The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.

[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi] Robert Fisk -important points

We are being prepared for labeling the Iraqis who protest the occupation of
their country and the US oil grab, as "Iraqi terrorists". Very important.
Once these people are viewed as Iraqi "terrorists", as  Israelis label
Hamas, Hezbollah - who are fighting Israeli occupation of Palestine- it will
be open season on destroying all Iraqi resistance by any means the US
chooses.  pg
So he thinks it’s all over...

 George Bush has announced the end of the war. But try telling that to the
Shias and the Badr Brigade, says Robert Fisk

When Iraqi civilians look into the faces of American troops, President Bush
famously told the world on Thursday, “they see strength and kindness and
goodwill”. Untrue, Mr Bush. They see occupation

So, it’s the end of the war in Iraq, is it? If anyone thinks George Bush Jnr
could pass that one off aboard the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln last
week – “major combat operations have ended” was the expression he used on
Thursday night – they should take a closer look at Secretary of Defence
Rumsfeld’s cosy, sinister little speech to US troops in Baghdad a day

It was filled with all the usual myth-making: the “many” Iraqis who flocked
to welcome the Americans on their “liberation” of Baghdad, the “fastest
march on a capital in modern military history” (which the Israelis achieved
in three days in 1982). But the key line was slipped in at the end. The
Americans, he said, still had “to root out the terrorist networks operating
in this country”. What? What terrorist networks? And who, one may ask, are
behind these mysterious terrorist networks “operating” in Iraq? I have a
pretty good idea. They may not actually exist yet. But Donald Rumsfeld knows
(and he has been told by US intelligence) that a growing resistance movement
to America’s occupation is gestating in Iraq. The Shia Muslim community, now
supported by thousands of Badr Brigade Iraqis trained in Iran, believes the
US is in Iraq for its oil. It is furious at America’s treatment of Iraq’s
citizens; in three days last week at least 17 Sunni demonstrators were
killed, two of them less than 11 years old. And it is not impressed by
Washington’s attempts to cobble together an “interim” pro-American

Even during the war, you could hear the same sentiments. Yes, the Shias
would tell us, the Americans can get rid of Saddam. No one doubted his
viciousness. But, always, this sentiment was followed by a desire to see the
back of the Americans. Most of the civilian victims of American and British
bombs were Shias, especially around Nasiriyah and Hillah. Which is another
reason why the Americans did not arrive in Baghdad – where a US armoured
vehicle pulled down the famous statue of Saddam – to be greeted by flowers
and music. When Iraqi civilians look into the faces of American troops,
President Bush famously told the world on Thursday, “they see strength and
kindness and goodwill”. Untrue, Mr Bush. They see occupation.

Already it is possible to identify some familiar landmarks in the progress
of occupation: a series of brutal incidents for which the Americans are
never, ever, to blame. Just like the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and
Gaza, the killing of civilians is never the fault of the occupiers. The
driver and the old man shot and killed by US forces near a checkpoint in
Baghdad, and the little girl and the young woman badly wounded whose tragedy
Channel 4 witnessed, received no apology from the United States. A family is
shot in its car in southern Iraq; cameramen are killed in the Palestine
Hotel; 15 Iraqis, including at least one child, are gunned down in Falujah.
For the Americans, it is always “self-defence”. Though, strangely, few if
any Americans have been seriously wounded in these incidents. Of course,
there must be gunmen shooting at the Americans. But the evidence suggests
there aren’t very many. The evidence also suggests that very soon, there are
going to be a lot more. You have only to observe how deeply the Iraqi Shias
admire the Lebanese Hizbollah to understand how well they comprehend the art
of guerrilla resistance. Succoured by Iran – or schooled in Saddam’s torture
chambers – they are not going to take orders from ex-General Jay Garner,
whose all-expenses-paid trip to Israel to express his admiration for the
Israeli army’s “restraint” in the Palestinian occupied territories is well
known in Iraq. And they realise full well that America’s big corporations
are preparing to make millions from their broken country.

Without waiting for any “interim” government to take such decisions, the US
Agency for International Development has invited American multinationals to
bid for everything from road rebuilding to new text books. A US company,
Stevedoring Services of America, has already gobbled up the $4.8m (£3m)
management contract for the port at Um Qasr. US oil executives, many of them
chums of George Bush and his administration, are expected to visit the Iraqi
oil ministry (one of only two Iraqi ministries that the Americans
miraculously saved from arsonists) within a week.

No, Iraq today resembles not some would-be democracy but rather the tragedy
that greeted the British when the German occupation of Greece ended in 1944.
Hitler, like Saddam, had ensured there were plenty of abandoned weapons
lying around to fuel a guerrilla resistance against the new rulers.
Churchill supported the nationalist government of George Papandreou – the
Ahmed Chalabi of Greece – but the Elas Communist guerrillas wanted power.
They had fought the Nazis since Germany’s 1941 invasion and, like many of
the Muslim Shia today, feared that they were going to be excluded from power
by a new pro-Allied regime.

So the “liberation” of Athens quickly turned into a pitched battle between
British troops (for which read the Americans in Iraq) and the Communists,
who had received years of support from the Soviet Union. For Russia then,
read Iran now. Claiming that he stood for freedom, Churchill remarked that
“democracy is no harlot to be picked up in the street by a man with a
tommy-gun”. But when martial law was imposed by the British (something the
Americans may have to consider) Churchill less charitably told the British
commander in a secret message that he should “not hesitate to act as if you
were in a conquered city”. In various battles, there were attempts to find a
mediator – not unlike the desperate meetings in Falujah last week between
Iraqis and Americans. In the event, Churchill was able to restore order only
because he had secretly obtained Stalin’s agreement that Greece should
remain in the Western sphere of Europe. Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland and other
eastern European countries paid the price. The parallels are not exact, of
course, and a critical difference today is that the nation which might be
able to help Washington, as the Soviets helped London, is Iran. And Iran,
far from being an uneasy ally, is part of President Bush’s “axis of evil”,
which fears that it may be next on America’s hit list. So here is a little

Mr Bush says the war is over, or words to that effect. Then Shia resistance
begins to bite the Americans in Iraq. Of course, Mr Rumsfeld will have
warned of this: it will be characterised as the famous “terrorist networks”
which still have to be fought in Iraq. And Iran – and no doubt Syria – will
be accused of supporting these “terrorists”. The French did much the same in
their 1954-62 war against the FLN in Algeria. Tunisia was to blame. Egypt
was to blame. So stand by for part two of the Iraq war, transmogrified into
the next stage of the “war on terror”. —Independent

Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
To unsubscribe, visit
To contact the list manager, email
All postings are archived on CASI's website:

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]