Compelling case for Iraq war crime tribunal
The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohamed ElBaradei
Reviewed by Kaveh L Afrasiabi
This book, eloquently written by a former director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is a must read, both for the wealth of information it provides on the contentious issues of global nuclear diplomacy as well as for the passionate and compelling case that it presents for a war crime tribunal to prosecute United States and British leaders who instigated the calamitous invasion of Iraq in 2003 on the false pretext of weapons of mass destruction.
In blunt yet sincere language steeped in international law, ElBaradei writes that in light of the US's complete "disdain for international norms" in its invasion of Iraq, the United Nations should request an opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) as to the legality of the Iraq war.
Convinced that the overwhelming weight of evidence favors a negative verdict if the ICJ ever braved such an initiative, ElBaradei then makes a case for the International Criminal Tribunal to "investigate whether this constitutes a war crime". (pg 87)
Irrespective, ElBaradei is so morally outraged by the blatant pulverization of a sovereign Middle East country by a Western superpower and its allies that he also advises the Iraqis to demand war reparations - that is sure to amount to tens of billions of dollars.
If for nothing else, this book's value - in putting self-righteous Western powers on the defensive and depicting them as essentially rogue states that have caused a new global anarchy by their willful exercise of power without much regard for the rights of others - is indispensable.
Divided into 12 chapters with a useful conclusion on the future of nuclear diplomacy, the book covers nearly three decades of the author's involvement with various cases, ie, Iraq, North Korea, Libya and Iran, the notorious "nuclear bazaar of Abdul Qadeer Khan" in Pakistan, as well as nuclear asymmetry and the hypocrisy and double standard, not to mention outright deceptions, marking the behavior of US and other Western countries (along the familiar North-South divide).
In the chapters on Iraq, ElBaradei defends the cherished record of his agency in refusing to act as a sounding board for post 9/11 warmongering US policies, which earned him the occasional venom of US media that questioned his integrity. In fact, ElBaradei is equally critical of the compliant Western media that often act as indirect apparatuses of state despite their wild claims of neutrality and objectivity. […]
The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times by Mohamed ElBaradei. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2011. ISBN-10: 0805093508. Price US$27, 322 pages with index 340 pages.
Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) . For his Wikipedia entry, click here. He is author of Reading In Iran Foreign Policy After September 11 (BookSurge Publishing , October 23, 2008) and Looking for rights at Harvard. His latest book is UN Management Reform: Selected Articles and Interviews on United Nations CreateSpace (November 12, 2011).