The Empire in Iraq

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“In Iraq, the Coalition Provisional Authority and the Iraqi Governing Council are also working together to build a democracy… The former dictator ruled by terror and treachery, and left deeply ingrained habits of fear and distrust. Remnants of his regime, joined by foreign terrorists, continue their battle against order and against civilization. Our coalition is responding to recent attacks with precision raids, guided by intelligence provided by the Iraqis, themselves. And we’re working closely with Iraqi citizens as they prepare a constitution, as they move toward free elections and take increasing responsibility for their own affairs.”

– (President George W. Bush, 20th Anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy, United States Chamber of Commerce, Washington DC, 6 November 2003)

“The capture of this man was crucial to the rise of a free Iraq. It marks the end of the road for him, and for all who bullied and killed in his name. For the Baathist holdouts largely responsible for the current violence, there will be no return to the corrupt power and privilege they once held. For the vast majority of Iraqi citizens who wish to live as free men and women, this event brings further assurance that the torture chambers and the secret police are gone forever… The goals of our coalition are the same as your goals – sovereignty for your country, dignity for your great culture, and for every Iraqi citizen, the opportunity for a better life.”

– (Remarks by the President on the Capture of Saddam Hussein, The Cabinet Room, 14th December 2003)

The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq has been couched in the language of benevolence, humanitarianism, and democratization. When President Bush rallied US troops just before the commencement of the invasion, he proclaimed that “you will be fighting not to conquer anybody but to liberate people.”[1] By 14th December 2003, the world was, apparently, shown proof of this endeavour in the form of a captured, haggard Saddam Hussein – a symbol of how US victory is bringing freedom and justice to an oppressed people.

Vetoing the Vote

Unfortunately, the new rhetoric of liberation is designed to mask and legitimize an occupation which is designed to secure the very opposite of that which is publicly professed. Saddam is gone, but he has been supplanted by a new tyranny.

Thus, when the Iraqis of Karbala decided “to try and take charge of their own affairs” in the wake of the US invasion promising “democracy and self-rule”, their endeavour constituted one of the first and most significant attempts at Iraqi democratization for decades. As CBS News reports: “Religious and community leaders got together and selected a city council to represent them, and a security force to protect them. They had assumed that their experiment in democracy would be applauded by the American military.”[2]

But indigenous attempts to exercize the right of self-determination did not concord with US plans. Hence, “US troops disarmed the protection force, arrested popular city councilmen and put back into power some of the same people who had served Saddam.”

Subsequently, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority Ambassador Paul Bremmer installed as new Karbala police chief Gen. Abbas Fithel Abud, a veteran Ba’ath Party member with 24 years of loyalty to Saddam to his credit, and placed a “well-armed force” under his command. In the words of CBS News, “some of the same people who jailed, tortured and informed on [the Iraqi people] are once again in a position of authority: carrying weapons, communications equipment and driving official vehicles."[3]

Reinstalling the Regime

The pattern of re-Ba’athification has been replicated throughout the country under US occupation. For example, the US installed Brigadier-General Zuheir Al-Nuami – “one of the Hussein regime’s top police officers” who headed the police force at Saddam’s Interior Ministry – to the post of “new chief of the city police” in Baghdad;[4] in Basra, former Brigadier-General in Saddam Hussein’s army Sheikh Muzahim Mustafa Kanan Tamimi was installed as leader of Basra.[5] Less than two weeks after the ousting of Saddam, the London Guardian observed that “thousands of members of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist party, the all too willing instrument of Saddam, are resuming their roles as the men and women who run Iraq.”[6]

Simultaneously, as I point out in my new book "Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq," after having directly slaughtered after having directly slaughtered 10,000 Iraqi civilians and destroyed Iraqi infrastructure in the bombing campaign due to which another several hundred thousand are likely to die,[7] US forces have extended the war by crushing legitimate Iraqi protests against this process. For instance, when Mahshaan al-Juburi was installed by the US as Governor of Mosul, Agence France Presse reported how US troops fired into crowds of protesting Iraqi civilians, killing at least 10 people and injuring as many as 100.[8]

The crushing of indigenous protest has been accompanied by an indiscriminate policy of violent population control involving, as the London Independent reports, the US military’s “‘recon-by-fire’, its lethal raids into civilian homes, its shooting of demonstrators and children during fire-fights, its destruction of houses, its imprisonment of thousands of Iraqis without trial or contact with their families, its refusal to investigate killings, its harassment – and killing – of journalists, its constant refrain that it has ‘no information’ about bloody incidents which it must know all too much about.” The culmination of such US military violence coupled with the “breakdown in law and order” under US rule has meant that “almost 1,000 Iraqi civilians are being killed every week – and that may well be a conservative figure."[9]

In an effort to counter indigenous opposition to US rule, the Coalition Provisional Authority is working swiftly to establish Iraqi paramilitary death squads made up of former Ba’athist spies. The new death squads are “composed of Iraqi militiamen from the country’s five largest political parties” and will “work with US Special Forces soldiers” under the orders of “US military commanders-¦

“Since the summer, the CIA has recruited and trained some former Iraqi intelligence agents to help identify the insurgents-¦ To vet Iraq’s former intelligence officials, the CIA has flown polygraph machines to Iraq. … Hussein’s government kept meticulous records of its intelligence personnel and operations. Literally tons of these documents are now in US hands and are being used to question new intelligence service recruits."[10]

The New Statesman further notes that US forces are “using F-16 aircraft to drop 500lb bombs on residential areas called ‘suspect zones'” on the pretext of targeting areas “suspected” of supporting the resistance.[11] All this is occurring in the context of a broad counterinsurgency programme drawn heavily from Israeli military strategy in the Occupied Territories. US and Israeli officials have anonymously confirmed that US officers had travelled to Israel to study urban warfare and counterinsurgency, and that Israeli officers are training US Special Forces at Fort Bragg, with regards to US military operations in Iraq.[12]

Terrorizing the “Terrorists”

The US-Ba’athist counterinsurgency programme has been characterized as a regional extension of the new ‘War on Terror’. According to the official narrative, occupation forces are being attacked by terrorists backed by Ba’athists working in alliance with a huge influx of foreign al-Qaeda forces entering through the Iraq-Syria border. This narrative falls apart on a number of basic grounds. For example, the Washington Post cites “Commanders of US military forces responsible for monitoring the border between Iraq and Syria [who] say there is no evidence from human intelligence sources or radar surveillance aircraft indicating that significant numbers of foreign fighters are crossing into Iraq illegally."[13]

Most importantly, the official narrative turns the basic reality of US strategy in Iraq on its head. In the words of the highly respected Iraqi exile, Dr. Hussein Shahrestani – a top nuclear scientist who had refused to help Saddam build a nuclear bomb: “The expectations were that the Baathists would be immediately arrested and put on trial for their crimes against humanity, for their crimes against the Iraqi people. Now this hasn’t happened. And people were alarmed when the Ba’athists were actually reinstated back into government.” Thus, under US auspices, “The Baath Party is reorganizing itself. They are getting financial support from Saddam’s inner circles who are still loose, and they are holding meetings to organize their activities”, all with Ambassador Bremmer’s blessings.[14]

The US war on Iraq, in other words, was not about regime change. It was about ‘elite change’ – the removal of Saddam Hussein and his immediate entourage who were opposed to regional US designs, and ‘regime re-installation’ – consolidation of the repressive Ba’athist apparatus under US control.

The inner logic of this process entails the specific targeting and demonization of any and all forms of dissent. Thus, under the guise of fighting terrorists, US troops are actively attempting to root out Iraqis opposed not merely to US occupation as such, but even to those who object to US policies in the course of consolidating its occupation. “American soldiers handcuffed and firmly wrapped masking tape around an Iraqi man’s mouth after they arrested him for speaking out against occupation troops”, reported Reuters in November 2003. “Asked why the man had been arrested and put into the back of a Humvee vehicle on Tahrir Square, the commanding officer told Reuters at the scene on Tuesday: ‘This man has been detained for making anti-coalition statements.'” So much for the rhetoric of Iraqis enjoying “free speech and democracy after years of iron-fisted rule."[15]

The Reuters example is representative. Thus, for instance, merely due to the fact that they had been “selected by Karbala’s leaders to serve on the city council,” two Iraqi representatives were targeted by US forces. Akram al Zubaidi, who had already spent 11 years in Saddam’s prisons, managed to escape from US troops trying to arrest him after he complained to them “about the new police chief and the way they were trying to run the city… He’s now a fugitive on the run. He says that more than 15 American soldiers raided his house in the middle of the night. He also says that his crime was doing the job the leaders of Karbala had asked him to do.”

US forces also successfully arrested heart patient Najeeb al Shami, formerly “the city councillor in charge of security in Karbala before the Marines took over and installed a Saddam loyalist in his place”, for being what US forces described as “an enemy prisoner of war.” Al Shami was released after coalition forces decided that he had not in fact committed purportedly “belligerent acts against coalition forces”. A few days later, as his son Ahmed narrates, al Shami was rearrested and detained indefinitely along with the other few thousand Iraqi inmates in Abu Ghrieb Prison. Ahmed was turned away when he visited the prison with a lawyer on the pretext that: “It is forbidden for any lawyers, humanitarian organizations, or any member of his family to visit him."[16]

There is a simple reason for this blackout regarding the fate of Iraqis detained by US forces in what used to be Saddam’s prison complexes – they are, according to Amnesty International, facing forms of “torture” including “sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights, hooding and prolonged restraint in painful positions”. Deprivation of food and water for days and weeks, indiscriminate seizing of property and cash, reckless destruction of property during searches, and shooting at demonstrators were other cases documented by Amnesty.[17]

The actual targets of US-Ba’athist counterinsurgency campaign, therefore, are Iraqi civilians expressing any form of dissent or opposition to coalition policies. It appears that selecting, pursuing, and silencing sources of Iraqi dissent – through violence if necessary – is an instrumental strategy by which the US aims to consolidate its occupation.

The New Apartheid

As indigenous resistance to the US occupation of Iraq continues to intensify resulting in increasing casualties for US troops, the latter are adopting new tactics of population control.

The New York Times reported that in response to the Iraqi insurgency against US control, “American soldiers have begun wrapping entire villages in barbed wire”, “demolishing buildings” supposedly used by the resistance, and “imprisoning the relatives of suspected guerrillas”, including women and children, despite lack of real evidence regarding perpetrators.

The NY Times cites the example of the village of Abu Hishma, “encased in a razor-wire fence after repeated attacks on American troops, Iraqi civilians line up to go in and out, filing through an American-guarded checkpoint, each carrying an identification card printed in English only.” According to Lt. Col. Nathan Sassaman, the battalion commander whose men oversee the village, about 50 miles north of Baghdad, “If you have one of these cards, you can come and go. If you don’t have one of these cards, you can’t."[18]

Abu Hishma is only one of many villages that have been targeted in this manner. “Whole villages have been surrounded by razor wire, their residents forced to pass through checkpoints”, reports Time Magazine. “US aircraft and artillery have blasted buildings suspected of being used by insurgents; there have even been instances of family members of suspected insurgents being taken into custody when their wanted relatives can’t be found."[19]

One US colonel overseeing movement controls around a village north of Baghdad described the strategy as follows: “With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them."[20] Similarly, Capt. Todd Brown – a company commander with the Fourth Infantry Division overseeing movement controls in Abu Hishma, observed that: “You have to understand the Arab mind. The only thing they understand is force -” force, pride and saving face."[21]

Thus, we see how President Bush’s infamous maxim – “You are either with us or against us” – operates in practice, leading to the otherization of the Iraqi people based on the US military’s ideological construction of dual intrinsically irreconcilable categories of human existence: “Us” and “Them.” This constructed duality, convenient for the legitimization of US military atrocities, entails the reduction and dehumanization of an entire people – indeed, a multiplicity of peoples – to the single subhuman concept of “the Arab mind”, the inherent backwardness of which is only capable of understanding the brutal language of “force” in the eyes of US troops. Consequently, the latter are at a loss as to how to communicate and liaise with “the Arab mind”, without the use of the bullet, the shell, the missile. In one fell swoop, Capt. Brown encapsulates the colonial, if not potentially genocidal, tendency intrinsic to the structures of power established in the course of the US occupation.

The strategy, which deliberately targets the civilian population with instruments of repression based on social control through physical boundaries, amounts to a form of terrorism by which US forces intend to secure the military-political objective of “quelling the insurgency” and marginalizing indigenous resistance. In the NY Times’ words: “Underlying the new strategy, the Americans say, is the conviction that… the new strategy must punish not only the guerrillas but also make clear to ordinary Iraqis the cost of not cooperating."[22]

Hall-marks of the inception of a new apartheid, in other words, are apparent: A Western minority regime consolidates its occupation of indigenous territory through the forceful establishment of physical boundaries, fundamentally demarcating the ruled from the rulers, by which the regime can manipulate and control the movements of the population while instituting programmes of political and economic marginalization.

Hence, after US officials proclaimed their desire to graciously grant sovereignty to Iraq by next summer, they nevertheless rejected the idea of direct national elections, proposing instead “an elaborate process of picking electors around the country, a process the US would control.” The pretext for this was that Iraq lacked an accurate census of Iraq’s voting population.[23]

Iraqi census officials subsequently devised a detailed workable plan to count the country’s entire population and prepare a voter roll in order to hold national elections by September 2004. In response, US officials firstly informed the Iraqi Governing Council that direct national elections were impossible because of the lack of a census, and secondly chose not to inform the Council of the detailed new census proposal. Although the Ministry of Planning had already sent the census plan to the Council for review, it had – to the convenience of Bremmer & Co. -” somehow become “lost in the bureaucracy.” When the existence of the census plan came to the Council’s attention, the decision to avoid direct national elections had already been made under the impression that a census was impossible, and US officials declared they had rejected the plan as “impractical”.[24]

Meanwhile, attempts to counter genuine political self-determination by the Iraqi people were accompanied by similar policies in the economic sphere. As one White House official told Newsday in January 2003, “There are people in the White House who take the position that it’s all the spoils of war. We [the United States] take all the oil money until there is a new democratic government [in Iraq]."[25] As Amnesty International reported:

“Much planning and resources seem to have been devoted to securing Iraqi oilfields. However, there is scarce evidence of similar levels of planning and allocation of resources for securing public and other institutions essential for the survival and well-being of the population. The response to disorder has been shockingly inadequate."[26]

As if to confirm Amnesty’s concerns, on 22nd May 2003 President Bush signed Executive Order 13303 providing oil companies working in Iraq with immunity from prosecution or civil litigation for any activities “related to” Iraqi oil. No similar protections were provided for groups involved in other aspects of Iraqi reconstruction, such as humanitarian organizations. “This order reveals the true motivation for the present occupation: absolute power for US corporate interests over Iraqi oil”, commented Jim Vallette, a Senior Researcher at the Washington DC-based Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). “This is the smoking gun that proves the Bush administration always intended to free corporate investments, not the Iraqi people.” Legal Director of the IPS Governmental Accountability Project Tom Devine similarly noted that “the Executive Order cancels the concept of corporate accountability and abandons the rule of law. It is a blank check for corporate anarchy, potentially robbing Iraqis of both their rights and their resources."[27]

Democracy is certainly a long-time coming, to say the least. Pentagon officials confirmed in November 2003 that Washington expects the occupation to last several years, maintained by about 100,000 US troops until at least early 2006.[28]

Who’s Next?

The 2003 war on Iraq is the second stage in the implementation of a much wider imperial grand strategy for global pre-eminence that commenced with the war on Afghanistan, set in motion on the pretext of fighting the new ‘War on Terror’ in the aftermath of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks.

As candidly revealed by former NATO Commander Gen. Wesley Clark, the Bush administration planned that the new ‘War on Terror’ would encompass multiple successive theatres spanning much of the globe. He describes the comments of a senior military staff officer at the Pentagon: “…we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia, and Sudan."[29]

Thus, it came as no surprise when, on Tuesday 2nd December 2003, the US government warned five other “rogue states” after Iraq – the remaining members of President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ – that they could become potential targets of some form of US intervention. Iran, North Korea, Syria, Libya and Cuba, were singled out by John Bolton, Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, for being “hostile to US interests.” “If rogue states are not willing to follow the logic of non-proliferation norms,” he chided, “they must be prepared to face the logic of adverse consequences. It is why we repeatedly caution that no option is off the table."[30]

This revamped imperial posture is only the latest stage in a historical continuum of empire-building that constituted colonial policy in the Middle East in the early twentieth century. Imperialism did not end with decolonization. On the contrary, the end-goal of decolonization was candidly described by Lord George Curzon, then British Foreign Secretary, who noted that what the UK and other Western powers desired in the Middle East was an:

“Arab facade ruled and administered under British guidance and controlled by a native Mohammedan and, as far as possible, by an Arab staff…. There should be no actual incorporation of the conquered territory in the dominions of the conqueror, but the absorption may be veiled by such constitutional fictions as a protectorate, a sphere of influence, a buffer state and so on."[31]

Curzon had defined in explicit terms the network of surrogate client-regimes -” the basic framework of order -” that the Western powers desired in the Middle East. After the United States rose to global power after the Second World War, the British position in the Middle East was supplanted. US policy was designed to maintain the resultant status-quo consisting of these surrogate regimes. As one US State Department official stated in 1958: “Western efforts should be directed at-¦ the gradual development and modernisation of the Persian Gulf shaikhdoms without imperiling internal stability or the fundamental authority of the ruling groups."[32]

Decolonization, rather than signalling a reversal of this continuum of Empire-building, in reality signified its rehabilitation in accounting for new national and international conditions, and moreover its development into a new more sophisticated and effective world-system under US/Western hegemony. The occurrence of decolonization, however, was symptomatic of the inherent instability of this imperial order. The British Empire was suffering from costly military overstretch and facing increasing indigenous protests against colonial rule. But under decolonization, domestic social, political and economic structures in the fledgling post-colonial States remained fundamentally unchanged, governed now not by the British, but by the most wealthy and powerful sectors of those States. But imperialism continued nevertheless in indirect form, with the Western powers, particular the United States, forging close alliances (and often sponsoring quite directly) ruling cliques in the post-colonial States.[33]

But it is crucial to note that the transition of the imperial system from a colonial to a surrogate method of organisation -” although rehabilitating and consolidating that system -” certainly signified that system’s inevitable decline due to its intrinsic contradictions, evidenced by the massive almost simultaneous unrest and uprisings against colonialism. Such a brutal system of unashamed repression and profiteering was thus unsustainable, and decolonisation allowed the basic social, political and economic structures of colonial States to be essentially maintained through Western alliances with regional surrogates.[34]

The inherent instability of this imperial system – now governed primarily by the United States and secondarily by other powers through international multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, regional coalitions, and regional surrogates -” and its tendency to decline has again become increasingly apparent. The Bush administration is attempting to counter this overall systemic deterioration by applying its new doctrine of military action. As far as the Bush administration is concerned, the military operation in Iraq is hoped to be the inception of a regional plan -” in the vein of the new imperial doctrine – to control, carve-up and restructure the Middle East in accordance with regional interests, particularly the Bush administration’s new energy-obsessed national security strategy. The Bush plan envisages that this new grand strategy amounts to the next stage in the historical continuum of Western imperialism, of which Iraq is merely the beginning, the principal aim being to firm-up the international system under US hegemony.[35]

The interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq have allowed the US military to become a regional occupying force in both Central Asia and the Middle East. However, US long-term regional strategy plans to use its current occupational advantages to expand its influence and control, particularly in order to secure unimpeded access to diminishing resources, especially oil and natural gas.

