Civil War: a new strategy of the United States to dominate Iraq

John Catalinotto, International Action Center, New York
Lecture at the International Seminar on the Assassination of Iraqi Academics and Health Professionals
Madrid, 22. April 2006 

In the name of the International Action Center of the United States and of former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, I would like to thank the other sponsoring organizations, the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM), the Escuela Julián Besteiro and the National Library, and salute the international guests, especially the representatives of the Iraqi people and also the peoples of the Spanish state who have given us an opportunity to participate part in today’s seminar.

Three years ago today, on May 1, 2003, U.S. President George Bush made his famous landing on the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln in a secret flight and sent his congratulations to the sailors and pilots while standing under a banner that read: "Mission Accomplished." At that same time, when Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld still believed he could “shock and awe” all of Iraq into accepting these plans, the U.S. leaders might have believed they could set up a single weak and submissive Iraqi puppet government. 

Within months of the April 2003 Pentagon takeover of Baghdad, however, the Iraqi resistance made it clear that the U.S. occupation would not be easy.

By now the generals have spent almost $300 billion. They have carried out merciless offensives, killed over 100,000 Iraqis, destroyed cities, towns, and villages and imprisoned and tortured tens of thousands of Iraqis. And the result has been to widen and deepen the resistance.

In other words, the U.S. commanders are telling Bush openly that this is not a misión accomplished, but that they have been sent to carry out a Mission Impossible--to subjugate the Iraqi people and force them back into a colonial relationship. 

I would like to show that once the U.S. plan for a rapid conquest of Iraq fell apart, Washington began to search for other means to dominate that country. The U.S. rulers have a motive to carry out the worst atrocities against the Iraqi people, including the systematic assassination of all types of Iraqi leaders and representatives. They also have the experience of have used such tactics in Vietnam and El Salvador.

New strategies of the United States

The strategists began to propose other methods.

Washington ignored its legal responsibility for protecting the shrine.

U.S. imperialism’s responsibility, however, goes far beyond the mere breaking of the rules of occupation. The Bush administration consciously spread lies in an attempt to justify the illegal invasion of Iraq. The U.S. then set up an occupation regime to seize Iraqi oil and to establish permanent military bases and a center of operations to control the Middle East and Central Asia.

By November 2003, U.S. think tanks were already proposing that Iraq be split into three parts. Leslie H. Gelb, president emeritus of the powerful Council on Foreign Relations, wrote:

 “The only viable strategy, then, may be to correct [Iraq’s] historical defect and move in stages to ward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” (New York Times, Nov. 25, 2003

Toward the end of 2004, the Rand Corporation conducted a study on behalf of the U.S. Air Force. One of the primary objectives of the study was to “identify the key cleavages and fault lines among sectarian, ethnic, regional and national lines, and to assess how these cleavages generate challenges and opportunities for the United States.”

"Death squads"

U.S. allies in the region, especially the British, have their own experience in using “divide and rule” against colonial nations. The British instilled hostilities by encouraging the partition of colonial India into India and Pakistan in 1948. In the northern part of Ireland, the British colonialists provoked sectarian violence to justify their occupation and repression of the mostly Catholic community that was for freedom from British rule. The U.S. and European imperialists used differences among the peoples of Yugoslavia to break up that socialist federal republic into a half-dozen more easily ruled mini-states

Some U.S. strategists began at the end of 2004 to suggest the U.S. occupation adopt the “Salvador option.” The headline in a Jan. 14, 2005, Newsweek article was: “The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq,” just as it did in El Salvador to kill Salvadoran progressives, unionists and any civilians in the way. The U.S. also supported and trained the “death squads” to carry out those assassinations, and U.S. diplomatic personnel helped members of these “Death Squads” escape justice.

U.S. agents carried out similar assassinations on even a larger scale in Vietnam. There it was called the “Phoenix Program.” another death-squad venture in Vietnam set up by the CIA from Saigon in 1966. Phoenix was a program aimed at "neutralizing" - through assassination, kidnapping, and systematic torture - the civilian infrastructure that supported the Vietnamese resistance fighters in South Vietnam. Tens of thousands of village leaders were killed, tortured and/or jailed.

In Iraq, Washington’s agents don’t have only the motive to carry out these assassinations, they also have the means. The Iraq puppet government’s interior minister, up to now someone who cooperated with the U.S. occupation, has admitted that death squads and unauthorized armed groups have been carrying out sectarian killings in the country. In a BBC interview on April 11, Bayan Jabr denied these groups were his responsibility. He added that there are non-governmental armed groups called the Facility Protection Service, set up in 2003 by the U.S. occupation, that number 150,000 effectives. Jabr said these 150,000 hired guns are “out of order, not under our control,” along with another 30,000 private security guards.

Since Feb. 27, almost two months after the explosion, no organization or state had publicly accepted responsibility for the bombing. This alone shows that whoever carried out the bombing intended to throw the blame for it on other forces. The bombing was certain to incite battles between the two major Arab communities in Iraq—Shiite and Sunni. If such warfare broke out on a large scale, it could lead to fragmenting Iraq into multiple mini-states more easily manipulated by imperialism.

I believe we have shown that it is reasonable to believe that the occupation forces had the motive, means and incentive to carry out the assassinations, that Bush and his gang really want a civil war in Iraq to split the people apart. Pero sin importar quién haya asesinado los intelectuales o explotado la catedral a Samarra , las fuerzas de ocupación lideradas por los Estados Unidos son las responsables por estos asaltos adicionales contra la población iraquí.

The Antiwar movement inside the United States

I would like to finish by saying something about the progressive movement inside the United States. The next major anti-war and anti-occupation demonstration is scheduled for the 29th of April and it will say “U.S. out of Iraq now.” Two days later is May 1. You probably know that usually, in the U.S., there is no big May 1 march of workers as there is in many other countries. But this year, because of a new struggle that rose up quickly – one of immigrant workers – May 1 could be an enormous outpouring of workers.

We in the International Action Center will be at both demonstrations. It is important that some protests be clearly anti-war. But the best way the people of the United States can help the people of Iraq end the occupation is if we can carry out the class struggle inside the United States, and that is what the immigrants - those without papers - are doing.

Long live the struggle of the Iraq people against the occupation.

Stop the assassinations of Iraqi professionals.

Let’s find out the truth about the killings in Iraq.