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[casi] To Peter and all (was re: Last News titles, 21-28/05/03)


Thank you. For all the time, energy, and insight that you invested in these
news titles.  I was - and remain - one of your fans.

Peter, (for what it is worth), I stand with you on your statement and
analysis (with one exception that I will get to).  Yes: We must not confuse
"the surrender of the Iraqi economy into the hands of a gang of murderers
and thieves with 'the lifting of sanctions'." Unfortunately, it is not only
CASI that has fallen into this trap, but also Voices in the Wilderness,
another respectful organization.

So, where to now?

You write:
        |I find it difficult to engage in politics when I see no prospect of
        |desirable outcome ... For the moment the best prospect I can see
for     Iraq - and I have no interest in promoting it - is that the US
should  prove to be much more competent in the job of colonial
administration  than it currently appears to be.

Peter - you know as much as any of us, that the chance the US is not
interested in being an "administrator" - rather in being a full occupier,
and fulfilling two objectives:
        (1) First and foremost: "Opening" the Iraqi economy to US companies,
privatizing everything that can be privatized. As Humeira Iqtidar
notes in ZNET: the real war upon the Iraqi people is only beginning.    The
horrendous assault on their lives by cluster bombs will pale in
significance to the wholesale deprivation that is in store for them
through the privatization of not just their oil resources but   healthcare,
water, electricity, transport, education, drugs and phones

        (2) Expanding the US Empire by building 3 permanent US military
bases   in Iraq

        (3) Acquiescing Iraq to Israeli control - through a "treaty" with
the     apartheid state and through the building of an oil pipeline to Haifa
(let us also remember that 90,000 Palestinians in Iraq are threatened   with
eviction.  These Palestinians are mostly from Haifa. They became
refugees in 1948, when the exclusive-Jewish state was built on  Palestine.
They are part of the 6.5 million Palestinian refugee    population.)

Peter, I plead with you: instead of giving up on engaging, let's find a way
to engage.  The Iraqi people are fighting back - the resistance against the
US occupation is continuing, and will continue.  In Lebanon (where I am
from), the national resistance movement against the Israeli occupying forms
eventually succeeded in liberating (most) of the occupied lands -- after 22
years of occupation.

The Iraqis need our solidarity.  They need our support.  The war against
them is continuing, and is getting uglier.

Let's find a way - many ways - to continue our support.

We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.
- Ella Baker
Raņia Masri, Ph.D.
Director, Southern Peace Research and Education Center
Institute for Southern Studies
2009 Chapel Hill Rd.
Durham, North Carolina  27707

|-----Original Message-----
|From: [mailto:casi-discuss-
|] On Behalf Of Peter Brooke
|Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 10:02 AM
|To: casi +
|Subject: [casi] Last News titles, 21-28/05/03
|News titles, 21-28/05/03
|This will be the last of these regular news mailings. Not because I think
|the story of the crime committed against the people of Iraq is over. On the
|contrary, a new chapter is opening which may be the most interesting of all
|as the United States, for once in its recent history, takes direct personal
|responsibility for the mess it has created. I fully endorse Suzy Kane's
|proposal for an Iraq Monitoring Group. It is very important that the
|attention does not wander away, as it has in the case of Bosnia, Kosovo or
|Afghanistan. A service such as I have tried to provide over the past couple
|of years will still be useful and if anyone else wishes to take it on (in
|whatever context) I will be more than willing to provide advice.
|But the nature of my own interest in this question has now changed. Anyone
|who has read the introductions to these mailings will know that I have been
|following a line parallel to, but distinct from, the main concerns of CASI
|and of the list - a line originally suggested by Brendan Clifford in his
|pamphlets published at the time of the UN Gulf War in 1991 - The Crisis
|Iraq, Iraq and the New World Order and The First United Nations War
|(available through the Athol Books website at, though I
|have no reason to assume Clifford would approve of my own development of
|original thought).
|From my first involvement with the list (A Note on Strategy, posted 14th
|April, 2000) I have argued that there was no prospect of the United States
|agreeing to the lifting of sanctions since this would be a huge victory for
|President Hussein and would, almost overnight. turn him into a powerful
|figure in the region - because of Iraq's oil wealth and the power to award
|the contracts that would be necessary to reconstruction; but also because
|would be seen as an Arab hero, the man who had stood against everything the
|Superpower had thrown against him and come up again, smiling.
|The US would use its power of veto to block any proposal to lift the
|sanctions in the UN Security Council. The only possible option, then, was
|break the sanctions. This was, of course, being done on a courageous but
|small scale by Voices in the Wilderness and others, but it needed to be
|by states. A large number of states, most obviously Russia, but also Iraq's
|immediate neighbours, had a powerful interest in breaking the sanctions
|regime and if Iraq had broken out of the sanctions net with the openly
|avowed help of its neighbours - especially Kuwait or Saudi Arabia - this
|would have done much to temper any dangers that might have been posed by a
|resurgent Saddam. To break the sanctions regime 'illegally', however, would
|mean radically challenging the existing system of 'international law'.
|The policy of the Iraqi government was to use all the leverage given by
|for Food' to induce other countries to break the law. So far as I can see,
|it was pursuing this policy with skill and diplomatic finesse (I am very
|concerned that the political skills that have been developed in opposition
|to US power over the past few years - notably in Iraq and Serbia - should
|not be lost to posterity). The sanctions regime was crumbling. It seemed to
|be only a matter of time before countries would start to defy it openly. I
|believe this was why the decision was made in the United States to go to
|war. It is not coincidence that the military buildup coincided with the
|largest and most successful ever baghdad Trade Fair.
|I have argued that the system of 'international law' enforced under the UN
|Charter by the Security Council is itself vile and ought, in principle, on
|every possible occasion, to be broken. It is very important to recognise
|that the crime against Iraq - a crime of unimaginable proportions involving
|the murder by starvation and disease of hundreds of thousands of people,
|mostly children - was a legal crime, a crime committed by the United
|Nations, which bears collective responsibility for it and is totally
|discredited by it. It has of course been argued that this was done in
|defiance of the principles outlined in the United Nations Charter. But the
|UN Charter itself was conceived in a spirit of violation of its own
|principles. It sets up an administrative structure (the Security Council,
|with its permanent veto-wielding members) which makes a mockery of its
|professed principle of the equality or equal rights of nations.
|In the event, Russia and Iraq's neighbours all continued - at least
|- to observe the letter of the law. A great deal of smuggling went on but
|hypocrisy continued to pay its due tribute to 'virtue' and the smuggling
|(the only means by which Iraq could breathe) continued to be treated, even
|by Iran, as an illegal activity which ought to be suppressed. All these
|countries lost an enormous amount of money through their adherence to
|international law (the loudest complaints have come from Turkey). One can
|only hope they realise now how ghastly was the error they committed.
|With the war on Iraq, however, the nature of the debate changed. Loudly,
|publicly, without hypocrisy, the United States and the United Kingdom
|themselves decided to act in defiance of the selfsame 'international law'
|they had imposed on everyone else. And in opposition to the clearly
|expressed will of the 'international community', if that nauseous little
|weasel-word can be said to have any meaning. Under these circumstances a
|truly wonderful prize was coming into view. Had France and Russia held
|there was a real possibility that the system of the United Nations Security
|Council could have been broken up for good.
|The power of the United States is incompatible with any respectable system
|of international law. The tendency will always be, as it is at the moment
|(witness the Middle East 'road map') for the US to substitute its own
|authority for the authority of the United Nations. Under these
|a truly collective system of international law can only develop in defiance
|of the United States. This cannot occur through the Security Council, where
|the US has its veto. The US will never agree to the reform of the Security
|Council. The Security Council has no means of ridding itself of the United
|States. The only hope is that the US - perhaps under pressure from a
|powerful bunch of fanatical anti-UN ideologues (if such a thing can be
|imagined) - will withdraw voluntarily. That was the glorious possibility
|that was held briefly in front of our eyes.
|A United States withdrawal would have placed the other countries of the
|world in a dilemma. Either the great dream of the United Nations would have
|to be abandoned altogether, or it would have to be radically reformed -
|with, I would hope, real sovereignty going where it belongs - to the
|Assembly. This second possibility opens up the prospect of a bipolar world,
|divided between the US and its satellites on the one hand; and those
|countries of the world that are willing to live under a system of law on
|other. That would have been my own favoured option. But even the complete
|breakdown of the Security Council policed system of law would have been
|preferable to the present system of law-enforced criminality.
|These are the prospects that have kept me going over the past couple of
|years and, most especially, the past few months. They have been closed off
|by the latest UN Security Council resolution (SC 1483), probably the most
|disgraceful resolution that body has ever passed (and the competition has
|been tough). I will find it difficult to forgive CASI for confusing the
|surrender of the Iraqi economy into the hands of a gang of murderers and
|thieves with 'the lifting of sanctions'. I feel quite sure that the passing
|of this resolution was preceded by a period of gunboat diplomacy with Colin
|Powell threatening to pull the plug on the United Nations altogether. His
|bluff should have been called (perhaps it would have been if MM de Villepin
|and Putin had read the introductions to my Iraq news mailings). With the
|passing of the resolution, the war is now legal and the UN must bear the
|moral responsibility for it as it must for the whole period of sanctions
|the other wars for the expansion of the US Empire it has endorsed. It may
|properly be called the Second United Nations Gulf War.
|I find it difficult to engage in politics when I see no prospect of a
|desirable outcome (one of the reasons why I gave up my involvement in
|Northern Ireland politics after the signing of the Anglo Irish Agreement;
|and in British Socialist politics after the rejection, by both right and
|left, of the Bullock Report on Industrial Democracy). For the moment the
|best prospect I can see for Iraq - and I have no interest in promoting it -
|is that the US should prove to be much more competent in the job of
|administration than it currently appears to be.

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