Will US determination on Palestine be equal to that shown on Iraq?The dangers ahead [Archives:2003/630/Opinion]

April 7 2003

By Abdullah Al Rahim
Will the invaders take Baghdad? Will the Saddam regime collapse? The current going tempts us to place our wagers on the answer, No. But George Bush tells anyone who will listen, America will win the War. We have the right to ask him, will America win the Peace?
Should America win and our wager is lost, that last question we asked above will be the test upon which everything we have been told this war is about, will stand or fall. It will not matter then how many nay sayers have been proven wrong or vindicated. It will not matter how much super fire power was deployed to vanquish a nation progressively stripped of its military resources over a period of 12 years prior to this obviously, long planned onslaught. Neither will the whereabouts of Saddam matter then. What will matter, and this is the single most important element, will the Dual Axis [my apologies for copying Bush] carry out their pledge to install a truly democratically elected Iraqi government, to rebuild a nation that they largely destroyed by their bullets on the battle field and their ballots at the United Nations.
Thereafter, will this Dual Axis turn south-west of Iraq and live up to their repeated promises to address the Palestinian rights? Will their determination on Palestine be equal to that shown on Iraq?
We have serious doubts, but we would like nothing more than to be proven wrong.
We have followed this enterprise from its beginning in 1979 to 1990 to this day. Nothing we have seen inspires confidence or lends credibility to the claims of the Dual Axis, both of whom have been cynically involved up to their ears with the events that unfolded throughout this period. And now comes what is seemingly the beginning of the end game as orchestrated in Pennsylvania Avenue and obediently followed by Downing Street.
Their success in Iraq will give them the impetus to turn to Iran, the second member of Bush's Axis of Evil and then beyond, in their attempt to complete their global stranglehold.
Consider the re-designed regional political map. There is Afghanistan, literally an exclusive American colony, windfall of 9/11. Go westwards, to Iraq, now being bombed into becoming another American colony. Sandwiched in between lies Iran, precariously in the process of being surrounded, and if not careful, crushed. Now go eastwards. You will find Pakistan, already surrounded by a hostile India and an American Afghanistan, and if not careful, also crushed.
These are the most advanced Muslim states, one is under attack, the other two waiting in line.
With America militarily trying to crown its position as a sole, unchallenged super power, a cross Atlantic duel is taking place between America and France, which has seen the danger America poses to the very survival of the European Union as an independent entity able to balance America's global influence. France fears that, should America achieve its ambitions, the EU, now with a population and economy equal that of America, will be forced to continue to play second role to America and will be blackmailed by an America powered by its newly conquered global resources. Apart from any of France's professed or even possible moral considerations, this fear is the cornerstone of France's opposition and threat to veto the US/UK war intentions, thus forcing them, if they so wished, to go to war without international legitimacy with all its ramifications. Moreover, Europe, the Arab world's close neighbor, will bear the brunt of the chaos and instability ensuing from America's domination of the region. Although Germany and Russia share the French vision, the former does not possess the global reach and the later does not possess the economic independence that France possesses, two elements which gave France the strength to challenge America.
As America aggressively tries to stay at the top, the question is, what price will we and the rest of the world pay?
Wishful thinking always permitted, no Arab government should believe that its closeness or support of the American enterprise will save it from the falling axe. Throughout its history, and many of America's European allies will testify, America's friendship has neither exceeded its shortsighted vision nor gone beyond its narrow interests. This invasion is not about Democracy or Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, it is about preserving the American way of life at the expense of others.
With the impending final solution on the three Muslim states, the only ones with a real potential to emerge as regional powers able to challenge America's regional ambitions, the axe will fall not only on our region but beyond, upon Europe, Asia and the rest of humanity, unless of course, we and others now threatened, unite to put the brakes on the current super power.
Iraqis are doing their part, tragically but heroically alone. Only a week and all pronouncements of a swift victory have been toppled. The Shock and Awe proved to be more on them than Iraq. The US/UK decision to dispatch an additional 100 thousand soldiers to the frontline underlines not only Iraq's determination, but also the extent of wishful thinking that went into their invasion plan. No Iraqi woman has showered the armed Romeos with flowers, and no Shiat uprising has materialized. Reaction to this resistance will be even more panic bombing, resulting in even more civilian casualties. In turn, this only promises increased public outcry throughout the world and increased pressure on the Dual Axis to end the invasion.
Faced with its failure to achieve a swift victory, America has started first to look for external scapegoats. Russia and Syria have been accused of supplying military hardware to Iraq. This move will soon be discounted if found useless. If the additional forces also prove useless and the war continues to go against them, the US and UK will most likely want to go back to the United Nations, as already indicated by their support of the UN decision to restart the Food for Oil program, an option they rejected earlier.
After ignoring the United Nations and questioning its relevance, they will probably make silent efforts to use the UN to obtain a face saving way out of their quagmire. Ironically, they might have to go on bended knees to the very countries who opposed the invasion and who consequently were the subject of a massive American tirade.
Indeed, these countries will rightfully relish such a vindication. During a speech making visit to London last week, the Foreign Minister of France, traditionally a US/UK ally, said a lot indeed when he refused to tell a journalist who his country would like to see win the war.
Meanwhile, judging from press statements, subtle fiasco finger pointing has already started in Washington. This will increase if the war's current tempo continues. Heads will roll, the first, Richard Perle, was the US Defense Department's foremost anti-Arab and the strongest advocate of invading Iraq [apart from being an advisor to Israel's Natanyahu]. He was forced out last week. We are told he resigned because of a 'commercial conflict of interest' ! Because of his preference of a techno war over a soldier's war, Rumsfeld, Perle's boss, is already being accused of dangerously underestimating the invasion's manpower needs.
Cracks within the Dual Axis have also become apparent. The junior partner, the future Ex-Prime Minister of Britain, reportedly had a 'very candid' discussion with Bush. America is unwilling to share the Iraq re-construction business with British companies, apart from little crumbs, i.e. sub-contracting to American companies. This, at a time when British MPs and companies are demanding to know from Blair what the Return on Investment will be.
The Dual Axis' current predicament reminds me of an ancient Arab proverb which says, “had I known the future, I would have chosen the present”. Indeed, had they known then, what they know now, would they have chosen the path they took?
The US and UK, by this aggression, have opened a huge Pandora'Box. Should the invasion be stopped by a UN ordered ceasefire with subsequent withdrawal and Saddam remains in power, Iraq can, justifiably, and probably will, demand war reparations from America, Britain and all the countries which directly participated in this invasion. Iraq, seen as a David who resisted Goliath & Co. will very likely be able to muster overwhelming international support. It should always be remembered that this invasion, which has not obtained a UN approval, has no legitimacy. Illegitimate invasions cannot go un-punished or at least un-compensated. The most recent example happened over the past 12 years with the US and UK acting as Prosecutors-in-Chief. Additionally, the possibility of war crimes prosecution for civilian casualties must also be examined. Moreover, we can never overestimate the danger this invasion has created for other nations, be it China invading Taiwan or one of the Koreas making a re-unification invasion of the other. Indeed, more than anything else, it is this dangerous prospect established by this dangerous precedent that makes it imperative for the international community to ensure that America and Britain are not allowed to succeed in their dastardly deed or allowed to withdraw with impunity.
Whatever the Dual Axis may not have achieved so far, this they certainly achieved immensely; they turned Saddam Hussein into a hero and ensured massive support for him. There is a more than 50/50 chance that Saddam might still have his job, long after the second Bush has lost his. Like father, like son.