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[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ] Hello all, The following is a translation of an article by my good friend Michel Collon, journalist and anti-war organizer from Belgium, published June 26 in French and Flemish on the web site of the Belgian Workers Party and in its newspaper, Solidaire (see www.ptb.be). It was also published at www.iacenter.org. It is one of a number of articles calling for international cooperation to fight to stop the U.S.-led aggression against Iraq. Iraq: the invasion plan is on Bush's desk, but . The invasion plan is on Bush's desk. It had recently been unveiled by Scott Ritter, former chief of the United Nations (UNSCOM) inspectors in Iraq. Phase 1: invasion of the north of Iraq (Kurdish area). Phase 2: reinforcement of the U.S. military bases in Kuwait. Phase 3: Invasion of the south and control of the oil fields. Phase 4: Provisional government in the South. Phase 5: March on Baghdad. Phase 6: Occupation of Baghdad and installation of a "provisional" government. The operation is to last four to six months and mobilize 250,000 GIs. The infrastructure of Iraq will be massively bombarded-whatever the cost in human lives. Scott Ritter's conclusion: "World peace is in danger."(1) Al Hayat, an independent Arab newspaper, also reveals that Iraq will be dismantled into three mini-"countries" and that the Palestinians residents will be deported to the central region. (2) Michel Collon Why this new war? To impose the return of the inspectors charged with disarming Iraq, as Washington hasn't ceased to repeat for the last three months? However, the inspectors themselves have already publicly said that Iraq had been disarmed (although the promise to lift the embargo had not been kept, nor that to eliminate Israel's weapons of mass destruction in return). Nevertheless, Iraq just opened the door to the inspectors. Immediately, U.S. War Minister Donald Rumsfeld declared: "The missiles will fly whether or not Baghdad accepts the return of the inspectors." (3) One wouldn't know a better way of demonstrating that this reason was nothing but a pretext. Another excuse is sometimes advanced. What is involved is imposing democracy on Iraq. Democracy "made in the USA"? In Afghanistan, the new government includes 11 ministers who are of nationality . U.S. Second reflection. I recently came back from Iraq. Of course, I tried to learn when I was there: "What is the role of Saddam Hussein?" Contrary to the idea widely believed in the West, he benefits from a significant popular support. His resistance to the United States has made this support practically unanimous. Even those who criticize certain policies refuse to give Washington and London the right to impose their puppets on Iraq. "A U.S.-British regime in Baghdad? But we have already been governed by London," an elderly Iraqi intellectual told us. "I had at that time far less freedom of expression than I have now!" Indeed, when Britain controlled Iraq (until 1958) a feudal monarchy repressed all freedom, there was 80 percent illiteracy, barely 13 dentists for 6 million inhabitants. But four great powers (Britain, USA, France and the Netherlands) had grabbed up all the oil resources: Iraq possessed 0 percent of its immense reserves, thus everything was "democratic," no? The West has already governed Iraq, we should recall. It has nothing to do with democracy, nor with inspectors, nor with the other pretexts used in the past (charges of support of terrorism, spreading anthrax). What then are the real aims of Mr. Bush's war? Three goals, closely allied. 1.. Control the oil of the entire planet. 2.. Control the Middle East completely. While isolating the Palestinians before crushing them. 3.. Imposing his globalization while recolonizing all of the Third World. Entwined with each of these projects one also notices the will to neutralize U.S. rivals and make them submit, Europe most of all. Objective No. 1: Control all the oil What determines U.S. oil strategy? Vice President Dick Cheney expressed it in May 2001 in a fundamental report-the Energy Policy Paper: "Energy security must become a priority in our foreign and commercial policy." Why? "The growing international demand for oil will exert greater pressure on the global availability of oil."(4) A worry for the U.S.: its dependence on imports is due to pass from 50 percent today to 66 percent in 2020. Cheney takes from this two imperatives: 1. Maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia. 2. Diversify U.S. sources throughout the world. The United States needs oil? Then the "solution" cannot touch the superprofits of the oil multinationals, for Cheney proposes, in diplomatic terms as this report is public, on one hand to reinforce the U.S. alliance with Saudi Arabia (one of the most backward and repressive regimes in the world) and, on the other hand, to impose by all means possible total U.S. control on the great oil-producing countries of the planet. We are experiencing the Cheney Plan in practice. The U.S. has taken possession of Afghanistan and installed military bases in numerous countries in Central Asia. It has attempted (and this is not yet finished) to overthrow the progressive regime of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. It has increased its military engagement in Plan Colombia and has equally succeeded in installing some hundreds of "military advisers" in former Soviet Georgia. In Vietnam too, in the 1960s, the U.S. began its intervention with "advisers." What Cheney omits from his report is that by controlling the oil of the entire planet, Washington assures itself of a formidable means of pressure on the supply of its great rivals: Europe and Japan. Objective No. 2: Isolate the Palestinians in order to lock up the entire Middle East Israel is the cornerstone of U.S. domination of the Middle East. It is also the perfect symbol of the unjust and neocolonial globalization that Washington wants to impose on the entire world: theft of lands, of water and the other riches of a people, racist violation of the elementary human rights, illegality set up systematically (respecting no UN resolution), putting in place weapons of mass destruction (100 nuclear warheads) threatening its neighbors. . And to support all of this, the U.S. gives each year $4 billion in military aid. The aircraft-carrier Israel is so important that the U.S. has never allowed a Middle Eastern state to obtain the means to resist it. Washington broke Iran with a CIA coup d'etat in 1952, then undermined the