Iraq Covert Operations -- US planting bombs to fuel civil war?
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Civil War Looms in Iraq
"US Generals forsee Iraqi partition" was the unnerving headline penned by Guardian journalists Julian Borger, Ewen MacAskill and Richard Norton Taylor yesterday. They quote the leaked memo to Prime Minister Tony Blair written by William Patey, Britain's outgoing Ammbassador to Iraq, which revealed that "a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq" is currently more probable than the stabilization of the country. His comments were shockingly confirmed by General John Abizaid, the head of US Central Command, and General Peter Pace, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, both of whom warned of the imminent probability of Iraq's slide to civil war.
While the media debate has shifted onto whether or not a civil war is imminent in Iraq -- and it's obvious from the comments of the above informed observers that it is -- unnnoticed and barely reported is the compelling evidence that some sectarian violence has been deliberately fostered and orchestrated by US and British military intelligence. When Iraqi police found "explosives and a remote-control detonator... in the car of the two SAS special forces men" disguised as Arabs, last year in September, veteran war correspondent John Pilger in the New Statesman was one of the few to note the odd details. "What were they planning to do...?" with the explosives, he wondered: "Although reported initially by the Times and the Mail, all mention of the explosives allegedly found in the SAS men's unmarked Cressida vanished from the news. ... the SAS men, disguised as al-Sadr's followers, were planning an attack on Basra ahead of an important religious festival."
Orchestrating the Terrorist Insurgency?
I had written in some detail about this event at the time last year -- the only news outlet that would touch the story was the progressive online newsmagazine Raw Story. But this was not the only event suggesting that American and British military intelligence operatives have been playing a double-game in Iraq. Iraqi nuclear scientist Dr. Imad Khudduri, who worked with the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission from 1968 to 1998 when he left the country, reports that a driver in Baghdad had his license confiscated by US army officers at a check-point. They told him "to report to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for interrogation" to retrieve his license. When he got to the camp, he was questioned for 30 min before being released. As for his license, the US army officers told him it had been sent for processing to al-Khadimiya police station, where he had to hurry to pick it up before the responsible officer left his shift. "The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy load", reports Dr. Khudduri.
"... he also became suspicious of a low flying helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him. He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat and along the two back doors. The only feasible explanation for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his movement and witnessing the anticipated 'hideous attack by foreign elements'.
"The same scenario was repeated in Mosul, in the north of Iraq. A car was confiscated along with the driver's license. He did follow up on the matter and finally reclaimed his car but was told to go to a police station to reclaim his license. Fortunately for him, the car broke down on the way to the police station. The inspecting car mechanic discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with explosives."
Going back to my own research on this, in my Raw Story report just under a year ago, I noted two important points:
1. Press reports as well as official statements from al-Qaeda in Iraq suggested that al-Qaeda had teamed up with Saddam Hussein's old Ba'ath Party loyalists. Iraqi intelligence and US military officials have known for years that al-Qaeda operatives from outside Iraq had "formed an alliance with former intelligence agents of Saddam Hussein".
2. Pakistani military sources told the Asia Times in February 2005 that the US has "resolved to arm small militias backed by US troops and entrenched in the population," consisting of "former members of the Ba'ath Party". In other words, al-Qaeda's latest Ba'athist recruits undergoing what the London Times called "Al-Qaeda-style training, such as how to make remote-controlled bombs" were getting themselves "entrenched" in the civilian environment while also being covertly armed and supported by elements of the US military. The US had procured "Pakistan-manufactured weapons, including rifles, rocket-propelled grenade launchers, ammunition, rockets and other light weaponry." A Pakistani military analyst noted that the "arms could not be destined for the Iraqi security forces because US arms would be given to them." It is difficult to avoid the conclusions that US military intelligence has actively implemented a series of covert operations designed to manipulate and arm the terrorist insurgency, thus contributing to the deterioration of security.
Neo-Con Plan: The Dissolution of Iraq
But why? The dissolution of Iraq has long been an essential feature of hardline Israeli strategic thinking. In 1982, the Hebrew journal Kivunim -- the official organ of the World Zionist Organization -- published an article by former Israeli Foreign Ministry official Oded Yinon, who observed that:
"Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel's targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria... In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel... Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi'ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north."
The fragmentation of Iraq, in other words, is an integral part of Zionist grand strategy, a strategy that is staunchly supported by the neoconservatives in the White House.
