Editors’ Note: We are reprinting in this issue of Socialist Voice an analysis of Iraq’s supposed “transition to sovereignty” published in the June of this year in Cuba Socialista (www.cubasocialista.cu), journal of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba. The author is the former ambassador of Cuba to Iraq.
Cuba has taken a principled stand against the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the imperialist occupation that continues. It has protested to the United Nations and other international bodies the affront to human rights and Cuban sovereignty of the U.S. concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In the article, the ambassador sharply criticizes those governments who have offered criticism of the invasion and occupation and yet do nothing to oppose it, or worse, who provide support in secondary capacities. This criticism applies directly to the Canadian government. It has committed thousands of soldiers to the imperialist occupation of Afghanistan, and it likes point out that in so doing, it is helping the imperialist effort in Iraq.
Cuba’s stand on this current war and occupation is the same one it took during the 1990-91 imperialist assault on Iraq. The record of its stand at that time is contained in the Pathfinder Press book entitled, “U.S. Hands Off the Mideast!” (To order, go to www.pathfinderpress.com)
The ambassador predicts in his article that the resistance to occupation in Iraq will continue to deepen and that the U.S. its allies will fail to achieve a stable client regime that country. Events since this article appeared have confirmed that analysis. –Roger Annis and John Riddell
By Ernesto Gómez Abascal, former Cuban ambassador to Iraq
If it were not for all the lies, and the justifications based on lies from the very beginning in the operation to seize Iraq, this latest lie by itself would be enough to morally disqualify American policy and unmask their colonial objectives.
What sovereignty can a country have that is militarily occupied by nearly 200,000 foreign soldiers, among them some 140,000 Americans with authority that comes from Washington’s colonial administration, at the head of which they have installed a leader that has been publicly recognized as an agent of the CIA?
The colonial operation that was carried out in Cuba at the end of the 19th century with the intervention and military occupation, and at the beginning of the 20th century with the creation of a pseudo-republic and the famous Platt Amendment forced into the Constitution, seems almost decent compared with what is being done in Iraq.
Perhaps the most shameful aspect of this is reflected not in the conduct of the officials of the empire, but in the officials of other great countries, that have constantly proclaimed themselves to be defenders of democracy and human rights and are now silent or assume a position of complicity with the new lies about the transition to sovereignty.
Most of them have abstained from criticizing the torture in the jails of Abu Gharib, an attitude which they have practiced for many years with the Palestinians in Israel. Their refusal to support the resolution presented by the Cuban government at the latest Human Rights Commission in Geneva calling for an investigation into what happened to the prisoners at the base of Guantánamo, once again unmasks them. With what moral right do they presume to give classes on human rights to others?
A good part of the “major media” that has, as perhaps never before, exposed the manipulative character and outright lies used during the preparation for war, now helps the continuation of the farce. Will the media, in time, engage in self-criticism as the New York Times did recently, apologizing for having added to the lie and for having helped to create the American public opinion that war against Iraq was a necessity? What utter hypocrisy.
This “transition to sovereignty” manipulation and other aspects that comprise the extensive and complicated Resolution 1546 approved by the Security Council after much negotiation are framed within Washington’s plan to stop its slide towards defeat. The neo-fascist and pro-Zionist administration that is in the power in the United States conceived this war with the objective of consolidating hegemonic power in the next few decades:
- to seize the second largest petroleum reserve in the world;
- to position itself militarily in a territory strategically situated in the heart of the Middle East, with access to the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf, and which shares borders with two countries, Syria and Iran, whose governments Washington would like to destabilize and overthrow as being opponents to its interests.
- to neutralize by the force and through “democratic reforms” the Arab and Islamic opposition and, after reducing the Intifada in Palestine, to promote the interests of Israel in the region. This dominion would allow Washington to consolidate its great hegemonic power and to avoid the upsurge of powerful rivals in the next decades, an objective that seems to be shared by partisan interests, even though the operation has been executed by the most reactionary and fundamentalist nucleus of the Republican Party. But the reality in Iraq, the resistance and the patriotism of the Iraqi people, that the empire did not count on due to its arrogance y great power, has called into question the consummation of these plans.
For that reason, without giving up its overall objectives, Washington now urgently seeks UN cover and goes to “old Europe” offering the participation that it previously refused to grant, but without conceding the military command of the occupation, a decisive element of power.
The execution of the plan insists on “Iraq-izing” the internal fight, forming “authorities and military forces” to confront the revolt and the patriotic struggle of the people, who are persistently described as terrorist–another useless lie. The situation could now descend into a reduction of their ambitions, the lowest point of which might be the withdrawal of U.S. troops, although this end does not seem imminent.
On a recent trip to several Middle Eastern countries I was able to meet and converse with a number of leaders, intellectuals, deputies, and people of various political and religious beliefs, and I obtained a clearer view of the situation in Iraq and the zone, characterized by two fundamental elements: while the United States has a military presence and a power as never before and it maintains a strong influence and intimidation on many governments, the hatred towards the great power has also reached extreme levels and possibly no other geographic area in the world feels as much belligerence against Washington. A few weeks ago, in an interview granted to the newspaper Le Monde, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, someone who could hardly be suspected of maintaining an anti-American attitude said: “Never before has there been so much hatred against the United States in the region as there is now.”
The injustice and the abuse are what nourishes this popular feeling that necessarily express itself in revolt and this, in my opinion, will be what charts the future course of history. Although the theoreticians of the empire have proclaimed the end of history, the people will continue writing it.
The United States, as I have said, will not leave Iraq easily, but its military and political situation is delicate. Right now the U.S. is evaluating the shipment of another 15,000 more soldiers to augment the 150,000 already there, but it does not learn from history. In the second decade of the last century, the British army used more than half a million men to seize Mesopotamia and ended up withdrawing after suffering thousands of losses.
The fundamental characteristic of the war at the moment is that the occupiers are on the defensive, and the Resistance is more and more organized and effective and is the one that decides when and where to act. The occupation is precarious and where the American forces or its allies are not present, which is most of the country, there is no authority or the authority is that of the Resistance. It is evident that the forces of the occupation have been forced to withdraw, having lost the battles of Fallujah, Ramadi, Nayef, Kerbala, Kufa, Sadr City in Baghdad and other places that they don’t tell us about. We can suppose that are many liberated zones in Iraq where the Resistance exerts control.
The main freeway between Baghdad and the Jordanian border, a stretch of about 600 km, is a daily scene of operations by the Resistance, which controls it by sections and frequently destroys the provisions that supply the armies of occupation. Something similar happens with the other important route, the no. 8, that begins at the Kuwaiti border in the south.
The United States and their allies in the war thought that with the occupation of the country they could quickly create a very lucrative business with petroleum and the reconstruction and use it to repay the expenses of the war and to make huge profits. It was an operation planned as a great investment whose recovery, immediate and abundant, was considered a certainty. This, which is not spoken of as much, is perhaps what is most causing them to feel that there is a crisis.
Before the war, the export capacity of Iraqi crude, which had deteriorated considerably because of the 10-year blockade, reached at the most 2.8 million barrels a day. The average was lower, but since the occupation, they have not reached even half that and at times, like in the last weeks, it has been reduced to around 500,000 barrels.
The main pipeline, which goes through Turkey to the port of Ceyhan, has been paralyzed most of the time due to sabotage, and the pipelines that go south towards the Gulf have also undergone frequent damage. The Resistance has prioritized these vulnerable targets.
The actions against the technicians employed by the huge corporations of the reconstruction–many of whom have left–and the general insecurity that exists in the country is creating unforeseen problems for the occupiers’ plans to gain economic possession of other important resources. Far from obtaining great profits, the expenses of the war are immense and continue to grow.
In the political sphere, the resistance to the occupation is very generalized, even among sectors that apparently do not maintain a belligerent attitude. The United States even distrusts, and with reason, the Iraqis who are part of the institutions created by Washington. Its great dilemma is that it does not have base of support within the population.
Approximately two months ago the Iraqi National Constitutional Congress was publicly celebrated in Baghdad, with more than 500 delegates representing political, social, and religious organizations from all over the country. Among the participants were nationalistic Arabs and Kurds, Socialists, patriots of various stripe, Sunni, Shiite and Christian, as well as members of a split of the Communist Party called “blocks.” The Shiite clergyman Moqtada Sadr sent a message of greetings.
All to them proclaimed themselves against the foreign occupation in what could be considered a kind of broad front that could play a positive role of unity and resistance in the future. The celebration of this event also gives an idea of what little control the North American government exerts in the Middle Eastern country.
The latest manipulative lie of the empire, spread once again with insistence in the past few days by the major media, is to try to identify the patriotic Resistance with the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda. Washington wants to show that it was correct to attack Iraq because of the connections with terrorists who attacked the Twin Towers on September 11, although those connections were denied recently by the American Governmental Commission that investigated that event.
The clumsy attempt to clean up these big lies has a lot to do with the election process in November and the aspirations of George W. Bush to be reelected and prolong the power of the neo-fascist and pro-Zionist nucleus that surrounds him.
The possibility should not be exclude that, in order to support this latest vile trick, groups of American and Israeli Special Forces are acting in Iraq, organizing terrorist actions against the civilian populace and certain religious sectors, to promote divisions, internal fights, and conflicts in order to create rejection of the resistance and to prevent the consolidation of national unity against occupation. Criminal actions that point in this direction and correspond to this logic are happening.
Lying as a policy is a characteristic of fascism. To denounce it without rest is our duty.