The Indian Express
Iraq Indian Express
In spite of growing evidence that the situation in Iraq is deteriorating by the day and that the war has turned out to be, in the words of General William Odom, President Reagan’s Director of the National Security Council “the greatest strategic disaster in US History”, most major media are still echoing the Bush regime’s heavily censored and doctored version of reality, according to which the ‘‘Coalition Forces,’’ are gradually introducing irreversible progress in society despite the uncoordinated and irrational terrorist actions conducted by desperate ‘‘dead enders’’.
In fact, the Iraqi resistance is not a disorganised act of defiance. There is evidence that it was carefully planned by Saddam Hussain’s government in the years leading up to the US-British invasion of March 2003.
That strategy broadly consisted of:
• Breaking up the elite components of the army into small, mobile clandestine cells to constantly harass the occupying forces and their local supporters while systematically infiltrating the new security and police forces and sabotaging infrastructure.
• Establishing a broad-based alliance with the various fundamentalist and nationalist organisations extant through the Islamic world.
Commandos were formed and entrusted with the task of carrying out most of the ‘‘martyrdom’’ (suicide) operations, under the logistical and financial control of the Iraqi leadership, mostly made up of a secret, parallel, hierarchy within the Baath party which, contrary to the Bush regime’s wishful thinking, had struck deep popular roots across Iraq. The Anglo-American attempts to build up rival networks such as Iyad Allawi’s CIA funded ‘‘secular Shi’ite’’ alliance have met with dubious success. In keeping with long-standing policies, the US strategy has been to foster sectarian and ethnic differences, using Islamic fundamentalism and regional separatism to that end, just as the British dealt with Indian nationalism.
Sunnis are still largely affiliated to the Baath party as the only one that, in the name of a secular, nationalist pan-Arab ideology can allow them to keep the upper hand in a nation where they are not the majority. Their tactics has been to delay and throw spanners in the works of the Americans until the foreign occupiers leave, willy nilly, exposing their native proteges to final defeat.
Saddam’s government informed a few states opposed to the American plans about those dispositions. Former Russian Prime Minister Evgeny Primakov was made privy to them when he went to Baghdad shortly before the Anglo-Americans moved in. The Kremlin warned the White House one last time about the fateful folly of the venture but Bush and his Iraq Group (WHIG) would not listen. The US President was convinced that a momentous victory would secure his place in history as a new Lincoln rolled into into one with the two Roosevelts. Instead he already looks worse than the notorious Warren Harding.
American plans for Iraq have been fully revealed since in the context of the wider strategy exposed by former US ‘‘covert’’ economic agent John Perkins in his best-selling ‘‘Confessions of an Economic HitMan’’. The Bush government is still bent on duplicating the now famous JECOR (US-Saudi Joint Economic Cooperation Agreement) which, from the 1970s onwards made Saudi Arabia an American dominion whose economy fell under the complete control of the US Treasury Department (with virtually unlimited profits for selected contractors), against military guarantees for the perpetuation of the Saudi monarchy. Throughout the 80s and 90s Washington demanded that Saddam agree to the same arrangement and made several ‘‘offers he could not refuse’’. He preferred to seek separate agreements with European and Asian countries, sealing his own doom in the process.
Plan B, sponsored by current World Bank Chairman Paul Wolfowitz among others, consisted in taking over the country militarily while carrying out extensive destruction of the infrastructure and then rebuilding at Iraq’s own costs with mostly American corporations. The USA thus hoped to give a new lease of life to their faltering economy, crushed under an avalanche of debt.
The US-British plan was to bring Iraq back into a renovated Baghdad Pact (CENTO). The next steps included the taking over of Syria (now in process) and Iran in order to create a pro-Atlantic alliance encompassing the oil-rich Middle East upto Pakistan, — with the hope of adding India to it — as well as Central Asia. For now however, the American forces have no hope of winning a long-lasting victory against an elusive, self-regenerating, guerilla-savvy enemy. Their recent expeditions in pursuit of ‘‘insurgents and criminals,’’ typically planned by armchair absentee generals, have all ended in murky failure.
Fearful of the prospect of Iraq falling under the sway of Iran’s Shiite theocracy, the neighbouring Arab states are providing support to the Sunni resistance even while it is decimating their self-styled American allies. The Iranian Revolutionary guards, after setting up an Iraqi branch of the Hezbollah militia, have undermined the tenuous British hold on the Shiite South, together with Moqtada Al Sadr’s Nationalist Mahdi army which however wants to maintain the country’s unity and is willing to ally with some Sunni factions for that cause. All the ingredients are therefore available for a protracted, regional civil war pitting Saudi Arabia and other Arab states against Iran.
Even more ominously, the Pentagon’s secret Strategic Support Services (the P2OG), rely more and more on para-military forces, recruiting mercenaries and killers in many countries to fight ‘‘unconventionally’’ in Iraq. The methods seem to include, according to several converging testimonies, remotely activated car-bombs, used to wreak random havoc among ordinary Iraqis , thereby hoping to turn them against the resistance by demonising it as an ally of ‘‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’’. That shadowy body gives some indications of being either a product of Anglo-American counter-intelligence ‘‘black operations’’ or a thorougly compromised and manipulated agency, used to keep both ordinary Iraqis and Americans hostile to the terrorist insurgency and supportive of Washington’s ‘‘War on Terror’’.
Other ploys to try to reclaim the moral high ground are also spectacularly unsuccessful. The trial of Saddam, unmanageable under civil war conditions, cannot but look like a parody of justice. Meanwhile the Bush administration is unraveling at the top. The largely émigré-staffed regime installed by the Americans in Baghdad has no credibility, no authority and no future beyond the occupation. The Kurds are divided into two bickering feudal mini-states which stand no chance against Turkey, Iran or against a future Iraqi government likely to emerge out of the resistance factions. Other states would be well advised to plan for tomorrow by looking beyond the present dispensation to the day when a new Iraq will align with Russia, China and other powers against its Western tormentors.