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Good article by Tariq Ali

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  • thekoba@aztecfreenet.org
    ================= Begin forwarded message ================= Dear Kevin, Here s a good one by the Pakistani leftist Tariq Ali. Whatever else he might have said
    Message 1 of 1 , May 23, 2003
      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      Dear Kevin,

      Here's a good one by the Pakistani leftist Tariq Ali.
      Whatever else he might have said or written, this is a
      good one.





      Business as usual

      The UN has capitulated. Now let the north's plunder of
      the south begin again

      Tariq Ali
      Saturday May 24, 2003
      The Guardian

      Unsurprisingly, the UN security council has
      capitulated completely, recognised the occupation of
      Iraq and approved its re-colonisation by the US and
      its bloodshot British adjutant. The timing of the mea
      culpa by the "international community" was perfect.
      Yesterday, senior executives from more than 1,000
      companies gathered in London to bask in the sunshine
      of the re-established consensus under the giant
      umbrella of Bechtel, the American empire's most
      favoured construction company. A tiny proportion of
      the loot will be shared.

      So what happened to the overheated rhetoric of Europe
      v America? Berlusconi in Italy and Aznar in Spain -
      the two most rightwing governments in Europe - were
      fitting partners for Blair while the eastern European
      states, giving a new meaning to the term "satellite"
      which they had previously so long enjoyed, fell as one
      into line behind Bush.

      France and Germany, on the other hand, protested for
      months that they were utterly opposed to a US attack
      on Iraq. Schr�der had owed his narrow re-election to a
      pledge not to support a war on Baghdad, even were it
      authorised by the UN. Chirac, armed with a veto in the
      security council, was even more voluble with
      declarations that any unauthorised assault on Iraq
      would never be accepted by France.

      Together, Paris and Berlin coaxed Moscow too into
      expressing its disagreement with American plans. Even
      Beijing emitted a few cautious sounds of demurral. The
      Franco-German initiatives aroused tremendous
      excitement and consternation among diplomatic
      commentators. Here, surely, was an unprecedented rift
      in the Atlantic alliance. What was to become of
      European unity, of Nato, of the "international
      community" itself if such a disastrous split
      persisted? Could the very concept of the west survive?

      Such apprehensions were quickly allayed. No sooner
      were Tomahawk missiles lighting up the nocturnal
      skyline in Baghdad, and the first Iraqi civilians cut
      down by the marines, than Chirac rushed to explain
      that France would assure smooth passage of US bombers
      across its airspace (as it had not done, under his own
      premiership, when Reagan attacked Libya), and wished
      "swift success" to American arms in Iraq. Germany's
      cadaver-green foreign minister Joschka Fischer
      announced that his government, too, sincerely hoped
      for the "rapid collapse" of resistance to the
      Anglo-American attack. Putin, not to be outdone,
      explained to his compatriots that "for economic and
      political reasons", Russia could only desire a
      decisive victory of the US in Iraq.

      Washington is still not satisfied. It wants to punish
      France further. Why not a ritual public flogging
      broadcast live by Murdoch TV? A humbled petty
      chieftain (Chirac) bending over while an imperial
      princess (Condoleezza Rice) administers the whip. Then
      the leaders of a re-united north could relax and get
      on with the business they know best: plundering the
      south. The expedition to Baghdad was planned as the
      first flexing of a new imperial stance. What better
      demonstration of the shift to a more offensive
      strategy than to make an example of Iraq. If no single
      reason explains the targeting of Iraq, there is little
      mystery about the range of calculations that lay
      behind it. Economically, Iraq possesses the second
      largest reserves of cheap oil in the world; Baghdad's
      decision in 2000 to invoice its exports in euros
      rather than dollars risked imitation by Hugo Chavez in
      Venezuela and the Iranian mullahs. Privatisation of
      the Iraqi wells under US control would help to weaken

      Strategically, the existence of an independent Arab
      regime in Baghdad had always been an irritation to the
      Israeli military. With the installation of Republican
      zealots close to Likud in key positions in Washington,
      the elimination of a traditional adversary became an
      attractive immediate goal for Jerusalem. Lastly, just
      as the use of nuclear weapons in Hiroshima and
      Nagasaki had once been a pointed demonstration of
      American might to the Soviet Union, so today a
      blitzkrieg rolling swiftly across Iraq would serve to
      show the world at large that if the chips are down,
      the US has, in the last resort, the means to enforce
      its will.

      The UN has now provided retrospective sanction to a
      pre-emptive strike. Its ill-fated predecessor, the
      League of Nations, at least had the decency to
      collapse after its charter was serially raped.
      Analogies with Hitler's blitzkrieg of 1940 are drawn
      without compunction by cheerleaders for the war. Thus
      Max Boot in the Financial Times writes: "The French
      fought hard in 1940 - at first. But eventually the
      speed and ferocity of the German advance led to a
      total collapse. The same thing will happen in Iraq."
      What took place in France after 1940 might give pause
      to these enthusiasts.

      The lack of any spontaneous welcome from Shias and the
      fierce early resistance of armed irregulars prompted
      the theory that the Iraqis are a "sick people" who
      will need protracted treatment before they can be
      entrusted with their own fate (if ever). Such was the
      line taken by David Aaronovitch in the Observer.
      Likewise, George Mellon in the Wall Street Journal
      warns: "Iraq won't easily recover from Saddam's
      terror" - "after three decades of rule of the Arab
      equivalent of Murder Inc, Iraq is a very sick
      society". To develop an "orderly society" and
      re-energise (privatise) the economy will take time, he
      insists. On the front page of the Sunday Times,
      reporter Mark Franchetti quoted an American NCO: "'The
      Iraqis are a sick people and we are the chemotherapy,'
      said Corporal Ryan Dupre. 'I am starting to hate this
      country. Wait till I get hold of a friggin' Iraqi. No,
      I won't get hold of one. I'll just kill him.' " No
      doubt the "sick society" theory will acquire greater
      sophistication, but it is clear the pretexts are to
      hand for a mixture of Guantanamo and Gaza in these
      newly occupied territories.

      If it is futile to look to the UN or Euroland, let
      alone Russia or China, for any serious obstacle to
      American designs in the Middle East, where should
      resistance start? First of all, naturally, in the
      region itself. There, it is to be hoped that the
      invaders of Iraq will eventually be harried out of the
      country by a growing national reaction to the
      occupation regime they install, and that their
      collaborators may meet the fate of former Iraqi prime
      minister Nuri Said before them. Sooner or later, the
      ring of corrupt and brutal tyrannies around Iraq will
      be broken. If there is one area where the cliche that
      classical revolutions are a thing of the past is
      likely to be proved wrong, it is in the Arab world.
      The day the Mubarak, Hashemite, Saudi and other
      dynasties are swept away by popular wrath, American -
      and Israeli - arrogance in the region will be over.

      � Tariq Ali's new book, Bush in Babylon: Re-colonising
      Iraq, will be published by Verso in the autumn


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