Oil for Iraqi citizens by Hana Al-Bayaty

Dandelion Salad

by Hana Al-Bayaty
Global Research, January 13, 2008
Al Ahram Weekly

Precedent exists in international law that could explode the US occupation of Iraq, its genocidal strategy, and be a step towards healing the wounds of the Iraqi nation.

Some 4.7 million Iraqi citizens — one fifth of the population — have been forcibly displaced, within and outside their country, by the US occupation and the policies of the sectarian governments it installed since the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. It is a human catastrophe, a national tragedy, and a destabilising factor for the region. This exodus has been labelled “the fastest growing humanitarian crisis on the planet”, unprecedented in size since the 1948 Nakba that uprooted at least one million Palestinians from their land.

While propaganda boasts about some 25,000 returnees, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the primary international agency responsible for refugees, warned last month that conditions for the safe return of Iraqis were not met on the ground and that the few who returned in November 2007 did not do so — contrary to what the so-called government in Iraq pretends — because of security improvements in Iraq, but rather because their means of survival are deteriorating gravely elsewhere. Among the main reasons leading some to return are harsh new restrictions on residency permits in hosting countries, denials of access to schooling and higher education for their children, and the depletion of emergency savings. Many returnees found that others were occupying their homes in Iraq, forcing them to look yet again for shelter. The government in Iraq finally acknowledged that it could not sustain massive return were it to take place.

The 4.7 million Iraqi refugees who fled for their lives, uprooted from their homes by the disproportionate force used by the occupation and campaigns of ethnic cleansing carried out by militias affiliated to its sectarian governments, are living testimony to the inhuman — and anti- human rights — American invasion and occupation of Iraq. At least 1.5 million Iraqis have been brutally murdered, thousands disappeared or detained, hundreds of thousands widowed. The modern Iraqi educated middle class, vital now and in the future to run the state, the economy, and build Iraqi culture, has been decimated. Following systematic assassinations, imprisonment, military raids and sieges, threats and discrimination, most of what remained of that class left the country. The absence of this middle class has resulted in the breakdown of all public services for the entirety of Iraqi society. No propaganda can call the occupation a success while so many people are suffering its consequences.

Of the 4.7 million displaced, four fifths are women and children. All have inadequate or non- existent access to security, food, shelter, education, sanitation, health, and basic necessities such as water and electricity. In addition to the brain drain that Iraq suffered since the start of the occupation, whether through systematic killings or displacement, refugee children are currently losing their universal right to education in being unable to attend schools. It is an individual tragedy for refugees and a disaster for the future of Iraq. UNHCR is dramatically under-financed to meet the needs of these millions displaced. It has made repeated pleas for enhanced international donations to support its basic functioning and the fulfilment of its humanitarian mission.

While Iraqi refugees cannot safely return home, they cannot wait until violence ends in Iraq for their needs to be met. The key hosting countries bearing the millions of displaced Iraqis are home already to large refugee populations and are developing economies. With their own citizens suffering unemployment, Iraqi refugees are denied work permits and permanent residency. In addition, these key hosting states are not signatories to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, and therefore not bound by its principles — even in instances denying the customary international legal obligation of non-refoulement (prohibition on the expulsion of refugees to an area where they may face persecution). As a consequence, Iraqis are denied status, considered tourists with no recognised passport or residence, and left economically and socially vulnerable. All indicators of social desperation are present while reports of increasing resort to degrading means of survival keep arising.

According to international humanitarian and human rights law, the international community, the occupying powers, and the government in Iraq are legally bound to support and protect Iraqi refugees. Neither the occupation with the governments it has installed nor individual states and the international community have met their legal and moral obligations towards displaced Iraqis or the countries hosting them. Iraqi refugees are temporarily displaced Iraqi citizens who have a full right to live in dignity, the right to benefit from national resources, and the right to return to their homes. They are protected persons under The Hague Regulations and the Geneva Conventions, as well as several instruments of international law that relate to refugees.

IRAQI INTERNATIONAL INITIATIVE ON REFUGEES: On 25 November 2007, the Iraqi International Initiative on refugees ( http://www.3iii.org ) issued a proposal to support, protect and defend refugees and their rights as Iraqi citizens by changing the financing system of responsible agencies and hosting countries. The proposal asks the UN Security Council to pass a resolution requiring that the Iraqi state allocate part of the revenue from Iraqi oil — in proportion with the number of Iraqi citizens temporarily displaced — for Iraqi refugees in hosting countries.

Such a resolution is urgently needed, legally justified and politically appropriate. It is the only efficient way for the country of origin and the international community to fulfil their legal and moral obligations towards both Iraqi refugees and hosting countries while preserving the rights of refugees and their dignity as Iraqi citizens. Further, such a resolution is not only justified but respecting of existing jurisprudence on state responsibility and refugee protection, while in accordance with the primary mission of the UN to preserve international peace and security, protect civilian populations and enhance human civilisation. No legal objection can be raised against this proposal. Moreover, an example of redistributing national resources equitably by means of a UN Security Council resolution exists in the case of Iraq.

In 1991, Turkey shut its borders to the flow of refugees coming mainly from northern Iraq, refusing to apply the principle of non- refoulement. As a consequence, the UN Security Council, realising this principle wasn’t sufficient to protect the refugee population, instituted new practices in refugee protection. Article 8b of UN Security Council Resolution 986 of 1995 obliged the Iraqi state to allocate part of Iraqi national resources to the population not under the authority of the Iraqi government (the three northern governorates). This resolution was passed on humanitarian grounds, in order “to ensure equitable distribution of humanitarian relief to all segments of Iraqi society”, including to Iraqi citizens who were residing in the three northern governorates that were not administratively supervised by the central government. Current Iraqi refugees are in the same situation of being outside the supervision of the central government governing Iraq.

UN Security Council resolutions 1314 and 1325 further emphasised the tendency in international jurisprudence on the protection of refugee populations to insist on the responsibility of states to assist civilians, including refugees and the displaced. This tendency is further reflected in UNHCR appeals and the final declaration of the World Summit in 2005. Resolutions 986, 1314 and 1325 created a legal precedent that obliges and allows the UNSC to draft and pass a resolution now requiring the allocation of a proportionate part of Iraqi oil revenues to current Iraqi refugees, so as to protect their human rights and in the knowledge that Iraqi oil is the property of all Iraqis, inside or outside Iraq, as established by UNSC Resolution 986.

UNDERCUTTING THE LOGIC OF VIOLENCE: As well as establishing the duty to protect, international jurisprudence on refugees often places emphasis on helping the country of origin to eradicate the causes of violence that displaces the population. The proposal of the Iraqi International Initiative on refugees adheres to this logic too. US policy towards Iraq, since 1991, has been to destroy its political, military and economic capacities in an attempt to divide it into three or more entities in order to seize its natural resources. The ethnic cleansing currently taking place under the orchestration of the US occupation is intrinsically linked to the latter’s attempt to control Iraq’s resources by promoting and manipulating sectarian identities.

