Monday, September 17, 2007

US genocide in Iraq II

5. The destruction of the Iraqi state and national identity Sartre’s analysis of the dynamics of neo-colonial war reveals the inner logic, in the abstract, of genocide inherent to contemporary colonialism — a logic that appears to the fore in two circumstances: 1) Where the innate contradiction of colonialism, represented in certain economic interests primarily, is absent; 2) When popular resistance to colonialism takes the form of guerrilla warfare and the entire aggressed population appears as a target. If this is indeed the inherent dynamic, all that would remain to be done would be to expose as neo-colonialism US aggression on Iraq. It is already clear that in Iraq popular resistance has taken the form of guerrilla warfare.
In reality, US policy in Iraq amounts to and exceeds colonialism. Current US actions in Iraq are an objective attempt to destroy Iraq as a state and nation. In this instance, the genocidal logic of neo-colonial war has been activated on purpose and established as the ultimate aim. It has nothing to do with accident or incompetence, and even goes beyond reactive vengeance. It is the outcome of an entire global, regional and national imperative. Thus we must penetrate, before outlining how the project has been implemented, the core context of Iraq’s destruction as such. The strategic context for US genocide in Iraq gives us a framework through which to interpret events as well as fully appreciate the gravity of these events.
a) The strategic context for genocideThere are three primary sets of reasons why Iraq was singled out for destruction. These reasons, attendant to three levels of policy (global, regional and national), form a single overarching imperial strategy, each part interrelated and dependent on the others.
i. Asserting US geopolitical, global hegemonyBeing “a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power,”
1 command of the Middle East and Eurasia region is essential to any bid for world hegemony. Until 1989, US global supremacy was thwarted by the Soviet Union. Though embedded in the Middle East region economically and politically, US control remained virtual, not actual. In his 1980 State of the Union Address, President Jimmy Carter summed up Cold War US Middle East concerns: “Any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States. It will be repelled by the use of any means necessary, including military force.”2 Already in 1979, spurred by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter had created the Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF), an ad hoc assortment of US forces designated for possible deployment in the Middle East.
In 1981, President Reagan added the “Reagan Corollary to the Carter Doctrine”, proclaiming that the US would not only use military force to “defend” Middle Eastern oil supplies from “external” threats, but would also use military force to maintain the “internal stability” of the region. By “stability” Reagan meant exactly what he said: the maintenance of the engineered status quo: the non-unity of the Arab Muslim world and guaranteeing the presence and superiority of Israel. Consequently, in 1983 Reagan consolidated the RDJTF as US Central Command. By late 1989, with the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, and with the Soviet bloc fragmenting, the United States was left unopposed in the most important geopolitical and geo-economic region of the world. Objectives long suppressed by the Cold War could be activated in full.
In the words of Henry Kissinger, “Oil is too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs.” If this sums up US policy that until 1990 was covert, from the collapse of the Warsaw Pact it became overt. The 1990 sanctions regime, followed by the 1991 Gulf War, marks the opening salvo of a US drive for Middle East and Eurasia control that continues until now. History will prove or disprove the reasons of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait. Legally Iraq had no right to invade Kuwait, but the sanctions regime adopted by the UN Security Council, in its rapidity, severity and results, is proof that already in 1990 there was a premeditated plan to destroy Iraq, rather than see only an end to the Kuwait invasion. If containment was the strategic philosophy of the Cold War, in 1990 it became subjugation and substitution. Sanctions reached into the heart of Iraq.
Why Iraq in particular? In addition to being sovereign over the world’s second largest proven reserves of oil, its geopolitical position is the answer. Regionally, “Iraq is a crossroads. Its land provides the necessary route for Iran to access Syria, Jordan and the Mediterranean, and for Syria and Jordan as they look towards Iran and the Arabian Gulf basin. It is also the natural path from Turkey to the Gulf, and vice versa.”
3 Globally, Iraq is positioned in the centre between Eurasia and the Mediterranean. If the US was to control the global economy, it could only do so by imposing itself as intermediary between Iraq, Europe and China. As formulated by Paul Wolfowitz and Dick Cheney (then US defense secretary) in 1992, the imperative was “precluding the emergence of any future potential global competitor” by maintaining the “mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”4
By 1997, sanctions were not working. With Europe and China ever rising, entailing competition for access to oil for development, a group of ideologues, Zionists and corporate lobbyists coalesce and send a wake-up call to Washington.5 Named the “Project for a New American Century” (PNAC), gone now is the language of “new era of multilateralism” attendant to the “new world order”. America’s very future depends, the PNAC neocons said, on “full spectrum dominance.” Military “presence in the Gulf region”, reads a PNAC 2000 strategy document, should be considered “a de facto permanent presence.” As the PNAC indiscreetly admitted: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.”6
ii. US policy aimed to break Arab unityWith the end of 1991 Gulf War, it was evident, although having suffered severe casualties and the enormous cost of war, that Iraq had a large and experienced army, capable of defending its national interests. Throughout the Iran-Iraq War, and the 1991 Gulf War, the Iraqi army proved that it was an army of technicians in all domains. In addition, the unity of the Iraqi people behind its government against other regimes was evident. Iraq emerged as a defender of all Arabs against imperialism, Zionism and the Shah-inaugurated expansionist ambitions of Iran adopted by Tehran’s Mullahs in 1979. This situation was threatening for pro-American Arab regimes, for Israel, and all those afraid of a rising Arab nation hoping to pursue unity, economic independence, democracy and progress.
Since 1948, the US has attempted to break Arab unity in three principal ways: 1) Unconditionally supporting the State of Israel — an entity founded on theft and a war of colonial aggression on the Palestinian people — and bargaining US political favour on this predicate; 2) Balkanising the Arab world both at a regional level (the undermining of Arab solidarity) and a national level (conspiring to internally partition Arab states); and 3) Destroying Arab developmental achievements to pave the way for US corporate globalisation. These elements of consistent US Middle East policy are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Overall, the US goal has long been to ensure that the Arab world remains an “arc of instability” wherein the United States, through an ever-increasing network of military bases, can play the role of permanent arbiter and final authority, guaranteeing US global hegemony and securing by military force US national interests.
Washington’s use of the State of Israel as an offensive spearhead breaking into the Arab world is well documented. After every Israeli aggressive war on the Arab world its aid package has increased.8 Before 1990, Iraq was the only Arab state sufficiently independent, as well as militarily capable, to be a counter-balance to Israeli colonial expansionism and to challenge Israel’s illegal occupation of Arab lands. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, Iraq was not dependent on the US for security or the general welfare of its population. This independence placed Iraq — especially after the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel — at the centre of the political system of the Arab world. While Iraq’s development was tolerated when involved in a never-ending weakening war with its eastern neighbour, its achievements quickly appeared contrary to US regional and global interests as soon a ceasefire was reached with Iran.
That Israel has long wished that Arab states be divided up into small ethnic and sectarian entities is well known. In his 1982 essay, “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s”, Oded Yinon argued:
Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula … The dissolution of Syria and Iraq … into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target … Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organise a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.” (emphasis in original)
In his 1999 book, Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein, David Wurmser, current Middle Adviser to Dick Cheney, would echo similar ideas when advocating that the US intervene to create a “loosely unified Iraqi confederal government, shaped around strong sectarian and provincial entities.”10 Wurmser in 1996, along with Douglas Feith (US undersecretary of defense for policy, 2001-05) and Richard Perle (chairman of the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee 2001-03), both key neoconservatives, wrote for incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu the strategy document, “A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”. Therein Netanyahu is encouraged to “re-establish” the “principle of pre-emption,” including removing Saddam Hussein from power, deemed “an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.”11
Yinon’s essay and Wurmser’s book echo the assertions of former Israeli Labour Foreign Minister Abba Eban that the “Arab East” is a “mosaic” of ethnic divergence.12 Present plans to partition Iraq into three weak and conflicting protectorates are their direct progeny.13 In Iraq, the current “political process” is not about stability, but the pursuit of war by other means, aimed to break up the state and sow conflicts throughout the region. In the words of Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty:
The so-called political process, instead of bringing stability to Iraq, is and will be the cause of increasing instability in the region. Indeed, on the one hand, the Kurdish parties are working to create a Kurdish entity in the north, unrestrained by the central government. This will be a destabilising factor for Iran, Turkey and Syria, and is opposed by the majority of Arab Iraqis. On the other, the Shia religious forces are trying to build a Shia semi-state in the south, governed by the concept of “Wilayat Al-Fakih” (Rule of the Jurist — a laden concept which puts religious authority above nationalism), similar to and allied with Iran. This will be a destabilising factor for the whole Gulf region, including Saudi Arabia. It is opposed by most Arab countries. In reality, if there isn’t a strong unified Iraq, peaceful and cooperative with its immediate neighbours, there will be no stability in Iraq or in the region. As was rightly observed by Saud Al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, this may result in a civil and regional war.
That partition is even a proposal, given that none of the stated aims of the 2003 illegal US invasion suggest it, reveals that the US has moved consciously to fulfil Israel’s agenda and bring about precisely this outcome. The overall result: a strategic victory for the State of Israel; ancillary benefits for Iran as a second level proxy; and justification for permanent and expanding US military presence in the whole of the Middle East region.
The third arm of US regional policy has been to destroy existing Arab developmental achievements, undermining and destroying Arab states as viable entities while promoting corrupt, incompetent and repressive regimes that serve the interests of foreign powers. Rejecting this destiny, it is well known that of all Arab states, Iraq prior to 1990 had the most developed system of national education, healthcare and primary state services. On the basis of a nationalised oil industry and Iraq’s water resources, Iraq was able to achieve significant state and national development autonomous from foreign capital and thus independent of foreign influence, encompassing infrastructure, science, military advance, and social security. Sanctions targeted Iraqis as a people and state, not only the Iraqi government or army. Indeed, the regimen of punitive sanctions imposed on Iraq stands unprecedented in modern history, systematically destroying its attained levels of economic, social, political and military development and leading to an estimated 1,500,000 excess deaths over 13 years.
Overall, these three aspects of US regional policy — breaking regional unity by instrumentalising Israel; Balkanising and partitioning Arab states into ethnic and sectarian entities; and destroying Arab development capacities — by design aim to ensure that the Arab world as a whole never attains the requisite social, political, economic and military development to take advantage of the enormous oil, gas and mineral resources over which by right it is sovereign.
Keeping Iraq in particular unstable is key to US strategic designs for the whole Arab region. In the words of Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty, given Iraq’s median geopolitical position: “The slightest deterioration in relations between Iraq and any of its neighbours is automatically a setback for cooperation throughout the whole region.
3 Michael Ledeen, founding member of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs and a key neoconservative, in 2002 unabashedly told the truth about US regional policy in saying: “Stability is an unworthy American mission, and a misleading concept to boot. We do not want stability in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and even Saudi Arabia … The real issue is not whether, but how to destabilise. Creative destruction is our middle name … Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) … we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”15
iii. The US national emergency and corporate interestsThe entire entity of the United States is on death row. The end of the age of oil is its execution order. Spending $200,000 a minute on oil, no system of life on earth is as dependent on oil as that of the United States. The consumer economy, which depends on oil and relative high wages, is the guarantor of the internal tranquillity of the US. Many core US industries — protected and uncompetitive, and based on high wages — would collapse if guaranteed supplies of oil were to end, upon which guarantees stable prices depend. With the collapse of industries, the consumer economy would be oversupplied. Prices would plummet and growth would disappear. Outside the national sphere, US corporate globalisation, exploitative in nature, depends on the US military machine, which itself depends on foreign oil.16 As the eclipse of the age of oil approaches, these objective realities constitute a national emergency for the United States.17
US economic vulnerability is not only centred on the supply of oil. The entire entity of the United States is wagered on the use of the dollar as the primary currency of oil transactions. The US long forced OPEC oil sales to be transacted only in dollars, establishing the dollar as the global currency of reserve. Indeed, the global oil industry is the guarantor and engine of the global dollar economy. Any alteration of this arrangement threatens to explode the illusion on which American economic prowess is built. If dollars were to flood back into the United States, hyperinflation would take hold, followed by stagflation as uncompetitive and protected industries collapsed. As consciousness of the approaching end of the age of oil sinks in, and as others powers — the EU and China — rise, this monetary consideration is a second level to the US national emergency.18
By 1997, the PNAC understands well the twin levels of the US national emergency and commits itself to address it. Though the US-led destruction of Iraq has already begun, the signatories of the PNAC express concern that the US is resting on its laurels — they undertake to accelerate it. The PNAC announces its presence with a question and a warning: “Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favourable to American principles and interests? We are in danger of squandering the opportunity and failing the challenge. We are living off the capital — both the military investments and the foreign policy achievements — built up by past administrations.”19 Admonishing the then Clinton administration, the neoconservatives of the PNAC argue for significant defence and foreign policy spending, to curtail — with no irony — “the promise of short-term commercial benefits” threatening to “override strategic considerations.”
In 1999, Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton, the largest post-invasion contractor in Iraq, muses on the issue of supply: “by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional 50 million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from? … While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies. Even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow.”
20 By September 2000, despite their ideas receiving some heed, the PNAC is running out of patience: “Global leadership is not something exercised at our leisure, when the mood strikes us or when our core national security interests are directly threatened; then it is already too late. Rather, it is a choice whether or not to maintain American military pre-eminence, to secure American geopolitical leadership, and to preserve the American peace.”6
Much has been said about the PNAC’s claim that the transformation in American strategy would be slow and frustrating “absent some catastrophic and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbour.” Many believe that 9/11 was the convenient trigger. In reality, the true Pearl Harbour occurs within weeks of this PNAC prediction being published. On 6 November 2000, Iraq began selling oil in euros, with others (Venezuela, Iran, Russia and Libya) threatening to follow suit.21 Later Iraq converted its $10 billion reserve fund at the UN also to euros. In the aftermath of the 7 November 2000 US presidential elections, the Republican right faced the long-term national emergency immediately. If the oil economy were to shift to euros, the American economy would collapse. This is the context surrounding the deliberations of the Cheney Energy Policy Task Force in early 2001, whose conclusions until now remain classified.22
The two national emergencies had rolled into one: Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi people were weathering sanctions while other states were circumventing them, slowing down progress in Big Oil regional ambitions; and President Hussein played the bourse card, threatening the entire basis of the American economy in one move. Iraq was the country that didn’t compromise and succeeded in firing missiles on Israel; it was also the country that used its oil for progress and that aided poor countries in Asia, Africa and the Arab world, As a country that could defy imperialism when imperialism was victorious everywhere, Iraq signed its own death warrant. It should die. That US Big Oil corporations would make a killing on stolen Iraqi resources was a bonus.23 The real issue was national defence — that is, defence of the system of life of a nation that consumes 25 per cent of the world’s energy resources while it constitutes 4.6 per cent of the world’s population, a system that creates 600,000 tons of garbage per day.
iv. A unified strategy of genocideTo truly secure US supremacy, Iraq would have to become the 51st economy of the United States. This could only suggest genocide. By no other means could the United States control what has been a geopolitical entity for 6,000 years and a bastion of Arab nationalism throughout the 20th century. By no other means could the United States seize from Iraqis their principle source of material and future welfare, imposing on their culture the idea of foreign ownership of the riches of the land. Destroying the Iraqi state would not be enough. To control Iraq, in its median position, necessitates destroying its Arab Muslim identity — erasing its very being as a nation.
In combination, the above represents the strategic context and motive — global, regional and national — for destroying the state and nation of Iraq. No single aspect can be taken alone; each supports the others. It is through myriad acts meeting these three broad strategic concerns that US “intent to destroy” Iraq can be traced, while the general cohesion of these three pillars of US strategy suggests “intended destruction” of Iraq as the logical conclusion of well-established US Middle East and global strategic policy.
Nothing in this “logic” can excuse its execution. Indeed, nothing in this logic is excusable. It is specific intent, not implementation that defines the crime of genocide under international law. Claims of “benevolent hegemony” that accompany US global plans are irrelevant. These plans in intent constitute genocide. US national, regional and global designs dictate the rationality embedded in military planning and thinking. Implementation is merely the mirror of the intent. And if, in the words of Morris and Scharf, “it is unnecessary for an individual to have knowledge of all details of the genocidal plan or policy,” the pattern of implementation is enough to infer the crime.
b) Implementing genocide in Iraq25
Having understood the desire, or mens rea, the means, or actus rea, becomes easier to unravel. From the above, it is clear that the United States had reasons to desire — within its own logic — the destruction of Iraq as a state and nation. The means by which it destroyed the Iraqi state, and attempted to destroy the Iraqi nation, follow on from and accord to these reasons.
Specifically, the US has sought to: 1) Destroy Iraq physically and culturally, and principally militarily, so that it can never re-emerge as an economic, political or military force; and 2) Break Iraq as a state and nation, substituting the state with three or more conflicting and weak entities based on ethnic and sectarian affiliations that presage the destruction of Iraq’s Muslim Arab identity. These two objectives, if achieved, would allow for the plunder of Iraq’s resource riches, control of its median position in order to attain global pre-eminence, serve in the protection of the US’s offensive regional instrument and proxy, Israel, and erase the last official remnant of the pan-Arab nationalist movement.
This project of intended destruction — the legal substance of genocide — has been going on for 17 years. All together, the pattern of intent is irrefutable. It has led to an estimated 1,500,000 excess Iraqi deaths under sanctions, and as many as 1,000,000 excess violent Iraqi deaths since the US illegal war of aggression. By any definition, but also defined in law, this is genocide.
i. Destroying Iraq physically and permanentlyThe destruction of Iraq began with sanctions in 1990 and the 1991 Gulf War. On the one hand, the war was not to liberate Kuwait. It was the opening shot of a broader objective of destroying Iraq, entailing permanently destroying its military capabilities and civil capacities, in order to replace the Iraqi state with an unviable entity in need of constant US assistance, while breaking its economy in order to break the will of the Iraqi people and later plunder Iraqi resources. Under sanctions, in finance and economy Iraq became a ward of the UN Security Council, its budget managed by foreign powers, and with no end in sight.
This marks the beginning of the dismantling of Iraq as a state and nation. Ground invasion takes place when established policy proves unable to achieve its goals.
Francis Boyle in his indictment for crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide describes well the 1991 Gulf War and its intent:
The bombing continued for 42 days. It met no resistance from Iraqi aircraft and no effective anti-aircraft or anti-missile ground fire. Iraq was basically defenceless. Most of the targets were civilian facilities. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed centres for civilian life, commercial and business districts, schools, hospitals, mosques, churches, shelters, residential areas, historical sites, private vehicles and civilian government offices. In aerial attacks, including strafing, over cities, towns, the countryside and highways, United States aircraft bombed and strafed indiscriminately. The purpose of these attacks was to destroy life and property, and generally to terrorise the civilian population of Iraq. The net effect was the summary execution and corporal punishment indiscriminately of men, women and children, young and old, rich and poor, of all nationalities and religions. The intention and effort of this bombing campaign against civilian life and facilities was to systematically destroy Iraq’s infrastructure leaving it in a pre-industrial condition. The United States intentionally bombed and destroyed defenceless iraqi military personnel; used excessive force; killed soldiers seeking to surrender and in disorganised individual flight, often unarmed and far from any combat zones; randomly and wantonly killed iraqi soldiers; and destroyed material after the ceasefire. The United States used prohibited weapons capable of mass destruction and inflicting indiscriminate death and unnecessary suffering against both military and civilian targets. Fuel air explosives were used against troops in place, civilian areas, oil fields and fleeing civilians and soldiers on two stretches of highway between Kuwait and Iraq.
The material destruction of Iraq didn’t end with the ceasefire that supposedly marked the end of the 1991 Gulf War. General Michael J Dugan, former chief of staff of the US Air Force, revealed the deliberations of the US administration when he stated in mid-summer 1991 that if another war comes, “We will bomb Iraq back into the Stone Age.”
In reality, in the post-Gulf War period Iraq’s defences were systematically obliterated by numerous US-UK bombing raids under justification of unilaterally imposed and illegal no-fly zones — first in the north, in April 1991, and later in the south.
28 Thus, contrary to what is usually assumed, the occupation of Iraq didn’t start in 2003; it started in 1991. If occupation is the situation that pertains when the territory of a state is put under the authority of a foreign military power — as defined by The Hague IV Regulations29 — then Iraq from this time, in losing effective military control of at least two thirds of its territory, became de facto occupied.
The no-fly zone system also had an ancillary agenda: 1) It imposed a de facto division of Iraq into three regions that corresponded to a political agenda of partition
30; 2) Provided political cover for continuous targeting of Iraq’s military and civil infrastructure; and 3) Provided air cover for the US to gather conspiring opposition forces and for the US and Israel to train Iraqi separatist militias, which later would replace the national army.
Tied to UN sanctions, the UN weapons inspections programme (United Nations Special Commission, UNSCOM) presented Iraq with constantly shifting demands. The “100 per cent” verification order was technically — even according to former inspectors — impossible to satisfy. Aside from that, according to a 1999 article in The Washington Post, “United States intelligence services infiltrated agents and espionage equipment for three years into United Nations arms control teams in Iraq to eavesdrop on the Iraqi military without the knowledge of the UN agency that it used to disguise its work, according to US government employees and documents describing the classified operation.”
31 Similar allegations surfaced in 2003 that the UK leaked false information on weapons in order to use inspections as political cover.
Combined, no-fly zones and weapons inspections allowed the United States and its allies to bomb Iraq at will for 13 years in the pre-invasion phase. Under the cover of weapons inspections in particular, scores of factories, schools, chemical plants of a civil nature — indeed anything suspected even remotely of having a prohibited military function — were blown up or bombed.
In the name of the no-fly zones, the US and allies hit infrastructure, communication lines, defensive installations and numerous non-military targets, ostensibly all in the name of protecting the civilian population. While the US administration was telling lies about seeking a diplomatic solution to the “Iraq crisis” it engineered, Operation Southern Focus begun in June 2002, entailing intensive bombing below the 33rd parallel, ostensibly to “soften up” Iraq for invasion. In September 2002 alone, US air forces dropped 54.6 tons of bombs, one month prior to Congress authorising war.
With the ground invasion the military and civil destruction of the Iraqi state accelerated dramatically. With the massive air bombing campaign dubbed “Shock and Awe”, the Iraqi state — already criminalised, as the “repressive arm” of the Iraqi Baath Party — in every instance of its human and infrastructural form was a target. Conscious that its forces were unequal to those of the foreign invaders, and after the Battle of Baghdad Airport where non-conventional weapons were used by the US, the Iraqi army disperses, a substantial part going underground to pursue pre-planned guerrilla warfare.
The police like the population as a whole stays home. Militias entering Baghdad alongside US forces inaugurate the breakdown of law and order sanctions long desired, looting and burning down all public institutions (ministries, hospitals, universities, schools, museums, libraries, cultural institutions, etc.), unopposed by US forces who have been ordered not to intervene. Nothing of exchange value belonging to the Iraqi state is not stolen; everything else is destroyed. This policy of tabula rasa amounts to the effacement of modern and ancient Iraq. The result is a state of national shock and of preparation of the confrontation between the occupation and the Iraqi state apparatus that went underground.
Order #2 of US Civil Administrator L Paul Bremer will disband the national Iraqi army
32, leaving 400,000 well-trained and experienced men with no immediate means of material survival and no legitimate national force responsible for defending Iraq’s population and territory. In addition to the looting of civil institutions, systematic looting of military installations and armories is organised33, all left unprotected by occupation forces allegedly on Iraqi soil to disarm by force the Iraqi state. Heavy materiel from national armories is either sold as iron or carried to the north. Army personnel are criminalised as Saddam’s “henchmen”.
Armaments, equipment and archives are destroyed or stolen, personnel killed or detained, and Iraqi military ideology — of being an army defending the unity of Iraq and the Arab nation — considered racial and sectarian. Iraq’s experienced and strong army, dating in origin to 1921 and which defended the unity of the Iraqi state and participated in the defence of Palestine, Jordan and Syria, will be replaced by Kurdish separatist and pro-Iranian militias. The task of the new army is not to defend the unity and integrity of Iraq, but to defend the occupation and its local proxies against the people of Iraq labelled “terrorists” or “Saddamists”.
Iraq’s territorial borders are left unsecured. Private foreign security contractors working as mercenaries, create a parallel system of fear and danger, operating free of all accountability to law.
34 The militias of sectarian forces brought in with the occupation begin to operate across the Iraqi territory. Simultaneously, a wave of assassinations targets pilots, engineers, scientists and military officers, with reports linking the killing to intelligence agencies of Israel and Iran suspected of circulating elaborate “hit lists”. With weapons being disseminated across the country, kidnapping becomes a threat to daily civil security, along with extortion and summary execution. Corpses quickly start to appear on the streets of Baghdad.
Parallel to military campaigns, from 1990 the US deliberately pursued a policy of weakening Iraq economically to be sure that Iraq could not recover from the systematic destruction of civil infrastructure during the 1991 Gulf War and again emerge as an economically developing country. UN sanctions, which prevented the free sale of oil from 1990 onwards, had a devastating effect on Iraq’s economy, and necessarily the majority of Iraqi citizens. The majority of Iraq’s working population in 1990 were employed in the public sector and thus dependant on oil revenue that prior to 1990 comprised 90 per cent of Iraq’s GDP.
Given that Iraq was a welfare state, the debilitation of public services affected all Iraqi citizens. Ostensibly eased by the Oil-for-Food Programme, which was based on limited sales quotas until 1998 and thereafter remained heavily regulated, sanctions continued from 1996 to devastate commerce and infrastructure.
35 The banning of “dual use” items even included paper.36 Sanctions also would play a role in the de facto partition of Iraq: the northern Kurdish area, under the no-fly zone, was effectively exempted, allowing Kurdish separatists to flourish and entrench their autonomy from the central government.
One aspect of the package established by UN Security Council Resolution 687 of 3 April 1991 was the UN Compensations Commission that throughout the period of sanctions, when economically Iraq was crippled and when over 5,000 children were dying monthly, collated damages claims from the Gulf War and siphoned a third of Iraq’s oil revenues (restricted under quotas) to pay reparations. This situation is ongoing with claims amounting to $352.5 billion.
37 For contrast, when in December 1996, under the Oil-for-Food Programme, Iraq was permitted to export oil in return for humanitarian supplies it was restricted to an overall quota of $2 billion in oil sales every six months. In effect, Iraq had no means of sustaining itself, the total of its remittances from oil amounting to disposable revenue of $15 per Iraqi per month. Exasperated by a system they deemed “genocide,” Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck (both former UN humanitarian coordinators for Iraq who resigned) in November 2001 wrote: “The uncomfortable truth is that the West is holding the Iraqi people hostage.”38
Upon invasion, US strategy in Iraq can be summed up in one phrase: privatisation by military force. Order #12 of US Civil Administrator Bremer enacted on 7 June 2003 suspended all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes, licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving Iraq, and all other trade restrictions that may apply to such goods39; Order #17 grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraq’s laws34; Order #39 allows for the privatisation of Iraq’s 200 state-owned enterprises, 100 per cent foreign ownership of Iraqi businesses, national treatment of foreign firms, unrestricted, tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds, and 40-year ownership licenses40; Order #40 turns the banking sector from a state-run to a market-driven system overnight by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and to purchase up to 50 per cent of Iraqi banks41; Order #49 drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40 per cent to a flat rate of 15 per cent. The income tax rate is also capped at 15 per cent42; and Order # 81 prohibits Iraqi farmers from using the methods of agriculture that they have used for centuries.43 The common worldwide practice of saving heirloom seeds from one year to the next is made illegal in Iraq.
The consequences are as follows: 1) A rise of unemployment to over 70 per cent; 2) Systematic plunder by multinational corporations; 3) Corruption on a scale unprecedented; and 4) The institution of two economic realities: the economy of graft limited to the Green Zone, and the non-economy of the rest of Iraq, known as the “Red Zone”.
ii. Substituting the Iraqi state and nationIn its attempt to destroy and substitute the Iraqi state and nation, the United States pursued two parallel tracks: 1) Demonising the Arabism of the Iraqi state, of the Iraqi Baath Party — a non-sectarian national movement of six million sympathisers — and Saddam Hussein; and 2) Promoting, funding and organising sectarian groups of the Iraqi opposition.
Kick-starting the policy of destroying the Iraqi nation defined as being composed of Iraqis, Bush Sr encouraged the rebellion of “Kurds” and “Shias” against the Iraqi central government in 1991 as the Iraqi national army was demobilising, implying that those who ruled them were “Sunnis”. In the words of Francis Boyle: “Bush encouraged and aided Shiite Muslims and Kurds to rebel against the government of Iraq causing fratricidal violence, emigration, exposure, hunger and sickness and thousands of deaths. After the rebellion failed, the US invaded and occupied parts of Iraq without lawful authority in order to increase division and hostilities within Iraq.”
UN sanctions forced Iraq, as both a state and a nation, into complete isolation. While President Saddam Hussein, and by extension the Iraqi Baath Party, was the main focus of relentless vilification, from 1990 onwards to be non-Kurd Iraqi was to be suspect. With the demonisation of President Hussein began the process in discourse that would undermine the very concept of Iraqi citizenship: the imposition of sectarianism in allegations, now questioned, that “Saddam gassed the Kurds” and “oppressed the Shia”, and ruled in the name of the “Sunni minority”. The Iraqi Baath Party, central to the operation of the state, was falsely cast as “Sunni”, repressive of Iraqi Kurds and Shias as Kurds and Shias — a canard that would later allow for the targeting of Sunnis simply because they are Sunni.
Covertly, and later overtly, the United States started funding sectarian militias and opposition groups. The US-sponsored 1992 opposition conference in Salah El-Din (on Iraqi soil, with US security guarantees — a blatant breach of Iraqi sovereignty) crystallised the ideas of what would replace the political regime of the Iraqi Baath Party: a sectarian division of Iraq, as well as sectarian quotas in government. A decade of unsuccessful attempts to unify that opposition on the details of carving up Iraq would follow. By 1998, US official policy, announced in the Iraq Liberation Act, became “regime change”, including official funding of sectarian opposition groups. Within a month and a half of the passing of the act, the United States launched a major bombing campaign across Iraq. Various plots for a coup d’etat were supported and funded by the CIA.
After years of conspiracy, the December 2002 London conference of the Iraqi National Congress (INC; pre-1998 funded by the CIA, post-1998 funded by US Congress, and headed by Ahmed Chalabi) agreed on what percentages each participating faction of the US-assembled “opposition” would gain in the sectarian quota system. Unable to replace the Iraqi state and its national movement without the Islamist “factor”, the INC London conference also crystallised an accord between the US and Iran on how to, and who would, replace the regime of Saddam Hussein: an alliance between Kurdish separatists allied to the US; pro-US Iraqi liberals (the INC and the Iraqi National Accord of Iyad Allawi); and pro-Iranian Islamists under Mohammed Bakr Al-Hakim of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI).
This constituted body of US-approved spokespeople for the virtual constituents of Iraqi society — Shias, Kurds, liberals — would help justify the need in the media for a ground invasion and provide candidates for the first US installed interim government. Silenced are the Iraqi people as well as the 23 February 2003 London meeting of authentic Iraqi opposition forces who opposed the US agenda of illegal pre-emptive war and the interference of foreign powers in Iraqi national affairs.45
The phase of “creative destruction” in the Iraqi political domain starts with, and is predicated upon, an unprecedented propaganda campaign directed at both international and Iraqi public opinion, based on sectarian vocabulary and virtual identities and predating the invasion. It reads: 1) “The Kurds have been gassed,” so should be protected and given special rights, presaging Kurdish succession and the fragmentation of the Iraqi state; 2) “Shias are the majority” — a baseless assertion given that no reliable census has been conducted — oppressed not only by Saddam’s regime but also throughout their history, the “democratic process” simply the harbinger of social justice; 3) “Sunnis are the criminals” and oppose the “New Iraq” because of loss of privileges and the power to oppress others; 4) “Iraq is an artificial creation” comprised of three homogenous regions: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the centre, and Shias in the south.
Inherent to this propaganda is a purposive blurring of the distinction between ethnic and sectarian identities: the Shias and Sunnis are not Arab or Kurd; Kurds are not Muslim, be it Shia or Sunni; and there is no such thing as “the Iraqis”, only a composition of Sunni, Shia and Kurd. All other components of Iraqi society — Turkomans, Assyrians and other Christians, and Yaziids and Sabbits — are purposely ignored.
The aim of this propaganda is to facilitate US destruction of the Iraqi state. The first order passed into law by US Civil Administrator Bremer, outlaws the Iraqi Baath Party in its entirety.
46 Immediately 100,000 able members of the administrative cadre are criminalised and disbarred from state employment. Silenced is the fact that 58 per cent of those targeted by the US-imposed DeBaathification Commission are Shias. In place of the dissolved state, the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL) is drafted and imposed, legislating the disbanding of the army and the privatisation of the economy. Civil and political resistance to the occupation is outlawed, and civil and political resistance to US corporate privatisation is criminalised.
No one who does not endorse the TAL is permitted to participate in the “political process”, which itself is reduced to a competition between sectarian leaders. The whole domain of Iraqi politics becomes US-drafted. The US claims to know who represents the Iraqi people better than the people itself. The TAL, in effect, legislates the alienation of the Iraqi people from democratic politics. Violating the UN Draft Articles on State Responsibility, UN Security Council Resolution 1546 in June 2004 “welcomes” and “endorses” the formation of a “fully sovereign” interim Iraqi government as a stage on the road to an independent, democratic and federal Iraq, thereby recognising the consequence of an illegal state act — the invasion.
The following period of general repression can be split between two phases: 1) The imposition of illegal elections; and 2) The imposition of a permanent constitution based on the TAL. Across Iraq, the occupation attempts to create three de facto realities on the ground: 1) Northern autonomy for the Kurds with promises of generous representation in parliament, and the annexation of oil-rich Kirkuk, allowing the occupation to justify its “democratic process” and in turn instrumentalise Kurdish militias to suppress the Iraqi resistance; 2) The promotion of Islamist clergy in the south in exchange for Sistani’s support of the political process and his compelling fatwas for all Shias to participate in national elections; 3) The central region identified as Sunni and subject to waves of violence, urbicide and terror.
Ahead of and after elections, waves of violence and arbitrary detentions target Sunni communities. The vilification of the Baath Party and its assimilation with Sunnis deepens. Media sources speak of “Sunni terrorists”, “Saddam loyalists”, “The Sunni Triangle”, “The Triangle of Death” and “Sunni Al-Qaeda”, all presaging and constituting the destruction of Iraq’s unifying Arab Muslim identity and the very idea of Iraqi citizenship and nationality. This sectarian propaganda will directly play a role in later attempts to spark civil war, and will contribute to the enforced homogenisation of city districts and justify the erasure by military force of whole towns in predominantly Sunni provinces. That these provinces rise up in resistance in response to US military aggression is taken as proof that the resistance is Sunni, thereby sectarian and should be repressed. In order to achieve its goals, the sectarian occupation accuses the Iraqi people and its resistance of sectarianism.
The so-called “political process” is but theatre in which the public has no right to change the issue. While Iraq is under real and concrete illegal occupation; while political free expression is absent thanks to the deBaathification and the repression of Sunnis; while Iraqi citizens cannot prove themselves citizens because of the absence of registers — destroyed in the looting
47 — and state institutions; while the condition of participating in politics is acceptance of the TAL; while those who survey and organise the elections are well known pro-occupation propagandists; while the political process is under the occupation’s guns; while you loose your food ration or your life if you don’t vote as you should, how can anyone think that the result is the real expression of Iraqi people? The elections can be summed in an Iraqi proverb: “You choose a rabbit, I give you a rabbit; you choose a gazelle, I give you a rabbit.” The spectacle is organised to institute a divided Iraq.
Further, elections will be based solely on sectarian lists, the main lists benefiting from generous US funding and access to US-sponsored media. Fifty per cent of Iraqis will boycott, despite the price of starvation exacted for non-participation. In the new National Assembly, contradictory agendas ensure permanent instability. The “political process”, already stripped of legitimacy, cannot but further deepen the confrontation between the occupation and the Iraqi people. How can a permanent constitution be drafted by a parliament that does not fairly represent the population and fails — and cannot succeed — to ensure peaceful coexistence in society?
The theatrical elections and the political process are unable to hide the gap between the real Iraq and the real plans of the occupation. The real occupation is using military force to impose its model. The “political process” simply creates a clique working for, or accepting, the occupation’s plan of destruction for Iraq. As with the elections, the constitution in 2005 is passed at gunpoint by referendum. Based on the TAL, it legislates the destruction of Iraq as a state and nation. By its central provisions and blurred jargon it: 1) Cancels the concept of the united republic of Iraq; 2) Cancels the concept of citizenship; and 3) Cancels the concept of Iraq as an Arab-Muslim nation.
The draft oil law — the major plank in the strategy of plunder of the US occupation — if passed would contribute to the de facto partition of Iraq in shrinking the funding source of central government, as well as opening the way to foreign ownership of Iraqi oil. As set in the illegal constitution, the proposed Oil Law that until now cannot be passed, has two objectives: 1) To end all public management of the Iraqi oil industry by opening it up to private capital; and 2) to pass to confederated regions real decisions on oil, neglecting the existence and the necessity of a united Iraq with a central government.
These two principles are more political propaganda to ignite local dreams and conflicts than real law to organise Iraq’s oil industry. All who are concerned with the oil industry in Iraq, including international oil companies, know it is impossible to direct the oil industry but by a central entity, whether it is public or private, and that these principles are a source of potential unending conflicts between Iraqis.
The US oil project is to give in the north the presenting producing fields of Kirkuk to the Kurds, and in the south the presently producing fields to Shias, while obliging the centre — which it names “Sunni” and which has, according to estimations, twice what the north and the south have — to render its oil to foreign companies. The occupation’s propaganda on oil is solely to ignite conflicts between Iraqis. All know it is unrealisable. Technically, oil fields do not respect sects and ethnicities. Legally, the occupation’s laws are not binding for Iraqis. And politically, all Iraqis believe that oil is the property of the nation and its privatisation is plunder and treason.
Iraq, prior to when the genocide began in 1990, was a modern Arab state led by its middle class culture. It became nothing less than hell for those living in it now. US “creative destruction” has touched all aspects of society as a whole. Through the dismantlement of the state, the middle class has been decimated. The targeted assassination of all kinds of professionals has accurately been described as the imposition of the “Salvador Option”
48 in Iraq. Not only has this lead to tens of thousands of murders, driving the middle class that remained, despite the first wave of migration during the sanctions period, into exile, but in stripping Iraq of its middle class culture it has led to a breakdown of social values at all levels.
Further, all welfare provision has completely collapsed, ensured by the disbanding of Iraq’s competent civil service under deBaathification and the promotion of sectarian and feudal forces that understand only nepotism. With mass deprivation, child begging has risen 450 per cent. Criminality and prostitution have burgeoned, as has the drug economy. Extortion and kidnapping is a whole parallel economy. Forced displacement has denied thousands of families of their possessions and property. For those unable to flee, the only economy is collaboration, which amounts to genocide of another kind. Instead of sustaining the occupation by joining the Iraqi army or the police, millions are choosing poverty and dignity.
Equally destructive has been the targeting of women. Iraq’s women have been central to its public history for generations. From enjoying the freedoms of liberty and progress, enshrined in pre-US invasion protective legislation, cancelled by the occupation, Iraqi women have been consigned to their homes, hundreds of thousands rendered widows, thousands more raped and abused, and millions forced behind the veil by the rise of sectarian Islamist fundamentalism, or as a general feeling of mourning and a counter-identity to the occupation. The violence that has been visited upon Iraqi women has deeply shocked Iraqi society. Mass detentions of men have driven many, separated from their husbands, into poverty. Further, rising sectarianism has broken thousands of families with divorce rates soaring, many women left struggling to feed themselves or their children.
The climate of general repression that is the outcome of the above touches all Iraqis, individually and collectively, and deeply. Mental disturbance and psychosis has proliferated. Constant witness to atrocities and death, 2007 saw the walling-in of whole communities, further isolating neighbourhoods and relatives, entailing de facto house arrest for millions. The parallel economy of extortion and violence has led to massive forced redistributions of wealth; many families forced to give everything they own in ransoms. Tens of thousands of children have been orphaned.
In the social sphere, a strategy of annihilation has been pursued from the beginning. “By destroying the Iraqi state,” in the words of Hana Al Bayaty, “the occupation has erased any potential intermediary with the Iraqi people and has had to face them directly.”
49 Not only has it had to; it wanted to and aimed to. After four years of its resistance, however, the Iraqi people have vindicated Sartre: if the US wants to break them, it will have to exterminate them to the last woman, child and man.
iii. Resistance to genocideOf the few in the West that stood in solidarity with Iraq under sanctions and visited the country destroyed by unprecedented force in the 1991 Gulf War, many describe Iraq’s mode of survival under sanctions as a “miracle”. With ingenuity and determination, Iraqis rebuilt essential civil infrastructure bombed to oblivion and televised on screens worldwide. Under unprecedented forces, included intended starvation and the debilitation of primary services, the Iraqi nation did not fragment — indeed, it strengthened.
Following the ground invasion, Iraqi resistance began on the second day of the occupation of Baghdad with the killing of an American soldier in Al-Adhamiyah. By June 2003, the resistance is already strong enough to declare a programme of national liberation. What is evident now is that this resistance was prepared in parallel before the invasion as the sole way a small people can confront a military superpower.
Even before the supposed end of US major combat operations, resistance operations targeting occupation forces escalate, centred on Baghdad and its surrounding towns. It is clear to all military planners, whether from the invading armies or from the disbanded national army, that the control of Baghdad is essential to the control of the entirety of Iraqi territory.
There have been to this day, four attempts to pacify Baghdad since 2003. Iraq being a particularly centralised state, all roads passing across the country and linking it to neighbouring states, lead to or leave from the capital. From the very start of the occupation, the confrontation between the resistance and multinational forces has naturally concentrated itself on the control of these axes. The occupation cannot stabilise Iraq without the subjugation of Baghdad and its surrounding provinces. The Iraqi resistance as it grows from 2003 onwards will mainly operate in and around the capital in order to disrupt the supply chain and capacity of movement of occupation forces across the country. The success of this resistance strategy will cost the United States millions of dollars.
Because of its arrogance and ignorance and imperial calculations, Fallujah and Ramadi, Samarra, Baquba, and Hillah are daily criminalised as strongholds of the “Sunni” insurgency. In fact, they become known to the entire world simply because they respectively are the first towns on the roads going from Baghdad to Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and the Arab Gulf. As a result of daily campaigns of indiscriminate bombings and arrests, civil and armed resistance in these provinces increases, thereafter used as the proof of the veracity of US propaganda.
As to Baghdad, it is historically a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural city where no ethnic or sectarian community is the majority. The provinces creating a ring around the Iraqi capital are traditionally and culturally patriotic and anti-occupation. This is proven by their sympathy and cooperation with resistance movements that developed throughout successive attempts by foreign imperial powers to occupy Iraq by taking its capital, be it at the time of the Mongols or the British.
The arrogance and ignorance of US strategists thought that by awe and corruption they could destroy Iraqi nationalism and identity. In attacking Sunnis they thought that they could win Kurds and Shias. They forgot the factors which stand against their theoretical suppositions: 1) There is no ethnically or sectarian pure region in Iraq. An important Sunni population in the south and one million Kurds in Baghdad illustrates this point; 2) A third of Iraqi marriages are inter-communal marriages; 3) Most Iraqi tribes are composed of Sunnis and Shias together; 4) The large Iraqi middle class is secular; 5) Iraqi identity has nothing to do with religion, sect or ethnicity; 6) Class interest is more important for the people than their ideologies; 7) Iraqis are all inheritors of the same civilisations, the latest being the Arab Muslim civilisation; and 8) More than 80 per cent of Iraqis are Arabs and they are proud of it.
In 2004, the US began a new phase in its project by attacking Fallujah and Najaf. It was evident then that the occupation was pushing all Iraq against its project. Whatever the propaganda, Iraqis understood that the US wants to subjugate them by force and that democracy is a lie. By late 2004, unable to break the backbone of the growing resistance movement, and due to the nature of guerrilla warfare being unable to differentiate the population from its assailants, the occupation further targets the population.
We now enter a period of escalating repression, especially affecting the central part of Iraq and running in parallel with the US militarily-imposed sectarian “political process”. Having disbanded the national army, the occupation relies primarily upon sectarian militias with poor local and no national ties, and a newly recruited Iraqi army, also based on sectarian quotas, that is to this day reported as being unreliable, poorly equipped and poorly trained. The occupation resorts to two different military tactics: 1) Terror and targeted assassinations, and 2) A campaign of urbicides and mass incarceration.
In an attempt to divide the Iraqi population and criminalise its popular resistance, the occupation conducts numerous “black-ops” — patent US and UK covert attacks on Shia populated areas such as markets, mosques, bus stations, etc. These operations are then attributed to the popular resistance in order to criminalise it and divide it from its base of support across the whole population. All bombings in mosques and civil gathering places, representative of a long list of acts aimed to agitate, divide and terrorise the Iraqi population, are denounced and denied by the Iraqi armed resistance and never investigated by so-called sovereign successive Iraqi governments.
Throughout the attempt to conduct illegal elections, feeding off propaganda criminalising the Baath Party and assimilating the Baath with Sunnis, waves of mass detentions are followed by the strafing and levelling of entire cities (including Fallujah and Tel Afar, Al-Qaem, Haditha, Ramadi, Samarra). Scandals of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and grave human rights abuses continually arise, and collective punishment through food deprivation and large-scale round-ups of the male population are common. The targeting of the educated middle class by occupation sponsored militias and death squads starts to spike by late 2004, especially in Baghdad, with thousands of forced disappearances and the beginning of an exodus from Iraq that by 2007 would top four million.
The Iraqi resistance, through its popular support, proves its capacity to collect information quicker than the occupying forces and their generous payouts. One major blow to the occupation is the attack inside a refectory within an American military base near Mosul, killing 19 soldiers and wounding 59 others.
50 The Iraqi population, harbouring the resistance, was by then already a permanent target, but this attack widens US suspicion even to collaborators. The feeling of insecurity, even within their fortified barracks, and extreme tension due to the lack of trust in local translators, starts breaking the morale of the occupying troops.
After massive waves of indiscriminate repression, the central part of Iraq refuses to participate to the “elections”, while southern Iraq, under British occupation, is called by the clergy to participate, officially as a means to elect a parliament that would call for a timetable for withdrawal. Over 50 per cent of the population overall boycotts the elections, de-legitimising the “political process”. As the population stands in solidarity against US plans, the occupation appears increasingly eager to instrumentalise this division of tactics and pit Iraqis against each other. From this moment onwards, US forces try to build a “new army” by unofficially incorporating sectarian militias into the security apparatus, none of which have allegiance to the central government and largely operate outside of its control.
By the start of 2006, attempts to pacify Baghdad have failed for the third time. Despite indiscriminate incarceration, blackmail, hostage taking, the walling-off of towns, food deprivation and massive human rights violations, the resistance is reportedly developing more sophisticated weapons and able to conduct up to 1,000 attacks against occupation forces each month. Its resolve cannot be broken and new recruits volunteer everyday.
In February 2006, in what seems a desperate attempt to impose civil war, the occupation and its militias organise the bombing of the Golden Dome Mosque in Samarra, one of the most sacred shrines for Shia communities worldwide. In a matter of hours, as expected, sectarian militias burn down holy Sunni mosques all over Baghdad and kill scores of civilians in summary executions, all under the protection and supervision of occupation force air cover. A campaign of ethnic cleansing at the hands of governmental militias is not contained and continues to this day.
With the failure of the political process due to the impossible real life conditions to which Iraqis are subjected, and the military, political and moral achievements of the Iraqi people represented by the resistance — that is to say the legal Iraqi army — the US tries to use the illegal tribunal it created to execute members of the legal Iraqi government as an instrument of propaganda. The fate and the illegal trial of President Saddam Hussein in particular is instrumentalised to revive sectarianism and to attempt to divide the different currents of the resistance among and within themselves.
Although the Iraqi resistance is not borne of a person, party, sect or religion, the trial, by refusing Saddam Hussein prisoner of war status, is aimed to revive the idea that Saddam Hussein equals Baathism that equals Sunnism that equals Arabism. Its political aim is to prevent the resistance from defending the Iraqi state by presenting them as only defending Saddam and the Sunnis. In addition, the trial is used to ignite sectarian divisions, as the chief prosecutor is known to be Shia and the presiding judge known to be Kurd.
As with the political process, the biased and flawed theatre of “victor’s justice” announces the nature of the entity the occupation intends to establish in place of the Iraqi state. Amid the US-authored genocide unfolding in ferocious force, Saddam Hussein’s alleged crimes pale in significance. In dignity and displaying essential Iraqi patriotism, Saddam Hussein succeeds in convincing Iraqis that he was not sectarian and remains anti-imperial. He reflects until his last breath the Iraqi people’s refusal to be subjugated.
Because of the trial’s failure to achieve its political goals, the hanging, its timing, method and perpetrators (an assuredly soon-to-be public execution overseen by a Shia government), is used by the occupation for the same ongoing purpose of igniting sectarian divisions and creating a vacuum of leadership in the Baath Party and the Iraqi resistance. Contrasted by the final dignity of Iraq’s legal president on the gallows, it is evident to all that the occupation has expended all its political cards. It is also forced to realise that the Baath current, personified in the integrity of the president, constitutes the backbone of the resistance to its occupation, and that in struggle it is experiencing a renaissance.
In hanging Saddam as a symbol, the US intended to create a leadership crisis among and between the old guard and the struggling new young Baathists — a confrontation between their cultures. The aim was to divide the movement and reveal potential candidates for compromise, as well as signifying clearly to the civil resistance that there is no limit to the occupation’s will. The hanging coming on the Muslim day of forgiveness — Eid Al-Adha — is a further intended injury and an insult to Muslims and Arabs worldwide. These calculations failed. The resistance intensified, declaring that in the place of Saddam Hussein thousands of Saddams will rise.
Neither the constitution nor the National Assembly will be able to achieve the core objective of the United States. Having destroyed the Iraqi state, the US’s own handpicked proxies prove unable to build a functioning state of any kind. In reality, a parallel state exists, composed of the Iraqi resistance, armed, political and popular. Faced with impending defeat, the US accuses its proxies of its own failure in hope of winning the hearts of Iraqis.
This marks the entrance of a strategy of annihilation in the political sphere. No one is the American’s friend. Timed revelations begin to surface about secret government prisons. Constant crisis meetings are held and public admonishments of puppet Prime Minister Maliki are frequent. Meanwhile, the Green Zone is all but empty. Iraqi parliamentarians award themselves a two-month 2007 summer holiday, several rumoured to be approaching Western states for asylum — an option the chief judge in the trial of Saddam Hussein took within days of the president’s summary execution.
