Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

ISIS attacks in Brussels

March 23, 2016
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Terrorist attacks in Brussels in a wider context of US imperial wars

zaventem-airport

by Dr. Nasir Khan

On 22 March 2016, some suicide bombers carried out their indiscriminate attacks on the innocent people in Brussels. Their acts of vicious violence are shocking and despicable.  ISIS has claimed responsibility for these attacks.

ISIS has shown once again that it can strike anywhere it chooses and by such violent actions,  it gains maximum publicity for its ideological stance and objectives. The murders of 22 March are part of the pattern that ISIS had established and since last year has extended its operations to Europe.  As the organisation has many sympathisers in different countries and many of its indoctrinated fanatics are willing to be suicide bombers, it shows its reckless attitude towards all it regards enemies or opponents.

Despite the utterly abominable crime we witnessed, we should also try to see the terrorist attacks in European countries like France and Belgium in a wider context. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and to some extent Pakistan also have been in the throes of imperial wars as well as internal conflicts for many decades. What has happened in Paris last year and now in Brussels was an extension of the violence from Iraq and Syria to Europe.

We rightly condemn what happens at the hands of fanatic terrorists in Europe but when it comes to US wars and EU interventions in the Islamic countries,  we, who live in the western hemisphere,  show little concern over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people there. Apparently, the people of the world are not in total darkness about the recent history of Palestine, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria. Under the slogan ‘War on Terror’, the US rulers with the help of their allies have pursued their geopolitical objectives by wars and terror, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people.

Unfortunately, political leaders and the media show great reluctance to give the same attention to the vast numbers of innocent victims of genocidal wars. However, when it comes to any terrorist attack anywhere in the west they give a forceful response to any acts of violence and terror. Such attitudes are unhealthy and discriminatory. In fact, religious fanatics take advantage of such debunked standards and successfully show the enmity of the western nations towards Muslims. The aim of propaganda is not to inform and enlighten but to terrify and mislead. In this, US rulers have been the role model for Muslim extremists.

Now let us briefly mention the role of recent US wars. It was no other power than the United States that unleashed the first Gulf War in 1991. The real objective of the United States was not only to evict the Iraqis out of Kuwait but also to diminish the power or potential of Iraq as a regional power.

In fact, President Saddam Hussein had accepted the UN terms for military withdrawal from Kuwait to end his occupation, but US rulers did not allow him to do so. There was a simple reason for this:  A peaceful withdrawal of Iraqi army from Kuwait would have left Saddam’s military power and military hardware intact. That was not acceptable to Washington and the Pentagon hawks. Therefore, they attacked and destroyed brutally the retreating and helpless Iraqi army.

General Colin Powell boasted of having killed so many encircled soldiers and burying many thousands of them alive in the desert. By such bravery, he must have added another medal to his uniform.  Saddam had no options left. The United States initiated and imposed sanctions on Iraq with the formal approval the United Nations. Incidentally, such a formal U.N. approval has the magic to make any major war crime by the US rulers legitimate! The United States has exploited this façade of the U.N. approval routinely.

We rightly condemn what happens at the hands of fanatic terrorists in Europe but when it comes to US wars and EU interventions in the Islamic countries,  we, who live in the western hemisphere,  show little concern over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people there.

In 2003, America took the second major step to invade and occupy Iraq.  This practically meant finishing off Iraq as a possible regional power if it ever raised its head at some future date. That was in consonance with the neocon strategy to have only one regional big power in the Middle East that was both strategically and politically indispensable part of U.S. hegemonic power and dominance. That regional power was and is Israel.Without an iota of credible ground or reason, President George W. Bush declared war on Iraq and invaded a vast secular Arab country, which did not let any religion or sect to interfere with the affairs of the state. After a massive destruction by the invaders of life, property and infrastructure in Iraq, President Bush became the eventual conqueror and master of Iraq and of its rich oil resources.

As a matter of imperial policy to divide and rule, the Americans started the sectarian favouritism that fuelled sectarian violence and killings. Even after the ‘nominal’ ending of the occupation, the fire of sectarian violence America had ignited to further its objectives is still raging on. Thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis have died.

The forces of terror, revenge, religious sectarianism and fanaticism that American rulers unleashed in Iraq are out of control; no one is able to control them. Only the ordinary people of Iraq have become the victims of the genocidal war in Iraq. The mayhem and anarchy America created in Iraq has extended beyond the frontiers of Iraq.

Out of the ensuing chaos and instability in Iraq arose ISIS and its Islamist fanatics. ISIL is a direct result of US wars on Iraq. President Bush has said that God asked him to invade Iraq. If the killing of  hundreds of thousands of Iraqis can be  justified because of  listening to the command of God then ISIL can also invoke the support of the  same God for whatever they do or have plans to do! In fact, the US Constitution allowed for a democratic form of government, not a theocracy; ISIL, on the other hand, claims to be a theocracy and its administrative structure is that of a caliphate.  According to its way of interpreting, ISIS has ‘God on its side’.

Another major US imperial adventure was in Afghanistan. It is common knowledge that the United States was instrumental in creating and arming the Mujahidin to fight the Soviet army that had come to help the Afghan revolutionary government. After the Soviet leaders pulled their military from Afghanistan, the American-sponsored Mujahidin of 1980s became the Taliban, the new rulers of Afghanistan.

There is no doubt that the Soviet army suffered heavily in Afghanistan. The US imperialists, with the help of reactionary Saudi and Pakistani rulers and their well-equipped mercenary fighters crushed the Afghan revolution. In this way, they turned the clock of history back by empowering the primitive Mujahidin/Taliban. But that friendship did not last long.

In 2001, America attacked Afghanistan and ended the Taliban rule. The occupiers started a brutal suppression of the Afghans who had no quarrel with America at all. During their long Afghan war, Americans were not able to break the resistance of the Afghan patriots and the Taliban. They finally forced the occupiers to end their occupation. The puppet regime of the former president Karzai and now the present president Ghani have faced the consequences of the imperial invasion. The country suffered enormously and its people reduced to abject poverty and deprivation. At present, the Taliban are still there and fighting the Kabul government.

In short, countless millions of people have suffered in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Whether we call it a civil war or war by proxy by regional powers, the war in Syria has reduced many cities to rubble. Hundreds of thousands have died.  Millions of Syrians have become homeless. They are trying to escape to any place where they can exist as normal human beings.

Other victims of wars from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and numerous other countries also join them in this quest for a safe haven in Europe. These people are in dire difficulties who need all the possible help. However, it is also important to underline the fact that Europe has no solution to the problems of millions of refugees and asylum seekers. Their number will keep on multiplying, not decreasing. Those who think otherwise live in a world of fantasy.

By attacking innocent civilians in France, Belgium and Turkey, ISIS is able to create a sense of insecurity and fear throughout Europe. No state or public authority can provide complete safeguards against any random attacks. There is no shortage of weapons in Europe or anywhere else. Those who want to commit any terrorist attack will be able to acquire any bombs or weapons they need.  It is a false hope that any intelligence agencies in an open society can stop all indoctrinated and ideologically motivated suicide bombers from their criminal behaviour.

Most of the western societies including Australia have become multi-cultural and multi-religious that have ethnic communities of Afro-Asian origin. Among the immigrant communities, strong social bonds exist through their tribal and religious identities. While the western societies have developed a more relaxed attitude towards their religions and deities, most of the immigrants have gone the other way. There is a strong tendency to adhere to the formal religious traditions where their clerics play a vital social role. Any terrorist attack has negative consequences for these people, especially the Muslims.  They become suspect merely because some Muslim terrorist has done something seriously wrong, somewhere. This strengthens cultural and social stereotypes.

– See more at: http://www.mwcnews.net/focus/analysis/57987-isis-attacks-in-brussels.html#sthash.TYCQ5Nod.dpuf

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Iraq’s Unending Woes

June 16, 2015
by Dr. CESAR CHELALA, Counterpunch, June 16, 2015

Iraq’s dismal health situation is testimony to the invasion of the country by foreign forces, including now the takeover of important parts of its territory by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The Iraqi people have been the subject of mass executions, rape, torture and, in addition, the destruction of the country’s infrastructure. The international community has been mostly deaf to the needs of Iraqis, who have undergone difficulties much greater that during the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Dr. Margaret Chan, the World Health Organization Director-General stated recently, “The situation is bad, really bad, and rapidly getting worse,” as she launched a new humanitarian plan for Iraq. If they don’t receive appropriate support, 84% of all health projects and centers run the risk of closure before the end of June.

It is estimated that since January 2014, 2.9 million people have fled their homes, 6.9 million Iraqis need immediate access to essential health services, and 7.1 million need easier access to water, sanitation and hygiene assistance. Presently, 8.2 million people in Iraq need immediate humanitarian support.

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Causing genocide to protect us from terror

April 18, 2015

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer and broadcaster. His award winning blog can be found at www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. Follow him on Twitter

Published time: March 30, 2015 12:52

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007.  (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

An Iraqi family watches U.S. soldiers in in Baquba early June 28, 2007. (Reuters/Goran Tomasevic)

A report called Body Count has revealed that at least 1.3 million people have lost their lives as a result of the US-led “war on terror” in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s a report which should have made front page news across the world.

In the comprehensive 101 pagedocument ‘Body Count,’

Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, have produced figures for the number of people killed from September 11, 2001 until the end of 2013.

The findings are devastating: the in-depth investigation concludes that the ‘war on terror‘ has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan. As awful as that sounds, the total of 1.3 million deaths does not take into account casualties in other war zones, such as Yemen – and the authors stress that the figure is a “conservative estimate”.

“The total number of deaths in the three countries named above could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely,” the executive summary says.

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Remarks on the Sunni-Shia division in Islam

March 8, 2013

Nasir Khan,  March 8, 2013

The division of Islam into Shia and Sunni branches from the mid-seventh century was more due to political factors than with the fundamentals of the faith because they were the same for all people and power elites. Obviously, two rivals engaged in a struggle to gain upper-hand in political race cannot win unless they strike some compromise and avoid the conflict. This was possible but did not happen in the early phase of the growing polarisation that was taking place in the Muslim community (the Ummah).

One puritan group, the Kharajites, saw the developments with apprehension for the new faith and the Muslim community, which by now was large and was rapidly spreading in many regions. The Kharajite solution to stem the tide of power-politics that was damaging the new nation was a drastic one: liquidate the rival claimants to the Caliphate and save the faith and the Caliphate! Despite what they did, the problem did not vanish. One party had won and the other lost. Thus under the new political order, the hereditary principle to rule replaced the right to choose the ruler. Now the faith was not moulding political power but rather the political power that had much to do with the shape of society that was taking shape. During this period the Sunni-Shia division became more marked and the divide assumed the shape that is still with us.

Now the Sunni and Shia forms of divergent political thought about the office of the Caliph and Imam emerged. Afterwards theological differences also started to grow. Inevitably, the Sunni and Shia doctrinal differences became more pronounced and the differing schools of jurisprudence put their stamp on the growing disparity between the two groups. Therefore what started as a political struggle to succession to the highest office in the State eventually developed into two rival sects within Islam. Islam had split into two major branches. This split was permanent. It had far reaching effects on the development of Islamic power and civilisation.

What sort of relationship existed between the two branches when Islam became a world religion and Islamic Empire grew in size and power can be briefly put this way: The Sunni Islam became dominant but Shias were not isolated or victimised. The relations were mostly cordial and there was mutual accommodation and tolerance.

The intolerance towards the Shias and their victimisation in countries like Pakistan in these times is a tragic story of a tolerant faith that has been hijacked by some fanatic ignorant people in the name of their brand of a theology. This Takfiri theology is simple: Shias are not Muslims; therefore we have to convert them to Islam. If they do not convert to Islam, we have a duty to kill them! So these misguided hoodlums have a big task: to eradicate Shias in Pakistan who are about one-fourth of the population, almost 40-million.

