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Until that September 11, 2001, the two men most responsible for popularizing
the idea of a clash of civilizations, Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington,
were regarded as curiosities by mainstream national security and foreign policy
experts. Their Ivy League credentials and access to prestigious publications
such as Foreign Affairs, and the edgy radicalism of their theories, guaranteed
that they would generate controversy, and they did. But few took their ideas
seriously, except for a scattered array of neoconservatives, who, in the 1990s,
resided on the fringe themselves. The Lewis-Huntington thesis was hit by a
withering salvo of counterattacks from many journalists, academics, and foreign
Samuel Huntington, whose controversial book The Clash of Civilizations
amounted to a neoconservative declaration of war, wrote that the enemy was not
Islamic right, but the religion of the Koran itself:
The underlying problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is
Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority
their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power. The problem
for Islam is not the CIA or the U.S. Department of Defense. It is the West, a
different civilization whose people are convinced of the universality of
their culture and believe that their superior, if declining power imposes on
the obligation to extend that culture throughout the world.
What followed from Huntington's manifesto, of course, was that the
Judeo-Christian world and the Muslim world were locked in a state of permanent
war. The terrorists--such as Al Qaeda, which was still taking shape when
Huntington's book came out--were not just a gang of fanatics with a political
agenda, but the manifestation of a civilizational conflict. Like a modern
Delphi, Huntington suggested that the gods had foreordained the collision,
and mere humans could not stop it.
Huntington acknowledged--without mentioning the role of the United
States--that Islam had been a potent force against the left during the Cold
War. "At one
time or another during the Cold War many governments, including those of
Algeria, Turkey, Jordan, Egypt and Israel, encouraged and supported Islamists
counter to communist or hostile nationalist movements," he wrote. "At least
until the Gulf War, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states provided massive funding
to the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist groups in a variety of countries."
But he had a neat explanation of how the alliance between the West and the
Islamists unraveled. "The collapse of communism removed a common enemy of the
and Islam and left each the perceived major threat to the other," he wrote.
"In the 1990s many saw a `civilizational cold war' again developing between
Islam and the West." Huntington, who is not an expert on Islam, observed a
"connection between Islam and militarism," and he asserted: "Islam has from
start been a religion of the sword and it glorifies military virtues." Just to
make sure that no one could miss his point, he quoted an unnamed U.S. army
officer who said, "The southern tier"--i.e., the border between Europe and the
Middle East--"is rapidly becoming NATO's new front line."
Huntington quotes his guru on matters Islamic, Bernard Lewis, in order to
prove that Islam presents an existential threat to the very survival of the
`For almost a thousand years,' Bernard Lewis observes, `from the first
Moorish landing in Spain to the second Turkish siege of Vienna, Europe was
constant threat from Islam.' Islam is the only civilization which has put the
survival of the West in doubt, and it has done that at least twice.
How exactly the weak, impoverished, and fragmented countries of the Middle
East and south Asia could "put the survival of the West in doubt" was not
explained. But it was a thesis that Bernard Lewis had been refining since the
Lewis, a former British intelligence officer and long-time supporter of the
Israeli right, has been a propagandist and apologist for imperialism and
Israeli expansionism for more than half a century. He first used the term clash
civilizations in 1956, in an article that appeared in the Middle East Journal,
in which he endeavored to explain "the present anti-Western mood of the Arab
states." Lewis asserted then that Arab anger was not the result of the
"Palestine problem," nor was it related to the "struggle against imperialism."
Instead, he argued, it was "something deeper and vaster":
What we are seeing in our time is not less than a clash between civilizations
-- more specifically, a revolt of the world of Islam against the shattering
impact of Western civilization which, since the 18th century, has dislocated
and disrupted the old order. ... The resulting anger and frustration are often
generalized against Western civilization as a whole.
It was a theme he would return to again and again. By blaming anti-Western
feeling in the Arab world on vast historical forces, Lewis absolved the West of
its neo-colonial post-World War II oil grab, its support for the creation of a
Zionist state on Arab territory, and its ruthless backing of corrupt
monarchies in Egypt, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf. In his
1964 book, The Middle East and the West, he repeated his nostrum: "We [must]
view the present discontents of the Middle East not as a conflict between
or nations, but as a clash of civilizations." Lewis explicitly made the
point that the United States must not seek to curry favor with the Arabs by
pressuring Israel to make peace. "Some speak wistfully of how easy it would all
if only Arab wishes could be met--this being usually interpreted to mean those
wishes that can be satisfied at the expense of other parties," i.e., Israel.
Instead, he demanded, the United States should simply abandon the Arabs. "The
West should ostentatiously disengage from Arab politics, and in particular,
from inter-Arab politics," wrote Lewis. "It should seek to manufacture no
further Arab allies." Why seek alliance with nations whose very culture and
religion make them unalterably opposed to Western civilization?
