The invasion has been completed and the occupation of Iraq by the US and
UK has begun.
Looking back, it is quite interesting to see that most of what I, and
many others, predicted has indeed come to pass. Perhaps the biggest surprise
is that there have been no real surprises.
For example, in my Jan 19 notes, I wrote:
Currently, it is suddenly an "issue" that there are no "weapons of mass destruction" to be found in Iraq, and the Blair government is even having to face a certain amount of pressure about its manipulation of "intelligence". But there was overwhelming evidence before the war that Iraq had destroyed all forbidden weapons. It was simply that our press and politicians refused to examine and present this evidence, and refused to draw the necessary conclusion, which was that Iraq was no longer in conflict with UN resolutions and that there was no case, either for sanctions, or for invasion. Since the invasion is now complete, and Iraq's resources are secure in the hands of the old and new imperialist powers, it becomes suddenly permissible to raise this issue. This is how our democracy functions, it seems. In an extreme case, it is permissible to raise facts which are uncomfortable for the ruling elite, but only when they are no longer of any practical consequence.
- The main motivation for the war is clearly control of oil reserves;
- The issue of weapons of mass destruction is a transparent figleaf for the real aims of the war. There is convincing evidence that all chemical and biological weapons have already been destroyed. Blair and Bush know this and are lying to the public.
- Iraq is a country ruined by a combination of an odious government and brutal sanctions, and does not pose any conceivable threat to populations in the US and UK, which could justify a war of self-defense. Even if the regime is hiding some weapons of mass destruction, rigorous monitoring readily ensures that it cannot use them. The Saddam regime knows that using a WMD against the USA would precipitate nuclear retaliation and utter destruction.Ê The whole issue is nonsense.
The only meaningful argument for the war against Iraq, in my view, is that replacement of the Hussein regime by almost anything else will have immediate positive effects for the majority of the people of Iraq (but see notes). I also feel that the Western war planners are probably right and that the war will be won relatively quickly, although there will presumably be a civilian deathtoll of many thousands during the fight for Baghdad, and perhaps tens of thousands caused by the expected crisis for food and water during the months afterwards.This seems also to have been a reasonably good prediction. The verified civilian deathtoll (rarely reported) is about 6000. Fortunately, the tens of thousands of deaths caused by a food and water crisis seem not have not materialized, so far. One factor is that Saddam gave the entire population a 6 month supply of rations before the war. Hopefully the prediction of tens of thousands of deaths through disease and starvation will continue to be false.
In Iraq, enforced "regime change" will be followed pretty surely by:
Of these predictions, one may now say:
- An islamic revolt, which will be brutally suppressed by the new Western-friendly government, or which even may succeed;
- Further impoverishment of the population, as the infrastructure, already destroyed by the previous war, decays and is destroyed further. Mass starvation may be a consequence;
- An attempt by the West to take over in Syria and Iran as well, further exacerbating the situation;
- A tremendous recruitment boost for moslem extremists and embittered terrorists everywhere;
- Provocations by Israel, in the calculation that complete turmoil in the region will act as a cover for it to expel the remaining Arab population, and realize the dream of a racially pure "Jewish state", extending up to the Jordan (and maybe even beyond).
- Installation of a new regime in Iraq which will probably also be a brutal dictatorship, not unlike Saddam's (see notes).
- An Islamic revolt may well happen. Certainly there is a massive Islamic mobilization in the country.
- Mass impoverishment is undeniable. Mass starvation has held off, so far.Ê
- There are clearly large elements of the US adminstration who intend to proceed to an invasion of Iran and Syria. Colin Powell has explicitly warned both of these countries.Ê
- It is too early to judge how the war has influenced terrorist recruitment. Let's hope for the best.Ê
- Israeli provocations. This did not happen fortunately (at least nothing more than the usual scale of killing a few tens of people a week, including children).Ê
- The nature of the new Iraqi regime is not yet known. All we do know, so far, is that the US will adminster Iraq for 1 year, and then "appoint" an Iraqi government.Ê
Back to the Iraq notes.
I welcome debate! I will try to respond to emails as soon as I can.