1 - 7 June 2006 Issue No. 797
Harvest of occupation
The US-led imperial project in Iraq has done everything possible to foment strife and chaos and to lay blame on Iraqis, writes Mohamed Hassan Al-Khalesi
US soldiers look on as a prisoner prays after being released from Abu Ghraib
What is the harvest of three years of occupation? The question is relevant to our people, to those who sought change and those who embraced it out of malice or ignorance. The question is relevant to a nation wondering whom to trust. The harvest of occupation is something that everyone is thinking about, including the invaders and neighbours of Iraq. Now we're a model country, a living example of tragedy and despair. Now we offer encouragement to the most depraved of governments and opposition groups. Now you get despots telling their nations that the crumbs of freedom they allow are better than the fate of Iraq. Now you get opposition movements admitting they want change but not Iraqi-style.
Who wants his country to turn into another Iraq? Who wants his nation to suffer the fate of the Iraqis? Who wants to live the fairytales of US liberation? No one does. Three years of occupation have turned Iraq into scattered cantons, divided the nation into sects and clans, squandered national wealth, dismembered the state, and turned the country into an arena for terror and vengeance. Three years of occupation have stripped Iraq of welfare and security, social fabric and infrastructure. Laws have been supplanted by orders from Paul Bremer.
US troops claim licence to kill. The atrocities committed in Haditha by US marines against innocent civilans speak volumes. No official in this country, however prominent, dares to question US acts. No official wants to end the shame in which the country lives. Our officials live under the protection of foreign mercenaries. Our regime is ignorant of the most basic points of policy. Our officials have no idea how much wealth has been stolen from Iraq, or how much money has been robbed from its budget.
Anglo-American occupation authorities have abandoned Iraq to ethnic and sectarian strife. Occupation authorities are responsible for fomenting strife in the country. Occupation authorities condoned the destruction of sacred shrines across the country, and yet they blame the Iraqis. Those who follow the US media may have noticed the proliferation of news programmes discussing civil war in Iraq. One gets the impression that this is what the Americans want for this country. The media campaign sounds a bit pre-meditated, a tad pre- programmed. Civil war is what the occupation authorities, and their local collaborators, want. The aim is to blame the failure of US policy on the Iraqis. The goal is to end Iraq as we know it. The Americans will allow Iraq to survive only if it conforms to their expectations. Otherwise, they'll encourage it to self-destruct. And the collaborators in our midst are helping the Americans implement their insidious schemes.
The Americans are running out of options and time. Occupation authorities have failed on more than one level. Patriotic groups have refused to engage in the current political game. Some well-intentioned politicians are participating in government, but chances are that even those will get so disenchanted that they'll have to join the opposition. Occupation authorities want a semi-stable regime in power. They want a regime that can protect itself internally but not externally. This is a contradiction yet to be resolved, if ever. The only option left for occupation authorities is to keep their forces deployed in the street until further notice.
Occupation authorities have little time left. Once the Bush administration is out of office, the days of US deployment in Iraq will be numbered. Congressional elections are nearing, to be followed by presidential elections in the not too distant future. Right now, the pro-Israeli lobby is looking for acceptable candidates, both Republicans and Democrats, who support continued deployment in Iraq -- not an easy task. This is why the occupation authorities are fomenting sectarian strife in Iraq. Faced with imminent failure in Iraq, occupation authorities want the headlines out of Iraq to speak of sectarian strife, not of the failures of the occupation.
The Americans are going to pull out of Iraq. They're going to do so not because of Iraqi casualties -- for these hardly matter -- but because of US casualties. This is why occupation authorities want to see sectarian war in Iraq, because the victims of such war would be mostly Iraqis rather than Americans. The outbreak of sectarian war in Iraq would give occupation authorities more options and time. Those who foment sectarianism in Iraq are in fact promoting US interests. They are buying the Americans time and helping them achieve their objective. The occupation wants to see sectarian strife in Iraq. This is why its first act in this country was to disband the Iraqi army and police. This is why it maintained control of the newly established army and police.
Occupation authorities encouraged the Iraqi defence minister to divide the militia into two categories, pro- and anti- government. The Americans control both the Iraqi interior and defence ministries. Occupation authorities have brought in 2,000 US servicemen to train Iraqi army and police personnel, in a country with a known history of military achievement. The Americans aren't in Iraq to train, but to control. Every ministry in the country -- not only the interior and defence -- is under the thumb of the Americans. Occupation authorities have divided ministries according to sectarian and ethnic allegiances. The sectarianism one sees today in the Iraqi government is the result of US actions.
Occupation authorities have hired foreign mercenaries to work in this country, paying them out of the reconstruction budget. According to The Sunday Times, over 50 foreign companies specialised in hiring mercenaries have contracts in Iraq. These companies hire over 25,000 former soldiers, whose qualifications and tasks only occupation authorities know.
Under the occupation, tensions have surfaced between the Iraqi army and police services, with Sunni units turning against Shia units and vice versa. Can this be a coincidence? Iraqi mercenary units, acting outside the control of the army, attack holy shrines to foment sectarian strife. Is this by accident? My answer is no. Such actions are being encouraged by occupation authorities, who want to give the world the impression that the turmoil in Iraq is home-grown.