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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

civil war in Iraq - as planned

One war disguised the other in Iraq.

One war spanned the invasion to the fall of Baghdad. America’s reason to invade was, of course, a sham, but there are degrees of shamming. Where fraud does converge with truth is the American determination to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This war could be called the formal war of the U.S. against Iraq. The second war operated behind this war, and then came out into the open in the occupation. This was the substance of America's war against Iraq, and it was waged against the very existence of Iraq. It proceeded by zigzags, but with the general goal of reducing Iraq to a weak network of independent states, all of which would be colonies of the U.S. in much the way Kuwait is. Call it the Kuwaitization of Iraq. It was as brutal and as immoral a plan as any hatched by the Nazi Wehrmacht. It has resulted, so far, in some 300,000 to 600,000 deaths. Its genealogy is rooted in the American sponsorship of death squads that was one of the common features of the Cold War era, except that the dirty wars Americans sponsored in the seventies and eighties were never on this extensive a scale. Pentagon planners were no doubt expecting that the reduction of Iraq would result in some minor, some Guatamalan sized death pile – 100,000 butcheries, tops.

However, once you treat a country the way Milosovic treated Yugoslavia, you get a Yugoslavian situation.

Think LI is exaggerating? Let’s look at two interesting pieces of evidence that the U.S. plan was, all along, the crushing of Iraq, its disassembly, and the creation of perpetually vulnerable smaller states that the U.S. could “manage” – steal from, leave in utter poverty, and site bases on.

The first is this surprisingly candid interview, today, with Jay Garner, the first overseer of the second war. Jay Conan, of NPR, is the questioner.

“CONAN: And I also mentioned that you were involved in the establishment of the no-fly zone and the secure area in the north of Iraq after the war in 1991. And as we think about the future of Iraq, does the current - the present of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, does the point that way at all, do you think?

Lt. Gen. GARNER: Oh, absolutely. I think the plan – the talk now to partition the country – I don’t like the word partition, but I think divide into federal districts or federal entities. You know, we’re already partitioned. Anybody that don’t think that partition exists is - either hasn’t been there, or they had their eyes closed when they were there. But to have a Kurdish area, a Sunni area, and Shia area, with Baghdad separate with a decentralized government, federal government over it I think is the way to go.

CONAN: Yet this process of partitioning, it’s not clearly demarcated in most areas of the country. Obviously, the Kurds still have a major problem…

Lt. Gen. GARNER: Oh, I think what you do, you have a referendum and you say – and in the referendum, you vote on what area want to be – to live in.

CONAN: Well, right now, people are being asked to – forced to move from the areas at gun point.

Lt. Gen. GARNER: And so – but if you allow them to vote what area – it means you would end up probably redrawing some provincial boundaries. But yeah, right no, you see a lot of shifting going on. You see some of Sadr’s people moving up around Karkuk to try to influence like that.”

Interestingly, what Garner proposes for Iraq is what the U.S. violently opposes in Israel - a right of return that would displace the Israelis. Why not just say, look, Israelis that arrived from Russia will just have to go back there. And so on...

So, after instituting a plan for the dissolution of the state, Americans are surprised that Iraq is falling into civil war. Must be those awful savage Muslims, right? Cynicism and incompetence are the muses of this particular war.

But more... We've seen the mindset of America's first overseer, in 2003. In 2004 began the process of constitution making. Here, we have plenty of evidence from Peter Galbraith’s book on Iraq. I’ve interviewed Peter Galbraith. He’s a personable guy. He’s also the son of one of my heroes. But wherever Galbraith goes, trouble follows. When he was the ambassador to Croatia, as Roger Cohen has written in his book on the Yugoslavian wars, he either turned a blind eye or actively cooperated in defying the arms embargo on Croatia. In 1994, remember, Croatia was ruled by Tudjman, who was bent on ethnically cleansing Croatia of Serbs. Tudjman approached Galbraith to request that the U.S. not block the transfer of Iranian arms to Croatia. Galbraith transmitted this message to Clinton, and the U.S. government decided to defy the arms embargo imposed in 1991.

This is normal among the ‘humanitarian interventionist’ crowd: its appeal to only those international laws that it decides not to break, its friendliness towards a certain kind of warlord, and its magnification of conflict, a consequence that it then uses to proceed with its ‘humanitarian’ plans.

Here, to refresh all of our memories, is a report from the Hague war crimes trial from 2004:

“Belgrade, 18 October: The minutes of a meeting between the late Croatian president Franjo Tudjman and the Croatian military leadership, which took place on the northern Adriatic archipelago of Brijuni on 31 June 1995, were admitted as evidence during the testimonies of Croatian Army general Imra Agotic and former US ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith at the Hague war crimes tribunal in the autumn of 2002, a Belgrade lawyer has said.

"I am profoundly irritated by the cynicism with which the Croatian public perceives as a sensational discovery what preceded Operation Storm in the Krajina (Serb-occupied territory of Croatia) in the summer of 1995," Branislav Tapuskovic, a lawyer and former friend of the court in the trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague, has said in an interview with the Belgrade-based newspaper Vecernje novosti published on Monday [18 October].

The authenticity of the minutes of the meeting, where Tudjman said that "the Serbs should be dealt such blows as to practically disappear", was never disputed and it was perfectly evident from this record that there was a plan to launch Operation Storm with the prior consent of the United States and Germany, the lawyer said.

The former head of Tudjman's office, Hrvoje Sarinic, has confirmed that the Americans set territorial limits and ordered that the Croatian forces should stop before Banja Luka. That part of the trial was public, it was televised, and the records made available to me by the Hague tribunal's prosecution were hundreds of pages long," Tapuskovic said.”

This is the same Galbraith who advises the Kurdish government, and – as shown in his latest book on Iraq – has actively tried to get the Kurds to impose the most drastic kind of partition on Iraq.

This essay by Zaid Al-Ali tracks Galbraith’s interventions in the illegal construction of the constitution last year
– illegal by the rules laid down by the invaders themselves. al-Ali quotes this astonishing passage:

“But Galbraith's own account suggests that he (acting in an individual capacity), practically formulated the position of the Kurdish leadership himself, and in so doing had a crucial impact on the substance of the Iraqi constitution. He writes:

"I realized that the Kurdish leaders had a conceptual problem in planning for a federal Iraq. They were thinking in terms of devolution of power - meaning that Baghdad grants them rights. I urged that the equation be reversed. In a memo I sent Barham (Salih) and Nechirvan (Barzani) in August (2003), I drew a distinction between the previous autonomy proposals and federalism: ‘Federalism is a ‘bottom up' system. The basic organizing unit of the country is the province or state. [...] In a federal system residual power lies with the federal unit (i.e. state or province); under an autonomy system it rests with the central government. The central government has no ability to revoke a federal status or power: it can revoke an autonomy arrangement. [...] The Constitution should state that the Constitution of Kurdistan, and laws made pursuant to the Constitution, is the supreme law of Kurdistan. Any conflict between laws of Kurdistan and the laws of or Constitution of Iraq shall be decided in favor of the former.' These ideas eventually became the basis of
Kurdistan's proposals for an Iraq constitution."”

al-Ali analyzes this passage with a certain scholarly softness, instead of screaming at the top of his lungs – LI’s own favorite method of communication. He writes of the ‘ethical’ problem here. Damn right. Fucking right. Fucking terribly, terribly right. And he concludes:

“From the extract set out above, it should also be obvious that Galbraith went beyond the objectives that his Kurdish patrons initially wanted to achieve. Indeed, whereas the Kurds requested of Galbraith that he provide advice on how to structure Iraq's federal system of government, his proposed course of action - which included allowing the Kurdish constitution to be the supreme law in Kurdistan - actually amounts to establishing a confederal system of government, which is far from being the same thing.”

To conclude: the civil war isn’t a terrible product of the savage factions in Iraq, those beheading beasts, as a bulwark against which the humane Americas have to stay in Iraq. The civil wars are a logical product of American policy in Iraq from the beginning of the occupation. This is sometimes disguised under the American ‘suggestion’ of federalism, but the American object in Iraq was and still is the fundamental undermining of that country as a sovereign entity. Period. So much for the sliminess of the Bush objective. As in any Bush program, however, the sliminess of the goal is undermined by the vast incompetence of the means – and so, instead of the atomization of Iraq enforced by U.S. troops, we have the factionalization of Iraq in which U.S. troops are used, now by this side, now by that, as a trump card.


Brian Miller said...

Interesting. Most other commentators, even Billmon, still are operating on the assumption that partition is not what the Administration really wants. I have to admit your view makes a little more sense.

roger said...

Brian, what the U.S. wants is a compromise between different factions. I don't think the official U.S. position is to create autonomous divisions as of yet, but to create a sort of spineless jellyfish state, with each region having enough independence that they can be dealt with separately. But this is an impossible goal - that kind of state won't exist - or rather, its existence will be a continual internicene war.

As always, with the Bush administration, goals and means are at completely variance. In trying to permanently weaken Iraq as a state, the U.S. created the perfect framework for a civil war -- and then, of course, acts as though the United States is the only thing standing between Iraq and Civil war. Just as they abolished the security forces and then - astonishingly! - the U.S. was the only thing standing between Iraq and nationwide insecurity.

ahfukit said...

Roger, I apologize for injecting this out of context into comments but I couldn't find an email addy.

I seek your opinion on this, alarmist or alarming?

Bush Moves Toward Martial Law

We Can Repeal This Law

Urgent to resist, or add it to the list?

-ahfukit   wb.5.amole at xoxy dot net

roger said...

Mr. Ahfukit - or, rather, somehow I feel it should be, ahfukit-san:
Isn't my email address on the little sidebar somewhere? it is rgathman@netzero.net.

I'm going to put it up there next time I get around to editing the template.

As for the stories, I haven't read them yet. For what it is worth: in my opinion, Bush n Cheney are trying to destroy the various restraints put on the over the top exec branch in the 70s, and they have succeeded in creating the legal framework to do so. They haven't yet created the practical atmosphere to go as far as they want, but we are getting there. Sometimes I think about whether my language is too violent or offensive on this blog, just because I want to continue earning a humble sum by writing for the papers and magazines. I know that it is easy to freak on dissidents, easier now - and that the legal framework will do its work by crushing protest in the egg, so to speak, so that we precensor ourselves in order to stay 'viable'. This drives a certain kind of doublehanded discourse - a tone of cynical irony - which always emerges when an 'ancien regime' tries to implement this kind of overt censorship.
My own response is to use 'fuck', 'cunt' and 'shit' more often.

Anonymous said...

I hear ya on the precensor. And your response to that. I think there's also an "it's useless to resist" psyop in progress, maybe 60% complete. Bastards.

I wonder sometimes what it would take to get an immediate and "universal" protest out of us. News of the loss of this, or the hobbling of that, or the evisceration of the other, liberty, that would see us cancelling all appointments and marching physically and virtually on the offices of our representatives in no mood for compromise.

As presented, this action struck me that way: knocked the wind out of me (and the friend who presented it to me) all day yesterday. Finding little coverage and little resistance on the net, I wondered if I wasn't overreacting, or if I'd been victim to a propagandistic presentation of the facts. So here I am today trying to decide if it's justified, or "worth" the effort, to resist, now. Surreal.

ahfukit said...

(that was me)