Over several decades, Lewis played a critical role as professor, mentor and
guru to two generations of Orientalists, academics, U.S. and British
intelligence specialists, think tank denizens, and assorted neoconservatives,
earning the scorn of countless other academic specialists on Islam who
Lewis hopelessly biased in favor of a Zionist, anti-Muslim point of view.
A British Jew born in 1916, Lewis spent five years during World War II as a
Middle East operative for British intelligence, and then settled at the
University of London. In 1974 he migrated from London to Princeton, where he
developed ties to people who would later lead the fledgling neoconservative
"Lewis became [Senator Henry] Jackson's guru, more or less," said Richard
Perle, a former top Pentagon official who, as chairman of the Pentagon's
Policy Board, was the most prominent advocate for war with Iraq in 2003, and
who is a long-time acolyte of Lewis's.
Lewis also became a regular visitor to the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv
University, where he developed close links to Ariel Sharon.
By the 1980s, Lewis was hobnobbing with top Department of Defense officials.
According to Pat Lang, the former DIA official, Bernard Lewis was frequently
called down from Princeton to provide tutorials to Andrew Marshall, director of
the Office of Net Assessments, an in-house Pentagon think tank. Another of
Lewis' students was Harold Rhode, a polyglot Middle East expert who went to
work in the Pentagon and stayed for more than two decades, serving as
Over the past twenty years, Lewis has served as the in-house consultant on
Islam and the Middle East to a host of neoconservatives, including Perle,
and Michael Ledeen. Asked who he drew on for expertise during his tenure as
CIA director, James Woolsey says, "We had people come in and give seminars. I
remember talking to Bernard Lewis."
Although Lewis maintained a veneer of academic objectivity, and though many
scholars acknowledged Lewis' credentials as a primary-source historian on the
history of the Ottoman empire, Lewis abandoned all pretense of academic
detachment in the 1990s.
In 1998, he officially joined the neocon camp, signing a letter demanding
regime change in Iraq from the ad hoc Committee for Peace and Security in the
Gulf, co-signed by Perle, Martin Peretz of The New Republic, and future Bush
administration officials, including Paul Wolfowitz, David Wurmser, and Dov
Zakheim. He continued to work closely with neoconservative think tanks, and in
period after September 11, 2001, Lewis was ubiquitous, propagating his view
Islam was unalterably opposed to the West.
Two weeks after 9/11, Perle invited Lewis and Ahmed Chalabi to speak before
the influential Defense Policy Board, inaugurating a two-year effort by
neoconservatives to prove a nonexistent link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam
Hussein. Chalabi, a friend of Perle's and Lewis's since the 1980s, led an exile
Iraqi opposition group, the Iraqi National Congress, and Chalabi was
for feeding reams of misleading information to U.S. intelligence officers that
helped the Bush administration exaggerate the extent of the threat posed to
the United States by Iraq.
Less than a month after Lewis and Chalabi's appearance, the Pentagon created
a secret, rump intelligence unit led by Wurmser, which later evolved into the
Office of Special Plans (OSP). It was organized by Rhode and Douglas Feith,
the undersecretary of defense for policy. "Rhode is kind of the Mikhail Suslov
of the neocon movement," says Lang, referring to the late chief ideologue for
the former Soviet Communist party. "He's the theoretician." It was Rhode and
Feith's OSP, under neocon Abram Shulsky, which manufactured false intelligence
that blamed Iraq for ties to Al Qaeda.
And it was the OSP which created talking-points papers for Vice President
Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and other top Bush administration
officials claiming that Iraq had extensive stockpiles of chemical and
biological weapons, long-range missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, and a
nuclear program. Chalabi's falsified intelligence fed directly into the OSP,
from whence it ended up in speeches by Cheney, Rumsfeld, and other top Bush
On the eve of the Iraq war, Lewis, who was close to Cheney, had a private
dinner with the vice president to discuss plans for the war in Iraq, and, in
2003, Lewis dedicated his book "The Crisis of Islam" "To Harold Rhode."
[Israeli spy] Franklin was close to _Harold Rhode, a long-time Middle East
specialist_ (http://www.disinfopedia.org/wiki.phtml?title=Harold_Rhode) in the
Defense Department who has cultivated far right pro-Likud cronies for many
years, more or less establishing a cell within the Department of Defense.
_UPI via Dawn reports_ (http://www.dawn.com/2004/08/29/top16.htm) ,
' An UPI report said another under-investigation official Mr Rhode
"practically lived out of (Ahmad) Chalabi's office". Intelligence sources said
operatives observed Mr Rhode as being constantly on his cell phone to Israel,
discussing US plans, military deployments, and Iraq's assets. '
"DIVIDE AND CONQUER"
The stimulation of ethnic unrest is (unfortunately) not a new idea.
Specifically in case of Iran, the current US plans seem to resemble a much
agenda, which is known as the _“Bernard Lewis Project”_
(http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/NoveDec05/AZPartVI.html) ** . Bernard Lewis is
one of the most
influential scholars in the study of Islam and Middle East, whose views and
has been widely represented in public and political domain(1). From a
perspective, his views on Islam and Middle East, and their relation with the
West can be considered as extremely orientalistic.
