Reconstructing Iraq Part II

With all the difficulties that Iraq faces with it’s reconstruction don’t
look to the corporate media to give us any significant analysis. The good
folks at Foreign Policy in Focus have just published a very detailed look
at what Iraq can expect and what role the US might play. Local news
agencies are gushing over the deployment of MSU president McPherson to
Iraq where he is being charged with the economic reconstruction of Iraq. Thank
goodness student groups at MSU have something to say about the “integrity”
of MR. McPherson. On the heals of Bush’s visit to Dearborn, where he made
assurances that the US would not occupy Iraq, Jane’s Defense weekly
reported that both the US & the UK are making plans for permanent military
bases.

 

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Continuing Civilian Casualties and International Law

While Bush prepares to declare combat “over” in Iraq, civilians are still being killed and dying. Whether it be from unexploded munitions, people being shot at protests and checkpoints, or people dying as a result of inadequate medical facilities due to the lack of medicine (as a result of restrictions from years of economic sanctions and/or no real plan for humanitarian aid by the Bush administration), civilian casualties continue to build. Some Iraqis have decided to pursue a war crimes trial with the International Criminal Court against General Tommy Franks. Additionally, local activists continue a campaign against U.S. Representative Vern Ehlers for his role in emphatically supporting devastating sanctions on Iraq and the military action, with a trial of Representative Ehlers scheduled for May 3rd.

 

 

Mainstream Criticism of Fox News, Baghdad’s Oil Ministry, and Playing Cards

Here is some criticism of the US media’s pro-war bias from two mainstream sources, the director of the BBC and Ted Turner. Both of them single out Rupert Murdoch and his Fox News Network. Turner refers to Murdoch as a “warmonger” while BBC director-general Greg Dyke says “For the health of our democracy, it’s vital we don’t follow the path of many American networks.” Meanwhile, NBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield rips the coverage at her own network, NBC.

 

 

 

According to Aljazeera, the U.S. military has barred access to the offices of the Oil Ministry in Baghdad as well as booby trapping a Baghdad power station. Could it be that the US has plans other than letting the Iraqis run there own oil industry?

 

Here is a parody of the “most wanted” playing cards. Enjoy!

Robert Fisk and the War in Iraq

Before the occupation, Robert Fisk provided some of the most insightful commentary and reporting on what was actually happening in Iraq. Unlike the majority of reporters from the United States, Fisk was not “embedded” with a military unit that restricted what he could report, rather he was able to move with relative freedom as an independent reporter in Baghdad. He was recently interviewed by Amy Goldman of Democracy Now! and the interview is highly recommended.

Enter Jay Garner

Former General Jay Garner has arrived in Iraq on what the Pentagon is calling “a humanitarian mission to rebuild Iraq.” Garner, who was Reagan’s main man on the Star Wars plan is currently the President of Sy Coleman, a weapons manufacturer which provides technical support for missile systems currently in use in the Iraq war. Check out the great website called Stop Jay Garner. Speaking of weapons MSNBC actually has posted a great resource on their website that exposes Israel’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. For those of you who didn’t get enough Earth Day info yesterday read Mark Engler’s piece on Militarism and environmental destruction from the 1991 war in Iraq to the present.

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Iraqis Begin to Speak

Their words are slowy filtering into the mainstream press – they do not want the United States occupying their country and they are willing to protest the occupying forces (see “Carving Up the New Iraq for an excellent guide to the military and economic occupiers). The US government is of course claiming that these protests are “the result of liberation,” but one has to ask how long they will persist in the delusional belief that the Iraqi people want them or their installed provisional government in power. Finally, as if the world was not already suspicious enough of the United States intentions, the United States is considering building an oil pipeline in conquered Iraq to Israel.

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The Rhetoric Against Syria Continues

This weekend as President Bush stated that Syria was “getting the message that they should not harbor Baath Party officials,” the United States continued to accuse Syria of posessing weapons of mass destruction. The emphasis on Syria shows even more hypocrisy on the part of the United States foreign policy, as Israel also posesses weapons of mass destruction (yet retains the support of the United States) while Syria has also recently proposed a UN resolution that would make the entire Middle East (including Israel) a WMD-free zone. However, this goes against the wishes of many neo-conservatives, including some senior administration officials, who released a report three years ago calling for the use of force to disarm Syria.

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And the Winner Is…

The State Department announced today that Bechtel Corp. won the contract for rebuilding Iraqi infrastructure. With a Board of Trustees that includes former Reaganite Secretary of State George Shultz and others heavily involved in oil business, if it is “business as usual” for the Bechtel Corp. the terror may continue for a long time to come for the Iraqi people.

Finally, while it is no surprise, the “mobile weapons labs” that were “uncovered” earlier this week were not used to produce WMDs.

 

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As the Occupation Continues…

As the United States’ occupation of Iraq continues, we are seeing US companies gaining contract after contract for rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure, resulting in what will be the privitization of what were formerly government services. Moreover, this push towards privitization is being assisted by none other than Fadhil Chalabi of the Iraqi National Congress, an exile group that is being considered by the United States for the future government in Iraq. Chalabi has also been seen recently at the staged toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, showing that he is no stranger to the United States. While the US government continues to applaud the occupation, members of the Iraqi Peace Team tell a different story.

Finally, while it is no surprise, the “mobile weapons labs” that were “uncovered” earlier this week were not used to produce WMDs.

 

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Iraq, Syria and Free Speech

Despite the Pentagon’s claim that the war is about over, we should not take our eyes off of Iraq. Author Milan Rai cautions us on the possibilty of an impending humanitarian crisis. Local news agencies have been
reporting on the “Future of Iraq” meetings that are taking place in Mosul, but the French press has reported that not all Iraqi’s are happy about this. They reported that 20,000 Iraqis came to Mosul to protest what they believe to be a US occupation. Middle East scholar Stphen Zunes provides us with some excellent talking points on Syria and the Washington Post reported that the producer of a miniseries on Hitler for CBS was fired for stating that the use of fear-based politics in the US was dangerous.

 

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