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Hyper power hubris

"This young century will be liberty's century and Iraq and Afghanistan were poised to become examples for the rest of the Middle East of peaceful, democratic societies, Gorge  Bush told the UN General Assembly ,

"Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state" — Noam Chomsky

 

By K Gajendra Singh

03/31/06 "ICH" -- -- Three years after the U.S.-led illegal invasion of Iraq , so pronounced by UN Secretary General Kofi Anan himself, Washington and its allies are getting sucked into a deepening quagmire . A number of US commentators and others in the West refuse to squarely blame US-UK leadership , which has been led by disciples of Leo Strauss and his evil ideology , propounding the theory of  intellectual , cultural and racial supremacy , emphasizing the animal side of evolving homo sapiens , ie the rule of jungle .This Western evolution and pagan like belief in the old Testament fables of coming of the Christ and slaying of the anti-Christ is inexorably leading the world to Armageddon ,sooner than the collapse of the planet earth by heedless and headless consumerism.  

What if the Chinese and the Indians tried to fulfill the American dream achieved by 2% of US population which has cornered 25% of world resources! Of course US would defend its untenable position by even more lethal means of destruction .US War Lords now spend almost as much as the rest of the world put together on its war and terror machine and sustain it by 'extortion' by an inequitable international economic order . Almost living like an alcoholic , who guzzles more alcohol  to get over the terrible hangover, the day of reckoning may not be too far in the future.

Since the ignoble, unethical and inaptly planned invasion of Iraq ,many intrepid US thinkers and journalists , who represent the healthy part of US polity's liver , have snorkeled out many secrets of  the neo-cons , the Vulcan group and their allies. Now that the evil ship of invasion is sinking , people like  former US Viceroy of Iraq  Paul Bremer , US Senators and Congressmen , many British government officials , think tanks , who had extended full support or kept quiet , when the rape of Iraq began , are now to trying to come clean , to earn some Brownie points.  In their arrogance of power Leo Strauss disciples ,who imagine themselves as the wise ruling elite, set free of the bonds of honesty and equality. like Paul Wolfowitz had made no bones about US objectives of war for its oil and control of the region and its resources .He now heads the World Bank .

While others have been equivocal , many like Scott Ritter , a former Chief UN Weapons Inspector for Iraq , have described the actions of US –UK leaders criminal and suggested impeachment .As has Amnesty International .Even the info –challenged US population has learnt the horrible truth , with approval ratings of George Bush down to an all time low of around 30% .If Saddam Hussein and Iraqis could be punished for the illegal invasion of Kuwait , over which it had some dubious claims , US led invasion was naked aggression , followed by violations of international law and human rights conventions in Guantamano, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere . The integrity and the credibility of Western civilization , which Mahatma Gandhi quipped would be a good idea , represented by its leadership, the so called thinkers and corporate media, lies shattered. USA could slip into fascism , with its political leadership ,corrupt to the core , as new scandals prove everyday, if not checked by its greatUS people. People around the world have started doubting if it were ever true.

 

I had a ringside review of the 1990 -- 91 Gulf Crisis and the War from Amman, Jordan, which was the only country to have its border open with Iraq, I started writing from August, 2002 on the brewing crisis when the US and UK War Lords had started beating the war drums. I had thought the invasion of Iraq irrational enough .During my recent lecture tour of India , I was asked about possible US/Israel attack on Iran. This will be an even more irrational and the world would stand altered , but not to US advantage.

 

Extracts from a few of my articles, written before the March, 2003 invasion , clearly bring out the reasons and the likely outcome. Written almost on a monthly or fortnightly basis ,these were widely copied as most in the West could not even distinguish Iraq from Iran or even now between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

 

Does any one have any idea , how the US can climb out of the Iraq quagmire , short of immediate withdrawal. During the Gulf crisis in 1990-91, some one was asked if Saddam Hussein , by withdrawing from Kuwait would confront the US led , UN approved coalition with a night mare scenario , the reply was , 'No.' At least Saddam Hussein , having become fatalistic by then knew he would be hounded ( and proved right ).US and UK accusations against Saddam Hussein ,remind one of the bad wolf and lamb story , with  US making a lamb out of the latter .

 

The only hyper power hubris afflicts US leadership and would not allow it to withdraw troops. Things are going to get worse than better. Study Turkish history after it was occupied by victorious UK led western powers following the Ottomans defeat in the first world war and Algeria's bloody war of independence from French colonial rule after the 2nd world war for parallels . Would Iraq remain united and if yes , who would come out on top , a ruthless Iraqi Ataturk or an Iraqi Khomeini

 

Read on .Comments in italics.  

 

The Bush family's phony wars

 28 August, 2002.AsiaTimes on line

An entire region from Jordan to Iran is on the brink of catastrophe as it awaits one man's decision on how he will pursue his family's vendetta .India's former Ambassador to Jordan looks inside the Pandora's box which George Bush holds in his hands. Editor

 

For the Bush family, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is the tempting Apple in the Middle Eastern Garden of Eden. The results of succumbing to the temptation to take a bite could be as disastrous as they were for Adam and Eve. –

 

 [ US and UK leaders stand isolated, almost like pariahs ]

 

In 1991 George Bush Sr sought the removal of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. He failed and left the region in a mess. Now his son, President George W Bush, having inherited Dick Cheney and other chieftains from his father's presidency, is pursuing the family vendetta

 

It is difficult to know what to believe of the leaks regarding the US's current options to oust Saddam, ranging from assassination, fomenting a coup or internal rebellion, air strikes against Baghdad and other Iraqi command centers, to a vast amphibious invasion with massive air support, involving up to 250,000 soldiers The latest plan, involving around 60,000 troops backed by heavy air power, will begin with a swift attack on Saddam's elite Republican Guards around Baghdad, in the hope that the regular Iraqi army would then abandon Saddam. Such balderdash.

 

[Similar plans to attack Iran are being leaked out , the results would be catastrophic]

 

However, there is room for hope that worse may not come to worst: a saving grace of the US constitutional system of checks and balances is that Bush may be the most powerful man in the world, but he can't ignore Congress. And, however much George Bush Sr might hate Saddam, he would not want his son's presidency to end in disgrace.

 

 [ Peoples  faith lies shattered with the nonpartisan US support for the invasion and evasions now]


Soon another leak countered that some in the Establishment favored an "inside-out" plan to "take Baghdad and one or two key command centers and weapons depots first, in hopes of cutting off the country's leadership and causing a quick collapse of the government". Such a plan was once dismissed by General Anthony Zinni, the US Middle East envoy, as a recipe for a "Bay of Goats" disaster, like the 1961 Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba.

 

[ How the inapt leadership self hypnotized itself to believe the Iraqi exile and convicted embezzler Ahmed Chalabi that Iraqis would welcome the US occupation forces with flowers. Now there is a 'Bay of Camels' plan for Iran]

 

The war's end [First World War) did not bring freedom to the Arabs as promised; for , at the same time, by secret Sykes-Picot agreement, the British and French arbitrarily divided the sultan's Arab domains and their warring populations of Shi'ites, Sunnis, Alawite Muslims, Druse, and Christians. The French took most of greater Syria, dividing it into Syria and Christian-dominated Lebanon. The British kept Palestine, Iraq and the rest of Arabia.

 

By 1917 Britain's Balfour Declaration had also promised a homeland for Jews in Palestine. European Jews began emigrating to Palestine, and the trickle became a flood with the rise of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe. After World War II, the state of Israel, carved out of British Palestine, was not recognized by the Arabs. The 1948 Arab-Israeli war allowed Israel to expand its area, while Jordan annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza. In the Six-Day War of 1967, Israel captured the West bank and Gaza. Thus were laid the foundations for most of the problems of the region.

 

[The Iraqis do not believe that US has brought freedom , security and development and a majority want occupation troops out ]

 

The US stumbled into the 1991 war without any strategic thought or planning. In fact, the West had supported Iraq's long war against Khomeini's Iran, and the US had granted loans to Baghdad worth billions of dollars. Amid high tension between Kuwait and Baghdad over common oil wells, two islands, and the return of a $10 billion loan, Iraq threatened Kuwait with war. A few days before the Iraqi invasion on August 2, 1990, US Ambassador April Glaspie told Saddam Hussein that his dispute with Kuwait was a bilateral Arab affair. This was never clearly refuted by the US and Ambassador Glaspie disappeared from view.

 

The Western media never pursued her as they do others, and allowed themselves to become a handmaiden of the Western propaganda machine. (Later, they wrote little about the slaughter of retreating and surrendering Iraqi soldiers, and their credibility has declined further since then.)

 

Meanwhile, all attempts to find a peaceful solution to the Iraq-Kuwait row by Arab nations, led by King Hussein of Jordan and later joined by King Hassan of Morocco, were rebuffed by the US, as was Kuwait's offer of indirect negotiations. Feelers for negotiations by the Saudis were drowned in Western cacophony. Saddam's reported offer to the UN secretary general to withdraw fromKuwait, made just before the US retaliation, was brushed aside. Efforts by Mikhail Gorbachev, who had just unraveled the USSR, were treated with disdain.

 

For the countries of the region, the war resolved nothing. Instead, the US made Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other allies pay through the nose, weakening them by an estimated $100-$150 billion. Iraq was bombed into the Middle Ages. Its enemy Iran, now a joint member of the "Axis of Evil", was the major gainer [ As it is now ]

 

US promises turned sour in the aftermath of the Gulf War. George Bush Sr, without consulting his allies, encouraged Iraqis, especially Kurds in the north and Shi'ites in the south, to revolt. Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, most of which had large Shi'ite populations, were horrified, as a Shi'ite state in south Iraq would strengthen Iran. The prospect of independence for Iraqi Kurds worried Turkey, whose own Kurds were fighting for freedom. The hapless Iraqi Kurds, now protected by the US-UK enforced "no-fly zone", and the Shi'ites paid a terrible price.

 

Turkish President Turgut Ozal, seduced by US hints of winning "lost" Kurdish areas of north Iraq, had become an energetic supporter of the Bush coalition in 1990-91. He almost opened another front in the war against Iraq, but was prevented by stiff opposition from his powerful military. But instead of getting oil-rich Mosul and Kirkuk, the economic sanctions against Iraq and closure of the Iraqi pipeline via Turkey cost Ankara $50 billion in lost trade. Unemployment rose as the sanctions halted the 5,000 trucks that used to roar to and from Iraq daily, aggravating the economic and social problems in Turkey's Kurdish heartland of rebellion. A deputy prime minister once ruefully told this writer, "Mr Ambassador, you cannot trust the Americans, not even their written promises." A sobering thought for those who support the US blindly.

 

[The Nato Alliance between Turkey and USA  is only in name .Relations , almost ally like with Israel earlier , are just about correct , with Turks accusing Israel of terrorism in Gaza and interference in north Iraq , undermining Turkey's stability in its south east. .Turkey has mended relations with its historical enemy Russia and deep rooted differences between Turkey and Syria has been placed on the back burner]

 

Iraq's emasculation made Israel feel bolder. Now Ariel Sharon wants Palestinians under Israel's heel. But the Palestinians, the most radicalized among Arabs, will not give up. Intifada was and is indigenous. (The PLO, now corrupted, just took the credit.) Arab and Muslim masses the world over watch what is happening in Palestine with great anger. This, and random US and UK bombing of Iraq, are among the reasons cited for the September 11 attacks on the US.

 

 [ The result is there .Hamas has won and formed the government and has been accepted by Russia, Turkey and others .The constitution of the Irish Republic enshrines joining of northern Ireland to the Republic , still UK and others do business with Ireland .Then why not with Hamas , which recognizes Israel's 1967 borders. The founders of state of Israel belonged to terrorist organizations according to British colonial records.]

 

It is difficult to trust the US, with its track record in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia, Bosnia and Serbia. What will Pandora's Box reveal in Iraq? How will Iran and Turkey react in a free-for-all over Kurdish north Iraq? The US was unclear in its strategic aims in 1991 and still is in 2002. At least there was a solid coalition in 1991; now there is none except for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose own people are opposed.

 

According to the new Bush doctrine, an attack would be "pre-emptive self-defense". But this doctrine could be used to justify military adventurism from Chechnya to Palestine, or to bomb a schoolboy studying nuclear physics in Rameshwaram.

 

[ Near home town of Indian President .Abdul Kalam , regarded as the father of Indian missiles program]  

There is not even a casus belli. Unlike 1990-91, there is no clear-cut aggression. The US administration has failed to establish any link between Iraq and the September 11 attacks. Blair had promised proof but has not yet delivered. In fact, the fanatics who attacked America came from Saudi Arabia and Egypt, staunch US allies. No US bombs have fallen on these American protectorates. Instead, more than 5,000 civilians have been bombed to death in stricken Afghanistan.

There is no persuasive evidence that Iraq has rebuilt weapons facilities dismantled after the 1991 war. Even if Iraq has small stockpiles of lethal chemical and biological weapons and some Scud missiles, Saddam will use them only if attacked. Even obedient weapons inspector Richard Butler told the US Senate that there was no evidence that Iraq had passed weapons technology to non-Iraqi terrorist groups. Scott Ritter, another former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, has said that the US has not produced enough hard evidence to justify an attack. Rolf Ekeus, the Swedish arms inspector from 1991 to 1997, accused the US last month of manipulating the UN mission for its own ends. The US was more keen on tracking Saddam's whereabouts, which "could be of interest if one were to target him personally".

Saudi Arabia was misled in 1991 by doctored evidence of Saddam's intentions. The stationing of US troops on sacred Arabian soil after the war is resented by Arabs and Muslims all over the world. They also oppose oppressive pro-US Arab regimes and their siphoning off of oil wealth. After September 11, most Muslims see the Arab-Israel conflict and US plans to attack Iraq as part of Crusade versus Jihad. In Saudi Arabia, the union of corrupt princes and fanatical Wahhabis is already under strain.

 

Reports now emanating from the US say that Saudi Arabia should be treated as a US enemy because it supports jihadis all over the world. If necessary, its oil fields could be occupied. Anyway, after Saddam's replacement with a "democratic regime", Iraqi oil will be available as a replacement.

 

[`Alas the production of oil in Iraq has been disrupted by the resistance , falling  from 2.5 million in 2002  barrels to 1.8 millions last year]

 

The morning after: Post-Saddam Iraq
What of the post-Saddam scenario? Who will run Iraq? In spite of Western belief, Saddam remains popular with the masses, who blame the embargo and frequent bombings for their misery. Given Iraq's 40-year history of repression, it is highly likely that blood will flow with the settling of old scores. And who would stop the Iraqi people turning against the occupying Americans?

What if a Shi'ite state based in Basra declared independence with covert support from Iran? North Iraqi Kurds, almost autonomous since 1991, could also declare independence, leaving a Sunni-dominated center. This could tempt Turkey to move into Mosul and Kirkuk. To keep post-Saddam Iraq united would need security forces of around 75,000, costing about $15 billion, for a year or two, and a force of more than 5,000 for many years after if the reconstruction effort is to succeed. But would the result be any different than in Afghanistan?

 

[ The resistance has made mockery of the western estimates of US troops to control  Iraq after the invasion. The Iraqis had expelled the occupying British forces after the first world war and assassinated the UK foisted Hashemite King.]

Most analysts scratch their heads, only to conclude that US options make little strategic sense. -- A US attack could dangerously destabilize the region, harm the global economy, and infuriate Arab and Muslim masses. Former British chief of staff Field Marshal Lord Bramall, warned in a letter to the Times that an invasion would pour "petrol rather than water" on the flames and provide al-Qaeda with more recruits. He quoted a predecessor who during the 1956 Suez crisis said: "Of course we can get to Cairo, but what I want to know is what the bloody hell we do when we get there?"

 

Conclusion: Raging bull

 

With its vast military-industrial complex, the US needs constant conflict, ie, wars or near wars, to justify its staggering expenditure. The only superpower, with the most destructive power at its command in history, has pretensions to be an imperial power without the grace or obligations that go with it. After the stunning events of September 11, it is behaving like a raging bull, as if its manhood had been castrated. But the enemy al-Qaeda, with its tentacles around the world, remains free and hidden. AttackingIraq would give the impression that the flagging "war on terror" is going somewhere.

 

The decline of the American Century
11 September, 2002 Atimes

 

"When there is a general change of conditions, it is as if the entire creation had been changed and the whole world been altered." - Ibn Khaldun

"History is but glorification of murderers, criminals and robbers." - Karl Popper


 

It is the afternoon sun that dazzles onlookers though it is past its prime. That sums up the height of US power before last September 11. If the US nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki without fear of retaliation was the acme of the American Century, then the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, symbols of economic and military might, could be termed the beginning of the end of the American Century.

 

 [The limitations of US's colossal powers of destruction have been exposed by Iraqi freedom fighters . US is now in fast decline]

US President George W Bush's spontaneous call for a "crusade" and "Infinite Justice" neatly expressed the reality better than the later slogans, "war on terrorism" and "Enduring Freedom".

 

[Most Muslims believe that it is a Crusade]

 

After having thoughtlessly helped create the monster of Islamic fundamentalism, the United States has now succeeded in arousing it, ranging the might of Islamic people and their faith against itself. Earlier, the poor and the deprived could find solace and action in communist and leftist ideologies and programs, but after the dismantling of the Soviet Union, many in the Islamic world have taken to extreme religious movements.

 

[US & Western powers, Arab and Muslim nations, China and even Israel helped create the monster of Islamic fundamentalism to fight against USSR in Afghanistan, spending many billions of US dollars. Pakistan is most seriously infected with the virus of terrorism. ]

For the first time in history, war has been brought to US territory, making it dar ul harab (the house of war). Even a normal air accident now shatters the jangled nerves and morale of New Yorkers. Apart from bearding the Western lion in its den, inflicting direct and collateral economic damage that may amount to as much as US$95 billion, September 11 globalized the feeling of insecurity and terror from which the United States had felt immune.

 

[US administration has used the fear of attacks to get re-elected, help Military industry complex and rich friends , while reducing freedoms at home ]

 

The US spends a staggering amount of money to defend itself. But the innovative guerrilla air attacks that stunned the US pierced forever the myth of homeland inviolability. Those who live in glass houses cannot be immune from stones. The tens of billions of dollars spent by the US government on agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) could not protect Americans. And there is no guarantee that they can in the future. Apart from killing ill-trained Taliban and bombing to death thousands of innocent civilians, the combined special forces of the United States, United Kingdom and other allies have not been able to catch the main leaders of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Rather, a war scare is being created in order to pour trillions of dollars into national missile defense (NMD) and other defense projects, which will only fatten the pockets of the military-industrial complex and the corporate interests behind it.

 

Throughout history, there have always been asymmetrical wars, with the only recourse of the weak to sacrifice his life against a powerful tyrant. Among Muslims, Caliph Ali's son Imam Hussein, his forces outnumbered, is revered for his sacrifice at Kerbala for his principles. Today, nations send their soldiers to die for country or corporate interests in exchange for Purple Hearts and Distinguished Service Medals.

 

With the United States replacing Europe as the new focus of Western power, it believes there is nothing superior to human knowledge. In Greek philosophy, from which Western civilization derives, the idea of unwritten laws exists - which "live always and forever, and no man knows from where they have arisen". Western belief in an external moral universe to which men owe obedience has been changed to a rational secular alternative. The late English social historian, philosopher, and essayist Isaiah Berlin's advice that "solutions to the central problems existed, that one could discover them and, with sufficient selfless effort, realize them on Earth" has been lost. Popular religious belief in the West still remains strong, but since the mid-20 century its elites have become secularized with radical autonomy and absolute freedom to do whatever one chooses .

 

By now there is enough evidence to believe that US authorities let Pearl Harbor happen. US president Franklin Roosevelt's son and confidant, talking of people "scorched and boiled and baked to death", said that the atomic bombing should continue "until we have destroyed about half the Japanese civilian population". General Leslie Groves, military director of the Manhattan Project, hastily reassured congressmen that radiation caused no "undue suffering" and that "in fact, they say it is a very pleasant way to die". In 1946 a US strategic bombing survey concluded that "Japan would have surrendered even if atomic bombs had not been dropped".

 

 [ No wonder there are theories of US Administration's conspiracy in 911 attacks. Also look at US view of others' suffering. No 'body counts' of Iraqis .USA has used in Iraq  all weapons of destruction ,even forbidden ones , except for nuclear bombs]

By the end of the 20th century US corporate interests had acquired almost full control of world finance and power. The nominees of the armaments, energy and other sectors become presidents who promote their interests at home and abroad. Corporate interests bid for their candidate and the highest bidder gets his man in the White House. But even with a blind opening bid of nearly US$65 million, only legal jiggery-pokery, possible only in the US, could get George W Bush into the White House.

[US judicial system and the rampant corruption in its political elite lies exposed.

In his discussions at the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, as reported by Newsweek ,US Supreme Court Justice Scalia said terror suspects did not deserve the right to a trial, adding "I had a son on that battlefield ( in Iraq) and they were shooting at my son, and I'm not about to give this man who was captured in a war a full jury trial. I mean it's crazy."]

While the American people were confused, scared and panicky after September 11, the Bush administration did not miss the chance to enrich its masters. As US economist Paul Krugman pointed out at the end of last year, the US Congress voted $15 billion in aid to airline companies but nothing for laid-off airline workers. Also there was almost nothing for the unemployed but $25 billion in retroactive corporate tax cuts, mostly to highly profitable companies.

Abroad, the charade of globalization, a distorted version of capitalism, enforces rapid capital movements for quick profits with no accountability, leaving weak national economies in disarray and shattered. It has played havoc around the world. The weapons used are the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the United Nations, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and now the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 

US leadership and lessons from history
An astute analyst blamed the US debacle in Vietnam on a lack of moral and integrated leadership. The war was run like a managerial enterprise. There was no holistic or long-term planning. Leaders from the corporate and legal professions, sometimes ruthless and insensitive academics such as Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright, came in for a few years to manage Washington.

[Madeleine Albright to General Colin Powell: "What's the point of having this superb military you're always talking about if we can't use it?" Peter Cheney, when queried by Prince Hassan  of Jordan why choose Iraq when similar regimes existed elsewhere,replied "Iraq is doable ". ]

In history, when societies become rich and flabby they are reluctant to engage in bloody fights. The desert Arabs whose swords carved an empire became soft after lapping up luxuries from the conquered Byzantine and Persian empires.

By the mid-9th century the caliphs started recruiting Turkish nomad slaves from Central Asia for fighting. It was only a matter of time before the slaves took over and upgraded the minor office of sultan to the protector of hapless Arab caliphs.

 

US and European leaders are reluctant to risk soldiers in conflicts and wars, even for human intelligence. Fear of body bags - and what they would do to their popularity - sends shivers down their spines. Hence the use of missiles and stealth bombers.

 

Both George W Bush and his predecessor as US commander-in-chief, Bill Clinton, avoided military service in Vietnam - much like the Arab caliphs. When the draft became unpopular among whites, it was abolished; now more blacks join the US armed forces. They may not repeat what Alawites have done in Syria or the slaves in Islamic history, but this nevertheless has future ramifications for the white US political elite and polity.

 

[Claims of a brilliant US victory over Iraqi forces by US writers are nauseating .US spent nearly US $ 500.billions, compared to Iraq's a few billions , which also faced 12 years of sanctions ,and intermittent bombing by US-K planes]

 

Inequities of the current economic order
The current international finance architecture is founded on the US dollar as the dominant reserve currency, accounting for 68 percent of global currency reserves, up from 51 percent a decade ago. Yet in 2000, the US share of global exports ($781.1 billion out of a world total of $6.2 trillion) was only 12.3 percent and its share of global imports ($1.257 trillion out of a world total of $6.65 trillion) was 18.9 percent.

Ever since 1971, when US president Richard Nixon arbitrarily took the dollar off the gold standard ($35 per ounce) in force since the Bretton Woods Conference at the end of World War II, the dollar has become the global monetary instrument that the United States, and only the United States, can produce by fiat, despite record US current-account deficits and the US as the leading debtor nation. The US national debt as of April 4 was $6.021 trillion against a GDP of $9 trillion.

 

India has to maintain ample foreign-exchange reserves, which have now reached $60 billion. Most of this must be kept in low-interest US securities, which US companies like Enron can then invest in India and force governments to guarantee 15 percent returns. Thus US companies earn billions of dollars by investing Indian savings in India.

One of the casus belli for the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was the latter's insistence that Iraq must return $10 billion granted by Kuwait to fight Iran. Kuwait finally ended up paying more than $50 billion (as did the Saudis). The US, meanwhile, collected a cool $150 billion or more for basically protecting its own interests.

 

[US is now financing the Iraq war by reckless borrowings. The foreign debt has now mounted to over $ 8 trillion ,with current account deficit of nearly US$ 700 billion]

Globalization, much heralded since the early 1990s as a panacea has turned out to be a gliblization of the economic and social problems of the masses wallowing in misery in developing countries. In the former socialist countries, so-called shock therapy has reduced millions to penury. The middle classes have been decimated while wealth and power are concentrated in the hands of a few, ironically mostly former communist leaders or apparatchiks or their friends. Western media rarely write about it. Nearly $200 billion has been transferred from former socialist countries to the banks and other institutions in the West and become a national debt. No wonder a current joke in Moscow is: "What the communists said about communism was all wrong but what they said about capitalism is all true."

 

 [ There is little trickle down effect , instead it is trickle up effect as Forbes report annually increase in the number of billionaires and their wealth]


Transparency
If developing countries must have "transparency", so should developed nations. Most corrupt deals in the energy, raw-materials and commodities sectors are controlled by corporate interests and their servants in high decision-making positions. The kickbacks taken by former senior US officials from energy deals in the new Central Asian republics or by others in Angola or Congo and money given to the dictators runs into billions of dollars, which has further impoverished these poor nations

Most African dictators are creatures of multinational organizations and diamond dealers and the cause of ethnic fighting, mayhem, genocide and unashamed exploitation. The whole system is designed to exploit the poorest of the poor.

 

The leaders and people of the United States delude themselves that other people are envious. Yes, they admire US dynamism and the rule of law and democracy, but these apply only inside the US. But the rage is against injustice perpetrated by naked US financial clout backed by coercive military power all over the world.


The US: A law unto itself
Bush's threat of war against Iraq for defying international law is absurd. Since coming into office, he has torn up more international treaties and disregarded more UN conventions than the rest of the world in past 20 years.

The list is familiar, including but not limited to the withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, failure to ratify the Rio Pact on biodiversity, withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and the pursuit of National Missile Defense. It appears ready to violate the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. It opposed the ban on land mines and has sought to immobilize the UN convention against torture so that it could keep foreign observers out of its prison camp in Guantanamo Bay and hide its treatment of al-Qaeda prisoners. It has sabotaged the small-arms treaty and is opposed to new provisions of the biological-warfare convention. It experiments with biological weapons of its own and has refused chemical-weapons inspectors full access to its laboratories. It is opposed to the International Criminal Court and is coercing other countries to sign separate agreements not to charge US citizens. It has permitted CIA hit squads to recommence covert operations of the kind that included, in the past, the assassination of foreign heads of state. Even its threat to go to war with Iraq without a mandate from the UN Security Council is a defiance of international law.

The Bush administration's foreign policy has undermined the fragile structure of international law and conventions built up during the past three centuries, to which the United States made important contributions. Former president Billy Carter, a respected elder statesman frequently invited as an observer to elections, wrote in the Washington Post on September 6 that, "formerly admired almost universally as the pre-eminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life". He added that statements on Israel by US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicate "a radical departure from policies of every administration since 1967, always based on the withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories and a genuine peace between Israelis and their neighbors".

 

 [ With over 100 nuclear bombs in its arsenal ,Israel is grabbing Palestinian land illegally by building a concrete Wall against international law . Do Israelis envisage a Green Zone in the Middle East  Red Zone ! ]

Look how the energy interests are trying to rule the United States and the rest of the world. Zalmay Khalilzad, whom the Bush administration appointed as its envoy to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban, was a Unocal consultant, as was, according to some reports, Karzai himself -It is well known that the Bush family acquired its wealth through oil; former president George Bush Sr still works with the Carlyle Group that specializes in huge oil investments abroad. His son's commerce secretary, Dale Evans, was chairman and chief executive officer of an oil company. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was on the board of Chevron before going to Washington. (The oil company even named a giant tanker after her, although the ship has reportedly been quietly renamed the Altair Voyager.) Dick Cheney, before becoming vice president, worked for the giant oil conglomerate Halliburton.

 

[ US Energy corporate interests remain predominant  while the military –industry complex gets fatter every day , now with the so called 'never ending war against terrorism' .]

 

Dangers from within
The knee-jerk US reaction and quick-fix measures after the September 11 attacks have changed the very basics of US society, its function, transparency and freedoms. Thousands of its loyal citizens and students of Middle East origin and others are being scrutinized, harassed and imprisoned without charge, sometimes for no reason except for their origins. It has alienated loyal citizens of Middle East and South Asian descent, many in key positions.

The United States is an idea barely more than 200 years old that white Anglo-Saxon Protestants dominate. There are still questions about what happened to its first Catholic president John F Kennedy and some of his family members. The US is a fragile nation, never tested fully at home. Its internal security and unity are fragile. It has yet to recover from its Vietnam trauma.

The danger to the US "way of life and stability" could come from within, from black American Muslims who now number 3 million to 5 million. Black Americans are now joining the armed forces in large numbers after the compulsory military draft was abolished.

The black community and Muslims remember many historic wrongs done to them. Of the 2 million Americans in prisons, two-thirds are non-white. Many feel oppressed by the white power structure and sentencing disparities, which too often fall most harshly on minorities. Islam offers brotherhood, dignity, and a sense of pride and solidarity, especially for non-whites. But many, alienated and disfranchised, are prime targets for radical Islamists who preach a religion of violence, of overcoming oppression by jihad. Many black Americans have experienced maltreatment and dehumanization. Conversion to Islam increased after September 11, even among Hispanics.

 

The UK has a big Muslim population, which sends volunteers and huge sums of money to support terrorism in the South Asian subcontinent and elsewhere. Many are al-Qaeda members involved in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl in Pakistan and other terror-related and hijacking activities. Other European countries such as Germany and France have big Muslim populations of many millions from Turkey and North Africa, mostly on the margins of the society and fertile ground for recruitment. Besides Chechnya and other places in the Caucasus, Russia has a large Muslim population. There is a well-spread-out and long-term danger all over the Christian world.

 

[ US could morph from a melting pot of nations into a melt down. France and Germany did not join US because of its Muslim population. Spain and UK have paid the price.]

Who needs a regime change?
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, one misses Pravda and Izvestia, not that they propounded truth (Pravda in Russian) but they were a check on the so-called free Western media, which were careful and comparatively honest. Now, without any restraints, the brainwashing monopoly of Western propaganda is wreaking havoc around the world, specially in the United States, whether it was the 1990-91 Gulf War, the bombing of Yugoslavia, Jammu and Kashmir, and now Iraq.

 

[US has little free media left, only corporate news networks , functioning as in house PR organizations .T he Big Five, the global media conglomeration of Time Warner, The Walt Disney Company, Bertelsmann AG, Viacom, and News Corporation, now control approximately 90% of the world's headlines Such control has undermined the foundations of democracy in USA. ]



If the American public were told that an attack on Iraq would not be like the 1990-91 computer game and might cause many thousands of casualties (given the low US threshold last tested in Mogadishu), that Arabs might destroy oilfields which bring prosperity to oil companies and cheap gas to their cars, and that US nationals might even be attacked in Muslim countries, Bush's popularity would plummet immediately.
 

The United States, with 2 percent of the world's population, controls 30 percent of world resources. And US corporate interests, forming perhaps 2 percent of this 2 percent population, control these massive resources. They want to control the world without accountability, not even to the American people.

Perhaps it is in the United States itself where its ill-informed and misinformed people need not just a regime change but a system change. Where energy and military-industry corporate interests have hijacked power from the people to pursue their narrow objectives. Where corporate chiefs enjoy coercive powers even the Communist Party chiefs in the former Soviet Union would have envied. Where blacks, Hispanics and the poor cannot freely choose a president (as in Florida, where only by not counting their votes did George Bush become the president).

The United States needs a regime and a system under which people can question, without being labeled unpatriotic or enemies, failures of a system that could not and cannot protect them. -- There were enough concrete warnings - the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the attack on the US Navy warship Cole in the harbor at Aden, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a residence for American GIs, and the bombing of two US embassies in Africa.

Members of the EU, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the OECD should persuade the US to have a dialogue with the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

[Power is now shifting to  Russia, China , India and East and US losing  Latin America , with people friendly leaders being elected]

MIDDLE EAST- Iraqi Mosaic in Pandora's Box  by K Gajendra Singh

Paper no 607, 17 Feb , 2003 .South Asia Analyses Group( www.saag.org)

 Iraq is a delicate mosaic, which must be handled carefully, but a US led war would shatter and scatter it to bits.    

Whenever post Saddam Hussein Iraq is discussed in USA and elsewhere, not enough serious thought is given to ethnic, religious and other differences of its constituents and their tortuous history, which go to make Iraq a delicate mosaic. In a population of nearly 23 million ,its Shia Arabs form nearly 70% of 78 to 80% of Iraq's Arab population while less than 20% are Kurds, mostly Sunnis and concentrated in the north .The rest are Shia Turcomen (1 to 2% ), Assyrians , Yezidis and others .

But the Shia Arabs ,a majority with 55% of the total population have been traditionally kept out of power , a legacy of the Ottomans ,  who were Sunnis and in conflict with its Shia Safavid neighbour, Iran . But the Ottomans allowed Shia clerics to flourish in almost autonomous enclaves of Najaf and Kerbala in its Basra Vilayat. When the Ottoman empire collapsed after the first world war and the Arabs took over Iraq with British help, the power remained in Sunni Arab hands (over 20 %), which is a reality even today. The major languages are Arabic, Kurdish, Assyrian and Armenian. 

But such things are not unusual in the region .Across in Syria, under another branch of Ba'athists –secular Arab nationalists, Shia Alawites ,12% of Syria's population, constitute the ruling elite.  --  they came into power in 1960s. -- In Saudi Arabia , the ruling elite is a curious amalgam of two opposites ; pristine puritan Wahabis and an oligarchy of Saudi princes' whose life style, according to Wahabi believers, is totally at variance with their percepts of Islam. So if western style democracy with elections and votes were to be introduced in Iraq, would the Shias get power!  

Take another example, Pakistan in 1971. Remember what happened when Bengalis of East Pakistan got a clear majority in the parliament after the elections; massacres and genocide and breakup of Pakistan .And the role of Nixon –Kissinger administration! Or the break up of European Communist Yugoslavia and the religious and ethnic cleansing and the wars , not only between Kosovo and Serbia only but Croatia and Serbia , both Christian states and among others. It is so easy to shatter an ethnic, religious and cultural mosaic from the outside.

Saddam' heirs , proxies and pretenders ,

"Just you wait until we have democracy in Iraq, and I'll throw you in jail!" one lifelong opponent of Saddam Hussein to another at the December 2002 Iraqi opposition conference in London. 

Now let us look at Saddam Hussein's heirs, promoted by the West and their claims to bring about stability, rule of law and democracy as part of the regime change in Iraq. The Anglo-Saxons organized a conference of Saddam Hussein's opponents in London in mid December last year to back their claim. It was held after many postponements and much prodding-- an achievement itself. Many a times the proceedings looked like the scene from the film "Lawrence of Arabia" starring Peter O'Toole, with  the Arab tribes squabbling and fighting after taking over Damascus following the with drawl of the Ottoman troops. The French had chased them out. 

The conference brought together north Iraqi Kurdish parties, KDP and PUK - who are at each others throat inside Iraq , Iranian-backed Shia group SAIRI (Sciri) , the Constitutional Monarchy Movement and the National Accord Movement. One of the prime movers of the conference was the Iraqi National Congress (INC), headed by Ahmad Chalabi, on the run once from Jordan's law , but now a creature of  Washington. Those who did not participate were the Iraqi Communist Party, the Socialist Party and the pro-Syrian branch of Iraq's ruling Ba'ath party. The Shia Muslim al-Daawa Party also did not attend, as the purpose of the conference implied a US attack on Iraq and installation of a pro-US regime. 

