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Coalition of the Willing / Invasion Already Under Way
Page last updated July 14, 2004
by Robert Allen of the Campaign to End the Sanctions,
I. Assembling the Coalition of the Willing
II.The invasion of Iraq is already underway
I. Assembling the Coalition of the Willing
Over the summer the Bush administration's claim of international support for an invasion of Iraq, a "Coalition of the Willing," seemed a far-fetched projection. The compliant US press corps politely neglected to ask for the membership list of the coalition. No one mentioned Vice-President Cheney's March trip to the Middle East, where every major Arab leader publicly rejected the US invasion plan. The sole public member of the "alliance" against Iraq remained the long-time partner of the airwar on Iraq: Tony Blair's Britain.
Six months later things have changed.
In October the US Congress voted for war with Iraq. On November 8 all fifteen members of the UN Security Council voted for Resolution 1441, a unanimous condemnation of Iraq. And if there was an outstanding question as to this body's determination to ignore the human rights of the Iraqi people, the UN Security Council last week once again accommodated Washington and voted 13 - 0 to tighten sanctions!
Many political leaders in the US and around the world promoted the US "working through the UN" to "slow" the US movement towards war with Iraq. But over the past twelve years the UN has been the preferred political forum to legitimize US aggression against Iraq. As the Democratic Party leadership repeatedly reminds us, (many of them veterans of the Clinton war years) the strategy of working through the UN has been a boon to winning other nations to war against Iraq. Michael Donovan, an analyst at the private Center for Defense Information observes "When the (Bush) administration invested in the inspections process and decided to go the route of the United Nations, that's what a lot of these countries needed to hear..." "The inspections process was the political cover they required for even quiet support of an operation like this." (Associated Press, 23rd December) The UN disarmament campaign against Iraq has been the essential component in the political campaign to gather international support for the US war.
In November Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the administration has approached about 50 countries. "Some have said they will help a lot, some have said a little," Rumsfeld said. "Some have asked that what they are prepared to do be kept confidential." According to the AP report the current Washington-led war alliance includes Britain, Australia, Canada, and "now includes Iraq's northern neighbor, Turkey; other NATO allies such as Italy, Spain, Denmark and Portugal; and Arab states including Kuwait and Qatar." The Japanese parliament is currently discussing committing military forces to post-invasion duty in Iraq. (Reuters, 21st December) And finally, not to be left out of the gang rape of Iraq, the French now want in. President Chirac yesterday called for additional troops to be prepared for deployment, and noted that "alas, other theatres [than the Ivory Coast] could open up," a reference to Iraq." (PI, 1-8-03)
The winning of Europe to the US war plan has been decisive. Until the recent NATO conference the most obvious expression of European sentiment on the question of the US war was the German election campaign of SPD candidate Gerhard Schröder. He pledged no German support for the US war against Iraq and won by a significant margin. The election victory raised the potential of a European opposition challenging Washington's war program. But once in office the German Social Democratic Party dropped its idealistic "antiwar" campaign rhetoric to accommodate itself to the imperialist war agenda. In his New Year's address, the chancellor said: "We Germans know from experience that sometimes only violence can stop dictators." As in 1914, the antiwar movement is again betrayed by the German Social Democratic Party. Civilized, democratic Europe is now lined up behind Washington's war scheme.
On December 26 NATO's Secretary General Lord Robertson asserted the military alliance has a "moral obligation" to support a United States-led war on Iraq. At the NATO conference the cash-starved eastern European republics eagerly lined up behind the US war effort. These nations hope to follow the NATO development model of Poland. While the country can no longer keep its shipyards open, it can afford to spend $3.5 billion to purchase 48 Lockheed-Martin F-16's. Washington padded Lockheed Martin's F-16 bid with the offer of a $3.8 billion loan to Poland with repayment terms of up to 15 years, and "U.S. officials have argued that their financial plan is flexible and will depend on Poland's payment ability." (December 28, 2002 Washington Post) Hungary is providing their Taszar military base for Iraqi exiles to be trained to support US military forces invading Iraq. Czech units are already part of the invasion exercises in Kuwait. "To the east NATO candidates Romania and Bulgaria are said to have offered domestic bases, airspace and Black Sea ports." (Philadelphia Inquirer 1-8-03)
