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[casi-analysis] Iraq's Holocaust

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I was so upset when I heard that an Iraqi nuclear
scientist was executed today in the street by unknown
gunmen. I accuse the Zionists Crime Syndicate with
comfort that they are behind all Iraq's disasters…

from:,Sun, 05 Sep
Sad but factually true!

Iraq's Holocaust
Dr Samir Rihani

[Brzezinski and Scowcroft, security advisors to
presidents Carter and Bush, asserted, "the United
States is in the Persian Gulf to stay" (Foreign
Affairs, May-June 1997). For long-term strategic
control of Iraq, and its oil resources, the country
had to be reduced to a shambles. The social, economic,
political, and military willingness and capability to
resist had to be destroyed. This suited Israel and its
supporters just as well.]

The Washington based Institute for Policy Studies
published a report in June 2004 to chronicle the
horrendous costs of the illegal 2003 war on
Iraq. Dwelling on this latest episode, however,
obscures the fact that the intentional and systematic
'scourging of Iraq', the title of a
powerful book by Geoff Simons, began decades before.
Iraqis cannot forgive or forget this process of wanton
destruction in which their own
leaders as well as external powers led by the USA were
the main villains. Neither can they ignore the role
played by the UN as willing tool and legitimising
authority for the horrors heaped on their head. The
current unrest is prompted by a great deal more than
just resistance to occupation by foreign forces.

The Revolutionary Path to Oblivion
It is now hard to believe that Iraq was once calm and
progressive. Governments were mildly corrupt, and
excessively pro-British, but political debate and
parliamentary opposition were in evidence. Minutes
of cabinet meetings were recorded and budgets were
published and routinely audited. The brightest
students, males and females of all religious and
ethnic backgrounds, were given state-funded
scholarships to study abroad. Moreover, and partly as
a result, health and other public services were the
envy of neighbouring nations. Religion was
kept in its proper place as a matter of personal
belief. Above all else, citizens lived in relative
security, and foreign visitors were welcomed with
legendary generosity and respect.

Half a century or so later, Iraq is a different place
altogether. Repressive leaders come and go under the
watchful eye of the new hegemonic power. Religion has
eclipsed political, social, and economic
activities. The educated and outward-looking middle
class has all but disappeared; its members having left
the country in desperation or simply retreated behind
locked doors in fear. Intolerance has become
the new national creed. Nations normally progress
quickly or slowly as the case may be, but hey rarely
maintain a state of persistent regression for decades
on end. What caused this drift into the abyss by
Iraq and its citizens?

The start of the process was marked by an
unnecessarily bloody coup d'etat. Meddling by the West
in general and the USA in particular,principally in
pursuit of cheap oil but also to gain strategic
advantage, ignited a popular revolution in 1958 that
did away with the monarchy and ushered in the era of
'sole' leaders. Overwhelming jubilation, which I
enthusiastically shared, was short-lived when
confronted by the realities of life under the harsh
and volatiles regimes that followed. Idealism was the
immediate casualty.

The first leader was Qassem, who promptly became the
target of a CIA led 'health alterations committee'.
The Americans wanted their own man at the top. Efforts
to alter Qassim's health were finally rewarded when he
was killed in another coup in 1963 in which Saddam
made his debut as
a future leader. Britain was replaced by the USA as
the de facto power in Iraq and citizens became aware
of the difference between subtle British manipulation
and brash American blundering.

"Let Them Kill Each Other"
Saddam, virtual ruler of Iraq for several years,
became 'sole' leader in 1979. Shortly thereafter,
efforts were made by external power brokers to entice
the Iraqis to attack Iran. It was hoped that the
fledgling regime in Iran would crumble leading to the
release of the 58 persons taken hostage in 1979 at the
American embassy in Tehran. The broader aim was to
weaken both sides to enable the USA to streng then its
strategic foothold in the region.

Saddam, as his later actions painfully demonstrated,
was an easy prey
for American subterfuge. He led Iraq into a bruising,
and typically fruitless war that lasted eight long
years. Between 400,000 and one million people perished
(the exact figure is unknown). The war cost
about $390 billion. As Heikal recorded in Illusions of
Triumph, "whenever one side seemed in sight of victory
Washington would
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(ADCO).begin secretly helping its opponent." The
intention was to "let them kill each other"; a remark
attributed to Kissinger.