The strategy of annihilation is paralleled in the military sphere with what in 2007 will be known as “the surge”. On 10 October 2006, resistance forces engage the occupation at Forward Base Camp Falcon, where occupation ammunition reserves for the whole of the Baghdad region are kept. An undisclosed number of occupation forces are killed as the entire camp burns to the ground, lighting up the skies of Baghdad. This defeat will cost the occupation $1 billion. This attack is so well planned and carried out that it seems impossible for the US to hide anymore that it is battling an experienced army.
The retaliation will show no mercy. Rejecting the Baker-Hamilton Report recommendations, and despite the concerns it expresses on the state of the US military, Bush orders an increase in US force levels, redeploying — whereas through much of 2006 they had been garrisoned — US forces back into Iraqi neighbourhoods. Exhausted by the armed resistance, US forces resort to walling-in entire districts of Baghdad — a strategy already tested in other Iraqi cities. Amid the shooting down of numerous US helicopters by the armed resistance, the US launches bombing campaigns that are as disproportionate and indiscriminate as they are futile. The Iraqi resistance responds by reportedly shooting down an F-16.
The US is out of options in its “New Iraq”. Although it continues manoeuvring politically, reinforcing its destruction of the life of Iraqi society, it has only two choices: 1) Accept its defeat and a humiliating exit; or 2) Exterminate the population. The “surge strategy”, the walling-in of Baghdad districts
51, the project to impose on 50 localities the same constraints imposed on Fallujah (electronic IDs, check points at all points of entry, only proven residents allowed in), the four million exiled, the non-recognition of the resistance amid its continual attacks and military-style anti-occupation operations in Baghdad, reveals that the occupation, whatever choice it makes, has lost. It was genocide for a purpose, now it is genocide without purpose. Baghdad can never be subjugated.
As for Iraqi resources, in the time of the no-fly zones it was US that destroyed Iraq’s oil industry to prevent Iraq from profiting from oil revenues. After the occupation, it is the Iraqi people who prevent the occupation from using oil revenues to further its project of national subjugation. The US in its plans forgot that the central region that it calls “Sunni” controls all Iraq’s communications, pipelines and, for historical reasons, the military and technical and scientific cadre. Even if the US were to attempt to enforce its strategy of annihilation by imposing a parliament compliant enough to pass the oil law it wants, in the long term it will fail. Once the occupation leaves, all of its laws will be revoked, Iraqis reconstructing Iraq as they did under sanctions: in the name and the benefit of all Iraqis.
PART I available herePART III continues here
A full pdf version is available hereNOTES
1992 Draft “Defense Planning Guidance”, drafted by Paul Wolfowitz.
Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hana Al Bayaty, “Fortress Iraq,” Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue 722, 23-29 December 2004.
1992 Draft “Defense Planning Guidance”,
Geoffrey Geuens, “Imperialist State, Nation of Capitalists: The Links between the PNAC and the US Military-Industrial Complex,” The BRussells Tribunal Dossier, 14-17 April 2004.
“Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” PNAC, September 2000.
To date, the US has over 700 declared bases in 130 countries. In Iraq, the US, as of 2007, has 55 bases remaining out of over 100 established in 2003-2004, many slated to be “enduring”; this in addition to building the largest embassy anywhere in the world: a huge complex covering an area bigger than the Vatican City and sporting an Olympic-size swimming pool, a state-of-the-art gymnasium, tennis courts, a cinema and restaurants. Cost estimates, including all the perimeter security, self-contained utilities and other amenities, come to over $1 billion.

By credible estimates, US aid to Israel since 1948 passed $100 billion in 2002.
David Wurmser, Tyranny’s Ally: America’s Failure to Defeat Saddam Hussein (Washington: AEI Press, 1999), pp. 136-37. Richard Perle was later to co-sign with Elliott Abrams, Richard L Armitage, John Bolton, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz an “Open Letter” of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) think-tank to President Bill Clinton, 16 January 1998, urging Clinton, “to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power,” adding ominously that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.”
Saleh Abdel-Jawwad, “Israel: the ultimate winner”, Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue #634, 17-23 April 2003.
For more on partition, see
Hans C von Sponeck, A Different Kind of War: The UN Sanctions Regime in Iraq (New York: Berghahn Books, 2006).

Michael Ledeen, The War Against the Terror Masters: Why It Happened. Where We Are Now. How We’ll Win (New York: Truman Talley Books, 2002).

According to Defense Logistics Agency spokeswoman Lana Hampton, quoted in an article in the American Forces Information Service News, the US military is using 10-11 million barrels of fuel each month to sustain operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere.
Michael Klare, Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict (New York: Owl Books, 2002) and Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America’s Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Penguin Books, 2005).

William R Clark, Petrodollar Warfare: Oil, Iraq and the Future of the Dollar (NY: New Society Books, 2005).

“Statement of Principles”, Project for the New American Century, 3 June 1997.
William R Clark, “The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War With Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth”, 17 February 2003.
Disclosure of the 2001 deliberations of the National Energy Policy Development Group (commonly referred to as the “Cheney Energy Task Force”) is subject to ongoing legal action.
Virginia Morris and Michael P Scharf, The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (NY: Transnational Publishers, 1998).

For more information on the section that follows see, and
In the words of Martin Indyk, the top Middle East policymaker on Clinton’s first National Security Council, “We will not be satisfied with Saddam’s overthrow before we agree to lift sanctions.”
Francis Boyle, “Flashback: US War Crimes During the Gulf War,” 2 September 2002,
Laws and Customs of War on Land (Hague IV) 18 October 1907,
Richard Becker, “Is the U.S. Attempting to Dismember Iraq?”
“US Spied on Iraq Via UN,” The Washington Post, 2 March 1999, UNSCOM was disbanded in 1999, replaced by United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC). In 2003, UNMOVIC concluded that UNSCOM had successfully dismantled Iraq’s unconventional weapons programme during the 1990s.
CPA Order #2, “Dissolution of Entities,” 23 August 2003,
James Glanz and William J Broad, “Looting at Weapons Plants Was Systematic, Iraqi Says,” New York Times, 13 March 2005. James Glanz, “Arms Equipment Plundered in 2003 Is Surfacing in Iraq”, New York Times, 17 April 2005.
CPA Order #17, “Status of the CPA, MNFI, Certain Missions and Personnel in Iraq,” 27 June 2004,
Hans Von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, “The Hostage Nation,” 29 November 2001,
CPA Order #12, “Trade Liberalisation Policy,” 26 February 2004,
CPA Order #39, “Foreign Investment,” 20 December 2003,
CPA Order #40, “Bank Law,” 19 September 2003,
CPA Order #49, “Tax Strategy for 2004,” 20 February 2004,
CPA Order #81, “Patent, Industrial Design, Undisclosed Information, Integrated Circuits and Plant Variety Law,” 26 April 2004,
Ghassan Atiyyah, “Fixing it: the London conference, Tehran deal, and beyond”, 1 September 2003,
See “On Democracy in Iraq,” Documentary, dir. Hana Al Bayaty, 2003, 52mins.

CPA Order #1, “DeBaathification of Iraqi Society,” 16 May 2003,
Saad Kiryakos, “Destroying Iraq’s Public Records,” July 2003,
Hana Al Bayaty, “Iraq’s Sectarian Myth,” Al-Ahram Weekly, Issue 747, 16-22 June 2005.
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