Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
Opinion Editorials, June 2014
America to Watch Entanglement in Iraq's Bloody Saga
By Mahboob A Khawaja
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, June 19, 2014
“We are waging war on terrorism even as we embody terrorism. No wonder we seem sometimes to be at war with ourselves, and have been for most of the 21st century….. No American under 12 Has Lived in a Country at Peace…whatever the U.S. government knows, or thinks it knows, is not widely shared with most of its citizens….. The American Enemies List Is Decided Anonymously and Secretly.” (William Boardman, “ Is America a Country at war with an Illusion.” Information Clearing House: 8/19/2013).
Late Dr. Ali Shariati (the persuasive intellectual force of Iran’s Islamic revolution), once noted: “when people live in darkness, they lose sense of direction.” The 21st century knowledge-based information age tells a lot about how some of the global politicians and sadistic leaders tend to ignore the lessons of history. The darkness is returning to Baghdad. In March 2003, America waged a bloody war against Iraq under a false pretext of having ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction.’ All impartial accounts of the decade long war point out to the American-led savagery to have murdered approximately 3 million innocent people in Iraq and destroyed countless human habitats and hub of one of the well known ancient human civilizations. With $25 billion invested in decade long training of the Iraqi armed forces, American occupation and war strategy built much hated sectarian divides and barriers to maintain the law and order. It helped the US military echelon to ensure operational capability of US contractors to manage the constant flow of precious oil exports without Iraqi presence and control. George W. Bush was keen to see Iraq remaking the dollar as the only exchange currency for oil exports and that all the major oil businesses were taken over by the US contractors including of his own family and the reconstruction work to be carried out by Halliburton under Dick Cheney-the VP. According to the Project for the New American Century - PNAC, it is clear that George W. Bush administration had no other interests to propagate human rights, freedom or democracy in that part of the troubled world. It was a ‘mission accomplished’ by occupation. Iraq continued to be a place of bloody sectarian encounters, political and economic instability and missing legitimate political governance since that invasion of the few monsters of history. Iraq’s one-sided Shiite governance by Nour Al-Malki regime is under threat of being replaced by a new popular movement of the ISIS groups led by Abu-Bakr Al-Baghdadi after their sudden success in capturing several major towns in Iraq.
Again this weekend, American war psyche is gearing up to explore all the possibilities to reclaim insanity and discard rationality. America faces no challenge like Putin in Ukraine to stop thinking of entanglement in Iraqi affairs. President Obama faces multiple problems both at home and abroad. American politics is a game of pretensions, money, big talks and people who act fist and think later. This is how an estimated of 5,000 American soldiers were killed in Iraq and more than 30,000 wounded. The real figures could be much higher. Nobody can explain to justify if all the human lives were lost for any rational cause to preserve human dignity, freedom, democracy or justice in Iraq. America failed to achieve any triumph or glory in Iraq except prolonged occupation, hanging Saddam Hussain and stealing Iraq’s gold reserves and oil production. Recently, an international tribunal has indicted George W. Bush and Tony Blair (PM of Britain) with war crimes committed in Iraq. The ICC at The Hague is currently pursuing an investigation against Britain of war crimes in Iraq. This could well involve the US suspected crimes against the people of Iraq too.
Post 9/11, the American Congress authorized the President to use military force against those who perpetrated the 9/11 attack and those countries who harbored those individuals. That’s it, that’s the only legal authorization to use of military force available to the US President. Saddam Hussain or Iraq was not listed in the US charge sheet of the 9/11 attacks. At the outset, it was a PNAC’s per-planned scheme of things to wage wars and to occupy the Middle East oil enriched region for the future strategic priorities and security of the US. The then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan called the US invasion as “illegal war.”
Glenn Greenwald (IS Obama Fulfilling the Neocon Dream of Mass Regime Change in Muslim World?, Democracy Now: 11/28/2011.), the constitutional law attorney and political and legal blogger (Salon.com) points out the rationale of crossing over the firing lines:
“What we’re doing in essence is not only going way beyond what we were supposed to be doing when the Congress authorized military force, but what we’re really doing is we’re constantly manufacturing the causes of our war. Everywhere we go, every time we kill Pakistani troops or kill children in Yemen or in Afghanistan, we’re generating more and more anti-American sentiment and violence, and therefore, guaranteeing we will always have more people to fight.”
Glen Greenwald recalls having heard General Wesley Clark (speech he gave in 2007 to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco):
"in which he recounted meetings that he had at the Pentagon with people with whom he had close relationships in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and he talked about how, as he had done before, that he was told within a week or two after 9/11 that the Pentagon intended to attack Iraq, even though no one thought that they were involved in the 9/11 attack."
This week, Iraq appears to be on the brink of political disintegration. The ISIS groups have seized control of Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, Tikrit - former dictator Saddam Hussein’s hometown, and Dhuliya which is about 60 miles northwest of Baghdad. The ISIS fighters are pushing forward to Baghdad. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurds have seized control of the northern oil city of Kirkuk. The ISIS groups now control the area that stretches from the eastern edge of Aleppo, Syria, to Fallujah in western Iraq and the northern city of Mosul. The sudden advance and military success of the ISIS attacks has surprised the military experts across the globe. The ISIS advance has caused an unthinkable humanitarian catastrophe. Reportedly, five hundred thousand people have left Mosul to go into Kurdistan. Save the Children reports that, "We are witnessing one of the largest and swiftest mass movements of people in the world in recent memory.” The political and humanitarian dimensions of the crisis must be analyzed in a non-partisan manner without prejudice and to ensure the best interests, restoration of peace and safety of the people of Iraq as whole. Many international reporters portray the people’s trust in the ISIS and are returning to safety in Mosul and other small locations. Contrary to the Western political claims of “jihadist” encroaching Iraq, many observers get surprises when they witness people returning to their homes in peace and express optimism to see the marching rebels assume governance to serve the masses.
What happened across Iraq preceding the 2003 American invasion is no coincident but reactionary outbursts of vengeful killings and sectarian atrocities watched indifferently by all the global war players. Iraq needs people of new ideas to cope with multiple scopes of the political and humanitarian crises to seek workable solutions away from the entrenched political box of the few Shiite egoistic administrators. This has not happened and will not come about as long as Nour Al-Mallki is heading the secluded government of self-appointed cronies. President Obama in his yesterday’s statement clarified that Iraq must make progress in finding political solutions and work on building trust of the Sunni component of the Iraqi political landscape. American leadership jumping into a prevalent chaotic and strategically volatile situation will not sound a rational decision. Media reports point out that 5000 or so US sponsored oil contractors have already fled and taken planes out of Iraq. There are no American troops stationed in Iraq to fight against the ISIS. Supposedly, if there were any US marines stationed in Iraq, how could they have rescued the endangered Al-Maliki regime from total collapse?
While news media reports indicate that Iran’s spiritual leaders are sending the “Quds Guards” to fight and defend the Iraqi Shiite regime, it will not be in the interest of Iran or the Muslim world to intervene based on any sectarian consideration. The crisis in Iraq warrant critical thinking and a mature and proactive response not a hasty reaction to dispatch armed forces to side with one or another group. One would hope that Iran’s morally and spiritually conscientious leadership would chalk-out its stance more cautiously to maintain its balanced presence across the Muslim world. Whether Sunni and Shiite followers of Islam, they are Muslim, and there is no religious basis to fight or to kill one another. What would they be fighting for except to protect a corrupt and an illegitimate political regime? Shrines at Karbala and Najf are historically respectable places to both the Shiite and Sunni sects. There should be no foreign interference from any corner to enflame the already worst human catastrophic situations affecting the public life across Iraq. Surely, Iraq does not need another influx of unwelcome American warriors to reignite the old wounds, fear and hatred. The moral is, be it America, Iran, Brits, Saudis or Kuwaitis or any outside nations, they must refrain from jumping into fire and inflicting more pains, anguish and cruelty to the Iraqi masses.
If President Obama decides to order air strikes or send warships or other secretive security forces measures to support the PM Nour-Al-Maliki failing client regime, it could raise multiple reactionary problems to deal with the Muslim world. Such actions could entrap more hatred and hostilities rather than conflict management. The leaderless Arab world is fast becoming a landscape of dehumanized economic culture, political disintegration and losing its identity and usefulness in global affairs. If the Arab leaders had wisdom, proactive vision, moral unity and were open to learning, they could have helped the Palestinians to establish an independent State of Palestine. Agreeably, political problems must be tackled by politicians and people’s future must not be determined by guns and bullets. At this stage, President Obama needs to analyze critically his weakness and strength as a leader in coping with the global issues. America is not in a moral and political strength to impose its hegemony on others. He has already flunked in dealing with Syrian war problem, normalization of relations with Iran and restoration of sovereignty of Ukraine under the Russian threat. Robert Pape, Professor, University of Chicago's, and author of the Dying to Win: the Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism (2005) points out the alarmingly failing record of the US war strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan:
"America is in unprecedented decline. The self-inflicted wounds of the Iraq war, growing government debt, increasingly negative current-account balances and other internal economic weaknesses have cost the United States real power in today's world of rapidly spreading knowledge and technology. If present trends continue, we will look back on the Bush years as the death knell of American hegemony."
One major factor encouraging the global powers to go freely for warmongering and being unchallenged out of their own hemisphere to far fetched lands and commit massacres and destroy human habitats, is the obvious corrupt system of global peace and security operated by the UNO. It is nothing more than a debating club overwhelmed by the few – the five obsolete global powers at the UN Security Council to claim legitimacy to rule the nations of the world. If the UNO could be reformed and made responsible to the people of the globe, it could certainly play an effective role in global peace and security.
What is the cure to raging indifference and cruelty to the interests of the people of Iraq, United States, and Europe and for that matter to the whole of the humanity? The 21st century new-age complex political, economic, social and strategic challenges and the encompassing opportunities warrant new thinking, new leaders and NEW Visions for change, conflict management and participatory peaceful future-making. But change and conflict resolution and new visions will not grow out of the obsolete, redundant and failed authoritarianism of the few insane and egoistic leaders. Be it the Obama, Bush, Blair or Nour Al-Maliki, none have the understanding of contemporary societal peace or understanding of human interests seeking peaceful co-existence in a God-given splendid and living Universe. Once in power, they engage to assert one-way self-serving polices and practices in complete disregard of the interests of the people and their sense of peace, solidarity and happiness. To challenge the deafening silence of the US, Europeans, Russian, and of all the authoritarian rulers of the Arab Middle East for global peace and security, the humanity must find ways and means to look beyond the obvious and troublesome horizons dominated by the few warlords and continued to be plagued with massacres, barbarity against human culture and civilizations, destruction of the habitats and natural environment as if there were no rational being and people of reason populating the God’s created splendid and living Universe. The informed and mature global community looks towards to those thinkers, educated and honest proactive leaders enriched with coherent unity of moral, spiritual, intellectual and physical visions and abilities to be instrumental to lead and rescue the mankind from the planned encroachment of the few global warlords.
(Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution, and comparative Western-Islamic cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest one: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Academic Publishing, Germany, May 2012).
Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent Al-Jazeerah & ccun.org.
firstname.lastname@example.org & email@example.com