Thursday, December 29, 2011

Saving Iraq:? Allawi, Hitchens, Davies, etc

Saving Iraq?

The title of the December 28, 2011 New York Times op-ed by three Iraqi politicians: “How to Save Iraq From Civil War” (see below) and the editor’s pull quote: “Unless America pushes for a unity government, violence will destroy us,” ably summarizes the gist. It would seem that in order to get their op-ed printed, the authors had to pretend that that they believe that the U.S. actively wants Iraq to succeed. But as they well know that is not correct on at least three counts, the third being recent history.

First: Would a successful and independent Iraq be good for Israel?
Second: Would an independent Iraq cohere with the permanent war agenda of Bush-Cheney-Obama?
The relevant history
The history of the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq from 2003 has been one of great accomplishment from the occupiers’ point of view: the sectarian division of the country in order to insure civil war and the ongoing destruction of the country. Why else was Paul Bremer sent to head the occupation forces  in 2003 other than to oversee the disbanding of the Iraqi Army and the de-Bathification Program, ensuring that  there would be no competent people to promote  the civil life of the country?  He was also  well-placed to oversee the dirty tricks and special forces operations which were responsible for the instability and sectarian warfare—which continues to this day.

Just this  week (12.22.11)  a series of coordinated terror attacks killed more than  60 people. (

Coordination in these cases is often the signature of the kind of competence and resource rich assets associated with professional operatives of  agencies like the CIA, known to the corporate (and almost all of the alternative) media as Al-Qaeda (al-CIA duh). Link TV, a cable TV news program in Arabic with English translation, interviewed a man in the Baghdad  street who asked in connection with this latest attack:  “Who wants to kill the Iraqi people? We need to know.”  

Questions to the late lamented Christopher Hitchens regarding the destruction of the Iraqi Museum of Antiquities in the early days of the U.S. invasion evidently hit a nerve because he answered uncharacteristically defensively (or maybe not so uncharacteristically when it came to Iraq) in his otherwise  brilliant memoir Htich-22 with a reply approximating Donald Rumsfeld’s response to similar questions: “Stuff happens.”

As good a writer and controversialist as Hitchens was, I couldn’t help noticing that he avoided evidence that  U.S. forces had the wherewithal to prevent looting had this been their mission; that they  were warned at very high levels months before the invasion to secure the Museum and other treasures; that military commanders on the ground made a point of allowing if not encouraging  mobs to trash the Museum and many other critical sites such as the University, government buildings, key infrastructure installations, etc.

One might have hoped that Hitchens’s enthusiasm for removing Saddam would have been tempered by clear evidence that regime change was only part of the larger purpose of destroying, for a very long time, the possibility of civil life for the Iraqi people. This was achieved largely by promoting civil war in Iraq, and torpedoing reconstruction, and ditto reconciliation. Similarly Hitchens gracelessly acknowledged and ineptly defended the charge that the Iraq invasion was a giant step towards permanent war.

Nicholas J.S. Davies, author of Blood on our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq in a timely nine-page summary of his book for Z Magazine  (January 2012) explains that it wasn’t the U.S. “Surge” that reduced the violence in Iraq. He writes: “In fact, U.S. occupation forces and their allies were the perpetrators of most of the violence in Iraq throughout the war, and their invasion and occupation of Iraq was the cause of all of it. It was therefore entirely possible at any point for the occupation forces to achieve a reduction in violence by scaling back their own operations, as they finally did after the ’Surge’ in 2008.”

Davies’s testimony helps us understand how to read the very last sentence of the NYT op-ed:
“Unless America acts rapidly to help create a successful unity government, Iraq is doomed.”
“ How to Save Iraq From Civil War,”New York Times, 12.28,11
Ayad Allawi, leader of the Iraqiya coalition, was Iraq’s prime minister from 2004-5. Osama al-Nujaifi is the speaker of the Iraqi Parliament. Rafe al-Essawi is Iraq’s finance minister.

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