The war coincided with a slack period in arms sales.
Hence, no less than fifty countries participated in
meeting the demand for weapons. As documented by Adams
in Trading in Death, twenty-eight countries, led by
the permanent members of the UN Security Council,
supplied both sides. Everyone was a winner except the
combatant countries and their hapless

Supply of military equipment to Iraq was maintained to
the end of the war and beyond. The topic became a
scandal for the Conservative government that was in
power in Britain at the time. That led inevitably to
the usual whitewash by an 'independent' inquiry (see
The Sunday Times of 18 February 1996). Tony Blair and
his spin-doctors, of Hatton and Armstrong inquiries
fame, did not invent the genre. It is
part and parcel of statecraft in modern democracies.

Les Us Kill Them More Efficiently
US strategists were not content with the damage caused
by the Iraq-Iran war. There was a feeling that wars
between neighbours were not necessary as a cover for
the emasculation of Iraq. Plans to invade
Iraq, including scenarios based on an invasion of
Kuwait by Iraqi forces, were already on the drawing
board (see Ramsey Clark, Challenge to Genocide).
Saddam was goaded in various ways. He was also led to
believe he had the green light to attack Kuwait. In
any case, he never needed much convincing to flex his
muscles. Prudently, the USA secured
approval from the UN for its subsequent actions. The
UN was implicated
overtly from that point onwards in America's
machinations in the region.

The war, when it came in August 1990, was brief and
highly effective. In less than six weeks about 88,000
tons of explosives, with the equivalent power of seven
atomic bombs, were dropped on Iraq. The
weapons of mass destruction deployed by the USA
included depleted uranium projectiles, fuel-air
asphyxiation bombs, and cluster bombs. Other barbaric
methods were also adopted such as the use of earth
moving equipment to bury Iraqi soldiers alive who were
too afraid to
leave their trenches. However, the main targets were
the country's economic, industrial, and social

Liberation of Kuwait was only part of the overall
intention. Brzezinski and Scowcroft, security advisors
to presidents Carter and Bush, asserted, "the United
States is in the Persian Gulf to stay" (Foreign
Affairs, May-June 1997). For long-term strategic
control of Iraq, and
its oil resources, the country had to be reduced to a
shambles. The social, economic, political, and
military willingness and capability to
resist had to be destroyed. This suited Israel and its
supporters just as well.

Finish Them Off With the Silent Deadly Remedy
Again, war was not deemed enough. Preparation for the
next stage was meticulous. Propaganda, misinformation,
and outright lies were used on
a scale that dwarfs Britain's infamous dossier and
other mind-making efforts associated with the 2003
war. The tool chosen was sanctions;
described by Woodrow Wilson as the 'silent deadly
remedy'. And so it proved to be for the majority of
ordinary Iraqis. The ruling elite, by
contrast, grew stronger and benefited hugely. The UN,
under pressure from the US government, imposed a
strict regime of sanction on Iraq
that was maintained for thirteen years. The ensuing
devastation was on a biblical scale.

The genocide inflicted by the sanctions on  Iraqi
people is well documented. The damage was clear as
early as late-1991 when a Harvard team published their
shocking report. However, the most disturbing
accounts came from UN agencies and their staff in
Iraq. Denis Halliday and Hans von Sponeck, who
resigned in disgust, are prime examples.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation reported in
1995 that "more than one million Iraqis have died-
567,000 of them children- as a direct result of the
economic sanctions…" Madeleine Albright thought
that price was acceptable. It seems astonishing, but
some commentators still hold that viewpoint today (see
Foreign Affairs, July-August 2004).

And the carnage mounted despite the sham of the
oil-for-food programmeintroduced in 1996 and the
'smart' sanctions of 2000. A whole
generation of children was blighted, hundreds of
thousands perished, and highly qualified people left
the country in droves. As promised by
James Baker in 1991, Iraq regressed to the
pre-industrial age. And remember, this is before one
shot had been fired in the 2003 war.

The oil-for-food programme was in the main a
propaganda ploy to deflect growing public disgust at
the human cost of the sanctions. In practice
any of the main actors could veto the importation of
an item on the grounds that it might be used for the
production of weapons. The list of such prohibited
items, including cotton wool, is both chilling and
illuminating. In any case, approval of all
applications took an excessively long time. This might
have been a means to frustrate the
workings of the programme. The destruction of Iraq was
the top priority. On the other hand, a more sinister
incentive has emerged more
recently. It would seem that corruption in the
management of the programme was widespread. However,
we will have to wait for the Volcker
commission report to see the full picture, assuming
that Volcker is more diligent than other chairmen of
'independent' inquiries.

An Iraqi Diaspora
Human rights abuses, lies, and misdemeanours committed
in the 2003 war shrink into insignificance when put
alongside the determined attack
unleashed against Iraq's society, culture, and
identity over several decades. Successive wars and the
UN supported sanctions, imposed in
practice by the USA and its close allies, resulted in
radical and catastrophic shift in Iraq's demographic

Most of the Arab countries have provided a ready
supply of highly qualified persons for the rest of the
world. The same applies to Arabs who have inherited or
acquired large fortunes that enabled them to enjoy a
ready welcome from other countries. Some of the
incentives to emigrate are obvious: turbulent
environment, mercurial and despotic
rulers, insecurity, lack of prospects, and so on.
However, there are also distinct indications that
certain external interests do not favour
sustainable progress in the Arab world driven by a
prosperous and educated middle class. They have
applied over the years constant
pressure to encourage outward migration of talent. In
some instances this included outright assassination.

The reasons for this foreign antipathy to progress in
the Arab world are easy to understand. Settled, truly
democratic, and progressive nations are difficult to
subdue. American global leadership depends to
a large extent on control of the Middle East region.
Contrary to its public utterances, progress, peace,
democracy and all the other ingredients for
independence and sovereignty are not favoured by the

Israel has an identical objective in the Arab world.
Military threat from its neighbours has never been a
serious concern for Israel. By contrast, on going
economic and human development by the Arab nations
would pose a major inconvenience. They would acquire a
voice on the world stage and would not be so easily
dismissed and ignored as at present. In truth,
American and Israeli objectives since the end of
World War II have coincided for far more effective
down to earth reasons than the altruistic religious
and ethnic explanations advanced for public

Iraq has numerous advantages that would potentially
enhance its chances of developing successfully on all
fronts. It was, and is, seen as a credible threat to
the above regional and global aims. In consequence,
it became the target for 'development retardation'
activities from an early stage. Scientists and other
intellectuals were singled out for special attention.

The exodus of talent and wealth from Iraq gathered
force during the UN sanctions years. However, it
turned into a veritable flood since the
start of the 2003 war. The writing was on the wall
during the height of the battle when museums,
universities, and hospitals were looted and
destroyed. The aim to loot for profit was clearly in
evidence. But where was the financial gain in
destroying Iraq's archives? The true
dimensions of the enterprise became unmistakeable when
professors and other intellectuals were harassed, and
assassinated, for no apparent purpose.

And then the matter was put beyond any doubt when the
systematic kidnapping of doctors and other
professionals became a daily occurrence. Again, the
profit motive is all too obvious. However, some
of the ransomed persons were advised by their
kidnappers to leave Iraq with their families! Who
would profit from that?

Mobile phones play a major role in the kidnap and
ransom process. Interestingly, the American forces
have consistently refused to give the fledgling Iraqi
police force detectors that could locate the
criminals and their hideouts. Who would benefit from
this refusal? Much as one would wish to resist the
easy explanation of a conspiracy, it is
difficult to avoid drawing the obvious conclusions.

Iraq has now lost most of its middle-class. A once
sophisticated and outward looking society has
shrivelled into a shell of warring factions, religious
extremists, and mindless criminals. It is not to be
taken for granted that this awful transformation of
Iraq's society,
whether achieved by stupidity or design, is not to the
liking of at
least some American and Israeli decision-makers.

It is usual for nations to look for scapegoats and
excuses for their failures. To be sure, nations just
as in the case of individuals are in
the main the architects of their own fortunes. Iraqis
cannot escape all the blame for what has befallen
their society and their country.

However, it is also undeniable that powerful external
forces have targeted Iraq and its people. The efforts
involved, as described above, have been extensive,
expensive, and sustained. With good reason Iraqis
are embittered. They are unable to forgive or forget.
But negative thoughts do not begin to address what
needs to be done to put Iraq and its people back on
track. At present the picture is bleak.
The 'emerging' leaders are of the old mould. The
alternative is a theocracy, which is just as
unhelpful. Nonetheless, there is always
hope of the unexpected. Nations have discovered ways
to mend themselves, and enlightened leaders have come
on the scene against great odds and just when all hope
seems to have been lost. It is not
impossible for the same to happen in Iraq, but it is
asking a lot.

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