US policies at cross-purposes [Archives:2002/12/Law & Diplomacy]

March 18 2002

The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 was a clear failure of the Iraqi leadership to understand the changes shaping up the world in that period.
Indeed, it was enough for Iraq to understand the objectives for which the US rapid deployment forces were created. As the US experts then made different scenarios for the tasks of this force, one of which was to assume that a country in the region might invade a smaller one with the view of controlling its oil resources.
Based on the assumption the flow of oil to the United States along with the other European countries will be intercepted, the tasks of the US rapid deployment forces will be for countering such potential incidents.
The Iraqi leadership’s decision to occupy Kuwait had indeed resulted from arrogance on its capability and trust in the US administration, especially after the American ambassador to Baghdad had signaled to president Saddam Hussein that the United States will not interfere. This was, in fact, a big trap in which the Iraqi leadership had fallen without recognizing the disastrous consequences of this risky adventure.
US coalition
The United States was able to build a strong international coalition to force the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. This coalition had in fact gained much international recognition and support. Most countries of the world objected to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait because it is a sovereign state and a UN member state.
Much of the Arab countries joined this coalition, which mobilized more than half million soldiers, with the view of expelling the Iraqi forces out of Kuwait. Yet, this massive mobilization of troops and navels was unjustified. Thus, all Arab countries expressed concerns when they saw the American operations crossing the lines it had been set for. The operation’s targets went far beyond bombarding and destroying the Iraqi military capabilities, it really turned to devastate the Iraqi infrastructure projects, including electricity power plants, oil stations, telecommunication stations, road, bridges even farms. Arabs became more concerned when the US warplanes started brutally bombarding even populated zones, as was the case with the al-Amiriya shelter which resulted in the death of 400 Iraqis, mostly women and children.
The Desert Storm was over with the destruction of the Iraqi military capabilities, driving them out of Kuwait. Further, the US imposed no-fly-zones both in northern and southern Iraq, and then the Iraqi-Kuwaiti borders were demarcated. Iraq had no choice but to adhere to the UN resolutions.
Coinciding with Iraq’s implementation of the UN resolutions, the US-Russia-sponsored Madrid peace conference was held in October 1991. It was clear from the beginning that this conference was a reward for Israel for the services it provided to the US-led coalition against Iraq.
Many people hoped that the new US administration led by president Clinton (January 1993) would rearrange the US foreign policies in the region in ways that help Iraq implement the UN resolutions and turn a new page in Iraq-US relations.
However, the Clinton administration which sponsored the Oslo peace treaty continued its anti-Iraq policies through introducing the double containment policy against both Iraq and Iran. This policy principally meant to prevent Iraq and Iran from playing any key role in the region, especially with regard to the Arab-Israeli conflict and the peace process in general.
As for Iraq, the double containment policy aimed at keeping the economic sanction as well as preserving the no-fly-zones in the north and the south. Clinton’s administration claimed that its absolute objective had been to make Iraq adhere to the UN Security Council resolutions imposed in the wake of the Gulf war, however, the US’s objectives have been far beyond that.
At that time the UN inspection team for Iraqi mass destruction weapons continued its work, while the miserable consequences of the economic sanction had appeared more stronger. Thus, many countries called for easing the sanction which culminated with the oil-for-food deal as a temporary solution for the sanction which was reluctantly accepted by Iraq.
Since late 1997 there were many reports that the UN inspection operations had completed its mission and that Iraq was no longer possessing weapons of mass destruction, and also unable to manufacture any new weapons, as all the weapons manufacturing facilities had been destroyed.
Lift the sanctions
By now, there had been stronger voices calling for lifting of the sanctions against Iraq, not only from Arab states but also from the European countries, who took part in forcing the Iraq forces out of Kuwait.
But, the US government turned a blind eye to these calls. The United States and Briton also withdraw the inspection team and subsequently carried out a devastating air strikes against Iraq.
With the aggravation of the humanitarian situation in Iraq during 1999 and 2000, many people raised this question: why the US war against Iraq have remained an open war since 1991 although the United States have fought different wars but it won them on time? Isn’t it enough that these wars had destroyed everything in Iraq, and depleted the resources of the countries of the region?
