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Traitors, Charlatans, or Patriots? Meet Iranian Ahmad Chalabis, Ayad Allawis, Curveballs, and the Separatists. Part I: Lessons of Iraq War

By Muhammad Sahimi

  

Introduction

 

Many important developments, that have taken place since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, have shed much light on Iran's democratic and antidemocratic groups and political activists and where they stand with regards to Iran's future. Some of the most important of these developments are as follows:

 

(1) Failure of Mr. Mohammad Khatami, Iran's former President, in advancing his reform agenda during his second term, which began right before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

 

(2) Invasion of Afghanistan by the U.S. and its allies in the Fall of 2001 which, with considerable help from Mr. Khatami's government, toppled the Taliban government in Kabul.

 

(3) The infamous "axis-of-evil" speech by President Bush in early 2002, after President Khatami's government had made extremely important contributions to the downfall of the Taliban, and formation of a national unity government in Afghanistan [1].

 

(4) The illegal invasion of Iraq in March 2003, and its continuing occupation. The invasion was illegal, because it was against international laws and did not have the United Nations Security Council approval.

 

(5) The war crimes at Abu Ghraib, Falluja, Ramadi, Haditha, Anbar, and elsewhere, the ongoing carnage and civil war in Iraq, and the quagmire that Iraq has become for the U.S. We will come back to this shortly.

 

(6) The rise of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a radical and reactionary figure,to the presidency of the Iran.

 

(7) The resurgence of the Taliban in Afghanistan who have taken effective control of important regions in southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan, to the extend that the Government of President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan was forced to sign a peace treaty with them.

 

(8) The war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in summer 2006 that resulted in the effective victory of Hezbollah [2], as Israel could not achieve a single objective of its war of aggression (after Hezbollah's initial raid into Israel). Israel used the full might of its powerful military, destroyed much of Lebanon's infrastructure, killed over 1000 civilians (the vast majority of whom women, children, and old men), and intentionally bombed southern Lebanon with cluster bombs, especially over the last 48 hours of the war (when it had become clear that there would soon be a cease-fire), leaving at least a million bomblets behind, with the goal of preventing southern Lebanon from becoming inhabitable again [3].

 

The war was supposed to be a preview of the future US military attacks on Iran, but proved disastrous for both the US and Israel. In the first three weeks of the war, the US prevented the United Nations Security Council from approving any cease-fire Resolution, promising the world that there would soon be a new Middle East, meaning one in which Israel and the US would be supreme. But, it finally became clear that Israel could not defeat Hezbollah, and the new Middle East that the American neoconservatives and their Israeli counterparts had imagined would not emerge.

 

(9) The standoff between Iran on the one hand, and the United States and its European allies, on the other hand, over Iran's nuclear energy program. The standoff is partly due to the dangerous and irrational foreign policy of Mr. Ahmadinejad and his extremist supporters in parts of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and partly a result of the U.S. and its European allies insistence on Iran giving up its fundamental rights under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) of which Iran is a signatory, and

 

(10) the goal of regime change that has become the official policy of the Bush administration toward Iran.

 

That regime change in Iran has been for some time the goal of the Bush administration became clear when its National Security Strategy was issued by the Pentagon on March 16, 2006. It stated that [4],

 

The Iranian regime sponsors terrorism, threatens Israel, seeks to thwart the Middle East peace, disrupts democracy in Iraq, and denies the aspirations of its people for freedom. The nuclear issue and our other concerns can ultimately be resolved only if the Iranian regime makes the strategic decision to change these policies, open up its political system and afford freedom to its people. This is the ultimate goal of the U.S. policy.

 

It would be utterly naive to believe that this "ultimate goal" of the U.S. policy can be achieved through anything other than a regime change in Iran.

 

But, not only is the regime-change policy against the United Nations' Charter and all the existing international treaties, but also in clear violation of the existing legal obligations of the U.S. toward Iran. In particular, attempts for regime change in Iran would be in gross violation of the Algiers Accord, signed by the U.S. and Iran in 1980, that ended the hostage crisis. Point I, paragraph 1 of the Accord stated that:

 

Non-Intervention in Iranian Affairs - The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran's internal affairs.

 

These developments, and in particular the regime-change policy, have provided ample opportunities for Iran's exiled antidemocratic and quasi-democratic  groups to reveal their true colors. It has also become a "mouth-watering" opportunity for exiled Iranian political charlatans and traitors who fancy themselves as Iran's future "leaders."

 

The Iranian antidemocratic groups consist mainly of most of the monarchists, and the Mojahedin-e Khalgh (MEK). The most accurate way of describing many of the monarchists - at least those whose mouthpiece is the satellite TV programs from Los Angeles - is by calling them what they really are, namely, secular fascists, or secu-fascists for brevity. More precisely, they are secular fundamentalists, the mirror image of the religious fundamentalists in Iran and other Islamic nations, as well as the Christian fundamentalists - the Christo-fascists - in the U.S. [5], and other fundamentalist groups around the world, such as Hindo fundamentalists of India and Jewish fundamentalists of Israel. One good example of non-Iranian secu-fascists is the Turkish military that has controlled Turkey since 1923.

 

The MEK is a terrorist cult that, since the mid 1980s, has been committing treason against Iran. During the Iran-Iraq war, the MEK fought alongside the Iraqi forces and its so-called National Liberation Army was used by Saddam Hussein to suppress the uprisings by the Kurds [6] and Shi'ites [7] in Iraq after the first Persian Gulf War. The MEK is now being used by the U.S. neocons in their campaign against Iran (see Part II).

 

The quasi-democratic groups and political activists are those that profess to believe in democracy, but their political positions and actions often indicate the opposite. We will show in Part II that there are numerous such groups and individuals.

 

The goal of the present series of articles is describing what the exiled Iranian antidemocratic and quasi-democratic groups, as well as many individuals, have been trying to do in order to start a war between the U.S. and Iran or, at the very least, encourage the U.S. and its allies to impose the harshest possible sanctions against Iran which, similar to Iraq, may ultimately lead to the war. Such sanctions would, of course, not hurt the ruling elite in Iran, but only the ordinary Iranians.

 

There have already been a large number of articles about the activities of such groups and individuals. However, the goal of this series of articles - the result of nearly two years of research - is, to collect, describe and analyze in a series of articles the documented and indisputable facts about what these groups and individual have been doing, in order to expose them, not only to the Iranians, but also to the American public.

 

The invasion and occupation of Iraq had been a goal of the U.S. neocons since 1992 (see below). But, several Iraqi individuals also played prominent, extremely important roles in selling to the American public the Bush administration's lies, exaggerations, half truths, and half-baked half-truths about the danger that Saddam Hussein's regime was supposedly posing against the U.S., in order to gain the public's support for the war.

 

This group included Ahmad Chalabi, and a few other Iraqis whom we refer to collectively as the Curveballs (the name given to one of them by the CIA; see Part II). They provided fabricated and exaggerated intelligence about Iraq's nonexistent weapons of mass destruction. They also sold the lie that the Iraqi people will greet the U.S. soldiers with flowers, rice, and candies.

 

Their neocon patrons eagerly bought their lies and sold them to the public.

 

As Iraq's first Prime Minister after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Ayad Allawi, a man on the CIA payroll since 1992 (see Part II), helped put an Iraqi face on the puppet government installed in Baghdad by the U.S., after fake sovereignty was restored to Iraq in June 2004.

 

The Iranian Chalabis and Curveballs whom we will be describing in Part II have been trying to play the same role as their Iraqi counterparts, and the fake aspirants to Iran's future leadership will play Ayad Allawi's role, if they ever get the chance (which they will not). To make a precise comparison between the two groups, we will describe the backgrounds of both. Every piece of information described in this series is well-documented. We will provide ample references for the readers to check the information for themselves.

