US withdrawal more ceremonial than real
US control of Iraq will not end with the withdrawal of combat troops
America formally ended its eight-and-a-half year military occupation in Iraq on the 15th December 2011 with a flag-lowering ceremony presided over by Defence Secretary Leon Panetta. The West led by theUS invaded the oil rich nation in March 2003 under dubious claims. Whilst US policymakers champion ‘mission accomplished’ former head of the National Security Agency, the late Lieutenant General William Odom, described the invasion as ‘the greatest strategic disaster in United States history’ in 2005 – just two-and-a-half years after the US invaded.
Whatever comes out from Washington or the Western media we make the following points with regards to America’s imperialism in Iraq:
- The case for war against Iraq was based on Saddam Hussein’s possessions of weapons of mass destruction (WMD’s), that could be deployed at ‘45 minutes’ notice by a ‘mad man’ who was hell bent on causing terror around the world and was even ‘linked’ in some way to the ‘9/11 attacks’. By 2004 the ISG’s Duelfer Report stated that Iraq did not have a viable WMD program.
- Within a few months of the invasion, the USquickly became marred in an insurgency that today has greatly affected USprowess around the world. Evan Kohlmann, a leading expert on the insurgency outlined its beginnings “When the US invasion began in 2003, it was mainly Baathists, ex-Iraqi military, and Saddam loyalists. They were Iraqi nationalists, opposed to foreign occupation, who saw Iraq as a competitor with Egypt for the control of the Arab world. It was an issue of national pride. Whilst the US had defeated Iraq’s conventional forces in 21 days, it was Iraq’s unconventional forces that humbled the US military machine.
- When the Baker-Hamiltin report was released to the US Congress in December 2006 the US was well and truly drowning in Iraq and comparisons were being made with Vietnam. Whilst the Baker-Hamilton report proposed engagement with Iran over Iraq, engagement with Iran had already begun, in order to contain the insurgency. Iran initiated its proxy the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) a group created in Tehran with full backing in 1982.
- Iraq’s first parliamentary elections in 2005 institutionalised sectarian and ethnic differences. In this way the US could always rely on support from different groups within Iraq who will remain divided and will always cut deals with the US in return for promises of power.
- The US constructed a political system in Iraq which will protect and maintain its interests.Americahas merely replaced a brutal system with a corrupt system that recognises the ethnic and sectarian breakdown ofIraq.
- Similarly Iraq’s oil auction through Service Contracts (ST’s) that the Iraqi government agreed with various international oil companies has left the control over the Iraqi oil firmly in the hands of the Iraqi government. The oil companies have been contracted by the Iraqi government as service providers only. In this wayAmerica has full control over the Iraqi government, which means that through the established ST’sAmerica has maintained full control over the Iraqi oil industry.
- The Iraqwar has undermined the USforever, whatever its rhetoric regarding the end of the occupation. During the invasion the US violated human rights as well as the rights afforded to prisoners in the infamous Abu Gharib prison. The Haditha killings, the use of White phosphorus, the Mahmoudiyah incident, the torture and killing of prisoners of war and the Mukaradeeb incident where 42 civilians were bombed and shot in a wedding party are publicly known war crimes. These state-crimes in fact symbolise American’s invasion and brutal occupation and not exaggerated claims of mission accomplished. Alongside this more than 100,000, quite possibly 200,000 or more innocent Iraqi civilians lost their lives under US occupation.
- The war may have ended but US interference and colonial agenda is set to remain in Iraq. The USis merely reorienting its presence in Iraqas it no longer needs a large combat force in the country, which attempts to survive daily IED attacks. A smaller more specialised force can protect US interests. As the New York Times reported in September, the debate over specific numbers and figures is unimportant. “The administration has already drawn up plans for an extensive expansion of the American Embassy and its operations, bolstered by thousands of paramilitary security contractors.”