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TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.

Articles written after 2004
Articles on the USA invasion of Iraq
Absolute chaos
Why the Iraqi children died
The biggest mistakes of the Iraqi invasion
The Chalabi saga
Islam is still the real enemy
The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity
The battle of Falluja
Problems we didn't foresee before the war in Iraq
Let's keep the United Nations out of Iraq
Comparing the two Iraqi wars
A good day for Iraq
Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
What Annan didn't say at the Madrid conference
American censorship in Iraq
What is happening in Iraq
Iraq: a farce of lies.
Why the ayatollah is right and Bush is wrong
Don't let the United Nations hijack the victory
The defeat of Europacifism
The Iraqi liberation war: an assessment
Reasons not to go to war
Wanted: Abu Musab Zarqawi
The facts about Iraq
How many Iraqi civilians are killed by the sanctions?
The Europacifists' desperate struggle to save Saddam Hussein
Who is concerned for the Iraqi civilians?
The world on the war against Iraq
Why Saddam must go
The Iraqi nuclear program
Why Bush would never allow for democracy in Iraq
Did the USA give Saddam the bacteriological weapons?
What it takes to take on Saddam.
Saddam's biological weapons
Did America kill the Iraqi children?
Demistifying the effects of depleted uranium on Iraq's population
Iraq: the hidden war
Why is America so obsessed with Iraq?
Iraq is cheating, but the West is hypocrite

  • (October 2004) Absolute chaos. The incompetence of the Bush administration in handling post-war Iraq is now becoming fully and painfully evident. The insurgents have consistently outsmarted the Bush administration. First, Bush declared victory. The insurgents let him do it. While he was celebrating, they were regrouping and rearming. Then, as the USA troops were relaxing, the insurgents began to strike. The initial reaction by the USA was that a few terrorists were desperately trying to destabilize some cities. It soon became apparent that these "desperate" people had actually seized control of entire cities and of the entire northwestern region of Iraq, and then hundreds of USA soldiers were being killed all over the country. The USA acted to protect its troops and to foster reconstruction (to gain the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people), something that should have been done from the beginning, but, again, the insurgents outsmarted the USA: they began to target the very contractors who were supposed to reconstruct Iraq. Kidnappings and beheadings and sabotage have brought reconstruction to a virtual standstill. Iraqis still don't have sufficient electricity, water and health care, no matter how much the USA is willing to spend. (It also sounds like the Bush administration is channeling money earmarked for reconstruction to other sinister purposes, but that is another story). So the USA began to belatedly protect the civilian contractors, something that should have been done from the beginning. Then the USA decided that the best way to disengage was to rapidly train a force of Iraqi soldiers and national guards, something that, again, should have been done from the beginning. Alas, again, the insurgents were one step ahead: they started killing recruits by the hundreds. In one instance, the insurgents executed more than 40 recruits right after they left their training camp. The insurgents are killing or scarying away more recruits than the USA can provide. For every insurgent that the USA claims to have killed (and that frequently turns out to be an innocent bystander, with an appalling number of children and women among the victims), the insurgents kill ten or twenty recruits (which they consider as USA collaborators). It is not clear if the USA is winning the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people, but it is certain that the insurgents are scarying the hell out of them. The Iraqi army may disintegrate even before it is created.
    No question that the USA will now start protecting its recruits in a more efficient way (again, something that it should have done before, not afterwards). But the insurgents are always one step ahead, so they are probably already planning the next phase of the civil war.
    The fact is that the Bush administration has been grotesquely out of touch with Iraqi reality, proclaiming victory when the war had not even started.
    There are cases in which the incompetence was so grotesque that one wonders if the Bush administration isn't doing it on purpose: the United Nations told the USA that the al-Qaqaa complex contained hundreds of tons of explosives that needed to be protected; the USA did not protect it; the insurgents stole it and are now using it to kill scores of both Iraqis and foreigners, and the quality of the explosive is such that it could be used to detonate a nuclear bomb.
    A study by scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore (USA) shows that, due to the lack of security, the risk of death by violence for civilians in Iraq is now 58 times higher than during the Saddam Hussein times. The Iraq Body Count, run by a group of academics, has counted about 15,000 civilian mistakenly or accidentally killed by the USA and Britain, mostly women and children. If one includes also the civilians killed by bandits, insurgents and violence caused by the general chaos, the civilian death toll rises to almost 100,000.
    The Iraqis used to be ruled by a mad dictator. They are probably beginning to wonder that maybe a mad Arab dictator is better than a bunch of American imbeciles. Bush should resign and let someone else handle a job for which he is obviously too incompetent.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2004) Why the Iraqi children died. For many years, humanitarian agencies have claimed that thousands of Iraqi civilians (particularly children) died of malnutrition and lack of medicines, a problem caused by the international sanctions. All the statistics seemed to prove the opposite (see How many Iraqi civilians are killed by the sanctions?), except one: the demographic statistic, that confirmed and still confirms a decline in population growth during the 1990s. Another popular explanation for the decline in population growth was the depleted uranium found in some USA weapons, but that theory has largely lost credibility (see Demistifying the effects of depleted uranium on Iraq's population).
    A third theory holds that, quite simply, Saddam killed a lot of young males during the 1980s and 1990s by venturing into two invasions (Iran and Kuwait) and internal massacres (Kurds in the 1980s and Shiites in 1991). The drop in male population has resulted in an apparent "fertility" crisis. THis is a very simple and very credible explanation.
    Nonetheless, any doctor in Iraq can confirm that during the 1990s the country did not have adequate medicines. Whether this caused the death of thousands of children or not can be debated forever, but the fact remains that the country was supposed to have plenty of medicines: the United Nations had set up an "oil for food" program designed precisely to guarantee that the Iraqi population would receive adequate food and medicines. What happened to that oil money?
    An investigation has been underway for a while at the United Nations. Rumours of corruption have been circulating for years. Rumours that Saddam used the money to buy France's and Russia's help at the United Nations have circulated both in the USA and in the Middle East. Now the investigating commission has released preliminary findings that show the companies that benefited most from the "oil for food" program. As expected, the list is topped by Russian companies. France is a distant second. The USA is last.
    This statistics do not prove wrongdoing so far, just Saddam's strange "affection" for Russia and France. It is still impossible to determine which was the cause and which was the effect: was Saddam simply thanking France and Russia for their help at the United Nations, or was Saddam bribing them?
    The indisputable fact, though, is that money meant for food and medicines ended up in the pockets of corrupt European businessmen. We now know that the enti-Americans were right: there was a shortage of food and medicines in Iraq. What the anti-Americans failed to see was that Saddam Hussein (not the USA) was responsible for that tragedy, on top of all the others.
    (In november 2001, an investigative commission set up by the USA Congress estimated that the sum stolen by Saddam Hussein was 21 billion dollars, including oil smuggled illegally through Jordan and Syria. See for example: How Saddam stole $21 billion from the "oil for food" program. And Benon Sevan, the United Nations official who is involved in the "oil for food" scandal).
    One more reason to get rid of Saddam Hussein. One more justification for the invasion of Iraq.
    The weird fact is the surprising calm with which the Bush administration has been absorbing the findinds of the investigation. One would expect Bush to start screaming to the whole world "Do you see? Chirac and Putin were opposed to the war because they were on Saddam's payroll!" Instead, Washington has been surprisingly quiet about the whole scandal. It is hard to believe that Bush suddenly became a generous and forgiving, so one can't help suspecting that some kind of sinister deal has been reached with France (see How France is trying to win the peace) and with Russia (see Putin's recent endorsement of Bush).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (October 2004) The biggest mistakes of the Iraqi invasion.
    • Weapons of mass destruction. Bush and Blair justified the invasion on the grouns of the WMDs, not on the ground that the Iraqi people wanted regime change. Now that the WMDs have not been found, the invasion has lost its legitimacy.
    • Linking Saddam and Osama. Bush linked the two to take advantage of the USA's desire for revenge, but the result has been to confuse the issues. Saddam deserve to be destroyed because he was a dictator (and, by the way, a bad Muslim). Osama deserves to be destroyed because he is a fundamentalist (and, by the way, a good Muslim). Those were two different "wars" (and neither truly a war): one was a war of liberation, the other was a war of revenge.
    • Insufficient troops. Rumsfeld's miscalculation has caused looting, chaos and now terrorism. The ultimate consequence is that the Iraqis are less and less enthusiastic about the regime change and the transition to democracy: the price to pay is just too high.
    • Open borders. The delay in securing the borders has allowed foreign terrorists to turn Iraq into the main theater of fundamentalist terrorism.
    • Equating Iraq to Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan worked, the Bush administration believed that Iraq would also work. The truth is that the two are profoundly different. Iraq is not "Afghanistan Part 2". The main difference, though, is that the Arabs are not Afghans.
      The Afghans are interested in the future, not in propaganda. The Arabs are interested in propaganda even when it endangers their future. The Afghans want security and development, and are aware that westerners are indispensable for both. The Arabs of Iraq want to save their pride, and thus spend most of their energies criticizing the American occupation at the same time that they blame the USA for the lack of security (Al Jazeera is emblematic in the way it attacks the USA for every soldier deployed on Iraqi soil and then blames the USA for the problems due to a lack of enough soldiers).
      Arab terrorists cannot move around in Afghanistan (where they are easily identified and hated by the local population), but they can easily move around in Iraq (where it is difficult to tell a foreign Arab from a native one).
      Furthermore, the Arab-speaking propaganda machine Al Jazeera is a factor in Iraq, but is not a factor in Afghanistan (where, de facto, the USA has absolute control over information).
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (August 2004) The Chalabi saga Few people have been so instrumental in terminating Saddam Hussein's dictatorship as Ahmed Chalabi. He spent most of his life fighting Saddam's regime, risking his life and committing his fortune. He looked for allies wherever he could find them, and was intelligent enough to realize that only the USA has the power and the will to put its army where its words are. He found the right man in George W Bush, a USA president eager to finish the job in Iraq. Chalabi took advantage of anyone who was willing or naive to listen to him, and eventually achieved what many considered impossible: Saddam was out after just three weeks of fighting, and Chalabi himself was installed in Baghdad as the most influential USA ally.
    Since then things have turned sour on all fronts. The USA (mainly Paul Bremer) have distanced themselves from Chalabi. The CIA has implicated Chalabi in spying operations by arch-enemy Iran. And now an Iraqi judge has issued arrest warrants against him and against his nephem Salem (who was in charge of the trial against Saddam Hussein).
    Since Chalabi is Saddam's main nemesis, this all sounds like Saddam's revenge. Saddam must be delighted to hear this.
    But Saddam and his followers are unlikely to be relevant anymore (even the guerrilla actions appear to be carried out by Islamic fundamentalist, foreign fighters, anti-American nationalists and assorted criminals, rather than from the old Baath party).
    Chalabi seems to be the victim of new priorities. His biggest political mistake may have been to start and head the investigation into a scandal that involves the United Nations: the "oil for food program". In theory, Saddam Hussein was allowed to sell oil to buy food and medicines for the Iraqi people. In practice, most of that money may have disappeared with the complicity of corrupt United Nations officials and shady foreign organizations. That investigation has been largely delayed and is being carefully silenced. Initially, it sounded like a good idea to embarrass the United Nations and, most likely, France. The oil for food program of the United Nations was a case of massive corruption that involved the very same people and countries that opposed the removal of Saddam Hussein. Unfortunately for Chalabi, the continuing unrest in Iraq has led the president of the USA to rethink his strategy and decide that he does need, after all, the United Nations and the Europeans. The investigation in the "oil for food" scandal is now an embarrassment to the USA, because the USA is trying to win over the United Nations not to offend it. The USA needs the United Nations to legitimize the new Iraqi government and needs the United Nations to run the first democratic elections. Both goals are so important that the USA has no more use for the investigation into the scandal. Chalabi found himself with no friends: the people who opposed the war hate him, and the people whom he convinced to start the war have no more use for him.
    As for the accusations themselves, it is hard to take them seriously because Moqtada al Sadr, the leader of the rebellious Islamic militia, is wanted on charges of murder and noone has ever tried to arrest him. Why be so zealous with Chalabi when Sadr, a suspected murdered, is left free to run an entire army and to preach openly in mosques?