 

There is yet another group of Iranians who have been committing treason against their native land. The Iraqi quagmire and the Israel-Hezbollah war have forced the neocons to gradually realize that their dream of regime change in Iran may not be achievable through military means. Thus, they have a started a new front in their war against Iran, namely, using the legitimate grievances of Iran's ethnic group as an excuse to foment ethnic unrest and destabilize Iran, with the hope that the Islamic regime will eventually be overthrown. As usual, there are some Iranians who are willing to sell their soul, and make a pack with anybody, including the criminal neocons, in order to achieve power. We will also discuss this group of people in Part II.

 

In order to justify what they have been doing, the exiled secu-fascists and the Iranian Chalabis, Allawis, and Curveballs have been claiming that the real and only goal of the Bush administration in invading Iraq was bringing democracy to the Middle East. Democracy is, of course, not a commodity or product that can be exported to other countries. But, even if we assume that democracy can, if fact, be exported, the fact is that the ridiculous claim that the Bush administration's intention is to bring democracy to the Middle East is now totally discredited, evidenced by what has been happening at Abu Ghraib, Falluja, etc.

 

Moreover, aside from the fact that the Administration's rationale for invading Iraq has been constantly evolving and changing (depending on the political climate), the catastrophic state of Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian lands occupied by Israel, and Afghanistan, and the rising tension in the entire Middle East is the best evidence of the absurdity of the democracy claim. Thus, in order to further refute this absurd claim, so that it cannot be "sold" to the Iranian community by the satellite TV programs broadcast into Iran by the secu-fascists and the MEK, we will first review the events that led to the invasion of Iraq and the real reasons behind it.

 

In the present article, we first describe such events. There are perhaps thousands of articles that, over the past 5 years, have discussed these events. What we present is a summary of the available documented facts and evidence, together with our own analysis. We then review the present state of Iraq, as a result of its occupation, which teaches us many valuable lessons which have not, however, been learned by the exiled Iranian antidemocratic and quasi-democratic groups, and the Iranian Chalabis, Allawis, Curveballs, and other aspirants. We describe what we believe these important lessons are.

 

Part II of this series will describe the antidemocratic and quasi-democratic groups, and the Iranian Chalabis, Allawis, and Curveballs.

 

The ultimate goal and hope of the author for this series of articles, in addition to exposing the Iranian Chalabis, Allawis, and Curveballs, is that,in 20-30 years we will have a new word in the dictionary of every language:

 

chalabi (not Chalabi): someone who is willing to lie, sell out, and destroy his/her country in order to gain political power.

 

 

Background to the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq

 

Between 1958, when a military coup overthrew the monarchy in Iraq and established a republican political system there, and 2003 when Iraq was finally invaded and occupied, the goal of every U.S. administration was to install a friendly, pro-West government in Iraq. We will describe this in more detail in Part II, where we discuss the connection between Ayad Allawi, Saddam Hussein and the CIA.

 

At the same time, since at least the October 1973 war between Israel, Egypt, and Syria, Israel had been concerned about the "Eastern Front Threat" [8].

 

Toward the end of that war, Iraq sent an armored division to Syria. Many Israeli leaders believe that, had Iraq sent its forces earlier, Israel would not have been able to retake the Golan Heights [9]. Thus, up until invasion of Iraq, Israel was always concerned about a Syria-Iraq coalition. It was also concerned about defending itself in the east, if Iraqi forces entered Jordan

[8,9].

 

On June 7, 1981, eight F-16 fighters and six F-15 escorts from Israel's air force attacked Iraq's sole nuclear reactor at Osirak (south-east of Baghdad), during what was called Operation Opera, and crippled it [10]. The reactor was a 40 MW light-water reactor built in 1977. Iran had already attacked the reactor on September 30, 1980, using two F-4 Phantoms. The nuclear facility was completely destroyed by the U.S. during the 1991 Persian Gulf war. The United Nations Security Council issued Resolution 487 on June 19, 1981, strongly condemning the attack and stating that Iraq is entitled to received appropriate redress for the destruction. As usual, Israel ignored the Resolution, as it is  only interested in enforcing those Resolutions that are against its foes.

 

During the 1991 Persian Gulf war, Iraq attacked Israel by Scud missiles which, however, did not inflict much damage. The American neoconservatives and other right-wingers advocated invasion of Iraq to topple Saddam's regime. But, President George H. W. Bush, his Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell, all opposed it. The UNSC passed many Resolutions against Iraq, imposing some of the harshest sanctions. The US and Britain also imposed no-fly zones in northern and southern Iraq.

 

It is estimated that the sanctions killed about 500,000 Iraqi children. In1996, Lesley Stahl of the CBS TV program 60 minutes asked Madeleine Albright, the then U.S. Ambassador to the UN, the following question,

 

We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than [the number of people] died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?

 

to which Ms. Albright responded,

 

I think it is a very hard choice, but the price, we think, the price is worth it.

 

Later on, in 2003, Ms. Albright tried to clarify her statement, but her explanation was not convincing, and she was disingenuous [11,12]. Perhaps, Denis Halliday, a coordinator for UN humanitarian aids who resigned in protest in 1998, described best the situation in Iraq at that time [13],

 

I've been using the word "genocide" because this is a deliberate policy to destroy the people of Iraq....

 

In 1996, The Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies in Jerusalem issued a report entitled, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" [14]. The report was prepared by some U.S. neocons and Israeli ultra-right for Benjamin Netanyahu who had just been elected Israel's Prime Minister. A part of the report stated that,

 

Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq - an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right.... Jordan has challenged Syria's regional ambitions recently by suggesting the restoration of Hashemites in Iraq [15]..... Since Iraq's future could affect the strategic balance in the Middle East profoundly, it would be understandable that Israel has an interest in supporting the Hashemites in their efforts to redefine Iraq.....

 

The report then made the following absurd observation and "prediction" [14],

 

Were the Hashemites to control Iraq, they could use their influence over Najaf to help Israel wean the south Lebanese Shia away from Hizbollah, Iran, and Syria. Shia retain strong ties to the Hashemites: The Shia venerate foremost the Prophet's family, the direct descendants of which - and in whose veins the blood of the prophet flows - is King Hussein.

 

Given what has been happening in Iraq and Lebanon, this absurd statement only goes to show that, (1) the neocons were after invasion of Iraq, and that (2) they had (and still do not have) no knowledge of the realities of Islam and the Middle East, and were (and still are) living in a fantasy world. The Study Group leader that prepared the report was none other than Richard C. Perle -the "Prince of Darkness" - and one of most forceful advocates of the invasion of Iraq [16]. Five days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, Mr. Perle told the CNN,

 

Iraqis deserve some rough justice because we know that Saddam Hussein  has ties to Osama bin Landen,

 

an assertion that turned out to be nothing but a lie.

 

Note that, in addition to Mr. Perle who was Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board up until 2003, two other people who signed the report were Douglas Feith, who became undersecretary of Defense under Donald Rumsfeld (see below), and David Wurmser who later worked at the Pentagon and was involved  with manufacturing fake intelligence about Iraq's WMDs (see below). In other words, three people who later on became high-ranking US officials were offering advice to the Israel's Prime Minister, acting as Israeli patriots, but paid by our taxes.

 

On January 26, 1998, a letter was sent to President Clinton from the Project for the New American Century, a neoconservative group co-founded by William Kristol of the necons' mouthpiece the Weekly Standard, also known as the neocons' "little Lenin," and Robert Kagan. It said in part [17]

 

We are writing to you because we are convinced that current American toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of

the cold war....... The policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months.... We can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections....

 

The essence of the letter was in the following [17],

 

Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near terms, this means a willingness to undertake military actionas diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power....

 

The letter was signed by 18 neocons, most, if not all, of whom steadfast supporters of Israel [18], have served in the Bush administration, and were leading advocates of the invasion of Iraq. Some say [19] that this group serves two flags - those of the U.S. and Israel. The author believes that most of the group's members are Israeli patriots, but American citizens.

 

On October 31, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed the Iraqi Liberation Act, that was intended to provide support to the Iraqi opposition in order to overthrow Saddam's regime [20]. It had been passed by a vote of 360-38 in the House, and unanimously in the Senate, and was supposed to provide $100 million to the Iraqi opposition. Now, however, those Democrats and Republicans who claim that they are, and always have been, against the Iraq war, have forgotten that they set the stage for the war by approving the ILA.

 

In January 2001, President Bush took office. Paul O'Neill, Mr. Bush's first Treasury Secretary, told [21] Lesley Stahl of the CBS TV program 60 minutes (emphasis with capital letters is the author's) [22],

 

From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go....Saddam was topic "A" TEN days after the inauguration - EIGHT months before Sept. 11.... It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it. The president saying, "GO FIND ME A WAY TO DO THIS."

 

Mr. O'Neill also said that [22] the President declared that he was going to "tilt toward Israel by pulling out of the Arab-Israeli conflict," hence giving Israel a free hand to treat the Palestinians anyway it wishes. We have already witnessed the catastrophic consequences of this tilt.

 

According to Richard A. Clarke, who was Mr. Bush's top advisor on terrorism, the following is what happened on September 12, 2001, the day after the terrorists' attacks [23]:

 

I expected to go back to a round of meetings examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were, what we could do about them in the short term. Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq... I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda... By the afternoon on Wednesday [after Sept. 11], Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and "getting Iraq."

 

On September 12th, I left the video conference center and there, wandering alone around the situation room, was the president. He looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. "Look," he told us, "I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he is linked in any way."

 

"I was once again taken aback, incredulous, and it showed. "But, Mr. President, Al Qaeda did this."

 

"I know, I know, but - see if Saddam was involved. Just look. I want to know any shred ..."

 

Mr. Clarke also told Lesley Stahl of CBS [24] that Mr. Bush gave them a very intimidating look when he was saying that, and that,

 

We got together all the FBI experts, all the CIA experts. We wrote the report. We sent the report out to CIA and found FBI and said, "Will you sign the report?" They all cleared the report. And we sent it up to the president and it got bounced by the National Security Advisor [Condoleezza Rice] or Deputy [Stephen Hadley]. It got bounced and sent back saying, "Wrong answer. ... Do it again."

 

and that,

 

Rumsfeld was saying that we needed to bomb Iraq. And we all said ... no, Al-Qaeda is in Afghanistan. We need to bomb Afghanistan. And Rumsfeld said there aren't any good targets in Afghanistan. And there are lots of good targets in Iraq.

 

In fact, on September 17, 2001, President Bush signed a 2 1/2-page document marked "TOP SECRET" that described the plan for invading Afghanistan. The document also ordered the Pentagon to begin planning military options for invading Iraq [25].

 

The neocons have never trusted the CIA. Therefore, from the time President

Bush took office, they started setting up their own intelligence and propaganda units. First, the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) was formed, headed by Andrew Card, the President's Chief of Staff, which was basically a propaganda unit. Then, as reported by Seymour Hersh [26], by October 2001 the Office of Special Plans had been established at the Pentagon:

 

They call themselves, self-mockingly, the Cabal - a small cluster of policy advisors and analysts now based in the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans.... These advisors and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq. They relied on data gathered by other intelligence agencies and also on information provided by the Iraqi National Congress, or I.N.C., the exile group headed by Ahmad Chalabi.

 

The OSP was headed by Douglas Feith, the undersecretary of Defense at that time. Mr. Feith had also formed a more secretive group, called the Counter Terrorism Evaluation Group [27], which had two members, David Wurmser who had signed the "Clean Break" letter (see above), and F. Michael Maloof, an aid to Richard Perle at the Pentagon in the 1980s. Mr. Maloof is so loyal to the US and reliable that his high-security clearances have been revoked twice. The task of OSP and CTEG was to find intelligence data (real or fake) that would prove the neocons' claims regarding Iraq and Saddam Hussein.

 

All the "intelligence" that was provided by the OSP and CTEG was proven later on to be fake, and was mockingly referred to as the "Feith Intelligence."

 

Colin Powell referred to Feith's office as the "Gestapo Office" [28]. Mr. Feith is so pro-Israel that after he supposedly explained the Pentagon's views in a meeting in 2002 with the National Security Advisor Condoleezze Rice and other principal figures on the Middle East, Ms. Rice told him [29]

 

Thanks Doug, but when we want the Israeli position we'll invite the ambassador.

 

General Tommy Franks, who led the U.S. forces during the invasion of Iraq, referred to Mr. Feith as [30]

 

the f...... stupidest guy on the face of the earth

 

But, of course, Mr. Feith was smart enough to sell his lies and fake intelligence to enough people to help start the Iraq war.

 

Note that, similar to the Pentagon's OSP for Iraq, we now have "Office of Iranian Affairs" at the State Department, which presumably has a similar task.

 

The neocons were not the only supporters and consumers of Mr. Chalabi's lies. Another big "fan" was Judith Miller, the now-discredited (former) New York Times reporter. From 1998, Ms. Miller started acting as the chief of propaganda for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress, presenting in her articles Iraq, based on Mr. Chalabi's lies, as a terrifying country with active programs for making WMDs, that were later proven to be nonexistent. Many internal memos of the New York Times that were leaked to the outside world indicated that Mr. Chalabi and the neocons were the sole sources of Ms. Miller's claims on Iraq, all of which turned out to be lies [31]. Despite this, Ms. Miller kept buying Mr. Chalabi's lies, and reporting them on the front page of the New York Times[32]. It was not that Ms. Miller was gullible, but because she was sympathetic to the neocons' cause, despite being considered a liberal on many other issues.

 

One article that Ms. Miller published [33] with Michael R. Gordon, the chief military correspondent for the New York Times, on how Saddam was trying to purchase aluminum tubes to be used in Iraq's uranium enrichment program, was used by the neocons, and particularly Mr. Cheney, as the "proof" of Saddam's nuclear program. It turned out later that the neocons (and Mr. Chalabi) had supplied the lies to Ms. Miller and Mr. Gordon, and then used their article as the evidence or the "smoking gun."  The "evidence" was quickly challenged [34], but was still used for quite sometime (see below). For example, in a speech in Cincinnati on October 7, 2002, the President said,

 

The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment needed for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons.

 

Despite such discredited reports, Mr. Gordon has recently been busy publishing [35] articles with unsubstantiated claims about Iran's involvement in Iraq, that have been refuted [36]. There are many articles on Ms. Miller's lies and exaggerations [31,37].

 

The neocons are now trying to do for the Iranian Chalabis and Allawis what Ms. Miller did for the Iraqi Chalabi. The only difference is that, even the neocons are aware that the Iranian Chalabis and Allawis do not have any legitimacy or credibility within Iran. We will come back to this in Part II.

 

On July 23, 2002, 8 months before the invasion of Iraq, British Prime Minister and war criminal Tony Blair met with his senior advisors to discuss Iraq, including Geoffrey Hoon, the defense secretary, Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, and Sir Richard Dearlove, known as "C," the head of MI6, the British equivalent of the CIA. Sir Richard had recently traveled to Washington, and presented a report about his trip. One passage about the meeting stated that (emphasis with capital letters is the authors') [38]

 

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMDs. But the intelligence and facts were being FIXED around the policy. The NSC [the U.S. National Security Council] had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

 

In other words, the decision for invading Iraq had already been made. All that had been left was "fixing" the intelligence and selling it to the public. While this revelation was huge in Britain and Europe, it was noted relatively little in the US.

 

On September 16, 2002, Iraq invited the UN inspectors to go back and resume their work. The invitation was unconditional, and two months before the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1441, ordering Iraq to fully cooperate with the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors.

