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More than oil

You have to feel sorry for Iraqis

March 12, 2003
The iranian

With so many people talking about war on your site and elsewhere, I thought I should throw in my two cents as well. The anti-war movement often refers to this as the oil war. The pro-war movement has a whole array of bizarre explanations for this ranging from freeing Iraqis from the yoke of Saddam, fighting terrorism and fundamentalism and a lot of other stuff that don't quite add up.

I don't quite feel comfy cozy with either side of this story. As one of your writers wrote, America obviously has other means of guaranteeing its oil supplies. In fact, if it really wanted to get rid of Saddam, it probably could have pulled it off the same way they did in Iran and Chile and other places. Obviously, there is more here at stake than just oil.

As for the pro-war people, well, their argument rarely adds up. Yes, the people of Iraq deserve freedom and yes, it would be nice if tomorow Saddam was gone. However, when you go out to get your insurance, you usually do a background check and boy, if I do a background check on English and American policies in the last 200 years combined, I wouldn't exactly bet my life on the purity of their intentions and I wouldn't exactly see a rosy future after the war either.

To start it all off, America at the present moment rarely respects any treaty it signs. Under George W., it has withdrawn from everything raning from Kyoto to Disarmament to constantly breaking its NAFTA agreements with its neighbour and often ally, Canada. In 2001, it signed the "Democracy Clause" of Organization of Americas calling for support and respect for democratically elected governments in the continent.

Less than a year later, it publicly threw its support behind the coup leaders that had temporarily overthrown democratically elected Chavez in Venezuela. It has overthrown democratic or at least democratically inclined governments such as Allende and Mossadegh and has sponsored campaigns of death and destruction in central America in the 80s. It supports regimes like MObarak and the Saudi regime, all of which are brutal to say the least. Its one dimensional support of Israel, has truly complicated the mideast situation.

There were also talks of democracy for Kuwait after 1991, but I am not sure whether there are any more democractic than they were before 1991. And as for Britain, well, should I say anymore? As for freedom and democracy, it is true. In the west, we do live in much much much more free and democratic societies. But let's not get carried away too much. That freedom is also limited as post-9/11 or the McCarthy era in US showed.

I think the stock market collpase and fiasco of 2000, clearly showed how powerless people truly are even in our democracies and who truly calls the shots, as afterall, with billions of dollars lost, all we got were a few cosmetic arrests which probably experienced the revolving door prison policy. I think where the pro-war movements fails is that the problem is further complicated with the situation in Iraq itself.

Kurdistan has for all intents and purposes been an independent country for the past 10 years. And will most likely seek independence afterwards. Many of the leaders of this free and democractic Iraq, are now in Iran, so you have to wonder about the depth of their democratic intentions as well. And Mr. Chalabi doesn't exactly come across as the most trustworthy of people either.

Many people in Iraq have suffered under the hands of Baath party, and divisions are deep within the country. I can only see a campaign of terror, this time directed at anyone associated with Baath Party and then, many years of frictions and instability amongst the various factions of Iraqi society. So, I think the whole pro-war argument doesn't really stick, even if you try to glue it together. I personally think that there is more at stake here than just oil or freedom.

I believe this is the battle between Europe and America over the domination of an area that is deemed strategic to both. With China emerging as a superpower all on its own and Europe building fortress Europe, the battle lines are beginning to be drawn. I think what we are witnessing is the change in alliances and allegiances and their structures as we did nearly 100 years ago.

You could sense this, watching French President visiting the old colony, Algeria. Not too long ago, Algeria announced that it wanted to make huge military expenditures and United States seemed to be the country most likely to provide all the weaponary. But after the historic visit last week, don't be surprised that France takes over thtat market.

The presenece of George Bush and his reactionary government has also provided an opportune moment for Europe to establish itself as a power to reckon with as there is not a day that goes by that Dubya and his cronies do not alienate another ally or foe even further. But at the end, you have to feel sorry for Iraqis. They have gone through quite a bit and that seems to be only half of the road. And with the instability that this road will bring upon Iraqis, don't be surprised that it also engulfs the neighbouring Iran, sooner or later.

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