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (June 2004) Islam is still the real enemy. There is no question that an unwanted consequence of the removal of Saddam Hussein by the USA was to draw jihadists from all over the Arab world to Iraq.
    But it is unfair to claim that the removal of Saddam Hussein was wrong because it caused Islamic terrorism to move to Iraq: Islamic terrorism will react to anything (anything) the USA does or doesn't do. Saying that the removal of Saddam Hussein caused Islamic terrorism is like saying that walking into a certain room caused someone to catch the flue: she would have caught the flue anyway, in another room or in a bus. The flue is not caused by this person walking into a certain room. The flue is caused by a virus that is determined to attack humans, here or there, today or tomorrow.
    Removing Saddam Hussein was an excellent idea (the implementation was far from perfect, but that's another story). It would be an equally excellent idea to remove the other Arab dictators, who routinely oppress, torture and exterminate their own people. Just like it would be a great idea to provide jobs for the indios of the Andes or eradicate polio from India. These are simply good deeds, and they have nothing to do with religion.
    But the Islamic terrorists are out to fight whatever the USA does, right or wrong. Their cause is not about judging the USA. Their cause is about destroying the USA. In fact, the Islamic terrorists are likely to be more upset by the good deeds of the USA than by its mistakes. The Islamic terrorists do not want democracy, prosperity and peace in Iraq: that would be a disaster for Islam. It would prove that the USA is superior to Islam. It would turn millions of Iraqis into decadent westerners.
    Let us not kid ourselves: the wrath of the Islamic terrorists will always be greater when we try to help the Muslim people, because the biggest danger of all for Islam is that the west proves to be a better system than Islam. That is precisely the reason why the West must be destroyed: because its very existence is proof that Islam has created terrible systems. Remove the West (and its influence on other continents) from the planet, and Islam will look like a passable system.
    Islamic terrorists will attack the USA no matter what it does, but especially when it tries to improve the lives of Muslims. Islamic terrorists want to create hell on Earth, just like they did in Afghanistan, not paradise on Earth. The USA is a paradise that the Islamic terrorists need to cripple and destroy. In a sense, the Islamic terrorists are simply the personification of the Biblical devil.
    The complicity of the Arab regimes and the Arab media should not be neglected. The Arab regimes are still condoning the countless madrasa that brainwash children to fight the infidels. The Arab media (such as Al Jazeera) routinely justify terrorism as the inevitable consequence of western oppression of the Muslims (without mentioning that billions of people equally "oppressed" by the West in South America, black Africa, China, India, etc etc do not resort to terrorism. In fact, many of them have developed rich and dynamic societies that compete with the old western oppressors).
    The removal of Saddam Hussein has nothing to do with the fact that the Islamic terrorists want to fight the USA everywhere and all the time, just like catching a flue has nothing to do with walking into a certain room. It's the virus, not the room.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (May 2004) The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, or how the Iraqi people betrayed the USA... The average American has no interest in invading other countries. In fact, from World War II to Vietnam, the president of the USA has always struggled to convince the nation to go to war. Unlike the old European powers, who were proud whenever they managed to expand their borders, the Americans do not want to expand their borders: they want to stay home. The USA is fundamentally an isolationist country. (That might be its biggest problem: it acts only when it is forced to act, as opposed to Rome, Mongols, Arabs, France and Britain, which invaded everything they could invade just for the sake of invading).
    The American people accepted to invade Iraq because a) the president convinced a few of them (very few) that Saddam was a danger to the USA, and b) they were aware that Saddam was a psychopath who killed hundreds of thousands of his own people. Then the same American people accepted to pay billions of dollars to reconstruct Iraq: Americans, like all people of the world, are not terribly happy to pay taxes so that their government can spend it in another country, but, again, they accepted the moral principle that something had to be done for the Iraqi people. Basically, the American people accepted to give blood and money to help the Iraqi people. There was good will towards the Iraqi people. This was supposed to be a brother helping another brother, bypassing religious and ethnic divisions.
    Instead, the Iraqi people did not fight side by side with the Americans. That was already strange: if you want to get rid of your dictator, how can you simply watch someone else do it for you? We excuse them because in 1991 we betrayed them: we withdrew, and we let Saddam kill all the ones who rose up against him. So, in a sense, it was our fault that this time the Iraqi people did not do anything: we assumed that they were afraid of being betrayed again (that we may withdraw and leave Saddam in power again). But now it is fairly clear that Saddam is not coming back. Ever. Nonetheless, the Iraqi people are still absolutely nothing to help the Americans. The Americans are giving blood and money to the Iraqis, but the Iraqis are giving nothing back. Not even a "thank you". The most visible mood in Iraq is one of indifference. A growing number of Iraqis calls for an immediate USA pull-out (as if they, the Iraqi people, had deserved the right to rule their own country, had proven the ability to do it, and knew how to do it).
    This is not only stupid (it only helps the Osamas and the Al Jazeeras of the world, the enemies of democracy and peace), but also ungrateful. The Americans gave their blood and money to the Iraqis, and the Iraqis are spitting in their face. The Iraqis had the historical opportunity to become friends of the USA: as the adage goes, the Arabs never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They are missing the historical opportunity to bridge the cultural gap and become brothers of the Americans.
    It will take a long time before the USA will help another country, no matter how cruel its dictator. Many Americans are concluding that it is just not worth it. The USA did not do anything to save the lives of 900,000 Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994: nobody complained. Now it has done something (something big) to rescue the Iraqis from Saddam, and everybody is complaining. Unfortunately, both ordinary Americans and their leaders will draw the obvious conclusion.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (April 2004) The battle of Falluja is not necessarily bad news. Contrary to what Al Jazeera and the other fascist-leaning media initially reported, there was no popular rebellion in Falluja. There are only a thousand people fighting against the USA. The vast majority of the population wants no part in it. In fact, there are more and more frequent reports that the civilians of Falluja wants the USA to dislodge the fighters as soon as possible.
    The best news, though, is what is not happening: there has been no rebellion in Tikrit (Saddam's home town), in Mosul, in Baghdad itself. The Sunni Arabs are mostly quiet. They mostly welcomed the regime change, and they mostly feel that life is better now. They have no motivation to fight against the USA.
    Another good news, from a military viewpoint, is that the people cornered in Falluja probably represent the creme de la creme of the Baathists and of the terrorists. Kill or arrest them, and the USA will have removed a major obstacle towards democracy.
    The bad news, on the other hand, begin with the attitude of ordinary Iraqis. Whether because they are afraid the USA will abandon them or because they are confused as to what is going on, ordinary Iraqis are not helping at all. They carry on their lives, mostly indifferent towards the battle. It should be pretty obvious to them that, should the USA lose the battle, a new ruthless dictatorship would take Saddam's place. How is it possible that they are not rooting for the USA and they are not helping the USA? Do they really want these thugs of Falluja to prevail and rule their country?
    The second bad news is more of the same. The average Iraqi is very good at complaining about just everything (from jobs to electricity to security) but has done and is doing very little to deserve any of those things. Shouldn't the Iraqi people be in the front line to defend and rebuild their country? Instead, they seem mostly interested in criticizing whatever the USA does or does not do. This is an old Arab attitude: criticize both X and the opposite of X, and do absolutely nothing, so you can criticize the others without criticizing yourself. One would hope that the first Arab country to enjoy freedom of speech, movement and action would free itself also of this childish attitude.
    But the worst news is definitely the way that these 25 million of Iraqis seem incapable to defend themselves from the first thugs (whether the Falluja rebels or the Islamic militias) that grab some arms and start shooting. In the rest of the world, a group of dangerous people intimidating the population is considered a gang of criminals. The police arrest them. In the Arab world, they have a good chance to become the new leaders. That is precisely how all the Arab leaders, from Qaddafi to Saddam, from the various kings to the various sheiks, became the rulers of their countries.
    One would hope that the Iraqis would seize the opportunity they have to be ruled by peaceful politicians, not by murderous thugs.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2004) Problems we didn't foresee before the war in Iraq:
    • A lightning victory is not necessarily good news, because it doesn't give the victors enough time to organize the peace, nor to bond with the people who are being liberated.
    • The USA convinced thousands of Iraqi soldiers to abandon their uniforms and stop fighting, and thus won the war very quickly, but this strategy left behind thousands of potential anti-American insurgents.
    • Iraq shares with Vietnam the fact that bordering countries sympathize with the ousted regime. Either one takes on all the "sympathetic" countries at the same time (in this case, Syria and Iran) or one makes sure the border is immediately sealed. In this case, the USA let Syria and Iran free to create what is now a gigantic problem: the infiltration of hundreds of foreign fighters.
    • The tendency of Arabs to blame others for their problems can only increase when they are being occupied by a non-Arab power. Even if the USA restores order, even if the economy booms, even if democracy succeeds, the Iraqis will keep blaming the USA for whatever problems occur in the next years and decades.
    • A rapid transition to democracy is much easier when a strong man gains strong popular support. The USA were lucky to find such a man, Karzai, in Afghanistan. In Iraq, so far, there is no Karzai in sight. The transition to democracy feels like a lottery.
    • The tendency of Arabs to believe rumours, any rumours. Whenevere something happens in the world, and particularly in the Middle East, rumours start spreading and they spread very quickly, even if the media don't help. Many Arabs are still convinced that it was Jews, not Arabs, who blew up the World Trade Center. Many Arabs are still convinced that all the videos and messages from Osam Bin Laden were manufactured in Hollywood. Many Arabs are so confused by all the rumours that they simply don't believe anything anymore. The way to win the hearts and minds of an Arab country is to control the rumours. It is taking too long for the USA to channel its version of the facts to reliable media and to educate Iraqis not to believe rumours for the sake of believing in rumours. Rumours are the main anti-American propaganda in Iraq. There is, basically, no other anti-American propaganda (Al Jazeera has been widely discredited during the war).
    • Basically, we didn't foresee that, for a number of reasons, the Iraqis will not help build their own democracy. The Arabs are very good at complaining against anything that the USA does, but are absolutely useless to defend their own country from those (old fans of Saddam Hussein or Islamic terrorists) who would like to create another dictatorship or would like to start a civil war. The Iraqi population is, in fact, more a problem than a solution: its continuous complaints is simply hampering the USA's fight against the remnants of the regime. While they all say that they are happy that Saddam Hussein is gone, the Iraqis have not done anything and are still not doing anything to destroy his organization. The Iraqis are very good at marching against anything the USA does, but they never marched once against Saddam, against the foreign terrorists, against their own Islamic fundamentalists. Of course, one of the reasons is that they would be killed if they marched against those violent groups, whereas the USA does not kill them if they march and shout "death to America". But then makes it an even worse kind of cowardice.
    • Israel remains the single most important factors that determines anti-American sentiment in the Islamic world. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that Saddam Hussein was a cruel tyrant (and a coward) and that the Iraqi people were happy to be liberated, the Islamic world is still strongly opposed to the deposition of Saddam Hussein. The main reason is Israel: as long as the USA does not demand from Israel what it demands from Islamic countries (for example, the surrender of all weapons of mass destruction), anti-American sentiment will be so pervasive that any USA action will be condemned, no matter what it is. Eventually the USA has to decide whether to take a stand against Israel or to attack the entire Islamic world. As Bush said, "you're either with us or against us". That's precisely the way one billion Muslims feel about Israel.
    • Competence matters. People like Bush, Cheney and Rumslefd proved to be spectacularly incompetent in managing the diplomacy, the military campaign and the reconstruction of Iraq. They all sounded rather improvised and lacking basic knowledge of both international affairs and specific Iraqi conditions. Their predictions were almost entirely wrong, from the existence of weapons of mass destruction to the millions of oppressed Iraqis who were supposed to join the liberation. The problems that arose, from the lack of water and electricity to the generalized looting to the massive increase in crime to the anti-American insurgency, were mostly unforeseen by the USA "experts". This generalize incompetence of the American leaders has cost hundreds of American lives, thousands of Iraqi lives and severely jeopardized the post-war scenario.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2005 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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  • (March 2004) Let's keep the United Nations out of Iraq. The axis of stupidity (Chirac, Schroeder and the Pope) keeps insisting that the United Nations take over military control of Iraq. The track record of the United Nations in "protecting" people is very clear, from Rwanda (900,000 dead) to Timor (1,000 dead), from Bosnia (rememebr Srebenica?) to Kosovo. We don't need more evidence. More civilians were killed in tiny Kosovo in the month of march 2004 (about 280) than in one year in the ten-million city of Baghdad. If Chirac and his friends trust the United Nations so much, we suggest that France destroys its weapons of mass destruction and asks the United Nations to provide security for the French people.
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  • (January 2004) Comparing the two Iraqi wars. Thanks to the testimony and the books by several eyewitnesses, for example April Glaspie, the USA ambassador to Iraq, we now know enough of the 1991 Iraqi war (when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the USA led a coalition to liberate it) that we can compare the nature and achievements of the first war with the nature and the achievements of the second (2003) war.
    In 1991:
    • USA policy in Iraq was largely decided (before and after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait) by friendly Arab countries, which could manipulate the USA president's view of the events
    • The CIA was largely ineffective in estimating what was really going on: it largely relied on Saddam Hussein's own claims, which turned out to be meaningless boasts of inexistent soldiers and weapons (the "one million people army" actually counted 260,000 soldiers and the tanks were old Soviet tanks that mostly broke down on the way to Kuwait). Other USA intelligence agencies were even more incapable of assessing Saddam Hussein's intentions (the Strategic Studies Institute of the USA Army War College wrote "Iraq will have neither the will nor the resources to go to war" just a few months before Iraq invaded Kuwait).
    • The USA was primarily concerved about Saudi Arabia, not Kuwait (a traditionally anti-American state).
    • Most people in the administration opposed war and favored sanctions (general Colin Powell, secretary of state James Baker, CIA director William Webster). The only strong supporter of war was secretary of defense Dick Cheney.
    • Secretary of defense Dick Cheney surrounded the whole war with a mantle of secrecy that amounted to real censorship (12 years later, we still don't know how many Iraqi soldiers and Iraqi civilians were killed in the 1991 USA invasion of Iraq)
    • The United Nations was irrelevant. It was the USA that took the lead, and it was the USA that bombed Iraq out of Kuwait. There is no way that, without the USA lead, the United Nations would have achieved any degree of liberation of Kuwait.
    • The invasion of Iraq was stopped by the same friendly Arab countries that had solicited it: they were afraid that removing Saddam Hussein and replacing him with a more humane regime would send a dangerous message to their own subjects. Psychologically, this proved to the Arabs that the USA could dominate the Arab world militarily, but not politically.
    • The friendly Arab countries became more influential on Washington than Israel, which had already lost its strategic value after the fall of the Soviet Union.

    In 2003:
    • USA policy in Iraq was largely decided by Iraqi exiles and, to some extent, by friendly Arab countries, which could manipulate the USA president's view of the events.
    • The CIA and other intelligence agencies were still largely ineffective in estimating Saddam Hussein's military threat: it largely relied on Saddam Hussein's own claims, which turned out to be meaningless boasts of inexistent weapons of mass destruction.
    • The USA was primarily concerved about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein to "neighboring states" (a phrase repeated by the USA president), the largest and most friendly of which is still Saudi Arabia.
    • At least one influential member of the administration (secretary of state Colin Powell) favored involving the United Nations. The main supporter of unilateral war was vice-president Dick Cheney.
    • The USA surrounded the capture of Baath leaders with a mantle of secrecy, just like the capture of Al Qaeda terrorists, that amounts to real censorship: no journalist has been allowed to interview Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz or any leader of the Baath party (just like no journalist has been allowed to interview the terrorists held at Guantanamo).
    • The friendly Arab countries (mainly Egypt and Saudi Arabia) tried to keep the USA from removing Saddam Hussein and replacing him with a more humane regime because they are afraid that it would send a dangerous message to their own subjects. Psychologically, the fact that the USA has instead removed the tyrant is proving to the Arabs that the USA can dominate the Arab world both militarily and politically. Qaddafi's repudiation of weapons of mass destruction and countless reforms initiated in Arab countries attest the new mood.
    • The friendly Arab countries are now less influential on Washington than Israel, because, in the aftermath of September 11, Israel is now viewed strategic in creating a pro-American island (Turkey, Israel, Iraq, Afdghanistan) in the middle of the Islamic world.
    • The United Nations was irrelevant both in terms of enforcing the disarmament of Iraq and in avoiding war.
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  • (December 2003) A good day for Iraq. Saddam is in jail, where he belongs. The Iraqi people will go to sleep a little more reaussured from now on. It is almost impossible to imagine that Saddam would escape from a USA jail and even return to power. Now it is really over. No more persecutions of minorities, no more mass graves, no more invasions of bordering countries. But let us not make the usual mistake of killing the old enemy and thus turning him into the martyr that he has never been and never should be. Let Saddam be tried by the Iraqi people, and then be jailed accordingly, not executed the way he used execute his victims. This should send the powerful message that there is a difference between today's Iraq and yesterday's Iraq. Also, and more importantly let's stop all the secrecy (a` la Guantanamo) and let the media interview the mad dictator. Let's understand why he did what he did, and how he feels now. The Bush administration has a unique way to turn the worst terrorists and dictators into victims by shrouding all of its actions into secrecy (thus implying that it has something to hide). If Bush has nothing to hide, let Saddam live and talk. If Saddam dies or is not allowed to talk, then Bush would have already told us that the USA has something to die (e.g. about its past actions with, not against, Saddam). In which case this would still be a good day for the Iraqis, but a bad day for the USA.
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  • (November 2003) Where are the weapons of mass destruction?
    We know (both the United Nations and Iraq itself confirmed it) that Iraq had made 20,000 liters of biological weapons (the largest stockpile in the world) and some tons of gases. We have no evidence that Iraq ever destroyed one single liter of either. Each Iraqi soldier was given a gas mask, a sign that the Iraqi leaders did intend to use gases against the Americans. Still, the USA (highly motivated) have not found a single liter of either. And it is a fact that the Iraqis did not use them against the invading USA forces.
    The possibilities are:
    1. They are still hidden
    2. Saddam destroyed them
    3. Saddam moved them elsewhere
    4. The USA found them, but doesn't want to show them
    A lot depends on whether Saddam is alive or dead. If he died right away, then it would explain why he never used them. The weapons are where they were, and only his closest collaborators know where. The order to move them and use them was never given because the chain of command was interrupted at the very beginning: Saddam died and everyone else ran away.
    Bioweapons are easy to hide, even easier than gases. So no surprise that they are hard to find (either they are hard to find or the United Nation inspectors were stealing our money when they said that it would take months to find them). It should be a lot easier to find Saddam (an easily recognizable "item") than a pool-size of fluid, but we haven't even found Saddam.
    There are now 4,000 American and British personnel searching for WMD (many more people than the UN inspectors ever were), but the US soldiers in Baghdad do not carry a mask, which means the USA estimates the risk of a biochemical attack very low. It would be interesting to know why.
    Assuming that Saddam is still alive, he obviously knows where they are. Is he in control of them? The answer could be both yes and no. If he can get his hands on them, he can potentially exterminate lots of people (in Iraq). The trouble is that he hid them in places where it is probably difficult for he himself to get them out (especially since 20 million Iraqis are ready to turn him in to the Americans as soon as he comes out of his hideout). Also, he is not the kind of man who would risk his own life dealing with them (he needs soldiers who are willing to risk their lives managing bacteria, and there are probably very few soldiers with him).
    Chances that Saddam destroyed them are low, but not negligible. Of course, it makes no sense that Saddam destroyed them and refused to show the place where they were destroyed. That is about the only action that could have stopped the invasion. Why would he destroy the weapons in secret, rather than do it in front of CNN and BBC to prove his compliance with the United Nations resolutions? But Saddam is unstable and unpredictable. He may have had an obscure strategy that eventually backfired against him.
    Chances that Saddam sent the bioweapons to Syria or Iran are close to zero: he knows that those countries would never return them to him. Saddam's only friend is Chirac, but even a madman like Chirac would not move 20,000 liters of bioweapons to France.
    Ultimately, the drama of the weapons of mass destruction is tied to the drama of Saddam's disappearance.
    It is also tied with the state of Saddam's mind. Is it possible that he bluffed all way, that he never had them and just pretended to have them? That is a serious possibility according to people close to him. (See this article in the Washington Post, november 2). It would be Saddam's ultimate madness.
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  • (October 2003) What Annan didn't say at the Madrid conference. United Nations secretary Kofi Annan (a honest, generous and compassionate man by any standard, but not the smartest politician in the world) has asked world countries to donate money for Iraq's "reconstruction". The idea was American (and Annan certainly did not like the American attitude towards the United Nations), but Annan is putting the interests of the Iraqi people before any internal quarrel at the United Nations. That is remarkable. But Kofi Annan is erring on the side of naivety. There is not a single country in the world except for the USA that is seriously considering an increase in foreign help. The countries that are attending the Madrid conference are doing so in order to win favors from the USA. The money that they will pledge to Iraq will simply be diverted from other foreign aid programs. So, for example, Britain is planning to reduce its humanitarian aid to African and Asian countries to pay for its contribution to Iraq's reconstruction. Spain, Italy and many other countries will simply do the same: take money that was originally planned for poor countries and send it to Iraq, which has the second largest oil reserves in the world. (The "reconstruction" that the USA plans has nothing to do with war damage: repairing all the damaged infrastructure is only about $2 billion, or 3% of the total amount. The rest of the "reconstruction" is actually a plan to turn Iraq into a formidable economic power).
    Morally, this is actually reprehensible. The Iraqi citizens have never starved, not even at the peak of the sanctions. They enjoyed a per-capita income that was twice the per-capita income of Syria and Iran. Their conditions are rapidly improving. Very soon, their economy will outperform the economies of all the neighboring countries. Long-term, there are good chances that Iraq will become one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Is it truly necessary to divert badly needed aid to Ethiopia or Congo in order to help turn Iraq into a wealthy country? This "donation" will increase poverty around the world. It will create one rich country, but it is even debatable whether the Iraqi people will ever be grateful (millions of western Europeans are not grateful at all to the USA for the Marshall Plan that turned them from the poorest region of the world into the second richest of the world).
    Unfortunately, Annan's plea will be followed by many countries. They are fearful of the USA and, most important, they are fearful of Iraq itself: the day will come that every European and Far Eastern country will need Iraqi oil. That day you don't want the Iraqis to remember who donated and who didn't at the 2003 conference. Many countries will contribute (i.e., divert their humanitarian aid from poor countries to Iraq) as an investment in their own future: by helping Iraq now, they hope that they will get cheap oil tomorrow. Not because of compassion, but because of self-interest.
    Annan didn't mention that even poor Vietnam offered more than France ($500 million). Even arch-enemy Iran (which was invaded by Saddam and lost one million people in that war) has pledged more aid to Iraq (300 million dollars) than France. Saddam borrowed a lot of money from foreign countries, promising to repay them with lucrative oil contracts. The Iraqi debt is now $120 billion dollars, mainly to European and Gulf countries ($50 billion to other Arab countries, of which $24 billion to Saudi Arabia alone, $8 billion to Russia, $3 billion to France and $21 billion to the Paris club of industrialized countries - see, for example, this Reuters article). Interest on that debt runs at about $8 billion a year. Even when Iraq recovers its full oil production, it will be difficult to pay the interests, and almost impossible to repay the debt. The countries that own those debts are probably hoping to use that debt to blackmail any future Iraqi government. Annan didn't mention that canceling the debt would be far more important than donating money. But canceling the debt would remove a key political factor.
    The main reason to rebuild Iraq as fast as possible is political: the USA wants to create a democratic, free, prosperous Iraq in the heart of the Islamic world; a key ally that would help counter Islamic fundamentalism the same way western Europe helped counter the Soviet Union. That is understandable, but it risks repeating the same mistakes made during the Cold War: in order to fight the Soviet Union, the USA embarked in policies that hurt peoples in Latin American, Asia and Africa. Now that the USA has won the war against the Soviet Union, we are left with anti-American sentiment in the very countries that the USA saved from communism. We risk repeating the same mistake: saving the world from Islamic fundamentalism, but be left with anti-American sentiment in all the countries that will suffer economically.
    The moral and political foundations of such a conference are, at best, shaky. Creating freedom and prosperity in all countries of the world should be a higher priority.
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  • (October 2003) American censorship in Iraq. There is no question that Iraqis are far less secure and safe today than they were under Saddam Hussein... of course, if you don't count the violence of Saddam's regime itself. People who used to go out at night are now virtually prisoners in their homes for most of the day. Looting, rapes, murders are reported in almost every Iraqi city in numbers far greater than anything ever reported by Saddam's regime. Either Saddam was hiding the extent of ordinary crime, or crime has vastly increased after the removal of the tyrant. It is likely that it's a bit of both: Saddam's regime was downplaying crime, but crime has indeed increased after the U.S. invasion. There are just too many ordinary people complaining about the lack of security.
    After a visit to Iraq, Robert Fisk of the London Independent (a notorious anti-American propagandist) estimated about 1,000 Iraqi civilians murdered every week (murdered by Iraqis). While he may have exaggerated, it is certainly true that the Bush administration has consistently hidden the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. Given that Iraqi hospitals keep good records, it would not be difficult to write up a detailed report on all the people killed by allied gunfire/bombing and the number of people murdered in the days after the "war". In fact, it would be fairly easy to ask Iraqi doctors how many more people are killed on average since Saddam was overthrown. Nobody in the media has been allowed to conduct such a survey of Iraqi hospitals (journalists are free to loot ancient ruins but not to approach Iraqi doctors). The Bush administration has never done or released such numbers. There is obviously a well-coordinated effort at hiding the number of civilian casualties in Iraq. This is not only wrong, it is also stupid.
    Even the most anti-American sources agree that the vast majority of Iraqis welcomed the removal of Saddam Hussein. So one can expect that the vast majority of Iraqis are willing to pay a price for freedom, and they would condone a period of relative anarchy. After all, that's what happens all the time when a totalitarian regime falls: crime increased in post-Mussolini Italy, in post-communist Russia, in post-Pinochet Chile, in post-Franco Spain, etc etc. So it didn't take a political genius to forecast that crime would increase once Saddam had been removed.
    Hiding the facts may help in the USA (where people would not be too excited to hear of yet another problem in Iraq) but does not help in Iraq, where ordinary Iraqis must now feel that the USA is as secretive as Saddam's regime.
    The USA is doing a terrible job of communicating to the Iraqi people (and not only in Iraq). The Iraqi people need to hear the truth, the truth and the truth in order to trust that this regime is truly different from the previous one. The Iraqi people need to hear a vision and a roadmap to achieve that vision in order to trust the occupying power.
    There is good will on the side of many Iraqi people, but this kind of censorship will only play into the hands of the people who want to destroy that good will.
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  • (August 2003) What is happening in Iraq. Anti-Americans, particularly in Europe and in the Arab world (an ideological alliance that Europeans should NOT be proud of) tend to characterize USA foreign policy as a greedy search for oil. Besides insulting the intelligence of the American public, these anti-Americans forget that the USA has no need for additional oil (it already controls the vast majority of oil reserves in the world and, unlike oil-less continental Europe, it extracts domestically more than 50% of the oil it needs).
    The invasion of Iraq has far more important reasons than oil. The USA policy in Iraq is, mainly, one of "educational imperialism". The USA wants to create a bastion of western-style democracy and capitalism right in the heart of the most anti-American region in the world, the Middle East. Iran did not work as such a bastion: it was not democratic at all, and it was eventually overthrown in an Islamic revolution that created an even bigger problem than the shah of Iran was supposed to solve. Israel has not worked as a bastion for western-style values for the simple reason that Israel is a Jewish state and the Muslims of the Middle East refuse to be inspired by a non-Muslim state. Iraq could be the long-sought solution: an Arab, Muslim state that becomes a role model for the entire region: wealthy, democratic, progressive, educated.
    This is a scary prospect for both the Arab regimes and the oil-less European "powers". The Arab regimes have nothing to gain from a wealthy, democratic Iraq, that would expose the mismanagement and tyranny of all the existing Arab regimes. Basically, a democratic Iraq would be a death sentence for the rest of the Arab dictators. Why should they help the USA carry out this plan? That is precisely the reason that not a single Arab state has helped remove Saddam Hussein (all Arab states still recognize Saddam Hussein as the legitimate ruler of Iraq). That is precisely the reason why no Arab state is helping reconstruct or police Iraq. That is precisely the reason why Arab states and Iran are indirectly helping foreign fighters to destabilize Iraq. Arab states have a vested interest in the failure of the USA policy of democratizing Iraq.
    The European "powers" that have no oil of their own (mainly France and Germany) have no interest either in a democratic Iraq: what are the odds that a democratic government would favor France and Germany the same way that Saddam Hussein used to? What are the odds that a democratic Iraqi government would forget that Chirac was a "dear, close friend" (Chirac's own words) of Saddam Hussein? France and Germany are willing to help police and rebuild Iraq only if the USA accepts that the new government of Iraq will NOT be democratic, but will be controlled by the old powers. But this would run counter to the very goal of "educational imperialism", would turn Iraq into a puppet state despised by the entire Middle East.
    The United Nations has become the only place in the world where France can voice its concerns. Nobody in the world would listen to France's opinion if France did not have veto power at the United Nations. Unfortunately, the unwanted consequence is the entire world is held hostage by the whims of the French president. The USA should avoid recognizing the authority of such an organization over any matter of the world. First, let's restructure the United Nations (see What is wrong with the United Nations), removing veto privileges or assigning veto priviliges to the new large powers (India, Brazil, Japan, Nigeria) not to the old small ones (France, Britain). This is no longer a European world, but the United Nations are still very much biased towards Europe (3 out of 5 veto privileges are for European countries, only one for the entire Asia, only one for the entire America and none at all for Africa).
    There is a de-facto aliance between Chirac's France, the Arab totalitarian regimes, Islamic fundamentalists and Saddam loyalists: they are all afraid (very afraid) that Iraq will become a democracy, because this would have a dramatic effect on the entire Middle East and possibly the entire world. France, Arab dictators, Islamic fundamentalists and Saddam loyalists stand to lose a lot from the democratization of Iraq.
    People who draw parallels between post-war Iraq and post-war Europe of 1946 forget one important factor: in 1946, the Anglosaxon coalition was controlling the whole of Western Europe, and it was easy for them to root out terrorism (especially in Germany) and to impose democracy. Today, the coalition controls only Iraq within the Middle East, and Iraq is surrounded by regimes that have no interest in cooperating. It is, by definition, a much more difficult task. If the USA invaded the whole of the Middle East, then it would be in the same situation it was in Western Europe in 1946. Right now, it is in a fundamentally different situation.
    Of course, it is not true what the anti-Americans are saying: that the USA has turned Iraq into a haven for terrorists, that Islamic fighters are flocking from all over the world, etc (these are the same anti-Americans who warned about one million refugees, who warned about an Islamic world-war, who claimed 170thousand items had been stolen from the museum, and so forth). This is a wild exaggeration: mostly, it is Saddam loyalists who are fighting the coalition forces. But it is true that both the Arabs and Chirac's regime have a vested interest in creating as much trouble as possible, and then presenting the trouble as "the USA's invasion backfired against the civilized world".
    The USA should stay the course and continue its policy of "educational imperialism": eradicate Saddam's regime, fight foreign terrorism that is tacitly sponsored by other tyrannical regimes, and keep the oil-less Europeans (France and Germany) out of Iraq. This might imply another military intervention (against one or more of the countries that are trying to destabilize Iraq) and more tensions with France (as long as imperial Chirac remains in power). It is a price worth paying. The 21st century should leave behind the remnants of the old European imperialism (the new centers of power are China, India, the Far East, Russia, and the fastest developing areas are Eastern Europe, Africa and parts of South America) and the USA should not accept the old logic that the Islamic world is for dictators only (and Muslim dictators only).
    The USA should focus on what is good for the Iraqi people: removing Saddam was good for the Iraqi people; providing security and basic services (water, electricity) is good for the Iraqi people; moving towards democracy is good for the Iraqi people. These should be the USA goals in Iraq.
    If the goal is a more peaceful world, the USA is doing the right thing in Iraq.
    That said, it would certainly be better (for the Iraqi people in the first place) that the occupation force be multinational (which was Bush's own goal at the beginning when he begged even France to join) and, ultimately, not under USA command (otherwise the world would keep suspecting that the USA wants to steal the oil). Paul Bremer is not an appealing alternative to Saddam for the Iraqis. A United Nations official would be a much more appealing alternative. So Chirac is finally right about something, although it would have been easier if he had been on the right side from the beginning, not only at the end.
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  • (July 2003) Iraq: a farce of lies. Europacifists and assorted anti-Americans predicted a number of consequences of the war in Iraq:
    • A lengthy battle that would kill up to 500,000 civilians. The truth: Iraq was liberated in less than a month. The battle of Baghdad, that was supposed to last months if not years, lasted three days. Amnesty International estimates 20,000 people died, including militias, Baathists and soldiers.
    • One million refugees. The United Nations was urged to build a huge refugee camp in Jordan to avoid a humanitarian disaster. The humanitarian disaster never happened. In fact, only a few hundred Iraqis left the country. They returned to their homes after a few days abroad.
    • A United Nations document ("Integrated Humanitarian Contingency Plan for Iraq and Neighbouring Countries", Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 7 January 2003) predicted that 30% of children under 5 in Iraq, or 1.26 million children, "would be at risk of death from malnutrition" during an American invasion of Iraq.
    • The disintegration of the country. The various Iraqi factions were supposed to begin a Lebanese-style civil war and lead to the breakdown of Iraq. The truth: not even the Kurds have asked for a separate state.
    • A world-wide Islamic war. This was the real specter: USA intervention in the holy land would cause a billion Muslims to rise up in a holy war against the infidels. The truth: the rest of the Islamic world is now demanding more democracy for their leaders, because they see Iraq becoming more democratic. Students are marching in the streets of Iran. Jordan has allowed for parliamentary elections. Palestinians and Israelis are talking peace. Syria is collaborating with the USA. Saudi Arabia has fired one thousands fundamentalists. The main cleric of Islam (the Islamic equivalent of the Pope) has condemned suicide bombing. The Middle East has never had a better chance for progress and democracy.
    • A race to build weapons of mass destruction. Instead, in a matter of a few months all Arab countries have publicly renounced weapons of mass destruction. (In december 2003, Libya even accepted to destroy its entire arsenal).
    • Terrorist attacks in the USA. Not a single terrorist attack has occurred in the USA or against USA targets around the world.
    • Add the widely reported looting of the Baghdad museum: European media reported that 170,000 artifacts had been stolen from the Baghdad museum. Well, the CIA must have done a good job of reproducing them very quickly with accurate fakes, because the museum reopened with all 170,000 artifacts intact. In fact, for the first time some rare exhibits were shown (Saddam had hidden them in a bank, possibly to steal them). About 30 small pieces are missing, true, but most likely they were destroyed by the mob after the fall of Saddam. No major piece is missing.
    • Even the optimistic forecasts did not come true: the anti-Americans said that the USA had invaded Iraq to get cheap oil, and, instead, the price of oil has been climbing steadily to record levels. The Anti-Americans accused the USA of wanting to push the dollar up, and instead the dollar has collapsed to record lows.
    It would be nice if the politicians who made those predictions (mostly in Europe), which obviously turned out to be completely inaccurate, resigned or, at least, stopped making predictions.
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  • (June 2003) Why the ayatollah is right and Bush is wrong. On june 30, ayatollah Ali Sistani has called for general elections in the country to choose representatives of the Iraqi people. The plan advanced by ayatollah Sistani is quite simple: the Iraqi people should elect their own representatives to a council that would draw the new Iraqi constitution, and then the Iraqi people should approve the new constitution in a referendum. Does it sound like USA-style democracy? Of course.