 

According to Mr. Hersh [26], there was an unsupported allegation by Italian intelligence that Iraq had been attempting to buy uranium from Niger in 1999. Although by early 2002, Barbo Owens-Kirkpatrick, U.S. Ambassador to Niger, had informed Washington that there was no basis to suspect any link between Iraq and Niger, the fake intelligence started to play a role in the Administration's warnings about Iraq nuclear threat. For example, on January 30, 2002, the CIA published an unclassified report to Congress stating that,

 

Baghdad may be attempting to acquire materials that could aid in reconstituting its nuclear-weapon program.

 

Thus, on January 27, 2003, President Bush, in his State of the Union address, stated that,

 

The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.....

 

However, Joseph C. Wilson, a former U.S. diplomat, published an article in the New York Times [39] on July 6, 2003, refuting Mr. Bush's claim. The next day, the White House was forced to retract the claim in the speech. The article then led to the revenge by the White House that involved outing of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer and Mr. Wilson's wife. The scandal ultimately led to the conviction of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Chief of Staff to Mr. Cheney. There is also some credible evidence that Ms. Plame, who was tracking nuclear proliferation for the CIA, might have been outed because she was closing on nuclear trafficking to Turkey and its connection with Pakistan [40]. But, the Plame scandal is beyond the scope of our article [41].

 

Lies about Iraq in the Run-up to its Invasion: Lessons for Iranians

 

 

There was a barrage of lies and exaggerated news about Iraq's WMDs, emanating from the neocons, the Bush administration, and other members of the War Party, from August 2002 to June 2003. In order to see the eerie similarities between those lies, false statements, and proclamations, and what the neocons and their Iranian supporters are saying about Iran in their attempt to start a war with Iran, we mention some of them here [42,43]. These are selected from a vast number of outright lies and greatly exaggerated news, and are in addition to countless articles that the War Party published, advocating invasion of Iraq.

 

On August 26, 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney said,

 

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein new has weapons of mass destruction.

 

Simply stated, Mr. Cheney was knowingly or unknowingly lying. Senator Joseph

Biden, who is a presidential candidate this year, said on September 4, 2002

 

If we wait for the danger to become clear, it could be late.

 

In other words, the Senator supported pre-emption, which he now supposedly opposes. On the same day, Senator Joseph Liberman, a most ardent supporter of Israel, declared that,

 

Every day Saddam remains in power with chemical weapons, biological weapons, and the development of nuclear weapons is a day of danger for the United States.

 

We now know that every day that the occupation of Iraq continues is a day of danger for the United States, the Middle East, and the world, but Senator Lieberman still supports the war.

 

On September 8, 2002, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice declared (regarding Iraq's nonexistent nuclear weapons) that

 

We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud           

 

which quickly became the neocons' slogan. Then, on September 12, 2002, President Bush claimed that,

 

Right now, Iraq is expanding and improving facilities that were usedfor the production of biological weapons.

 

These weapons and the facilities for producing them turned out to be imaginary. They could not be found even under the furniture in the White House that the President mockingly searched for [44]. Two days later, the President made another unsubstantiated claim:

 

Saddam Hussein has the scientists and infrastructure for a nuclear-weapons program, and has illicitly sought to purchase the equipment needed to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon.

 

This was presumably a reference to the aluminum tube story (see above). The

President even claimed that a 1998 report by the IAEA had said that Iraq was only six months away from producing a bomb. But there is no such IAEA report.

 

One of the worst and most embarrassing false statements by the President was the following, made on October 7, 2002:

 

We've learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb-making and poison and deadly gases - Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints.

 

Where were the training taking place? Colin Powell told the UN Security Council that they were in a camp in northern Iraq, which turned out to be outside Saddam Hussein's control and patrolled by the British and US war planes.

 

On January 28, 2003, the President claimed that,

 

Our intelligence officials estimate that Saddam Hussein had the materials to produce as much as 500 tons of Sarin, mustard and VX nerve gas.

 

They were also not found after occupation of Iraq. Colin Powell, the supposedly voice of reason within a hard-line Administration, claimed on February 5, 2003 that,

 

We know that Saddam Hussein is determined to keep his weapons of mass destruction, is determined to make more.

 

We now know that Saddam did not have any WMDs. Most interestingly, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is now running for President and acting as if she has always been opposed to the Iraq war, said on the same day,

 

Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of things [what things, Senator?], continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapon capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations.

 

The above statement sounds like from a person who is absolutely sure about everything. Yet, she now claims that,

 

had I known then what I know now, I would never have voted to go to war in Iraq.

 

But, Senator Clinton could have had all the information that she needed to oppose the war (even if we assume that she really did not know), had she wanted to know, if she had not, like her husband, been driven by the polls.

 

That Saddam Hussein did not have any WMDs had been certified by the UN inspectors led by Hans Blix, and by the IAEA inspectors led by Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei. In addition, Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to Presidents Ford and George H. W. Bush, said [45] on August 15, 2002, nearly two months before the Congress authorized use of force against Saddam hussein, that

 

There is scant evidence to tie Saddam Hussein to terrorist organizations,and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks. Indeed, Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them.... There is little evidence that the United States itself is an object of his [Saddam Hussein's] aggression.

 

Most recently, she contradicted herself again. On Thursday April 26, 2007, during a debate and in a response to a question about another hypothetical 9/11 attack, she said [46],

 

You know, I supported President Bush when he went after Al-Qaedaand the Taliban in Afghanistan. And then, when [Mr. Bush] decided to divert attention to Iraq, it was not a decision that I would have made had I been President....

 

In other words, she knew enough not to go after Saddam and would have focused on Afghanistan, yet she DID support the President with her vote. As usual, Senator Clinton wants to have it both ways. In addition, despite her strong criticism of the President, she has said repeatedly, when it comes to Iran, that [47],

 

We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons, and in dealing with this threat, as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.

 

There is not a shred of credible evidence, at least as of the time of writing this series, that Iran has been trying to make nuclear weapons. The IAEA has certified time and again that it has found no evidence of Iran having a secret nuclear weapon program. Yet, Senator Clinton, who made the above statement at a gathering of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), believes that a war with Iran might have to happen, and the Iraqi catastrophe be repeated, because she can ill-afford losing the AIPAC support.

 

On February 8, 2003, the President declared that,

 

We have sources that tell us that Saddam Hussein recently authorized Iraqi field commanders to use chemical weapons - the very weapons the dictator tells us he does not have.

 

These sources were presumably Ahmad Chalabi and the Curveballs. They could not have been intelligence sources, because the President would have said so, as he had done countless other times. The biggest blunder (if not lie) was made by Mr. Cheney when, on March 16, 2003, said that,

 

My belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators,

 

which is also what the Iranian Chalabis have been claiming (see Part II).

On the same day, Mr. Cheney also said that,

 

We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons.

 

On March 18, 2003, the day before the invasion of Iraq, the President claimed,

 

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the lethal weapons ever devised.

 

This turned out to be absolutely wrong. On the same day, the war criminal Tony Blair, stated that

 

We are asked to accept Saddam decided to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd.

 

It turned out that it was Blair's statement that was palpably absurd, because Saddam had, in fact, destroyed those weapons.

 

Iraq was finally invaded on March 19, 2003 [48], without much debate about whether it was truly a danger to the US or the world [49,50], and without any planning for the invasion's aftermath. President Bush had made up his mind long before March 2003 that the US would invade Iraq. In fact, he had declared [51] in March 2002, one full year before the invasion, that,

 

                  F... Saddam. We're taking him out.

 

The lie factory [52] had finally produced the war that the neocons had been after since 1992. The necessary fake intelligence for convincing the public was provided by what Colin Powell referred to [53] as the "separate government," ran by Mr. Cheney and his cohorts.

 

 

A Little-Known Casualty, a War Criminal, and a Hero

 

One casualty of the war who is mentioned very little is Dr. David Kelly, the senior advisor to the British defense ministry on Iraq. In September 2002 the British Government published an intelligence dossier in which it was claimed that, not only were Saddam's supposed WMDs in place, but that some could be deployed within 45 minutes. Dr. Kelly was the anonymous source for a British Broadcasting Corporation report in May 2003 that stated that, the dossier had been "sexed up" (that is, exaggerated). On July 18, 2003 Dr. Kelly was found dead. The police ruled that he had committed suicide, but the paramedics who attended first at Dr. Kelly's death raised doubts about it [54].

 

A war criminal who has mostly escaped the anger of the public for his role in the Iraq war is the Australian Prime Minister John Howard. He played the same role as that of another war criminal, Tony Blair, namely, repeating the lies of the neocons and the Bush administration about Iraq. For example, on March 13, 2003, right before the invasion of Iraq, he declared that [54],

 

it is inherently dangerous for Iraq to have chemical and biological weapons, and it was in Australia's interest that it have taken from her her chemical and biological weapons

 

Australia also sent a large contingent of troops to Iraq, and Mr. Howard still supports occupation of Iraq.

 

A hero of the Iraq war is Mr. Scott Ritter. He is a former UN inspector in Iraq who, beginning in 1999, started to reveal information about what the US was doing in Iraq. He revealed that the US was using the IAEA inspectors - who are supposed to be strictly neutral - to spy on Iraq. He then started a tireless campaign against invasion of Iraq, and warned that, not only the invasion is not justified, but also what its catastrophic consequences would be. In August 2002 he stated that all of Iraq's WMDs had been eliminated, which was confirmed later on by the UN Iraq Survey Group in its three-volume report released on September 30, 2004 [55]. Mr. Ritter has called invasion of occupation of Iraq called a CRIME OF GIGANTIC PROPORTIONS. He is now campaigning tirelessly against a war with Iran.

 

 

The Occupation: The Lies Continue

 

The campaign of lies and grand exaggerations continued for a few months after the occupation. The neocons and their supporters insisted that Saddam Hussein's WMDs would be found. On March 30, 2003, Donald Rumsfeld declared that,

 

We know where they [the WMDs] are. They are in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad.

 

Robert Kagan, the co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (see above) said on April 9, 2003 that (emphasis with capital letters is the author's),

 

Obviously the Administration intends to publicize all the weapons of mass destruction U.S. forces find - AND THERE WILL BE PLENTY.

 

President Bush declared on April 24, 2003, that

 

We are learning more as we interrogate or have discussions with Iraqi scientists, that perhaps he destroyed some, perhaps he dispersed some. And so we will find them.

 

On May 1, 2003, the President, abroad the USS Abraham Lincoln, declared victory in the "battle of Iraq," declaring "the end of all major combat operations," and under a banner reading "Mission Accomplished." He also repeated the lie that Saddam was an ally of Al Qaeda. Regarding Iraq's WMDs, the President was still confident on May 3, 2003:

 

We'll find them. It'll be a matter of time to do so,

 

and still three days later,

 

I'm not surprised if we begin to uncover the weapons program of Saddam Hussein - because he had a weapons program.

 

On June 1, 2003, the President made a false statement again (perhaps in his haste to announce that the WMDs had been finally found) Visiting Poland, he remarked that,

 

   Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited.

 

The President was referring to discovery of two truck trailers that the CIA had claimed were potential mobile biological weapon laboratories. But, by the end of the same month, this claimed was dismissed. They turned out to be what the Iraq had claimed they were: facilities to fill weather balloons SOLD TO THEM BY BRITAIN.

 

As late as May 26, 2003, the U.S. was still confident that the WMDs would be found. On that day, General Richard C. Myers, Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff said,

 

Given time, given the number of prisoners now that we are interrogating, I'm confident that we're going to find weapons of mass destruction.

 

But, as it started becoming increasingly clear that no WMDs may ever be found, the tone of the statements made by some of Administration's officials began to change. Donald Rumsfeld, who even knew where the weapons were, said on May 4, 2003, that

 

I never believed that we'd just tumble over weapons of mass destruction in that country,

 

and on May 27, 2003,

 

They may have had time to destroy them, and I don't know the answer.

 

It never occurred to the docile reporters to ask Mr. Rumsfeld, "if Iraq had the weapons, why did it not use them, and just destroyed them? Were those weapons not made for exactly a situation like the war with the US?"

 

On May 12, 2003, Condoleezza Rice said

 

US official never expected that "we were going to open garages and find" weapons of mass destruction.

 

Major General David Petraeus, commander of 101st Airborne Division (the present General Petraeus, the overall commander of the US forces in Iraq), declared on May 13, 2003, that

 

I just don't know whether it was all destroyed years ago - I mean, there is no question that there were chemical weapons years ago - whether they were destroyed right before the war, (or) whether they are still hidden.

 

Again, General, if Iraq had those weapons, why did it not use them?

 

The one person who still continues to lie about Iraq is Mr. Cheney. For example, on July 18, 2004, he stated that,

 

There clearly was a relationship [between Iraq and Al Qaeda]. It's been testified to. The evidence is overwhelming. The 9/11 Commission found such evidence.

 

To this date, he continues repeating this lie. In fact, the 9/11 Commission said exactly the opposite [56].

 

The President keeps making the absurd argument that, "if we leave Iraq, the terrorists will follow us here." He also repeats what President Nixon used to say as to why the US cannot withdraw from Vietnam [57]:

 

A precipitate withdrawal would result in a bloodbath, destabilization of southeast Asia, would embolden our enemies, and result in more not less war.

 

Replace southeast Asia with the Middle East, and you will find that the President's statements are almost identical with those of Mr. Nixon. Mr. Nixon's stance caused the death of 21000 more US soldiers, before the US was finally defeated. In the President's view, Iraq must be occupied for a long time, if not forever, so that the terrorists could not follow us here. Was not permanent occupation of Iraq the real goal all along?

 

 

State of Denial

 

The President lives in a state of denial. He cannot accept that 95% of those who are fighting with the US forces in Iraq are Iraqis who, for one reason or another, do not want their country to be occupied. All the intelligence reports, from those of the CIA to Pentagon's, estimate that only 5% of the insurgents in Iraq are foreigners, and they are mostly from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan, the US allies. But the President keeps blaming Al Qaeda, Syria, and Iran.

 

Vice President Cheney is either in a worse state of denial than the President, or he is simply a chronic liar. In an interview with the CNN on May 31, 2005, he said [58],

 

I think we may well have some kind of presence there [Iraq] over a period of time. The level of activity that we see today from a military standpoint, I think, will clearly decline. I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency.

 

Clearly, the last throe has turned out to be very long. Most recently, in another interview with the CNN, Mr. Cheney declared [59],

 

Bottom line is, we've had enormous success, and we will continue to have enormous success [in Iraq].

 

Meanwhile, the neocons continue to live in a fantasy world. For example, Karl Zinsmeister, a neocon at the American Enterprise Institute, declared in June 2005 that [60],

 

The war is over, and we won

 

Right, and the author is the most handsome man on the face of the earth.

 

 

State of Iraq: Speaking to God and Lessons for Iranians

 

Those Iranians who advocate US military attacks on Iran should take a look at the present state of Iraq, magnify the misery there by a huge factor, and then consider the result as what would happen to Iran if the attacks do take place.

 

What is the present state of Iraq after four years of occupation and war, and what can the Iranians learn from it? Consider the following, which represent the tip of the iceberg:

 

1. Iraq has effectively been partitioned between the Shi'ites, Sunnies, and the Kurds. There is a low-intensity civil war going on.

 

2. Iraq has become a vast training ground for Islamic extremists from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and other countries that are supposedly the US allies.

 

3. Iraq's infrastructure has been damaged greatly. It would take decades to put Iraq back to even where it was before the war. According to the World Health Organization, 80 percent of Iraqis lack access to sanitation, 70 percent lack regular access to clean water, and 60 percent lack access to the public food distribution system [61].

 

4. In the first few days of occupation of Baghdad in 2003, the cultural and historical heritage of Iraq were looted from the museums. When Donald Rumsfeld was asked about it, he responded [62]

 

It's untidy, and freedom's untidy ... The images you are seeing on television you are seeing over, and over, and over, and it's the same picture of some person walking out of some building with a vase.

 

5. Nearly 2 million Iraqis have left their country. Clearly, these are the educated, professional and wealthy people and, therefore, a great drain on the country. In particular, 3000 Iraqi professors have left their country  [63,64].

 

The population of the US is 12 times larger than Iraq's. So, proportionally, it would be as if 24 million Americans leave the US over a 4 year period.

 

Iran's population is 3 times larger than Iraq's. So, proportionally, it would be as if 6 million Iranians leave Iran over the same period. Since the July 1999 uprising of Iranian university students, Iran has been suffering from a great brain drain, with a large number of educated and professional Iranians leaving Iran every year. Let us assume that 150,000 Iranians do so every year (the author believes this figure is too high). Therefore, after 8 years, 1.2 million Iranians have left Iran, much smaller than the 2 million figure for Iraq over 4 years.

 

6. Close to 2 million Iraqis have been displaced within Iraq [65]. Proportionally, it would be as if 24 million Americans are displaced within the US, and 6 million Iranians within Iran. The reader should try to imagine the chaos and tragedy of such huge migrations of people in absolute misery.

 

7. In October 2006 the prestigious Lancet medical journal reported that over 655,000 civilians have been killed [66]. Therefore, for every American killed in the terrorist attacks of 9/11, about 220 Iraqis have died who had nothing to do with the criminal terrorist attacks. This is in addition to thousands of civilian Afghans who have also been killed, who also had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

 

Proportionally, it would be as if 7.8 million Americans are killed here in the US, and nearly 2 million Iranians in Iran. To understand better the magnitude of the tragedy, recall that nearly 3000 people were killed during September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; nearly 59,000 US soldiers were killed in Vietnam, and 350,000 during World War II. Iran's total casualty during its eight-year war with Iraq was nearly 1 million (270,000 of whom were killed).

 

8. On average, every month 100 Iraqi women become widowed, and 400 children orphaned. Overall, 900,000 Iraq children have become orphans since the beginning of the war [67].

 

9. At least 230 Iraqi professors have been killed, and 56 are missing [63].

 

10. 6.5 million Iraqis remain completely dependent on food ration [68].

 

11. 70 percent of Iraqi children suffer from mental stress disorder [69], and 21 percent of them are chronically malnourished [61].

 

12. Iraq's oil production which, according to fantasies of Paul Wolfowitz, was supposed to quickly reach 4 million barrels/day and pay for Iraq's reconstruction, has not even reached the pre-war level of 1.7 million barrels/day.

 

13. The Iraq war has so far cost $500 billion. Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University , who has been awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize for economics, and Linda Bilmes of Harvard University, estimated that the eventual cost of the war may reach $2 trillion [70,71]. The Bush administration had estimated that the cost would be $50 billion. What can $2 trillion buy?

 

If, for a period of 10 years, the funding for cancer research is doubled, every American with diabetes or heart disease is treated, and a global immunization campaign is carried out which would save millions of children, the total cost would be about $600 billion, almost the cost of Iraq war so far [72].

 

 

What are the lessons of what has been happening in Iraq for Iran and Iranians, in addition to getting a glimpse of the destruction that US military attacks will bring onto Iran?

 

1. The Iraq war was sold to the public with a massive amount of lies and exaggerations. The neocons, the Bush administration, and their Iranian supporters are trying to do the same with Iran. But, while in Iraq's case we knew, according to the IAEA and the UN, that there was a secret nuclear weapon program in the early 1990s, and Iraq did have chemical and biological weapons, all of which were destroyed by the mid 1990s, there is not a shred of evidence, at least up to the time of writing this series, that Iran has similar secret programs.

 

2. Iraq was not invaded because it had WMDs, or ties with Al Qaeda, or that the President wanted to bring democracy to the Middle East. Over the past four years, there have been elections in Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, and Egypt, and in every case, the radical Islamic forces have either won the elections outright (Iran and Palestine), or have been strengthened (Lebanon and Egypt), yet the US refuses to recognize the legitimacy of these Islamic forces.  At the same time, some of the worst regimes in the Middle East and Central Asia - Saudia Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, Azerbaijan,Turkmenistan, ....  - are supported by the Bush administration.

 

The author believes that, if we have truly free elections in every Islamic nation, then, with the exception of Iran and Turkey, radical Islamic forces will win every election, or will at least receive a very large portion of the vote. This would not necessarily be due to the attractiveness of what these forces present to the public, but due to the brutality, corruption, and dictatorial nature of the ruling secular forces in these nations that are supported by the US. Even in Turkey, moderate Islamic forces have come to power, and have made the Turkish military - a quasi-fascist group - angry.

 

3. The people of Iraq did not greet the invading forces with open arms, throwing flowers or rice on them. While the Middle East is surely better off without Saddam in power, and the elections in Iraq are a positive first, and only first, step, the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq and what they have done to it and to the Middle East are not what the people of that region had hoped for.

 

This point is extremely important. Iraq was created only in 1932. Between 1958, when a military coup overthrew the monarchy and established a republican political system in Iraq, and 2003 every Iraqi leader emphasized Pan Arabism, rather than Iraqi nationalism. Even when Iraq invaded Iran, Saddam Hussein presented himself as the defenders of the Arabs, not Iraq. Therefore, given this fact, and the sectarian nature of Iraq, Iraqi nationalism has always been weak. Yet, Iraq has become such a gigantic quagmire for the US.

 

In contrast, given Iran's glorious past, and the fact that it has existed as an independent nation for thousands of years, Iranian nationalism is extremely fierce. The combination of this nationalism and the Shi'ites long tradition of martyrdom in defense of their religion and homeland is very potent. Yet, the Iranian Chalabis have been claiming that if the US attacks Iran, Iranians will greet them, and will overthrow the Islamic regime.

 

In the author's opinion, Iraq was invaded because,

 

(i) the neocons, partly due to their close associations with Israel, and partly because of their desire to build an American empire that can control every corner of the globe, had wanted for a long time to overthrow Saddam Hussein. However, the neocons do not understand the history and culture of the Middle East, and also believe arrogantly that the power of the US military and technology can overcome all the obstacles. The Iraq experience has proven them to be wrong, albeit at a great cost to the people of Iraq.

 

(ii) While some people believe that Iraq war is one for Israel's sake [73], the author believes that, that is one, but not the only, important factor. As described above, Israel and its lobby in the US also wanted Saddam Hussein overthrown, in order not to worry about a threat from the "Eastern Front."

 

(iii) Dick Cheney and Condoleezza Rice, two people from the oil industry, believed that the US needs permanent military bases in the Middle East, in order to control the energy sources of that area and those of Central Asia, even though most of the US oil imports are from Canada, Mexico, Africa, and South America.

 

An energy task force appointed by Mr. Cheney in early 2001 prepared a report  in April 2001 in which a bleak picture of the oil production and market, and in particular the energy needs of the US in the 21st century, was drawn. The report was prepared jointly by the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and the Council for Foreign Relations. The task force took particular interest in Iraq and its oil, known at that time to be the second largest oil reserves in the world (Iran has surpassed Iraq since then), and considered Saddam Hussein's regime a threat to the oil market and the US "national interests" [74]. It recommended military intervention against Saddam Hussein.

 

(iv) President Bush wanted to not only finish what his father left incomplete after the first Persian Gulf war, but also believed (and presumably still does) that he takes orders directly from God. In June 2003, he told Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), who was the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister at that times, that [75]

 

God told me to strike at Al-Qaeda and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East ...