Multiple conflicts are brewing in the Middle East, revolving around Palestine, Iran and Syria. Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, numerous testimonials from Bush administration officials and other credible sources confirmed that Iraq was intended to be a stepping-stone for a comprehensive US-Israeli plan to restructure the entire Middle East to concord with their mutual interests. Israel for long has been used by the US government as a regional proxy force and instrument of US policy.[36] There is little doubt that the 2003 bombing of targets in Syria by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF),[37] as well as the IDF plan to target purported Iranian nuclear sites, fall well within this joint plan for the region.[38] Escalating hostility viz-a-viz Israel, Syria, Iran and the United States are visible signs of the unfolding of this plan, namely in terms of how Israel has opened the door for a wider Middle East war.

Iran in particular is a choice target due to its huge oil and natural gas reserves. Confidential US and British military sources further confirm the existence of a detailed operational war plan for devastating air strikes against Iranian targets. Whether the plan – which of course may be not only politically unpopular but also strategically unviable – is actually implemented remains to be seen.[39]

Rumblings in Saudi Arabia heralding the possibility of a rebellion to topple the current regime have also been noted by US and British policymakers. Detailed military plans have already been laid by the US government to invade Saudi Arabia in the event of a coup d’etat challenging the regime’s historic pro-Western stance, and to capture the country’s oil fields.[40]

North Korea also continues to be the subject of US provocation, despite the obvious dangers of unprecedented global nuclear warfare. Confidential military sources and reports from the open press reveal the existence of a detailed operational war plan against the country.[41] Senior Bush administration officials confirm that elements of Operations Plan 5030, as the plan is dubbed, “are so aggressive that they could provoke a war.” There are several war plans for Korea – Plans 5026 and 5027, as well as 5030 – outlining “different phases of war and the specific provisions for movements of large numbers of troops, aircraft carriers, and other war-fighting requirements."[42] Again, diplomatic and military realities will probably render such plans inoperable, at least in the short-term. Nevertheless, their very existence discloses the insane heights to which US military strategists are aspiring in their dreams of expanding the “pax-Americana”.

The ultimate goal of these multiple military plans and operations unfolding in the Middle East and Asia is the consolidation and expansion of global US pre-eminence, primarily by countering US rivals, namely Russia, Europe and China.[43] Europe and China in particular represent significant threats to the 21st Century’s global “pax-Americana”, whose economic power is fast superseding that of the United States. China, without doubt, is economically far stronger than the flailing US economy and according to many analysts is set to become more dominant as a global power than the US in the coming years.[44] Meanwhile both Russia and OPEC are actively considering a swift switch to the Euro for all oil-transactions.[45]

The 2003 war on Iraq, for example, was very much concerned with reversing Iraq’s change of currency to the Euro (fundamentally challenging the US’ dollar hegemony, particularly over oil-related financial transactions), as well as Iraq’s oil contracts with France and Russia. It was also an attempt to begin to shore-up the framework of order in the Gulf states as well as the wider Middle East, which was gradually but surely disintegrating under the pressure of the indigenous population growing increasingly vocal in their opposition to regional US policy, including the support of corrupt Arab dictatorships.[46]

It is perhaps no coincidence that the new ‘War on Terror’ was launched almost immediately after the peak of world oil production that likely occurred in or around 2000, implicating the inevitable decline in production in the coming years, culminating in a full-scale global energy crisis well within the next few decades. This was documented in a joint study by the Council on Foreign Relations and the James Baker Institute for Public Policy drawn up for Vice-President Dick Cheney in early 2001, calling for a drastic “reassessment of the role of energy in American foreign policy”, in which oil was repeatedly cited as a “security imperative.”[47]

This fatal oil squeeze only means that the race to grab global resources via military interventions has become increasingly urgent. The race naturally implies the drive to prevent and undermine other major powers from doing the same. Both Europe and China are ultimately key targets in the end-game of the new Anglo-American imperial strategy. Smaller powers in various strategic regions, mainly the Middle East and Asia, are primarily pawns in this grand chessboard to global hegemony. The new imperial strategy is being conducted from a US position of potential weakness, in which American global hegemony is on the decline, facing multiple challenges and crises. The reality, of course, is that in this complex web of conflicts and power-plays, there are likely to be few real winners, and the usual losers: the vast majority of the world population.

In that regard, there remains a critical factor in this historic trajectory that has as yet not been taken into account: we, the people. Ultimately, the decisions and actions of the world’s people, united in opposition to such catastrophic policies and in support of new alternatives to the entrenched structures of world order, cannot be avoided. As the process of decolonization in the early 20th Century illustrated, the centuries-old colonial experiment was unsustainable. The British Empire retreated because the repressive imperial apparatus was repelled by indigenous opposition. 50 years on, the American Empire that took its place also remains unsustainable. While world powers vie with one another to maintain their interests to the detriment of poorer and weaker nations whose lucrative resources are being siphoned away to fill the pockets of wealthy corporations and their allies, the growth of multiple regional and global crises signals the disintegration of world order as we know it. Precisely what will take its place is unclear -” but, of course, it will be an outcome of our choices: whether we choose to conform to the disastrous procession of events masterminded by a minority of powerful elites, or to act in collective opposition to a system of escalating injustice and devastation. Ultimately, our decisions, our passive acceptance of the way things are or our active dissent in words and actions, will determine the success of elite plans.

Notes:

[1]. BBC News, ‘US will liberate Iraq, says Bush,’ 3 January 2003, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/2625981.stm.

[2]. 60 Minutes, ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, CBS News, 4 December 2003, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/12/04/
60minutes/main586841.shtml.

[3]. Ibid.

[4]. Peterson, Scott, et. al., ‘Amid chaos, Baghdad frustration rises’, Christian Science Monitor, 14 April 2003.

[5]. Morris Stephen and Norton-Taylor, Richard, ‘British-appointed Basra chief exposed as former Ba’athist’, The Guardian, 12 April 2003.

[6]. Goldenberg, Suzanne, ‘Ba’athists slip quietly back in control’, The Guardian, 21 April 2003.

[7]. For documentation see Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, "Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq," New Society Publishers, Gabriola Island, BC, 2003.

[8]. Deborah Pasmantier, ‘Mosul shootings over-shadow US-led talks’, Agence France Presse, 16 April 2003.

[9]. Robert Fisk, ‘Secret slaughter by night, lies and blind eyes by day’, The Independent, 14 September 2003.

[10]. Dana Priest and Robin Wright, ‘Iraq Spy Service Planned by US to Stem Attacks: CIA Said to be Enlisting Hussein Agents’, Washington Post, 11 December 2003, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A54518-2003Dec10.html.

[11]. John Pilger, ‘Bush and Blair are in Trouble’, New Statesman, 2 December 2003.

[12]. Tom Karon, ‘Learning the Art of Occupation from Israel’, Time Magazine, 9 December 2003, http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,558391,00.html. Also see Helena Cobbon, ‘"Made in Israel" Crackdowns in Iraq Won’t Work’, Christian Science Monitor, 11 December 2003, > http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1211/p09s01-coop.html.

[13]. Vernon Loeb, ‘Commanders Doubt Syria is Entry Point’, Washington Post, 29 October 2003.

[14]. 60 Minutes, op. cit.

[15]. Reuters, ‘Iraqi arrested for criticising US’, 11 November 2003, http://uk.news.yahoo.com/031111/325/edm92.html.

[16]. 60 Minutes, op. cit.

[17]. Owen Bowcott, ‘Troops accused of torture’, The Guardian, 24 July 2003, http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1004821,00.html.

[18]. Dexter Filkins, ‘Tough New Tactics by US Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns’, New York Times, 7 December 2003, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/12/07/international/middleeast/
07TACT.html?ex=1071742542&ei=1&en=902587f5d4e2808a.

[19]. Karon, ‘Learning the Art of Occupation from Israel’, op. cit.

[20]. Cobbon, ‘"Made in Israel" Crackdowns in Iraq Won’t Work’, op. cit.

[21]. Filkins, ‘Tough New Tactics by US Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns’, op. cit.

[22]. Dexter Filkins, ‘Tough New Tactics by US Tighten Grip on Iraq Towns’, op. cit.

[23]. Matthew Rothschild, ‘Rigging Iraq’s Elections’, The Progressive, 4 December 2003, http://www.progressive.org/webex03/wx120403.html.

[24]. Joel Brinkley, ‘US rejected plan for Iraq census’, International Herald Tribune, 4 December 2003, http://www.iht.com/articles/120235.html.

[25]. Knut Royce, ‘Plan: Tap Iraq’s Oil’, Newsday, 10 January 2003.

[26]. AI Report, Iraq: Responsibilities of the Occupying Powers, Amnesty International, London, 16 January 2003, http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/engmde140892003.

[27]. SEEN Press Release, ‘Groups Demand Repeal of Bush Immunity for US Oil Companies in Iraq’, Sustainable Energy & Economy Network, Washington DC, 23 July 2003, http://www.seen.org/BushEO.shtml.

[28]. New York Times, 21 November 2003.

[29]. Gen. Wesley K. Clark, ‘The Clark Critique’, Newsweek, 29 September 2003. Cites excerpt from Clark’s book Winning Modern Wars: Iraq, Terrorism and the American Empire. Clark has his own conspicuous record of terrorism achieved during the NATO intervention in Kosovo. See especially Wayne Madsen, ‘Wesley Clark for President? Another Con Job from the Neo-Cons’, Counterpunch, 18 September 2003, http://www.counterpunch.org/madsen09182003.html; Michel Chossudovsky, ‘Regime Rotation in America: Wesley Clark, Osama bin Laden and the 2004 Presidential Elections’, Centre for Research on Globalisation, Montreol, 22 October 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO310B.html; Edward Herman and Philip Hammond, Degraded Capability: The Media and the Kosovo Crisis, Pluto Press, London, 2000.

[30]. Guy Dinmore and Mohsen Asgare, ‘All options open, US warns "rogue" countries’, Washingon Post, 2 December 2003, http://news.ft.com/servlet/ContentServer?pagename=FT.com/StoryFT/
FullStory&c=StoryFT&cid=1069493670606&p=1012571727162.

[31]. William Stivers, Supremacy and Oil: Iraq, Turkey, and the Anglo-American World Order, 1918-1930, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 1982, p. 28, 34.

[32]. Cited in Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror, op. cit.

[33]. Ibid.

[34]. Ibid.

[35]. See PNAC Report, Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces and Resources for a New Century, Project for the New American Century, Washington D.C., September 2000, http://www.newamericancentury.org/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf.

[36]. For documentation see Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror, op. cit., ‘Conclusions’.

[37]. Joshua Brilliant, ‘Israel defends bombing in Syria’, Washington Times, 8 October 2003, http://www.washtimes.com/upi-breaking/20031008-044447-8455r.htm.

[38]. ‘Mossad, IAF, have plan for Iran nuke sites’, Jerusalem Post, 11 October 2003.

[39]. Sources cited in confidential interview with this author, 16 September 2003. Among the sources are internal Labour Party briefings authored by British aerospace scientist Graham Ennis.

[40]. Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror, op. cit.

[41]. Sources cited in interview, op. cit.

[42]. Bruce B. Auster, and Kevin Whitelaw, ‘Upping the ante for Kim Jong Il: Pentagon Plan 5030, a new blueprint for facing down North Korea’, US News, 21 July 2003, http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/030721/usnews/21korea.htm. Also see for instance Richard Spencer, ‘North Korea says new alliance is "a provocation"’, The Telegraph, 15 September 2003, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2003/09/15/wkor15.xml.

[43]. PNAC Report, op. cit.

[44]. See especially Andre Gunder Frank, ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1998, 2002.

[45]. See for example Reuters, ‘Russia to Price its Oil in Euro Not Dollars’, 8 October 2003.

[46]. Ahmed, Behind the War on Terror, op. cit.

[47]. Strategic Energy Policy Challenges for the 21st Century, http://www.rice.edu/projects/baker/Pubs/
workingpapers/cfrbipp_energy/energycfr.pdf. For extensive analysis of this report and other relevant sources, see ibid. For specific documentation regarding the peak of oil production and its historical and contemporary geopolitical context, see especially Richard Heinberg, The Party’s Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, New Society, 2003.

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Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of "The War on Freedom: How and Why America was Attacked, September 11, 2001" and "Behind the War on Terror: Western Secret Strategy and the Struggle for Iraq."

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