THE FIRST phase of the US-led war against Iraq has started. American and British warplanes have stepped up their bombing of Iraqi defences in the ’no-fly zones’, targeting surface-to-surface missile batteries.
No to war in Iraq.
US cranks up war machine
Everything is being put in place ready for an invasion. Western media reports say British SAS and US special forces troops are already operating in northern Iraq’s Kurdish area.
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has mobilised a further 60,000 troops to be used as occupying forces, on top of the estimated 250,000 British and US combat troops in the region.
Notwithstanding the vote by Turkey’s parliament to deny its airbases for an invasion through northern Iraq by US forces, nor the likelihood of a second UN security council resolution being vetoed by France, (both of which may delay the onslaught), Bush and Blair appear determined to go to war to affect ’regime change’.
According to a report headed Collateral Damage, (published by MedAct the UK affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) the consequences of such a devastating action could be that post-war Iraq could face "possible civil war, famine and epidemics, millions of refugees and displaced people,…economic collapse…"
The report concludes: "The potential impact on health and the environment is enormous and impossible to quantify." The United Nations is preparing for 500,000, mostly civilian, casualties arising from the war.
As a result of punitive economic and trade sanctions, Iraq has still not recovered from the effects of bombing from the 1991 Gulf War.
Moreover, Blair and Bush’s ’justification’ for removing the dictator Saddam Hussein – that this will result in a democratic Iraq – is risible. The example of post-Taliban Afghanistan after the US-led war shows that most Afghans today still eke out the same miserable existence, in a climate of increasing fear and violence.
A stooge regime in Iraq, resting on US bayonets, will ensure that oil revenues flow to US and British energy corporations while most working-class Iraqis become poverty-stricken internal refugees.
Bush’s bribes and dirty tricks…
DESPITE SOME hefty arm twisting and dangling a $30 billion carrot in front of Turkey’s political leaders, a US plan to use that country’s military bases to launch a northern invasion of Iraq has come unstuck.
Although the Turkish parliament voted last Saturday by 264 to 250 votes to allow 62,000 US troops to deploy in Turkey, it fell short of the necessary majority. The vote left a fuming US, which tried to put a brave face on this setback, and a sick looking Turkish prime minister, Abdullah Gul.
The vote in parliament partly reflected the overwhelming opposition (94% in some opinion polls) of Turkey’s population. During the parliamentary debate up to 100,000 people, mobilised by peace groups and trade unions, demonstrated against the war threat in the capital, Ankara.
Ironically, the block on US military deployment comes just weeks after the rift between NATO members over deploying US missile systems to Turkey was papered over.
Unless the situation can be retrieved the US military faces a logistical headache re-routing its troops and hardware. Furthermore, part of the reason for a northern invasion of Iraq by US forces was to act as a buffer between armed Kurdish forces seeking an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq and a Turkish military wanting to crush such aspirations.
Prior to the vote the US had promised Turkey that it would ’maintain the integrity of Iraq’ ie prevent an Iraqi Kurdistan. Without sizeable numbers of US ground troops in the region, Turkey and Kurdish forces could engage in a bloody conflict.
With Turkey’s rulers already facing economic crisis, labour unrest, the ongoing Cyprus question, etc, a US-led war with Iraq is proving to be a major source of instability.
UN’s "Floating voters"
US SECURITY service agents are using spying, phone-tapping, and dirty tricks to get the UN to pass the resolution authorising military action against Iraq.
A secret document unearthed by The Observer calls on US spooks and spies to step up surveillance action, including intercepting phones and emails of the six wavering countries on the UN Security Council.
Blatant bribery is also being wielded by Bush and his humble servant Blair to get the vote to invade Iraq. The six floating voters on the Security Council after Bulgaria pledged its vote for Washington are:
- ANGOLA which relies heavily on US imperialism for investment and foreign aid. The US offered Angola help for ’reconstruction’ after their 27-year-civil war provided it gives the OK for another war in Iraq.
Washington also says it will look the other way if Angola’s government goes back on promises to move towards openness and democracy.
- CAMEROON supports France’s more cautious attitude on war. But Cameroon president Paul Biya faces an election shortly and doesn’t want to alienate members of the International Monetary Fund especially the USA who could make life difficult for Cameroon.
- A third impoverished African country, GUINEA, is being wooed away from France with promises of aid for their army rangers and a large amount of Britain’s £4 million earmarked for West African refugees.
Bigger and less poverty-stricken Security Council members like Chile, Mexico and Pakistan cannot be bribed so cheaply.
- CHILE had supported more time for the UN inspectors. There is talk of a US free trade agreement with Chile and other Latin American governments as an inducement to vote the right way.
- Trade deals and a new deal for migrants may not be enough to win over MEXICO.
- Mass opposition to war in PAKISTAN may also make it very hard to get support from the Musharraf dictatorship.
But the world’s richest nation keeps its bribery machine working on some of the planet’s poorest states.