Socialist Worker

Bush's plan means military occupation

Issue No. 1821

THE US and Britain want war on Iraq no matter what. That is the only possible meaning of the resolution which the US and Britain want to bribe and bully the rest of the United Nations (UN) Security Council into accepting.

The resolution is manufactured so that no Iraqi government could accept it. Its aim is to trigger war whether the other states that dominate the Security Council - Russia, China and France - go along with it or not. The demands contained in the resolution are so outlandish that the pro-war Daily Telegraph's 'Analysis' columnist wrote on Friday of last week: 'The terms that America and Britain want to impose on Iraq are so stringent that Hans Blix, the chief UN weapons inspector, could end up wielding more power than Saddam Hussein himself. The new conditions present Saddam with a stark choice: reject them and so bring down military action or accept them and submit to a virtual colonisation of Iraq by the UN, with the constant threat of full scale invasion.'

On the same day the Tory Daily Mail's editorial said: 'While Saddam at last agrees to UN arms inspections, the mood in Washington is uncompromising. America talks of 'thwarting' inspections unless the UN agrees a new resolution that seems almost designed to provoke an Iraqi rejection.'

The US tabled its list of demands, a list which was initially prepared by British diplomats, last week. That came after Iraqi representatives had agreed a deal with UN officials to allow weapons inspectors into the country. The warmongers in the US White House feared that the deal would delay their plans for an attack on Iraq.

So the US and Britain vetoed the return of arms inspectors - despite their pretence that they are concerned that Iraq may have weapons of mass destruction. Then they presented a resolution that calls on Iraq to accept effective military occupation.

Key parts of the draft resolution call for:

  • Setting up 'no drive zones' throughout Iraq, 'enforced by UN security forces or by member states'. These forces would have 'free and unrestricted access' throughout Iraq.
  • Any 'member of the Security Council' to attach its own personnel to the official UN inspection teams.

The first demand would lead to the kind of checkpoints and control of roads that Israel imposes on the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. They have enabled Israeli forces to slice up the Occupied Territories into hundreds of separate areas which Palestinians are unable to move between. The US demand on Iraq is not about inspecting suspected weapons sites. It is about seizing control of a whole country.

The second demand is an attempt to turn UN inspection teams openly into spy networks for states such as the US, whose top officials talk of assassinating members of the Iraqi government.

The Guardian's Julian Borger wrote last week: 'If the central tenets of the current resolution are accepted in the Security Council, they could take control of the inspections process out of the hands of the multilateral body designed to do the job and allow the US to hijack its operations. Under the proposed rules, the US could send as many of its own inspectors into Iraq alongside UN inspectors, with their own information and their own agenda. It is a clearly unworkable plan, but that too may be deliberate.'

Other states, such as France and Russia, would also be able to manipulate the 'inspections' in order to carve out their own interests in Iraq, which sits on the second largest oil reserves in the world.


Palestinians pay the blood price

AT LEAST 14 Palestinians were killed and dozens wounded when Israel launched a major military incursion into the Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza this week. The raid was ordered by Israel's prime minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli settlers near the West Bank town of Nablus also went on the rampage last week, killing 24 year old Hani Mustafa, a Palestinian farmer who was picking olives.

Sharon was given the green light for the murderous assault on the Palestinian territory by US president George W Bush. Bush last week scuppered any serious moves to get peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the process the US president made a mockery of Tony Blair's rhetoric at last week's Labour Party conference. Blair had tried to sweeten the pill of war on Iraq with the coating of talk of restarting the Middle East peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

He said, 'By the year's end, we must have revived final status negotiations and they must have explicitly as their aims an Israeli state free of terror... and a viable Palestinian state based on the boundaries of 1967.' Within days George Bush made clear that would not happen.

US officials want Israel to tone down its calls for war on Iraq for fear of undermining their attempts to get support for it from the Arab Gulf states. Bush is prepared to let Israel get on with its war on the Palestinians if that is the price for its cooperation. And Blair, for all his cynical words at the Labour Party conference, will not break from Bush.


They dare to call this reconstruction

IT IS 12 months since the US and Britain began pounding Afghanistan. Tony Blair promised at the time that the victorious powers 'would not walk away from the Afghan people' and would set about 'reconstructing the country'. But walk away they have. The World Bank estimates it will cost $16 billion to rebuild Afghanistan over the next ten years.

A conference of 'donor countries' in Tokyo earlier this year pledged just $4.5 billion in humanitarian aid. So far just $1.8 billion of that has been delivered. Seven million people in Afghanistan are on the edge of starvation. The World Food Programme estimates more than half of Afghan families need emergency food supplies. It has received just 57 percent of the food it has asked for.

Much of the money spent by the UN and Western countries goes on maintaining its own bloated bureaucracy and the military presence in Afghanistan. Continuing economic collapse has led to soaring heroin production as farmers are desperate to earn foreign income.

Large parts of the country are under the control of rival warlords. As for women's rights, the BBC reported last week that women fleeing domestic violence are being thrown into prison in the capital, Kabul. And tensions between Pakistan (which neighbours Afghanistan) and India are again mounting.

Both states have taken their cue from the US declaration of a 'war on terror' to pour troops into the disputed border in Kashmir. Both states are nuclear armed and have just tested surface to air missiles. Foreign secretary Jack Straw denounced the tests.

But his boss Blair was to meet Indian prime minister Vajpayee on Friday of this week. High on the list of topics for discussion will be a $1.6 billion deal for British Aerospace to sell weapons to India.


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Features
Sat 12 Oct 2002, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1821
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