It was a baker in Baghdad who asked me this very obvious question. He said, “Why are you”—“you” meaning Western military—“Why are you in Kazakhstan and Tajikistan, French air base at Dushanbe running close as support for the British in Helmand province in Afghanistan? Why are your people going into Pakistan? Why are you in Afghanistan and Iraq? Why are you in Turkey? Why are you in Jordan and Egypt and Algeria? US Special Forces have a base outside Tamanrasset in the southern Sahara. Why are you in Bahrain? Why are you in Oman? Why are you in Yemen? Why are you in Qatar? Biggest US air base.” I didn’t have a reply.
The only future in the Middle East is to withdraw all our military forces and have serious political, social, religious, cultural relations with these people. It’s not our land.