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The U.S. conquest of Iraq is not going according to plan.
Developments confirm that the situation is unraveling due to growing popular anger and resistance.
On May 15, the Pentagon announced that no more U.S. troops will be headed for home. All troop departures have been canceled. And tens of thousands of additional troops are on the way to Iraq. More soldiers will be moved into policing city streets to confront an increasingly desperate population.
Gen. Jay Garner and his entire U.S. advance team were unceremoniously fired. Garner's assignment--setting up a civil administration--never got off the ground. His replacement, L. Paul Bremer III, is described as a counter-terrorism expert who belongs to the Council on Foreign Relations and once headed Kissinger Associates--both connected to Rockefeller oil money.
The U.S.-appointed Iraqi Interim Government that Garner promised to install before the end of May was put on hold. The "by U.S. invitation only" National Assembly never made it off the drawing board.
Thousands of Iraqis marched in Baghdad on May 19 in the largest protest yet against U.S. occupation. To demonstrate unity between Sunni and Shiite Moslems, marchers gathered outside a Sunni Mosque and moved en masse across the city to a Shiite shrine.
Their banners and chants repeated the theme of unity and demanded: "No to occupation," "No to injustice," "No to the foreign administration"--and, again and again, "No, no, no USA!"
Organizers armed with AK-47 assault rifles served as security for the march, according to May 19 Associated Press reports.
The corporate media covered the demonstration, but attempted to downplay the numbers and marginalize the significance of the protest--the same way they have done with anti-war demonstrations in the United States.
The AP and New York Times reported that 10,000 people participated. Media in the Arab world, such as Al Jazeera and others, reported that more than 50,000 participated.
The situation in Iraq today
A quick review of news in the corporate media reveals that the entire situation in Iraq is wildly out of control.
There's still no potable drinking water in Baghdad and Basra, the largest cities of Iraq. In Basra, contaminated water has caused an outbreak of cholera, a deadly disease. Summer is just beginning. Daily temperatures rising above 100 degrees will rapidly spread disease.
There is still no electricity in most major cities. U.S. military installations have their own generators. But most Iraqis have no lights, refrigeration, fans or water pumps.
The phone system is destroyed. This means no communications, except for a handful of U.S. collaborators who receive the most popular "perk" or status symbol: a satellite phone.
There is almost no fuel. The lines to buy gas for cars, or fuel to cook or boil drinking water, are miles long. Public transportation is not running.
There is no functioning health care system. Hospitals are still totally overwhelmed with thousands of people of all ages who were injured during the war. Exacerbating the health catastrophe is the fact that supplies have been looted, there is no program to re-supply them, and doctors and emergency personnel are exhausted and not getting paid.
Many schools are bombed and gutted. U.S. military units are encamped in others. The streets are so dangerous that many parents won't allow their children to walk to school.
There has been no organized food distribution since the war began. For years, due to U.S.-led sanctions, 75 percent to 80 percent of Iraqis have been almost totally dependent on the food distribution system organized by the Iraqi government.
Today, after the war, malnutrition is already double what it was a year ago under sanctions.
With the economy shut down, there are few jobs.
The U.S. government has totally failed to meet the most basic needs of the Iraqi people, after declaring it was in full control of the situation.
So what is the U.S. solution? Blame the people themselves.
L. Paul Bremer III floated the idea of a new policy to shoot looters--desperate people trying to find something to sell in order to feed their families.
Of course Bremer isn't interested in shooting the real looters in Iraq today. Phillip T. Carroll, the former CEO of Shell Oil Corporation who is now heading the Advisory Committee to the Iraq Oil Industry, is not on the hit list. Nor is top U.S. Treasury official Peter McPherson, who is now heading the Iraqi National Bank. The role of these two corporate criminals is to loot the oil industry and the national bank.
Smashing the old state
There is no functioning Iraqi state apparatus of any kind.
The U.S. military command allowed and encouraged the conscious destruction of every functioning government ministry except the oil ministry. For weeks, small-scale looting was encouraged as a cover to divert attention from the grand theft of Iraq's resources.
In this chaotic atmosphere basic democratic rights or laws don't exist. The U.S. military is the absolute law. Check points, searches and arrests are totally arbitrary. Those arrested are not informed of the charges or the evidence and their families are not notified. An unknown number of Iraqis, believed to be in the thousands, are still being held.
In an orchestrated effort to divert the angry mood away from the Pentagon occupation, the U.S. is encouraging vengeance against former Baathist Party officials and outright assassinations. The U.S. is offering big rewards to encourage a hunt for thousands of officials from the past Baathist government.
Depleted uranium coverup
The Pentagon used 1,000 tons of radioactive depleted uranium rounds--three times the amount used during the first Gulf War. This time most of those rounds were fired in urban centers, not on desert battlefields.
International environmental and health organizations have raised concern that the destruction of the Iraq Ministry of Health may be part of an effort to cover up what had become an international issue: the devastating impact of DU weapons from the first Gulf War on the health of Iraqi civilians.
Iraqi health officials had compiled extensive records and very precise statistics on every form of health problem. Studies included information on neighborhoods that were hardest hit. Other studies followed the births of disabled children whose parents served in the military.
Now being able to measure the increase in cancers, health problems and birth defects is far more difficult.
And in addition to the crisis created by DU rounds, thousands of bright yellow unexploded cluster bombs and other munitions litter the entire country.
Free trade at gunpoint
There is enormous anger throughout the Arab world that the U.S. and British occupation troops made no effort to protect Iraqi culture. The looting of the Baghdad Museum was not an isolated incident. Hundreds of small museums, archeological sites and works of art are being systematically looted.
Returning U.S. journalists and soldiers are in on the heist. They come back to this country with priceless art objects, directly stolen or purchased on the cheap at thriving underground markets.
The burning of the National Archives may be even a greater loss than the Bagh dad Museum. Countless ancient texts dating back many hundreds of years are lost to all humanity.
Yet despite the gutting of the culture and inability of the U.S. to provide any of the most basic services needed for a functioning society, President George W. Bush has announced plans for a "Middle East Free Trade Agreement."
This announcement confirms once again that what makes the world safe for McDonald's hamburgers is the jet bombers made by McDonnell Douglas. U.S. corporate globalization is enforced through its military domination.
The Middle East Free Trade Agreement is an effort to economically integrate the U.S.-financed state of Israel into the Arab world. It won't give Iraq or any Arab countries access to U.S. markets. It will only further impose structural adjustment policies on the entire region.
U.S. demands mandate for occupation
The Bush administration introduced a resolution in the United Nations Security Council on May 8. It's entitled, "To Assist the People of Iraq." This U.S.-led resolution supposedly would provide emergency humanitarian assistance to Iraq--after 13 years of U.S.-led sanctions starved the population.
In fact, the resolution is a demand that the UN legitimize the criminal war against Iraq and authorize the present occupation. It's an effort to get international recognition for absolute U.S./British control--called The Authority--over Iraq.
The resolution was formally introduced by the United States, Britain and Spain. But the United States, as the kingpin military and imperial power in the formation of this Authority, would get the bulk of wealth and control.
The Authority would have total control over all Iraqi funds, including those frozen for 13 years; the billions of dollars in the Oil For Food fund that was withheld for years; and all future profits from the sale of Iraqi oil.
This Authority would control all contracts, reconstruction and administration until a government that it approves of is established.
In return the Authority would allow UN agencies to hand out food and humanitarian aid.
In other words, it is a replay of the British Mandate over Iraq and Palestine of 80 years ago. Now it is a U.S./British Mandate.
This is colonialism in its rawest form. It is a colonial mandate that is a complete violation of national sovereignty.
Demand reparations and no occupation!
This is only the latest phase in a long U.S./British war against Iraq. For more than 100 years--through wars, invasions and outright colonialism--the aim has been the same. It is an imperialist scheme to control the oil and the resources of the entire region.
At every stage the imperialist forces had far superior weapons. Yet time and again they have been pushed back by people's movements that made past colonial policies impossible to carry out.
U.S. occupation will become more hated every day by a people who have long experience of resisting colonial schemes. It will be resisted precisely because the U.S. and British imperialists have no solutions for the people.
Instead of the jubilation and the welcoming throngs that U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld promised, U.S. troops now face angry, hungry people.
Every day soldiers face snipers and furious demonstrators, who march right up against their gun barrels.
The world movement that opposed the U.S./British war on Iraq must forcefully declare that U.S. corporations don't have the right to one cent of Iraq's funds.
This is a time to demand that the U.S. and British pay Iraq billions in reparations and to absolutely oppose any UN legitimization of piracy and conquest.
Reprinted from the May 29, 2003, issue of Workers World newspaper Copyright Workers World Service 2003. For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .