OPINION

War on Iraq

Contributing Editor Air Marshal (Retd) AYAZ AHMED KHAN discusses the possible US action.

With the war threats and torrent of ultimatums pouring from the White House is the huge preparation for war and the pre-war diplomatic effort to align the world behind the United States punitive invasion of Iraq. Shackled by stiff sanctions, Iraq poses no threat in physical terms to the United States or to the West. Baghdad rejects allegations of possessing or making weapons of mass destruction. But President George Bush and the hawks around him specially Vice President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfled and even Secretary of State Collin Powel have been drumming up Saddam Hussain’s demonic nature, use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in the past, and possession of chemical, biological weapons and intention to acquire nuclear weapon capability. US and UK claim to have proof that the Saddam regime is in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s) and is also engaged in the development of nuclear weapons. The Saddam regime denies such allegations, has agreed to implement United Nations resolutions, enabling UN weapon inspectors unhindered entry and search to prove or disprove such US allegations. The Iraqi regime has even accepted the humiliation search of the eight Presidential palaces by the UN weapons inspectors. But nothing seems to satisfy the US, UK and Israel. The super hawks have failed to carry the world, and US sponsored about invasion of Iraq has been rejected by a no vote of 58 out of 60 UN member states. But President Bush, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Ariel Sharon remain adamant that the Saddam regime be replaced by military force.
It is in order to find out the reason for such schizophrenia in the Bush Establishment against Saddam Hussian and the Iraqi regime. It is worth finding out why Saddam Hussian is considered a threat to US Security interests? The answer lies in Saddam Hussian’s mind set. According to Amir Taheri the celebrated Arab political analyst, Saddam Hussain’s political vision is the real threat to US and Western interests. What is Saddam’s vision? “Saddam Hussain’s vision is based on the basic assumption that there is a single Arab nation stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian ocean”. Saddam firmly believes in pan-Arabism and that is the real threat to Western interests. He is the only Arab leader capable of settling scores with Israel, for its barbarities and genocide of Palestinian Arabs. Amir Taheri states that, “At different times, history which determines the fate of nations chooses a leader with vision to assume leadership. As things stand today, it is the Iraqi part of the Arab nation that has been chosen by history to assume leadership.” American, Israeli and British intellectuals and politicians are aware that their designs for the oil in the oil rich Arab lands will be challenged if Saddam Hussian has a say in the region. This is the reason why Washington, Tel-Aviv and London want Saddam Hussian out of the way. They want to exploit the Arab oil wealth unhindred.
To develop and modernize Iraq, Saddam Hussian imported manpower from Egypt, Palestine and other Arab countries. To build Iraqi infrastructure Saddam realized in 1990, that massive amount of money lies next door in Kuwait. His empire building projects needed huge amounts. Saddam in private often described Kuwait, “as a bank safe, not a state.” By 1990 Saddam Hussain envisioned that,” It is time that history chose the Arab’s once again to lead the world. The only “branch” of the Arab nation capable of fulfilling “the will of history”, is Iraq. So Iraq must be fully Arabized ,” even by genocide against the Kurds-like Hitler”; and Iraq must acquire the principal source of Arab wealth: oil. And that means either the direct conquest of oil rich Gulf states, or their indirect domination”. His vision and ambition were and are in conflict with US-UK ambitions and motives. Thus, Saddam Hussain is the enemy number one of the West, and the most dangerous man on earth. Saddam knew that his pan-Arab vision will lead to war.And he has been at war ever since he envisioned such pan-Arab idealism. He was defeated in the 1991Gulf War, but not fully. Now war is again being thrust on him by the US-UK combine as a final solution in pursuit of exploitive motives, especially control of Iraqi and Arab oil resources.
The US-UK coalition envisages a blitzkrieg operation based on pre-emptive air offensive. The key elements of the planned air offensive are carrier base and land based strike and combat aircraft and carrier based Tomahawk Cruise missiles. Advances in aviation, electronic and missile technology, incorporated in the new weapon systems will be used to neutralize Iraqi command, control and communication systems, destroy airfields, especially runways,underground concrete and hardened complexes, radars, SAM and Ack-Ack and armour, and mechanized Army concentrations. POL storage, power houses, electricity distribution centers, and road infrastructure especially bridges. Baghdad will be captured and a military government installed.
Six aircraft carrier groups are planned to be deployed in the Gulf for the massive air and Cruise missile invasion of already devastated Iraq. Two US Navy Carrier Battle Groups comprising aircraft carriers Abraham Lincoln and George Washington are already on station. Both are at a striking distance of Iraq. Abraham Lincoln has been equipped with three squadrons of new F 18 F Super Hornets. The third aircraft carrier USN Constellation with 72 latest strike aircraft abroad will head for the Gulf on November 02, 2002. This latest powerful carrier group will greatly enhance US Navy’s air offensive capabilities in the Gulf. The 88,000 ton Constellation will be on station in mid November. It is sticking to the schedule worked out nine months ago. The US Naval attack plans have not been accelerated in view of the war rhetoric pouring out of the White House. Naval war plans for a major combined naval-air offensive could not be changed on the whims of President Bush. The USN buildup is progressing steadily according the dictates of the planned short swift air and naval war.
A fourth aircraft carrier, the Harry S Truman is to leave its home port in Norfolk Virginia for the Gulf in early December. The fifth the powerful USS Nimtz based in San Diego is expected to reach the Gulf by late December 2002. And USS Kitty Hawk presently in Yokosuka Japan will be the sixth aircraft carrier, whose air power will reinforce the massive offensive airpower of US Air Force and US Navy to crush almost non existant Iraqi military resistance. The movements of US Navy’s aircraft carrier battle groups are being tracked by several US research groups. Citing security concerns a spokeswoman for the US Navy’s San Diego based Third Fleet , Commander Jacqueline Yost confirmed that the Constellation Battle Group had begun final pre-deployment war games off the US West Coast, and would soon head out for the Persian Gulf. This US Navy buildup in the Gulf threatens the security not only of Iraq, but of all regional states, including Iran, Pakistan and India. The huge shadow of US naval power being augmented by a British Carrier battle group over the sea lanes in the region, will completely change the strategic balance in favour of Washington, Israel and London after the Saddam regime is forcibly replaced. The warnings for caution from Moscow, Paris, Beijing, Berlin and Islamic and Arab countries are being rudely disregarded. In the latest statement issued from the US Department of State on Friday October 17, spokesman Richard Boucher said that, “The United States reserved the right to take military action against Iraq at any time if President George W Bush decides it is in the interests of US national security”. This US belligerence and bellicosity seen in the backdrop of US military buildup in the Gulf, threats of war and total support for Israeli barbarities is a recipe for prolonged West-Muslim divide and conflict.
The US led Coalition offensive will be spear headed by USAF, USN F-15, F-16, F-17, F-18 F multi-role strike aircraft, Royal Air Force Tornadoes and Euro-Fighters are likely to support Coalition air and land offensives. The land offensive to be launched after Iraqi air and land military capabilities are pulverized and destroyed, will be led by US and British Marine divisions and armoured formations. US First Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters at camp Pandleton, including high ranking officers, intelligence experts and logistic planners are leaving soon for Combined Exercises along the Iraqi border in Kuwait. Senior Allied staff Officers from NATO Army Command in Germany will join the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Kuwait. The US Marine Corps of two to three divisions will be supported initially by a British Army Marine Division and an armoured Brigade. Several US Armored divisions and Brigades already deployed in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and Oman will be deployed for the land offensives. As the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are totally opposed to the invasion of Iraq, it is yet to be seen as to how the US-UK land and air offensives against Iraq will be launched. Air attacks from USN aircraft carriers do not have to violate Saudi and Kuwaiti air space. But land based aircraft taking off form USAF airfields in Saudi Arabia will violate Saudi airspace. Considering the tense Saudi-US relations such illegal flights are sure to create diplomatic rumpus between Washington and Riyadh.
USN aircraft carrier Constellation based aircraft and accompanying war ships have already started two weeks of war exercises off the South Californian coast. The F-18 and Harriers are practicing bombing missions in conjunctions with Tomahawk Cruise Missile strikes. These war exercises will conclude by October 30, 2002. Constellation carries five thousand Marines and sailors and 72 combat aircraft. Brigadier General Andrew Davies the Marine Corps chief spokesman said that,” The Marine Corps wants to be absolutely ready for all contingencies and is fully prepared to participate in exercise “Internal Look”, being launched to meet the Iraqi contingency. Central Command Headquarter has been set up in Qatar under the command of General Tomy Frank C-in-C Central Command. The move of higher command to Qatar and holding of war exercise “Internal Look” in Kuwait are indicators that preparations for invasion of Iraq are in an advanced stage.
In an article titled “OPERATION ENDLESS DEPLOYMENT”, military analysts William D Hartung, Frida Berrigan and Michelle Ciarrocca state that, “The war on Iraq is part of the larger US plan for global dominance. This article published by The Nation LA and some West Coast dailies is explicit that , “The Bush Administrations march towards war in Iraq is dangerous, and should be opposed. But the preparations for Gulf war II are part of a larger plan for the significant expansion of US global military presence since the end of the Cold war. The Pentagon and the Department of Defense are determined to maintain access to the rapidly growing network of military facilities it has built or refurbished in the Caucus, Persian Gulf and South Asia, for decades to come, long after George W Bush and Saddam Hussain have passed from the global stage”.
“Under the guise of fighting “terrorists and tyrants”, US military has built, upgraded and expanded military facilities in Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, Bulgaria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Pentagon has authorized and expanded training missions or open ended troop deployments in Djibouti, Philippines and Georgia. Access has been negotiated to airfields in Kazakstan. The United States is engaged in major military exercises involving thousands of US military personnel in Jordan, Kuwait and India. (The writers forgot that ten thousand US military personnel are already stationed in Afghanistan). Thousands of tons of military equipment has been stock piled in Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf stations, including Israel, Jordan, Kuwait and Qatar. Discussions are underway for access to facilities in Yemen and establishing intelligence gathering installations to monitor “terrorist” activities in Sudan, and Somalia. The port of Aden is strategically located, and US Navy operations from Aden will help control of the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean. Through secretive arrangements the US has a substantial military presence of sixty thousand (60,000) troops in the Gulf, Caucus and South Asia. Twenty five thousand US troops are already poised to serve as the first wave of US invasion of Iraq. Several thousand more are on the way. The US plan clearly is for flexible military infrastructure to initiate hot wars from the Middle East, the Gulf, the Caucus and East Asia”.
The Bush Administration is now weighing an Israeli proposal to disarm Iraqi missiles which could be launched against Israel. By joint US -Israeli operation in the western Iraqi desert, Israel plans to disarm Iraq before it strikes. The Israeli plan was presented to President Bush by Prime Minister Aerial Sharon during his meetings with the US President. The meetings held during the third week of October 2002, were attended by senior White House, Pentagon and State department officials. While assuring Israel that the United States would make maximum effort to reduce any threat to Israel from Iraq, the US sees the logic in the Israeli plan i.e if successful it would eliminate the prospect of Israeli nuclear retaliatory attacks on Iraq. The Israeli plan would use Israeli intelligence, and US special forces. In the 1991 war, 39 Iraqi SCUD missiles had landed on Israeli territory. This time, Sharon has threatened to take “proper steps”
i.e. nuclear retaliation in case of Iraqi SCUD attacks. Baghdad claims that all its SCUDS were destroyed by UN weapon inspectors. The UN weapon inspectors will destroy any remaining SCUDS. The world does not agree with US, UK and Israel that Saddam Hussain is a threat to the world. That out of sixty, only two states ie Israel and UK support US policies of military aggression, is proof enough, that the real menace to a peaceful world order is America under President George W Bush. Dr Mahathir Mohamad the highly respected Prime Minister of Malaysia has correctly warned that US attack on Iraq will further sharpen West-Muslim divide. US led invasion will create a major crisis for the entire region. The divisions between the Arab-Islamic world and the West will become unbridgeable. American plan to dominate the region by military power will neither contain terrorism, nor fascism. Infact after the unjust invasion, US will be labeled as a fascist super power. It is hoped that US rulers will think coolly and rationally before taking the plunge into a war against Iraq, which is bound to unleash terrorism, disorder and instability in many countries especially in the regional states.

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