The Socialist 19 July 2002 |
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No To Bush's War For Oil Profits
A LEAKED Pentagon paper revealed plans for a massive US-led invasion of Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein. This "regime change" could kill more than 10,000 Iraqi civilians.
It could also further politically destabilise the Middle East which, ironically, would jeopardise the strategic interests of US and Western imperialism.
US President Bush tries to justify this naked imperialist aggression by citing the Iraqi dictator's refusal to let in UN weapons inspectors and unsubstantiated claims that he possesses "weapons of mass destruction". Bush also claims that Saddam Hussein had plotted with al-Qa'ida terrorists.
But journalist John Pilger (Observer, 14 July) points out: "The coming attack has nothing to do with Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction', if these exist at all. The reason is that America wants a compliant thug to run the world's second greatest source of oil."
Hypocritically, the US and Britain still back many other dictatorships and repressive regimes world-wide who share Saddam's alleged transgressions.
Moreover, in the 1980s the West supported Saddam's bestial regime. During the 1980-88 Iran/Iraq war the US, Britain, France, Germany and the former Soviet Union armed and financed him to contain Iran's 'Islamic revolution'.
Over a million died in this war. The West, including Thatcher's government looked the other way when Iraq used deadly nerve gas on the battlefront and against Iraqi Kurdish civilians.
But when Saddam invaded oil-rich Kuwait, the West, led by US president Bush senior, embarked on a costly, destructive war to drive Saddam's forces out.
However, having routed the dictator the West stopped short of his overthrow fearing the dismemberment of Iraq and the dominance of Iran. This meant abandoning armed uprisings by Shi'ites and Kurds who were brutally suppressed by Saddam's Republican Guard.
Now Bush junior and Blair are promoting a motley crew of exiled Iraqi dissidents as a successor regime to Saddam. In Kensington, London last week, the US-financed Iraqi National Congress and assorted former Iraqi army chiefs declared their wish to lead Iraq post-Saddam.
UNLIKE Afghanistan's Northern Alliance who fought the Taliban regime, these stooges have no significant presence nor support within Iraq.
Most were former Iraqi Baathist party leaders or armed forces officers. The Independent uncharitably called them "a disparate bunch who know more about the price of a BMW than the situation in Baghdad."
Scott Ritter, the right-wing American former UN arms inspector was even more scathing about the Iraqi opposition's fate under a US backed regime, saying: "There is no viable opposition and... once Saddam is removed - if he is removed through military action - anybody who meets in Kensington will have a zero future in Iraq.
"The opposition is merely a political foil used by those in Washington who are trying to foist the war on the American people for their own ideological reasons".
An invasion and occupation could enrage the Arab and Muslim world. It could topple shaky regimes such as Saudi Arabia and lead to more reactionary clerical dictatorships.
Even Turkey, the only Muslim country in NATO, and expected to support the invasion, is currently racked by a deepening economic, political and social crisis (see page 9).
Meanwhile the region's masses suffer from imperialism's foreign policy - crippling UN sanctions against Iraqi civilians; support for Israeli state oppression of Palestinians; backing the House of Saud and many other rotten dictatorships.
Workers in the West should show solidarity with the region's working masses against Western governments' war plans and also support the masses' democratic movements to rid themselves of dictatorial regimes and imperialist domination and fight for a socialist alternative.