Following the US presidential elections of November 2000, many people mistakenly thought that the new American administration will ease the decade-old sanctions on Iraq. However, George Bush Jr. started propagating the smart sanctions proposal hoping to further prolong the sanction, and threatening to direct a military strike against Iraq. This actually indicates that the US administration is practicing a psychological war against both Iraq and Arab countries. This has become more clearer following the September 11 attacks, as, during the US war against terror, Iraq has remained under threat, although Iraq has nothing to do with the September 11 attacks.
Axis of evil?
The real intentions of the US administration to strike Iraq was spoken during president Bush’s state of the union address on Jan. 29 when he voiced threats against what he called the “axis of evil,” meaning North Korea, Iran and Iraq. Indeed, speaking about the axis of evil represented a confusion in the US foreign policies and disclosed the depth of disagreement between the United States and its allies.
As the European allies have expressed their rejection to these US policies, the US resolve to strike Iraq will go ahead regardless of its allies’ objections, and this has been confirmed by some US top officials who were quoted as saying that the White House is determined to assault Iraq even if the allies did not cooperated with them. The American official pointed out that the US government has been preparing secret military and diplomatic plans for attacking Iraq, adding that the US vice-president’s visit to the region will focus on means of eradicating Saddam Hussein.
The question now is, why is there all this American resolve to assault Iraq at the time there is no logical justification for that? Iraq is not a terrorist state and also doesn’t harbor terrorism. All countries of the world agree that any US strike on Iraq is a brutal act and a violation of the sovereignty of a UN member country.
So many people believe that the most important objectives for attacking Iraq can be outlined as follows:
Consolidating the status of Israel as a strong regional power, as carrying out a massive operation against Iraq will shake the stability of many countries in the region and further weaken Arab countries. This in turn will enable Israel to have a bigger chance to settle its conflict with Arabs based on Sharon’s terms.
Yet, the United States would like to send a clear message to Iran to stop its support for Hezbullah party and the other Palestinian liberation organizations. Iran is striving, according to Washington, to develop its military capabilities so as to defend its sovereignty from any Israeli attack. This issue is openly rejected by the United States.
Similarly, the United States is willing to rebuild its coalition in the region and this has been confirmed by the US president as he pointed out that countering the axis of evil countries will require building up a new US coalition in the region.
Other objectives of the US strikes will include re-arranging and re-drawing the political map of the region in ways that serve the US top policies, as political analysts confirm that Israel is instigating the US administration to prompt assaulting Iraq. Israel itself will take part at these operations through Turkey which is linked to Israel with security and military agreements. This has been confirmed by the Turkish president when he said that Turkey might reluctantly find itself involved in anti-Iraq operations.
A narrow view
The issue of striking Iraq and keeping the sanction, in fact, means that the United States views its relations with Arabs from a very narrow angle, as it always couples it with pleasing Israel. By this, the United States is not attentive neither to the Arab objection nor to the embarrassment it is causing for its closest Arab allies.
Isn’t the United States concerned with losing its credibility with so many countries of the world which will be so much cautious in their dealing with the US in the future? And won’t the United States be afraid that this rejection, even by its European allies, may turn into an anti-US coalition in the future? This coalition, of course, will pose a threat to the US interests and limit its power.
Then why is the United States so determined to be hostile to all the countries of the world? Does the US administration ignore the negative consequences of this policies which will certainly affect the American people and make them live in a persisting fear?
The campaign against Iraq will remain a matter of discussion for all intellectuals, including the Americans themselves. And the most important is that this matter will remain a matter of questioning for the rising American generations, which will come to discover later on that the distance between Iraq and the USA is more than 8,000 miles. Besides, with the US current military supremacy neither Iraq nor any other country could be a threat to America.
Indeed, I don’t know how the American students will feel when they read in history’s books that the subsequent US governments have killed more than one million Iraqi children. Will the American students believe that the mass killing of Iraqi children was for defending America?