FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Why the US Needs to Blame Anyone But Locals for UN Bombing

It was always the same story. If it wasn’t the enemy you were fighting, it was the enemy you knew you’d have to fight in the future.

So when the killers of Baghdad on Tuesday slaughtered 20 UN staff, with the UN’s local proconsul, Sergio Vieira de Mello, the Americans embarked on one of their familiar flights into fancy. If it wasn’t Saddam’s “diehard remnants” who were tormenting them, it must be al-Qa’ida’s “remnants” who are destroying America’s best efforts to produce democracy in Iraq (though not Afghanistan); “foreign Arab” fighters were creeping over the border from Iran or Syria.

This was the line from the “Coalition Provisional Authority” yesterday: don’t, for God’s sake, produce proof of home-grown opposition, or the whole “liberation” of Iraq might look rather dodgy. Blame it on al-Qa’ida, on “Ansar al-Islam”, on “terrorists” coming from Saudi Arabia or Syria or Afghanistan. But, during the war against the American invasion of Iraq, weren’t there two suicide bombings in Nasariyah, one by a man, the second by two women? Weren’t they Iraqis? And isn’t it possible an Iraqi Sunni resistance movement–for let us be frank and accept that the Shia have not yet joined the resistance war, though they will–destroyed the UN headquarters on Tuesday? Only yesterday did it emerge that the bomber was probably a suicider.

Months ago, when Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary who in a previous incarnation pleaded with Saddam (circa 1983) to reopen the US embassy in Baghdad, arrived in the Iraqi capital to address his troops, he warned of “terrorist” organisations at large in Iraq. Some of us wondered what he was talking about. Hadn’t the US just defeated Iraq?

But then we realised he was spinning a narrative for journalists to grasp if the “Saddam remnants” line wore out. There would be other evildoers to blame, other antagonists in the “war on terror” to single out.

Sure enough, the “outside” guerrillas have now been brought centre-stage, whether or not they exist, to explain why US rule in Iraq is coming undone. The US can crush Saddam. It can kill his sons. But still it cannot control Iraq.

This, in a sense, is the last heirloom that Saddam has handed to President George Bush: you can occupy this country, he is saying, but you can’t rule it. Saddam created enough pseudo-Wahabist groups to let off steam during his reign. Talk about Islam, they were told, but not about politics. But the moment the regime collapsed, these organisations, which had always been hostile to Saddam, were left to their own devices, and immediately opposed US rule in Iraq. They, not al-Qa’ida, or anyone else, are running this butchery of a war against America and its friends in Iraq.

When the resistance to the Americans began in Lebanon in 1982-83, it started with stone-throwing after six months. Yet the assaults on the Americans in Baghdad are coming at a speed six times as fast. Six months ago, it would have been impossible to imagine such a scenario. Certainly, al-Qa’ida could not have organised its legions so quickly. So even Osama bin Laden may have something to learn from this debacle.

ROBERT FISK is a reporter for The Independent and author of Pity the Nation. He is also a contributor to Cockburn and St. Clair’s forthcoming book, The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

 

 

More articles by:

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail