulties that outsiders face in their mission to tamper with the borders of overseas states?

Peters decides to let readers in on a “dirty little secret from 5,000 years of history: Ethnic cleansing works.” That it works is largely irrelevant. It is a rather pathetic “secret,” but perhaps it is better to call “ethnic cleansing” what it is: genocide.5 That genociders achieve their insidious aims is no secret; it is just conveniently, for some, seldom mentioned. On Turtle Island it would mean that all non-indigenous inhabitants must confront the fact that they are living on land that has been partially or completely wiped of its Original Peoples and that geographical entities such as Canada and the United States came into existence through genocide. Another little mentioned fact: while the slain cannot be resurrected, it is possible to undo the territorial on-the-ground facts created by genocide. The crimes committed by ancestors and perpetuated by subsequent generations are not forgotten facts. It just requires the obdurate will to bend with the present population to remember and atone.

Peters steers toward “the border issue most sensitive to American readers.” According to Peters, this is the borders of Israel. Why is the Israeli border “most sensitive” to American readers? Are non-readers — i.e., non-military — to be distinguished from AFJ readers — i.e., military? What about the US’ own borders? If Americans are not sensitive to the US border, then why is the US building a Wall along its Mexican flank (that will obstruct access to territory that Mexico — also a creation of European colonialists — was violently forced to cede: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming)? Also, why do border disputes exist with its friendly white neighbor to the North; e.g., Seegaay (Dixon Entrance) and the Northwest Passage?

Peters asserts that if Israel desires “reasonable peace with its neighbors,” it will have to settle for its pre-1967 borders but “with essential local adjustments for legitimate security concerns.” Why does Peters choose pre-1967? Why not choose pre-1948 or even much before that? Why should European Zionists have any “reasonable” claim to any land in historic Palestine? Peters does not discuss the legitimacy of Israel’s existence. Yes, he has acknowledged that ethnic cleansing works. Unquestionably, the seizure of another people’s homeland can be achieved and enforced for a period of time. Does that make such seizure legitimate? Does international recognition of a fact-on-the-ground then make it legitimate? If an entity is illegitimate, can it then have legitimate security concerns? All the states in the neighborhood of Israel know their only legitimate neighbor is historical Palestine.

What about the border-defined legitimacy of Palestine’s neighbors. Since the Middle East carve up was a colonialist enterprise based on deceit, it stands to reason that such lines drawn by outsiders deserve and receive little respect from the local inhabitants.6

Peters writes the “most glaring injustice in the notoriously unjust lands between the Balkan Mountains and the Himalayas is the absence of an independent Kurdish state.” Either Peters is using strange artistic license for an otherwise serious topic or … just what is not clear. Land is neither “just” or “unjust.” The Kurds do not have their own internationally recognized geopolitical state, but they do have a homeland. The Kurds are not a homogeneous people, although they share many traits. In the entire history of the Middle East (except when Stalin carved the Kurdish state of Mahabad out of Iran, which lasted about eight months) Kurds never formed any political state in their existence. Then, if the Kurds never formed a state, how could it be possible to form a state taken out of many other states without war? Since the Kurds alone could not defeat the armies of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, then foreign powers would be needed to do this. But why would any power aid the Kurds without a quid pro quo? In addition, most of the Kurds in those countries are integral parts of their respective societies, including the state most repressive of Kurdish rights: Turkey. How then would one define the boundaries of scattered communities?

How to rectify this “glaring injustice”? Peters calls for the partitioning of Iraq, which Peters describes as a “Frankenstein’s monster of a state sewn together from ill-fitting parts.” Writing colleague B.J. Sabri utterly and compellingly refuted this ahistoric nonsense of Peters that serves as a pretext for the US impose a division on Iraq.7 The fueling of inter-confessional tensions could sophistically furnish the excuse imperialists seek to slice Iraq into more manageable minor states. It will not furnish the Zionists-imperialists with a legitimate right to carry out such partitioning, though.

Presumably, that is why the case of the stateless Palestinians is not the “most glaring injustice” for Peters. If a state and its borders can be imposed through violent force on a region, then it is a “just land”? If so, this appears to be a sure-fire recipe for a never-ending cycle of realizing states and demarcating their borders through violence.

Of course, to the extent that self-determination is a legitimate and just right, then the Kurds should have this right as other peoples do.

Peters does not stop with a Free Kurdistan (in what way does he mean “free”; does he also mean free from American and Zionist tampering?). He envisions a “just alignment” where three Sunni-majority provinces in Iraq form a truncated state. Simply writing “just” does not make it so.

Peters’ notion of a “just alignment” includes a landlocked Syria. What is “just” about that? Lebanon would expand northward and Jordan would expand southward into Saudi Arabia, which Peters calls an “unnatural state.” Peters calls for Saudi Arabia to “suffer” dismantling.

Lebanon is a geographic entity that France, sympathetic to entreaties from the Maronite community of the Ottoman sanjak of Mount Lebanon, carved from Greater Syria. Mount Lebanon was a predominantly Christian enclave with a substantial Druze component. The Maronites, however, pressed for a Greater Lebanon, even though they would no longer be a majority. The French appeased the Maronites’ demands in 1920. This is why Syria has never acknowledged or exchanged ambassadors with Lebanon. Today, Lebanon is predominantly Muslim and Maronites are scrapping for waning power. Peters’ mind-boggling solution to this is to completely deprive Syria of its coastline and expand Lebanon farther north! The Maronite minority would be even further diluted. This would appear to serve no one’s interest in the region. So who does it serve then? It serves western imperialist interests (and to a lesser extent the interests of Sunni rulers). It is part of the grand scheme risibly referred to as the War on Terrorism. A war cannot be fought against an abstraction, but Peters’ redrawing of borders is a more honest representation of what the War on Terrorism is really about: divide et impera (divide-and-conquer).