Egyptian nationalist leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, provoked the Iran-Iraq war, bombarded Libya, devastated Iraq. For 10 years now Iraq has been punished for having proposed that the Arab states unite to become independent from the United States. The cruel suffering of war and embargo were inflicted on the Iraqi people with the aim of controlling the oil of the Middle East while assuring the total impunity of the Israeli gendarme. Nevertheless, Iraq has recently succeeded in coming out of its isolation by signing commercial accords with a number of Moslem countries: Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Lebanon, Qatar, Oman. All these countries are frustrated by Washington's pro-Israel policy and also by the oil tariffs it imposes. Indeed, the situation has changed in the Middle East, states Al Hayat, the influential Arab daily in London, after the summit of the Gulf nations. "For the first time in 12 years, the directors of the Gulf Cooperation Council have spoken positively of Iraq." (5) That is exactly what Washington wants to avoid at any price. A united Arab world, with more independence, would constitute a grave danger for U.S. domination of the world. Washington is forced then to close ranks: the Pentagon will sell to Kuwait 80 AMRAAM missiles for $58 million.(6) And Washington just threatened Syria, which also had been getting closer to Baghdad. "Those in charge in the U.S. have said that the Iraq-Syria pipeline (150,000 barrels per day) will be one of the first targets of U.S. missiles if the United States decides to make an attack with the goal of overthrowing Saddam," according to European diplomatic sources. (7) For Bush, Palestine and Iraq are closely linked. And for the left? In U.S. strategy, the Palestinian question and the Iraqi question are closely linked. Indeed, the Bush-Cheney Plan envisions dismantling Iraq following a scenario already applied-with frightening consequences-in Yugoslavia. They would form three mini-"countries": "A Kurdish multinational state in the North, a Sunni state in the center and a Shiite state in the South," a Syrian diplomatic source confirmed. He added, "The plan includes the possibility of deporting the Palestinians in the Central Region.(8) An additional proof: Bush links the two problems. And the left? "Don't let Bush divide us," a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) told us. "U.S. aggression in the Middle East comes in a package. All while supporting the dirty work of Sharon, Bush at the same time is preparing to crush Iraq, then other countries of the Middle East, one by one. But he will have a hard time creating an international front to support the war, if we don't let ourselves be divided!" In the interest of peace, unity of all those resisting is needed. Unify the demands: End aggression against the Palestinians, no aggression against the Iraqis. Demand that the European Union that it immediately distance itself from Bush's program by breaking off the privileged commercial relations with Israel and breaking the embargo that is strangling the Iraqi people. The problem of the Middle East comes neither from the Palestinians, nor the Iraqis, but from the United State, its imperialism, its Israeli cats-paw and the compliance of its European allies. The U.S. can't solve any problem. The U.S. is itself the problem. Objective No. 3: Impose its globalization and recolonize all the Third World Why more and more wars? Because the current economic system is trapped in an impasse, the gap between rich and poor is only growing, 75 percent of the world population lives in underdevelopment. Every three seconds a child less than 5 years old dies from the misery. At the same time, three super-rich individuals own more wealth than is produced by 48 countries during a year. Accident? Transitory situation? No, for the rule of the system is: "To enrich yourself, exploit someone else to the maximum." Inevitably then, the repeated crises that hit the Third World and put its people in danger increase the growing resistances in the heart of the popular sectors (and even of certain ruling classes) of the Third World. There were not only delegations from Arab countries visiting Baghdad. We just also saw, among many others, delegations from Thailand, Russia, Cuba and Vietnam. The vice president of this last country, Nguyen Thi Binh, firmly and clearly rejected "all the aggressive U.S. acts that represent a terrorism towards the sovereignty and security of Iraq."(9) Vietnam knows of what it speaks. To stay free, it had to withstand a bloody U.S. aggression. It is forced at present to develop its economy and its well-being, following a socialist and independent path, outside the dictatorship of globalization. It is logical that Vietnam is in solidarity with Iraq, like practically all the countries of the Third World who refuse to swallow the pretexts of Bush. It knows that just after the so-called "rogue" states it too risks finding itself on the list of targets of war and recolonization. The European Union certainly still expresses some reservations in the face of Bush's plans. For it would like above all to promote the interests of its own multinational corporations in the strategic zone of the Middle East. But as its Euro-Army is still far from being able to rival the U.S.-led NATO, and as the U.S. does all it can to divide Europe politically, it can't act on its own as it would like to. In the end, it will have to align itself with Bush's war, perhaps after the German elections. The only way out will be to strengthen a broad anti-war movement from the ground up, putting these governments under extremely strong pressure. The anti-globalization movement has begun to develop into an anti-war movement: 100,000 demonstrated in Washington for Palestine and against war on Iraq. To broaden this movement implies breaking with all illusions regarding the Euro-Army, which would be no more pacifist than NATO, not being able to be anything but an instrument of the European multinational corporations. The only solution: develop concrete solidarity with the Iraqi people and all the people threatened. The struggle for peace has become a vital necessity for all humanity. 1) Bastille République Nation, n° 12 · 2) Al Hayat, 2 juin 2002 · 3) Le Monde, 16 mai · 4) National Energy Policy Paper, 17 mai 2001 · 5) Al Hayat (Londres), 28 mai 2002 · 6) Associated Press, 4 juin 2002 · 7) Al Hayat, 30 mai 2002 · 8) Al Hayat, 2 juin 2002 · 9) Website INA (Irak), avril-mai 2002. _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk