Analysis of the Iraq Crisis and Aftermath
Note: This analysis is a collective work by a number of people who are well-informed on developments in the Arab world. It should not be attributed to an author, first because it is collective, and secondly because attribution could endanger the position of some of those who contributed to it, since they live in countries where freedom of expression is not accepted. The purpose of this analysis is to provide accurate information independently of any government or organization, to raise some questions that need to be asked, and to encourage people to think.
During the crucial period prior to the launching of the war against Iraq, the US government was able to confine the debate on the reasons for its invasion of Iraq to the issue of Saddam Hussein, his methods of rule and the weapons of mass destruction that he once possessed and was alleged still to possess. This was to the advantage of US policy makers in three ways:
1 - It enabled the US government to claim some moral justification for taking action that is contrary to international law and did not have the approval of the UN Security Council. One cannot dispute the fact that Saddam Hussein's methods of rule were brutal, and that Iraq is one of the countries where the worst violations of human rights have taken place in recent times. In addition, his regime was a major factor for regional instability which threatened neighboring countries and had waged wars of aggression against two of them, Iran and Kuwait.
2 - It enabled the US government to hide its other motives for invading Iraq, and the aims which it hopes to achieve, by claiming that all it wants to do is to protect peace in the region and "bring democracy to the people of Iraq."
3 – It also provided a smokescreen for the fact that those in US ruling circles who were pressing hardest for the invasion of Iraq are right-wing extremists who support the Israeli government of Ariel Sharon, and that they were primarily motivated by gains which the expect to accrue to Israel from the invasion of Iraq. The US government has done a masterly job of enveloping the whole Iraqi crisis with a fog of falsehood, and surrounding it with smokescreens of misleading slogans. This has successfully deluded public opinion in the United States and internationally on a number of issues. The task of peace and human rights movements is to have a completely clear vision of the facts of this situation, so that they can expose the falsehoods propagated by the Bush administration and present an accurate and correct analysis to world public opinion. In order to make a clear analysis of the crisis in Iraq, it is necessary to widen the scope of discussion beyond the narrow confines set by the US administration, and to cast light on factors which have been hidden or glossed over.
Saddam Hussein’s Co-operation with US Policy First of all, while realizing the brutality of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the two wars of aggression which it launched, we must never forget the role that the United States played in this. When the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 overthrew the tyranny of the Shah, who was supported by and allied to the United States, the Carter administration, and specifically its National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezhinski, saw the Saddam Hussein regime as a useful instrument to destabilize and weaken Iran. Although full diplomatic relations were at that time broken off between the two countries, the head of the US mission in Iraq, George Brown, conducted energetic efforts to persuade Saddam Hussein to launch his war against Iran. Under the Reagan administration this policy was continued and intensified, with massive backing by the United States and its allies for Saddam’s war effort against Iran. The notorious weapons of mass destruction which Iraq acquired at that time were mainly supplied by the United States and Britain. The chemical weapons were supplied through the efforts of none other than Donald Rumsfeld, now US Secretary of Defense. The US government approved of Saddam Hussein having weapons of mass destruction when he was using them to exterminate Iranians, and said nothing about his human rights violations as long as he was an ally of the so-called "Free World" against Iran.The US government showed no concern for democracy in Iraq at that time, but later adopted this as a slogan to justify its attack on Iraq. We may justifiably wonder how sincere the present Bush administration is about this slogan. In fact, there is no guarantee, now that it has conquered Iraq, that it will introduce democratic government there, despite verbal declarations to that effect. Indeed, there are many indications to the contrary. For example, Senator Tom Lantos said before the invasion that the United States would install "a pro-Western dictator" in Iraq. According to The Guardian of 1 April 2003, shortly after the invasion there was disagreement within the Bush administration, specifically between the Pentagon and the State Department, about the government it intends to impose on Iraq. The Guardian said that the US government had a plan for a government of 23 ministries, each one headed by an American, to rule Iraq. Each ministry would have four Iraqi advisers. The head of this government would be Jay Garner, a retired US army general who is a fanatical Zionist – hardly the sort of person whom the Iraqi people would choose to rule them by any democratic process. According to The Guardian, the composition of this government had been decided by US government officials, particularly the Zionist Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz: "The most controversial of Mr. Wolfowitz’s proposed appointees is Ahmad Chalabi, the head of the opposition Iraqi National Congres, together with his close associates, including his nephew… Chalabi … has become the Pentagon’s darling among the Iraqi opposition. The Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, is one of his strongest supporters. The State Department and the CIA, on the other hand, regard him with deep suspicion. "He has not lived in Iraq since 1956, apart from a short period organizing resistance in the Kurdish north in the 1990s, and is thought to have little support in the country. "Mr. Chalabi had envisaged becoming Prime Minister in an interim government, and is disappointed that no such post is included in the US plan. Instead, the former banker will be offered an advisory job at the Finance Ministry." Whatever reservations the State Department may have about this plan, Secretary of State Colin Powell appeared to have surrendered to the Pentagon viewpoint, when he told Congress in late March that immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein, the US military would take control of the Iraqi government. Subsequent developments have still not given any really clear indication of US intentions. General Garner was replaced by State Department official Paul Bremer – apparently because Garner was being blamed for the US occupation’s inability to maintain law and order in Baghdad and elsewhere. When Saddam Hussein was a student in Cairo during the 1950s, he was recruited by the Central Intelligence Agency, for which he worked as an agent in the Iraqi expatriate community in Egypt. In 1958 the pro-Western Iraqi monarchy was overthrown by a coup d’état led by General Abdulkarim Kassem, who was proclaimed President. Kassem’s regime was on good terms with the Soviet Union, and so the CIA and Britain’s MI6 cultivated Iraqi political movements opposed to him, notably the Baath Party. After Kassem’s overthrow he was succeeded by General Abdulsalam Aref, who on his death was in turn was succeeded by his brother Abdulrahman Aref. The regime of the Aref brothers was aligned with the Arab nationalist government of Egypt under Gamal Abdul Nasser. Abdulrahman Aref was overthrown in 1968 by the Baath Party which had the discreet backing of the intelligence services of both the United States and Britain. For the first years of the Baathist regime, the President was General Ahmad Hasan Al-Bakr, while Saddam Hussein’s title was Vice-President of the Revolutionary Command Council. But it was widely believed that Saddam was the most powerful man in the regime. He removed Al-Bakr and officially assumed the title of President after the Iranian Revolution, shortly before he launched the Iraqi invasion of the territory of Iran. . Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran was launched with the open support and blessing of successive US governments. The background to his other war of aggression against a neighboring state, Kuwait, was more complicated. During the time of the war between Iran and Iraq, Kuwait place signed agreements with permanent members of the UN Security Council enabling it to fly their flags on its tankers, to deter any attacks against them. Kuwait believed that the most powerful deterrent to attacks on its tankers would be to fly the flag of the United States, since it was the world’s strongest military power. But in order to keep its options open and assert a policy of neutrality, Kuwait made similar arrangements with other Security Council members, including the Soviet Union. This was in conformity with Kuwait’s traditional foreign policy of using neutrality and balancing foreign powers against each other to preserve its independence. At that time, the United States tried to persuade Kuwait to grant it a military base, "for your own protection." In keeping with its policies both of neutrality and Arab nationalism, Kuwait did not accept this proposal. The United States made it known that Kuwait was not under its protection. When a dispute arose between Iraq and Kuwait after the end of the Iraq-Iran war, the US Ambassador in Baghdad, April Glasby, informed Saddam Hussein that such inter-Arab disputes were no concern of the United States. Saddam Hussein took this as a green light to invade and occupy Kuwait. As a result, Kuwait had no alternative but to seek the help of the United States in order to liberate its territory from Iraqi occupation, and to allow US forces to be stationed on its territory to prevent a repeat of Saddam Hussein’s invasion. A well-informed observer of the Kuwaiti political scene has described this as "a Mafia game," because of its similarity to the technique used by the Mafia to impose its protection on businesses. Those who criticize or condemn Kuwait for allowing its territory to be used as a springboard for the American invasion of Iraq should realize that Saddam Hussein's actions left it with no alternative. By playing the Americans’ "Mafia game" and invading Kuwait, he forced that country to abandon its preferred policy of neutrality and Arab nationalism, and turn to the US for protection as its only means of survival. If Kuwait had refused to allow the US forces facilities to invade Iraq
The Collapse of Saddam’s Regime Saddam Hussein, who in many ways imitated Josef Stalin in his methods of rule, let it be known that he intended to turn Baghdad into a "Saddamgrad," or in other words to use tactics to resist the US invasion similar to those used by the Soviet Union in the battle of Stalingrad to defeat the Nazi German invaders. However, when the US forces reached Baghdad the resistance there collapsed, and the battle of Saddamgrad turned out to be a farce. A handful of civilians with small arms and explosives in southern Iraq had in fact put up a much more courageous and effective resistance to the Anglo-American invasion than the famous Republican Guards, who were supposed to be Iraq’s best military units, in Baghdad.The precise details of why the defense of Baghdad collapsed so quickly and why US forces were able to take the city virtually without a fight are not yet clear. A number of theories have been put forward as possible explanations, but more information will have to become apparent before we can determine which, if any, of these theories is correct. In particularly, the fate of Saddam Hussein is not yet known. His dead body has not yet been found, and even if a body were to be found, how can we be sure that it is the real Saddam, and not one of his many doubles? The theories to explain the collapse of resistance in Baghdad are:
1 – That Saddam Hussein was killed in the course of the fighting, and that resistance collapsed after the loss of this leader who had exercised absolute control over all decision-making.
2 – That Saddam Hussein reached a secret agreement with the US government to hand over Baghdad in return for safe conduct to a foreign country where he could live for the remainder of his life under a different identity.
3 – That Saddam Hussein was betrayed by some of his closest associates, in particular senior officers of the Republican Guard who were granted safe conduct to other countries to live under different identities. Finding himself abandoned, according to this theory, Saddam went into hiding. Support for this theory came in a letter allegedly signed by Saddam Hussein which was published recently by the London-based Arabic newspaper, Al-Quds Al-Arabi.
Bringing Democracy to Iraq? The justifications alleged for the US invasion and occupation of Iraq, namely removing Saddam Hussein’s despotism, ending his weapons of mass destruction and bringing democracy to the Iraqi people, look increasingly hollow as the situation develops. Saddam Hussein has indeed been overthrown, and the great majority of the Iraqi people appear to be relieved by this, but at the same time they are making it clear that they do not want the tyranny of Saddam Hussein to be replaced by the tyranny of US occupation. While the American occupiers were organizing the first meeting in Nasiriya of Iraqi opposition figures, ostensibly to start the process of establishing democratic government in Iraq, several thousand Iraqis demonstrated in the streets outside the meeting hall. The slogan they shouted most frequently was: "Yes, yes, to Islam! No America, No Saddam!" There has in fact been no serious effort by the country-region US occupation to encourage the emergence of a democratic and independent Iraqi government, and even the desultory moves that have been made in this respect have been greeted with suspicion by most Iraqis, who see them as US attempts to impose a government on them. The only likelihood of a democratic government emerging in Iraq is if the Iraqi political forces that enjoy popular support take the initiative to establish it themselves, and this is only logical. Democratic government can only develop if it is based on the traditions and the efforts of the people who want it for themselves, it is not something that can be grafted on them from the outside.The following excerpt from an article in The Washington Post of 18 May 2003 represents an independent American assessment of the situation in US-occupied Iraq: "A month before the war began in Iraq, senior Bush administration officials said their plan for winning the peace was built upon the swift provision of basic services that would "immediately" make the Iraqi people feel they were better off than they had been under the government of Saddam Hussein. "Five weeks after the war ended, the administration is still struggling to accomplish that goal. It has failed to establish law and order on the streets and has achieved only mixed results in restoring electricity, water, sanitation and other essential needs. "In interviews here and in Washington, and in testimony on Capitol Hill, military officers, other administration officials and defense experts said the Pentagon ignored lessons from a decade of peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans and Afghanistan. "It also badly underestimated the potential for looting and lawlessness after the collapse of the Iraqi government, lacking forces capable of securing the streets of Baghdad in the transition from combat to postwar reconstruction. "Only in the past week did administration officials begin to acknowledge publicly these miscalculations. They described continued lawlessness as a serious problem in Baghdad and called for more US forces on the ground to quell a wave of violence that has kept American officials from assuring the Iraqi people that order would soon be restored. "’This was a war plan,’ said a senior official in the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Baghdad. ‘It was not a law enforcement plan.'" As for the weapons of mass destruction that the US and British governments proclaimed were a threat to the whole world that could only be eliminated by launching a war, not a trace of them has been found. It seems that those Iraqi officials who maintained their country no longer had a weapons of mass destruction program were telling the truth after all, and that it was the US and British governments who were giving incorrect information. Although it has deployed large numbers of people to search for these weapons of mass destruction (while not allowing the world’s foremost experts in this, the UNMOVIC and IAEA personnel, back into Iraq), in fact the US government no longer seems very worried by the prospect of not finding evidence of such weapons. Now that the excuse has served it purpose and Iraq has been invaded and occupied, it no longer seems very relevant whether the justification for that invasion may not have been true.
The Real Reasons for Conquering Iraq It is important to realize here that the issue of whether the weapons of mass destruction existed or not, or of the nature of Saddam Hussein’s regime, or any of the other pretexts put forward for the invasion of Iraq were not of central importance, because they were in fact only pretexts, and the real motivation of the US government for conquering Iraq goes far deeper. It is an important step in the process aimed at achieving what the US leadership calls "Full Spectrum Dominance," which in simple terms means complete domination over the whole world. The military occupation of Iraq places the United States in a position to dominate the Middle East and areas around it in classical military strategic terms. Like the major empires throughout history, the US leadership understands the importance of the Middle East geographically, being at the junction of three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa, and is aware of the need to control this region physically and militarily if it is to dominate the world as a whole.In addition, military occupation of Iraq enables the US government to control that country's important resources, two of which are of particular strategic importance: oil and water. Oil: Iraq has the second largest proven oil reserves in the world, after Saudi Arabia. If all its installations can be repaired and restored to working order, it would have an output capacity of 8 million barrels per day. At present the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is doing a very delicate balancing act of preserving stability in the world oil market and maintaining the oil price at between $22 and $28 per barrel, through a quota system regulating the production levels of its member states, on the whole successfully. It is only occasionally upset by factors beyond OPEC's control, like the political crisis in Venezuela, and the US preparations to launch war against Iraq, which pushed oil prices up above the level OPEC considered suitable. However, had it not been for the stabilizing influence of OPEC, these prices would have gone much higher. This OPEC price stability policy is beneficial to the world economy. If oil prices were left exposed to all the influences of political uncertainties in the world, without any attempt to stabilize them, they would be subject to wild fluctuations. This would be very bad for producer and consumer countries alike, as well as for industry in general, because forward planning requires a reasonable degree of economic stability and predictability. Some economic analysts have expressed fears that the United States may try to use its position as occupier of Iraq to break OPEC, by taking control of Iraq's oil industry and flooding the world markets with massive quantities of Iraqi oil. This would disrupt OPEC's quota system, create a massive oil glut and force the prices of oil down to a fraction of their true economic value. The results would be major economic disruptions. Oil-producing countries would have their revenues cut drastically, which would deny most of them the funds they need to continue their economic development. Although oil-consuming countries might benefit initially from lower oil prices, they would also be losers, in that OPEC would be undermined as a factor for stability in the world oil markets, and this would mean that oil prices would be less predictable in the future. It would also put the United States in a position where it could exercise a strong degree of control over world oil markets, forcing prices up or down as its rulers see fit according to their own interests. This represents a grave danger to the interests of humanity as a whole. Some people have naively argued that the United States did not conquer Iraq in order to seize control of Iraqi oil, because it can obtain all the oil it needs from other suppliers, in addition to is own substantial reserves in Texas and Alaska. Those who use this argument are missing the point, and have failed to understand US aims: of course the United States does not need Iraqi oil for its own consumption, but it certainly wants it because of the degree of control this will give it over oil prices and world oil markets in general. It already exerts a considerable amount of control over many Arab oil-producing countries, and its conquest of Afghanistan enables it to control the oil-producing former Soviet republics of Central Asia. The present US government aims to control as much as possible of the world’s oil reserves, because this will enable it to control supplies, and thus blackmail all countries which depend on oil imports. US control of Iraqi oil is very dangerous to the interests of the rest of humanity. Another important Iraqi resource is water. Two of the world’s major rivers, the Tigris and the Euphrates, flow through Iraqi territory. Iraq is one of the few countries whose water resources are in excess of its needs in the Middle East, a region in which most countries have water shortages of varying severity. Control of this resource thus increases US power in the region. It provides the US with a "carrot" with which it can induce countries in the region to act as Washington wants in return for water supplies. The Bush administration’s claim that it intended to bring the blessings of democracy to the people of Iraq deceived some simple-minded people, although the falsehood of this claim is becoming more and more apparent as US occupation forces shoot increasing numbers of Iraqi demonstrators, and think up more excuses for delaying the process of allowing the Iraqis to form their own government. The liberation that was proclaimed when US forces took control of Baghdad looks increasingly like a colonialist occupation of indefinite duration to more and more Iraqis.