Lebanon is not an easy target, though. Hizbollah has turned back Zionist-imperialist aggressions on Lebanese soil. Imperialists, however, seek to garner political influence with corrupt Lebanese officials and isolate Hizbollah. Hence, the current Israeli and western support for the weeping prime minister Fouad Siniora and machinations to secure a military airbase in northern Lebanon8, which would serve as a strategic springboard in redrawing the Middle Eastern map.

Like Lebanon, Jordan is a colonialist creation. The Hashemites of Jordan, especially under the dictatorship of King Abdullah, are downright neighborly with Zionists and firmly obedient to western imperialists.

The Sauds pose a greater challenge to hyper-imperialists. Sitting on top of so much oil, the Sauds have the wealth to hinder western imperialistic ambitions. Consequently, hyper-imperialists coincide with Zionist interests that the wealth will have to be divvied up into smaller allotments.

Why should Saudi Arabia “suffer”? According to Peters: “A root cause of the broad stagnation in the Muslim world is the Saudi royal’s [sic] treatment of Mecca and Medina as their fiefdom.” Saudi Arabia is a “police-state” controlled by “one of the world’s most bigoted and oppressive regimes” that exports its “disciplinarian, intolerant faith” of Wahhabism far away. Might this, perhaps, be remedied by exporting non-disciplinarian and tolerant US Christian fundamentalism to the region? Peters’ worldview mirror reflects what he wants it to reflect. Peters is adamant. He asserts, “The rise of the Saudis [sic] to wealth and, consequently, influence has been the worst thing to happen to the Muslim world as a whole since the time of the Prophet, and the worst thing to happen to Arabs since the Ottoman (if not the Mongol) conquest.” Is this a prejudice against Saudis or did Peters intend to confine his remark to the Sauds? And how did the Sauds rise to wealth and secure that wealth? To make the story very short, in 1945, following the Yalta conference, US president Franklin Roosevelt held a secret meeting with King Ibn Saud who agreed to provide the US access to oil in exchange for protecting the monarchy. That agreement deepened the entrenchment of the Saud family in power.

Peters asks readers to “imagine how much healthier the Muslim world might become were Mecca and Medina ruled by a rotating council representative of the world’s major Muslim schools and movements in an Islamic Sacred State — a sort of Muslim super-Vatican — where the future of a great faith might be debated rather than merely decreed.” An astoundingly radical suggestion: catholicizing Islam. But even the Vatican represents only the Roman Catholics of Christianity — not all Christians nor all Catholics. Besides, given that Peters maintains that Sunnis and Shi’a are involved in internecine bloodletting, how does he propose to carry out this merger of Muslim schools and movements? After all the dividing of Muslim lands, the illusion of solidarity is to be provided by “a sort of Muslim super-Vatican.” But why must a sovereign Muslim state cede control of its territory to other Muslims?

Peters calls for “[t]rue justice” which he does not define other than to suggest that we might not like it. It is an astounding admission that Westerners are antagonistic to “true justice.” The implication is that Westerners pursue a justice that is not true and hence not justice. But, for Peters, “true justice” involves giving away what is not his to give. Peters would like to gift “Saudi Arabia’s coastal oil fields to the Shi’a Arabs.” His intention is to confine the House of Saud to “a rump Saudi Homelands Independent Territory around Riyadh” to deter the Sauds from “mischief toward Islam and the world.” Peters, as is the case throughout his article, does not give any examples of this “mischief.” The ultimate goal of Israel via the US is to create a Shi’a imperialist dependency and push for war between the two branches of Islam.

While not absolving the Sauds from any “mischief” they may perpetrate, there is a generally acknowledged rule of discourse that is colloquially stated as “people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks.” That Peters could accuse the Sauds of “mischief” in the Islamic world and elsewhere while never mentioning the “mischief” that US, western, and zionist imperialists wreak around the world speaks pointedly to a bias in Peters’ thesis. It is an unmitigated contradiction that undermines the entire basis of Peters’ thesis. Peters is proposing US “mischief” guised as “true justice” in lands far afield from US shores.

Peters’ “true justice” conveniently carves up all the lands that would make it easier for US imperialists to increase their influence and control over the Middle East to Pakistan. It is “mischief” that is belligerent divide-and-conquer. Peters avers otherwise, asserting that the maps are drawn according to the desires of local populations and not “as we would like them.” [italics added] There are many problems with his assertion. First, maps have been drawn according to the interests of great powers. Second, local populations did not draw the Peters’ map. Third, Peters does not reveal how he knows the preferences of local populations. Fourth, he does not define the parameters of a local population.

He refers to “artificial” and “natural” states and borders without defining them. Does a “natural” state exist? Arguably, yes. But do natural borders exist in perpetuity? Some states are bounded by rivers, which change course over time. Even island states (as Atlanteans found out) are prone to the whims of tectonic, meteorological, oceanic, or, for those so inclined, divine or extraterrestrial forces. Consequently, to refer to “natural” borders is to refer to a temporary condition absent the workings of nature.

Peters naturalizes the “unnatural” state of Pakistan. He sees a “mixed fate” for the city-states of the United Arab Emirates with some being incorporated into the “puritanical cultures” of the Arab Shi’a State which he predicts to be a counterbalance to Persian Iran.

To serve the “hypocritical,” Dubai, “of necessity, would be allowed to retain its playground status for rich debauchees.” Peters displays his sensitivity to the needs of minorities, in this case, the “rich debauchees.” Dubai, in the Peters scenario would play the role Nevada plays for the “rich debauchees” in the “puritanical cultures” of the US.

A military man-turned writer, Peters stakes claim to expertise in the “ethnic affinities and religious communalism” of the Middle East (and well he might have expertise, but what his qualifications are and how he came to acquire such expertise are unstated, other than an undefined claim to “firsthand experience”). Peters proffers a new map to right the “great wrongs [of] borders drawn by Frenchmen and Englishmen in the 20th century.” What better way for a region to emerge from “humiliations and defeats” than to have an American militarist draw new borders for it and then categorize the states into winners and losers? Peters even decrees Israel to be a loser by having its ethnic cleansing project halted at the pre-1967 “borders” (strange enough because neither Zionists nor Palestinians wholeheartedly agree to such borders).

As an apparent justification for the redrawing of the borders, Peters reasons that based on the cyclicality of history, new borders are bound to happen sooner or later anyway. Despite this, Peters admits, “Correcting borders to reflect the will of the people may be impossible.” However:

The current human divisions and forced unions between Ankara and Karachi, taken together with the region’s self-inflicted woes, form as perfect a breeding ground for religious extremism, a culture of blame and the recruitment of terrorists as anyone could design. [italics added]

Further revealing his anti-Muslim enmity, Peters opines: “In a region where only the worst aspects of nationalism ever took hold and where the most debased aspects of religion threaten to dominate a disappointed faith, the U.S., its allies and, above all, our armed forces can look for crises without end.”

Peters’ odious thinking is exemplified by his pointing to Iraq as a “counterexample of hope.” This conveniently ignores the occupation-driven genocidal blood bath there.9 What is required, says Peters, is that we do not leave Iraq “prematurely.” Since the occupation is fueling the resistance, and since the Iraqis don’t want the American forces to remain, the statement is pure imperialistic hubris.

Peters’ pronouncements on Iraq are a further rejection of his own border redrawing program, which essentially is an anti-sovereignty and anti-self-determination project. In a USA Today op-ed he railed against Iraq’s collaborationist prime minister Nouri al-Maliki’s interference with US military objectives within his country — a clear infringement of Iraqi sovereignty.10

“I believed that Arabs deserved a chance to build a rule-of-law democracy in the Middle East.” Generous and gracious as his initial belief was, Peters writes using the past tense, implying that he no longer believes Arabs deserve such a chance.

He then states, “Based upon firsthand experience, I was convinced that the Middle East was so politically, socially, morally and intellectually stagnant that we had to risk intervention — or face generations of terrorism and tumult.” [italics added] Peters’ racist opinionating continues: Middle Easterners, according to him, are politically, socially, morally, and intellectually inferior. And what was Peters’ “firsthand experience”? Did he live or spend much time in the Middle East? Or what ideological prism did he use to give a verdict shaped by standard Zionist ratiocinations and manifest cultural ignorance?

That he believes Arabs are intellectually inferior is supported by his assertion that they “do not yet comprehend the dimensions” of what he comprehends: “Iraq’s impending failure” and “disaster.” He accuses Arabs of gleefulness at America’s impending “humiliation.” But for the uncomprehending Arabs, Peters adds “it’s their tragedy, not ours.”

Peters exculpates the invading-occupying US from any blame. Writes Peters, “It’s al-Qaeda’s Vietnam. They’re the ones who can’t leave and who can’t win.” This is imperialist rhetoric. So the borders are impermeable! Then, contrary to declamations from US administration officials, there are no foreigners crossing into Iraq?

Peters follows up with a flourish of patriotic self-glorification:

Islamist terrorists have chosen Iraq as their battleground and, even after our departure, it will continue to consume them. We’ll still be the greatest power on earth, indispensable to other regional states — such as the Persian Gulf states and Saudi Arabia — that are terrified of Iran’s growing might. If the Arab world and Iran embark on an orgy of bloodshed, the harsh truth is that we may be the beneficiaries.2

Peters relies on ad hominem to make his case. Staying with the definition that “terrorism” is the use of violence or threat of violence to attain ends, it is undeniable that the US is using state terrorism in Iraq, just as Israel is using state terrorism in Palestine. Some so-called terrorism experts try to distinguish terrorism according to the agent, but this is semantic subterfuge. Nevertheless, while perchance the same in mechanism, all terrorism is not necessarily the same. One must be careful not to fall into the fallacy of drawing an equivalency between unprovoked or aggressive terrorism which elicits a similar terrorism in self-defense. Logically and morally, one cannot limit self-defense and resistance without capitulating to the evil of the precipitating terrorism. The US aggressed Iraq on a mendacious casus belli. It is the US which is stoking the flames of violence with Iran. It is simply dishonest and intellectually bankrupt argument to declare otherwise. Resistance is a legitimate right that must not be hampered relative to the violence of the aggressor or occupier.

Peters has waffled on civil war in Iraq, first denying it and then acquiescing to it. Now he describes Arabs as “revel[ing] in fratricidal slaughter.”

