The appalling tragedy of the people of Iraq should make Narendra Modi and his government sit up and take note. This tragedy took 24 years in the making beginning 6th August, 1990 when America and the UNSC imposed total economic and financial embargo on Iraq and its people. This embargo, which killed 1.8 million civilian Iraqis including half a million Iraqi children under the age of five, ended only on the day America invaded and occupied Iraq in March 2003. The next 11 years between 2003 and 2014 saw a weak and debilitated Iraqi nation which, unable to resist the social, economic and political depredations caused by American occupation, descended into anarchy, violence, jihadi terrorism and brutality. More fundamentally Iraqi people suffered loss of national self-identity.
The bottom line is – there is no Iraq today; no nation and no nation-state. What was once Iraq, with well-defined national borders, stable society and a prosperous oil economy is now just vast open territory where America and its vassal states are playing out their geo-political objectives.
US-NATO is involved in the recruitment, training and financing of ISIS death squads operating in both Iraq and Syria. ISIS operates through indirect channels in liaison with Western intelligence. In turn, corroborated by reports on Syria’s insurgency, Western special forces and mercenaries integrate the ranks of ISIS.
US-NATO support to ISIS is channelled covertly through America’s staunchest allies: Qatar and Saudi Arabia. According to London’s Daily Express “They had money and arms supplied by Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”
“Through allies such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the West [has] supported militant rebel groups which have since mutated into ISIS and other al-Qaeda connected militias. (Daily Telegraph, June 12, 2014)
While the media acknowledges that the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has accused Saudi Arabia and Qatar of supporting ISIS, it invariably fails to mention that both Doha and Riyadh are acting on behalf and in close liaison with Washington.
Under the banner of a civil war, an undercover war of aggression is being fought which essentially contributes to further destroying an entire country, its institutions, its economy. The undercover operation is part of an intelligence agenda, an engineered process which consists in transforming Iraq into an open territory. (http://www.globalresearch.caThe Engineered Destruction and Political Fragmentation of Iraq. Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, Global Search, August 9, 2014)
Narendra Modi should analyse Iraq’s history from 1990-2014 and take a good hard look at the role played by the US and the UNSC in Iraq’s ruination before making his final decision to go or not to go to America next month.
Iraq and Iraqi people were brutalised and beaten down with no resistance left in them by America and the UNSC in two distinct stages of the war to break up Iraq: 1) the 13 year long economic and financial embargo and 2) the period when America and Europe invaded and occupied Iraq despoiling the nation of all its wealth, its possessions and its history. Before he decides to address the UNGA in New York next month India’s Prime Minister must ask, what has been the role of the UNSC and the UNGA in Iraq, and if he must respond positively to both invitations – to visit New York and Washington.
America conspired to end communism and break up the Soviet Union and the Soviet Bloc by undertaking war by other means in two theaters in the same decade – Poland and Soviet Union. The confluence of a Polish pope in the Vatican and Lech Walesa and his Solidarity dealt the first blow to communism and the Communist Bloc; the Soviet Union itself was pushed towards disintegration in three stages: 1) The rise of Gorbachev (a closer look at the forces which launched him to the top is merited); 2) Gorbachev’s west-instigated foolish move to liberalise the polity through glastnost and perestroika without first strengthening the economy, which brought people to the streets resulting in unrest and instability; and 3) the calibrated crash of the Soviet economy which resulted in the final disintegration.
America had similar plans for the middle-east too and here too America’s geo-strategic objectives were met by unleashing war in two theatres within the same decade – Lebanon and Iraq. While Israel invaded Lebanon and launched a conventional war, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was not a soft state and had to be dealt with through war by other means. In Iraq the war had to be different: Iraq, like the Soviet Union had to be ruined economically, its institutions and infrastructure had to be destroyed, its civilian population had to be weakened and beaten down before the final push to invade, occupy and break up Iraq.
The “creative destruction” of Lebanon and Iraq was central to America’s plan to realign the middle-east and redraw the map to craft a New Middle East from the ruins of the Greater Middle East. The plan was worked out in meticulous detail and is in the process of being implemented without a whimper from the rest of the world.
“This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.
Anglo-American occupied Iraq, particularly Iraqi Kurdistan, seems to be the preparatory ground for the balkanization (division) and finlandization (pacification) of the Middle East. Already the legislative framework, under the Iraqi Parliament and the name of Iraqi federalization, for the partition of Iraq into three portions is being drawn out”. (See map below) (http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882 Plans for re-drawing the Middle East: The Project for a New Middle East By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, June 14, 2014)
MAP OF THE NEW MIDDLE EAST
Note: The following map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi must understand that there are real fears among Indians who follow big power geo-politics in national interest, that what America has done to Iraq can and will be done to any country unless India gives a public call and pushes for a global re-look at not only the dangers of a uni-polar world resting on America’s economic clout and military hardware but the UNSC’s unwillingness to maintain global peace. The UNSC cannot be reformed or made responsive to the current arc of violence and instability by India becoming a permanent member of the UNSC. The UNSC has to go because of its past sins and present uselessness.
And that is why it is so important to see how America and the UNSC weakened Iraq and its people financially, economically, socially and politically before transforming a nation and nation-state into a vulnerable vast expanse of open territory. And that is why Narendra Modi must inform himself about the sordid details of Iraq’s oil-for-food programme.
Facts about the economic and financial embargo against Iraq
The embargo started on August 6, 1990, four days after Iraq invaded Kuwait, and subsequently became more and more inhuman and demoniac as first Clinton and then Bush Jr. kept pushing the UNSC to pass one resolution after another shifting the goal posts for what Saddam Hussein had to do.
From what Saddam Hussein had to do, America tightened the sanctions screws murderously to what the Iraqi people had to do – get rid of Saddam Hussein; and when Iraqis failed to comply even in the face of death and utter ruination, America invaded and occupied Iraq in March 2003.
The economic and financial embargo was just the preliminary measure to break ordinary Iraqis physically, mentally and psychologically; to weaken them so thoroughly that they would be in no position to defend themselves when finally America decided to invade Iraq. That was always America’s intent – to occupy Iraq and seize control of Iraq’s oil fields.
Even when the economic and financial embargo was in operation, America and Britain kept bombing Baghdad, Basra and other cities of Iraq, and all the world including India remained mute spectator. The Soviet Union was beginning to come unstuck around this time and its hopeless battle for survival left it with no time, resources or national energy to save Iraq and Iraqis from America and the UN.
The world which is crying itself hoarse over MH17 never had the courage to haul America and the UN over the coals for what they were doing in Iraq. What the world never knew:
- When America and Britain were punishing Saddam Hussein by undertaking punitive airstrikes in different cities of Iraq, they were actually destroying Iraq’s manufacturing, communications and sanitation infrastructure leading to a health and hygiene catastrophe which began to kill ordinary Iraqis and Iraqis could not tell the world about what was really happening to them
- The economic and financial embargo in real terms meant Iraq could not sell oil to any country to generate the resources to rebuild its shattered cities.
- Iraq could neither manufacture nor import chemicals to treat sewage and disinfect drinking water because America had placed all such chemicals and life-saving drugs in the dual-use (civilian and military) restrictions regime
- Iraq could not manufacture or import ambulances because ambulances must necessarily carry communications equipment
Notwithstanding the fact that following the Gulf war in 1991, a United Nations inter-agency mission made the following assessment, that “the Iraqi people may soon face the further imminent catastrophe which could include epidemic and famine, if massive life-support needs are not rapidly met”, America refused to relent and the UN chose to become America’s partner in genocide.
As Iraqis began to die in thousands and the deaths became visible, the United Nations had to manufacture the evil and wicked Oil-for-Food Programme. To India’s everlasting shame, we went sniffing eagerly behind the Volcker Committee Report which allegedly exposed a small scandal as an off-shoot of the UN oil-for-food programme. We went racing behind America’s and UN’s red herring which was thrown at all the world so that the world may never look hard at the UN’s oil-for-food programme which itself was the real scandal.
The time has come now for India to make three demands: a) America must publicly accept never to interfere in any country’s internal affairs; b) America and the UN must return to the Iraqi people every dime that they swindled from the mouths of Iraqi children; and the grand total is $69.4 billion; and c) Falling in line with the demand that Iraq must make financial reparations for invading Kuwait, America too must make financial reparations for invading, occupying and utterly destroying Iraq and its economic and medical infrastructure. And reparation for being directly responsible for the deaths of Iraqi civilians during the war, after the war and in counter-attacks by Iraqi militia against American occupation till today.
After listening to the Iraqi Ambassador whom I had invited to speak from the forum of Vigil Public Opinion barely 15 days before America invaded Iraq, http://www.vigilonline.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=819&Itemid=42I did a thorough analysis of the oil-for-food programme and submitted my findings in 2004 to late Shri B Raman, counter-terrorism expert and Addl. Secretary (Retd.), Cabinet Secretariat. Shri Raman was convinced about my arguments why I thought the UN oil-for-food programme was the biggest legalised swindle in the history of modern world and published my findings in the website of South Asia Analysis Group a Chennai-based think tank with which he was associated. The online news and opinions portal Rediff also published my report. http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/nov/11guest1.htm
What is interesting is that soon after my critique of the oil-for-food programme was placed in the public domain the pie chart detailing the uses to which the money realised from the programme was spent was removed from the UN oil-for-food programme website.
Facts pertaining to the UN oil-for-food programme, some of which the world does not know even now:
- The UNSC set up the oil-for-food programme through resolution 986 on 14th April, 1995. The programme was officially implemented in December 1996, a good 21 months after the resolution was passed and the first shipment of supplies – foods and medicines arrived only in March 1997 – 2 whole years after resolution 986 And America kept bombing Baghdad, Basra and other cities because Saddam Hussein was not fulfilling various America and Britain manipulated resolutions in the UNSC
- The programme was funded exclusively with the proceeds from Iraqi oil exports and the money earned through the oil-for-swindlers programme was deposited in the UN escrow account in the Banque Nationale de Paris in New York and this account was controlled by the UNSC
- When the programme was implemented Iraq was permitted to sell only $2 billion worth of oil every 6 months. In 1998 the limit was raised to $5.26 billion every six months but by this time the UNSC bears which had their four paws in the honey jar, couldn’t get enough of it and in December 1999 removed the limit on the amount of oil exported by Irqa. All that money in their control without having to do an honest day’s work, in billions of dollars was simply too good to be true.
- And as Iraqi children continued to die, 300 children every day, the money realised under a programme falsely titled oil-for-food was used by the UNSC for purposes other than food and for causes remote from ‘humanitarian’.
- A total of $69.4 billion was made by the UNSC from sale of Iraqi oil.
- Of this the now disappeared pie chart showed only $38.6 billion as having been used for food and medicines for the stricken Iraqi people.
- A cool half a billion was diverted from oil-for-food to pay the discredited UN monitoring committee UNMOVIC which all the world knew was only ferrying spies into the country in the guise of weapons inspectors.
- Another half a billion dollars was taken to be given to “member states” although the website did not specify which member states and members of what.
- $ 1.1billion was pocketed as operational costs, and
- $1.3 billion diverted from food and medicines in the name of oil transportation
- A whopping $18 billion was snatched away as reparation costs to Kuwait, and
- Most shamelessly $30 million was kept back by the UNSC to fund the Volcker Commission from the $38.6 billion of the total which the UN website said was spent on food and medicines for Iraqi people. This means even the meagre amount given to Iraqis from the misnomer oil-for-food, was not given in full.
Deeply distressed by the utter immorality of the oil-for-food programme which was not serving the end objective for which it was created, Denis Halliday, a career diplomat with 34 years in the UN who was appointed UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator in September 1997, resigned in October 1998 saying, “I don’t want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide”. http://www.commondreams.org/views/070700-103.htm
“All of Iraq’s oil revenue earned through the above relief mechanism are controlled by the Security Council. After allocations are taken out to pay billions of dollars for Gulf War reparations and UN administrative expenses, the amount of money which reaches the average person in Iraq is a mere 25 cents per person per day which is hardly enough for survival.” Denis Halliday resigned saying he wanted the freedom to criticise the sanctions regime.
Count Hans Von Sponeck, a German career diplomat who succeeded Halliday as UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator also resigned in protest on February 13, 2000. Two days later on 16th February, Doctor Jutta Burghardt head of the World Food Programme in Iraq also resigned. http://revcom.us/a/v23/1130-39/1132/sponeck_iraq.htm
The worst kind of war crimes and crimes against humanity has been committed against the children and ordinary people of Iraq by America and the United Nations. The United Nations violated its own charter on human rights and the effects of America’s unwarranted invasion and occupation of Iraq has had both foreseen and unforeseen consequences which have kept Iraqis in continuous state of hunger, disease and political instability.
Prime Minister Modi must seek answers from America and the UNSC for the tragedy of Iraq before dignifying them both by accepting their invitations. Creating new countries from old nations is Anglo-American modus operandi to craft their centennial world orders and fomenting unrest and instability within countries the prelude to redrawing the world map.
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.