| Futile protest
The way in which Iraqi society and state have been systematically maimed by the extensive use of lethal weapons, including mini-nuclear bombs, has exposed realities that are ignored by a large section of the global civil society.
It is regrettable that the neo-conservative triumphalists, mainly concentrated in the hawkish sections of the United States of America and the United Kingdom administration, have finally succeeded in persuading their liberal fraternity — both new and old Europe — to conform to the new American century project. The hawks easily manipulated most of their friendly Arab ruling sections, threatened Iran and Syria as future targets on the pretext of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.
What seems shocking to the young generations is the paradigm shift in the policies of some non-aligned countries, which won their freedom with the commitment to achieve economic and political sovereignty and to challenge the colonizing powers. Most of them have changed overnight after the illegal occupation of Iraq. One prominent reaction has been our own enthusiasm to send back the mission to Iraq, ignoring the fact that such acts would further legitimize country-grabbing by occupying forces.
Such gestures and policies are being touted as the only way to forward our national interests. As the overdose of nationalism endangers democracy, over-stretched national interests of the larger world are bound to disrupt democratic elements in international relations. Some corresponding results have already appeared after the celebration of the so-called new world order in 1991. In the new global scenario the triumphalists would set the terms of reference for a new world order to be followed by the larger world in political (domestic and foreign), economic, cultural, communication and defence areas.
The occupation of Iraq is the most transparent evidence of the aims of global hegemonists. The attack plan was made much before 9/11 by the neo-conservative group, which include Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, Francis Fukuyama, Zalmay Khalilzad, Paul Wolfowitz and others. They are well positioned in the Bush administration and the American Enterprise Institute is known to forward the “project of a new American century”. The Project for the New American Century, created in 1997, is the Washington-based exclusive club of power players which unilaterally assumes a kind of divine authority as the “US destiny”.
Afghanistan and Iraq are stepping-stones. An invasion of Iraq was in their interests — with or without Saddam Hussein. This can be substantiated by the fact that the hawks, who maintained US military bases in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait 12 years after the end of the first Iraqi invasion, seems to be determined to set up permanent military bases in Iraq and Kuwait. Yet, in the same region, the US has been protecting a country for occupying the Palestinian territories and creating over four million refugees.
Arms depots in the larger parts of the world are being monitored and controlled by 65 US military bases all around the world. The PNAC is determined to set up a worldwide command and control system. It is using the words “peace, security, freedom” to advance its agenda on the pretext of terrorism.
Now all this has nothing to do with democracy. In occupied Iraqi territory, people fighting against the occupying forces are being labelled terrorists. Moreover, the breakdown of the Iraqi administration and the creation of lawlessness have forced every Iraqi to depend on the mercy of the invaders, projected as rescuers. Iraqis are more divided on ethnic and sectarian grounds. They are deprived of water, medicines, education, electricity and security. Three million skilled and professional Iraqis are out of jobs. Now even a single inside report on Iraq is inaccessible to Iraqis outside and the larger world without the permission of occupying forces.
Can democracy be realized in these circumstances' Can Iraqis feel free to advance their cause of self-determination' Certainly not in the near future. An acute sense of deprivation, insecurity, and humiliation among the Iraqis is antagonistic to any democratic exercise even if imposed from the top. The US strategy to replace Iraqi institutions of governance by its own legal, economic, cultural and political structures would add fuel to the fire.
Iraqis in general, particularly due to the Baathist programmes, are well aware of the design of invaders who systematically disabled Iraqi state and society by unfinished wars, sanctions and the funding of anti-Iraqi forces outside Iraq. They have experienced the extreme pains of war with Iran, again under the US’s “dual containment” policy. They have seen the creation of semi-independent Kurdish region within Iraq again under the US policy of “safe haven”, despite the fact that the same power degraded Kurdish autonomy efforts in south-eastern Turkey as terrorism.
They found how the occupation forces labelled Iraqi Shiites’ protests as fights for freedom while putting Iran in the axis of evil. They have strong memories of how the US occupied Kuwait (in Iraqi terminology) and made Kuwait its military base after Iraq withdrew from there. Recently, even the youngest Iraqis witnessed the zeal with which the Iraqi civilization was destroyed.
They could not mistake the intentions of the hawks in Iraq. What became the most painful part of their “memory and history” is the role of the United Nations, which had taken up the case of Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait. Iraqis had some faith that the UN would deliver justice in the end. Under this impression, the Iraqi government, recognized by the UN, followed the UN’s requests and orders, which could have been questioned on the principles of legality and rationality. But the UN not only failed vis-à-vis Iraq, but it advanced the interests of the hawks. It failed to lift sanctions, which killed about two million Iraqis. Some Western scholars described sanctions as a weapon of mass destruction and a crime against humanity.
It continued to impose sanctions against its commitment of removal under Para 21 and 22 of Resolution 687 (1991). It forced Iraq to station UN inspectors to find weapons of mass destruction for over eight years, and they never certified Iraq free from WMD. Then, Kofi Annan showed his worries over the humanitarian situation in Iraq and not about the illegality of the invasion and overthrow of the recognized government. Finally, the security council passed a resolution to legitimize the US-UK control over Iraq by giving a ceremonial, supervisory and consultancy role to the UN envoy to Iraq.
What is the final message of the UN action vis-à-vis Iraq particularly to non-prejudiced minds' The UN has not only failed to protect the interests of Iraqis but it collaborated with the hawks in one way or the other to deprive Iraqis of their right to self-determination mentioned in the UN charter. The US occupation of Iraq is one of its kind in UN history. The collapse of Iraqi trust for the UN and the deliberate ignorance of the world about the murderous situation in Iraq are bound to have some major implications in that part of the world. But the eventual growth of insecurity and instability in Iraq and among its neighbours would be taken by the occupying powers as an opportunity to justify their presence and control over Iraq and west Asia.