From the first day of the occupation the US supported sectarian forces, themselves sufficiently weak, illegitimate and conflicted that they are unable to create a functioning state, therefore requiring the never-ending help, presence, protection and direction of the US itself. The so- called political process in which these forces participate is only tolerated so long as it oversees and ensures the dismantlement of the unified and sovereign Iraqi state, its institutions and infrastructure; dismembers Iraqi society and its social fabric along sectarian and confessional lines; and helps the occupation in repressing the national popular resistance of the Iraqi people. This strategy was pursued throughout the occupation as a means to destroy Iraq both as a state and as a nation, to subjugate its people into surrendering their national resources to US corporations and interests.

Yet despite 15 years of continuous attempts to subjugate Iraq and its people, whether through economic sanctions, war of aggression or occupation, US policy failed. By 2006, the occupation opted to delegate to the various sectarian forces and militias it had promoted the task of forcibly uprooting the local resilient population, thereafter seizing their resources. The political process and the ethnic cleansing it perpetrates is but an instrumentalised power struggle among various sectarian factions competing for the political and/or economic rewards granted by the occupation for depriving the Iraqi people of their sovereignty by displacing them and achieving local control over areas and attendant resources.

Whole areas have been purged of resident minorities by one militia or another, effectively changing the demographic make-up of entire regions and neighbourhoods, especially in Baghdad, while keeping one of the collaborating militia in control in any given locale, over the people and its resources. Though sectarianism starts with attacking minorities and the weak, it soon spreads to all components of society, as each can be, somewhere, a majority or a minority. The occupation itself changes its affiliations as it doesn’t need to consider itself permanently bound to the respective agendas of each faction and defends only its own interest. This criminal strategy ensures a never-ending cycle of violence that can only be stopped by the end of its root cause: the US occupation. By now, all Iraqis have been affected — all sections of Iraqi society have been forced to flee.

While the occupation uses forcible displacement as a means of blackmail to, alternately, terrorise the population, destabilise hosting countries and plunder Iraq’s wealth, a UNSC resolution requiring the Iraqi state allocate the proportionate and legitimate share of Iraqi national wealth to Iraqi refugees would effectively deny the occupation its goals and deprive its sectarian forces of the benefits of displacing the population for economic or political gains. It would render the entire tactic of forcible displacement obsolete, as its victims would be guaranteed their share of national revenue by law as well as right.

THE OBLIGATION TO ACT: The UN Security Council, as the highest UN body, has the political, legal and moral duty and authority to act to protect the millions of displaced Iraqis. Following 13 years of disastrous UN-imposed sanctions that according to two former UN assistant secretary-generals satisfied the definition of genocide under international law, the UN Security Council failed to act to protect the state and people of Iraq, or condemn and censure those responsible for launching an illegal war of aggression against a member state of the United Nations. Its silence on the horrendous human and material cost paid by Iraqis since the illegal 2003 US invasion is not only shameful but also criminal.

A UNSC resolution on Iraqi refugees would end the complicity of the UN in this crime, expose the occupation’s illegality and hypocrisy, as well as the barbaric and inhuman nature of the policies the US has been pursuing in Iraq since its illegal invasion in 2003. If we are to re- establish a peaceful international order, US imperialism must be constrained. It promotes sectarianism everywhere. It then uses the plight of those made refugees by sectarian violence as a political tool to blackmail and destabilise both countries of origin and hosting countries. Finally, it uses refugees as a justification for “humanitarian” intervention, regardless of state sovereignty, while obscuring the massive humanitarian crises it generates by its own sectarian policies.

As shown by UNHCR figures, most displaced Iraqis refuse to be treated as refugees. They consider being granted status and resettled a de facto victory for the occupation and its policies of pushing the population out of Iraq and depriving it of its national rights. All Iraqis know the occupation’s plans have failed completely and cannot be recovered. As Iraqi citizens, they know they are sovereign over the resources of Iraq, now and in the future. Further, they are conscious collectively of the dramatic situation of their Palestinian sisters and brothers who, despite having been guaranteed the unalienable right of return by UN Resolution 194, have been denied return for nearly 60 years. While their right is being bargained by some and used as political blackmail by others, they are forced to live in camps and from international charity. Iraqis refuse to lose their rights in Iraq, or accept the humiliation of having to beg while they are sovereign over one of the most resource-rich countries in the world. They hope Iraq will be liberated soon, allowing them to return home safely.

Finally, a UNSC resolution as described would protect and defend the Iraqi people’s rights while defending universal human values. It would enhance the permanent sovereignty of the Iraqi people over their national resources, thereby derailing the primary goals of aggressive imperialist states of forcing smaller states’ economies, their population and resources, into submission by military means. This would be a victory for humanity worldwide while upholding the endangered superiority of law and the duty to protect human life above private or exclusive state, corporate and individual interests.

While protecting the sovereign rights of Iraq and its people, now and in the future, a UNSC resolution as described would condemn the feudal plague of sectarianism, binding the future and destiny of Iraqi citizens together as members of the same state and nation, benefiting equally from the distribution of its national resources. Unfortunately for the occupation, while there are religious and cultural differences among Iraqi refugees, all are Iraqi citizens with protected rights, and all are bound to each other by the past, present and future of their nation as well as their common situation and destiny. By considering and treating all as equal citizens of a unified state free from all forms of discrimination, whether ethnic, confessional or of gender, a UNSC resolution as described would pave the way for a sane basis for healing Iraq’s wounds as a nation, also upholding the concept of citizenship — the basis of any modern state — against the occupation’s current tribal, sectarian and feudal concept of identity. It would be a preventive action against the politics of divide and rule and the use of ethnic cleansing as a political instrument to control the common riches of a people.

The UNSC should draft and pass a resolution as described if it wants to rehabilitate itself from its consistent failure to uphold its own legal charter, protect the people of Iraq and state of Iraq, as well as international peace and stability. Such a resolution defends the principle of equality before law, the permanent sovereignty of people over their national resources, and the unalienable right of refugees to return to their homes, thereby giving the UNSC opportunity to break away from its perpetual double standards in the implementation of international justice.

Iraqis have paid a price that leaves one wordless in defending human life and values. Humanity should feel responsible for protecting these people in their heroic struggle for national liberation and take immediate steps to defend their rights and their sovereignty.

The writer is coordinator of the Iraqi International Initiative on refugees (www.3iii.org).

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© Copyright Hana Al-Bayaty, Al Ahram Weekly, 2008
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Deterioration of Iraqi Women’s Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation by Souad N. Al-Azzawi

The Apocalypse, From Paul Ehrlich to Al Gore by Brent Jessop

Dandelion Salad

by Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven Revolution.com
January 7, 2008

The Population Bomb Part 5

“…it would not surprise me if the sea were virtually emptied of its harvestable fishes and shellfish in a few decades or less.” – Paul Ehrlich, 1968 (p96)

While reading Paul Ehrlich’s The Population Bomb* it is hard not to notice the similarities between his arguments and those used to popularize global warming. From the threat of apocalypse to the promise of utopia, from the scourge of big business to the dream of a sustainable society, and the cancer of the earth, man himself. Continue reading

Those Involved in Population Control by Brent Jessop

Dandelion Salad

by Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven Revolution.com
December 31, 2007

The Population Bomb Part 4

“In the eight years that I have been a part-time propagandist, I have found that many people in influential positions share my concern. I have had encouraging letters from all over the world. People in radio and television have been extremely helpful in providing exposure for the issues.” – Paul Ehrlich, 1968 (p159)

Continue reading

Population, Religion & Sex Education by Brent Jessop

Dandelion Salad

by Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven Revolution.com
December 24, 2007

The Population Bomb Part 3

“We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.” – Paul Ehrlich, 1968 (pXI)

Continue reading

Ehrlich: How to Control the WORLD Population by Brent Jessop

Dandelion Salad

by Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven Revolution.com
December 17, 2007

The Population Bomb Part 2

Once the American population size is comfortably under control, be it by voluntary or compulsory methods, the rest of the world needs to be “helped.” Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 The Population Bomb* described a variety of methods for controlling third world population growth and who should be involved in deciding the optimum population levels for the world.

Continue reading

Ehrlich: How to Control the AMERICAN Population by Brent Jessop

Dandelion Salad

by Brent Jessop
Knowledge Driven Revolution.com
December 10, 2007

The Population Bomb Part 1

In 1968, Dr. Paul R. Ehrlich wrote a well publicized book entitled The Population Bomb*. Ehrlich predicted widespread famine and disaster unless population growth was reduced to zero in America and throughout the world by compulsory methods if necessary.

Continue reading

Nader; tale of a liberal; Iraq; 9/11 truth by William Blum

Dandelion Salad

by William Blum
December 11, 2007

The Anti-Empire Report

Read this or George W. Bush will be president the rest of your life

An Unreasonable Man

I recommend the new documentary about Ralph Nader, which was recently shown on PBS television, “An Unreasonable Man”. Its primary focus is on Nader’s argument for having run in the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections despite the alleged harm done to the Democratic Party candidates. As I’ve written earlier: The choice facing people like myself was not Ralph Nader or Albert Gore or John Kerry. The choice facing us was Ralph Nader or not voting at all. If Nader had not been on the ballot, we would have stayed home. It’s that simple. The film shows a clip of a TV network newscast just after the 2000 election in which star news anchors Katie Couric and Tom Brokaw are discussing this very question, and much to my surprise they both come to this same conclusion — Nader did not cost the Democrats many votes at all. If he had not been on the ballot, the great bulk of his supporters would NOT have voted Democratic instead.

This escapes Nader’s critics, such as the two featured in the film, Nation magazine columnist Eric Alterman and author and 60s icon Todd Gitlin. NASA should check them out — just mention “Ralph Nader” and they go ballistic. They engage in an orgy of angry name calling, labeling Nader an egomaniac, irrational … “prefabricated purity” … “borders on the wicked” … responsible for the Iraq war and the destruction of the environment … They don’t directly challenge anything of substance amongst the views of Nader or his supporters. They’re not at all impressed with what I find most exhilarating — the unique phenomenon of a noted public political figure consistently standing on principle. Nader’s critics can’t admit that there’s principle involved in all this, for fear of revealing their own lack of that quality, as they cling to defending the indefensible — the idea that the Democratic Party is a force for even liberal change, never mind progressive.

The film also gives time to other Nader critics, amongst them Michael Moore, whom I admire more than the likes of Alterman or Gitlin. However, it shows Moore speaking during the 2000 campaign in behalf of Nader, telling the audience not to be afraid to vote their conscience; it then shows him in 2004, making fun of those who call for voting for one’s conscience — Yes, the hypocrisy is that blatant. Moore is indeed a strange political animal. The maker of “Fahrenheit 911” and “Sicko” was until not long ago a super-avid supporter of Hillary Clinton (admitting to even a sexual crush on her), and he has supported General Wesley Clark for president, a genuine war criminal for his merciless 78-day bombing assault upon Yugoslavia.

Defenders of the Democrats now ask: “Would Al Gore have invaded Iraq?” Maybe not. He might have invaded Iran instead; that apparently was the first choice of Israel and their American lobby. Remember that the Clinton-Gore administration imposed eight years of heartless and needless sanctions upon the people of Iraq, simultaneously bombing them hundreds of times, costing the lives of more than a million people, ruining the lives of millions more. Al Gore has already invaded Iraq.

It’s an old and painful story. Democrats cannot be trusted ideologically, not even to be consistently liberal, and certainly not progressive or radical, no matter how much we wish we could trust them, no matter how awful the Republicans may be. In 1968 Democratic Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota was the darling of the left. He ran in the Democratic presidential primaries on an anti-Vietnam war platform that excited a whole generation of young people. Peaceniks and hippies, the story goes, were getting haircuts, dressing like decent Americans, and forsaking dope, all to be “clean for Gene” and work in his campaign. Yet, in 1980, Gene McCarthy came out in support of Ronald Reagan against Jimmy Carter.[1]

It’s most often foreign policy which separates liberals from those further to the left. In the post World War Two period, one of the most revered American liberals was Senator Hubert Humphrey. But he was at the same time a fanatical anti-communist. In 1954 he introduced a bill to outlaw the Communist Party on the grounds that it was “an illegal conspiracy to overthrow the Government of the United States by force and violence and not a legitimate political party.” When he became Lyndon Johnson’s vice-president in 1965 he supported the Vietnam War. Two years later he was actually moved to declare to American troops in Vietnam: “I believe that Vietnam will be marked as the place where the family of man has gained the time it needed to finally break through to a new era of hope and human development and justice. This is the chance we have. This is our great adventure — and a wonderful one it is.”[2]

It was the administration of the liberal Jimmy Carter that instigated the Soviet intervention into Afghanistan in 1979, leading to Washington’s decisive role in the overthrow of a government which, compared to what replaced it, was extremely progressive.[3] It was also Carter who gave Iraq the OK to invade Iran in 1980, with terrible consequences for the two countries.[4]

No, I don’t know what we should do about our leaders. The US electoral process which we’re all suffering through right now, which feels like it’s been going on non-stop forever, is replete with continual cries from the leading candidates about some kind of “change”. Whatever can they mean? They mean nothing. And the media treats it all like some kind of horse race, a spectator sport. Is there any election system in this world as lacking in intellectual discussion, as hopelessly corrupted by money, and as undemocratic as the one Americans are blessed with? Where else in the world is the candidate with the most votes not necessarily the winner? If we could interview each and every American voter to determine exactly why they voted for a particular candidate, compared to what the actual facts are about that candidate, and the results were widely publicized, it would be such a national embarrassment the next election might be called off. What does winning an election mean other than that the sales campaign was successful? An outright auction for the presidency would be more efficient, and more honest.