II. The invasion of northern Iraq is already under way ...and it IS about oil.
The US press has noted the ongoing negotiations over the use of Turkish bases needed to dispatch US troops directly into northern Iraq. What they have neglected to point out is that Turkey is to accompany US troops into the oil-rich region. The central feature of the occupation of northern Kurdish Iraq is its bilateral character. It is a coordinated US /Turkish operation. US and Turkish forces are positioning themselves to seize the strategic Iraqi cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. Iraq's northern oilfields, with its refining and pumping facilities are the prize of this military campaign.
For weeks now the US has acknowledged the intervention of US Special Operations and the CIA into northern Iraq. Alongside the US intervention is the Turkish military build up in Iraq. The December 27, 2002 Christian Science Monitor quotes observations of a Kurdish political activist Ayup Tanis, in eastern Turkey, "We have seen hundreds of trucks and thousands of troops coming through here. Over the last 15 days, they've been coming, especially in the evenings and nights, and then passing through to Iraq." Within the northern "no-fly-zones" the Turkish military incursion enjoys aircover provided by the USAF and the British Royal Air Force that control the skies of northern Iraq. The Jan 7, 2003 AP reports "Turkey has doubled its military strength in northern Iraq to 12,000 soldiers." The Turkish invasion of Iraq is already underway.
Last month the NY Times described the current Turkish invasion plans, signed in October by then Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. It called for the Turkish military to establish 18 "refugee camps" designed to hold 275,000 Iraqi Kurds. Its most noteworthy feature was the proposed location of twelve of the camps INSIDE northern Iraq. (New York Times, 23rd November, TURKS, FEARING FLOW OF REFUGEES, PLAN MOVE INTO IRAQ)
Turkey as a longstanding NATO ally (and military ally of Israel) is an essential regional partner in the war on Iraq. Its Islamic heritage is an
invaluable asset to Washington's occupation plans. The recent rise of the Islamic party appears to have had no effect on the expansionist ambitions of the Turkish generals.
US secret diplomacy has arranged for the Turks to play a decisive role in northern Iraq, especially in regard to the Iraqi Kurds. The Turkish daily Milliyet December 21 quoted, "one Western diplomat as saying that the US gave a guarantee to Turkey concerning the red lines which the US will observe, which include not permitting the foundation of a Kurdish state in Northern Iraq after Saddam's administration, and not permitting the "ethnic" groups to use the natural resources in Karkouk and al-Mousel."
The "natural resource" referred to here is oil. Lots of it. * Iraqi oil from the Kirkuk field currently runs via pipeline through Turkey (mandated by the UN) to the Mediterranean. From there it goes where? You guessed it. Last year oil from Iraq comprised a full 8.5% of all US oil imports. Under the UN sanctions scheme the US gets oil from Iraq, but the catch is, Iraq doesn't get paid for it. Iraq has to apply to the hostile UN Security Council for its money.
It remains a secret where the US and Turkish officials have arranged to draw the "redlines" in northern Iraq. The Turkish/US alliance is designed to militarily block the Kurdish move to economic independence. Keeping the Iraqi Kurds from their claim of the oilfields of Kirkuk and Mosil ensures there will be no Kurdistan in northern Iraq. In the "regime change" invasion plan the oilfields of northern Iraq are no longer to be held by either Iraqi or Kurdish forces. They are the losers. The spoils of imperialist war are intended only for the victors.
March to end the 12 year war on Iraq, January 18 in Washington DC.
Campaign to End the Sanctions
* The 1992 CIA map detailing the location of Iraqi oilfields is located at:
and the ethnoreligious make up of the country is illustrated at: