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In this swirl of regional wars, it’s often not clear where the U. government stands and how American interests are affected.

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Prominent neocons, such as John Bolton and Joshua Muravchik, have gone to the pages of the New York Times and Washington Post to openly advocate U. So if Israel, Saudi Arabia and the neocons succeed in ousting Assad, the likely result would be the black flags of Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State flying over Damascus.

That would likely mean major atrocities, including executions of Christians and other religious minorities, as well as terrorist plots mounted against Europe and the United States. intervention might very well mean the end of the United States as a viable democratic society to the extent that one exists today.

The dispute led to the Battle of Karbala where Hussein ibn Ali was captured and beheaded in 680, an event that gave rise to Shiite Islam as a rival to Sunni Islam, which today has both moderate and extremist forms with Saudi Arabia sponsoring the ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabism.

The extremist Wahhabism has inspired some of the most radical Sunni movements, including Al-Qaeda and now the Islamic State, along with their practice of suicide attacks as a form of martyrdom that has become a staple of these groups’ anti-Western jihad.

As for Iraq, Iran’s allies were installed not by Iran but by President George W. Cheering the Propaganda Netanyahu’s oration was just another example of his skillful (but dishonest) propaganda and the groveling behavior of the U. Congress when in the presence of an Israeli leader.

Among the many facts that Netanyahu left out was Israel’s historically close ties to Iran even during the reign of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in the 1980s when the Israelis served as a key Iranian arms supplier after the Saudi-backed Iraqi invasion of Iran.To the applause of Congress, he claimed “Iran now dominates four Arab capitals, Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut and Sanaa. And, in Yemen, a long-festering sectarian conflict has led to the capture of Sanaa by Houthi rebels who deny that they are supported by Iran (although Iran may have provided some limited help).And if Iran’s aggression is left unchecked, more will surely follow.” His choice of capitals was peculiar because Iran took none of those capitals by force and, indeed, was simply supporting the embattled government of Syria and was allied with elements of the government of Lebanon. Amid the wild and inchoate cheering by Republicans and many Democrats, Netanyahu continued: “We must all stand together to stop Iran’s march of conquest, subjugation and terror.” But, in reality, there has been no “march of conquest.” There have been no images of Iranian armies on the march or a single case of Iranian forces crossing a border against the will of a government.Bush shielded the Saudis from blame and ordered the invasion of Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, a secular Sunni dictator who was a fierce opponent of Al-Qaeda and other religious fanatics.Ironically, that war put Shiites in power in Baghdad, turned Iraq’s Sunnis into a persecuted minority, and created fertile ground for a particularly virulent strain of Al-Qaeda to take root under the leadership of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.An Al-Qaeda or Islamic State conquest of Damascus would likely force any U. president to invade Syria at enormous costs in blood and treasure, albeit with little hope of achieving any long-term success. A full-scale transformation into a militaristic state would be required to sustain this open-ended conflict, channeling national wealth into endless warfare and requiring the repression of anti-war sentiments at home.

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