WPI Briefing: The US has threatened to attack Iraq because it says Iraq has accumulated 'weapons of mass destruction'. It seems an attack on Iraq is likely in the next phase of the so-called war on terrorism. Why is Iraq the next target and what are the real reasons behind this attack?
Koorosh Modarresi: The US threat is neither against 'weapons of mass destruction' nor against terrorism. As we have stated earlier, as far as weapons of mass destruction are concerned, the US has the biggest stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological arsenals and has used them whenever it has found it suitable. Remember, the US is the only country which has used nuclear weapons and mass murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent people. The traces of US chemical and biological warfare in Vietnam are still obvious both on the Vietnamese and on the medals its generals wear on their uniforms. Everyday, its ally, the Israeli government, is committing mass murder in Palestine, let alone that the Israeli prime minister is a recognised war criminal. Right now the US is using the most devastating weapon of mass destruction - i.e. economic sanctions - against the people in Iraq. Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government are criminals; there is no doubt about it. However, if there should be punishment for war criminals and the users of weapons of mass destruction, the US government cannot and should not be the judge. They should be seated along with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government in any court of justice. But, this is not about justice and has never been so. The excuse about 'weapons of mass destruction' has been invented during the Gulf war to justify the US' 'new world order' after the collapse of the Soviet Union, which asserts that the world should be ruled and run based on US interests. Today, the excuse and reason are still one and the same.
The 'war on terrorism' is a pure joke. The Israeli government is committing one of the most criminal terrorist atrocities against the Palestinians everyday. The so-called targeted murder of Palestinians, bulldozing 'suspected' homes, murdering children who are simply resisting occupation, Nazi-like mass arrests and line-ups of Palestinians have all been going on not in secret but, thanks to the US support, shamelessly in front of our eyes and on our TV screens. If someone wants to talk about terrorism in the world, they should talk about Israel. The Iraqi government is a criminal regime like most of the US allies in the region.
These excuses are simply war propaganda. The aim of the US government is two-fold. Internally, they need to keep the fire of American jingoism alive, justify the need for a huge ever-expanding military force and its expansion and intervention wherever they want, among others. Internationally, they simply want to keep the world at the beck and call of the interests of US companies and capital. They want an undisputed rule of their interests.
However, opposition to the US military adventure in Iraq is worldwide. Public opinion in Europe is overwhelmingly against this policy; none of the regional governments dare to get involved in such a blunt provocation, while the Israeli state's mass terrorism against the Palestinians is going on. Without regional and European support, the only US option is the bombardment of military, industrial and economic 'targets' in Iraq. Such a campaign will undoubtedly harm people in Iraq much more than the Iraqi government or military, as has previously been the case. The Iraqi military is a professional force which is capable of protecting itself. It is the Iraqi people who have been devastated by years of war and economic sanctions. Future American bombing of Iraq will undoubtedly act as a provocation, which will give every excuse to the Iraqi regime to use the most brutal means to suppress any political protests. If the US wants to overthrow Saddam's regime then it should end the military stand off, remove economic sanctions and let the people in Iraq breath and confront this brutal regime. Terrorising people in Iraq to force them to rise up against the Iraqi regime is a psychotic policy which should be stopped.
WPI Briefing: When the USA attacked the Taliban, we did not condemn it (though we rightly condemned the bombings and the killing of civilians).What is the Worker-communist Party's stance on a USA attack on Iraq and why is it different from the stance on the war against the Taliban?
Koorosh Modarresi: Our stance on the US threat and war has been clear right from the beginning. We want these threats and the war efforts to be stopped unconditionally, and that the economic sanctions, which have been going on for a decade, be removed immediately. What the US has done in Iraq for the last decade is one of the most shameful events in recent history. Millions of children and innocent people in Iraq have been devastated and lost their lives because of the economic sanctions and the constant destruction of the country's infrastructure. Life simply would be much easier without US intervention. The situation in Iraq is quite different from the situation in Afghanistan. The Taliban regime had suspended all aspects of civil and social life in that country; half the population, women, had been pushed to total enslavement; education, health services and all aspects of civility had been suspended. Besides, there existed the possibility of overthrowing the Taliban with minimum civilian casualties. Any future regime in Afghanistan would be much better than the Taliban regime.
All these parameters are different in Iraq. This is a country with a basic civil structure; what the US has up its sleeves for Iraq can be much worse than what is currently going on. Iraq can completely slip into anarchy and its social structure can disintegrate.
For those who have US imperialism as the only characteristic in their minds and see the people and their might as a kind of lateral issue, then the Afghanistan and Iraqi situations look the same. 'Anti-imperialism' will lead them to a similar conclusion. If your point of departure is the might of the people, however, you will reach a different one.
WPI Briefing No. 50, 20 March 2002