 

How different is this from what Mr. Ahmadinejad has claimed about his relation with God? He has claimed that when he spoke at the UN General Assembly in 2005, he was protected by a "crescent of light" (presumably created by God), and that he speaks directly to God.

 

 

Summary

 

The author hopes that the reader now has a better understanding of why Iraq was invaded, what has been happening there. The similarities between the propaganda against Iraq in the run-up to the war, and the propaganda against Iran's nuclear program are also eerie. Part II of this series will introduce the Iranian secu-fascists, the Ahmad Chalabis, Ayad Allawis, the Curveballs, and the separatists.

 

 

References and Notes:

 

[1] To read about the high praise of the U.S. officials for Iran's help in Afghanistan see, for example, G. Porter, How a 2003 secret overture from Tehran might have led to a deal on Iran's nuclear capability,

www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewPrint&articleId=11539

 

[2] There are too many articles on the Hezbollah-Israel war of 2006. See, for example, many excellent articles by Jonathan Cook, a British journalist based in Nazareth, Israel, at www.jkcook.net. Consult also articles by Robert Fisk, Patrick and Andrew Cockburn, and such websites as, www.antiwar.com and www.counterpunch.org as well as the Guardian, Independent, and many other newspapers.

 

[3] See Human Rights Watch reports that accused Israel (as well as Hezbollah) of committing war crimes. For example,


Lebanon: Israel Cluster Munitions Threaten Civilians,

www.hrw.org/english/docs/2006/08/17/lebano14026.htm

 

Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon

www.hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/

 

[4] See, for example, M. Sahimi, U.S. strategy for regime change in Iran,

www.payvand.com/news/06/Sep/1074.html

 

[5] For a good analysis of the influence of the Christian fundamentalism on the Bush administration see, Y. Sikand, Christian fundamentalism and American empire, www.countercurrent.org/us-sikland240906.htm see also, J. B. Utley, Torture, the GOP, and the religious right, www.antiwar.com/utley/?articleid=7592

 

[6] The military operation by which the Iraqi Kurds' uprising was crushed by the MEK was dubbed Operation Morvarid. There are too many articles on these MEK crimes. See for example,

   

(i) A. Higgins and J. Solomon, Strange bedfellows, called a terror cult by many, MEK wins friends in U.S. because it opposes Tehran, The Wall Street Journal, November 29, 2006;

 

(ii) A. Singleton, Saddam's Private Army: How Rajavi Changed Iran's Mojahedin from Armed Revolutionaries to an Armed Cult. The book can be retrieved from www.iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=813.

 

The Guardian and Human Rights Watch both have supported what Singleton has stated in her book. See,

www.hrw.org/backgrounder/mena/iran0505, and www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5204833-103681,00.html

 

(iii) Evidence proves MKO massacred Kurds, www.nejatngo.org/memories_en.php?pageaction=opencmsdetail&cms_id=122&parent_id=15

 

(iv) New document on MKO's involvement in Kurds' massacre, CNN Arabic, January 23, 2007. It can be retrieved from www.iran-interlink.org/?mod=view&id=1693

 

[7] See, for example, A. Abedin, Iranian views on regime change in Iraq, Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, vol. 4, No. 11, November-December 2002.
www.meib.org/articles/0211_irl.htm

   

[8] See for example, P. Clawson, Can Iraq reconstitute the Arab eastern front against Israel?

www.aijac.org.au/updates/Jan-01/110101.html

   

Mr. Clawson recklessly advocated for a long time creating a catastrophic accident in the Bushehr nuclear reactor, until the author's article exposed him to the public and forced him to stop talking about his criminal suggestion. See, M. Sahimi, Iran's nuclear energy program. Part V, www.payvand.com/news/04/dec/1056.html

 

[9] See, for example, Y. Amidror, Israel's strategy after the Iraq war, www.jcpa.org/brief/brief2-24.htm. Mr. Amidror is a retired Major General, and former head of Israel's Defense Forces' National Defense College.

 

[10] For a detailed account of the attack see, for example, D. McKinnon, One Reactor: The Story of Israel's Attack that Destroyed  Iraq's Nuclear Program (Airlife, 1988). See also,

 

R. Claire, Raid on the Sun: Inside Israel's Secret Campaign that Denied Saddam the Bomb (Broadway, 2004).

 

[11] See Ms. Albright's memoirs, Madam Secretary (2003). On page 275, she states that, "I must have been crazy; I should have answered the question by reframing it and pointing out the inherent flaws in the premise behind it..... My reply had been a terrible mistake, hasty, clumsy and wrong. Nothing matters more than the lives of innocent people...." However, this statement was disingenuous because in the paragraph immediately before the above, she stated that, "little effort was made to explain Saddam's culpability, his misuse of Iraqi resources, or the fact that we were not embargoing medicine or food." But, while food had not been formally embargoed, Iraq was not permitted until 1996 to export oil and, thus, had practically no funds to import anything. It was only in 1996 that the UNSC approved the "oil for food" program.

 

[12] Shortly after September 11, 2001, Ms. Albright gave a speech at the University of Southern California, where the author is on the faculty. After strong protests by the students, she expressed regret for her statement regarding the Iraqi children killed as a result of the sanction, but her regret was never widely publicized.

 

[13] S. Richman, Albright "apologizes", www.fff.org/comment/com0311c.asp

 

[14] See, www.israeleconomy.org/strat1.htm

 

[15] The Hashemite dynasty in Iraq was overthrown in 1958 in a coup by General Abdulkarim Qassim (Ghaasem), a leftist officer. See Part II for more details.

 

[16] To read more about what Richard Perle does see, for example, E. Alterman, Perle, interrupted, The Nation magazine, April 7, 2003, p. 10; see also,The world according to Richard Perle, blog.wired.com/defense/2007/04/the_fog_of_war.html

Regarding Iraq, Mr. Perle is now eating crow. See, D. Rose, Neo culpa, Vanity Fair, November 3, 2006.

 

[17] The full letter can be retrieved from www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

 

[18] The people who signed the letters were Elliot Abrams (a convicted criminal for his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal, who was pardoned by President George H. W. Bush, and is now deputy National Security Advisor to President Bush in charge of the Middle East); Richard L. Armitage (Colin Powell's deputy at the State Department); William J. Bennet (Education Secretary during the Reagan administration and the GOP "moral czar" who, however, was caught gambling millions of dollars); Jeffrey Bergner (assistant Secretary of State for legislative affairs); John Bolton (U.S. Ambassador to the UN until November 2006); Paula Dobriansky (undersecretary of State for democracy and global affairs); Francis Fukuyama (professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University); Robert Kagan (co-founder with William Kristol of the Project for the New American Century); Zalmay Khalilzad  (U.S. Ambassador to the UN); William Kristol; Richard Perle; Peter W. Rodman (until recently assistant Secretary of State for international security, and now a fellow at the Brookings Institution); Donald Rumsfeld; William Schneider, Jr. (the Pentagon's Defense Science Board Chairman); Vin Weber (former congressman from Minnesota, and Chairman of National Endowment for Democracy); Paul Wolfowitz; R. James Woolsey (CIA director, 1992-1994), and Robert B. Zoellick (until recently deputy Secretary of State).

 

[19] See, for example, S. Green, Neo-cons, Israel and the Bush administration, www.counterpunch.org/green02282004.html

 

[20] See the Presidential statement issued by President Clinton at, www.library.cornell.edu/colldev/mideast/libera.htm

 

[21] Bush sought "way" to invade Iraq?

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/01/09/60minutes/main592330.shtml

 

[22] See also, R. Suskind, The Price of Loyalty, Simon and Schuster, 2004.

 

[23] R. A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror,  Free Press, 2004.