Inseparably entangled with the infighting is the presence of the occupiers and the US occupiers have signaled their intention to stay.11 It is clear that Peters is laying the groundwork for a splitting of Iraq as envisioned by arch Zionists and imperialists. While strife was breaking out in the Balkans, the US spoke of a preference for a coherent Yugoslavia, but neoliberal shock therapy and capitalist inroads into Yugoslavia helped precipitate the split up that the US finally recognized officially. In the sanctions-ravaged and war-tattered Iraq, US imperialist agent Paul Bremer dismantled the enviable social system and opened the country to exploitation by US corporations. It is, therefore, unsurprising that the splitting of Iraq despite tepid contrary pronouncements by the Bush administration is on the US agenda. Following Peters’ logic, it represents the inevitability of the cyclicality of history: witness US nation-splitting in Germany, Korea, Vietnam, and Yugoslavia. It is the continuation of divide-and-conquer.

Let us dispel another myth: there is no civil war in Iraq! A “civil war” is a war between competing factions or regions within a country. Even if one accepts that there is inter-confessional fighting in Iraq (and this must be regarded with utmost skepticism as there is plenty of evidence to suggest that much of the terrorism attributed to infighting is, in fact, the purposeful work of occupation forces to incite such infighting12). It ignores the long history that Sunnis, Shi’a, Turkmen, Kurds, and Christians have living together and inter-marrying.

The US and collaborating foreign forces are inciting violence by their very presence in Iraq. Prior to the invasion there was minimal or no internecine bloodletting in Iraq. Therefore, it is imperialist-serving propaganda to refer to a civil war in Iraq. The term “civil war” applied to Iraq exculpates the US and so-called coalition partners for the invasion and occupation which have killed over 655,000 Iraqi civilians. To be accurate and honest, it must be referred to as “occupation-incited” infighting — not civil war and not sectarianism.

Peters assumes that he has the expertise to redraw the Middle East. He assumes that the US has a right to carry out the redrawing. No interference will be tolerated in this US project: “We must … make it clear to Iran that meddling will not be tolerated.”13

With total disregard for the admixture of races, ethnicities, and cultures on Turtle Island, Peters ominously warns: “If the borders of the greater Middle East cannot be amended to reflect the natural ties of blood and faith, we may take it as an article of faith that a portion of the bloodshed in the region will continue to be our own.” If there is an iota of truth to Peters’ warning, then Turtle Islanders should be perennially spilling blood.

In fact, despite numerous societal inequalities and problems, Turtle Island stands as a stark refutation to Peters’ thesis that borders which enclose many cultures and ethnicities within a landmass lead to continuous blood spilling.

Peters takes it as an article of faith (not fact) that the US has a legitimate stake to involve itself in the affairs of the Middle East. In doing so, he sings the oft-repeated mantra of the Zionist-neoconservative cabal: “[O]ur men and women in uniform will continue to fight for security from terrorism, for the prospect of democracy and for access to oil supplies in a region that is destined to fight itself.”

Peters’ major error is not the redrawing of borders but in the drawing of borders. Borders separate people. They set up disparities. Peters admits that borders are “never completely just”; that they inflict a “degree of injustice”; that some borders “provoke the deaths of millions”; that our own diplomats worship “awful-but-sacrosanct international boundaries.” He also admits: “Correcting borders to reflect the will of the people may be impossible.” Why then does Peters insist that despite “inevitable attendant bloodshed … new and natural borders will emerge.” Peters is ostensibly of the impression that border formation is inherent to the human condition. It is not.

Blood Continent: Turtle Island

Peters looks overseas to draw his new borders. Why did he not look at the blood borders on Turtle Island? The “unnatural” states of Canada and the United States (as are the states elsewhere in the western hemisphere) were formed by bloody usurpation of the land of the Original Peoples. In Canada and the US, surviving Original Peoples have been deprived of their traditional lifestyles and culture by putting them on reserves.

Peters focused his imperialistic gaze on the oil-rich Middle East, but he would have gained credibility if he had dealt with the iniquities in his backyard and with other legitimate stakeholders come up with a fair redrawing of the blood borders formed by the great holocaust that European colonizers inflicted on the Original Peoples in the western hemisphere.

Statehood arises from blood spillage. Empire is the predictable direction of redrawing borders. Yet, Peters pushes a doctrine of imperialistic benevolence conforming to Zionist objectives that is rejected by, what he describes as, extremist elements in foreign societies. The lie of a civil war in Iraq serves encompassing imperialistic objectives.

Peters disclosed, in the summer of 1997, his support for a bloody Zionist-imperialist blueprint.

There will be no peace. At any given moment for the rest of our lifetimes, there will be multiple conflicts in mutating forms around the globe. Violent conflict will dominate the headlines, but cultural and economic struggles will be steadier and ultimately more decisive. The de facto role of the US armed forces will be to keep the world safe for our economy and open to our cultural assault. To those ends, we will do a fair amount of killing. 14

This violent zionist-imperialist mindset must be rejected and defeated. The militaristic dogma promulgated by publications the AFJ serves those dedicated to violent means to unjust ends. If borders must exist, they must be determined by the indigenous and legitimately established resident populations. Peters and his ilk can tend to problems in their own backyards.

  1. Quoted in the Associated Press, “French report: Former U.N. envoy Bolton says U.S. has ‘no strategic interest’ in united Iraq,” International Herald Tribune, 29 January 2007. []
  2. Ralph Peters, “Blood borders: How a better Middle East would look,” Armed Forces Journal, June 2006. [] []
  3. Ralph Peters, Wikipedia. His racist animus is revealed by comments such as “the Arab genius for screwing things up” and “Arab societies can’t support democracy.” []
  4. In Jordan from 2000-2002. []
  5. Rony Blum, Gregory H. Stanton, Shira Sagi and Elihu D. Richter, “‘Ethnic cleansing’ bleaches the atrocities of genocide,” The European Journal of Public Health Advance Access, 18 May 2007. []
  6. Britain betrayed a promise it made to its Arab allies against the Ottomans during World War I. Britain had pledged: “to recognize and uphold the independence of the Arabs in all the regions lying within the frontiers proposed by the Sharif of Mecca.” This promise was broken by the Sykes-Picot Agreement in May 1916, in which Britain and France divided up the Middle East between themselves. []
  7. B.J. Sabri, “The Zarqawi affair, part 16,” Online Journal, 21 November 2006. It was this article that triggered the basis for the present article. In the series, Sabri provides a compelling refutation of any notion that there was a Sunni-Shi’a powder keg ready to explode into internecine fighting. []
  8. Franklin Lamb, “Lebanon and the Planned US Airbase at Kleiaat,” Counterpunch, 30 May 2007. []
  9. Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, and Les Roberts, “Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional cluster sample survey,” Lancet, 364, October 2006: 1857-1864. []
  10. Last gasps in Iraq,” USA Today, 2 November 2006. []
  11. David Sanger, “With Korea as Model, Bush Team Ponders Long Support Role in Iraq,” New York Times, 3 June 2007. The continual denials about an enduring military presence in Iraq despite the permanent bases constructed there is belied. []
  12. B.J. Sabri, “The Zarqawi affair, part 7,” Online Journal, 20 September 2006 and part 8, 21 September 2006. []
  13. Ralph Peters, “Break Up Iraq Now!New York Post, 10 July 2003. In this article, Peters likens the Iraqis to animals: “Today, the Iraq we’re trying to herd back together consists of three distinct nations caged under a single, bloodstained flag.” []
  14. Ralph Peters, “Constant Conflict,” Parameters, Summer 1997, 4-14. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Binh said on June 5th, 2007 at 6:27am #

    Peters is also a columnist for the NY Post and has called for the murder of Moqtada al-Sadr in his column. His scheme for re-drawing the borders is frankly irrelevant because it would involve such political upheaval the U.S. would never try it, especially since they can’t even control the political outcome in one country (Iraq) much less the whole region.

  2. Lila Rajiva said on June 5th, 2007 at 10:15am #

    Kim -

    Excellent article. And your posts on the article about PEJ being shut down were great too.

    Thought you’d like this quote from Asia Times:

    “Ralph Peters, a former lieutenant-colonel responsible for “future warfare” at the Office of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and deputy chief of staff for intelligence before he retired, commented, “It’s really difficult to exactly delineate who our enemies are, but they number in millions. They’re Arab and Muslim … Our enemy is the majority of the people who live in what we think of as the large Arab nations, plus certain other groups. Our enemy is concentrated in Egypt, Libya, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Syria, plus the Palestinians are part of it.”

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FL17Ak01.html

  3. eamad mazouri said on June 5th, 2007 at 12:23pm #

    I would like to make a comment on the portion pertaining to Kurds.Mr. Peterson either you are not aware of the Kurdish or you chosing to ignor it.You mention that “The Kurds are not a homogeneous people, although they share many traits” . Are you taking into consideration Kurdish nationality, history, land, language, heritage, culture and most importantly kurds’ collective passion as Kurds nothing else?How amny more nations are out there that hare more than what Kurds are sharing in compare to their differences that are the byproduct of their forced division and as result of living under different countries for almost a century, not to mention the geography factor that contributedin the first place for this division or rather impeded the creation of a unified Kurdistan next to the main reason which was the constant struggle netween the two empires ;the Safavides representing Shiites and Ottomans in the name of the Sunnis whoprevent the unification of over 40 Kurdish principalities into one entity as it happened in Germany and Italy.kurds therefore remain the largest stateless nation in the world and they deserve to have a placeof their own on their ancestral land called home like any other nation.
    Nothing could be farther from the truth more than your next statement “In the entire history of the Middle East (except when Stalin carved the Kurdish state of Mahabad out of Iran, which lasted about eight months) Kurds never formed any political state in their existence. Should we talk about the Kurdish states back in history.The very first major empire was set up by Median who are kurdish ancestors. The Kassites(Kurdish ancestors) decended from their mountains on Babylone and ruled for almost 600 years. Don’t measure nations life span with that of individuals.Many converging circumstances have led to where Kurds are today and they could change.I would recommend you read some of the writings of Dr. Izzaddine Mehradady a harvard professor.You probably know about the Kurdish states and dynasties in the Middle- Ages Shaddadies in Aran, Marwanittes, Kurdistan, Hazar Aspides, Ayoubides.Until before 1850 badirkhan Beg of Botan was minting his own coins and signing treaties with European countries.However, that was the last Kurdish principality swallowed by the Ottoman Empire in the mid of 19th century.Don’t forget hundreds of Kurdish revoluitions that rejected the foreign rule, and whenever there was one it was natural to encompass other parts regardless of in which part it sprang.I guess there was a reason behind that. Nothing other than Kurds feeling as a nation oppressed and deprived inspite of the borders that divided them.I recommend you read a couple of unbiased books on Kurdish real history.Your other argument is false as well since you are building it on the above mentioned premise”Then, if the Kurds never formed a state, how could it be possible to form a state taken out of many other states without war?” They did form states and they ruled Middle East and the people of Middle East, please read a couple of books on Saladine and find out about his armies from Sinjar, Dyarbakir and the Kurdish prices who ruled as far as Sudam and Yemen.Kurds are a divided nation against its will, they have been denied their rights and victimized throught their modern history.This does not mean they you take away their rights to have a homeland and perpetuate their state of victimization.They deserve to have a homeland like any other nation.And the world is morally responsible for their current state, especially Great Britain and France.