The only apparent agreement reached was that after Saddam Hussein, USA should not run Iraq (like making an advertising film without the product and the message. )There  was no agreement on the kind of political system or general frame work for a Constitution . The only common denominator to emerge was some vague form of federalism. The Kurdish parties argued for a bi-national model with an Arab and Kurdish state, (like Cyprus!) while others called for geographic and not ethnic decentralization. 

US favourite Chalabi of INC wanted a government in waiting ( with himself of course at the head ); a political authority to provide legitimacy against political power vacuum after the fall of the present regime .The US strongly opposed the formation of a government-in-exile, arguing that it would  alienate serving Iraqi generals and others who might mutiny once a war starts. ---Naturally USA did not want to tie its own hands in advance concerning Iraq's rulers and its political fate .More importantly about the economic status of its oil reserves.

WAR & CHAOS ALL AROUND;

Every party i.e. "heirs, pretenders and proxies " remains worried about the ambitions of the others . Chalabi is rightly worried about the Kurdish plans .While there is little official to go by but there would be a mad scramble for power. Kurds with their peshmargas and other groups would try to fill in the vacuum. --

Of course the Turks , faced with unenviable choice of a war are willing only if  the oil rich province of Mosul and Kirkuk ,does not fall under some body else's control . Turkey already has many thousand troops in north Iraq and has moved heavy armor along its border with Iraq .It says that it is to prepare for a 1991 like refugee influx. And also to protect their kinsmen the Turcoman .But Turkish ministers have talked of their old claims on Kirkuk and Mosul ,Turkey has made no secret of occupying parts of north Iraq to prevent Kurds taking control of Kirkuk .-- opposed to any Kurdish bid for statehood in north Iraq. They have refused to put their troops under US command .They have put many other conditions on the urgent US request to deploy up to 40,000 American troops in South East Turkey to invade Iraq. Turkey also wants billions in aid, loans and compensation. An attack from north is very vital to get rid of Saddam Hussein,

In a situation of a large-scale Turkish incursion -- Kurdish forces can be expected to fight. Barham Salah, a senior PUK leader, said recently that Turkish intervention could encourage that of Iran. "The best thing the neighbours can do is stay out, as any country entering Iraq could draw in others," he added .Even PKK cadres , whose leader Ocalan is in jail have threatened to end their 1999 ceasefire and resume their rebellion for a separate state[in south east Turkey] . US propped Iraqi opposition groups have an alliance of convenience with the Kurds , but they would oppose any threat to Iraq's territorial integrity .Thus it appears that US led  war on Iraq could trigger a conflagration in Kurdish areas involving Turkish, Kurdish, Iraqi and even Iranian forces .—

[The strained relationship between Nato Allies US and Turkey erupted into a full blown crisis on March 1 , 2003 when the Turkish parliament rejected a government resolution to allow the US to use Turkish territory as a base to open a second front in north Iraq. Matters were made worse by what the Turks felt was American bullying during negotiations over the terms of the proposed deal and its patronizing and sometimes scurrilous coverage in the US media . After the 1990-91 Gulf crisis and war, most of the US  verbal promises made to Turkey were forgotten.

In any case, the parliament vote was simply a reflection of strong public opposition to the war in Turkey , in spite of its powerful military's tacit approval to join with the US forces . Polls showed that 90 percent of Turks were opposed to a war against Muslim Iraq, perhaps the only traditional friend among neighbors
.]

The Anglo-Saxons turned Afghanistan and Pakistan in to nurseries of Islamic terrorism , for which they are paying , but mostly countries like India in the neighbour hood .But Anglo-Saxon have not yet succeeded in changing Iraq or its secular , nationalist and socialist regime under Saddam Hussein into an Islamic one . They might, after heaping death and destruction and untold miseries on the hapless Iraqi population, already suffering from 12 years of sanctions' regime.

 

Apart from an exit policy for the enemy as Napoleon believed in, there should be an exit policy or a with drawl position for the other side , if war like bluff fails or the momentum for a  war would lead to  unpredictable disasters or even a catastrophe . --The second Gulf war after the unnecessary 1991 Gulf war , would be a parallel of second world war after the first one , in terms of destruction and misery in the region. The cold war would be replaced by a war against an invisible enemy ;Al Qaida and its mutants all over the world.

Here are men in USA with terrible means of destruction in their hands , with their narrow corporate  experience and vision ,with little overall holistic understanding , hurtling along a mad course to a war , opposed by majority of the world and its population . Millions all over the world from Australia to USA have protested against war on Iraq on 15 February. The war would kill many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis-- Remember the Kharijites , the Wahabis , the Al Qaeda cells and its copy cats all over the world. They would not be short of new recruits in the Islamic world or in the west , with tens of millions of Muslims in FRG, France, UK and other European countries and 3 to 5 million Muslims , mostly blacks ,in USA.

 

K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1992-96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the 1990-91 Gulf war), Romania and Senegal . He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies, in Bucharest .- Email-Gajendrak@hotmail.com

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