Recolonisation of Iraq : Lessons and Challenges

Recolonisation of Iraq : Lessons and Challenges

Acknowledgements We are grateful to all the following writers, publications and websites, from which we have liberally used factual and visual materials: 1. Behind the Invasion of Iraq, RUPE, Mumbai /// 2. The Times of India, 2-10-2002 3. Frontline, April 11 and April 25, 2003 /// 4. Geov Parrish, War Glossary: Doublespeak Edition 5. John Pilger, A Crime Against Humanity /// 6. Robert Fisk’s reports 7. Green Left Weekly /// 8. Arundhati Roy, The Ordinary Person’s Guide to Empire, Frontline, April 12-25,2003 9. Outlook, April 7 2003 /// 10. Michel Chossudovsky 11. Noam Chomsky /// 12. Rediff Special: Josy Joseph in New Delhi, April 21, 2003 13. Znet, Counterpunch, internationalanswer.org; outragedcomics.com; /// 14. John Boer, Profiting from War 15. Sagari Chhabra for the poem Iraq War, published in Mainstream, April 12,...

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Recolonisation of Iraq : Lessons and Challenges

Wars are nothing but continuation of politics by other means. This old piece of wisdom is true for all wars. But seldom has the political content of a war been as transparent as in the case of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The nauseating Anglo-American excuses – that Iraq under Saddam Hussein posed a security threat to America, that Iraq therefore had to be disarmed thoroughly and immediately and that the only way to achieve this goal of Iraqi diasrmament was to oust the evil regime of Saddam Hussein – could cut no ice with the world opinion. For once the overwhelming majority of UN members, including permanent and temporary members of the Security Council, refused to succumb to the Anglo-American insistence on invasion of Iraq. Wary of a UN rejection, the war mongers shelved every notion of international law to launch one of the most unequal and unjust wars in world history. Sure enough, they codenamed it “Operation Iraqi Freedom”, once again trying to sell hi-tech mass slaughter as a dole of freedom for a people ravaged by relentless strafing and sustained economic embargo. But the world had already decoded it as “Mission Iraqi Recolonisation”. The slogan “No blood for oil” had already been deeply embedded in popular consciousness across the...

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Bush’s War Stinks of Hitler’s Politics

It is human nature to look for historical parallels and references. Indeed, a parallel was readily available – Junior Bush’s war could have easily been described as a sequel to ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ (the post 9/11 global war on terror) or ‘Operation Desert Storm’ (the codename for Gulf War I, when the US was merely talking of ‘liberating’ Kuwait and not Iraq as yet). But around the world, people immediately remembered a much more sinister parallel. Bush’s declaration of war on Iraq reminded people of Hitler’s proclamation of war on Poland on 1 September 1939. The ‘shock and awe’ strategy sounded so ominously close to the Nazi blitzkrieg. Fascism or Nazism is the term that is increasingly being used to describe Bush’s militarist mission to create a unipolar world where the words of an American President would be the ultimate global law. It has become impossible to treat Iraq as an isolated instance, everywhere people are looking at it as just a test case, as a trial run. As the CNN and BBC discuss the possible theatre of the next war, the world wars are back in public discussion. Indeed, Mr. James Woolsey, a former director of the CIA has described the present war as World War IV – he treats the cold war as the third world war – and has warned that “this fourth world war, I...

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From ‘Iraq Liberation Act’ to ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’

Bush’s Iraq war has indeed been in the making for quite some time. For the last several years, the idea of invasion of Iraq was being constantly discussed and debated in American ruling circles. In 1998, the American Congress had even passed an Iraq Liberation Act. There is a clear line of continuity between Clinton’s statement while signing the ILA and Bush’s final proclamation of war. Here is what Clinton said on October 31, 1998: “The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region. … The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.”(emphasis added). Of course, he did not forget to add, with characteristic superpower arrogance, that “Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else.” Compare this to Bush’s proclamation of March 16, 2003: “The dictator of Iraq and his weapons of mass destruction are a threat to the security of free nations. He is a danger to his neighbours. He is a sponsor of terrorism. He is an obstacle to progress in the Middle East.” While indicting the Bush administration for the invasion and occupation of Iraq, we must not lose sight of this strong streak...