The Nazification of America Better informed people were skeptical all along of the Bush administration's claim that it would bring democracy to Iraq. All one needed to do was to ask oneself a simple question: why would those who were so determined to destroy democracy in the United States, with the so-called Patriot Act and the projected Patriot II, wish to establish democracy in Iraq?A study of history reveals that leaders whose ambition was to conquer the world have never been upholders of democracy and human rights. From Alexander the Great to Napoleon and Hitler, aspiring world conquerors have always been despotic and cruel, not only towards the peoples they have subjugated, but also to their own peoples, whom they have always forced to make great sacrifices and wage wars in order to further the leader’s personal ambitions and megalomania. And the latest aspiring world conquerors, specifically US President George W. Bush, Vice President Richard Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Attorney General John Ashcroft, are no exception to this rule. As a result, since this administration came to power, the United States has been going through a process that can most accurately be described as Nazification. The clearest manifestations of this process can be seen in the undermining of the Bill of Rights and a wide range of the civil liberties that all people in the United States used to enjoy, the arrest and detention of people for extended periods without trial, the increasing "respectability" of the use of torture by US security forces, the campaigns of hatred and vilification being waged in US news media against Muslims (even if they are US citizens by birth and ancestry) as well as people of Middle Eastern or Asian origin, and the establishment of the concentration camp at Guantanamo, whose horrors are reminiscent of the concentration camps set up in Nazi Germany. In January 1933, after they had exploited Germany’s democratic electoral process to come to power, the Nazis used the Reichstag fire as an excuse to undermine democracy and civil liberties in Germany, ostensibly to "protect the German people from terrorist threats." The present US administration has conveniently used the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 as its "Reichstag fire," its excuse to undermine democracy and civil liberties in the United States, by rushing the Patriot Act through Congress, ostensibly to "protect the American people from terrorist threats." It now seems to be well established that the operational side of the 11 September terrorist attacks was carried out by members of Usama bin Laden’s organization Al-Qaida. Several Qaida members were on board the aircraft used in the attacks, and Bin Laden himself has boasted of his organization’s role in the attacks. What is equally certain, however, and appears to have been missed by most people, is that these attacks were carried out with Western standards of sophistication, organization and planning that were far beyond the capacity of Bin Laden and his organization based in Afghanistan acting single-handedly. The execution of the attacks required, among other things, inside knowledge of the workings of the air traffic control system in the United States and of the architectural construction of the World Trade Center, as well as the skills of combat pilots. There is not enough information publicly available at the present time for us to be able to identify the Western entity which must have carried out the planning and organization of these attacks, or its motivation for doing so. It would not be honest or useful to speculate on this unless and until sufficient information becomes available. But it is a matter of public duty to try to find out as much factual information as possible, in order to obtain a more complete picture of this event that has such important implications for the future of the country-region United States and the world as a whole.
Al-Qaida: A Monster Created by the CIA It is relevant here to examine some of the facts about Bin Laden and the historical origins of Al-Qaida. In 1979, the same year in which the Shah of Iran was overthrown by a popular revolution, a coup d’état in neighboring Afghanistan overthrew the military dictatorship of General Muhammad Dawud and brought to power the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a left-wing nationalist group whose political philosophy was in many ways similar to that of the late President Nasser of Egypt. Zbigniew Brzezhinski, the National Security Adviser of then US President Jimmy Carter, thought of an ingenious way to exploit the situation in Afghanistan to the detriment of the Soviet Union: by destabilizing the government in Afghanistan, it could be intimidated into seeking help from the Soviet Union in order to resist the threat from the United States. The Soviet Union was likely to send in troops in order to prevent a regime hostile to it from seizing power in Afghanistan. If the Soviet Union helped the beleaguered government of Afghanistan, this could be portrayed as an occupation, which would make it easy for the United States to arouse public opinion against the Soviet Union in the Muslim world.Brzezhinski’s trick worked, the Soviet Union fell into the Afghan trap, and ended up with a Vietnam-type war which it could not win. To further its policy, first of threatening the Afghan government and then of fighting the Soviet forces which came to its aid, the US government recruited a number of young Muslim men, particularly from those Arab countries with which it had close relations, like Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states, Egypt, Jordan and Algeria. These young men were taken to Pakistan and areas of Afghanistan where the Afghan government was not in control, and provided special training camps by the Central Intelligence Agency. One of these young men was Usama bin Laden, who belonged to one of the wealthiest families in Saudi Arabia. Thus Al-Qaida was born. Its spiritual father was Brzezhinski, and its training, weapons and ideological inspiration were provided by the CIA, which indoctrinated these young men with a fanaticism based on a distorted interpretation of their religion, Islam, and convinced them that they had a sacred mission to liberate the Islamic territory of Afghanistan from "atheist Communism." Usama bin Laden in fact is now much more a product of the CIA than of Islam. Although he was born in a Muslim country and is the son of a Muslim family, Islam did not teach him to be a terrorist. The Islamic doctrine regarding combat is summed up in the Quranic verse: "Fight in the path of God against those who fight you, and do not commit aggression. God does not love the aggressors." (Holy Quran, 2:190). "Those who fight you," of course, are the enemy’s armed forces, not innocent civilians who are Bin Laden’s main victims. The CIA taught Bin Laden to attack civilian targets in Afghanistan , for the same reason that it taught the Contras in Nicaragua to attack civilians: to prove that the central government the US wished to overthrow was incapable of protecting its own civilian population, so it would lose their confidence.
"Thus the training and arms for bin Laden’s terrorist operations were provided by the CIA – although he was not called a terrorist then. As long as he remained on the same side as the United States, he was called a "freedom fighter." Bin Laden is a living example of the saying "One man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist." He turned against the United States in the early 1990s. The reason that he indicated for this in several statements was that he opposed the stationing of US forces in the Arabian Peninsula. These forces were first stationed there as part of the alliance formed against Saddam Hussein after he had invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Bin Laden is believed to have been responsible for attacks on US forces since then, including an operation against US troops in Somalia, the blowing up of US military residential quarters in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, and the attack on the US Navy ship Cole in Aden harbor.Al-Qaida reminds us of the 19th century English novel Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley. In this book a Swiss scientist called Victor Frankenstein creates a monster, which turns against him and causes serious harm to him and the people he loves. In the same way, Al-Qaida and bin Laden are a monster that the CIA created, but later turned against the United States, and also provided the rulers of the United States with the pretext they needed to destroy the democratic rights of the American people. The world is now faced with a superpower possessing enormous military superiority, whose rulers are determined to impose their tyranny on the rest of the world. And let us make no mistake about it, their rule would be tyranny, regardless of what speeches they might make about "bringing democracy to Iraq" and other countries. Those who have worked so hard to destroy that fine American heritage, the Bill of Rights, cannot be expected to favor the rights of other peoples of the world. And when we consider how the Bush administration has put profit before humanity in repudiating the Kyoto agreement to protect the world’s environment, and given free rein to the most rapacious large American companies to plunder Iraq, and in general how it is ruling Iraq after claiming to have liberated it, we can have some idea of what US world domination may mean for humanity.
The Tasks of Peace and Human Rights Movements At present most of the political forces in Iraq are giving the US government the benefit of the doubt, and waiting to see whether it fulfills its promise to allow the Iraqi people to elect their own government. It has taken very little action in this direction, and it is probably only a matter of time before this promise is shown to be false. Then the people of Iraq can be expected launch a campaign to liberate themselves from the Anglo-American military occupation. Peace and human rights movements throughout the world will have to determine how to act in response to that development.American peace and human rights movements will have a particularly vital role, as they will be in the front line of this confrontation. Their first task will be self-defense in their home territory, to defend the principles of democracy and human rights embodied in the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, to prevent further erosion of these principles and to recover those rights that have been taken away – in short to work for the repeal of the Patriot Act and the end of Gestapo-like practices like secret evidence to keep people detained without trial. A campaign for repeal of the Patriot Act is underway and has made progress in winning support in some parts of the United States, although it still has a long way to go. Plenty of work needs to be done to educate public opinion about the dangers of further erosion of liberties involved in the proposed Patriot II, with a sustained campaign to alert members of Congress to the dangers this poses to all that is best and greatest in the United States. Every effort needs to be made to ensure that Patriot II is not passed as a law. Education of public opinion needs to establish the connection between the erosion of democratic rights at home and empire-building campaigns of conquest abroad. If the rulers of the United States wish to try to conquer the world like those of Nazi Germany did seventy years ago, then the democratic rights of US citizens will continue to be undermined. And if the American people safeguard their own democratic rights, they can prevent their leaders from launching repeated wars, losing the lives of American servicemen in Vietnam-type military occupation situations, and stirring up anti-American feeling among the other nations of the world. European peace and human rights movements also have an important role, since they represent what we can truly call the new Europe, the peace-loving Europe of public opinion. US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was distorting history when he referred to those Europeans opposed to the war against Iraq as "old Europe." Old Europe in fact contained many colonialist and racist governments that would have delighted in the opportunity to attack a country like Iraq. Old Europe in the true sense is represented by Tony Blair who, despite his smooth exterior as a twenty-first century public relations man, is really a classical nineteenth century imperialist at heart. Old Europe is also represented by Sylvia Berlusconi and José Maria Aznar, who are leftovers from the age of Mussolini and Franco. All these three old Europeans are enthusiastic supporters of the American conquest of Iraq. The true new Europe, the Europe of the peoples and the massive peace demonstrations, will now have to consider the task of how it can support the Iraqi people’s liberation struggle against occupation. Finally, peace and human rights movements, as well as popular organizations and political parties, in the Arab and Muslim countries will have to analyze their situation in depth and learn many lessons from what happened in Iraq. The first lesson to be learnt is from the ignominious manner in which the Iraqi regime collapsed. The Anglo-American invasion was able to succeed so rapidly, and with so little organized resistance, because the regime had no popular support – and the same applied to the collapse of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan earlier. The patriotism of both the Afghan and Iraqi peoples has been proven by heroic resistance to invaders in the past, but the tyranny of both the Taliban and Saddam Hussein regimes made Afghans and Iraqis unwilling to sacrifice their lives to preserve a hateful status quo, even though they are beginning to demonstrate now that they want to rid their countries of foreign occupation. The other side of this coin is the success of the Turkish people in resisting US pressure to join the war. Initial US plans involved a two-pronged invasion of Iraq – from the south through country-region Kuwait and from the north through Turkey. But public opinion polls showed that more than 80% of the Turkish people were strongly opposed to this war, and the Turkish Parliament refused to allow a second front to be opened through Turkish territory, although the government recommended co-operation with the United States. Even the Turkish armed forces, which traditionally interfere in the parliamentary process on issues of such importance, were not able to do so this time, much to the annoyance of Donald Rumsfeld. The Turkish people were able to defy the US government in this way because they preserved their national unity and worked through their democratic institutions. Thus the two lessons of Iraq and Turkey demonstrate that the weakest countries most exposed to the danger of invasion are those with tyrannical and unrepresentative regimes, while countries with strong democratic systems whose people are united can withstand the most severe pressures from a superpower. Almost all the Arab countries fall in the former category. If they are to defend themselves against the fate that has befallen Iraq, they had better develop representative popular government, and establish it strongly, as soon as possible. Opposition to the war in Iraq by those who have prepared this memorandum should in no way be considered as sympathy for Saddam Hussein or a regret that his tyranny over the Iraqi people has ended. Saddam Hussein has caused enormous damage by stirring up divisions within the Arab and Islamic worlds, has undermined the just cause of the Palestinian people and rendered great service to US imperialism and Zionism by providing rulers of the United States with justifications for their military presence in Western Asia which threatens all the peoples of the region. But it should be clear from all the facts in this memorandum that Saddam Hussein, George Bush and his administration and Tony Blair are all men of the same type: brutal men of violence who try to impose their domination on other peoples by launching wars of aggression against them. We should not be misled by the Bush administration’s propaganda into believing that this was a conflict between good and evil. It was a conflict between evil and evil: the evil of Saddam Hussein’s neo-Stalinist dictatorship on one hand, and the evil of the Bush administration’s Hitlerian dreams of world domination and conquest on the other.