    Did Bush oppose it? Of course. Bush, a president who was not elected by the people (52% of American voters cast their vote against him), does not seem to desire any USA-style democracy in Iraq, just like he has not allowed for democratic elections (or women's rights) in Afghanistan, and just like he has weakened the democracy of the USA itself. (In July 2003, USA-controlled Kuwait allowed "free" parliamentary elections, but only 15% of the country's male citizens and 0% of the female citizens were eligible to vote, and the result was a devastating blow to the democratic movement).
    Paul Bremer, the little dictator appointed by Bush to transform Iraq from an Arab dictatorship into a banana republic, wants to create a hand-picked political council that would name "key advisors" to government ministries. Does it sound like China's communist system? You shouldn't be surprised: China's communist system is Bush's dream: a one-party system in which the most powerful man makes all the decisions, his friends pocket all the money and dissidents "disappear" in prison.
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  • (April 2003) The defeat of Europacifism. The war is over, and very few innocents died. Saddam is gone, and the Iraqi people are free.
    Most Iraqi soldiers did not fight. They opposed little or no resistance, happy that someone was liberating their country from the tyrant.
    The only ones who resited the liberation of Iraq were the Europacifists. They rioted all the time, as Saddam's fate was being sealed. A frenzy of mass hysteria spread throughout western Europe as the liberators got closer and closer to Baghdad, as the Iraqi people got closer and closer to freedom and democracy.
    Europeans who had no clear opinion joined marches and riots. Some of those "demonstrators" did not even know what was going on, what they were demonstrating against. In 2003 Europacifists behaved just like Italians in 1922 and Germans in 1933: hypnotized by an ecstasy of collective fanaticism. This time it was in the name of "peace" (i.e., Saddam Hussein), but it does not take a psychologists to realize that it was a fundamentally violent behavior.
    Europacifists tried desperately to keep the USA and the UK from liberating the Iraqi people. Europacifists got more and more desperate as the moment of truth was approaching, as the Iraqi people got closer and closer to freedom, because the Europacifists feared one thing above all others: that the Iraqi people be allowed to speak. Now we know what the Iraqi people wanted: not Saddam, but freedom. Not Chirac's "peace" (i.e., eternal dictatorship) but Bush's "war" (of liberation). Not the Europacifists, but the marines.
    Someone should tell the Iraqi people that millions of Europacifists marched in the streets (like in Rome 1922 and Berlin 1933) to defend the tyrant, that millions of Europacifists desperately tried to avert the liberation of Iraq, that millions of Europacifists wanted the Iraqi people to remain slaves of Saddam Hussein.
    The punishment for the Europacifist masses, for now, is that they will still be governed by the likes of Chirac and Schroeder. Perhaps this is the most cruel revenge: the Iraqis will soon have a better leader (and a better life) than the Europacifists.
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  • (April 2003) The Iraqi liberation war: an assessment.

    Positive effects of the war in Iraq
    1. The Iraqi people are free (those who want are even free to protest against the USA!)
    2. Very few Iraqi civilians died (more Americans died in car accident during the three weeks of the war)
    3. Thousands of lives have been saved (Saddam's regime killed 1.2 million people in 25 years, i.e. about 160 a day)
    4. There has been little destruction in the civilian areas (downtown Baghdad is largely intact)
    5. There have been very few refugees (predictions of a humanitarian crisis were vastly exaggerated, the United Nations "experts" predicting 1.5 million, another way to lose its credibility)
    6. The Middle East has the most serious chance for peace that has been seen in a generation
    7. Iraq has a serious chance to become the first Arab democracy
    8. It used to be that Israel, the only good USA ally in the Middle East, was surrounded by enemies. Look at the map now: Syria is surrounded by Turkey, Israel and Iraq, all USA allies. Iran is surrounded by Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey and Iraq, all USA allies. For the first time, the USA's main enemies are almost surrounded by USA allies.
    9. There was no invasion on northern Iraq by Turkey
    10. There were no terrorist attacks agains the USA
    11. Anti-American unrest in the Muslim world has been mild (a few thousand protesters in the streets and millions of Arabs indifferent at home)
    12. Al Jazeera and other "independent" Arab media have been discredited by the fact that everything they told the Arab people has been proven false; i.e., many Arabs have realized that the USA is more credible than the critics of the USA
    13. Arabs from Morocco to Syria are wondering if the Iraqis are the victims of an invasion or the lucky beneficiaries of a liberation that will turn them into the freest and wealthiest of all Arabs. Iranians are not wondering: they already know the answer, as any tourist can find out speaking to the people of Teheran.
    14. The United Nations Organization has become irrelevant, and will probably be replaced by a more sensible organization. The United Nation inspectors (costing a billion dollars a month) could not find the mobile bacteriological labs that humble marines found in a few days. Either the United Nations inspectors were bribed by Chirac to help Saddam hide his weapons, or they complete idiots. You choose. This deblacle (excuse my French) will force a reform at the United Nations or, better, will foster the creation of a more sensible United Democratic Nations.
    15. For the first time in history, two African-Americans have made decisions that affected the whole world (Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell were the brains behind this war)
    16. The USA has respected the will of other countries. Several countries of NATO opposed the war. The USA could not even convince Mexico and Chile, its two strongest allies in Latin America. The USA couldn't even "force" small Guinea to vote in favor of war. Turkey refused to let USA soldiers land (they were confinded on ships off the coast of Turkey for weeks). And France even promised to use its veto at the United Nations against the USA. So much for the imperial power of the USA!
    17. The conflict in Kosovo had proved that the USA can win a war without truly engaging the enemy in battle (i.e., avoiding the Vietnam syndrome). The conflict in Afghanistan built a confidence that had been badly shattered over the previous 30 years (Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia), as the USA conquered in two months a country that had defeated every power in the world for 2,300 years. The Iraqi conflict has further increased that confidence. (Of course, one must caution the USA that the Taliban were not a real army and that the Iraqi army had been weakened by 12 years of sanctions). For the first time in history, a country has the power to remove all the dictatorships in the world.
    18. The Europacifists have been humiliated (not that it makes a difference: they will seize on the next crisis to march again in support of another dictator). Throughout the conflict, the Europacifists assumed that everything the USA said was false and everything Saddam's regime said was true. Guess what...
    19. This was the final blow to Russia as a world power (Russia is now, at best, a regional power, although it is even difficult to figure out which region is affected at all by Russia after the whole of Eastern Europe has joined NATO, Afghanistan has become a USA colony and China has become a much larger economy than Russia ever was)
    20. (Addition of August 2003): Palestinians and Israelis are talking peace; the main Sunni cleric (the equivalent of the Pope for Muslims worldwide) has called for an end to suicide bombings; Saudi Arabia has cracked down on Islamic integralists; pro-democracy demonstrations in Iran have been allowed; all Arab countries are cooperating in fighting Al Qaeda; a few Arab regimes have allowed parliamentary elections; Libya has admitted responsibility for the Pan Am bombing and pledged to renounce terrorism).
    Negative effects of the war in Iraq
    1. Innocents died (no matter how few)
    2. George W Bush is likely to get re-elected (not a good news for Americans)
    3. Powell (diplomacy) lost, Rumsfeld (war) won.
    4. Museums and antiquities were looted (although not as badly as initially reported: most items have been found in the museum basement, and vaults)(as of May 31, UNESCO confirmed that only 25 small items were still missing, down from the 170,000 originally missing, and subsequently other artifacts have been returned)
    5. This war has been the re-play of an old film: the Anglo-saxon world (UK, USA, Australia) against the old European empires. The world has not changed as much as we thought.
    6. The dreadful consequence of France, Germany and Russia opposing the war is that Bush will be able to impose his government to the Iraqi people. The rest of the world will not be in a position to tell Bush what the new Iraqi government should look like. We have to rely on Blair to moderate Bush's right-wing views of what is good for the Iraqi people. This was a devastating mistake by France, Germany and Russia. It was an even bigger mistake by countries like Spain, Italy and Japan that formally sided with Bush, but refused to send soldiers. If you don't send soldiers, you are not one of the "liberators", which means that you have no right to influence the future of Iraq. If many more countries had sent soldiers, the future of Iraq would be decided by the world, not just by the president of the USA and its two allies (UK and Australia).
    7. The fact that the Iraqi masses did not rise against the dictator has underscored an important aspect of the USA image in the world: people do not trust that the USA will stay around. Lebanon (Ronald Reagan) and Somalia (George Bush) are cases in which the USA promised to "liberate" the country, but then fled as soon as the marines started dying. The people who helped the marines were abandoned, left behind to be executed by the militias who took over. The same happened in 1991 in Iraq: when the Iraqi people did rise up against Saddam Hussein, the USA pulled out of Iraq, and Saddam quelled the insurrection killing thousands of people. Those people, and people around the world, remember how dangerous it is to help the USA. The USA has a serious problem trying to convince the world that it means what it says. Liberate Iraq? Sure, that's what Bush says, but what guarantee does a shiite have that Bush won't change his mind, or that another president will be elected who will change the USA policy in Iraq?
    8. Dictators around the world have learned the one thing that can stop the USA: not smart weapons, but dead civilians. It is likely that any future war will be a war between a country (USA) that tries to minimize civilian casualties and a country (Syria, Libya, Iran, North Korea, etc) that tries to maximize civilian casualties.
    9. Dictators have an additional motivation to stock weapons of mass destruction: Bush has proven to them the difference between a regime that has nuclear weapons (North Korea) and a regime that does not have them (Iraq). Nuclear weapons remain the main deterrent in the world. They also work against the USA. Now all totalitarian regimes will try to acquire them, if nothing else to deter a USA invasion.
    10. All the people (most Arabs, many Europeans) who were opposed to the war throughout the war were desperately trying to keep the Iraqi people from telling us what they want. Millions of Arabs, Turks, Europeans, Americans, Russians, etc desperately wanted the Iraqi people to remain imprisoned in Saddam's prison. There is a desperate desire around the world for totalitarian regimes in which people are not allowed to speak up. Arabs and (some) Europeans are united in the desire to fight the USA. They both resent having lost their imperial power.
    11. The war and the peace are costing billions of dollars, a cost that will probably cripple the economic recovery for years around the entire world.
    12. Saddam consistently outsmarted the British and the Americans at propaganda, both internationally (the majority of the world's population was against the war) and domestically (his own oppressed people came to believe that he was their savior). Europacifists, in particular, consistently believed the Iraqi tv over the USA government. Of course, if you assume that the Iraqi tv is telling the truth and the USA are not telling the truth, then you reach conclusions against the USA.
    13. Saddam proved that western masses tend to believe more the propaganda of a dictator than the information of a democratic regime. The power of propaganda, that was lost after World War II on Western Europeans (they had learned first-hand not to trust what dictators said) and after 1991 on Eastern Europeans, is now strong again among a population that has been raised in free, democratic societies. Far from being "civilized", the western masses proved how little they know of what goes on in the world. Their ignorance is no less dangerous than the ignorance of the Islamic fanatics: they can easily be manipulated by the most trivial of propagandas. Western countries need to institute ways to force education into their own people. People who know nothing about geography and recent history, but are entitled to a vote in a democracy, are as dangerous as dictators. Democracy (everybody is entitled to an opinion) and ignorance (the vast majority has no knowledge to justify its opinion) cannot coexist.
    14. At the same time, Saddam had a huge advantage: the Europacifists (millions of people, not a small minority) "wanted" to believe his propaganda. They believed everything that Saddam's propaganda said: the Iraqi civilians do not want this war, the Iraqi civilians are fighting against the Americans, American bombs are killing civilians, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and so forth. These Europacifists simply acted as world-wide amplifiers for Saddam's propaganda. These Europacists are basically just the new generation of fascists. Masquerading like pacifists, they would defend any dictator, anywhere in the world. They are pacifists only when the victim is a totalitarian regime. This is likely to escalate to a massive problem for the future of the democratic world.
    15. By requesting that inspections continued, Chirac and the Europacifists proved that their only interest was a crude form of anti-Americanism: the inspections had resume because the USA had threatened Iraq, not because Iraq had invited the inspectors back. Chirac and the Europacifists had nothing to do with the inspections in the first place, so it was a little odd that they asked the USA to grant more time to the inspectors. It was, quite obviously, only a way to antagonize the USA.
    16. The most violent aspect of the war was... the marches of the Europacifists. They were not democratic in the first place (the democratic way to express your opinion is to vote at the elections, not to change the outcome of the elections every time the elected officials do something you don't like) and they often resulted in violent attacks against property and people. This is a very sinister omen, reminiscent of the marches of 1917 (communism), 1922 (fascism) and 1933 (nazism). Every time millions of Europeans marched in the streets, terrible tragedies befell on planet Earth.
    17. At one point, a poll showed that 25% of French people (and probably of Europeans in general) hoped that Saddam would win the war. They wished the Iraqi people 25 more years of Saddam Hussein rather than witness another triumph of the USA. A poll in Greece showed the people had a more favorable view of Saddam Hussein than of George W Bush, and that the USA was as undemocratic as Iraq (needless to say, very few Greeks were willing to relocate to Iraq, whereas almost all of them were ready to relocate to the USA). Mikis Theodorakis, a notorious defender of totalitarian regimes around the world, was hailed by a Greek audience for calling "my enemy" anyone who likes the USA (needless to say, he has repeatedly tried to launch a career in the USA). These Europeans are devoured by jealousy. They are the descendants of great empires whose feats are being obliterated by the USA. Every time the USA fights for a just cause and wins a war, the anti-American sentiment (hate) of these Europeans will increase. There is no way out of it. Every time the USA wins, the ancient powers of Europe are humiliated again.
    18. Humanitarian organizations lost what little credibility they still had. Humanitarian workers from all countries had claimed for years that the Iraqi children were suffering because of the sanctions. Now we know why they were suffering: Saddam's regime was storing millions of tons of food and medicines in warehouses instead of distributing them to the population. The humanitarian workers who were asking for an end to the sanctions were simply helping Saddam starve the Iraqi people.
    19. The reaction of Muslims around the world has confirmed that Islam is the main obstacle to the spread of democracy around the world. Islam's viewpoint is very simple: a Muslim is always right, and an infidel is always wrong, and a Muslim who kills an infidel is a hero. Islam remains the main enemy of humankind in 2003. "Our" triumph in Iraq has little to do with Islam (we are not interested in which religion is practiced by the majority of the people after the Arabs invaded the ancient lands of Mesopotamia), but "their" defeat has a lot to do with Islam (they interpret it as part of a holy war that they waged against the entire planet). Even Muslims who were happy to see Saddam go have a Muslim interpretation of the events: it was Allah who deposed Saddam, not the USA, and the USA is in fact an enemy. Islamic fundamentalism is still the main evil in the world.

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  • (April 2003) Don't let the United Nations hijack the victory. Do not let the United Nations run Iraq. The United Nations has failed miserably to install a civilian government and protect civilians in Bosnia, East Timor and Kosovo. We don't need another proof of how useless and corrupt the United Nations are.
    We need to dismantle the United Nations, an obsolete organization that considers each dictator of the world as the legitimate representative of his people (Saddam Hussein as the legitimate representative of the Iraqi people, Castro as the legitimate representative of the Cuban people, and so on).
    It would be a tragic mistake if the USA and the UK let the United Nations turn Iraq into another failed experiment.
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  • (March 2003) Reasons not to go to war. There is an obvious reason why Saddam must go (he is a dictator). There is an obvious reason why France does not want to remove that dictator ( the real problem is Chirac, not Saddam), which is not too different from the reason of the Europacifists at large ( The Europacifists' desperate struggle to save Saddam Hussein). But there are also reasons why the USA should think twice before invading Iraq, that have little to do with Chirac's prescription for a "peaceful" (i.e., tyrannical) world:
    1. Saddam Hussein may be tempted to use his weapons of mass destruction against his own people, if (as likely) the Iraqis will rise up against him.
    2. Saddam Hussein may be tempted to use his weapons of mass destruction against Israel.
    3. The real enemy of the USA is not this or that dictator: the real enemy was and remains Islam. Islam has declared a holy war against the USA. Islamic fundamentalists around the world will interpret a war against Iraq as a stage in this holy war between the USA and Islam. This will certainly help Islamic fundamentalists promote the notion that the holy war was not started by Islam but by the USA, and this notion may recruit even moderate Muslims.
    4. Nothing hurts more the reputation of the USA than its double standards. The USA claims that it is legitimate to invade Iraq because Iraq is in breach of several United Nations resolutions. True. But so is Israel, which has never complied with 85 resolutions of the United Nations, for example resolutions 181 (establishment of a Palestinian state), 237 (return of the 1967 Palestinian refugees), 252 (renounce Jerusalem as capital of Israel), 452 (halt Jewish settlements in Palestinian areas), 497 (return the Golan Heights to Syria). Is the USA planning to invade Israel too? Why does the same law apply to Iraq and not to Israel?
    5. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Despite Powell's accusations that Saddam may some day help Osama bin Laden, the truth is exactly the opposite: Saddam Hussein is the kind of secular, socialist traitor that Osama fights against. Given a choice, Osama would kill Saddam before Bush. Osama's goal is to create a universal Islamic state, and Saddam Hussein (who would persecute any Islamic fundamentalist) is a bigger obstacle than George Bush (who will do business with anyone) to Osama's dream. By attacking Saddam now, we are removing an enemy of our enemy, i.e. we are helping the real enemy that has declared war on the USA (Islam).
    6. North Korea and Al Qaeda may take advantage of the war in Iraq to stage a spectacular attack (against South Korea and against the USA itself). Any military expert knows that first you remove the potential obstacles to your military campaign, and then you launch your troops. North Korea and Al Qaeda have not been removed at all.
    7. There is no serious plan for the future of Iraq. What happens after Saddam Hussein is removed? The idea that an American general can run an Arab country is simply ridiculous. On the other hand, there is no credible Iraqi leader to lead a new Iraqi government.
    8. The USA has a military presence in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, that border on Iran. Turkey (northeastern border of Iran) has always been a USA ally. If the USA wins the war against Saddam, it will also gain Iraq, i.e. the eastern border of Iran. Iran will be surrounded by the USA. There is a serious chance that Iran will help Iraq, not because it likes Saddam Hussein but because they don't want to get surrounded by the enemy.
    The Bush administration has not explained how it plans to cope with either of these very likely scenarios. As much as we enjoy the idea of Saddam arrested and tried for crimes against humankind, the Bush administration had not provided a rationale for dealing with those issues.
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  • (February 2003) The facts about Iraq.
    1. Whatever the intention, the effect of what France and the "pacifists" are doing is to keep Saddam in power. Every argument against the war has the effect of keeping him in power. If the whole world told Saddam that there is going to be war, most likely Saddam would have already left the country.
    2. Whatever the declarations, it is self-evident that France and the "pacifists" do not care for the Iraqi people. First of all, they never even dreamed of asking the Iraqi people what they want: millions of pacifists marched against the war, but how many marched to demand democratic elections in Iraq? Second, what the "pacifists" prescribe for the immediate future (and probably till the death of Saddam) is the same old dictatorship. Third, the "pacifists" are very worried about the American bombs (that will kill very few innocents) but are not worried at all about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, which could kill a lot more civilians if, as it is very likely, the Iraqi people rise up against him and join the marines (the same way they did during the first invasion, in 1991).
    3. The USA certainly does not need the Iraqi oil. The USA can already count on oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Gulf emirates and, soon, on the oil from Central Asia that will flow through the pipeline that is being built through Afghanistan. Russia, Britain and China have their own oil. There is only one world power that does not have any oil: France. That is also the one country that has already signed huge contracts with Saddam Hussein. That is also the one country that is strongly opposed to removing Saddam Hussein from power. It is about oil, as the pacifists claim, but not for the USA.
    4. Iraq's air force is made of Mirage (French) and MIG (Soviet). Iraq's missiles are SCUDS (Soviet). Iraq's radars are Chinese. Iraq's tanks are Russian. Iraq's nuclear technology is French and Russian. There is not a single gun that is made in the USA. Contrary to what many pacifists claim, the USA has not armed Saddam Hussein. France and Russia did.
    5. Every inspector knows that Saddam had manufactured huge amounts of biological and chemical weapons that have never been found. Millions of Iraqi civilians could be killed by these weapons that the pacifists claim "do not exist" or "do not constitute a threat" (two of the most frequent claims in pacifist rallies). These weapons do not constitute a threat for the pacifists, but they do constitute a serious threat for the Iraqi people and neighboring peoples.
    6. The other Arab regimes are relatively indifferent. Most Arab leaders take the public view that war is inevitable (Mubarak went as far as to blame Saddam for it, Qaddafi suggested an exile for Saddam). The fact is that the Arab regimes are not doing anything to prevent it. Of course, they blame it on the USA. But the truth is that they are not doing 1/10th of what France is doing to stop the war. Unlike France, that can only talk, the Arab regimes could blackmail the USA with the oil. Being the neighbors of Saddam, they could stage massive protests at the United Nations. The truth is that they are not doing anything to stop the USA. This front of "indifferent" regimes even includes Iran, which, in theory, is an enemy of the USA, and which has been unusually silent about this war. Again, France has been more outspoken in its opposition to the USA than Iran itself. It is a fact that all of Iraq's neighbors seem to prefer a USA invasion of Iraq to a prolonged Saddam Hussein dictatorship.
    7. Saudi Arabia has already announced that, once Iraq is liberated, it will request that the USA withdraw their troops from Saudi Arabia. Those troops were stationed there in 1991, and are the very reason that Osama bin Laden started his anti-American terrorist campaign. Those American troops on Saudi land are an embarrassment for the Saudi regime and a prime motive for anti-American terrorism. It is in the interest of both Saudi Arabia and the USA that they are removed as soon as possible. While the USA would never publicly admit that is giving in to Osama's requests, it is possible that one serious reason to remove Saddam Hussein is the urgency to withdraw the troops from Saudi Arabia. Those troops are there only because of Saddam Hussein: there is no other enemy in the area.
    8. Bush's plan is to remove Saddam and install a U.S. military governor, leaving the ruling Baath party largely intact and granting an amnesty to all the ministers and generals who helped Saddam over the years. The "pacifists" are completely missing the point when they focus their energies on stopping the war (i.e., keeping Saddam in power) instead of focusing on what should replace Saddam. Installing an American governor and leaving the same ruthless party in power does not justify war. Installing, for example, a United Nations governor and introducing multi-party democracy does justify a war. But "pacifists" do not care for the Iraqi people, so it is not surprising that they argue on everything except the future of the Iraqi people.
    The real issue should be what to do next with Iraq. Once we remove Saddam Hussein (who has been dictator 24 years too many), who rules over Iraq? The last thing that the world, Iraq or even the USA needs is an American general ruling over Iraq. On the other hand, Iraq is not Timor or Afghanistan (where the opposition had powerful, charismatic leaders and even an army). Iraq has no opposition government on the ground (the one in exile is totally unknown to the Iraqi people and has not even been inside Iraq for years) and no opposition army. The United Nations could provide a transitional government and an international police force, like it did in Kosovo, and gradually introduce multi-party democracy. It would be an insult to the Iraqi people if we left the Baath party in power, and simply replaced a dictator with another dictator.
    However, there are at least two problems. The Kurds have now formed their own government, and, in fact, are doing quite well, better than ever in modern history. It is not clear what we will do with them: do we hand them over again to the Arabs that will inevitably rule over Iraq? The Kurds are not too keen to be ruled again from Baghdad.
    Also, it is not clear how well the Sunni Arabs will accept a democratic Iraq, that is likely to become a Shiite country (Saddam and all previous rulers were Sunni Arabs, but the majority of Iraqis are Shiites). The largest Shiite country is its neighbor, Iran, which is not a friend to the Arab regimes of the Gulf. Will the Iraqi Sunni Arabs accept a Shiite majority, and will the neighboring Sunni regimes (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan) accept it?
    Restoring the Iraqi economy will be easier than making sense of a country that is one more irrational legacy from the era of European colonies.
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  • (February 2003) Abu Musab Zarqawi, Saddam and Iran. Secretary of State Colin Powell told the United Nations that the USA finally has convincing evidence of a link between Saddam Hussein, dictator of Iraq, and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist organization. That link has a name: Abu Musab Zarqawi. This Jordanian terrorist, an expert in chemical weapons, has apparently set up training camps in Iraq with the approval and participation of Saddam Hussein. It had been known since last summer (see this article) that Zarqawi visited Baghdad, but it was widely believed that Zarqawi has simply obtained medical treatment. Suddenly, the USA feels very confident that Zarqawi has moved his base to northern Iraq and received assistance from Saddam Hussein.
