www.globalresearch.ca Centre for Research on Globalisation Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation
Was the Baath regime defeated, or was Iraq handed over?
According to the Bush administration, the "liberation" of Iraq was an easy US military "cakewalk", warmly greeted by cheering Iraqis who welcome their nation’s "reconstruction". The truth is infinitely more grotesque.
Iraq, mysteriously given up by its own military, is being erased from the map, replaced by a new US puppet regime. The sequential global war waged by under the fabricated pretext of September 11, 2001 , and driven by Peak Oil (confirmed by a recent BBC analysis ), with Iraq a key prize , continues.
The first casualty of war is truth. In Iraq, the truth has been raped, butchered and left for dead.
Was the Baath regime defeated, or was Iraq handed over?
It is clear that major portions of Iraq have been surrendered without resistance---in less than 72 hours. Recent evidence suggests that a significant part of the Iraqi arsenal is still intact. Saddam Hussein and the Baath leadership, and much of the Iraqi military, are nowhere to found. Speculation abounds.
There have been widespread rumors that Saddam Hussein has been hidden, or spirited out of the country---and that his exile was the result of a secret deal between the Bush administration and Russia.
Why did the Iraqi military stop fighting (after three weeks in which the US and its "mightiest military on earth" was pinned down by stiff Iraqi resistance), immediately after National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice's trip to Moscow?
According to coverage of this secret negotiation , Putin, who had condemned the war in Iraq when it was launched, stated, "a US defeat would not be in Russia's interests." What Russian interests were served? What deal did Rice negotiate?
According to a report from Al-Jazeera, Saddam was seeking asylum with Russia. An April 9 story in Iran’s Tehran Times went into detail on this possibility , which recognized scholars and journalists have not dismissed. On the April 15 broadcast of Pacifica Radio’s Democracy Now, Middle East scholar Professor Edward Said expressed his suspicions that a deal had been struck between the US and Russia, allowing Saddam to leave the country. Saddam Hussein, the former US ally and CIA asset undoubtedly had the goods on his former allies and partners, including George H.W. Bush . Did Saddam find a way to blackmail his way out of capture? There is a strong possibility that Saddam, like Osama bin Laden, will never be found. He now serves as another propaganda legend regardless of his fate. Likewise, Russia's behavior throughout the US invasion raises serious questions that must be answered.
Walid Rabah of the Lebanese Arab Voice posits that, in exchange for US citizenship, money, and other favors, leaders of Iraq’s Republican Guard struck a deal with the Pentagon that led to the surrender of the nation to US forces. This mutiny was further assisted by the CIA, which had planted agents in Iraq posing as anti-war activist "human shields". This version, if at all true, would be no surprise. The CIA had attempted similar coups in the past decade.
Many seasoned military experts saw the possibility that the US would ultimately fail to capture Baghdad, and fail to survive a quagmire .
What is clear is that, through apparent espionage, the US has been saved; relieved of the potential crisis of having to fight a grueling guerrilla war against real resistance that could have lasted for years. Now, instead of being another Vietnam, Iraq is another Afghanistan, another Panama.
The new Baghdad puppet show
The Bush administration’s self-congratulatory and delusional celebrations cannot disguise the realities that will be faced as it attempts to install a puppet regime led by Lt. General and "interim governor" Jay Garner, and a council of Iraqi and Kurd exiles and opposition groups with long-time ties to Washington.
As examined by this writer, the neocon war lobby that engineered and wrote the Iraq regime removal plan is a tightly knit cabal of corrupt war criminals that stretches across current and previous US administrations, and the boards of neo-conservative think tanks and policy boards. The fact that the entire Iraq operation has been a work of this body and its CIA-linked Iraqi-Kurd opposition groups is indisputable. Not surprisingly, Garner is a member of this cabal.
