“In Iraq we meant to render futile both the theory and the practice of terrorism; what we have done instead is to endow it with diplomatic credentials, making credible the policies of blind assassination.”
Lewis H. Lapham; Harper’s
In a long line of American puppets, the name Ayad Allawi figures to loom large. In just a matter of weeks the new Prime Minister of Iraq has accommodated his US paymasters with a zeal that must leave the dapper Hamid Karzai wondering if his job is safe.
In his first days after taking office, Allawi was called on to endorse the bombing of an alleged “safe house” in Falluja; an incident that took the lives of 26 Iraqis including women and children. None of the dead were identified as “foreign fighters”, although every major newspaper in America reiterated the Pentagon’s view that the occupants were colleagues of Abu Musab al Zarqawi.
The bombing of Falluja occurred just three days after the UN was cajoled into signing the Iraqi Sovereignty Resolution. During negotiations at the UN, the Bush Administration made it look as though they were taking a more “reasoned approach” to security issues.
That was not the case.
The military simply suspended its major operations to make it appear as though a fundamental shift in policy had taken place. This eschewed the very real possibility that the members of the Security Council would have rejected the resolution outright.
Instead, the Security Council approved the resolution, establishing the US as the “UN Multinational Force”, and the bombing of Falluja resumed three days later.
It was a deception that the “more seasoned” members of the Council should have anticipated.
The ex-CIA operative Allawi expressed his enthusiasm for the bombing, saying that he supported the action as a means of quashing the “terrorist” operatives in post-war Iraq.
We will “annihilate the terrorist groups,” boasted Allawi.
There have been six more bombings in Falluja producing equally dubious results. To date, no “foreign fighters” have been positively identified in Falluja.
The rule of thumb seems to be, that wherever an errant bomb drops on innocent Iraqis (be it a wedding party or a Mosque) it immediately becomes a “legitimate target” in the war on terror.
Just yesterday (Sunday, July 18) US forces bombed another “alleged” safe house in Falluja killing an estimated 14 Iraqis including women and children.
Only the present occupants of the White House and the American media can be expected to defend such slaughter as justifiable.
The increasing death toll of Iraqis attests to the fact that neither the US Military nor the Bush Administration is particularly bothered the prospect of more dead Muslims.
Nor does it seem to weigh on the conscience of Iraq’s “hand picked” P.M., Allawi. Perhaps Allawi’s tenure in Saddam’s Gestapo (the Mukabarat) hardened him to the pangs of remorse that we usually associate with the killing innocent people. Or maybe it was his involvement in a 1990s terrorist bombing campaign in Baghdad (trying to destabilize the Saddam regime) that deadened him to the loss life. (In one incident he was directly connected to the bombing of school bus.)
Whatever it was, he has quickly established his bone fides for ruthlessness with a passion that has impressed his employers in Washington.
Allawi has become the cat’s paw of US policy in Iraq; the continued aggression of the military is being fashioned to appear as though Allawi is “calling the shots”.
Iraqis are not taken in by this ruse. They are well aware of the regions’ colonial history and the subsequent establishing of an “Arab facade”; the puppet governments that provide a mask to disguise the workings of the imperial machine.
The Allawi experiment is no different.
For example, consider the recent detention of 500 criminal suspects who were arrested at Allawi’s behest. The action was taken for one of two reasons; either Allawi has taken a sudden interest in crime in Baghdad or Rumsfeld wants to continue rounding up insurgent suspects without drawing further attention to his real motives. (Following the Abu Ghraib scandal, the military must be as discreet as possible in their random dragnets. Never the less, they will persist in detaining large numbers of innocent Iraqis until the resistance is crushed.) The justification of “fighting crime” provides a useful screen for the real aims of the Defense Dept. chieftans.
Similarly, Allawi’s announcement of an “Order for Safeguarding National Security”, the equivalent of Martial law, is part of a broader US strategy to apply maximum force whenever it chooses.
Even the name of the new law (Safeguarding National Security) smacks of the euphemisms that are churned out of American neoliberal “think tanks” on a regular basis. It is just more of the same old Bush “doublespeak”, invoked to conceal the complete suspension of civil liberties.
(The law provides for “random searches, seizures, closures, eavesdropping, curfews–all tools of the modern police state–are now in the hands of the small and unelected Baghdad leadership; and in the fine print, the establishment of a half-dozen new security agencies, each with a name, acronym and marching orders reminiscent of the decidedly undemocratic Mideast norm.” Mitch Potter)
The law enshrines the principle that in “liberated” Iraq, citizens have been effectively stripped of their personal freedom.
George Orwell could not have imagined a more dismal state of affairs.
Incredibly, in the same week that Allawi announced his intention to enact Martial law, he also unveiled his plan to develop a “state security apparatus” to deal with the insurgency.
No one in Iraq has any misgivings about what this really means.
Allawi started his political career as a Ba’ath Party enforcer and gradually worked his way up to become a senior official in the Iraqi secret police (the Mukabarat.) Eventually, he was bound to try to reconstitute the feared secret police that kept the Iraqi people under Saddam’s iron grip for decades.
Not surprisingly, this was already being done by the CIA and Dept of Defense prior to Allawi’s rise to power. (Z Magazine has reported that US intelligence was reenlisting members of Saddam’s Mukabarat to respond to the growing insurgency.)
The Bush Administration has no qualms about resurrecting the “primary instrument of Iraqi state terror”, as long as it is employed in the greater interests of continued American domination.
Again, Allawi provides nothing more than a convenient Iraqi face to a scheme that was well developed before he was ever appointed as Prime Minister.
This is the real meaning of Iraqi sovereignty; a curtain that hides the machinations of the American Imperium.
So far, Allawi has followed each of Washington’s edicts with unmitigated enthusiasm. His passion for his new position hasn’t been dimmed by the carnage he has authorized or by the constant threats to his life.
Apart from his utter loyalty to the Bush clan, Allawi has demonstrated his aptitude for the job in ways that are intangible. In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Paul McGeough tells of Allawi’s involvement in the murder of six alleged insurgents’ just days before he was handed over control of the interim government.
“The prisoners–handcuffed and blindfolded–were lined up against a wall in a courtyard adjacent to the maximum-security cell block in which they were held at the Al-Amariyah security centre, in the city’s south-western suburbs.”
“Informants told the Herald that Dr Allawi shot each young man in the head as about a dozen Iraqi policemen and four Americans from the Prime Minister’s personal security team watched in stunned silence.”
Was this the final indication that Allawi was worthy of a place at the Bush table?
Is there a more appropriate “initiation” into the world of gangland terror and political bloodletting than that described in McGeough’s article?
The occupants of the Oval Office must have felt heartened to know that they had enlisted another reliable member to their circle of murders and torturers.
MIKE WHITNEY can be reached at: [email protected]