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  1. #1
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    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

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    Salaam

    A statement of the obvious,

    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Far from paying any price, the British system has rewarded ministers for their fateful decision on Iraq

    March 20th marks the 15th anniversary of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq which plunged the country into a brutal occupation leading to sectarian civil war, terrorism and a death toll of hundreds of thousands.

    Yet in Britain the anniversary marks another year of impunity for the ministers who authorised the invasion. This lack of accountability for crimes committed abroad is a British disease with a very long history.
    A disastrous decision

    No British minister was forced to resign over Iraq or has been held properly accountable for it, despite the disastrous decision to go to war made collectively by the Cabinet on 17 March 2003.

    Where are they now, those Cabinet ministers who gave their assent? No less than six of them have since been elevated to the House of Lords: John Prescott, then deputy prime minister, was given a life peerage as Baron Prescott.

    He is joined by former fellow Cabinet members David Blunkett, Tessa Jowell, Alastair Darling, John Reid and Paul Boateng. Other Cabinet members were promoted following the invasion: Margaret Beckett later became foreign secretary, Darling became Chancellor and Reid became defence secretary.

    What about the main actors? Tony Blair, then Chancellor Gordon Brown and the International Development Secretary Clare Short were subsequently allowed to perform top international jobs: Blair became official special envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East until 2015, Brown became UN special envoy on global education and Short became chair of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

    It is perhaps tragi-ironic that Jack Straw, the foreign secretary in March 2003, was later allowed to become justice secretary.

    Far from paying any price, the British system has rewarded ministers for their fateful decision on Iraq. But not just ministers. Matthew Rycroft, Blair's private secretary at the time who drafted the "Downing Street memo" that was central to the build-up to the war, subsequently served as UK ambassador to the UN.

    Earlier this year, he was promoted further to become permanent secretary at the Department for International Development.

    A crime of aggression

    The basic issue remains: the evidence is overwhelming that the war was illegal and constituted a "crime of aggression" – one of the worst crimes in international affairs. John Prescott himself later said he thought the war was illegal.

    He is joined in this view by a long list of others including then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US Attorney-General Ramsey Clark, former chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix, later deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, not to mention most international lawyers.

    When the Chilcot report on the Iraq war appeared in 2016, the media widely commented that it failed to explicitly say the war was illegal. But it did say: "Mr Blair asked Parliament to endorse a decision to invade and occupy a sovereign nation, without the support of a Security Council resolution explicitly authorising the use of force. Parliament endorsed that choice."

    The invasion could only have been legal if it had secured such explicit UN authorisation. All Cabinet members were surely aware of this since it is basic international law - even though, as the Chilcot report showed, Blair withheld some key legal advice from them.

    Sir Michael Wood, the most senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office at the time of the invasion, was unequivocal, advising the government that military action without UN approval was "contrary to international law" and would constitute a "crime of aggression".

    He told ministers they risked offences under the International Criminal Court Act and for "misfeasance in public office". Wood's deputy Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned in protest on the eve of the invasion, told the Chilcot inquiry that "all the lawyers dealing with the matter in the Foreign Office were entirely of one view."

    Escaping accountability

    British ministers have been involved in war crimes abroad throughout the post-1945 period, as can be seen in declassified government files.

    In the forgotten war in Oman in 1957-9, when Britain leapt to the defence of an extremely repressive regime against a rebellion, the files show that then prime minister, Harold Macmillan, personally approved British "attacks by rocket on water supplies" and on agricultural gardens – civilian targets that constitute war crimes.

    In the mid-1960s, British governments covertly supplied arms to the regime in Iraq to be used to attack Kurds in the north of the country. In 1963, British officials described this as a "terror campaign" involving "the clearing out and destruction of Kurdish villages".

    Yet British rockets, to be fired by British supplied warplanes, were provided to Baghdad "intended for use against the Kurds", a Cabinet file noted.

    No-one, as far as I know, ever questioned ministers about this at the time or when the declassified files were released. What is happening now in Yemen is simply a repeat: ministers are also escaping accountability for their involvement in consistent Saudi attacks on civilian targets such as schools and hospitals – using similar rockets to those supplied to Iraq in the 1960s.

    Bribery undertaken by British companies overseas can now be prosecuted in UK courts. But involvement in human rights violations and war crimes can be conducted with impunity.

    Ministers are thrown out of the Cabinet for trivial driving offences (Chris Huhne) or viewing porn at work (Damian Green) but not for instituting foreign wars involving mass killing.

    The invasion of Iraq was tragic for the people of that country but for the British political elite it is as though it never happened. Jeremy Corbyn, if he attains power, should make good on his signal to call for an investigation into Tony Blair for alleged war crimes during the Iraq war, and it should cover other Cabinet members too.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/british-political-elite-invasion-iraq-never-happened-435103022

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Not surprised tbh
    | Likes Junon liked this post

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Nothing was learnt on Iraq just look at Libya and the intervention in Syria. Afghanistan is also another disaster.
    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Do you think the pious don't sin?

    They merely:
    Veiled themselves and didn't flaunt it
    Sought forgiveness and didn't persist
    Took ownership of it and don't justify it
    And acted with excellence after they had erred - Ibn al-Qayyim

  5. #4
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    A recap of what it was all about.



    Wish Peter Lavelle would be more neutral, still a good debate.

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    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another update

    When it comes to Middle East policy, the UK is nothing but a rogue state
    #HumanRights

    Giving the UK a seat on the UN Security Council is like employing a gangster to serve as a judge


    In the current crisis with Moscow, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has written that “Russia cannot break international rules with impunity”.

    Britain, along with Russia, has a particular obligation to uphold international law since it is one of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

    Last year, Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the UK was “a world leader in promoting, defending and shaping international law”.

    Yet the reality is different: Britain has been promoting at least seven foreign policies that can be strongly argued to be violating international law, and which make a mockery of its current demonisation of Russia.

    Israeli goods and Gaza blockade


    The first two concern Israel. Although Britain regards Israeli settlements in the occupied territories as illegal, in line with international law, it permits trade with “Israeli” goods from those illegal settlements and does not even keep a record of imports into the UK from them.

    Yet UN Security Council resolutions require all states to “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967”.

    Israel’s blockade of Gaza is widely regarded as illegal, including by senior UN officials, a UN independent panel of experts, Amnesty International and the Red Cross, partly since it inflicts “collective punishment” on an entire population. Through its naval blockade, the Israeli Navy restricts Palestinians’ fishing rights, even firing on local fishermen, and intercepts ships delivering humanitarian aid.

    Yet Britain, failing to uphold its obligation “to ensure compliance by Israel with international humanitarian law”, regularly collaborates with the navy enforcing the illegal blockade. In December 2017 and November 2016, British warships held military exercises with their Israeli counterparts.

    “We’ve operated with several Israel Navy ships, practising communications and manoeuvring” and have a “great relationship with the Israeli Navy”, UK naval commanders have said.

    Wars in Yemen, Syria, Iraq

    The war in Yemen is a further example. Ministers have consistently told Parliament that Britain is “not a party” to the conflict – presumably since this would formally implicate Britain in the violations of humanitarian law of which Saudi Arabia is accused.

    UN Security Council Resolution 2286 of 2016 also calls on all states to “end impunity and to ensure those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law are held to account”. Yet Britain is doing the opposite – it ensures the Saudis remain unaccountable by allowing them to conduct their own investigations into alleged war crimes.

    A fourth policy concerns the RAF’s secret drone war, which involves a fleet of “Reaper” drones operating since 2007 to strike targets in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. The UK/US spy base at Menwith Hill in Yorkshire also facilitates US drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia.

    The targeted killing of terrorists (and the use of force generally) is only lawful in self–defence or following UN authorisation, and thus the drone programme is widely regarded as illegal.

    When British drones killed two Britons in Syria in 2015, the government unconvincingly argued it was in “self-defence” to counter an “imminent attack”. Rather, as a House of Commons legal briefing argues, such strikes could set a dangerous precedent that other actors or organisations may follow.

    Ministers remain unaccountable


    There is a good reason why the UK never admits to undertaking covert action. As the same House of Commons briefing notes, “assistance to opposition forces is illegal”.

    A precedent was set in the Nicaragua case in the 1980s, when US-backed covert forces tried to overthrow the Sandinista government. The International Court of Justice held that a third state may not forcibly help the opposition to overthrow a government because it would breach the principle of non-intervention and prohibition on the use of force.

    This means that Britain has been acting illegally in its years-long covert operation in Syria, and anywhere else it deploys covert forces without agreement from the host state.

    In the case of the Chagos islands, Britain has permanently violated international law since it expelled the inhabitants in the 1960s to make way for a US military base on Diego Garcia. Harold Wilson’s government separated the islands from Mauritius in 1965 in breach of UN Resolution 1514, which banned the breakup of colonies before independence. It formed a new colonial entity, the British Indian Ocean Territory.

    London’s claim is nonsense: It is arming, advising and training the Saudis and maintaining their aircraft bombing Yemen, many of which have targeted civilians, as the British government has long known.

    Last June, the UK was defeated at the UN when a large majority of countries supported a Mauritius-backed resolution to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the legal status of the Chagos Islands.

    In 2015, a UN Tribunal ruled that the UK’s proposed “marine protected area” around the islands – which was really a ruse to keep the islanders from returning – was illegal since it undermined the rights of Mauritius. The Chagos islands remain a UK-occupied territory.

    Face facts: UK is a rogue state

    Finally, there is the 2011 war in Libya, for which British ministers remain unaccountable. While Tony Blair is widely accused of acting illegally in invading Iraq, UK Prime Minister David Cameron often escapes condemnation for the UK/NATO military intervention that overthrew the Gaddafi regime.

    Yet this war was surely a violation of UN Resolution 1973, which authorised member states to use “all necessary measures” to prevent attacks on civilians but did not authorise the use of ground troops – which Britain secretly deployed to Libya – or regime change.

    Indeed, Cameron himself told Parliament in March 2011 that the UN resolution “explicitly does not provide legal authority for action to bring about Gaddafi’s removal from power by military means”.

    This list of wayward policies is by no means exhaustive. The UK does not deserve its place on the UN Security Council when it is a consistent violator of the principles it is meant to uphold: It is like having a gangster as a judge.

    To call Britain a rogue state is not to take an ideological position so much as to describe a basic fact in current international affairs.

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/when-it-comes-middle-east-policy-uk-rogue-state-1677623456

  8. #6
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    And the Popes a Catholic

    Why the US will never say sorry for destroying Iraq
    #IraqatWar

    Nearly half of Americans still believe the war was legal - and its easy to see why


    The United States waged a two-decade war against Iraq, causing the deaths of 1.7 million civilians - half of whom were children.

    It did this with crippling sanctions during the 1990s, before ruining Iraqi civil society with its illegal 2003 invasion, which took hundreds of thousands more lives, unleashing a sectarian civil war and giving birth to the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS).

    But this tells you only part of the nightmare that the US has inflicted upon the people of Iraq.

    The US occupation has also been accused of causing an "alarming" increase in the number of cases of cancer, leukemia and congenital birth anomalies due to the US army’s use of chemical weapons and dumping of toxic waste, including depleted uranium, into the soil and waterways.

    This not only poses an existential threat to those alive today, but also to future generations of Iraqis, as the remaining traces of depleted uranium "will remain radioactive for more than 4.5 billion years".

    Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector observed: "The irony is we invaded Iraq in 2003 to destroy its non-existent WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. To do it, we fired these new weapons, causing radioactive casualties."

    All of this human suffering comes courtesy of a US government that falsified, manipulated and massaged "intelligence" on behalf of a handful of DC neo-conservatives who had been actively seeking a pretence to invade Iraq since the late 1990s so that they could launch their deranged project to remake the world in America's image.

    This war of choice has cost US taxpayers more than $2 trillion and the lives of nearly 5,000 US soldiers, not to mention the tens of thousands of others suffering from debilitating physical or mental injuries.

    The role of miseducation


    Now consider that a new poll conducted by the Pew Research Center has found that 43 percent of Americans still believe that invading Iraq was the right decision.

    Let that sink in for a minute: almost half of Americans still believe that an illegal war, based on doctored intelligence and entirely debunked claims, which resulted in almost immeasurable death and destruction, was the right thing to do, morally, politically, or otherwise.

    How on earth does the United States of America, a country that proudly boasts its liberal democratic values, get to the point where it's pretty much hunky dory with the bloodshed it has unjustly and inhumanely left in its wake?

    Obviously, that's a big, broad thesis question that only a 10,000-word academic paper could ever do justice in attempting to answer.

    But there are a few easily identifiable signposts. Let's start with the US secondary education system.

    US students are taught almost nothing about the world that exists outside the nation's borders. I don't say that as an outsider: I say that as the father of a daughter who is nearing the end of her junior year.

    Moreover, high school teaching has become increasingly geared towards standardised testing, meaning schools lose funding if their student body falls below a curve. This means that kids are taught how to pass tests, not how to learn.

    It's for this reason, and a myriad of others, that the country now ranks almost last among 35 industrialised nations in mathematics and has also dropped in reading scores.

    Back to Iraq. A survey conducted for the National Geographic Society in 2006 found that 63 percent of Americans aged 18-24 could not locate Iraq on a map.

    This is astonishing, given that the US has fought two wars there since 1990 and occupied the country for close to a decade.

    If one can't even be bothered to find where the country of Iraq is located on a map, it might not be all that surprising that this person is indifferent to what is going on in the country, as indifference and apathy are more or less the same thing.

    Rest here

    http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns...ush-1838892478

    So we don't forget



    Last edited by Junon; 04-10-2018 at 10:06 PM.

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    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Like to share

    Blurb

    On April 9, 2003, television networks across the globe cut to a live scene unfolding in Baghdad’s Firdos Square. A motley hybrid of what appeared to be ordinary Iraqis and uniformed U.S. troops — who had begun to occupy Baghdad — pulled down a massive statue of Saddam Hussein. It was a brilliant, semi-staged propaganda exercise meant to reinforce the neoconservative promise that ordinary Iraqis would be exuberant over the fall of the regime and welcome the U.S. troops as liberators.

    To understand Iraq’s current reality, we must confront not just 15 years of U.S. policy, but a history that spans the administrations of 11 U.S. presidents. It’s a 55-year history that is filled with constant interventions and bombings, sanctions and covert CIA activity, and regime change. And in this history — a history you never hear discussed on cable news — the main victims are, as they’ve always been: ordinary Iraqis. This is a classic case study in U.S. imperial crimes that began in 1958 when the British-installed monarchy was overthrown by a popular Iraqi army general who set about to nationalize oil, normalize relations with the Soviet Union, and implement sweeping agrarian and social reforms.

    This short film is by no means an exhaustive history, but rather a brief case study on the role the U.S. has played in destabilizing Iraq and the region.



  10. #8
    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    More comment

    The Iraq war: 15 years on

    America’s invasion of Iraq was not predicated on keeping Iraq away from nuclear weapons, but instead stemmed from its opposition towards an Iraqi regime that continued to eschew American dominance

    20 March 2018 marked the 15th anniversary of the United States’ invasion of Iraq. Dubbed ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’, the invasion had America at the forefront backed by a coalition of nations that on the surface vowed to ‘secure the free world from the threat of Iraq’ — as then US Vice President Dick Cheney claimed — but were, in fact, perpetuating American hegemony and imperialism in the world.

    The operation was launched ostensibly to rid Iraq of the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) it was secretly accumulating. America’s then Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld — a man who was to profit from the invasion significantly — claimed publically on the 29 January 2003, ‘Iraq poses a serious and mounting threat to our country. His regime has the design for a nuclear weapon, was working on several different methods of enriching uranium, and recently was discovered seeking significant quantities of uranium from Africa.’

    A few months leading into the war, state institutions in America and especially the CIA launched a spurious campaign that aimed to show how Saddam Hussein was secretly stockpiling material to develop nuclear weapons.

    In reality, the Iraqi regime did not possess any nuclear weapons, a fact validated by the United Nations just a month before the invasion. On February 14, the UN’s nuclear and weapons inspectors informed the Security Council that no proof existed of any WMDs in Iraq. The United States ignored the UN’s appraisal and instead carried on with its plans to invade.

    American efforts to re-define Iraq’s history and to impose a Western-style political settlement on the Middle Eastern country, in fact, highlight the pitfalls and harmful elements of Western liberalism and its claims of championing the rights of the downtrodden
    It thus becomes evident that America’s invasion was not predicated on keeping Iraq away from nuclear weapons, but instead stemmed from America’s opposition towards an Iraqi regime that continued to eschew American dominance.

    Since the first Gulf War between Kuwait and Iraq, Saddam had exercised a foreign policy that was in direct conflict with American interests in the region. Saddam’s independence meant that now Iraq — after Iran’s revolution in 1979 — was another Middle Eastern nation that was slipping from America’s hegemony.

    American leaders thus developed a pernicious opposition towards Iraq. In his annual State of the Union address in 2002, American President George W. Bush labelled Iraq, along with Iran and North Korea as the three pillars of his ‘axis of evil.’ Thus, even before the actual invasion, America was promulgating propaganda that cast Iraq in a demonic light; with prominent ‘liberal’ newspapers such as the New York Times at the vanguard of this propaganda.

    Underlying these false accusations against Iraq and perhaps more sinister reasons behind the invasion were American leaders’ desire to spread ‘disaster capitalism’ to Iraq and to ‘re-create’ Iraq in the image of West.

    ‘Shock and awe’ and disaster capitalism: feeding the Military-Industrial Complex in Iraq

    Naomi Klein, the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism argues that the invasion of Iraq was a prelude to privatise Iraq’s state-owned facilities and to bring American corporations into Iraq’s markets, especially oil. Klein builds her theory on what she calls ‘the Shock Doctrine’, an ideological conviction upheld by Milton Friedman and his followers of Chicago School economics.

    The Shock Doctrine rests on the idea of ‘shocking’ a nation — either through military coups or direct invasion — and in the immediate aftermath of that shock, promulgating free market capitalist reforms in the shocked nation. The essence of the doctrine rests in the belief that the initial shock will be so powerful as to leave the country paralysed and unable to resist these reforms that would in normal cases be highly unpopular. Klein argues:“It’s hard to believe — but then again, that was pretty much Washington’s game plan for Iraq: shock and terrorise the entire country, deliberately ruin its infrastructure, do nothing while its culture and history are ransacked, then make it all OK with an unlimited supply of cheap household appliances and imported junk food.”

    The speed with which America pursued privatisation and opened up Iraq to foreign corporations gives credence to Klein’s arguments and highlights how Operation Iraqi Freedom was in fact meant to allow US corporations such as Haliburton to make immense profits from the conflict.

    Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s outstanding book “Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq’s Green Zone” in fact highlights how Haliburton developed a utopia for American contractors in the heart of Baghdad — the ‘green zone’. The green zone was stocked by American fast food chains such as Burger King, movie theatres that played American classics and state of the art gyms, while outside the walls of the green zone, war and murder continued to rage in the streets of Baghdad — called the ‘red zone’.

    Gaining access to Iraq’s oil reserves and its strategic location was, in fact, central to America’s plans to invade. Noam Chomsky argued in an interview in 2006:“It (Iraq) is the last corner of the world in which there are massive petroleum resources pretty much unexplored, maybe the largest in the world or close to it. Now they are very easy to gain access to.”

    Destroying history and culture: America’s quest to rebuild Iraq:


    Another, often less scrutinised aspect of the Iraqi invasion was America’s quest to re-define Iraq and build it as a modern, progressive democracy thriving on Western ideals.

    Washington, in fact, continued to champion the invasion as an attempt to liberate Iraqi women and to fight ‘dictatorship’ in the region. On the eve of the invasion, George W. Bush in a public address claimed: “To all the men and women of the United States armed forces now in the Middle East, the peace of a troubled world and the hopes of an oppressed people now depend on you. That trust is well placed.”(Emphasis added)

    By labelling the Iraqis as oppressed people, Bush was, in fact, promoting the invasion as an attempt to liberate Iraqis from extreme tyranny; a stance that reeks of hypocrisy and was completely devoid of legitimacy.

    On a more sinister level, the attempt to rebuild Iraq following Saddam’s ouster meant uprooting long-established cultural and political forces in Iraq and replacing them with Western notions of democracy and human rights. This involved a conscious effort to destroy Iraq’s thousands of years’ old heritage and history and meant turning a blind eye when vagrants looted Iraq’s libraries and historical documents.

    American efforts to re-define Iraq’s history and to impose a Western-style political settlement on the Middle Eastern country, in fact, highlight the pitfalls and harmful elements of Western liberalism and its claims of championing the rights of the downtrodden. What Iraq has revealed, and what Afghanistan continues to prove every day, is that it is almost impossible to champion Western notions in the third world without being mindful of local conditions in the Global South.

    These past 15 years continue to haunt collective memory in Iraq and the Middle East.

    It thus becomes evident that America’s invasion of Iraq was more than an attempt to prevent Iraq from gaining nuclear weapons. The operation hinged on perpetuating American hegemony and on spreading the catastrophic impact of disaster capitalism to a nation that till then had sheltered itself from the debilitating effects of free market liberalism.

    Underlying the operation was a false liberal ideal of liberating the Iraqi people from their oppressors; an ideal that in fact meant destroying Iraqi history and civilisation, and one that gave birth to the plethora of problems that plague the Iraqi nation today.

    It comes as no surprise, then, that the great intellectual Noam Chomsky called the Iraqi Invasion “the worst crime of the 21st century” — a crime that highlights America’s hypocrisy, and that ripped apart Iraqi society’s social and political fabric.

    https://dailytimes.com.pk/225096/the...r-15-years-on/

    Dont forget

    Last edited by Junon; 05-01-2018 at 08:48 AM.

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    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Heh, good for Israel certainly Bibi, all part of the plan, the oded yinon plan

    Last edited by Junon; 05-03-2018 at 09:36 PM.

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    The reason I post this is that it gives a good snapshot of the early months of the occupation (2003).




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    Junon's Avatar
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    After you destroy them, why not 'dialogue' with them?



    Heh

    Last edited by Junon; 05-21-2018 at 01:10 AM.

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    A documentary for posterity.



    And lets not forget about Blair's role.

    Last edited by Junon; 06-12-2018 at 08:29 PM.

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another look at the legacy of Western involvement in the Iraq war.

    Blurb

    In 2004, investigative reporter Sy Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq that shocked the world. Shocking photos of U.S. military personnel humiliating and torturing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib sparked global outcry, as well as national hearings, investigations and finger pointing. We speak with Sy Hersh about his investigation, nearly 15 years later.



    Blurb

    As Isis closes in on Baghdad - find out how US funded torture centres helped fuel the sectarian war in Iraq.

    James Steele: America's mystery man in Iraq. A 15-month investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic revealed how retired US colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played a key role in training and overseeing US-funded special police commandos who ran a network of torture centres in Iraq.



    How they ruled.

    Blurb

    From inside a surreal bubble of pure Americana known as the Green Zone, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority attempted to rule Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime.

    Drawing on interviews and internal documents, Rajiv Chandrasekaran tells the memorable story of this ill-prepared attempt to build American democracy in a war-torn Middle Eastern country, detailing not only the risky disbanding of the Iraqi army and the ludicrous attempt to train the new police force, but absurdities such as the aide who based Baghdad's new traffic laws on those of the state of Maryland, downloaded from the net, and the twenty-four-year-old who had never worked in finance put in charge of revitalising Baghdad's stock exchange. "Imperial Life in the Emerald City" is American reportage at its best.




    The torment continues.

    Last edited by Junon; 06-23-2018 at 07:43 PM.

  17. #14
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another documentary on the early months of the occupation, by the BBC

    Blurb

    Seven months after the end of the war, acclaimed BBC journalist and filmmaker Sean Langan (BEHIND THE LINES, TRAVELS OF A GRINGO) takes a brave and eventful trip through Iraq, seeking to shed light on the current situation.


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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another good summary of what happened in Iraq.


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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    More background on why the Iraq war happened.




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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened


  22. #18
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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another update

    'Iraq is dying': oil flows freely but corruption fuels growing anger

    Locked out of polluting wealth beneath their feet, those calling for an end to a ‘rotten system’ risk detention and death

    The land of the Bani-Mansour clan north-east of Basra is flat and parched, spattered with dry crusts of salt and thorny shrubs. Clusters of palm trees form small patches of green in the otherwise dusty yellow and brown landscape.

    Nestled among them are about a dozen berms, each enclosing an oil well and its pump. Pipelines snake over the ground, cutting through villages as they connect wells and pumping stations. Oil rigs tower over the southern Iraq landscape, sending plumes of thick black smoke across the horizon.

    The land sits above the West Qurna oilfield. One of the most lucrative in the world, it is owned by the Iraqi government and run by Exxon Mobil. After years of sanctions and neglect, oil production in southern Iraq is picking up. A two-lane road that crosses the Bani-Mansour land has become a busy highway for lorries carrying drilling equipment and buses ferrying foreign oil workers back and forth. The windows of nearby homes rattle as the traffic passes.

    The opening up of Iraq’s enormous verified oil reserves to foreign expertise in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein was hailed as the means to kickstart its economy and potentially transform the south into an economic stronghold. Instead, ordinary Iraqis have seen little or no benefit from the proceeds of the country’s multibillion-dollar oil industry, much of which has been siphoned off by corrupt politicians. Across the south in recent months, simmering anger over corruption and unemployment has been fuelled by the dire state of public services, regular power cuts and water shortages.

    Once there was a time when the Bani-Mansour land, not far from where the Tigris and Euphrates meet, had water and more than 300,000 palm trees, villagers said. Large numbers of buffaloes and cows cooled themselves in the green muddy waters of its canals.

    But drought and the intrusion of saltwater from the Gulf have wiped out most of the palm groves, the cattle have been sold, local rivers have dried up and the canals have stagnated, clogged with rubbish. Corruption and mismanagement on the part of local and central government, both dominated by a kleptocracy of religious parties that have ruled Iraq for more than a decade, has exacerbated a slow-motion environmental disaster.

    The oil companies, which are supposed to train and hire a workforce from local populations and invest back into development projects, are forced to hire those with connections to powerful tribal sheikhs and the Islamist parties. Funds for those populations rarely materialise and almost none of the oil revenuestrickle down to the population. Meanwhile, local militias with links to clans and political parties have formed their own companies, which land lucrative security contracts with subsidiaries of foreign oil firms.

    In the eyes of the local villagers, the heavy traffic rumbling along the narrow road has become a daily reminder of the contrast between the boundless wealth lying underneath their homes and the abject poverty above ground.

    They brought helicopters and armoured vehicles’


    The flashpoint came in early July, when the temperature soared to nearly 50C, the electricity failed repeatedly, and the tap water ran hot and as salty as sea water. Two dozen men gathered outside the gates of one of the oil company compounds, blocking the section of the road adjacent to their village. Under the scorching Iraqi summer sun, they stomped their feet, raised their arms and angrily denounced the oil firms and the politicians.

    A police unit stationed in the compound moved out to face the protesters while a larger army unit in charge of protecting the oilfields arrived in armoured vehicles. The two units sandwiched the protesters, who started pelting the armoured vehicles with stones. The soldiers and police responded with live ammunition, and within half an hour a young protester had been killed and three others injured.

    In the villages surrounding the compound, men called each other and headed out to help neighbours and relatives, swelling the size of the demonstration to a few hundred people.

    “When we heard the news that they killed someone from our area, everyone jumped in the car and went calling others to join,” said Ali, a government employee who lives in the village. “There I saw they had brought two helicopters and three armoured vehicles. I wondered where was this force when Daesh [Isis] took Mosul?”

    That night, other communities in oil-rich areas held protests and the next day large demonstrations were held in Basra, spreading to other southern cities a few days later. Across the south tens of thousands of people took to the streets. Some called for better electricity and water supplies, others demanded employment – but everyone denounced the corruption and nepotism of the political parties. Party headquarters were attacked and ransacked.

    Much of the anger was directed at Iran, which has also been beset by weeks of street protests over economic grievances. Many of the Iraqi protesters saw Iran as the protector of Iraq’s corrupt political parties. “Iran out, out” was a common chant. In one instance, a large picture of the once-revered founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini, was set on fire.

    “People are out demanding their rights,” said Ali. “They see that Iraq is dying, strangled by these parties that have been looting us for 15 years but who are more interested in serving Iranian interests than our interests. We either save the country or it will be lost.”

    After the US invasion in 2003, the legitimacy of the Iraqi state and political system was challenged by the Sunni inhabitants of central and northern Iraq who had prospered under Saddam. The Sunnis resisted the invasion, fought the foreigners and lent a hand to the extremists.

    Now, in the post-Isis era, a Sunni revolt toppling the state is no longer considered a viable threat. Instead it is the Shia majority, who shed blood defending the country from Isis who are questioning the legitimacy of the Iraqi state. About 500 men from the Bani-Mansour community were killed fighting the Islamist group.

    The government has responded to the protests with violence, firing live rounds and killing at least 11 people. Hundreds have been detained and tortured, according to activists, lawyers and security officials who spoke to the Guardian. Some are still missing.

    Paramilitaries associated with political parties were also accused of opening fire and abducting protesters. A prominent lawyer, who was leading a team defending detained protesters, was shot by masked men after leaving a police station.

    ‘The system is rotten and needs to be toppled’


    I met Ali in a tin shack of a restaurant, tucked down a small lane shaded by palm trees, not far from the oilfields. He had invited his friend Haitham, a soldier and a farmer, to join us.

    “We are really sorry for not inviting you to our homes,” said Ali with embarrassment. “But we rarely spend time there anymore; we have to move between relatives houses to avoid detention.”

    In the past few weeks, Ali and Haitham have received threatening calls from the security forces. Seven of their fellow demonstrators in their village have been snatched at night by masked and armed men.

    “ “In Basra you see the wealth pouring out of the community every day – from oilfields over there, less than a kilometre from where we are sitting – and then you see the poverty and lack of employment in the villages, while companies import thousands of foreign workers,” Ali said.

    Haitham joined the Iraqi army in 2003 and fought to defend his country against the Sunni insurgents of al-Qaida and Isis. Now he sees it as his duty to oppose the state. As he spoke, the complaints came tumbling from his mouth: brackish and salty water, power cuts, pollution from oil companies, a collapse in the healthcare system, , dried up rivers, unemployment.

    “I am not out on the streets for a job,” he said. “I have a salary and my land. I am protesting because what kind of a country do I want to leave for my children? What kind of education will they get in schools where teachers don’t show up and demand bribes for good grades?”

    Like many of the demonstrators, much of the two Shia men’s anger is directed at the Shia parties that dominate Iraqi politics, and the Shia clergy and Iranian institutions that support them.

    “These parties are responsible for the 15 years of failure,” Ali said. “In previous elections we all voted for the Shia parties because that is what the clergy and tribal sheikhs told us to do. Now we are holding the clergy responsible. Have they not seen what has been happening for 15 years?”

    “While we were trapped in the sectarian war – the Shia killing the Sunnis in revenge for the death of Imam Hussain 14 centuries ago, and the Sunnis butchering us because they accused us of taking power from them. Sunni and Shia politicians sat in the parliament and built fortunes with the blood of the people who massacred each other in the street.”

    “The whole system is rotten and has to be toppled,” said Haitham. “We are peaceful, but each of us sits on a warehouse of weapons. In 15 years 1 million Iraqis have been martyred. Had we held demonstrations early on and lost a thousand people we would be in a better place now.”

    ‘I am a pillar of that corruption’

    “I feel sorry for those demonstrators, there is no hope that they will succeed,” a government official said as he sipped Turkish coffee in the lobby of one of Basra’s big hotels. He is in his thirties, well-educated and had worked with western companies in Basra before he landed a highly coveted job in the city council.

    “All these parties, they have economic committees that get a share from every single government contract, while their paramilitary wings protect their interests,” he said. “I know they are corrupt, because I am one of the pillars of that corruption in this city,” he added with remarkable candour.

    The official explained how a Basra clan with connections to more than one religious party took over large tracts of agricultural land that either belonged to wealthy families from the Gulf or Sunnis who have fled since the outbreak of sectarian war in 2003-04. The clan turned the land into lucrative residential plots. His job was to issue fake certificates confirming the land was residential.

    Waste from houses built without connections to proper sewage and water networks clogged canals and rivers, turning them into stagnating swamps and further degrading the environment, which in turn made farmers’ lives even harder.

    This month, Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, sacked a number of electricity ministry officials in the latest attempt to quell public anger at chronic power cuts. Last month he dismissed the electricity minister Qassim al-Fahdawi “because of the deterioration in the electricity sector”.

    But the protests show no sign of abating. On 14 August police broke up a sit-in at an oil instillation in Qurna, killing one person. Another person later died in custody. Two days later demonstrators set the Qurna city council building alight in response to the deaths. Every Friday big protest marches have taken place in Basra.

    Much like its stagnating rivers and canals, Iraqi democracy has become a victim of a never-ending cycle of corruption. Words such as election, parliament and democracy have become synonymous with corruption, nepotism and sectarianism. Many of the demonstrators are making ominous demands for a strong presidential system and an end to parliament.

    Muzahim al-Timimi, a newly elected and independent member of parliament in Basra, said the demonstrations did not stem from salty water and electricity cuts alone. “We are used to the heat and salty water from the Saddam times,” Timimi said. “But back then we were under sanctions. The problem now is that we have money [from oil] but it is not being used to help the people.

    “The people of Basra were patient until they couldn’t bear it anymore.”

    The demonstrators wanted a revolution because they did not have trust that the system could reform itself, Timimi said. “In the past 15 years all the parties that have ruled this country were responsible for corruption. There is no party that can lead the reform because they all have been part of the same corruption mechanism.”

    Timimi struck a despondent tone as he pondered the alternatives. “We are obsessed with the idea of the saviour. Some say the Americans will come to save us, others say the military should take over, like in Egypt.

    “But there is no united army that can impose a state of emergency; there is no military institution. The army has no leaders,” he said. “How could it lead the country?

    “If we topple the current regime tomorrow, who are we going to bring in after?”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/27/iraq-is-dying-oil-corruption-protest-basra

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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Salaam

    Another update

    US 'war on terror' has killed over half a million people: study

    Between 480,000-507,000 people were killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq in the wake of 9/11 attacks, study says.


    Hundreds of thousands of people in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan have been killed due to the so-called "war on terror" launched by the United States in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attack, according to a new study.

    The report, which was published on Saturday by the Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, put the death toll between 480,000 and 507,000.

    The toll includes civilians, armed fighters, local police and security forces, as well as US and allied troops.

    The report states that between 182,272 and 204,575 civilians have been killed in Iraq; 38,480 in Afghanistan; and 23,372 in Pakistan. Nearly 7,000 US troops were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in the same period.

    The paper, however, acknowledged that the number of people killed is an "undercount" due to limitations in reporting and "great uncertainty in any count of killing in war".

    "We may never know the total direct death toll in these wars," wrote Nera Crawford, the author of the report titled "Human Cost of the Post-9/11 Wars: Lethality and the Need for Transparency".

    "For example, tens of thousands of civilians may have died in retaking Mosul and other cities from ISIS [also known as ISIL] but their bodies have likely not been recovered."

    'War remains intense'


    People who were indirectly killed as a result of war, such as through disease or bad infrastructure, were also not included in the report.

    In a statement, Brown University said the new toll "is a more than 110,000 increase over the last count, issued just two years ago in August 2016".

    "Though the war on terror is often overlooked by the American public, press and lawmakers, the increased body count signals that, far from diminishing, this war remains intense."

    As an example, the US war in Afghanistan, which has been the country's longest military invasion for 17 years, has lessened in intensity in recent years, but the number of civilians killed in 2018 has been one of the war's highest.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/wars-terror-killed-million-people-study-181109080620011.html

    Another good book on the subject.

    Blurb

    The moral, political, and legal problems surrounding the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq are addressed with uncommon frankness in this collection of essays by some of the world's most influential academics, lawyers, journalists, politicians, and military, intelligence, and media experts. Contributions include academics such as Noam Chomsky, Immanuel Wallerstein, and Claes Ryn; journalists Milton Viorst, Robert Fisk, Kirkpatrick Sale, and Justin Raimondo; former CIA professional Ray McGovern; former Defense Intelligence Agency professional W. Patrick Lang; and Fr. Jean-Marie Benjamin, personal friend of the former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Traiq Aziz.

    Discussing the Iraq war and related issues such as the legal foundation of the war on terror, the detention practices at Guantanamo bay, and the roots of the American neoconservative ideology, the essays illustrate the hypocrisy and illegality of America's stance on terrorism and its policies of aggression in the Middle East.



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    Re: For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    Greetings and peace be with you Junon;

    Sadly there is a tried and tested formula for taking a country to war, leaders have known this for centuries. Sadly we the stupid people are always drawn into war by our leaders. Hermann Goering one of the German leaders during WW2 spells out this simple formula.


    “Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of a country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or fascist dictorship, or a parliament or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peace makers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
    https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/335...war-why-should
    Did Blair and Bush use this argument to take our countries to war?

    In the spirit of praying for justice for all people.

    Eric
    | Likes Junon liked this post
    For the British political elite, the invasion of Iraq never happened

    You will never look into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God.


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