The Soviet promotion of anti-Semitism and the setting up authoritarian states — dictatorships like Assad’s, Qaddafi’s, and Hussein’s — helped produce Soviet partners in the region. The self-dissolve of the Soviet in December 1991 left the dictators happily empowered to indulge in state plunder and sadism without restraint. Iraq wasn’t about oil: it was about its system, its military, its power, and its crimes (e.g., gassing the Kurds; the destruction of the Marsh Arab habitat; the theft of funds from the World Food Program; etc., and I guess there was the invasion of Kuwait and the murky world of yellow cake and chemical and nuclear WMD materials and supplies), so out with the pack, one by one, with the way paved by players like Chalabi . . . but what lay beneath the dictator’s veneer of order (and the public’s own ignorance of multiple business, political, and religious histories — except for disinformation obsessed with Israel) wasn’t widely known — and here we are, and that with a new medieval Russia at the helm opposite the west.