However, we should keep in mind that these right-wing criminals and callous murderers are only a fringe element within Pakistan who are causing havoc. The vast majority of Sunni Muslims have nothing against the Shia Muslims and vice versa. Both of them look upon each other as brothers and accept each other’s right to follow Islam according to their own traditions and customs.

But in Iraq under President Bush American invaders and occupiers of the land fanned the sectarian divide and what we see now is not hidden from anyone. Thus the Takfiri assassins within Pakistan with links to other Islamic countries and American imperialism from outside contribute to the same goal by use of violence and terror: divide, crush and win! But these goals are ignoble and inhuman goals that all people of good-will across all sorts of political and religious identities and affiliations need to stand against. Religions, politics and ideologies should contribute to human welfare, happiness and peaceful existence, not vice versa.

Paul Craig Roberts: Agenda Prevails Over Truth

December 30, 2012
 
Paul Craig Roberts, IPE, December 28, 2012

In the Western world truth no longer has any meaning. In its place stands agenda.

Agenda is all important, because it is the way Washington achieves hegemony over the world and the American people. 9/11 was the “new Pearl Harbor” that the neoconservatives declared to be necessary for their planned wars against Muslim countries. For the neoconservatives to go forward with their agenda, it was necessary for Americans to be connected to the agenda.

President George W. Bush’s first Treasury Secretary, Paul O’Neil, said that prior to 9/11 the first cabinet meeting was about the need to invade Iraq.

9/11 was initially blamed on Afghanistan, and the blame was later shifted to Iraq. Washington’s mobilization against Afghanistan was in place prior to 9/11. The George W. Bush regime’s invasion of Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) occurred on October 7, 2001, less than a month after 9/11. Every military person knows that it is not possible to have mobilization for invading a country half way around the world ready in three weeks.

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Human Rights Day & U.S. Hypocrisy

December 14, 2010

Defensive America’s Contempt for Full Court, Press

by Nima Shirazi, Foreign Policy Journal, December 14, 2010

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” – André Gide

“WikiLeaks has shown there is an America in civics textbooks and an America that functions differently in the real world.” – James Moore

Sixty-two years ago, on December 10, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of the Declaration, to which the United States is undoubtedly beholden, affirms:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Well, except for WikiLeaks, of course.

Internet giant Amazon.com, which hosted the whistle-blowing website, dropped WikiLeaks last week, “only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security.” Lieberman’s call for censorship was also heeded by the Seattle-based software company, Tableau, which was hosting some informational, interactive charts linked to by WikiLeaks. These graphics contained absolutely no confidential material whatsoever and merely provided data regarding where the leaked cables originated and in what years they had been written. Nevertheless, for fear of government retribution, Tableau removed the charts, explaining,

Our decision to remove the data from our servers came in response to a public request by Senator Joe Lieberman, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, when he called for organizations hosting WikiLeaks to terminate their relationship with the website.

Visa, Mastercard, and Paypal have all since followed suit.

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Walkout on Ahmadinejad at UN: The Craven Whores Doth Protest Too Much

September 29, 2010
Dr K R Bolton, Foreign Policy Journal,  Sep 28, 2010

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

While it is all very easy for the news media, sundry interest groups, and government functionaries throughout the world to dismiss Dr Ahmadinejad as a Mad Mullah beyond the ken of rational debate, perhaps that is because Iran’s president poses questions that are too near the mark to allow a sensible hearing.

As if it weren’t enough being the leader of a large Islamic nation that does not kowtow to the USA and to Israel, Dr Ahmadinejad put himself beyond redemption for eternity by suggesting that “holocaust revisionism” should be subjected to the same standards of scholarly scrutiny as any other historical matter,[1] and like the Left-wing Jewish academic Prof. Norman G Finkelstein, suggested that the holocaust was being exploited for political and economic motives.[2] Being Jewish, Left-wing and the son of parents who had survived both the Warsaw Ghetto and Nazi concentration camps,[3] didn’t save Finkelstein from the Zionist smear-brigade, so Dr Ahmadinejad is not about to be cut any slack.

When Dr Ahmadinejad reached the UN podium on September 24, it is certain that Israel, the USA and sundry lackeys to both states, waited with baited breath to see what the president would do this time to try and expose their corrupt system before what remains of states that have any sense of national sovereignty and dignity. The reaction of the delegates from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, all 27 delegates from the EU states, Canada, and Costa Rica was to walk out en mass — the response of those who have nothing thoughtful or honest to offer. In New Zealand’s case, our state relies of moral posturing at world forums to compensate for national impotence.

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Blair Reveals Cheney’s War Agenda

September 7, 2010

by Robert Parry, Consortiumnews.com,  September 8, 2010

Ex-British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s new memoir offers the expected rationalizations for his joining in an illegal, aggressive war against Iraq, even to the point of quibbling about the death toll. But Blair does reveal how much more war was favored by Vice President Dick Cheney and the neocons.

In A Journey: My Political Life, Blair depicts Cheney as believing the United States was at war not only with Islamic terrorists but with “rogue states that supported them” and that “the only way of defeating [this threat] was head-on, with maximum American strength.”

Cheney wanted forcible “regime change” in all Middle Eastern countries that he considered hostile to U.S. interests, according to Blair.

“He would have worked through the whole lot, Iraq, Syria, Iran, dealing with all their surrogates in the course of it – Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.,” Blair wrote. “In other words, he [Cheney] thought the world had to be made anew, and that after 11 September, it had to be done by force and with urgency. So he was for hard, hard power. No ifs, no buts, no maybes.”

Over the years, there have been indications of this larger neoconservative strategy to attack America’s – and Israel’s – “enemies” starting with Iraq and then moving on to Syria and Iran, but rarely has this more expansive plan for regional war been shared explicitly with the American public.

Usually, the scheme could be found only in obscure neocon policy papers or as part of Washington scuttlebutt. After the Iraq invasion, a favorite neocon joke was whether to next head west toward Damascus or east to Tehran with the punch line, “real men go to Tehran.”

Under this neocon plan, once “regime change” was achieved in Syria and Iran, then Israel’s front-line adversaries, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Palestinian territories, would be left impoverished and isolated. Israel could dictate settlement terms to the Palestinians and incorporate the Jewish settlements on prime West Bank land into a Greater Israel.

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Turning Back From the Point of No Return – Implications of the Threat to Bomb Iran

August 26, 2010
Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, August 26, 2010

The drums for war on Iran have been banging louder than ever lately, with a spate of articles by political commentators either directly encouraging the bombing of the Islamic Republic or otherwise offering a narrative in which this is effectively portrayed as the only option to prevent Iran from waging a nuclear holocaust against Israel. A prominent example of the latter is Jeffrey Goldberg’s article last month in the Atlantic magazine, “The Point of No Return”.[1] Goldberg’s lengthy piece essentially boils down to this: Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons poses an existential threat to Israel’s existence comparable to the Nazi Holocaust, and although the U.S. recognizes this threat, the Obama administration is weak, so Israel will have no choice but to act alone in bombing Iran to ensure its own survival.

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Blum: USrael and Iran

August 5, 2010

William Blum, Foreign Policy Journal, August 5, 2010

If and when the United States and Israel bomb Iran (marking the sixth country so blessed by Barack Obama) and this sad old world has a new daily horror show to look at on their TV sets, and we then discover that Iran was not actually building nuclear weapons after all, the American mainstream media and the benighted American mind will ask: “Why didn’t they tell us that? Did they want us to bomb them?”

The same questions were asked about Iraq following the discovery that Saddam Hussein didn’t in fact have any weapons of mass destruction. However, in actuality, before the US invasion Iraqi officials had stated clearly on repeated occasions that they had no such weapons. I’m reminded of this by the recent news report about Hans Blix, former chief United Nations weapons inspector, who led a doomed hunt for WMD in Iraq. Last week he told the British inquiry into the March 2003 invasion that those who were “100 percent certain there were weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq turned out to have “less than zero percent knowledge” of where the purported hidden caches might be. He testified that he had warned British Prime Minister Tony Blair in a February 2003 meeting — as well as US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in separate talks — that Hussein might have no weapons of mass destruction.[1]

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