Another tale of a liberal

Gilbert Harrison, former editor and publisher of the influential Washington magazine, New Republic, departed this world on January 3. I never met the man, but in 1975, while living in London, I submitted a review of former CIA officer Philip Agee’s new book, “Inside the Company: CIA Diary”, to the magazine. The book was a shocker, providing more detail about CIA covert operations in Latin America than any book ever written, revealing the names of hundreds of CIA officers, agents, and front organizations. The book had not yet appeared in the United States and the New Republic was pleased to have what would be one of the first reviews. At that time the magazine was still firmly in the liberal camp. At last my writing résumé would list something other than the alternative press.

A couple of weeks later, another letter arrived from the magazine’s literary editor. She was sorry to inform me that the Editor-in-Chief, Gilbert Harrison, had vetoed publication of my review at the last moment. The article was returned to me, already edited for publication, even with an issue date marked on it. Some years later, I came to appreciate that Harrison was a typical Cold-War, anti-communist liberal — no matter how progressive their views concerning the individual and society, the basic tenets, assumptions, and objectives of American foreign policy were held sacrosanct. In 1961 the New Republic obtained a comprehensive account of the preparations by the CIA for its upcoming invasion of Cuba. Harrison was a friend of President Kennedy and he dutifully submitted the magazine’s planned article to the White House for advice. We thus have a case here of the United States about to initiate what the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg called “a war of aggression … not only an international crime, it is the supreme international crime.” And an American journalist did not know whether he should expose this. When Kennedy asked that the story not be printed, Harrison complied.[5] If the story had been published, it might have led to the cancellation of the invasion, and thus the saving of a few thousand lives on the two sides.

Ironically and sadly, just four days after Harrison’s death, Philip Agee died. We had been friends since I met him in England in 1975, shortly after his book came out. Phil was truly a hero. He gave up his career, his financial security, a normal family life, and his safety to work against the CIA in one country after another that was threatened by the Agency — Cuba, Jamaica, Grenada, Chile, Nicaragua, Venezuela. The CIA revoked his US passport, spread all manner of false stories about him (such as his being in the pay of the KGB), and hounded him in Europe, getting him expelled from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy, and other countries. The Agency had him under surveillance for much of the rest of his life. The extreme strain this put on him may well have contributed to the perforated ulcer which led to his death.

The CIA was, as it still is, a force for dreadful things. What could a man of principle and idealism, with so much inside knowledge of the workings of the Agency, do but devote his life to fighting such a force?

Oh, by the way, the Iraqis don’t really want us

Did you miss this? It should have been the lead story in every newspaper and radio and TV program in America. In the Washington Post it was on page 14. In virtually all of the rest of the media it was on page zero, channel zero, 0000 AM or 00.0 FM.

The US military in Iraq hired firms to conduct focus groups amongst a cross section of the population. A summary report of the findings was obtained by the Post. Here are some of the highlights of the report as disclosed by the newspaper:

Until the March 2003 US occupation Sunnis and Shiites coexisted peacefully.

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the US military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them.

After the United States leaves Iraq, national reconciliation will happen “naturally.”

A sense of “optimistic possibility permeated all focus groups … and far more commonalities than differences are found among these seemingly diverse groups of Iraqis.”

Dividing Iraq into three states would hinder national reconciliation. (Only the Kurds did not reject this option.)

Most would describe the negative elements of life in Iraq as beginning with the US occupation.

Few mentioned Saddam Hussein as a cause of their problems, which the report described as an important finding, implying that “the current strife in Iraq seems to have totally eclipsed any agonies or grievances many Iraqis would have incurred from the past regime, which lasted for nearly four decades — as opposed to the current conflict, which has lasted for five years.”

The Washington Post added this note: “Outside of the military, some of the most widespread polling in Iraq has been done by D3 Systems, a Virginia-based company that maintains offices in each of Iraq’s 18 provinces. Its most recent publicly released surveys, conducted in September for several news media organizations, showed the same widespread Iraqi belief voiced by the military’s focus groups: that a U.S. departure will make things better. A State Department poll in September 2006 reported a similar finding.”[6]

This just in: The US has found the perfect way to counteract such foolish attitudes of the Iraqi people. On January 10, the Associated Press reported: “U.S. bombers and jet fighters unleashed 40,000 pounds of explosives on the southern outskirts of Baghdad within 10 minutes Thursday in one of the biggest air strikes of the war, flattening what the military called safe havens for al-Qaida in Iraq.” There was no mention of whether the planes had also dropped pamphlets saying: “We bomb you because we care about you.”

On December 20, the legislature of Panama declared the date to be a day of “national mourning” in memory of the American invasion on that day in 1989. “This is a recognition of those who fell on Dec. 20 as a result of the cruel and unjust invasion by the most powerful army in the world,” said Rep. Cesar Pardo, of the governing Democratic Revolutionary Party, which holds a majority in the legislature. U.S. officials downplayed the issue. “We prefer to look to the future,” said a U.S. Embassy spokesman. “We are very satisfied to have a friend and partner like Panama, a nation that has managed to develop a mature democracy.”[7] As with their attack on Iraq on March 19, 2003, the United States, with no provocation or international legality (yes, another war of aggression), first bombed Panama, then staged a ground invasion, killing as many as a few thousand, while offering no believable reason for their psychopathic behavior.[8]

Will we some day see in a free and independent Iraq the setting of March 19 as a day of national mourning?

Some further thought re the 9/11 truth movement

When I say, as I did in last month’s report, that I don’t think that 9-11 was an “inside job”, it’s not because I believe that men like Dick Cheney, George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, et al. are not morally depraved enough to carry out such a monstrous act; these men each has a piece missing, a piece that’s shaped like a social conscience; they consciously and directly instigated the current Iraqi and Afghanistan horrors which have already cost many more American lives than were lost on 9/11, not to mention more than a million Iraqis and Afghans who dearly wanted to remain amongst the living. In the Gulf War of 1991, Cheney and other American leaders purposely destroyed electricity-generating plants, water-pumping systems, and sewage systems in Iraq, then imposed sanctions upon the country making the repair of the infrastructure extremely difficult. Then, after twelve years, when the Iraqi people had performed the heroic task of getting these systems working fairly well again, the US bombers came back to inflict devastating damage to them all once more. My books and many others document one major crime against humanity after another by our America once so dear and cherished.