Sources close to the incumbent Iraqi government fear that the drastic deterioration of security in Iraq will be exploited by the Anglo-American coalition to dissolve the fragile parliament and declare a state of emergency, thus permanently sealing the occupation. It is difficult to discern whether this specific scenario is plausible, but there can be no doubt that policymakers in Washington and London want to manipulate the situation to ensure long-term control over Iraqi oil reserves.
Nuclear-ization of Mid-East War
As covert operations to fracture Iraq are escalating, the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon is deepening. Evidence mounts that Israel is planning a wider regional war using nuclear weapons. As ceasefire negotiations continued last week, the Israeli Committee for a Middle East Free from Atomic, Biological & Chemical Weapons reported (5.8.06) that:
"The Government of Israel has recently purchased from the United States bunker-busting bombs (GBU-28), for use in its war in Lebanon. These bombs contain depleted uranium -- a carcinogenic substance that spreads in the form of a toxic and radioactive dust, which enters the lungs and bones and is especially harmful to babies and young children."
The invention of bunker-busting bombs are a brazen attempt to make nuclear devices a viable weapons of warfare without automatically implying Mutually Assured Destruction. In late May 2003, at President Bush's insistence, Congress voted to end the 10-year ban on the development of tactical nuclear weapons -- also known as 'mini-nukes' or 'bunker-busting' bombs - that range up to a third the size of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. The new nuclear devices are designed to "produce small amounts of radiation, earth-penetrating weapons to attack underground bunkers, larger devices with greater radiation effects and weapons to destroy chemical and biological agents." These measures conflict with US treaty obligations -- the US is a signatory to both the comprehensive test ban treaty (although has not ratified it) and the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
Despite being designed to concentrate the impact in order to limit the nuclear fallout to the intended target, tactical nuclear weapons remain extremely dangerous and inherently indiscriminate -- and of course far more devastating for civilian populations than conventional weapons. For example, according to Council on Foreign Relations scientist Robert Nelson in Physics Today, "anyone within the roughly 3W0.6 km2 area covered by the base surge would receive a fatal dose of radiation. (W is the explosive energy yield in kilotons of TNT.)." Estimating a typical third-world urban population density of 6000/km2, this implies that a single "1-kt weapon would kill tens of thousands", whereas a single more powerful "100-kt weapon would kill hundreds of thousands of people."
Nukes, in other words, are still nukes.
Have No Doubt: They Want War... on Four Fronts
Israeli's acquirement of tactical nuclear weapons within the last few days is therefore of urgent concern, and indicates that the regime is stepping-up its planning for an impending wider regional conflict. It must be remembered that Israel has long planned this war. The "clean break" strategy advocated a decade ago by Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser David Wurmser -- which "is progressing as planned" according to Pentagon whistleblower Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatowski PhD -- sees a conflict with Lebanon as an integral dimension of a war to expand Israeli influence over Syria and Iran: "An effective approach, and one with which American can sympathize, would be if Israel seized the strategic initiative along its northern borders by engaging Hizballah, Syria, and Iran, as the principal agents of aggression in Lebanon."
As the US, UK, and other powers scuttle around shouting for a ceasefire agreement, according to former senior advisor to President Clinton Sidney Blumenthal, neither the US nor Israel want peace:
"The National Security Agency is providing signal intelligence to Israel to monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new armaments to Hezbollah ... neoconservatives on Vice President Dick Cheney's national security staff and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative senior director for the Near East on the National Security Council, are prime movers behind sharing NSA intelligence with Israel, and they have discussed Syrian and Iranian supply activities as a potential pretext for Israeli bombing of both countries... The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war."
The ceasefire rhetoric is being used deliberately by Anglo-American and Israeli officials to manufacture a justification for opening multiple theatres of war in the region. As Robert Fisk at the Independent observes, the draft resolution is absurdly pro-Israel, failing to even call on Israeli troops to withdraw from Lebanon, and guaranteed to be rejected by Hizbullah as merely an exercise in imperial hubris.
Meanwhile, US efforts are currently designed to facilitate the political divisions in Lebanon. While supporting Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and condemning Hizbullah's resistance, the Bush administration is simultaneously planning "to help train and equip the Lebanese army so it can take control of all of the nation's territory". The plan is motivated by Hizbollah's growing popularity as the only force in Lebanon capable of attempting to defend its people.
Indeed, the strategic planning behind the "clean break" onslaught now in motion was already in place in the 1980s and is mentioned in the Kivunim article cited previously, which advises that: "Lebanon's total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula and is already following that track." Moreover, this is part of a broader process of reconfiguration of the entire Middle East. "The entire Arabian peninsula is a natural candidate for dissolution due to internal and external pressures, and the matter is inevitable especially in Saudi Arabia", the article continues.
"Low Intensity Warfare" in Iran and Somalia
It should not come as a surprise then to learn that the War on Iran has, in fact, already begun -- as early as June 2005. Former US marine and chief UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Scott Ritter, revealed citing confidential sources secret US military flights in Iran "using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities." The CIA's Directorate of Operations was financing and directing the Mujahadeen el-Khalq (MEK), the notorious Iranian opposition group (formerly run by Saddam Hussein's intelligence services) still categorized by the State Department as a "terrorist organization." CIA-sponsored MEK terrorist operations currently include "remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq." Additionally, the US military had prepared a base of operations in neighbouring Azerbaijan "for a massive military presence" designed to facilitate a "major land-based campaign" to conquer Tehran. CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special Operations units are training with Azerbaijan forces to form special units capable of "operating inside Iran for the purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and mobilizing indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran."
Covert operations are escalating in other potentially oil-rich regions. In February this year, CIA planes reportedly "delivered large amounts of money and guns" to three warlords in Somalia who dominated Mogadishu. "They named themselves the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counter-Terrorism" and began fighting against the Union of Islamic Courts (UIC), a loose legal federation of Somali clans supported "by local businessmen, to restore order by using religious law to settle disputes and punish criminals. Each clan's court has jurisdiction only over its own clan members, but it was a start on rebuilding a law-abiding society." The BBC describes the UIC as "a grassroots movement" which has "become increasingly popular among city residents and the business community desperate to see an end to the rule of the gun." An initiative that Washington was not happy with. In late July this year, the US "let Ethiopia send troops in to protect the isolated 'Interim Government' in Baidoa. That probably means renewed war, and across borders this time... Just when Somalia was about to escape from its long nightmare, a new and worse one has appeared: the prospect of a war that would consume the entire Horn of Africa."
Although Somali clan leaders have expressed the desire to cooperate with Washington's demands on alleged al-Qaeda terrorists, Washington suddenly seems less interested in tangible peaceful solutions. UIC clan elders reportedly "met with US Ambassador William Bellamy in Nairobi, Kenya and promised to cooperate in the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists."
They even "signed an agreement with the US ambassador that if they tell us exactly where these men are in Somalia, our clan militia will go and capture them and turn them over." Since then, the US has been surprisingly silent about the location of the alleged terrorists -- but still wants to ignite a war that could engulf the whole Horn of Africa. A spokesperson for the US embassy had "no comment" on the meetings.
US interests in Somalia are rather familiar, and have remained much the same since the 1992 Bush Snr. invasion called "Operation Restore Hope". At that time the Los Angeles Times revealed: "Far beneath the surface of the tragic drama of Somalia, four major US oil companies are quietly sitting on a prospective fortune in exclusive concessions to explore and exploit tens of millions of acres of the Somali countryside. That land, in the opinion of geologists and industry sources, could yield significant amounts of oil and natural gas if the US led military mission can restore peace to the impoverished East African nation." As the Independent adds, "The oil giants' exclusive concessions to explore and drill [are] worthless in the absence of a viable government to enforce their claims." The UIC, as an increasingly popular, largely Islamic Sufi federation, fundamentally threatens to permanently prevent the retrieval of these exclusive concessions to US oil corporations.
It seems that the War Machine is now in full-swing. US covert operations to control strategic resources are exploding in Iraq, Iran and Somalia. Western diplomatic, military, intelligence and financial maneuverings are carefully positioning Israeli policy to fracture the conflict with Lebanon in a conflict on four (or more) fronts. Tactical nukes are being prepared for imminent use, increasing the probability of a full-scale regional conflagaration.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney is still hiding somewhere in his bunker, and Western leaders continue to promise us that they only want peace.
Orwell must be spinning in his grave.
Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (London: Duckworth, 2006). He teaches courses in International Relations at the School of Social Sciences and Cultural Studies, University of Sussex, Brighton, where he is doing his PhD studying imperialism and genocide. Since 9/11, he has authored three other books revealing the realpolitik behind the rhetoric of the "War on Terror", The War on Freedom, Behind the War on Terror and The War on Truth. In summer 2005, he testified as an expert witness in US Congress about his research on international terrorism