The Bernard Lewis Project was first presented in 1979. The core proposal of
this project is to divide countries in the Middle East along ethnic and
regional lines into smaller, rival states in order to weaken the power of
governments. According to Lewis the West should provoke rebellion for national
autonomy by certain minority groups that will, eventually, lead to the
fragmentation of powerful states. In case of Iran, he formally proposed to
Arabs of Khuzestan (the Al-Ahvaz Project), the Azeri’s (the Greater Azerbaijan
Project), the Kurds (the Greater Kurdistan Project) and the Baluchi’s (the
Now more than 25 years later, Iran is still too big for the region. This is
especially problematic, as the country is perceived as a hostile state by the
US. Undoubtably, Iran is a true (potential) threat to the US interests in the
Middle East. Given the neoconservative agenda of the current US administration,
it is not surprising that parts of Lewis’s proposition have been reconsidered
in the context of recent developments, and already initiated in practice.
Moreover, the current situation in neighboring Iraq, where the country
balances on the edge of a civil war, can facilitate further ethnic tensions in
especially when an independent, self-governing Kurdistan emerges in Iraq.
However, America’s first objective would be to target the oil producing
region, as its separation will automatically paralyze the entire country,
including the central government.
Apparently, the US aggressive policy towards Iran seems to be a component of
the much broader _“Project for the New American Century”_
(http://www.newamericancentury.org/) , an old agenda that has also been revived
by the neocons to
ensure the American dominance as the world’s only superpower in the region.
(1) Dick Cheney remarked “I had the pleasure of first meeting Bernard [Lewis]
more than 15 years ago, during my time as Secretary of Defense. It was not
long after the dictator of Iraq had invaded Kuwait, and we brought in a large
number of outside experts to speak about the history and the way forward in the
Middle East. As you might imagine, I got a wide range of advice -- some of it
very good and some of it terrible. No one offered sounder analysis or better
insight than Bernard Lewis. He was an absolute standout, and I decided that day
that this was a man I wanted to keep in touch with, and whose work I should
follow carefully in the years ahead..... In this new century, his wisdom is
sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics, and the news media.”
(1 may 2006).
(http://www.rozanehmagazine.com/NoveDec05/AZPartVI.html) [whole page worth
**Professor Lewis first unveiled his project in the Bilderberg Meeting in
Baden, Austria, on April 27-29, 1979. He formally proposed the fragmentation
balkanization of Iran along regional, ethnic and linguistic lines especially
among the Arabs of Khuzestan (the Al-Ahwaz project), the Baluchis (the
Pakhtunistan project), the Kurds (the Greater Kurdistan project) and the
(the Greater Azerbaijan Project).
Dreyfus and LeMarc (see References, p. 157) provide a very succinct summary
of the plan’s methodology:
“According to Lewis, the British should encourage rebellions for national
autonomy by the minorities such as the Lebanese Druze, Baluchis, Azerbaiajni
Turks, Syrian Alawites, the Copts of Ethiopia, Sudanese mystical sects, Arabian
tribes … The goal is the break-up of the Middle East into a mosaic of competing
mini-states and the weakening of the sovereignty of existing republics and
kingdoms… spark a series of breakaway movements by Iran’s Kurds, Azeris,
baluchis, and Arabs …these independence movements, in turn would represent dire
threats to Turkey, Iraq, Pakistan and other neighbouring states.”
The report is almost too incredible to believe: this is indeed the dark side
of Professor Lewis’ distinguished academic career. For the students of
geopolitical and Petroleum Diplomacy however, there is nothing new regarding
chop-up Iran” agenda (item 10).
Robert Olson (see References, esp. p.108-158) has provided a surprisingly
candid and sober assessment of the Greater Azerbaijan Project. He has provided
detailed assessment of how the intelligence and military agencies of Turkey,
USA and Israel have set up bases and networks in Northern Iraq, Eastern Turkey
and the Republic of Azerbaijan (esp. Nakhchivan) to broadcast anti-Iran hate
propaganda into Iranian Azerbaijan. There is in fact a foreign-funded anti-Iran
separatist radio station known as the Voice of Southern Azerbaijan (VOSA).
The relationship between VOSA and the Rashet Bet radio station (see photo
below) of Israel was first reported by independent reporter Nick Grace. The
report is available on the Clandestine Radio Intel Website (see Web
Excerpts from his report are as follows:
“…According to monitor Nikolai Pashkevich in Russia, "when I tuned in my
receiver to this channel I found an open carrier with 'Reshet Bet... on the
background and then VOSA signing on" (CDX 180). Rashet Bet is, of course, a
service of Israel Radio. The German Telecommunications department has also
pinpointed VOSA's location to be somewhere around Israel, Jordan and Saudi
(BCDX 351.)…VOSA is clearly supervised and arranged by Israel's intelligence
agency: the Mossad…”.
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