Episode 6
The Islamic war

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Previously in "Saecula:” An elite Republican cabal conspires to fix the 
2008 presidential election, but its plans to embezzle money from the RNC 
are uncovered and lead to murder.  Democratic congressman Jack Stibik
and his mentor, Professor Gar Reynolds, reunite. Martys, Jack's twin brother
and Delta Force eveteran, visits Annapolis.

Fifty-seven nations are considered primarily Muslim: from Mauritania and Morocco on the northwest coast of Africa to Somalia and Egypt on the Red Sea, up through Bosnia and Turkey in the belly of Europe, across the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, into the “Stans” and newly independent Chechnya in the southern Urals, and on to Malaysia and Indonesia in southeast Asia. One point one billion people, who after Christians, form the largest religious denomination in the world. Their soul was forged in the Tigress and Euphrates valleys, the cradle of western civilization, by Egyptians, Babylonians, Phoenicians, Persians. And, they were awakening to their collective culture, faith, pan-nationalism and, most troubling for America and the West, their economic and military power.

The war on state-sponsored terrorism and defense of the homeland was declared by George W. Bush on September 12th, 2001. The administration ensured that it had become inseparable in Americans’ minds from 
its misdirected response to the 9/11 attacks in what was essentially a unilateral invasion of Iraq to destroy Saddam’s nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. Faced with unexpected and fierce urban resistance and a mounting U.S. death toll, the administration compounded its mistakes by relinquishing autonomy of Iraq prematurely in order to claim progress by the 2006 congressional elections. Within months, the newly elected Shiite government under Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr nuzzled up to the ayatollahs in neighboring Iran and flung open Iraq’s borders to every conceivable Islamic nationalist organization in the world. This included providing refuge for the Hamas leadership from Mossad retaliation for killing former Israeli Prime Minister 
Ariel Sharon, shortly after Sharon resigned under a cloud of corruption. The U.S. saw no alternative but to reassert control, essentially overthrowing the legitimately elected government and exacerbating anti-American sentiments among Muslim nationalists around the world.

It sparked the cataclysmic Islamic War, the quintessential quagmire that kept getting deeper by the day. 
Islamic reaction to America’s blatant imperialism cloaked as self defense and nation building, was to pressure 
the United States’ Muslim allies to shed American influence, or have their secular governments overthrown 
by radical fundamentalists. When the House of Saud was nearly toppled in a radical Shiite coup, it called for American assistance to stabilize the situation. The U.S. and Great Britain sent troops to reinforce the Royal 
Saudi military and to protect the West’s oil lifeline, the Rub al-Khali, or the Empty Quarter, in the country’s eastern province.

Then, at the very moment the Pentagon declared the situation in Saudi Arabia stabilized, the newly constituted Republic of Jordan’s army in coordination with longtime American foes, Syria and Iran, invaded Iraq along its western and northeastern borders. It was the Chinese crossing the Yalu River all over again, driving the unprepared and undermanned American forces into the country’s southern provinces. The overthrow of 
Jordan’s King Abdullah, who had refused to “realign” his kingdom, and the subsequent acquiescence by the military’s general staff with the radical reformers, had taken the CIA by complete surprise. One more black 
mark was added to its predictions’ record, had there been any room left on that particular page.

With Sadr reinstalled as president of Iraq, his first act was to break with the Organization of Petroleum 
Exporting Countries and flood China and other third world economies with cheap oil while cutting off the U.S. 
The policies of the Saudi dominated eleven-member OPEC had evolved through decades of private deals 
between the House of Saud and European and American oil conglomerates -- all with government collusion,
of course -- to set world oil prices between $30 and $35 a barrel. This practice ensured a stable market, 
allowing western economies to thrive, while still providing income sufficient to keep the sheiks in their palaces. Already, Sadr had recruited Algeria, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Malaysia and several smaller, emerging Central 
African and South Asian producers to align themselves with his new Alliance of Petroleum Exporting Nations. 
Sadr intended to establish greater economic parity between the exporting and importing countries and to 
smash the dominance of the OPEC cartel in order to grab America by its oil- dependent balls.

As for the rest of the Arabian Peninsula, the sheikdoms of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates declared neutrality rather than suffer revolution. They expelled all American corporate contractors and military 
personnel and aligned themselves with the new APEN. Of course, the ruling families excluded their personal 
black market operations and continued to retain profits from oil sales to the West. Only Qatar, with the headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, the new home port of the 5th fleet and its 15,000- foot runway, longest in the region, was left on the Persian Gulf between American troops fighting in Kuwait and southern 
Iraq and still friendly Oman on the Arabian Sea.

When Iraq and APEN turned off the spigot, the American economy tanked.
With the price of gas nearing $8 a gallon, the airline, trucking and tourist industries collapsed. Factories run 
on petroleum-driven electricity laid off nearly two million workers. The “upside” in Pentagonese was the “acceleration of economy-driven recruitment” resulting in thousands of young men and women, jobless as 
a result of the war, now fighting in it. Five hundred and fifty thousand American troops were now committed 
in the Middle East and across South Asia.

Meanwhile, the numerous offshoots of al-Qaida that had survived Osama bin Laden when he was killed in
the 2005 Pakistan earthquakes, increased their missions against American embassies and global corporate facilities. Bechtel, Halliburton, Exxon-Mobil, Hewlett-Packard, Cargill and other American multinational corporations’ executives and their families living abroad had become standard fare for kidnappings, home invasions, roadside ambushes and sniper shootings. American troops, limited almost exclusively to urban 
enclaves, were constant targets of snipers and hit and run mortar and rocket barrages.

On the domestic front, no further attacks had succeeded since 9/11, but two major threats had been thwarted. Cesium powder and other components for a dirty bomb -- officially, a radiological dispersion device -- were discovered in steamer trunks on a cruise ship docked in the Port of New Orleans. Had it been activated,
it could have killed hundreds from the initial blast and thousands more who ingested or inhaled the 
contaminated residue. The Big Easy, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina the previous year, would have become the Big Queasy, uninhabitable for 20 years. Later the same month, an underground Islamic cell
operating out of Dearborn, Michigan was rounded up during a routine investigation. They were found to 
be in possession of enough heavy weapons and explosives to launch a minor insurrection.

The civilian neo-conservatives in the Pentagon who had midwifed the original Iraqi War had long ago 
forgotten about winning Arab hearts and minds and democratizing Iraq. They were now desperately 
trying to hang on to the last Middle Eastern oil fields still in American hands -- in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait 
and the recently-created Republic of Kurdistan, formerly part of northern Iraq and eastern Turkey. 
It had truly become the showdown between virtue and evil that the President had proclaimed in 2002. 
It just didn’t work out quite the way he called it.


As ranking member of the Democratic minority on the House International Relations Committee, 
Jack Stibik was one of the four co-chairs of the hearings. Joining him were Winnie Scott, ranking Democrat 
on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Their Republican counterparts were committee chairs Senator 
Russ Hollingsworth and Representative Leon Franks. As Congress’ primary watchdogs on foreign affairs,
the two committees were intimately engaged in the administration’s conduct of the Islamic War, the subject 
of the current proceedings.

Each of the four principals could call on one outside expert of their choosing as closing witnesses. Jack was 
relieved when he heard from Gar Reynolds, committing to testify. He intended to call him during next week’s wrap-up session. Jack had begun setting the stage by focusing his questions of current witnesses on the 
historical relations between the West and the Middle East.

The hearings, now in their third week of public testimony, had been forced on the administration by public sentiment. They were the first comprehensive review of the Middle Eastern policy the President and his congressional allies had permitted since the 9/11 investigation in 2004. That report had exposed the administration, as well as the Clinton administration before it, and the intelligence community for being
asleep at the switch prior to the attacks on New York and Washington. Unfortunately, it failed to go further 
to chastise the government for diverting resources and attention from the pursuit of al-Qaida to invading 
Iraq, which in turn precipitated the current crisis.

The hearings had attracted a huge television audience right from the start. But, today marked the beginning 
of testimony by the big hitters, and viewership would be off the charts. Just as the 9/11 hearings took place 
during an national election cycle, with a year to go before the presidential elections, these hearings were also accompanied by the same accusations of politics, partisanship and grandstanding. So be it, thought Stibik. 
We’ve been bullied, lied to and manipulated for six years. If the only way to stop this fucking war is to 
grandstand before 50 million viewers to expose the administration’s deceit and stupidity, than that’s 
just what he and Winnie intended to do.

Although the GOP had recaptured the White House in the 2004 elections by a hair, and controlled Congress 
by a small margin, it ran the chambers -- and the country -- as if it had garnered huge mandates. 
The President’s record of working with Democrats in the Texas Legislature and his “compassionate 
conservative” platform had fooled Jack along with most other congressional Democrats after 2000. 
Jack was just idealistic enough to believe, given the President’s track record and the closeness of the election, 
that he truly intended to govern in a genuine spirit of cooperation for the benefit of the whole country.

It became apparent pretty quickly that neither the Chief Executive nor his henchmen in Congress, such as 
House majority leader Antonin DuPrey, were in any mood to cooperate with the Democrats. They immediately began to govern by fiat: providing enormous tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, consistently choosing corporate profits over environmental protection, and opting out of numerous international agreements, from banning land mines to addressing global warming. Within a year of their unilateral declaration of war on Iraq,
they had lost most Democratic bipartisan support, and, except for Britain, hardened the opposition of the country’s NATO allies.

With American troops fully engaged abroad, and the homeland under near constant alert, the public was tiring 
of war and demanding politicians find a way to end the growing conflict. Even diehard Republicans were 
beginning to question administration policies. Americans had finally begun to realize the reason that they 
were the target of Islamic radicals was not, as administration officials and right-wing commentators had been feeding them since 9/11, because a small faction of radical Muslims hated them for their affluence and 
democracy. In reality, America was the new colonial power imposing its culture, economy and politics 
throughout the Middle East and Islamic world. A minority of independent voters, large enough to be 
dangerously effective in the upcoming presidential campaign, had lately come to realize what liberals 
had been harping on for years: that America had become “Them.” The Redcoats of the 21st century.

Next in "Saecula:” Democratic Senator Winnie Scott scuttle administration strategy
with a blockbuster disclosure.

by  Martin Gresko

Interested in publishing this manuscript?
Or to make comments, CONTACT Martin Gresko at VGABONSUN@hotmail.com
See his biweekly political column http://www.StPetePost.com

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