So complete is the influence of this syndicate, that its members have been involved in every aspect of the invasion. US television audiences were treated to the surreal and disgusting spectacle of TV war commentary presented by its own creators and advocates, from Paul Wolfowitz to Chalabi and Jalal Talabani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Former Combating Terrorism for Homeland Security Defense Board director Wayne Downing (who co-signed the Iraq Liberation Act, and wrote a 1997 plan with CIA veteran and Iran-Contra figure Dewey Clarridge for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein), made nearly daily appearances on MSNBC and other US war telecasts as a "military expert". Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins, a Brezezinski colleague, appeared frequently, as he did throughout the first Gulf War, to denounce Saddam Hussein. Iran-Contra mastermind Oliver North was embedded with the US Marines for Fox News.
Iraqi exile Ahmed Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress , arguably the leader of US-Iraq regime removal for over a decade, continues to be touted by many in Washington as its choice for president. On April 17, Chalabi set up makeshift "headquarters" at two social clubs in the affluent Mansour district, guarded by U.S. armored vehicles. Chalabi’s various front groups and militias, operating under names such as the Iraqi Freedom Fighters and the Free Iraqi Forces, have been trained and protected by US Special Forces and the CIA. A convicted money launderer and Washington stooge, Chalabi enjoys no credibility among Iraqis, and even the CIA does not trust him. While Chalabi himself has attempted to keep a low profile, his representative, Mohammed Mohsen al-Zubaidi, has declared himself mayor of Baghdad and has been pronouncing his "rule" at every opportunity.
Keen on projecting the false appearance of"liberation", US troops and a small group of Chalabi’s militia men staged the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein . Chalabi’s men appeared in the photographs and video posing as some of "hundreds of jubilant Iraqi onlookers". These images were shown and repeated throughout the world’s corporate media. The long-shot views of Fardus Square reveal clearly that the area was empty save for those involved in the vandalism, and tightly ringed by US tanks.
According to Al-Jazeera and other sources, another potential Washington figurehead, former Iraqi army chief Nizar Khazraji, tapped as the CIA's brightest prospect for leadership of Iraq , may have been extracted from his European exile by the CIA to assist with the US invasion. Khazraji defected in 1996 with the help of the CIA-backed Kurdistan Democratic Party. His whereabouts today remain unknown.
On the streets, Iraqis seethe with anger towards the US.
Quoting Iraqis interviewed in an April 14 story from the Associated Press:
- "Saddam’s greatest crime is that he brought the American army to Iraq."
- "The United States breaks into palaces and then threatens all the people who steal from them."
- "The army of America is like Genghis Khan. America is not good and Saddam is not good. My people refused Saddam Hussein, and they will refuse the Americans."
- "If this continues in Baghdad, we’ll kill any American or British soldier. All of us---even the women."
Mass anti-American protests continue to break out in every city. Explosive new violence in the Kurdish region threatens to spill over.
Genocidal murder, grotesque triumphalism
In Iraq, as in all US-led wars, evidence of war crimes and atrocities has been carefully withheld from the American public, even as they have been widely reported in the foreign and independent media.
To date, there has been no accurate count of total Iraqi deaths. One web site called the Iraq Body Count (which only tracks civilian casualties) puts the number of civilian deaths as high as 2,325 (as of April 20). Other reports suggest that several thousands of civilians have been killed in Baghdad alone. No body count so far has included Iraqi military deaths, which must number in the tens of thousands. Also not counted will be the countless deaths certain to result from the new destruction of Iraq’s infrastructures. In the words of General Tommy Franks, "we don’t do body counts".
In the first week of the invasion, the CIA was given orders to hunt and kill members of Saddam Hussein's inner circle and family using car and truck bombs, snipers and other terror tactics. Orders to drop cluster bombs and "bunker busters" into dense residential areas came from the highest levels, as did the killing of unembedded journalists .
Several investigative sources, including the Xymphora web site have documented the barbarity of US troops using mainstream news sources from around the world. A sampling of reports from the height of the US invasion paints a disgusting picture:
- American soldiers are shooting at civilians and killing in cold blood anyone who approaches them. According to the accounts of British troops (Times/news.com.au) " Americans pulverize anything
from afar before daring to set foot out of their armored vehicles."
- "We had a great day,' said Sgt. Eric Schrumpf of the U.S. Marines last Saturday [April 5]. 'We killed a lot of people.' He added, 'We dropped a few civilians, but what do you do?'" Reporter John Pilger caught that snippet of battlefield banter in the United Kingdom's Daily Mirror.
- Pilger, who observed that U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq have displayed the same sort of "racist contempt for the people" an earlier generation of G.I. Joes did in the jungles and villages of Vietnam, added that Schrumpf had said "there were women standing near an Iraqi soldier, and one of them fell when he and other Marines opened fire. 'I'm sorry,' said Schrumpf, 'but the chick was in the way.'"
- A recent report about a U.S. Marine mission at Nasiriya quoted a corporal who said, "The Iraqis are sick people, and we are the chemotherapy. I am starting to hate this country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No, I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him."
By all accepted definitions of genocide , what has happened in Iraq easily qualifies.
It is over this carnage that George W. Bush was "elated".
9/11 as military brainwashing
Sadistic behavior by soldiers, in contravention of all rules of warfare, is nothing new. What has been noteworthy is the manner in which today’s American fighters are being "trained" using the legend of 9/11.
As reported by John Pilger of the Daily Mirror and other correspondents, jittery, fearful US troops in Iraq shot and killed indiscriminately, with approval from their higher-ups, to "avenge September 11th."
In an immeasurably disgusting display, the tattered US flag that flew over the Pentagon on 9/11 was specially flown into Iraq by the Bush administration, to be used as a prop by US soldiers in the infamous Fardus Square Saddam statue-toppling event. The 9/11 flag was wrapped around the head of the statue as an expression of US rage.
The mass insanity from the "shock effect" of September 11 continues to grip the vast majority of Americans---most of whom "do not read".
Looting a nation
Uncontrolled looting and destruction, at times encouraged by US troops (and their superiors) has been dismissed by the ruthless Donald Rumsfeld as "untidiness" and "Henny Penny". On April 16, US troops even shot Iraqi police officers who were attempting to clear a mob of looters at a Mosul bank. Chaos and absurdity reign.
Citing "wanton and preventable destruction" of Iraq’s National Museum of Antiquities, member of the Bush administration’s Advisory Committee on Cultural Property have resigned in disgust.
While US forces have ignored the vast majority of the looting, they have protected the Iraqi oil ministry---a clear demonstration of Bush administration priorities.
Meanwhile, looting of another kind has ensued. The Bush administration has seized $1.62 billion in Iraqi assets , the monies going into the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. In an April 10 report in the Associated Press ("Hunt Begins for Saddam’s Riches"), the Swiss government has frozen Iraqi government and corporate assets "until the U.N. Security Council determines who is entitled to it". The article cites a report prepared in 2001 by Kroll Associates claiming that members of Saddam's inner circle "raked in oil smuggling profits" and "skimmed off the U.N.-oil-for-food program".
What the article did not reveal was that Kroll Associates is also under contract with the Kuwaiti government, and is staffed by former officials of the CIA, the FBI, Special Forces, and think tanks like the Rand Corporation. It is, in the words of its Managing Director, "a private CIA". Also not addressed in this or other reports was Saddam’s extensive ownership of US enterprises and companies, which was revealed in a Kroll investigation from 1992.
How much of Saddam Hussein’s covert wealth was made in partnerships with the United States, its CIA and Pentagon, and in private partnerships with the likes of George Herbert Walker Bush? Investigator Sherman Skolnick has court evidence documenting this financial trail. Reports of less-than-savory dealings between Saddam, Donald Rumsfeld and other US officials have begun to surface. It is in the interests of the Bush administration to destroy all traces of this history.
