We are very grateful for your courageous campaigns you had undertaken hoping that US invasion of Iraq could be prevented. However your efforts are still very much needed.
The following is a report on one of the campaigns we are initiating after the occupation of Iraq
Please, please, send us your opinion.
Coordinator, Arab Coordination Center of NGOs
Campaign against US Military Policies
In the Middle East
Bahig NassarBush administration policy has moved to a new phase.
Under the umbrella of this formidable force, the Road Map on the Palestine question will be implemented, free trade system will be built combining Israel and Arab states and led by US, and social, political and culture projects declared by Foreign Minister, Paul, have been prepared for the countries of the region. Pax Americana is now on the move. Israel and the occupied Iraq will be the spring board for its implementation.
But, NGOs and social forces has another Pax (peace) that serves the economic democratic and cultural rights and interests of people. This is our task.
This report deals with campaigns necessary to challenge the military aspects of Pax Americana.
Military force is now the decisive factor to impose US hegemony under the guise of Pax Americana, therefore a very short review of US military policies should be recalled in order to identify the political basis and characteristics of the campaign to counter these policies.
On the basis of lessons drawn form the 1991 Gulf war US took the following military steps.
Adopted a Counter Proliferation strategy on the use of force combined with effective nuclear deterrence against states which contest US interests in the M.E. and other regions once they try to acquire weapons of mass destruction WMD and their delivery vehicles.
Returned to US "star wars" initiated by former president, Reagan, with special emphasis on the production of theater missile defense TMD systems to be deployed in the M. E. and other regions in order to kill short and medium-range missiles of US adversaries, thus their skies will be opened to its missiles to hit any target.
Increased the presence of US nuclear capable Rapid Deployment force together with US special units for secret mission in the Arab Gulf states to undertake military operations against any country of the region.
When Bush (the son) became US president, January 2001, he totally relied on these military structures to initiate his new military policies.
Russia (the former Soviet Union) is no more the main adversary. Several States had emerged since the end of the cold war to contest US interests in several regions and try to acquire WMD and their delivery systems. Force should be used to prevent the new threats leveled by these states at US interests. They include China and five other states comprising North Korea and four states in the M. E., Iraq, Iran, Syria and Libya. Contingency plans could be prepared to target US nuclear weapons at them. US claims that the five states are hosting terrorist groups. They are rogue states. Other states can be added to the list.
Military operations against them will be based on a new Triad: a) conventional forces are integrated into nuclear forces in actual operations; b) Both are integrated into missiles, offensive to hit targets and defensive to kill missiles of adversaries; c) new capabilities will be provided in timely fashion to meet emergency and surprise threats by the new adversaries which include advanced systems of information, intelligence, command and control to respond to any unpredicted threat.
In addition two steps had been taken:
The possible use of nuclear weapons is not excluded.
Preemptive wars will be launched.
The non proliferation regime of nuclear weapons and the international legality are falling apart due to US military policies to impose its hegemony over several regions and allover the world.
Two Courses of NGOs Activities
The course of NGOs activities to counter US military policies comprises numerous tracks including defending the inalienable national rights and human rights violated by the aggressors, resisting economic and cultural hegemony the main targets of military invasion, halting the degradation of environment as a result of the use of force, promoting democratic rights of the people mainly their right to choose their own government without any foreign interference, implementing UN resolutions on the elimination of WMD in the ME and worldwide, strongly resist the rule of force pursued by US instead of the rule of law and other areas of activities now underway to bear pressure on US administration in order to achieve peace that serves the interests of M.E. people instead of Pax Americana that entrenches hegemony of US and its allies. These activities are similar to those used to be undertaken by NGOs, social forces and political parties in support for the liberation of the former colonies after the end of the second world war.
But NGOs also need to identify another course of activities to prevent the implementation of US policies from its very inception. How NGOs, social forces, political parties and governmental bodies, national and international, can prevent the implementation of US policies? This is the question after the former colonies had gained its political independence and enjoyed the right to choose its political, economic and cultural development. Conquering and occupying once more those independent states to achieve new neo-colonial targets should be prevented.
To this end, various actions by NGOs including specific acts directly related to US military policies can be taken. According to the experience drawn from US military policies in the M. E. two steps should be taken to prevent the implementation of its military policies: a) the dismantlement of US military bases without which it will not be able to launch preemptive wars against regional states; b) to free the M. E. (or any other region) from all WMD and their delivery vehicles mainly missiles, defensive and offensive, the proliferation of which is US pretext to launch preemptive wars on a decision of its own and regardless of international legality.