  4. Lila Rajiva said on June 5th, 2007 at 3:34pm #

    An insightful analysis of where Peters is coming from on the Saudis:
    http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/comments/c437.htm

  5. Marc Cormier said on June 5th, 2007 at 4:43pm #

    From your article : “While “effective” is a subjective adjective, one example is the 1992 settlement of the maritime boundary dispute between Canada and France around the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon in the International Court of Arbitration.”

    Fact is, the arbitration was the nail in the coffin for the economy of St Pierre et Miquelon, and worst of all, it gave the islands a useless corridor supposedly to international waters, but that is fully enclosed in Canadian waters. As well, this zone covers no fishing zones of any interest.

    But alas, the worst offense was perpetrated by the Canadian Authorities who used ECHELON to spy on the French delegation, as revealed in the Canadian Citizen.

    Former CSE agent, Fred Stock, revealed in the Ottawa Citizen (May 22, 1999) that Canada had used the surveillance system known as ECHELON to spy on the French Government over the Saint-Pierre and Miquelon boundary dispute.

  6. Martin Zehr said on June 5th, 2007 at 6:36pm #

    To Kim Peterson:

    There is a gap that exists in the American “left” that comes out in the article by Kim Peterson. Today, Kurdistan IS Kurdistan. Many things have yet to unfold, but the Kurdish Autonomous Region is a fact. It is the legitimate government of the Kurdish peoples. It faces the threat of Turkish invasions while Kim Peterson makes no mention of the growth of Turkish Islamism and the attacks on southern Kurdistan by Turkish generals. What is so “left” wing about that? Kim P. talks about genocidal attacks on Palestinians, but makes no mention of Hamas’s fratricidal and suicidal attacks on the PLO , the PA and Fatah. What is so “left wing about that? Kim P. talks about Zionist accomplices but makes no mention of the reactionary uprising by Fatah Al-Islam’ s private army in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. What is so “left” wing about that? Kim Peters wants the Kurdish people to deny their identity as a nation and negate their international right to self-determination. What makes this so “left” wing? The position of Kim Peters is nothing but warmed over Syrian Baathism. What’s so “left” wing about that? It simply is intended to promote Syrian expansionism in the region, attack the Palestinian leadership, promote de-stablization of Lebanon for its own purposes and continue to deny Syrian Kurds any political rights in Syria or elsewhere in the region.

    Kim Peters is unable to document in the article above the mass struggle against the Islamists in Afghanistan in which RAWA is actively engaged. Kim Peters is unable to refer to the long history of Abu Mazen in the struggle of the Palestinian people because of the current attacks by Hamas. Kim Peters is unable to make reference to the thirty year struggle of the Kurds in Turkey led by the PKK, and following it by the Kongra-Gel because Syria no longer tries to manipulate it for its own purposes as it once did. Kim Peters is unable to grasp the political significance of the Peoples’ Mujahadeen or the Workers-Communist Party of Iran because it no longer suits Syrians interests. Kim Peters wants to throw around the “Zionist-imperialist” label while negating the Syrian-Iranian bloc from the regional picture. Kim Peters omits the mention of the KRG or PUK or KDP or PJAK in the hopes that the readers are so devoid of a knowledge of the history as Kim appears to be. This coalition with Baathists and Islamists is like going to bed with snakes. They will eventually bite. Like Baathist Becker of ANSWER, Kim Peters tries to divide the region into a bloc made up of Saudi Arabia/Jordan, but seems to have left Egypt out of this particular piece. Kim wants recognition of the Kurdish right to self-determination, so long as it does not entail nationhood. Sorry Kim but the Kurdish people are not at all inclined to follow your Rightist agenda.

    While we are on the subject of Kim Peters’s program and agenda, maybe I could get an answer in regards to the credentials that Kim might have regarding the political rights of Native Americans. Somehow people have gotten the idea that anyone who wants to can bring the Native Americans into foreign policy issues at the drop of a hat. What is “left” wing about that?

    Martin Zehr is an American political writer whose article on the Kirkuk
    Referendum has been printed by the Kurdish Regional Government,
    http://www.moera-krg.org/articles/detail.asp?smap=01030000&lngnr=12&anr=1212
    1&rnr=140 Another article was reprinted in its entirety by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) http://www.puk.org/web/htm/news/nws/news070514.html
    His articles are posted on Kurdish media sites such as Kurdish Aspect
    http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc041007MZ.html ,
    http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc041107MZ.html , and
    http://www.kurdishaspect.com/doc051307MZ.html Replies to other ezines are at: http://www.alternet.org/audits/50215/ and Op-EdNews Posts can be found at:
    http://gregg-jocoy.blogspot.com/2007/04/mato-ska-builds-libraries-at.html

  7. sk said on June 5th, 2007 at 7:34pm #

    I would never have guessed Kim was a “Syrian Bathist” ;)

  8. Kim Petersen said on June 5th, 2007 at 8:52pm #

    Gee sk, even I didn’t know I was a Syrian Baathist. ;-)

    Mr. Martin Zehr, I am not surprised that when you flip between two incorrect versions of my name that your statements would also be devoid of factual accuracy.

