FW: Is the U.S. Attempting to Dismember Iraq?

Magne Haagen Flatval (Magne@exchange.kvalito.no)
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 10:28:59 +0100

Litt imperialisme på morraskvisten

> -----Original Message-----
> From: International Action Center [SMTP:iacenter@iacenter.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, March 17, 1999 3:50 AM
> To: iacenter@iacenter.org
> Subject: Is the U.S. Attempting to Dismember Iraq?
> By Richard Becker
> The war against Iraq goes on day in and day out. More than 8 ½ years
> of U.S./UN sanctions/blockade and war have killed more than a million
> and half people, and left a once-prosperous country devastated. For
> three months, since the intense air attacks of "Operation Desert Fox"
> in December, U.S. bombing of Iraq has been a near-daily occurrence.
> These bombings, sometimes hitting more than a dozen civilian as well
> as military targets in a single day, are played down in the capitalist
> media here, if they are mentioned at all.
> Public opinion, even among progressive and anti-war forces, can become
> numbed, and this is not an accident. It is part of a revamped U.S.
> strategy of what might be called "Quiet War" against Iraq.
> But while the profile of the war against Iraq has been lowered in the
> U.S. media, Washington's campaign to overthrow the Iraqi government
> and re-colonize the country, has, in fact, been sharply intensified in
> recent weeks.
> In the past month, three top officials of the U.S. national security
> apparatus have toured, one on the heels of the other, the Gulf states,
> other Arab countries and Israel. Assistant Secretary of State Martin
> Indyk, Defense Secretary William Cohen, and Secretary of State
> Madeleine Albright have all been in the region in recent weeks, a sign
> that Washington is trying to solidify support for its anti-Iraq
> crusade among already-compliant states.
> Several leading Arabic newspapers have been carrying front-page
> stories about the direction of U.S. strategy. Writing about the daily
> bombing attacks, the Pan Arab paper, Al-Quds al-Arabi noted that while
> Cohen acknowledged that U.S. pilots may have "inadvertently" destroyed
> sections of the Iraq-Turkey oil pipeline, he expressed no regrets.
> "The astonishing thing about the matter is that the world has grown
> accustomed to news of skirmishes over the no-fly zones in northern and
> southern Iraq," Al-Quds al-Arabi continued, "and equally accustomed
> to news of Iraqi civilians being killed and injured by air strikes-as
> though the victims are not human beings, and as if the United States
> of America has the right to kill them and to destroy Iraqi air
> defenses whenever it pleases," the paper says. "Everyone seems to
> forget, including the Arab states who are supposed to be Iraq's
> brethren, that these no-fly zones in which the battles occur are
> Iraqi-not American-territory, and that they were established by
> unilateral American fiat without any resolution from the UN Security
> Council."
> "Iraq is being targeted by a war of attrition that it is developing
> into a second Desert Fox, albeit in a gradual manner as part of
> Washington's considered plan for bringing about the anticipated
> American change in Iraq," al-Quds al-Arabi writes. "The U.S., having
> passed the Iraqi Liberation Act and earmarked money for Iraqi
> opposition groups, has appreciated that the regime in Baghdad is
> strong and firmly in control, and cannot be overthrown by means of an
> intense on-off air attack. So it has resorted to this war of
> attrition. "This war which is bleeding Iraq without any legal
> justification must stop, in order to preserve what remains of this
> Arab country and its people's dignity," al-Quds al-Arabi says.
> "If some Arab regimes are colluding in America's plans, either through
> direct participation or silence, the Arab public needs to protest and
> expose their objectives if we are to avoid an Arab disaster which
> makes the Palestine catastrophe pale in comparison."
> Egyptian columnist Assayed Zahra, in a story in the Bahrain daily
> Akhbar al-Khaleej, views U.S. actions as intended to carve Iraq up
> along ethnic lines and trigger a civil war, with the aim of
> overthrowing the Iraqi government.
> Zahra cites an interview carried by the Turkish daily Milliyet with
> the U.S. diplomat in charge of "transition" in Iraq, Frank
> Ricciardone, "the man appointed as trustee of the affairs of the
> mercenary groups labeled as the Iraqi opposition and to take charge of
> the plan to topple the Iraqi regime."
> The Saudi paper Asharq al-Awsat covered this interview with
> Ricciardone in a front-page story headlined: "Washington expects
> surprise coup in Iraq."
> Asked by Milliyet if the U.S. plan wouldn't lead to the partition of
> Iraq and civil war there, Ricciardone said that Iraq could hardly be
> considered a unified country today, given the no-fly zones over the
> north and south.
> The Turkish media has also been carrying reports that the U.S. has
> promised that Turkey would be allowed to "administer" the northern,
> largely Kurdish, zone, in order to prevent the development of an
> independent Kurdish state. Ricciardone declared the U.S.-imposed
> "no-fly" zones are intended to be a permanent state of affairs,
> according to Zahra. "In other words, because America cannot think of
> anything else to do to achieve its objective of overthrowing the Iraqi
> regime, it has no qualms at all about destroying an entire country,
> dispossessing an entire people, and putting the fate of the entire
> region on the road to perdition," Zahra writes.
> Zahra's argues that the sanctions/blockade and the funding of the weak
> Iraqi opposition movement are unlikely to achieve Washington's real
> objective: "a change in regime" in Baghdad. Nor is massive U.S.
> occupation because of the "enormous domestic political costs" from
> putting "the lives of large numbers of U.S. troops at risk." Thus, the
> strategy of dismembering the country, at least "temporarily," is the
> option left.
> The greatest evidence that the dismemberment scenario has begun being
> implemented is that since the December blitz, American and British
> warplanes have been bombing Iraqi air defenses in the north and south
> almost every day. The aim is both to gradually destroy Iraq's
> defensive capabilities and try to establish the "principle" that such
> attacks are a routine matter, thus getting public opinion accustomed
> to them ahead of stage two of the plan-namely, the anticipated all-out
> air assault on the north and south.
> In Zahra's scenario, this air assault would be intended to end Iraqi
> central government control over the north and south of the country.
> These are the areas that hold most of Iraq's vast oil reserves.
> "Presumably that is to be followed by the entry of Iraqi opposition
> forces--a 10,000-man force has been mentioned--into Iraq under U.S.
> air cover, as well as some political figureheads currently based
> overseas.
> "Then, a government is declared in the `liberated south' and another
> in the north, which Washington hastens to recognize. The north and
> south are subsequently relieved of sanctions, and their `governments'
> granted Iraq's frozen overseas assets and control over their
> oilfields," Zahra continues.
> "The opposition forces--or `liberation army' as some U.S. documents
> already refer to them--then presumably stage attacks against
> government forces and sabotage operations, and attract army units to
> their side until, Washington hopes, the regime in Baghdad collapses."
> As one evidence of this plan, Zahra points to the fact that
> immediately after Assistant Secretary Indyk's tour, government
> officials in several Gulf states which have been hostile to Iraq began
> strongly stating their opposition to the dismemberment of Iraq, and
> toned down or stopped altogether their criticism of the Baghdad
> government.
> The break-up of Iraq would threaten the very fragile "stability" of
> the entire region, as neighboring governments are well aware. It would
> be in keeping, however, with the general thrust of U.S. strategy in
> many parts of the world.
> Where Washington has been unable to gain total domination of targeted
> countries, it has frequently sought to break them into smaller, more
> digestible pieces. The former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia are
> examples. A few years ago, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger
> made the interesting comment that "the problem with China is that it's
> too big."
> While it is not possible to verify all aspects of the scenario being
> described by Assayed Zahra, the basic elements are undoubtedly being
> implemented or prepared for implementation.
> The anti-war movement must be prepared to step up resistance.