So it’s not the moral question that makes me doubt the inside-job scenario. It’s the logistics of it all — the incredible complexity of arranging it all so that it would work and not be wholly and transparently unbelievable. That and the gross overkill — they didn’t need to destroy or smash up ALL those buildings and planes and people. One of the twin towers killing more than a thousand would certainly have been enough to sell the War on Terror, the Patriot Act, and Homeland Security. The American people are not such a hard sell. They really yearn to be true believers. Look how they scream hysterically over Hillary and Obama.

To win over people like me, the 9/11 truth people need to present a scenario that makes the logistics reasonably plausible. They might start by trying to answer questions like these: Did planes actually hit the towers and the Pentagon and crash in Pennsylvania? Were these the same four United Airline and American Airline planes that took off from Boston and Newark? At the time of collision, were they being piloted by people or by remote control? If people, who were these people?

Also, why did building 7 collapse? If it was purposely demolished — why? All the reasons I’ve read so far I find not very credible. As to the films of the towers and building 7 collapsing, which make it appear that this had to be the result of controlled demolitions — I agree, it does indeed look that way. But what do I know? I’m no expert. It’s not like I’ve seen, in person or on film, numerous examples of buildings collapsing due to controlled demolition and numerous other examples of buildings collapsing due to planes crashing into them, so I could make an intelligent distinction. We are told by the 9/11 truth people that no building constructed like the towers has ever collapsed due to fire. But how about fire plus a full-size, loaded airplane smashing into it? How many examples of that do we have?

But there’s one argument those who support the official version use against the skeptics that I would question. It’s the argument that if the government planned the operation there would have to have been many people in on the plot, and surely by now one of them would have talked and the mainstream media would have reported their stories. But in fact a number of firemen, the buildings’ janitor, and others have testified to hearing many explosions in the towers some time after the planes crashed, supporting the theory of planted explosives. But scarce little of this has made it to the media. Likewise, following the JFK assassination at least two men came forward afterward and identified themselves as being one of the three “tramps” on the grassy knoll in Dallas. So what happened? The mainstream media ignored them both. I know of them only because the tabloid press ran their stories. One of the men was the father of actor Woody Harrelson.


[1] San Francisco Chronicle, October 24, 1980, p.7

[2] United Press International (UPI) dispatch from Saigon, October 31, 1967

[3] See interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter’s national security adviser — http://members.aol.com/bblum6/brz.htm

[4] http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/xfile5.html

[5] Victor Marchetti and John Marks, “The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence” (1975), p.307; Peter Wyden, “Bay of Pigs: The Untold Story” (1979), p.142-3

[6] Washington Post, December 19, 2007, article plus accompanying sidebar; see also the Anti-Empire Report of August 18, 2006, last item, for another Post article demonstrating the belief of the Iraqi people, as well as American military personnel, that things would be better if the US left the country.

[7] Associated Press, December 20, 2007

[8] For the full details, see William Blum, “Killing Hope”, chapter 50.

William Blum is the author of:
Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War 2
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower
West-Bloc Dissident: A Cold War Memoir
Freeing the World to Death: Essays on the American Empire

Portions of the books can be read, and signed copies purchased, at <www.killinghope.org>

Previous Anti-Empire Reports can be read at this website at “essays”.

To add yourself to this mailing list simply send an email to <bblum6@aol.com> with “add” in the subject line. I’d like your name and city in the message, but that’s optional. I ask for your city only in case I’ll be speaking in your area.

Or put “remove” in the subject line to do the opposite.

Any part of this report may be disseminated without permission. I’d appreciate it if the website were mentioned. www.killinghope.org


Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II

by William Blum

William Blum book



The Anti-Empire Report by William Blum (NIE; Chavez; Iraq; Conspiracies)

Is Chris Matthews A Hypocrite? Will NBC Let Kucinich Debate? (video)

Dandelion Salad


MSNBC is airing ridiculous piece of propaganda in the form of a Chris Matthews commercial where the pundit says that politics at its best is about gutsy people with ideas and “those who watch get to decide who is right”.

Unfortunately, NBC recently changed its own rules in order to kick Rep. Dennis Kucinich out of the upcoming January 15th debate in Las Vegas.

Is NBC’s parent company GE afraid that Kucinich’s anti-war message could hurt its bottom line? And is Chris Matthews a hypocrite?

Ask him at hardball@msnbc.com

Added: January 13, 2008


(212) 664-4444 and ask for the Comment Line
Email: letters@msnbc.com
Subject Line: Let Dennis Debate

Howard Dean and the
Democratic National Committee
(202) 863 8000

h/t: ManilaRyceTLM


Boycott Disney & GE: Mickey Mouse Politics by Manila Ryce (vid)

NBC un-plugs Kucinich from Presidential debate + Phone NBC & the DNC Now (vid) (updated)

Dennis Kucinich’s Greatest Hits (video)

Welcome to the United States of Disney By Jeeni Criscenzo

A Call to Action: Candidates Excluded Again from Debates By Manila Ryce


Dennis 4 President

States within the USA need to rebel By Jim Kirwan

Dandelion Salad

By Jim Kirwan
13/01/08 “ICH

Bush & his Bandits have been watching too much FOX Television. Someone needs to tell George that he’s not living an episode of “24,” and that his view of a national threat is being influenced by believing in too many of his own skewed fantasies about national security. (1)

In view of yesterday’s declaration by the Media that ‘all States will comply with the National ID Act by this coming May, or their citizens will be refused permission to fly’—The governor’s of the States within the United States need to rebel, as a body, against this completely unwarranted ORDER from the White House via Michael Chertoff, whose own US citizenship is in doubt. (2)

When the Decider took away the State’s National Guard Units, to use them for his private war on Iraq: Bush violated both the spirit and the reasons behind the need for the National Guard in the first place. There are over two and half million men and women in US military uniforms, but apparently that was not enough force to complete his failed mission in Iraq. He claimed to NEED the services and equipment of all our National Guard units as well.

Has anyone in the thoroughly tarnished administration even heard of “states rights” – maybe the State’s of the United States have NO RIGHTS AT ALL anymore! We know people no longer have any rights in the USA – now the same is apparently true for our supposedly sovereign States as well? (3)

However Bush has now gone further—he is threatening the citizens of every State that has made a choice against the National ID Card Act, with refusing to allow their citizens to fly. Bush has exceeded his authority because apparently he has never understood that in this country the individual States do have rights, especially when they confront the Federal Government. We have not yet become a total dictatorship!

This new “law” came into existence in complete secrecy, and was signed into law on 5-5-05. Why was it exactly that congress needed to pass the Real ID card legislation without ANY public discussion at all: and then after this piece of national treachery was signed, why was it essentially hidden by a near total news blackout – until now?

Its one thing to tell the nation what is needed – but another thing entirely to just pass a law by fiat – and then compound this obscenity by threatening to bar citizens from flying unless their individual States comply with the autocratic-will of an out-of-control executive branch. (4)

First this government (the same one that was supposedly blind-sided by 911) needs to conclusively prove to every citizen that they KNOW anything at all about “SECURITY” or data theft – and then the nation needs to have an open and very public discussion about the specifics of the supposed ‘need’ for this national ID Card.

Security does not come from make-believe credentials that can always be forged—the record of this fact goes all the way back to the very earliest beginning of recorded history itself. Real security involves using ‘intelligence’ to detect plans before they can commence. But in this case there has only been the total failure of ‘our’ supposed Airport Security Screeners, (TSA) virtually every time they’ve been actually tested. – and there have been no further attempted hijackings: Ergo what “threat” are these Bandits going to protect us from?

Yesterday’s ‘demand’ also contained warnings about some need to prevent con men and others from fraudulently stealing identities and other minor crimes – this is not enough reason to subject every American citizen to divulging all their personal information to any jerk with a badge, that might think a given person might present a problem. In fact that’s why the Amendments to the Constitution were written—specifically to protect PEOPLE from the government; and NOT the other way round.

To solve this current attack upon the right of citizens and States to refuse to abide by a secretly written federal mandate: The States should jointly refuse to collect Federal Income Taxes for the federal government, until Chertoff is sent back to Israel, and Bush rescinds this bogus threat against the rights of every American citizen to be secure in their person, their papers, and their lives.

Chertoff does not make the laws, and the Congress had the obligation to publicly debate this obscenity before they passed it—just as the media had an obligation to report on this ‘ACT’ at the time. None of this was done in the interests of the public that is now expected to not only suffer from it, but to pay for it as well. The Constitution is clear about how legislation is to be handled, so that the public is represented in ALL matters that concern the freedom and the individuality of both the States and the people.

This is an attempt by the administration to begin to turn this nation into a very thinly disguised concentration camp, and they must be stopped cold in this flagrant and illegal imposition against the people of this country!


1) ABC News – video


2) Michael Chertoff – the man & his Star-crossed Past


3) The National Governors Association


4) New ID Rules May Complicate Air Travel


Background: Our CRIMINAL Justice System

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


California could become third state to ban forced microchip tag implants (RFID) by Orr Shtuhl (09.07)

Homeland Security to press ahead with Real ID by Anne Broache

Repress U – How to Build a Homeland Security Campus in 7 Steps By Michael Gould-Wartofsky



It’s time to impeach our VP and Pres: http://www.wexlerwantshearings.com

Bush’s Mideast Visit & N. Korea Declaration Deadline By William H. White

Dandelion Salad

By William H. White
13/01/08 “ICH

Preparations for War with Iran?

Why would Bush go to the Mideast now? It is likely he went to nail down commitments from the Israelis and acquiescence from the Saudis prior to a planned attack on Iran. Bush, who neither reads nor writes well, has a low comfort level with diplomatic go-betweens, so this is a look’em in the eye trip to talk about what happens when he pulls the trigger.

If not, what is the alternative explanation for the trip? He is going to talk about peace talks likely to drift into the fall; change diplomatic tact, such as a demand Israel end the blockade of Gaza; schedule another Annapolis photo-op? Not likely. In addition, by White House standards this is a stealth trip with the US press attention focused elsewhere.

One possibly related diplomatic element: the White House is demanding North Korea “come clean” about its nuclear program, with the objective of getting some statement from them about working with the Iranians. Why an urgent deadline, especially one not in the agreement, unless it is linked to concomitant events? Any statements by North Korea affirming their assistance to Iran, no matter whether the nuclear assistance was weapons related or prior to the reported shut down of the Iranian program, would be presented as “new” intelligence and sold much like the “Sadam/9-11” connection, trumping, or at least blunting, the recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program.

Another indication of the White House’s intentions is promotion of an ordinary encounter in the Strait of Hormuz between US Navy Ships and Iranian Patrol Boats into an “incident,” including the imposition of addition sanctions on Iranian officials.

Assuming a decision to attack Iran, given weather and other logistical concerns, combined with attention to the domestic political schedule, the timing would likely be within two to three months or early fall. Should this occur, the potential for destabilizing domestic and foreign consequences increase substantially, approaching near certainty. This nominally unattractive and reckless gamble would fit Bush’s character as well as the pattern of his governance. Also, this is his last shot, with a chance to create conditions in the Mideast that lock in future policy options, as he has in domestic policy with a massive deficit. Given the consequences, he would attack not only his foreign enemies, but at the same time strike at his domestic foes under the cover of the resulting emergency.

The later the attack on Iran comes, or a significant response from Iran, the more likely it would be combined with or be followed by a formal declaration of a national emergency, possibly affecting US national elections. The result would be a de facto coup d’état.

Finally, to further assess its likelihood, ask the question: who is to stop him? Not Congress; not the courts; not pubic opinion nor the press. The only chance, however slight, of stopping Bush would rest almost entirely with the British government, if Parliament became aware of the plan prior to the commencement of hostilities.

Related News – Naval Encounter:

Video from Iranian Patrol Boat by Iran Press TV 01/10/08

Video from US Naval Vessel by US Department of Defense 01/09/08

Degrees of Confidence on U.S.-Iran Naval Incident by The New York Times (Blog) 01/10/08

Related News – North Korean Declaration:

U.S. Nuclear Envoy Puts Gentle Pressure on North Korea by The New York Times 01/10/08

North Korea Says Earlier Disclosure Was Enough by The New York Times 01/05/08

U.S. Will Hold North Korea to Nuclear Commitments by The New York Times 01/02/08

Related News – Bush Visit:

ANALYSIS-Gulf Arabs chart delicate course between Iran, U.S. by Reuters 01/10/08

Saudi defends Iran links ahead of Bush visit by Reuters 01/09/08

Iran High on Bush Mideast Trip by Associated Press 01/07/08

Bush to press allies on Iran during Mideast trip by Reuters 01/05/08

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Bush launches scathing attack on Iran (video)

Israel Stressed To Bush That Iran Is A Nuclear ‘Threat’: General

Bush Says US, Allies Must Confront Iran

Gulf Shenanigans: No Laughing Matter By Ray McGovern

Why is Iran Still in the Cross-Hairs? by Dr. Ellen Hodgson Brown

Another Iranian Act of Aggression by Gordon Prather h/t: Greg

Showdown in the Strait of Hormuz: Strait Facts by Daniel M. Pourkesali

US War Plans & the “Strait of Hormuz Incident”: Just Who Threatens Whom? by Michel Chossudovsky

Bush launches scathing attack on Iran (video)

Dandelion Salad


His own intelligence experts have downplayed the nuclear threat he’s been so big on but George Bush is trying to find new ways to scare the world about Iran. He says it “threatens the security of nations everywhere” and must be confronted “before it’s too late”, accusing it of funding terrorism, the Taliban and even blocking peace in Lebanon. The call for nations to rally against it came during a speech in Abu Dhabi, on his third day in the Gulf.
Rob Reynolds reports.

Added: January 13, 2008

Unraveling the Myth of Al Qaida by Peter Chamberlin

Dandelion Salad

by Peter Chamberlin
Global Research, January 13, 2008

The myth of “al Qaida” is built on an expansive foundation of many half-truths and hidden facts. It is a CIA creation. It was shaped by the agency to serve as a substitute “enemy” for America, replacing the Soviets whom the Islamist forces had driven from Afghanistan. Unknown American officials, at an indeterminate point in time, made the decision to fabricate the tale of a mythical worldwide network of Islamic terrorists from the exploits of the Afghan Mujahedeen. The CIA already had their own network of Islamic militant “freedom fighters,” all that was needed were a few scattered terrorist attacks against US targets and a credible heroic figurehead, to serve as the “great leader.”

Continue reading

The Invisible Man & Our Chance For Dramatic Change by Bill Willers

Dandelion Salad

by Bill Willers
January 13, 2008 at 09:25:41

When Dennis Kucinich announced his candidacy for the presidency, his original plan was to get $50 from each of a million citizens, about a third of one percent of the U.S. population. 50 bucks – that’s two tanks of gas or 10 six-packs of beer. With that, he figured, he’d be able to mount a decent campaign without having to go, hat and soul in hand, to the money sources that have the American political system in their grasp. He was not successful.

Skip to January, ’08. Kucinich has been denied the right to debate in Iowa and on ABC (Disney, Inc.) and has had his image excised from a photograph of democratic candidates, said photo sent all over the world. After an early debate, when a national poll revealed that viewers considered him the winner, mainstream media declared him “unelectable” and began to ignore him completely. Nevertheless, he has won polls by ABC, MSNBC, CSPAN, Democracy For America, the John Edwards Campaign (!) and every online poll I’m aware of that would attract progressive democrats and independents. On January 7, Jay Leno asked Ron Paul who on the democratic side he liked best. When Paul mentioned “Dennis” the crowd erupted in applause.

The New York Times produced a two-page synopsis, “Where the Democrats and Republicans Stand”. It included photographs of the presidential “hopefuls” and their positions on Iraq, health, taxes, energy, immigration, climate ….. everything. The presentation included candidates down to Richardson, Biden and Dodd, all three of whom have, by now, dropped out. Everybody was shown except Kucinich. As far as “America’s Paper of Record” was concerned, he did not exist.

Going into the New Hampshire primary, Clinton and Obama enjoyed 200 million corporate/fat cat dollars — “the mother’s milk of American politics” — between them. Hillary “We are the President” Clinton touted her experience which, if one recalls the administration of her partner, must include NAFTA, welfare “reform” and the 1996 Telecommunications Act that further solidified corporate control of the public’s airways. Obama, whose “star quality” cannot be denied, gave the crowds stirring speeches and lots and lots of “Hope”.

It is understandable that “The System” would consider Kucinich a threat and seek to make him invisible. Simply look at his platform: Out of NAFTA on day one; out of the World Trade Organization; universal not-for-profit health care; creation of a Department of Peace (Imagine that! ); repeal the Patriot Act; end the phony “Drug War”; end the war in Iraq now, not in 2013 or 2020 but now; speak as an equal among equals with all world leaders, whether or not they are in synch with “American Interests Around the World”. Everything a progressive American would dream of. Just imagine the shudders his expressed plan would send through the defense industry (e.g. GE/NBC), the pharmaceutical industry, the insurance industry, the “corporate sector” generally.

One cannot consider Dennis without his wife Elizabeth, an articulate expert on monetary policy who would certainly be as valuable a partner in a Kucinich administration as Hillary was in Bill’s. But our media, hell-bent on reinforcing its tabloid qualities, locked on her looks. In one painful/hilarious interview of the couple, the “journalist”, after speaking with Dennis, turned to Elizabeth, immediately referred to her age and looks, and wanted to know about her pierced tongue. Dennis, unruffled, said “I hope as a professional you won’t trivialize her”, and he then ticked off Elizabeth’s considerable accomplishments. His allusion to “a professional” was a tangential rebuke of the interviewer’s stunningly unprofessional display. Nevertheless, obtuse and undeterred, the woman was unrelenting in her tastelessness and wanted to know if Elizabeth would show her tongue. Elizabeth would not.

On January 3, the New York Observer declared “Dennis Kucinich Owns New Hampshire”. Oh how I hoped for an upset. In a way he may have owned that small state, for having vacated Iowa he went early to New Hampshire and criss-crossed it to enthusiastic crowds. But people do vote “strategically” in primaries, and the acute lack of “big money” necessary for “front runner” status may have been too much. That and the media drumbeat of “But he’s not electable” and the pathetically superficial need of too many American voters for slick or “alpha” or “tall-in-the-saddle” father-figure politicians.

But of course he is electable if people vote for him. He certainly has the most progressive platform. “Change”, we’re told, is what people desperately want. Obama may give us a little change, but he won’t give us the real change we need because he won’t be able to. He’s in hock to Big Money, and he’s mum on the issue of his tight relationship with “Bush’s favorite democrat, Joe Lieberman. Hillary won’t give us the real change we need because she has already demonstrated with her Senate votes that she will not. Dennis is giving us our chance for dramatic change, and, to date, either we are failing to see that chance or we are rejecting it outright.

Bill Willers is emeritus professor of biology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh now living in Middleton, WI. He is founder of Superior Wilderness Action Network (SWAN) and editor of Learning to Listen to the Land and Unmanaged Landscapes, both from Island Press. He is a sculptor and painter some of whose work can be seen at www.billwillers.com

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Dennis Kucinich: End NAFTA – Rebuild America + Economic & Health Security (videos)

Boycott Disney & GE: Mickey Mouse Politics by Manila Ryce (vid)


Dennis Kucinich Can Win by Lo

On The Issues: Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul by Lo

Dennis 4 President

Dennis Kucinich for President – Contribute

Bill Moyers Journal: Behind the NH Headlines (links)

Dandelion Salad

Bill Moyers Journal

January 11, 2008

What now? Our campaign expert looks behind the post-New Hampshire headlines with Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

Video Link

Bill Moyers talks with Shelby Steele, who has written widely on race in American society and is author of the recent book A BOUND MAN: WHY WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT OBAMA AND WHY HE CAN’T WIN.

Video Link

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Kucinich Says Rumors Of Errors Should Be Addressed (video)

Alex Jones Interview: Dennis Kucinich demands recount (videos of audio)

Kucinich Asks for New Hampshire Recount in the Interest of Election Integrity

Recount – Is Dennis Kucinich walking into a trap? by Bev Harris


Deterioration of Iraqi Women’s Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation by Souad N. Al-Azzawi

Dandelion Salad

by Souad N. Al-Azzawi
Global Research, January 13, 2008


For centuries, Iraqi women struggled for their human rights. It wasn’t until the 1960’s that some improvements in constitutional women’s rights were implemented. During the seventies and eighties, women’s rights improved significantly, providing better educational opportunities, political involvement, equal job opportunities, health care and development of laws and regulations to ensure a better life for Iraqi women and girls.