    Martin Zehr: “Kurdistan IS Kurdistan.”

    I don’t believe that I have disputed this.

    Martin Zehr: “Many things have yet to unfold, but the Kurdish Autonomous Region is a fact. It is the legitimate government of the Kurdish peoples.”

    And neither have I disputed or discussed this.

    Martin Zehr: “It faces the threat of Turkish invasions while Kim Peterson [sic] makes no mention of the growth of Turkish Islamism and the attacks on southern Kurdistan by Turkish generals. What is so ‘left’ wing about that?”

    I didn’t know that my article was focused on Kurdistan and threats to it.

    Martin Zehr: “Kim P. talks about genocidal attacks on Palestinians, but makes no mention of Hamas’s fratricidal and suicidal attacks on the PLO , the PA and Fatah. What is so ‘left wing about that?”

    Mr. Zehr, you might look at who is supporting Hamas — elected by the majority of Palestinian people — and who is supporting the PA and Fatah: the US and Israel. Why would a leftist side with Zionists and imperialists who are occupying Arab land, oppressing and killing Arab people? Go and read the Israeli media at Haaretz. It is no secret outside the US.

    Martin Zehr: “Kim P. talks about Zionist accomplices but makes no mention of the reactionary uprising by Fatah Al-Islam’ s private army in a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon. What is so ‘left’ wing about that?”

    And who armed Fatah Al-Islam and for what purpose? The US and Israel. Please go read at footnote 8.

    Martin Zehr: “Kim Peters [sic] wants the Kurdish people to deny their identity as a nation and negate their international right to self-determination.”

    Please indicate to me where I stated such a thing.

    I am an anarchist, and as such, I don’t support a state. Pierre Joseph Proudhon expressed it well: “Nations are related to each other as individuals are: they are commoners and workers; it is an abuse of language to call them proprietors. The right of use and abuse belongs no more to nations than to me; and the time will come when a war waged for the purpose of checking a nation in its abuse of the soil will be regarded as a holy war.”

    Given that your initial comments were so far off base Mr. Zehr, I will move on …

  9. Martin Zehr said on June 5th, 2007 at 9:17pm #

    Kim Petersen,

    With apologies to the disrespect of failing to include your proper name in the text of my reply.

    Politics in SW Asia is not about who supplies the weapons to whom. Everyone has their own motivation for supporting organizations and parties.

    The fact that you do not support the concept of a state is different from the one that you do not support the reality of a Kurdish state.
    Your statement: ” Of course, to the extent that self-determination is a legitimate and just right, then the Kurds should have this right as other peoples do.” It does not address the KRG already in existence of the role it now plays in behalf of the Kurdish people. This is not an abstract debate but lies rooted in daily activities on the ground.

    Regarding who is still supporting Hamas:
    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/15886
    http://www.angus-reid.com/polls/index.cfm/fuseaction/viewItem/itemID/15746

    Also remember that Arabs, Turks, Syrians and Persians are politically dominating Kurdish-occupied territory.

    The “left” has abandoned the Kurdish people and nation and invite their own isolation from revolutionary groups in that region. There is no internationalism or solidarity with theocratic warlords, Baathist neo-fascists, Turkish militarists, Afghani talibans or Iranian Islamists. Since when do anarchists promote political Islamism as a democratic or anti-imperialist revolution?

    I see no vaildation in your reply of your accusation regarding my factual inaccuracy.

  10. Kim Petersen said on June 5th, 2007 at 9:58pm #

    No need for apologies Mr. Zehr.

    As for the reality of a Kurdish state that is for the Kurds and people inhabiting that region of the world to decide. Self-determination is fine in abstract, but it has to be considered far more deeply. E.g., it needs to be considered whether one ethnic group seizing claim to a specific region rich in resources is legitimate or fair while another neighbor right next door will be left without.

    Of course all crimes against the Kurds, all deprivations of their rights are wrong. The Kurds should be able to decide in-group matters without interference of outsiders; e.g., language, culture, education, politics which respect other groups legitimately living in the region, etc. To the extent that the Kurds would collaborate with enemies of the Arabs (Israeli and the US regimes), while somewhat understandable, serves to further array their Arab neighbors against them.

    As for the Angus Reid poll, the Palestinians have a legitimate right to resist occupation and oppression. I wonder why you argue so passionately for Kurdish rights and seem to militate against the same rights for Palestinians.

    The other comments you make about fascists and Islamists have nothing to do with my article. Again, my article is not focused on the Kurds but rather the right imperialists have to draw borders of other nation states.

  11. Leyla said on June 5th, 2007 at 10:07pm #

    Martin Zehr, can you also list some unbiased links for the Kurdish situation?

  12. Martin Zehr said on June 6th, 2007 at 5:49am #

    The Palestinians have chosen a leadership that is leading them over the brink to political suicide. It is a theocratic organization that does not even promote Palestinian independence, it sees Palestine as an Islamic waqf. As such it promotes a program I will not support.

    Kurdish political leadership is showing much more coherence and presence in their movement forward. You continue to abstract what is a very real process. Example, imperialists have no right to draw borders, but the Kurdish Autonomous Region represents an historic opportunity to the Kurdish nation to establish a base region, develop a functioning government and move forward step-by-step to independence. Compare this project with the Palestinian status. Regarding the Arabs in the region- friends don’t gas friends.

    The Kurds are not an ethnic group, they are strictly speaking a nation- shared territoriality, common heritage and national identity. I am not prepared to present to the Kurdish people a better strategy than what they are already doing- seize the moment, take advantage of opportunities, consolidate victories to last in changing circumstances and expand as there is opportunity(that’s the part the Turks are worried about- ts).

    As to Leyla’s request, the Kurds are either invisible or they are presented as a plague. As they say ” Only the mountains are their friends.” kurdishaspect.com works for me. But it is very pro-Kurdish., oh, and I am a contributing writer.

  13. Leyla said on June 6th, 2007 at 11:54pm #

    Recently in Australia there was talk that they wanted to make learning English mandatory for Aborigines. The reason being that they were disadvantaged by not benefiting from society as a whole. In other words, to enter into university, colleges, trades, jobs you need to have English. It is also critical that migrants also learn English to benefit from the same. In other words, English needs to be our first language here and any other mother tongues need to be our second language. To me this is important and works well here. I would say that the same should be applied for any minority groups. They need to learn the official language of the country they live in as their first language and their mother tongue as their second language. This would apply to Native Indians in America, Assyrians in Iran, Turkmen’s in Iraq, Georgians in Turkey, etc, etc, etc. Unfortunately for Kurds, it also applies to them.

    Even if the Kurds are natives of the region, if they live in a country where the official language is something other than Kurdish, they are bound legally to learn that language. They do not have special privileges that allow them to not integrate. This had been a problem for Turkish Kurds for a very long period. Ever since they have integrated with the mainstream population things have become a lot better for them.

    How can they live under Turkish rule for a thousand years and still not know the language? They are stubborn in their belief that they are above all the other races. The Laz, Jews, Greeks and Armenians have learned Turkish. If they live in Turkey they must learn Turkish. If they live in Iraq or Syria, they must learn Arabic. If they live in Iran, they must learn Persian. Kurdish must be their second language. They have every right to speak their own language, but they must also know the language of the country they live in. Killing the teachers that are sent to their region to teach them the language, doesn’t make their cause very appealing to the rest of the population. Obviously they will not receive wide support from the general public.

    Whether they like it or not, they do not currently have their own country. There is no such country. Even though they are not an ethnic group they are also not a nation as you are stating in your response. There may be an unofficial Kurdistan in Iraq at the moment but remember, the USA is a dying superpower. They may not always be around to protect the Kurds. And when the time comes, the people living in the region may not forget what the Kurds did to get their country. They may turn into another Israel but without a big brother to protect them. They are playing a very dangerous game. Killing or driving out the Arabs and Turkmens from Kerkuk will not be forgotten. The fact that the USA is providing them with the arms won’t be forgotten either.

    Since the USA is very supportive of the Kurds getting their own homeland carved out from the countries in the region, why don’t they donate a number of their own states to the Native Indians? Surely that would be a great incentive for the countries in the Middle East to do the same for all the different minorities? In fact the Assyrians also deserve their own country.

    By the way Martin Zehr, you still have not been able to provide me with an unbiased internet site. Kurdishaspect.com does not work for me. All I see in that site is Turkey bashing. You obviously are not interested in anything that is unbiased on this topic. And you are obviously a contributing writer.

    There is something that you don’t seem to be aware of. What is written in this article may hold true for the Kurds in Syria, Iraq and Iran but they do not necessarily do so for the Kurds in Turkey. Despite what you say about Turkey being the most repressive, how many Kurdish Prime Ministers have there been in any of these countries other than Turkey? The majority of Kurds in Turkey would not be happy to leave their current homes and jobs to move to a new area – there has been so much integration and assimilation in Turkey that it would be very difficult. You will find that Turkish Kurds will not fit in well with the other Kurds. The people making the noise is not the majority of Kurds, it is a very noisy minority. When Kurdish classes were set up to teach one of the three Kurdish languages, not even a thousand people signed up. You have a very long job ahead of you.

  14. zana said on March 5th, 2008 at 12:42pm #

    Dear Leyla,
    On the Cherokee Nation english will NEVER be a mandatory language, I can assure you that. Maybe you should brush up on your Spanish before you head up to Disneyland.
    This lingo of ‘critical’ is all relative. Muslims learn -RECITE – Koran by learning Arabic, 4000 years older than your english. They do it because they want to, without imposition.
    Turkoman have nothing to do with ‘Turks’ or what you may have been named if you happen to identify yourself with a place called ‘Turkey’ when you were thoughtfully fooled by advisers to the Ottoman Empire with d”onme from Salonika. That was what helped form some of your justifed fear of foreign strategy and domination.
    The greatest film maker was a Kurd from Turkey- Yilmaz Guney. Your greatest singer is Ibo- a Kurd. The greatest writter, a Kurd. The greatest female reformer, Leyla Zana. You and I know how much oppression has gone on in Malatya to produce T. Ozel. The Kurds think he was murdered anyway.
    When people are terrorized they tend to be rather quiet about speaking a language or wearing colors that could cost them their freedom and even life. This week some fear has been lifted as the world watched.
    Language is a weapon so learn as many as you can. Peace