Monday, March 31, 2003
Avi Shalim (professor of international relations at Oxford University) in his latest article 'Liberation' is not freedom in observer writes
The fierce resistance that British and American troops have encountered must have come as a very unpleasant surprise to Tony Blair and George Bush. They assumed Saddam Hussein was so unpopular and isolated that the Iraqi people would welcome the troops as liberators and help them to overthrow his regime. But the popular uprising has not materialized.However much they detest Saddam's regime, a great many Iraqis view the coalition forces as invaders rather than liberators. Blair and Bush seem unaware, or only dimly aware; of the crucial role Iraqi history plays in shaping popular attitudes to the conflict. Iraqis are not an inert mass whose sentiments can be switched on and off to serve the agenda of outside powers
Iraqis are a proud and patriotic people with a long collective memory. Britain and America feature as anything but benign in this collective memory. Blair has repeatedly emphasised the moral argument behind the resort to force to depose an evil dictator. Over the past century, however, Britain rarely occupied the high moral ground in relation to Iraq. The US has even less of a claim on the trust and goodwill of the Iraqi people after its calamitous failure to support the popular insurrection against Saddam and his henchmen in March 1991. .
…It was abundantly clear Saddam was a monster in human form. Britain did not manufacture this monster, but it turned a blind eye to the savage brutality of his regime. Britain also knew Saddam had chemical and biological weapons because Western companies sold him all the ingredients necessary.In March 1988, Saddam turned on his own people, killing up to 5,000 Kurds with poison gas in Halabja. Attacking unarmed civilians with chemical weapons was unprecedented. If ever there was a time for humanitarian intervention in Iraq, it was 1988. Yet no Western government even suggested intervention. Neither was an arms embargo imposed on Iraq...
On 28 February 1991, Papa Bush gave the order to cease fire. Britain was informed of this decision but not consulted. The declared aims of Operation Desert Storm had been achieved: the Iraqi army had been ejected from Kuwait and the Kuwaiti government was restored. But Saddam kept his deadly grip on power. After the ceasefire, Bush encouraged the Iraqi people to rise up, only to betray them when they did so. When the moment of truth arrived, Bush recoiled from pursuing his policy to its logical conclusion. His advisers told him Kurdish and Shia victories in their bids for freedom may lead to the dismemberment of Iraq. Behind this theory lay the pessimistic view that Iraq was not suited for democracy and that Sunni minority rule was the only formula capable of keeping it in one piece. Once again, the Iraqis were the victims of cruel geopolitics.
In calling for Saddam's overthrow, Bush Snr evidently had in mind a military coup, a reshuffling of Sunni gangsters in Baghdad, rather than establishing a freer and more democratic political order. As a result of his moral cowardice, he snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Saddam stayed in power and continued to torment his people, while Kuwait remained a feudal fiefdom.This is a very fact that Iraqis’ experience of oppression by Saddam and betrayal by the Western powers, it is only natural that ordinary Iraqis prefer to let the two sides fight it out among themselves. Iraqis mistrust the intentions of the West, and a history of failures supports their attitude. What many westerners see is that their leaders are going to liberate Iraq. But they do not know that Iraqis hate both sides equally! They won’t thank coalition forces for their help. Iraqis have not invited US and Britain to liberate them, as they did not ask them to support Saddam. Iraqis know that West has come there because of their own interests. It is predictable that the real liberate and democratic state will be a threat for US foreign policy. Shiahs are more than 60% of population. US believe that they are real threat for foreign interest since they have independent structure. They follow their religious leaders. So they can be dangerous. They have shown that a Sunni government is better option. Also independent Kurdistan territory is dangerous for Turkey a secular state that can survive with army generals support.!!. I think western politicians believe that the Democracy has different meaning in Middle East. West is honest and they know what they do. They will install a particular democratic system, which should be kept by force since Iraqis do not know what is good for them. They are immature. Modern type of Patriarchy!!.
(posted by Iman)
Posted:Monday, March 31, 2003 |
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