In regard to the first step, it can be taken by the states of the region, mainly Arab Gulf states which invited the deployment of US forces on their territories. They are sovereign states and they themselves can request the repatriation of these forces. In this context one can not overlook the fatal mistake committed by Suddam Hussein regime which arrogantly refused to take the necessary steps to bring to an end its relations of enmity with other Gulf states which followed its invasion of Kawait in 1991. NGOs of the region bear their share of responsibility for the lack of enough efforts to urge the relevant governments to cement their relations and prevent US manipulation of their differences and disputes.
Military bases and facilities provided to US forces in several regions is the springboard to start its military operations against other states of the region. This is the reason of US insistence to involve Japan and South Korea in its conflict with North Korea, hoping that such an involvement will be developed to the extent that both states will allow the use of US military bases located on their territories to launch preemptive operations against North Korea.
Repatriation of US forces, conventional and non-conventional, is extremely important to prevent the implementation of US military policies now underway to entrench its hegemony in the M. E., North East Asia, Europe and other regions. Peace forces, governmental and non-governmental, of each region bear the main responsibility to achieve this target.
But, the question of launching preemptive war with US nuclear capable forces to prevent certain states from acquiring WMD and their delivery vehicles instead of implementing UN and NPT resolutions to free the M. E. and the world from these weapons is different. Problems of WMD are global, mainly wars arising from the possesstion, proliferation and possible use of nuclear weapons and other WMD. NGOs and social forces all over the world are equally responsible to undertake appropriate activities to prevent such a war. The huge demonstrations organized in hundreds of cities in all continents condemning US invasion of Iraq by its nuclear capable forces under the alleged pretext of searching for WMD testify to this fact.
Intensive efforts should be made and networks of NGOs and social forces should be established to undertake necessary campaigns. The struggle will be long but attaining these disarmament targets is of vital importance to prevent US current military policies.
Political Aspects of the Campaigns
US holds in its power a huge military buildup with the most sophisticated and destructive capabilities in the history of mankind.. To challenge this formidable force with force will lead to the destruction of the challenger, big or small. Unbalanced relation of forces has prevailed in all regions and worldwide in favor of US. Naturally, states contesting US policies in defense of their legitimate interests should seek sufficient military capabilities to defend the rights of their people, but correct political options are the alternatives available to them to resist US military policies. Wars and aggressive acts are the natural extension of US economic cultural and social policies whereas correct political options are the main alternatives to rationally avoid these wars or to successfully resist the aggressors.
Therefore political aspects of NGOs campaigns should be intensively discussed. They are major inputs in the political struggle against US military policies. The following are suggested for discussions with special reference to M. E.
I- Deep changes had taken place in the international scene since the end of the cold war. Their impact are still in the first phase of their development. Russia (the former Soviet Union) is no more the main adversary to US. The traditional alliances prevailed at the time of the cold war had changed. Differences sharply emerged between US and several of its main allies in Europe on the question of international legality and respect for UN resolutions at the time of the invasion of Iraq. New emerging powers such as India and Brazil enjoy special status in the international arena and possibly will be big powers. Influences of the non-aligned movement is fading away to be replaced by those of regional economic groups emerged to counter the detrimental impact of the current process of globalisation. A new agenda to abolish nuclear weapons suggested by a group of seven medium-size countries comprising Ireland, Egypt, Sweden, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and New Zeeland decisively affected the course of the discussions at the 2000 NPT Conference in favor of nuclear disarmament. Major among these changes is the impact of social forces and NGOs which were able to organize demonstrations in hundred of cities in one day, in all continents with the participation of millions of people condemning US-UK invasion of Iraq. These changes and others should be rationally utilized to the maximum against US military policies.
In this context states which contest US interests in defense of the legitimate rights of their people should carefully count their steps and avoid any mistake in their political assessments. At the same time efforts should be made by NGOs to unmask US attempts to impose the image of enemy on these states by its propaganda machine in preparation for its preemptive wars. The case of Syria or Iran is a clear example.
However, the above mentioned differences and contradictions will not effectively benefit efforts made to defeat US policies by themselves unless the countries of the region implement appropriate policies to gradually bring to an end US control over the strategic assets and main resources of the region. In the M. E.; these policies may include the rational management of the current competition between US dollar and the European Euro particularly in relation to the currency fixed for oil prices, the repatriation of part of the huge Arab financial assets in US banks, dismantlement of all foreign bases without exception, etc. The rational implementation of these policies will strengthen positions of certain powers in their competition with US, otherwise the support of these powers for the legitimate interests of the people of the region will be very limited.
Lack of these policies enabled US to gradually control relations among countries of the M.E. region and manipulate all their disputes and conflicts in its interests. Among them is the Israeli conflict with Palestinian and Arab people, the open-ended conflicts in southern Sudan and Horn of Africa and the former conflict between Iraq and Arab Gulf states which enabled US to occupy Iraq and hold in its hands unprecedented power in the region. Unless US monopolization of Middle East strategic assets will be changed the role of other powers will continue to be marginal. Actually US is now a Middle East State similar to the position former colonial powers had enjoyed in Africa and Asia. But, the people of the region are now much more developed than those of the traditional colonies and are able to eradicate the root causes of the current occupation and prevent the so-called Pax Americana .
II- The confrontation line with nuclear weapons in the era of the cold war had been running between US and the Soviet Union. At present, the confrontation line with weapons of mass destruction WMD is running from North Korea across Central Asia close to the old Silk Rout towards the Mediterranean and M. E. regions. South of this line china and the three de facto nuclear weapon states including Israel, together with all Arab and Islamic countries and people are located. Also the new adversaries at which US has targeted its nuclear weapons and is preparing huge forces to launch preemptive strikes on the pretext that they are trying to acquire WMD to threaten US interests are located there. The M. E. is now the most acute area of confrontation along this line. International alliances led by US had launched three wars in the region after the end of the cold war: the 1991 Gulf war, the war against Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq.
Three remarks can be recorded in this connection:
a) It goes without saying that the courageous struggle of disarmament NGOs and forces of civil and democratic rights in US is a major input to enhance the efforts of peace and liberation forces in the M.E. and other regions to defeat US policies. Also support for the efforts of US NGOs is equally of vital importance. Possibly several M. E. rulers will succumb to Bush administration dictates to impose Pax Americana particularly after the occupation of Iraq, but resistance to US policies will continue, a matter which will be enhanced with the strengthening of cooperation between US and M. E. NGOs.
b) The Middle East is part and parcel of the Mediterranean Basin, the southern flank of the European continent. Any confrontation in the M. E. as a result of possible attempts by several states to acquire WMD in order to counter the deadly threats of US and Israeli nuclear arsenals will be detrimental to European security. Consequently, the transformation of M. E. region into a zone free from all WMD will enhance the security of both the region and Europe. Moreover, certain European states may go nuclear if WMD will proliferate in M. E. Cooperation of Euro-ME NGOs is very much needed to prevent such eventualities.
c) The establishment of this zone in M. E. will ensure stable and successful implementation of nuclear weapon free zone NWFZ in Africa due to the presence of several Arab states in North Africa. It will also encourage Pakistan and India to abolish their nuclear weapons, a major step towards an Asian security. Of tremendous importance to achieve this target is the close cooperation of NGOs of M. E., and South Asia with the social forces and NGOs of the parties to Shanghai group of states, comprising China, Russia and several former Soviet republics in Central Asia.
III- According to US strategists there is now a new M. E. region, covering the traditional areas of the region together with Afghanistan and its neighboring states in Central Asia. The main US armed forces deployed outside its acknowledged territories had shifted from Europe at the time of the cold war to the new M. E. There are several US fleets roaming close to the shores of the region, military presence in the Gulf states and several republics in Central Asia, military facilities in North Africa and the Horn of Africa, and huge US military forces are occupying Afghanistan and Iraq. All these sea, air and land forces are nuclear capable, to be added to Israeli forces occupying Palestine and the Syrian Golan Hights. A new liberation struggle to free M. E. countries from WMD together with US and Israeli occupying forces is emerging.
However, American military occupation and presence in M. E. are covered by the consent of several rulers, either old ones traditionally ruling certain states or new rulers imposed by US forces. Almost all of them are legally acknowledged. This is one of the main differences between the former traditional colonial policies and current US policies to reoccupy states already gained their political independence. The occupied forces and the rulers conniving with them will join their efforts to deprive by force NGOs and political parties of their democratic rights to resist occupation and to democratically choose their governments and rulers.
On the question of nuclear weapons deployed in M. E., it should be noted that all former NWFZs had been established in regions already free from nuclear weapons. But, in the M. E., Israel acquires an arsenal of these weapons. Instead of implementing NPT and UN resolutions on the elimination of all WMD in the M. E. and the world over, US and Israel are launching preemptive strikes and wars against any state of the region which may try to acquire WMD to counter the deadly threats of their weapons. At the same time they maintain their arsenals of nuclear weapon as part of their nuclear capable forces in the region.
These are unacceptable and inhuman conditions imposed by force on the people of the M. E. Every act of solidarity and support is needed to build up appropriate networks of NGOs and social forces in order to bring together the sporadic activities in the region and build a broad mass movement in M. E. against the policies of US administration and its allies.
IV- In contesting US policies in M. E., actions of peace and disarmament NGOs, social forces and political parties totally rely on UN charter, norms of international law, legal principles of peaceful resolution of conflicts and disputes, world court project opinion on the legality of nuclear weapon, UN and NPT resolutions on their abolition, multilateral agreements on human rights and all UN resolutions on M.E. questions mainly those on the Palestine question and the danger of nuclear weapons proliferation. These actions persistently defend the rule of law against the rule of force. Clear examples of the later rule are US invasion of Iraq without UN security council authorization and Israeli illegal and inhuman practices in occupied Palestine territories.
According to article 51 of UN Charter, the use of force is permissible when there is an actual or imminent attack, or when the security Council authorizes the use force to maintain international peace and security. There had been no actual or imminent attack by Iraq against US or authorization by the security council when US forces invaded and occupied the territories of Iraq.
Also, UN charter, article 2, gives priority to the peaceful settlement of disputes and the non use of force, , a matter which Israeli rulers and US administration refused to comply with and resorted to violence and acts of aggression.
On the question nuclear weapons US refuses to comply with the 13 steps approved by the 2000 NPT Conference towards the abolition of nuclear weapons particularly the six step which calls for " an unequivocal undertaking by the nuclear weapon states to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals leading to nuclear disarmament to which all parties are committed under Article VI" of the NPT. In reversal to these steps it uses force to prevent states hostile to its policies from acquiring WMD while its nuclear arsenal is retained to threaten them.
UN and NPT adopted several resolution on nuclear weapons deployed in M.E., but both US and Israel refrain from their implementation. Major among them are:
The UN resolution annually adopted by the General Assembly on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons in the M. E., calling Israel to adhere to NPT and place all its nuclear activities under International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards.
The US Security Council resolution No. 687 on the elimination of Iraqi WMD which states that actions to be taken by Iraq to this end "represent steps towards the goal of establishing in the M. E. a zone free from WMD and all missiles for their delivery and the objective of a global ban on chemical weapons"
The 2000 NPT extension and review Conference resolution on the M. E. which calls upon all states in the Middle East "to take practical steps in appropriate forums aimed at making progress towards, inter alia, the establishment of an effectively and verifiable Middle East zone free of weapons of mass destruction, nuclear chemical and biological, and their delivery systems, and to refrain from taking any measure that preclude the achievement of this objective"
All these legal principles, treaties, resolutions together with UN charter are tools available to NGOs to bear pressure on US and Israel to comply with international legality, refrain from aggressive acts and abolish their nuclear weapons.
V- However a question is raised by several political circles: What can be done if Israel, supported by US, will insist on retaining its nuclear weapons and refuse to implement in good faith the above-mentioned resolutions ? More than thirty years had passed and resolutions annually adopted by UN calling Israel to accede to NPT without any result. Also, US has integrated nuclear weapons into conventional weapons and the possible use of the former in actual military operations is not excluded. These facts are obstacles hampering. the implementation of these resolutions. What is to be done?
Suggestions are presented including the following:
Arab states involved in the 1967 Israeli war can seek peaceful settlements and recognize Israel after the achievement of the just settlement of the Palestine question and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from their territories. But recognition of Israel by the rest of Arab states should not take place unless Israel commit itself to M. E. zone.
To build up an effective united Arab military force as a shield for Arab security to partially counter Israeli nuclear threats.
Ten or fifteen Arab states threaten to withdraw from NPT according to Article 10 of the treaty if Israel will refuse to accede to NPT and place all its nuclear activities under the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, a step which will lead to the collapse of the non-proliferation regime,
To build new nuclear reactors in fifteen or more Arab states and acquire high technology for the peaceful use of nuclear energy, a matter approved and encouraged by NPT articles 4 and 5. Then, several states may threaten to use their technological capabilities for military purpose if Israel will continue to pose deadly nuclear threats at Arab people.
It is clear that these options are based on "threat escalation" to bear pressure on Israel and US in order to accept in due time the M. E.-zone project and implement it in good faith. Two or more of these options can be combined together with the hope that they will produce more concessions. But, their implementation could also lead to disputes and military clashes. Such an eventuality can be avoided by following two tracks:
a) Democratic reforms including the removal of restrictions imposed on NGOs and political parties activities are extremely needed. Building mass movements in Arab Countries is a matter of urgency to achieve peace that serves, economic, democratic, and cultural interests of the people instead of Pax Americana US has every intention to impose on the region.
b) Different from all peace movements in all countries only a very limited and ineffective branch of the Israeli movement is for nuclear disarmament while broad section of Israeli public still deny the Palestinian people of their inalienable national rights. Ways and means should be sought to change this strange posture in order to establish durable peace in M. E.
Advances on both tracks will enhance confidence in the peaceful way to fulfill all tasks this report has suggested.
Coordinator, Arab Coordination Center of NGOs