Deterioration of women’s rights in Iraq began during the US-UN comprehensive economical sanctions imposed on Iraqi during the nineties. In 2003, the invasion of Iraq by the USA and its allies resulted in the descent of the rights of women just like other elements in Iraqi society, infrastructure and the general quality of life.

To define the extent of the USA occupation impact on women’s rights and living conditions, a survey composed of 21 questions was distributed in two major cities:

  • Inside Baghdad, Iraq in the Karada District, and
  • Kudsiya area in Damascus, Syria where more than 200,000 Iraqi refugees live.

The 150 women who answered the survey were a part of 150 families or households composed of a total of 502 Iraqis.

Statistical analysis of the questions of the survey indicated dangerous trends in the security status that drove Iraqi women out of their jobs, where 85% of the studied women are unemployed (taking into consideration that the large majority of this percentage have a formal education). The study also indicated that 36% of the studied families lived with no income or a very low income of $100/month or less which has lead to women and children doing menial labor or begging. Also, it was found that 87 families have a victim of either occupation forces or sectarian violence. The mortality rate among this targeted displaced population is 193 per 1000. this high mortality rate is an indication of genocide existing amongst the migrated and displaced population. Missing family members rate at 12.7, and it is also estimated that 20% of the students of the studied women’s families are having difficulties and failing schools. A percentage of other students quit school altogether.

The occupation is totally responsible for the deterioration and destruction of women’s lives and rights in Iraq. Iraqi women under occupation need the help of their sisters in international women’s organizations abroad to help protect them and protect their rights. They also have the right to resist the occupier in every way available to reclaim their lost lives and ensure a better life for themselves and their families.


Prior to 1920, Iraqi women’s rights were not truly recognized under the Ottoman Empire rule. Iraq was occupied for four centuries under this rule which saw virtually no advancement of rights for women. The situation did not improve much under the tribal, religious ruling during the British occupation and colonial period of 1920-1958.

In 1958, Iraq became a Republic and for the first time ever, women’s rights began to improve, when the government of General Abdul-Kareem Kasim supported by the Iraqi Communist Party amended Personal Status Law to grant equal inheritance and divorce rights. This Personal Status Law also relegated divorce, inheritance and marriage to civil, instead of religious, courts, andprovided for child support.

After that, Iraqi women and girls began enjoying relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East [1].

The primary underpinning of women’s equality is contained in the Iraqi provisional constitution, which was drafted by the Ba’ath party in 1970 [1].

Article 19 declares all citizens equal before the law regardless of sex, blood, language, social origin, or religion [1].

Enrolment of women and girls in rural areas in literacy centers under the illiteracy eradication legislation of 1979 transferred women in Iraq into a new level of education, labor, and employment. With other employment laws, the opportunities in the civil service sector, maternity benefits, and stringent laws against harassment in the work place allowed Iraqi women larger involvement in building their careers [1].

Women attained the right to vote and run for office in 1980. In 1986 Iraq became one of the first countries to ratify the Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

During the 1990’s, the (US-UN) sanctions imposed on Iraq had a great impact on women and children in Iraq. The financial crippling of families resulted in an increase of female illiteracy as many families could not afford to send their children to school.

To compare through numbers, according to (UNESCO) by the year of 1987, approximately 75 percent of Iraqi women were literate, but by end of 2000, the percentage of literate women dropped to less than 25 percent [1].

The criminal comprehensive economic sanctions imposed on Iraq not only prepared the situation in Iraq for the American aggressor to occupy the country and take over the oil reserves, but it also put a halt to the significant advancement in women rights and the improved living conditions they had struggled hundreds of years to earn.

By the end of the nineties, the economic constraints pushed women to leave their jobs and return to their traditional role in the home. The tremendous pressure and burden the Iraqi women have gone through since the illegal sanctions is indescribable, where she has had to feed the children with no food, take care of ill family members with no medicine, and bury her loved ones as an advanced sacrifice to the US invasion of Iraq.

Iraqi women proved to be reliable, enthusiastic and hard workers when given the chance to have a proper education and human rights.

By the end of the year 2000, many Iraqi women who worked as scientists, engineers, medical doctors, artists, poets, journalists, and educators proved that they not only can be equal to their counterparts, but more responsible to their historic challenge as an important integral half of society.

Iraqi Women Under Occupation:

Like other parts of society, Iraqi women lives, rights, and living environment was drastically changed by the military operations during the invasion of Iraq in March-April 2003.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi women, children, and men were killed, injured and families were shattered as a result of using conventional and internationally banned weapons like White Phosphorous, Napalm, Depleted Uranium, Cluster Bombs, chemical agents and gasses [2] [3] [4] [5]. About 100,000 deaths were estimated as a result of occupation military operations for the period from March 2003 and August 2004 [6].

Due to the continuing existence of US-led occupation forces and the intentional collapse of security, the economy, and civil services, women’s lives have become worse than ever. One reason of many is the new amendments made under the occupation government to the constitution and personal status laws. The majority of occupation assigned political parties are composed of religious clerics and fundamentalists who have their own sectarian explanations and interpretations of Islamic Sharia. These interpretations are often conflicting or contradictory from one faction to another. The new USA-written Iraqi constitution includes laws and regulations that leave much room for conjecture and interpretation by clerics and religious figures. This has resulted and will continue to result in a sure and swift deterioration of women’s rights as most of the old laws protecting women are now arguable under this more ‘flexible’ constitution. The occupation is responsible of the deterioration in women rights and living environment through the following:

  1. Contrary to Geneva Conventions, Iraqi women are arrested, detained, abused and made to collaborate with the occupation forces and to inform against resistance. [7]
  1. There has been an increase of sexual assaults, torture and violations of women’s right by US forces in Iraq. [8]
  1. The majority of women lost their jobs. Seventy percent of the previously working Iraqi women today are unemployed for different reasons. Before the invasion, women formed more than 40 percent of total workers in the public sector. [1]
  1. The dismantling of Iraqi security forces and police led to an increase in violence and crimes against women. Women are no longer leaving their homes unaccompanied by the relatives.
  1. Women suffered from great loss of their loved ones through the unjustified killing of Iraqis by the “self-immune” from prosecution US soldiers. The total number of deaths in Iraq since the start of the invasion in 2003 is estimated to be 1,127,552 [10] due to different causes. The majority of these deaths are due to the troops use of excessive force and violence and the intentional creation of a sectarian civil war by the occupier to control the country.
  1. Iraqi women are losing basic rights under the new constitution where women’s rights are implemented only if they don’t contradict the Shariaa, which is interpreted differently by each sect [11].


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


“The Rape of Iraq and Other Sexual Matters.” (over 18 only)

Iraqi Children Pay Heavy Price of War