Profits from Iraq death
Where there is war, globalization follows. Iraq today is no exception.
Even prior to the US invasion, Wall Street had begun crowing about post-war spoils. Indeed stock prices rose when the war began, as investors expressed relief that "uncertainty had finally been lifted". The cover of the April 21 edition of Fortune magazine was headlined "After We Win", and contained articles on "Oil: Why Prices Will Fall" and "The Economy: The Case for Optimism".
Bolstered by the surrender of Iraq, the Bush administration and its affiliated financial elites have their sights set on "prying open Middle East economies" for the "free market" . This exploitation will begin with the rebuilding of infrastructure just destroyed by the US, using weapons produced by US corporations (that in turn are headed by elites connected to Washington).
Companies with long-time ties to the CIA and the Pentagon, whose board members are deeply connected current and former US administrations, continue to be handed lucrative contracts by the US Agency for International Development. On April 17, Bechtel was awarded a $680 million reconstruction contract by the. Bechtel’s George Shultz was among the original advocates of Iraqi regime change. The former Reagan-Bush secretary of state, and is the chairman of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq----a sub-group formed by the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which has spearheaded the new Middle East conflict.
Halliburton/Kellogg Brown & Root, tied to Dick Cheney, was awarded an earlier "emergency" contract worth $50 million to service Iraq’s oil wells without having to bid competitively.
Finally, the Carlyle Group will meet to discuss its Iraq-related investment prospects. According to the Portugal News, Carlyle "is expected to be awarded a billion-dollar contract by the U.S. government to help in the redevelopment of airfields and urban areas destroyed by the coalition's aerial bombardments".
Provoking World War Four
With Iraq in chaos, far from pacified, the Bush administration continues to trumpet discoveries of new (and to date, unfounded) "proof of terror and weapons of mass destruction", new Al-Qaeda ties, "terror"-related arrests, and other propaganda. Similarly, Bush and his officials have continued to spew bellicose and unfounded accusations at Syria, North Korea and Iran.
Having utterly failed to produce any credible evidence of "weapons of mass destruction" (and in fact, having been caught faking the evidence, the Bush administration is now manufacturing this evidence, post-facto, out of the rubble of Iraq.
The bold headline of the April 17, 2003 San Francisco Chronicle screams, "G.I.s Find Terrorist Complex In Iraq". The article provides no details beyond the vague claims.
The Bush administration should be expected to make grist out of reports of an Italian police probe suggesting that Syria is a "hub of an Al-Qaeda network that moved Islamic extremists and funds from Italy to northeastern Iraq. Buried beneath a headline that screams "Italians Say Al Qaeda Operated Out of Syria", the text quietly clarifies that "Italian authorities say they have no evidence that the Syrian government was aware of the network or protected it".
At a recent appearance, former CIA Director James Woolsey, a prominent and active member of the Iraq regime removal team declared World War Four , and pronounced that it will continue for years. He has identified America’s enemies as the religious leaders of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists. He also threatened Hosni Mubarek of Egypt and the leaders of Saudi Arabia. Woolsey is well known for his intemperate remarks, and for revealing the plans of his colleagues in advance. Again, he has not disappointed.
The Bush administration’s calculated fomenting of violence---in both overt and covert policy---continues under the most aggressive expansion of covert operations since the Vietnam era . As reported in a 2002 Pentagon document, the Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group, or P2OG launches covert operations that goad and "stimulate reactions" from alleged terrorist cells and "rogue nations"--- thereby justifying "quick strike" US responses. This program is a microcosm of the larger Bush provocation-terror agenda being executed both outside and within the US.
Currently in the cross hairs is Syria , which is now targeted for regime removal . On April 19, foreign ministers from six countries bordering Iraq condemned US threats against Syria and urged coalition forces to withdraw their troops. The threats have been ignored by the Bush administration, just as new conflict in the Kurdish areas of Iraq have been downplayed and dismissed. Iran is now being targeted, while North Korea has been continuously provoked by the Bush administration for months. Oil-rich Venezuela and oil/narcotic-rich Colombia remains the focus of intense US counter-insurgency and covert operations, along with the Philippines.
So blatant is the Bush administration’s aggression that the Chinese government expects some form of military confrontation with the US could come earlier than expected. India, following Bush’s example, is again threatening a pre-emptive and presumptive nuclear strikes on Pakistan, while the US plays one side against the other with the carrots of economic and military aid.
In a prescient analysis, written before the Iraq invasion , retired US Army Special Forces Master Stan Goff wrote:
"What is uncertain is the aftermath. This is the variable that is never factored into the thinking of our native political lumpen-bourgeoisie; their deeds plant the seeds of future and furious resistance.
If half million Iraqi soldiers die, and 100,000 civilians are killed in collateral damage, we have to remember that there are at least (for the sake of argument) five people who intensely love each of the dead. And if we think of the grief of millions after this slaughter, and of the conversion of that grief into rage, and combine that with the organization of the internecine struggles based on historical ethnic fault lines (that the Ba'ath Party has repressed), we begin to appreciate the explosive complexity of post-invasion Iraq.
This invasion will also ignite the fires of Arab and Muslim humiliation and anger throughout the region."
The Bush formula---provoke, demonize, fabricate, attack, occupy and pacify---will continue to be repeated in every corner of the Middle East, and indeed the world, is militarized, and transformed into one global West Bank, and the line between terrorism and defense is irrevocably blurred.
The Iraq stepping stone in "Clash of Civilizations"
The US empire has pushed itself past the point of no return---and continues to push further. Since seizing the White House, the George W. Bush administration a geostrategic conquest of Eurasia with roots going back to the end of World War II.
Over the years, this imperialist war strategy has been festooned with a variety of scholarly trappings, from Harvard professor Samuel Huntington’s "Clash of Civilizations" and Zbigniew Brezezinski’s Grand Chessboard . Huntington’s former student, to the writings of Robert D. Kaplan. Its prominent adherents include Richard Perle (recently resigned under controversy), Paul Wolfowitz, and other members of the Bush administration. This neocon war lobby was detailed in this report. It is easy to see Huntington/Brezezinski/Kaplan reflected throughout Bush administration policy, as the Middle East continues to be militarized.
In his "Clash of Civilizations", Huntington identifies the "Islamic-Confucian world" (Eurasia, from the Middle East to China) as "an arc of crisis" overrun by enemies (Islam) that must be tamed by US force. He writes:
- It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.
- The most important conflicts of the future will occur along the cultural fault lines separating these civilizations from one another.
- The clash of civilizations thus occurs at two levels. At the micro-level, adjacent groups along the fault lines between civilizations struggle, often violently, over the control of territory and each other. At the macro-level, states from different civilizations compete for relative military and economic power, struggle over the control of international institutions and third parties, and competitively promote their particular political and religious values.
- The central axis of world politics in the future is likely to be the conflict between "the West and the Rest" and the responses of non-Western civilizations to Western power and values.
- A new form of arms competition is thus occurring between Islamic-Confucian states and the West.
- Conflicts between groups in different civilizations will be more frequent, more sustained and more violent than conflicts between groups in the same civilization; This will require the West to maintain the economic and military power necessary to protect its interests in relation to these civilizations.
Kaplan, a fixture with the Atlantic Monthly, is a favorite of George W. Bush, and was even invited to brief Bush on foreign policy. Kaplan is a nihilist, inspired by Machiavelli, and views such places as Central Asia and the Middle East as "laboratories [my emphasis-LC] of pure power politics" in which human rights, social order and democracy have no meaning and no place---but where US force can and should be applied.
In his book Warrior Politics: Why Leadership Demands a Pagan Ethos, Kaplan declares that "good government -- and, likewise, good foreign policy -- will always depend on an understanding of men's passions, which issue from our elemental fears" and that "the internationalization of democratic individualism is futile and inherently dangerous." Furthermore, that human rights is only advanced in practice "by resolving power relationships in ways that allow for more predictable punishment of the Unjust."
In a November 2002 editorial, Kaplan called for the "dismantling" of Iraq" along with an expanded war in the Middle East. He wrote:
- Our goal in Iraq should be a transitional secular dictatorship.
- Our dismantling the Iraqi regime would concentrate the minds of Iran's leaders as little else could.
Iran, with its 66 million people, is the Middle East's universal joint.
- Iraq could become America's primary staging ground in the Middle East. And the greatest beneficial effect could come next door, in Iran
- Given the long climate of repression, the next regime change in Iraq might even resurrect the reputation not of any religious figure but of the brilliant, pro-Western, secular Prime Minister Nuri Said, who did more than any other Iraqi to build his country in the 1940s and 1950s. [That Nuri Said was a British puppet does not matter to Kaplan.—LC].
- Likewise, the Middle East is characterized by many weak regimes that will totter on until the next cataclysm—which the U.S. invasion of Iraq might well constitute.
- The real question is not whether the American military can topple Saddam's regime but whether the American public has the stomach for imperial involvement of a kind we have not known since the United States occupied Germany and Japan.
There is no doubt that the occupant of the White House listened.
It gives this writer no satisfaction that the invasion and occupation predicted in "The Deep Politics of Regime Removal In Iraq: Overt Conquest, Covert Operations" has occurred, and that its players have behaved as brutally as anticipated. Its underlying agenda remains misunderstood, along with the horror that it portends---and the criminal history that echoes.
In his book Drugging America, Rodney Stich wrote:
"In 1990, President Bush ordered the US military to invade Panama on the argument that Colonel Manuel Noriega was allegedly violating US laws by allowing drug trafficking through Panama. Noriega did in fact aid drug trafficking, assisting the CIA, DEA, the US military, and the Mossad. Noriega assisted Oliver North and his associates, including Vice President Bush, in the arms flow to Central America and the drug-laden aircraft returning to the United States.
Many CIA personnel believe that Noriega was taken out because he knew too much about the involvement of US officials and that he was demanding too high a cut for his part in coordinating the US drug trafficking through Panama.
After the invasion of Panama, the United States saw that key banking positions were filled by people who would continue the drug money laundering. The US invasion killed hundreds [according to other accounts, thousands died-LC] of Panamanians and inflicted billions of dollars of damages as it invaded this sovereign country on the pretense of outrage that Noriega engaged in drug activities. Twenty-six US servicemen died, and none of their families knew the real reason for the invasion."
In his book Rogue States, William Blum wrote that during the occupation of Panama, American soldiers engaged in torture of Panamanian soldiers, and that "the United States confiscated thousands of boxes of government documents, which they refused to return. The occupying American forces roamed the land free from the restraints of any higher power."
Thirteen years later, the regime of Saddam Hussein---tyrant, former US ally, Bush business partner and CIA asset---has been "taken out". It was not a war, but an attack. It was not a victory, but a surrender. It is not a liberation, but an occupation. There will be no freedom, only more tyranny and terrorism.
Long-time observers are not "shocked", but perhaps "awed" by the new depths of criminality revealed with each Bush administration action. As Professor Peter Dale Scott wrote of the John F. Kennedy assassination "it is an agenda we are left with, not an answer."
As written by the chroniclers of the Bush Body Count , "there is not enough time to compile a list of the thousands who have died and will continue to die under CIA-backed government actions, or in wars started by a lust for oil or power, and fed by the bodies of young men who believed the media propaganda".
But there is still time for the living to grasp the realities, pierce the deceptions, and resist---for sake of humanity itself.
Copyright L. Chin 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .