Wednesday, April 25, 2007

International Community: Divide and Function Part II

By Liam Bailey

For far too long the U.S. has set the foreign policy agenda, and the "international community" blindly and unquestioningly follows. But with decades of evidence that U.S. foreign policy serves nothing further than their own interests, it is time we opened our eyes and made up our own minds.

Furthermore, major organizations like the U.N, N.A.T.O, the E.U., and the Quartet are all failing miserably as peace-makers. Why? Because the U.S is impeding them from the front, determining efforts at conflict resolution based on its own interests. The "international community" backs their efforts and echoes their words. Really they should know better; the U.S using its influence to have the international community serving its interests is the root cause of most of the world's current conflicts, and one of the main reasons some of the longer-running conflicts haven't been resolved. When is it going to stop?

Part II: Chemical weapons and broken promises: Iran and Iraq past and present.

My last article displayed how President Reagan having the "international community serving America's interests in Afghanistan was directly responsble for the formation of Al Qaeda, and indirectly for the rise of the Taliban. But Afghanistan wasn't the only place where an extremist's actions coinciding with America's interests turned him into a poorly chosen ally. Or where their allegiance caused problems we must deal with today.

When the Islamic revolution removed the U.S. imposed Shah and swept the Khomeini regime to power in Iran, the taking of hostages in the U.S. embassy turned them from U.S. ally to enemy number one. The feeling was mutual.

It is alleged that Reagan and those behind his Presidential campaign drew out the hostage crisis to take the Presidency. Meanwhile the extremist in question, Saddam Hussein launched a massive invasion of Iran, seeking to capitalize on the chaos of the revolution. When Iran had repelled Saddam's forces and advanced well inside Iraq, the U.S. intervened to stop Iran beaking through Iraqi defences and threatening Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the security of U.S. oil supplies.

The first major move was America's removal of Iraq from the international sponsors of terrorism list as America began its program of support. All the while attempting to secure gaurantees from the Export-Import Bank. When they succeeded aconcentrated campaign by the U.S and the "international community" began to fund, arm and provide Saddam with dual-use technologies that could be used to produce chemical weapons. Donald Rumsfeld, then part of Reagan's cabinet visited Saddam on numerous occasions.

With U.S. support, including detailed intelligence on Iranian troop movements from spy-planes, Iraq was succesful in repelling the Iranian advance.

Even after the Iran-Iraq war, when Reagan had been replaced by Bush Snr, still oil-came before reason, and despite Saddam's use of chemical weapons against minority Kurds in his own country, the U.S. still favoured maintaining a good relationship with Iraq.

In 1991 Saddam's delusions of military strength and unconditional U.S. support lead to his invasion of Kuwait thus threatening Saudi Arabia. Saddam did what the U.S. sponsored him to stop Iran doing, suffice to say good relations were terminated from that day forward.

After brief attempts at diplomacy, U.N. and U.S. forces were deployed to expel Saddam's forces from Kuwait and protect Saudi Arabia. The stationing of U.S troops in Saudi Arabia, and its permanence when Saddam was expelled were the main reasons behind Bin Laden's Fatwas; religous rulings calling for the murder, first of American troops in Saudi Arabia (1996), then American's and their allies anywhere in the world (1998). The latter was, in effect, a declaration of war against the "international community". It was also two elements of U.S. foreign policy colliding – a collision still sending shock-waves through Iraq and the world.

Shortly before the U.S/U.N. offensive was launched, Bush Snr called to the Shiite (southern Iraq) and Kurdish (northern Iraq) communities, both badly oppressed by Saddam’s Sunni Regime, to revolt and overthrow their oppressive dictator – arguably inferring direct U.S support in this aim.

Sparked by the demoralized Iraqi troops returning from their defeat in Kuwait, the Shiite’s began a spontaneous uprising in the South, and later a planned Kurdish uprising began in the North. Unfortunately, most of Saddam’s forces escaped the fighting in Kuwait, and when American support never materialized, thousands of Shiite's and Kurds were displaced and killed as Saddam’s Republican guards crushed the revolts, and in the ensuing campaign of reprisals. To Iraq's Shiite's and Kurds this must have seemed like Bush Snr selfishly tricked them into revolting to draw Saddam’s forces from Kuwait – making the job easier and lessening the casualties for U.S/U.N. forces. So, it is understandable that they would miss-trust the U.S. from then on, as well as feeling anger and hatred at the thousands killed.

So, one can imagine their response when Bush Jnr dropped thousands of leaflets making calls for a similar uprising, to "win the battle for hearts and minds" in the run-up to the 2003 invasion. That battle was already lost.

Shiite and Kurd miss-trust of the U.S would have been multiplied by the media hype surrounding Bush’s reasons for wanting to go to war in Iraq: Sexed-up dossiers and 45-minute lies, drawn attention to by a media presenting the true reason for the war as Bush’s desire to control Iraq’s rich oil reserves. This would have turned more Iraqi’s against their liberators.

I believe that even if U.S forces alone had advanced north in March 1991, on the tail of Saddam’s retreating Iraqi forces, the Shiite revolt in the south, and Kurdish in the North would ultimately have lead to Iraq fighting a war on two fronts, and therefore I believe being easily defeated. Furthermore, if this was done and Saddam overthrown then U.S forces would have had to deal with only the Sunni minority mistrust, and resentment. Being followers of Saddam, this would and has happened in any case.

Strong support from two of the three rival groups in Iraq, one Iraq’s predominant ethnic group, would almost certainly have forced the Sunni minority to take part in the new democratic proceedings, (a lot sooner than they did in the current occupation) for fear of being left out of future decisions in the rebuilding of their country.

The only reason I can think of for Bush Snr not finishing the job in 1991 was fear of Iran giving America a taste of its own medicine in response to Reagan's support of Saddam's killing thousands of Iranians (and Kurds) with western supplied chemical weapons.

To this day, a large portion of Iranian society must feel outraged by this, especially those who lost family members in chemical attacks and other battles, and especially Iranian intelligence.

So now, a figurehead of Iranian hatred is occupying the country next-door, Iraq, against the will of increasing numbers of Iraqis. Only a fool would believe Iran's claims that it isn't assisting Iraq's ever-violent insurgency.

As for their nuclear belligerency, Iran is already enriching Uranium and advancing at an alarming rate, why should they stop the program as a precondition for talks on stopping the program?

To maintain such a precondition one could suggest the U.S. doesn't want Iran to stop, it wants to go to war. The "international community" must begin forging its own path to avoid such an un-mitigating catastrophe as another major Middle East conflict.

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