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The US Quest for Full-Spectrum Dominance

The war on Iraq may fly in the face of every tenet of rudimentary civilised conduct and international law, but the US has already developed a new doctrine to justify not just this one war but any future war of aggression and occupation that may follow. The Iraq war will be remembered as the first instance of application of America’s national security strategy which revolves around the doctrine of pre-emptive war. Noam Chomsky has rightly pointed out that even the phrase ‘pre-emptive strike’ is a deliberate understatement for the current American policy and that the term ‘preventive war’ would be a better description. The word pre-emption presupposes an imminent threat while the national security strategy adopted in September 2002 underscores the need to “adapt the concept of imminent threat to the capabilities and objectives of today’s adversaries.” Indeed what the strategy advocates is not pre-emptive strikes against imminent threats, but decisive action – multilateral if possible, unilateral if necessary – against “emerging threats before they are fully formed.” The strategy also openly declares that “to contend with uncertainty and to meet the many security challenges we face, the United States will require bases and stations within and beyond Western Europe and Northeast Asia, as well as temporary access arrangements for the long-distance deployment of US forces.” The basis of this national security strategy, which interprets external domination as internal...

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Capital Needs Market, Imperialism Needs War

Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, the Americans have been giving us one fancy hypothesis after another – the end of history, clashes of civilisations, the retreat of nation-states, the information revolution, the new economy, free trade and so on and so forth. Some of these hypotheses, especially the economic ones, have been repeated so very often that they have almost acquired axiomatic status in popular perception like the laws of nature. The notion of massive cross-border capital flows softening and eventually breaking down rigid national barriers was taken so seriously that even some of the anti-globalisation best-sellers wanted us to believe that the world’s sole superpower is also being subjected to a systematic erosion of the authority of its nation-state. Only the other day a book like Empire was being hailed as the Communist Manifesto of the era of globalisation, the book that dared declare that “the United States does not, and indeed no nation-state can today, form the centre of an imperialist project. Imperialism is over.” But as we can now see so very clearly, all this while imperialism was really busy not just developing its repertoire of instruments of economic domination but also constantly upgrading its war machine (the military-industrial complex) and its doctrines of war. While the ‘principle’ of retreat of nation-states has been used to...

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Petrodollar Imperialism on the Rampage

There is of course more to the oil story than merely production and consumption. The US had managed to overcome the first oil shock with a combination of measures – diversification of import sources (nearly a third of American oil imports are now from Canada and Mexico), engineering bitter wars among OPEC members (Iran-Iraq war, for example), patronising client regimes within the OPEC (Saudi Arabia, for instance, which produces a third of the OPEC’s total output and has not just the biggest oil reserves but also significant spare production capacity) and last but not the least, exploiting the petrodollar phenomenon to the hilt. Two-thirds of world trade is dollar-denominated and the oil trade has been almost exclusively so. Billions of these petrodollars have found their way back to the US enabling the US to run a huge and permanent current account deficit. It has been noticed that the size of the current account deficit is almost as high as the annual military spending of the United States. In other words, it is on borrowed money that the US continues to flex its awesome military muscles and keep the oil-rich ‘rogue states’ in check. With the advent of the euro, a potential rival to the dollar was born and Iraq’s recent decision to sell its oil exclusively in euro had the potential to create a powerful petroeuro that could give...

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New Turbulence in World Politics

Every time something major happens in America or America goes to war, Washington says the world will never be the same again. While this may be a White House truism reflecting the jaundiced vision of ‘American internationalism’, there is indeed a growing and new turbulence in world politics. Who could have imagined that a war on Iraq would trigger such a massive and sustained upsurge of global protests, a movement that the New York Times had to acknowledge as the world’s other superpower? A global upsurge which has been more visible in the West than in the Arab or Islamic world, giving a crushing rebuff to Huntington’s mischievous and racist recipe of clashes of civilisations? Who could have imagined that the unprecedented and overwhelming convergence of global support for the US in the wake of September 11 would be stripped down within a year to a minuscule ‘coalition of the willing’, yet another American Newspeak for ‘coalition of the bully and the bullied’? Who could have imagined that the day after the Anglo-American axis claimed victory in Iraq, thousands of Iraqis would hit the streets in every major city of Iraq demanding an immediate end to foreign occupation? Propelling the present-day international politics are three powerful contradictions. Principal among these three is the antagonism between imperialism and the developing countries, the third world. The US may try and change...

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The Unfolding Anglo-American Agenda in and around Iraq

More than Saddam Hussein, the American imperialists are now looking for his elusive successor. In Jay Garner, they have already got an American viceroy to look after Iraq’s transition to ‘freedom and democracy’. This retired US Army General has got impeccable credentials for the job: he has a very close rapport with the Israeli regime and he is also president of a company involved in the making of the famous Patriot missile! But finding an Iraqi mask for Garner is proving rather difficult. Amidst hectic diplomatic parleys as to whether the UN should get a ‘central’ role or just a ‘vital’ role in the reconstruction of Iraq, and whether the UN role should merely have a humanitarian dimension or it should also have a political component, George Bush has already declared that American troops may have to stay for at least two years in Iraq. Meanwhile the economics of reconstruction have long been under discussion in the boardrooms of corporate America. The Iraqi currency has been pushed into an abysmal low and all Iraq’s finances are now almost completely under American control. President Bush has now called for an early lifting of sanctions on Iraq so that Iraqi oil can be ‘freely’ traded in the international market to pay for the country’s reconstruction. But for the irrepressible voice of Iraqi resistance and popular protests, Iraq might have already receded...

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Where Do We Go from Here ?

Cynics will of course say that the anti-war movement has failed to stop the war, that France and Germany are now busy to appease the US, that after the fall of Iraq third world governments would now be even more desperate to comply with the American Empire, that secular Iraq (some posthumous recognition, at last!) is now all set to relapse into Islamic fundamentalism and social retrogression. This cynicism is a defeatist, opportunist response to cries of imperialist triumphalism and sections of the liberal-labour coalition in every country are susceptible to this infection. For activists of the anti-war movement, there can however be no room for despair and defeatism. If millions had come out to protest against the war, tens of millions of people must now raise their voice and assert their strength against the American agenda of occupation and re-colonisation of Iraq. The US military-industrial complex is hungry for war and more war, and the forces of peace the world over must be on ready alert. It is instructive for the forces of peace and progress to make a review of their own experiences and of the evolution of the anti-globalisation movement. We are using the word anti-globalisation movement for that still appears to be the broadest description for the new global upsurge in mass activism. In the 1990s the movement gradually emerged as a series of spiralling...

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Towards a New Wave of Anti-Imperialist Internationalism

The anti-war movement has been informed and inspired by a distinct spirit of internationalism. However much Washington may try and brand this internationalism as anti-Americanism, it has emerged as a massive counter force against US unilateralism masquerading as “American internationalism”. At a time when the United Nations Organisation stood thoroughly undermined by the United States of America (as a Pakistani poet has put it, the UNO gets its U from the US and NO from the rest of the world), the huge and synchronised global anti-war demonstrations continued to pulsate with this internationalist spirit. Just as the early development of transport and communication had played a key role in bringing about nationalist awakening in the former colonies development of bourgeois nationalism – the railways and the print media, for instance, had played a pivotal role in the rise of anti-colonial nationalism in British-ruled India – the latest revolution in information technology, especially the emergence of the Internet and satellite television is contributing in no small measure to the growth of a live internationalist awareness. But we are also aware of the number of the vicious methods employed by capital to disrupt the sense of working class unity and solidarity. Within the framework of a national economy, capital counters the working class by promoting various divisions and even lethal competition. The uneven development of the world capitalist economy opened up...

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Countries Want Imdependence, People Want Revolution

Vibrant and consistent proletarian internationalism backed by decisive class struggle against the reign of domestic reaction has been the proven strategy of effective resistance to imperialism. With brilliant anticipation and keen historical insight, Lenin had defined imperialism as the eve of the social revolution of the proletariat. In November 1917, five years after the Basle Congress of the Second International, victorious Russian revolution snapped the imperialist chain while the First World War (1914-18) was still raging. This marked the first real rupture of the imperialist order. The Second World War (1939-45) and its aftermath witnessed another series of revolutions in several countries of Eastern Europe. And within a few years, revolutionary China too broke free from the imperialist chain. Post-World War II, the world therefore got divided into several blocs. While the US emerged as the most powerful imperialist power, replacing fascist Germany as predicted by Mao Tsetung in 1948 itself, the Soviet Union emerged as an alternative rallying centre. The newly independent countries too formed a bloc of their own under the banner of the non-aligned movement. As long as the Soviet camp existed, it ran its own parallel economic and political arrangement and this also provided the third world countries with a leeway in facing the offensive of the US-led imperialist camp. Here we are not entering into a discussion about the quality of socialism in the...

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Iraq War

Wrapped in a shroud the man in the coffin, lay buried under a clod of earth, his spirit hovering incessantly; a cloud pouring rain asked, why the Iraqi children were crying out in horrific pain? The essence of camphor questioned the existence of chemicals, when the entire world (Blix included) had cried, ’No war!’ The sea splayed angrily against the rocks, mangled flesh and armoury seething within its debris. the moon waned its luminous glow, unable to bear the continual flow of human blood on earth; there were no dearth of voices from cyber space crying, ‘colossus brute watch your pace!’ but you strode on —-unfazad; the smell of oil a perfect foil for your plans. Slowly, you reduce land to territory, a people to subject, creating minefields in minds; white doves flutter helplessly as your men embark on an anarchy, a scarring of the psyche that history will never forget nor the people ever relent. And the night lay engulfed in sorrow, awaiting a greater dawn tinged with a pink hope in the morrow, when the diminished people would rise, spelling the demise of power; to this hour, the sun dedicated its bloody sunset. — Sagari...

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