FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Iraq, the Final Storm

by Ron Jacobs

 

“I will reserve whatever options I have. I’ll keep them close to my vest. Saddam Hussein needs to understand that I’m serious about defending our country.”

George W. Bush.

What Mr. Bush doesn’t seem to understand are these two things. 1) Defending oil reserves and oil profits is not the same thing as defending one’s country and 2) Saddam Hussein is most likely just as serious about defending his country. Not that that matters to Cowboy George. Virtually all factions within the war party in Washington, DC are calling for an all-out war on Iraq beginning sometime this year.

Once again, the pretext that will be used involves the charade of weapons inspections by the United Nations. If one recalls the last time weapons inspectors were allowed into Iraq, they were thrown out because a good number of the inspectors were actually working for the CIA and collecting information that was then relayed to British and US forces who bomb that country almost weekly. This time around, it is expected that the requirements of the 1nspections will be so restrictive that there is no way the Iraqi government would be able to agree to them. As an unnamed US intelligence source was quoted in the British newspaper The Guardian on February 14, 2002, “The White House ‘will not take yes for an answer.'” What this means is that the war establishment is intent on provoking a crisis that will provide the US military with the fig leaf it needs to go to war.

One can be pretty certain that Saddam Hussein’s departure from the world stage will be greeted with some relief among virtually every quarter, if and when it finally happens. Yet, if he is removed via US military force, that chorus is likely to be muffled, as well it should be. No nation has the right to attack another nation, no matter what their excuse. This is a basic understanding that guides the world of international relations and is one of the fundamental mechanisms that allows the various nations to maintain their tenuous balances of power. When this understanding is ignored or flouted by a government, the balance between war and peace disappears and war rules the planet. The last time in history that a world power so blatantly disregarded this rule of international relations was when Adolph Hitler was building his Reich. Interestingly enough, his reasons were eerily similar to those given by GW and his band-self-defense being foremost among them.

The Oil Factor Until the nationalization of Iraqi oil in 1972, US and British oil companies controlled 75% of the production there. The nationalization by the Ba’ath government (which overthrew the US-British installed monarchy in 1958), sent shockwaves throughout the international oil industry and virtually ended the US-British dominance of the Iraqi resources. As Iraq turned to the Soviet and French governments for development funds and partnerships, the US and British companies like Exxon, Chevron, and BP grew increasingly concerned about the loss of this profitable source of oil. In addition, the governments in Washington and London began to look for ways to regain their control of these oilfields, as part of their strategy to control access to as much of the world’s oil as possible.

This strategy is what has driven US military and diplomatic moves in the Middle East since the middle of the 20th century, from the Potsdam conference to the current war against “terrorism” and its consequent saber-rattling against Iraq. When the UN (under the United States) began sanctions against the Iraqi people in 1990, punishing Saddam Hussein was a secondary goal. The primary reason for these sanctions and their continuing existence is to prevent any governments from trading in Iraqi oil beyond the limits set by the US-dominated Food-for-Oil program.

As things stand today, if sanctions were lifted before any US war on Iraq, the French, Russian, and Chinese would activate oil development and trade agreements they have made with the Iraqis. All of these agreements can only begin when the sanctions are lifted. This is why the US and its subsidiary, Great Britain, refuse to consider any lifting of the sanctions and are marching their respective peoples off to war. These governments know that the only way they can fulfill their strategic and economic goals in Iraq is by invading that country, overthrowing Saddam’s government, and installing a regime willing to do the bidding of Washington.

It does not have to be a democratic regime, nor is it likely that it will be. It only has to make sure that the oilfields in Iraq will be controlled by the US and British oil giants. To this end, the Pentagon and its civilian counterparts in the White House and Congress are more than willing to occupy and rule Iraq until a pliable enough Iraqi government can be cast. Human Rights?

Despite Mr. Hussein’s unpopularity in the circles GW travels in, both here and abroad, Saddam is tremendously popular among many people in the streets of Palestine, Jordan, and other Middle Eastern and Islamic nations. This is not because he treats his people fairly, nor is it because he has a program that addresses the daily reality of theses disenfranchised masses. No, the reason Mr. Hussein is popular is because he stands up to the US behemoth, no matter what the cost. In a world where Washington can do whatever it wants (and does), those who are opposed to Washington’s plans for global domination will take their inspiration wherever they can find it. Right now, the only sources appear to be Mr. Hussein, Mr. bin Laden, and a few other men who owe their prestige to brute force and/or terror.

The lack of other more humane and democratic leaders can be traced to the vacuum created by the Israeli/US policies around Palestine and their support of reactionary and autocratic regimes in the Middle East and around the world. At one time, there were a number of revolutionary organizations and leaders in the developing world who were not religiously connected or despotic. Now, after years of covert and overt operations designed to destroy these elements, all that remains are the religious radicals and Saddam Hussein. Interestingly enough, Mr. Bush’s war on his “axis of evil” may bring these two elements together in their struggle against the US empire.

That being said, it is vitally important to remember that it is not Saddam Hussein who will bear the brunt of any US campaign to end his rule. No, the primary victims will be the people of Iraq. Already devastated by the first Gulf War in 1990-91 and the sanctions against their country, the Iraqi people will once more bear the brunt of the killing campaign being planned by the US national security apparatus. The last time around thousands of Iraqi draftees and civilians were killed during the US campaign. Several thousand died without even being able to defend themselves in as US forces bombed air raid shelters, buried troops alive on the front lines after surrendering, and killed them with US gunships as they retreated on what became known as the “highway of death.” The US was found guilty of war crimes by an international tribunal. Of course, as we all know, victors never commit war crimes, only losers.

Here in the western world, we need to take to the streets in opposition to the threats of war NOW, not after the attacks begin. We must demand that the killer sanctions against the Iraqi people end. Western troops should be withdrawn immediately from all countries in the region. In addition, it is time to demand that the UN resolutions demanding Israel return to its pre-1967 borders be enforced. In short, it is time for the world to take a serious look at the situation in the region and begin a process that addresses the concerns of all the players in the region, not just the governments that the US props up with cash and arms.

Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground.

He can be reached at: rjacobs@zoo.uvm.edu

 

More articles by:

Ron Jacobs is the author of Daydream Sunset: Sixties Counterculture in the Seventies published by CounterPunch Books. His latest offering is a pamphlet titled Capitalism: Is the Problem.  He lives in Vermont. He can be reached at: ronj1955@gmail.com.

February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Muller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OSFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail