- * Bush and his vindicators still insist that that the
occupation of Iraq would spread democracy and stability in the Middle East.
That naïve declaration couldn"t be farther from the truth. Not
only is Iraq in the clutches of a civil war, the US-led invasion threatens
to destabilise the whole of the Middle East, if not possibly the world.
It might have irrevocably done so already.
- * More and more it appears that, as is the case in Iraq,
the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is content to slowly bleed the US.
- * Preoccupied with the carnage being wrought in Iraq,
the US warlords became complacent over their Afghan policy and allowed
the Taliban to regroup.
- * In a grim landscape, a single reality stands out clearly:
not only is the US presence the main source of civilian casualties both
in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is also the primary contributor to the threat
of civil war in Iraq. The longer they wait to withdraw, the worse the situation
would become for the occupation.
- By Ghulam Asghar Khan
- The Frontier Post - Pakistan
- In a highly significant decision "German Federal
Court" ruled that the assault launched by the US and its allies against
Iraq, was a clear war of aggression that violated the International Law.
- The Judges scrupulously demonstrated that the German
government, in contrast to its public protestations, had lend a hand in
the aggression against Iraq without having any legal right to do so. Although
the decision was made 3-months back but was barely mentioned in the German
media. The judgement and its legal arguments have only just been made public.
The court in particular referred to Article 4, Paragraph 4 of the UN Charter,
which classifies "every" threat and use of military force against
another nation as an act of aggression. It specifies only two exceptions:
a formal resolution of the UN Security Council and for self-defence purposes.
Neither of these was the case with Iraq. In particular, the US had no legal
basis for attacking Iraq based on previous UN resolutions that it itself
had introduced. UN Resolution 678 of 1990 had only authorised the expulsion
of Iraq from Kuwait and the ceasefire Resolution 687 in 1991 certified
that this aim was achieved.
- As per this Resolution, Iraq was forbidden to use poisonous
gases or other biological weapons and renewed the demand for Iraq to maintain
a clear distance from 'international terrorism'. This Resolution was formally
accepted by Iraq, and all the conditions laid down were not violated by
Baghdad during the following 10-years when Iraq was ravaged by continual
Anglo US bombings.
- The court observed that the Security Council did threaten
'serious consequences', but it did not make explicit what form they would
take. On the contrary, Resolution 1441 (which was made the basis for the
unilateral attack) expressed unmistakably that the matter was yet to be
determined by the Security Council. The court argued that the resolution
did not give a free hand for military action, but rather left the decision
about any consequences to the UN. It did not consider the objection valid
that the resolution text was interpreted differently by the US and UK.
It stated, "For the determination of what the UN Security Council
had decided in one of its resolutions, what is decisive is not what government
representatives 'thought' about the proceedings and resolutions themselves.
It is far more dependent on what was actually laid down in the text of
the agreed resolution and mental reservations of governments or their representatives
were not valid insofar as international law was concerned.
- As against that, President Bush embarked upon his latest
campaign to convince the US citizens that the illegal and unwarranted invasion/occupation
of Iraq was worth the sacrifice paid by other people's children. His first
pro-war pep rally was in Utah at the convention of Veterans of foreign
wars, where he explained that the only way to honour about 2,000 US troops
killed in Iraq was to stay there and finish the task. In other words, the
only way to ensure those soldiers who died in Iraq did not die in vain
was to send more to their deaths. The logic of needless death honoured
through more needless deaths was just appalling.
- No matter how bad things might be in Iraq, and no matter
how dim the prospects are for Iraq's future, Bush & Co. still manage
to look the public straight in the eye, smirk and insist that the decision
to invade was a good one. Not realising that by invading Iraq, they had
opened up "Pandora's Box" with global consequences. Bush and
his vindicators still insist that that the occupation of Iraq would spread
democracy and stability in the Middle East. That naïve declaration
couldn't be farther from the truth. Not only is Iraq in the clutches of
a civil war, the US-led invasion threatens to destabilise the whole of
the Middle East, if not possibly the world. It might have irrevocably done
- By most definitions and standards, Iraq is already facing
the pangs of civil war. Whether defined as an internal conflict; or as
an organised violence designed to change the government; or as a systematic
and coordinated sectarian-based conflict; the requirements of civil war
have long since been satisfied. People of Iraq aren't merely growing increasingly
alienated from each other, as well as progressively opposed to US-led forces.
Iraq's estrangement from rest of the Middle East and the Arab world is
widening as well. Seen more and more as a proxy of the Iranian government,
the Shiite/Kurd dominated Iraq finds itself at odds with the Sunni-dominated
- Strangely enough, not a single Middle East nation has
sent an ambassador to Baghdad since after the US invasion. And despite
promises to do so, the Arab League (of which Iraq was a founder) has yet
to open its office in Baghdad, for which Iraqi diplomacy, or lack thereof,
is also to blame. There are many reasons other than sectarianism for Iraq's
alienation from the Middle East and Arab nations, security being the foremost.
From chiding Qatar for sending aid to Katrina victims but not to Iraq,
to arguing with Kuwait over border issues, to blaming Syria for the insurgency,
Iraq's fledgling government seems to have taken diplomatic lessons from
the Bush administration.
- Iraq's varied relationships with Middle Eastern nations
will be immensely significant should Iraq descend further into civil war.
For instance, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Jordan would most likely come to
the support of Iraqi Sunnis. There are already signs that the US-led invasion
has vexed Saudi Arabia's Sunni population. According to a recent study,
the invasion of Iraq has radicalised previously non-militant Saudis, sickened
by the occupation of an Arab nation by non-Arabs. Iran would in turn increase
its already staunch support for the Shiites. While, Turkey would also likely
be drawn in, hoping to prevent any Kurdish move to spill across the border
in quest of establishing a Kurdish autonomous state.
- Moreover, Iraq's violent Shiite-Sunni discord, which
was non-existent before the occupation, could easily spark similar strife
in Middle East countries like Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. In such
a worst scenario, Bush's illegal, ill conceived, myopic and naïve
venture in Iraq would result in total chaos not just in Iraq and the Middle
East, but the world over.
- At any rate, while Bush tries to sell the US public on
more death and destruction in Iraq, another, older war continues in Afghanistan.
It is a war that has, to date, claimed the lives of 230 US soldiers and
innumerable civilians. It is a so-called legal war, fought in a country
actually tied to the attacks against the US on September 11, 2001. It is
America's forgotten war, which again is gaining momentum. While the Taliban
are no longer officially in charge of Afghanistan, they are not yet defeated
- Instead, a neo-Taliban insurgency has emerged that instead
of fighting the US troops head-on has developed guerrilla tactics such
as operating in small units, staging hit-and-run ambushes and mixing with
the local population. More and more it appears that, as is the case in
Iraq, the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan is content to slowly bleed
the US. Thus, rather than having been destroyed as touted by the US administration,
the Talibans have merely been transformed.
- The evidence suggests that Taliban's bleeding strategy
is becoming increasingly successful. Over the year, attacks with mines
and improvised explosive devices increased 40% and picking up from their
brethren in Iraq, the 'suicidal bomb attacks' is another lethal addition
to unnerve the ISAF and Afghan government forces. Preoccupied with the
carnage being wrought in Iraq, the US warlords became complacent over their
Afghan policy and allowed the Taliban to regroup. As a consequence, the
US now must fight ruthless insurgencies on two fronts. But on a grim landscape,
a single reality stands out clearly: not only is the US presence the main
source of civilian casualties both in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is also
the primary contributor to the threat of civil war in Iraq. The longer
they wait to withdraw, the worse the situation would become for the occupation.
There still is time for the US to change its state of war strategy on Iraq
and Afghanistan to avoid lurking catastrophe. That, of course, would require
real leadership, which the Americans are sorely lacking. "A leader
who doesn't hesitate before he sends his nation to war is not fit to be
a leader", said none other than Golda Meir, Israeli Prime Minister
from 1969 to 1974.
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