 

[24] Clarke's take on terror,

www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/03/19/60minutes/main607356.shtml

 

[25] G. Kesseler, U.S. decision on Iraq has puzzling past, the Washington Post, January 12, 2003. See,

www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A43909-2003Jan11?language=printer

 

[26] S. Hersh, Selective intelligence, New Yorker, May 12, 2003. see, www.newyorker.com/archive/2003/05/030512fa_fact

 

[27] J. Risen, How pair's finding on terror led to clash on shaping intelligence, the New York Times, April 28, 2004. See, www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0428-07.html

 

[28] See, J. Lobe, Losing Feith,  www.antiwar.com/lobe/?articleid=4629
See also,  en.wikipedia.org/Douglas_Feith.

 

[29] See, W. C. Uhler, "Fixed" intelligence from Feith's "Gestapo Office," the CIA and the Bush administration's impeachable lies about Iraq's prewar links to Al Qaeda, www.walter-c-uhler.com/Reviews/Gestapo.html

 

[30] Bob Woodward, The Plan of Attack, Simon and Schuster, 2004.

 

[31] J. Cole, Judy Miller and the neocons, salon.com. The article can be retrieved from fairuse.1accesshost.com/news2/salon62.html

 

[32] J. Miller, An Iraqi defector tells of work on at least 20 hidden weapons sites, the New York Times, December 20, 2001. See, www.realdemocracy.com/iraqidef.html

 

[33] M. R. Gordon and J. Miller, U.S. says Hussein intensifies quest for a-bomb parts, the New York Times, September 8, 2002. The article can retrieved from, www.realdemocracy.com/abomb.htm

 

[34] J. Warrick, Evidence on Iraq challenged, the Washington Post, September 19, 2002,

www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A36348-2002Sep18?language=printer

 

[35] M. R. Gordon, Deadliest bomb in Iraq is made in Iran, U.S. Says, the New York Times, February 10, 2007. The article can be retrieved from, fairuse.100webcustomers.com/sf/nyt_2_10_7_2.htm

 

[36] R. Erlich and M. Sahimi, Fabricating evidence, round two?

www.truthdig.com/report/item/20070313_fabricated_evidence_round_two/

 

[37] See, for example, A. Cockburn, Judy Miller's war, www.counterpunch.org/cockburn08182003.html

 

[38] See, for example, Tomgram: Mark Danner on the British smoking gun memo,

www.tomdispath.com/index-mhtml?pid=2486

 

[39] J. C. Wilson, What I did not find in Africa, the New York Times, July 6, 2003. The article can be retrieved from www.politicsoftruth.com/editorials/africa.html

 

[40] C. Deliso, Plame, Pakistan, a nuclear Turkey, and the neocons, www.antiwar.com/deliso/?articleid=8091

 

[41] An excellent account has been given by, C. Unger, The war they wanted, the lies they needed, Vanity Fair, June 2006. See, www.vanityfair.com/features/general/articles/06060606fege02

 

[42] See, www.counterpunch.org/wmd05292003.html

 

[43] See also, C. Scheer, Ten appalling lies we were told about Iraq, www.alternet.org/story/16274

 

[44] At a dinner at the White House for journalists, the President mockingly looked for Iraq's WMDs under the furniture. See, for example, D. Corn,MIA WMDs -- for Bush, it's a joke, The Nation Magazine,

www.thenation.com/blogs/capitalgames?pid=1336

 

[45] B. Scowcroft, Don't attack Saddam, the Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2002.

 

[46] Clinton, Iraq & 2002: HRC fudges record for piece of Obama brand, mydd.com/story/2007/4/27/181618/439

 

[47] J. Siegel, Hillary to Aipac: Talk to Tehran, but keep all options open,

www.forward.com/articles/hillary-to-aipac-talk-to-tehran-but-keep-all-opt/

 

[48] L. Alexandrovna and M. Kane published an excellent article in which they provided the timeline to the invasion of Iraq, from January 26, 1998 when the letter by the Project for the New American Century was sent to President Clinton) to July 2003. See, The path of war timeline,

www.rawstory.com/exclusives/muriel/path_of_war_timeline_613.htm

 

[49] Former CIA Director George Tenet recently said that there was not much debate on whether Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. See, for example, K. Shrader, Ex-CIA chief: No "serious debate on war,

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070427/ap_on_go_ot/tenet_slam_dunk

See also Tenet's book, At the Center of the Storm, HarperCollins, 2007.

  

[50] Of course, like everyone else, Mr. Tenet is trying to blame others, and not himself and the CIA, for the catastrophic failure to tell the truth. This is the same man who had said that, "the evidence that Saddam Hussein had WMDs is a slam dunk;" See Bob Woodward, Ref. [29], and J. Cole,

George Tenet on the staircase with the neocons, salon.com. The article can be retrieved from

fairuse.100webcustomers.com/fairenough/salon069.html

 

[51] D. Isenberg, We are taking him out,
www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,235395,00.html

 

[52] R. Dreyfuss and J. Vest, The lie factory, Mother Jones, January/February Issue, 2004, www.motherjones.com/news/feature/2004/01/12_405.html

 

[53] As quoted in Bob Wooward, Ref. [30].

 

[54] G. Hughes, Iraq: how we were duped, www.theage.com.au/news/Iraq/Iraq-how-we-were-duped/2005/05/13/1115843375902

 

[55] A copy of the report can be obtained from www.globalsecurity.com/wmd/library/report/2004/isg-final-report/

 

[56] A copy of the report can be retrieved from

www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf

 

[57] C. Reese, George and Richard, www.antiwar.com/reese.?articleid=10886

 

[58] Iraq insurgency in "last throes," Cheney says, www.cnn.com/2005/US/05/30/cheney.iraq

 

[59] See, for example, P. Baker, Defending Iraq war, defiant Cheney cites "enormous success," the Washington Post, January 25, 2007,

www.washingtonpast.com/wp-dyn/article/2007/01/24/AR2007012402066.html

 

[60] K. Zinsmeister, The war is over, and we won,

www.taemag.com/issues/articleid=18615/article_detail.aso

 

[61] E. Rosenthal, Strain of war causing health crisis in Iraq, International Herald Tribune, April 18, 2007 www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/18/news/who.php

 

[62] Free to do bad things,

www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/dailybriefing/story/0,12965,935381,00.html

 

[63] www.thecommonills.blogspot.com/2007/04/other-item-19.html

 

[64] S. Raghavan, War in Iraq propelling a massive migration, the Washington Post, February 4, 2007,

www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/03/

AR2007020301604.htm

 

[65] Tomgram: Dhar Jamil, into the Iraqi diaspora,

www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=1888872

 

[66] S. Boseley, 655,000 Iraqis killed since invasion, the Guardian, October 11, 2006,

www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1892888,00.html

  

[67] www.thememriblog.org/blog-personal/en/1242.html

 

[68] www.interaction.org/iraq/index_personal.html

 

[69] Iraqi children suffer from mental stress from war, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9750915

See also, www.schizophrenia.com/sznews/archives/004966.html

 

[70] A complete copy of the analysis can be obtained from,

www2.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/jstiglitz/cost_of_war_in_iraq.pdf

 

[71] L. Blimes and J. Stiglitz, The more-than-$2-trillion war, The Milken Institute Review, December 2006.

 

[72] D. Leonhardt, What $1.2 trillion can buy, the New York Times, January 17, 2007,

 

[73] P. J. Buchanan, Whose war? The American Conservative, March 24, 2003; see www.amconmag.com/03_24_03/cover.html

 

[74] Strategic energy policy: Challenges for the 21st century, www.cfr.org/publication/3943/strategic_energy_policy.html

 

[75] A. Kamen, Road map in the back seat? the Washington Post, June 27, 2003, www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A37944-2003June26?language=printer See also, J. Raimondo, Bush's satanic verses, www.antiwar.com/justin/?articleid=7546

 

 


About the author: Muhammad Sahimi, professor of chemical engineering and materials science, and the NIOC professor of petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, has published extensively on Iran's nuclear program and its political developments.

... Payvand News - 5/4/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/4/07 ... --


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