Muhammad Abu Nasr on Iraq, etc.
research at www.neravt.com
Mon Dec 3 19:48:35 MST 2001
The US is playing some very devious game. One
official says "we're coming for Iraq" then another
says "oh, no, we really aren't planning anything."
Now it's gone up the pecking order to the top levels
and Bush says "we're going to bomb" and then Powell
says, "that's only exaggerated press reports." It's
obviously some sort of attempt to keep the Arabs
unbalanced and passive, and the Iraqis unaware.
Iraq's been trying very hard to attract any Kurdish
groups or individuals it can. Saddam Husayn held a
meeting a couple weeks ago with a large number of
Kurds and cited the example of Afghanistan's
Hikmatyar, who lives in Iran, and who opposed the
Taliban but announced that he would fight with the
Taliban against the US invaders. Saddam Husayn
praised that kind of loyal opposition. Yesterday they
said they will welcome any oppositionist who does not
work with the US secret services.
Iraq is worried that the US will use the Kurdish zones
as a staging area as they used the Northern Alliance
There's a difference in that the Kurds will not be in
anything like home territory if they leave the Kurdish
The speed with which the US could use its bombers and
basically has been puppet troops to capture most of
Afghanistan suggests that perhaps something similar
could be done elsewhere, including in Iraq, although
the Northern Alliance did have at least a mostly
national constituency -- if you take all their
different factions and tribes and add the various
Pashtun ones into the mix, together. The US really
hasn't been able to come up with such an opposition in
Still in the Gulf War in 1991 the US showed that it
can largely out gun the Iraqis -- US tanks have longer
ranges for example and they can destroy the Iraqi
armour before the Iraqis can do much about it --
except in instances of tricks or something. Those are
hard when the US has air superiority, which it would
So probably it would all boil down to a US takeover
followed by an intifada-type situation.
Quite frankly, the longer this goes on, the more the
world will be split into the camps of "globalism" and
"terrorism". Given that choice, I suppose you know
where we would probably stand, though I'd better not
write it because this may be under some sort of
It has given me renewed respect for the Iraqi stance.
They never joined the chorus of condemnation of
"terrorism" and 11 September. Not because they
support killing civilians, they don't. But because
they seem to have seen how things were moving.
The rest of the Arab world joined the condemnation of
terror and now some on the Arab left talk about the
world as divided between the camp of civilization and
the camp of terrorism. That puts them in the
American-Israeli camp and is absurd, since the
Americans are basically sharpening their knives for
use on Iraq and possibly Syria and Lebanon and who
knows on whom else?
Even the Syrians are pretty heavily into the "yes, but
. . ." situation -- fight terrorism but define it
better. The US dosen't need definitions so it plunges
ahead, and generally the definitions that stick are
the ones that are enforced by the dominant class. If
there were a UN conference to define terrorism under
the present balance of forces in the world, I have no
doubt that the US could come up with a definition that
would suit it.
It would be like the Durban Racist conference. That
turned into a racist conference because Zionism was
made off limits to criticism and that means that
killing some ethnic groups is ok -- which is racism.
I'm sure the US could pull the same thing at a UN
conference on terror. "Let's not scuttle this
meeting, let's not allow more 11 Septembers just
because a few of us have had psychological complexes
about Jews. They need to get over that," etc. Most
countries would give America what it wants so long as
their own pet terrorists were on the black list.
It's akin to the Americans voting for fewer rights in
order to fight terrorism, only this is on a world
Anyhow, I'm concerned that accepting too many of their
premises will entangle us in their web. So you begin
by saying that the Northern Alliance guys are "better"
or "less reactionary" than the Taliban, and you
quickly wind up cheering as the B-52s unload, and
saying "well, we can't object to the humanitarian
aspect of the US programme, anyway." The US seems
very good at bringing countries along gradually, and
so I have lots of misgivings about how most Arab
countries have reacted. Only Iraq as clearly put
itself outside the US camp, and anyway everybody
always thought the US WOULD consider Iraq terrorist.
Within the US, it's clear that a lot of the left isn't
ready for that role of "terrorist supporter". The
Nation weekly is busy debating whether Afghanistan is
a just war, and I suppose the US media would come up
with all sorts of horror stories about Iraq if it
wants to, so as to keep leftist liberals off balance
there too. Since 1990 the left has been very
uncomfortable with support for Iraq, anyhow. Almost
every article has to be hedged around with criticism
of the Iraqi government to the point that you
sometimes wonder whose side they're on after all. For
a long time "progressive" people rallied behind the
muderous slogan "let the sanctions work!"
I'm afraid it will be a long, cold winter before we
get to any kind of Vietnam-style anti-war,
I think for sure the US will go after Iraq but they
might not just yet. There was talk that the renewal
of the six-month sanction regime in Iraq would signal
some sort of stand off, but it didn't. The US worked
out some problems with Russia and that's probably a
bigger catch. If they get Russia to turn away as they
take over Central Asia, Russia might not be in a
geographical or political position to do anything when
the US decides to eliminate Iraq.
Incidentally the Arabic press, though it relies on the
big news agencies, does pick up stuff and headline it
that the big agencies and "our" local papers leave
buried in the 50th paragraph. For example the US is
thinking about a network of US bases in Afghanistan.
And various US officials are talking of a US presence
there "for years." So, this is for real; the US is
moving into Central Asia to stay. It's funny, the US
doesn't like it when the Russias push Burhan ad-Din
Rabbani forward as president (which he was prior to
the Taliban takeover) and Powell complained the other
day that there were some Russian military personnel on
a "humanitarian" mission in Kabul.
Obviously it's "American turf" and the US wants to
decide who'll be in charge. Russia may back Rabbani,
but the US will back a hoge-podge of people including
the aged once and future king and even "moderate"
Taliban, if it hasn't massacred them all, so as to
make sure that Washington in the end can always cast
the deciding vote and determine which way things go
Anyhow mostly what you miss from not knowing Arabic is
the analyses that are more forthrightly anti-US than
most of what you get here. Even there, though, there
has been some inching toward the right, I think. But
mainly the US seems to succeed best when it just says
everything all at once and keeps people off balance.
That seems to be what they are doing on Iraq.
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