    The previous suspect of bringing Al Qaeda and Iraq together was Mullah Krekar, a terrorist of an obscure Islamic group, Ansar al-Islam, based in kurdish Iraq, who now lives in Norway, mysteriously protected by the Norwegian government as a refugee. Krekar's odyssey is one of the most unique: he was actually arrested in Iran (of all places), which extradited him to Holland, which mysteriously shipped him to Norway, where he walked out free. It is not clear why he was extradited to Holland, since he is wanted by only two countries (Jordan, because of drug trafficking, and the USA, because of terrorism), and it is not clear why Holland put him on a plane to Norway, and it is not clear why Norway protects him. It is possible, of course, that Krekar has, in reality, become a US informer, and has tipped the USA on the activities of Al Qaeda in Iraq. That would explain his strange odyssey and the fact that Powell never mentioned his name, despite the fact that he is an Al Qaeda terrorist that certainly operated in Iraq (as Kurdish leaders have proven beyond any doubt). This would explain why the USA is suddenly so sure about something that it had tried to prove for so long.
    A little noticed fact about the war against terrorism is the country that has most fully cooperated with the USA: Iran. Iran has turned over to other countries about 500 Al Qaeda terrorists. Iran does not deliver them directly to the USA because no diplomatic ties exist between Iran and the USA, but Iran has arrested and delivered Al Qaeda terrorists to Arab countries and to European countries, and most of those terrorists have ended up in Guantanamo. There is no other country in the world that has captured so many Al Qaeda terrorists. When Osama bin Laden had to choose an escape route from Afghanistan, he went east, towards Pakistan, not west, towards Iran, despite the fact that American soldiers were already in Pakistan and Iran is formally an enemy of the USA.
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  • (January 2003) The truth about the United Nations "oil for food" program in Iraq. The truth is very simple: it provides $100 billions in contracts, partly for oil exports and partly for food and medicine imports. Russia and France get the largest share of the contracts.
    For mysterious reasons, the United Nations has decided that the contracts are to remain confidential. This means that noone knows exactly what is provided to Iraq and why that specific company/country has been chosen to provide it. Some of the Russian and French contracts have titles that are absolutely vague (such as "help for the Iraqi people"). Russia has been awarded a contract to supply Iraq with "Japanese vehicles" (why not Japan?). Libya, of all places, supplies Iraq with milk. Never heard of Libya milk? Neither have the people of Libya. There is no Libyan-made milk. But it turns out that Iraqi children are supposedly fed with Libyan-made milk.
    The whole business is mainly run through a French bank, BNP Paribas.
    The costs of running this program is covered by a 2.2% commission on every barrel of oil. To date, this amounts to about $12 billion (comparable to the revenues of a large-scale multinational corporation). It pays a staff of about 1,000 United Nations employees and 3,000 Iraqi citizens (all members of Saddam Hussein's party).
    Basically, France and other countries have stolen money from the Iraqi people with the cooperation of Saddam Hussein and the United Nations.
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  • (January 2003) How many Iraqi civilians are killed by the sanctions? (Note of 2004: the "oil for food" scandal, that the United Nations is finally, and reluctantly, beginning to investigate, has made the following article largely obsolete: if any civilians did die during the period of the sanctions, we know now why. Saddam Hussein and corrupt United Nation officials stole literally billions of dollars that were meant to buy medicines for the Iraqi people).

    Saddam Hussein and the Europacifists claim that the sanctions against Iraq cost the lives of thousands of Iraqi civilians, in particular children. The few facts that are known about the Iraqi economy provide evidence that Saddam is lying as usual and that the Europacifists are gullable as usual (and did not study mathematics).
    Iraq exported 19.3 billion dollars of oil in 2000. Divided by the Iraqi population, that's about $828 per capita, which is twice the average income in Iran ($471) and Jordan ($387) and three times the per-capita income in Syria ($261). No children die of malnutrition and diseases in Iran, Jordan and Syria, but Saddam Hussein and the Europacifists claim that 84,000 children die in Iraq every year of such causes, and blame it on the sanctions imposed by the USA. How odd that Iraqi children are so much weaker than the children of all the other nations of the area.
    Europacifists claim that the Iraqi people do not have enough food, but the World Trade Organization declares that fertilizer consumption in Iraq is identical to any other country of that region: why do the Iraqi citizens starve if Iraq seems to be producing the same amount of food per square km of the other countries? The Europacifists quote Saddam: a drop of 27% in the production of cereals, and the poor Iraqi children deprived of their breakfast. The truth: an increase of almost 400% in the use of fertilizers by the Iraqi agriculture and an increase of almost 200% in irrigated land (incidentally, 73% higher than Syria and 33 times more than Jordan).
    The Europacifists also claim (again, quoting Saddam like parrots) that the Iraqi industry has been destroyed by the sanctions. But the International Energy Agency found that Iraq uses more energy per capita than Syria or Iran. In 1990 Iraq had 14 cars per 1,000 people: in 2000 Iraq had 51 cars per 1,000 people.
    The Iraqi children do not have medicines? That is odd, because the World Health Organization finds that Iraq spends on health more than Syria and Iran: neither Syria nor Iran report the death of 84,000 children a year.
    If there is any scarcity of food and medicines, the Europacifists should ask Saddam what happens to the oil money that, in theory, should be used to buy food and medicines for the Iraqi people, more food and medicines than Jordanians or Syrians have ever seen. (Note of march 2004: The United Nations Organization has finally started an investigation into an alleged scam that allowed Saddam Hussein to pocket the "oil for food" money that was supposed to be spent on medicines. See Global Policy).
    If the sanctions did indeed cause the death of thousands of children, the Europacifists should ask Chirac what he means by "let the sanctions work" (Chirac and Schroeder want to keep the sanctions, Blair and Bush want to remove Saddam).
    In the meantime, millions of children are dying (for real) in refugee camps spread from Algeria to Sudan, but the people who are so concerned about the Iraqi children seem perfectly happy to let those millions of children die in the rest of the world: as long as they are not Arabs, it's ok with the Europacifists that those children are left to die. Not a single march has taken place in Europe for the millions of children dying in refugee camps throughout the world. If they want to find out why so many children die of diseases and starvation, the Europacifists should simply buy a mirror and stand in front of it.
    (Note of 2004: The claim that 500,000 children died because of the sanctions was originally made by Unicef, an organization that has a record of misrepresenting the facts and completely missing its predictions. Unicef also predicted that an invasion of Iraq would cause one million refugees: the invasion of Iraq caused less than 1,000 refugees, and, in fact, caused a reverse flow of people, as refugees of the previous years returned to Iraq). (I must say that I have never been able to find the Unicef report about the children dying in Iraq: the page that most websites refer to,, does not exist. I searched Unicef's database of reports and couldn't find any about the Iraqi sanctions). (Countless variations exist of this story. The moment you prove that a source is not reliable or that it simply never said that children died, someone will simply change source and spin the same story again. You can spend your life chasing this story, because they keep changing the terms as you prove that the terms are false). (The number "500,000" is sort of magic, as I explained in the article on the twin story of the depleted uranium).

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  • (December 2002) The Europacifists' desperate struggle to save Saddam Hussein The Europacifists are mounting a last-ditch campaign to keep the USA from removing the fascist dictator Saddam Hussein from power. Make no mistake: these are the same people who defended Hitler and Stalin. These are the same people who voted for Mussolini and for the communists.
    And make no mistake: they do it for the oil. They want to go back to the 1980s, when Saddam was free to massacre the Iraqi people and the West was free to enjoy cheap Iraqi oil.
    The Europacifists look for any excuse to justify Saddam Hussein's behavior and criminalize the behavior of those who want to fight Saddam Hussein. Saddam Hussein has been recognized guilty of the extermination of Kurds, Shiites and Iranians. Saddam Hussein must be deposed, arrested and tried. Not because the USA wants so, but because the Iraqi people want so. There can be no compromise. He must be removed, and he must be tried. Anything short of a removal and a trial would be a farce, and an insult to the thousands of Iraqi martyrs who were butchered by Saddam's armies and (morally) by his Europacifist allies.
    Of course, the Europacifists have not asked the Iraqi people for their opinion. First and foremost, the Europacifists want to make sure that the Iraqi people will never be allowed to speak out. It is fairly obvious what the Iraqi people would do with Saddam Hussein if they could: that is precisely what the Europacifists do not want to do.
    Second, the Europacifists want to make sure that there are no more American triumphs. The people of Afghanistan enjoy the first freedom and peace in 20 years. This is terribly embarrassing for the Europacifists. The leader of Afghanistan, Karzai, is one of the most popular leaders in the world, with an approval rate that is far higher than the approval rate of any Western leader. This is terribly embarrassing for the Europacifists. Last but not least, the Europacifists want cheap oil. They want cheap gasoline for their cars and cheap electricity for their discos. They want a good stock market. They don't care about the past and future victims of Saddam Hussein. They want to stop the war, remove the santions and start doing business again with the man who was very willing to sell cheap oil in return for cheap weapons.
    The Europacifists claim that noone (particularly the USA) has the right to attack Saddam Hussein without the approval of the United Nations. It is ironic that the main allies of the Europacifists at the United Nations are Russia, which is slaughtering civilians in Chechnya by the thousands without asking anyone for permission, and France, a country which routinely sends troops to "restore order" in African countries without ever asking the opinion of the United Nations. These two countries also happen to be the ones that helped Saddam build his weapons of mass destruction.
    The hands of the Europacifists are covered with blood. The blood of millions of people massacred in the world by dictators that have been and are tolerated by the West, from Hitler to Stalin to Pol Pot to Saddam. The Europacifists never staged a single march to protest the massacres carried out by these dictators. But the Europacifists flood the streets to protest any attempt to fight these dictators.
    The Europacifists protest any attempt to remove a dictator and any attempt to limit the number of nuclear countries. The goal of the Europacifists is 1. to keep in power as many fascist dictators as possible (Saddam, Qaddafi, Kim Jong, etc) and 2. to arm as many countries as possible with nuclear weapons.

    February 2002 line-up:

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  • (November 2002) Who is concerned for the Iraqi civilians? Both people who are in favor of the war and people who are opposed to the war claim that they care for the Iraqi civilians. World leaders, Americans, Europacifists and Arabs all claim that paramount in their thoughts is the well-being of Iraqi civilians. What is truly astounding, instead, is how indifferent everybody is for the consequences on the Iraqi people of both peace and war.
    If peace prevails, then Saddam will be free again to exterminate minorities and wipe out dissidents, as he did before the 1991 war (no Europacifist protested when he gased thousands of kurds, no Europacifist protested when he personally shot dissindents, no Europacifist protested when he invaded Iran and caused the death of one million people). Hundreds of thousands of innocents have been killed by Saddam (who often shot them in person): no world leader or Europacifist seems particularly concerned that, without war, Saddam would simply resume his brutal dictatorship. Arab pacifists are as concerned for the Iraqi people as they were for the Afghani people: let the Taliban or Saddam exterminate them. Europacifists are in favor of restoring Saddam's power: stop the inspections, stop the bombing, stop the sanctions. Not a single "pacifist" (which, directly or indirectly, often means "supporter of fascism") has articulated a vision on how to save the lives of millions of Iraqis once Saddam gets his power back. These "pacifists" could care less about the Iraqi people. They are only concerned for Saddam's health, wealth and power.
    If, on the other hand, war prevails, very few Iraqis will be killed by American bombs (probably fewer than in Afghanistan, as each war improves the precision of these weapons). But Europacifists, Americans and assorted world leaders neglect the fact that Saddam is likely to use his weapons of mass destruction: those nuclear, chemical and biological weapons would kill very few American soldiers (because America will take adequate precautions) but would kill thousands if not millions of Iraqi citizens. We all know that Saddam has biological weapons (yes, even the dumbest Europacifist who publicly denies it). We all know that Saddam did not hesitate to use chemical weapons in the war against the kurds and in the war against Iran, thereby actually killing lots of his own soldiers and civilians. If he did not hesitate when he was winning, imagine what he would do when America comes close to capture him. There is no question that, when America tries to capture him, Saddam would not hesitate again, and use all the chemical, biological and nuclear weapons he has. The "side effect" of using them would be to kill a large percentage of the Iraqi population. People seem very concerned about the side effects on Europe, Israel, neighboring countries and American soldiers, but noone has articulated a vision of how to protect the Iraqi civilians from the madness of their own dictator.
    Even the disarmement of Iraq is clearly not in the interest of the Iraqi people: it is in the interest of others. Why should Iraq disarm, and, say, Israel and Iran should not? When we force Iraq to destroy weapons of mass destruction, we are applying to Iraq a law that we have never applied to any other country in the world. We are punishing the Iraqi people, who will be weaker than their neighbors for decades.
    Whether it's peace or war that prevails, the Iraqi people seem to be condemned to die by the indifference of the rest of the world.
    "Some people claim to love Arabs, but all they prescribe for them is tyranny". (Ahmad Chalabi, leader of the Iraqi opposition in exile).
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (October 2002) Why Bush would never allow for democracy in Iraq. In 1991 the USA led a coalition to free Kuwait of the Iraqi invaders. The USA then wanted to prove that it was worth defending Kuwait from Iraq and ordered the Kuwaiti dictator to introduce democracy. Ten years later, women still cannot vote, and the Kuwaiti parliament can vote only on negligible issues. Power is still held by the ruling family, and no election has ever been scheduled to let the people decide if they like that family or not.
    In nearby Saudi Arabia, a country that the USA protects with thousands of soldiers, it is not only women who cannot vote: men also cannot vote. If nothing else, the royal Saudi family does not pretend to have democracy. Saudi Arabia was only one of the few countries to fund and recognize the Taliban. Saudi Arabia is, of course, also the homeland of Osama Bin Laden and most of the September 11 terrorists.
    Neither the king of Kuwait nor the royal Saudi family (nor any other Arab dictator) would welcome an Arab democracy in Iraq. It would set a dangerous example throughout the Arab world. The Arab world has never had any democracy. Arab people grow up thinking that democracy is a fiction of the West, a meaningless word, an excuse for America to fight Islam. If one Arab country became a democracy, it would contradict centuries of Arab history.
    Furthermore, Iraq is now ruled by Sunni Arabs (like Saddam) but Sunni Arabs constitute only 13-16% of the population. The vast majority of Iraqis (about 60%) are Shiites. Most of the Arab world is Sunni. The only major Shiite country is Iran, whose supreme ayatollah Khameini is a sworn enemy of the USA. Thus, the USA itself has no interest in installing a democratic regime in Iraq that would most likely be friendly to its arch-enemy Iran.
    Bush is interested in a regime change, but not necessarily a democratic one. It takes a different kind of president to promote democracy in Iraq: it takes a president who is willing to admit America's guilt towards the Iranian people (Iran's shah was supported by America before it was deposed by a popular revolution) and it takes a president who is willing to remove brutal dictatorships (that support international terrorism) from all the Arab states (including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco) and not only from Iraq.
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  • (October 2002) Did the USA give Saddam the bacteriological weapons? Alas, for many decades, everybody gave everybody else biological material that should have been kept guarded. The USA and every other democracy in the world did not have a national policy on what to do with germs. Research centers were free to sent germs to other research centers, anywhere in the world. Companies were free to sell germs to other companies, anywhere in the world. The only countries that tightly controlled the export of germs were the totalitarian regimes of the Soviet Union, Eastern Germany and Cuba. The USA did not have a national policy. Each USA research center was dealing with whichever research centers in the world it deemed appropriate for medical research. There were very few exceptions (for example, smallpox, see below).
    Records show that in 1986, the University of Baghdad requested and obtained anthrax and botulinum, besides more innocuous germs (probably used to prove that the germs were needed for legitimate medical research). In 1988, the Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center at Fort Detrick reported that Iraq was building a bacteriological arsenal (particularly, botulinum and anthrax) disguised as medical research. The report deatailed how Iraqi scientists were purchasing germs from the American Type Culture Collection, which served scientists of all over the world. Getting the authorization to export those germs was a mere formality. Sale of those germs was legal not only to Iraqi research centers but to research centers of any country in the world that was not under USA sanctions (basically, anybody except Iran, Libya and CUba).
    It was later discovered that, between 1985 and 1989, there was a stream of purchases by Iraqi research centers from USA-based companies, purchases that included, again, anthrax and botulinum. At the same time, Iraq was purchasing material for weapons of mass destruction from many other countries. A study published on the German magazine "Die Tageszeitung" revealed that German companies sold more of such material to Iraq than to any other country in the world.
    Unfortunately, in the 1980s authorization for such transactions was easy to obtain. It was much more difficult to export a microchip than a germ. Companies based in the USA, Germany, France and Britain supplied Iraqi organizations (and every other research center in the world) with germs. It was normal procedure, just like exchanging astronomical pictures or geological data. (So did the Soviet Union, Eastern Germany and Cuba, but in their case it was explicitly approved by the regime).
    In the 1980s any research facility in the world could have obtained USA germs, simply by asking.
    Some of the Iraqi research centers that obtained germs from the USA were recognized by the UNESCO (a United Nations department) as legitimate medical research centers.
    Iraq was not the only country to take advantage of western naivete and pursue such a program. In 1971, Syria created the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC). That center has acquired nuclear, chemical and biological technologies from all over the world. In 1992, the German government ordered German research centers and companies to suspend any cooperation with the SSRC because it was discovered that it reports directly to the Syrian military. Israeli and CIa intelligence agree that the SSRC has stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and is actively trying to build a nuclear bomb.
    Export of germs to Iraq became illegal in the USA on 23 february 1989, when the Commerce Department was ordered by the Bush administration to ban sales of bacteriological material to Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria.
    While USA companies and universities helped Iraq in good faith, the Soviet Union (and possibly France) deliberately helped Iraq develop bacteriological weapons. Iraq probably obtained a strain of smallpox from Nelja Maltseva, a Russian virologist who worked at the Research Institute for Viral Preparations in Moscow (the institute that used to house the largest collection of smallpox in the world, now housed in Vector). She is known to have traveled to Iraq frequently in the 1970s. Russia denies that she ever was in Iraq, but records by the World Health Organization show that she was in Iraq at least in 1972 and 1973 (besides, of all places, Iran and Syria). Iraq has admitted that its biological weapons program started in 1974.
    The Iraqi bio-weapon program is tightly related to the secret Soviet program. In 1971, an outbreak of smallpox in Aralsk (Kazakstan), caused by an experiment of biological weapons, killed dozens of Soviet citizens. Interviews with survivors of that incident seem to indicate that the Soviet Union conducted open-air tests on Vozrozhdeniye Island in the Aral Sea. That island is still infested with anthrax and other dangerous germs. Apparently, that incident convinced the Soviet authorities to invest more resources into biological warfare. It also convinced nearby countries that biological weapons were easier, cheaper and "better" than nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union signed the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention in 1972, but Russia now admits that it continued the world's most ambitious germ-weapons program (the USA had already halted its program in 1969). In 1973, the Soviet Politburo created "Biopreparat", a secret research project for biological weapons that employed between 50,000 and 100,000 people. By 1988, the Soviet Union had produced a few hundred tons of plague, anthrax, smallpox, and other germs, enough to exterminate the entire population of the USA. Ironically, when it collapsed, the Soviet Union "was" the real super-power in the world, because the USA could never have competed in terms of biological weapons. The defections in 1989 of Vladimir Pasechnik, director of one of the main laboratories, and in 1992 of Kanadjan Alibekov, deputy director of Biopreparat, provided the most vivid account of the bio-weapon research undertaken by the Soviet Union after 1972. To this day, Russia has opposed any suggestion to allow international inspectors into its laboratories.
    There is no evidence of continued cooperation between Russia and Iraq during the 1980s, but Iraq's bio-weapon program certainly picked up speed after 1987, when the Al-Muthanna research center was transferred to the Al-Salman facility, and 1988, when the Al-Hakam Factory was inaugurated. By 1990, Iraq was capable of weaponizing the biological agents (on SCUD missiles provided by the Soviet Union). The United Nations inspectors believe that 380,000 liters of Botulinum toxin and 84,250 liters of anthrax spores were manufactured during these years. Iraq denied having produced any smallpox, but in 1995 the inspectors found a container labeled "smallpox". In 1997, the inspectors also found a document about the vaccines that were prescribed for the Iraqi army, and the third on the list was smallpox. The speed at which these projects were carried out makes it unlikely that Iraq worked on them alone.
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  • (October 2002) The Iraqi nuclear program. In 1971 Saddam Hussein created the Iraqi program to build a nuclear weapon, which will remain to this day under his personal control. Iraqi scientist Khidhir Abdul Abas Hamza defected to the United States in 1994, and described the details of Iraq's nuclear program. The program was a grotesque failure: by 1987 all that Iraq had built was the gas centrifuge designed in the 1940s by Jessie Beams, a classic of nuclear engineering but so inefficient that the USA has made them public (the designs can be found on the Internet).
    The breakthrough came in 1989, when German scientist Karl-Heinz Schaab sold German uranium-enrichment technology to Iraq. Schaab used to work for MAN Technologien AG, a subcontractor of Urenco, which specializes in nuclear technology. Schaab sold Saddam the design of the TC-11, a gas centrifuge, for about $350,000. This was a clandestine operation, for which Schaab will be convicted in a German tribunal in 1992, captured in 1996 and finally jailed in 1999. But Schaab has told a different story. He has declared to Der Spiegel: "In such difficult times, our company needed a rich customer." Which implies that he was working for his company, not on his own. Another former Urenco employee, Bruno Stemmler, helped Iraqi engineers on the design of the centrifuge. Again, Germany claims it was the action of an individual acting on his own, outside the law. Ditto for Walter Busse, the third Urenco employee arrested for this crime. They all spent weeks in Rashdiya (north of Baghdad), the center of Iraq's nuclear-weapons research.
    But at the same time (throughout the year 1989) the German company Interatom GmbH (which belongs to the Siemens group, the largest industrial group in Germany) sold Iraq equipment and training. Interatom was the supplier of MAN and Urenco. By its own admission, Iraq acquired more know-how legally from Interatom than illegally from Schaab. Siemens always denied that this dealings ever occurred until United Nations inspectors found Siemens (Interatom) material all over the Iraqi nuclear research facilities in 1995. Siemens now claims that it did not know the Iraqis were nuclear engineers: Siemens thought they were welders.
    At the same time, Iraq and Libya were offering huge amounts of money to India for its nuclear technology (as revealed by Jasjit Singh on 30 August 1998). India never accepted a penny, and never sold any technology, showing a much higher moral standard than Germany.
    United Nations inspector Scott Ritter, who eventually resigned in disgust, has repeatedly stated that Iraq has manufactured and is hiding at least three 20-kiloton nuclear bombs. The bombs only lack the uranium cores. Ritter claims that in 1998 the United Nations knew exactly where the bombs were kept by Iraq, but refused to order an inspection of the site. Therefore Saddam had time to move the bombs elsewhere.
    At the same time that Ritter was discovering the three nuclear bombs in Iraq, two countries, Russia and France, were repeatedly asking the United Nations to suspend any further investigation of Iraq's nuclear program. It is not known if Russia's and France's insistence was due to complicity with Saddam or to sheer stupidity. We can speculate that Russia had something to hide and France simply wanted the oil that Saddam was willing to pay in return for the favor, which case one was a criminal and the other one was a prostitute.
    By this time, Saddam had changed his focus. He had come to realize that nuclear weapons are difficult to build, protect and use. Chemical and biological weapons are much easier to build, store and use. Again, Saddam approached Germany, namely the Water Engineering Trading Company. This German company claims that it only helped build a factory for pesticides. This led to the investigation of 56 German companies, directly or indirectly involved in the business of selling dangerous materials to Saddam. All of them were probably aware of what the purpose was, but only six have been eventually sent to jail. In most cases it was impossible to prove the case, although it was obvious to an idiot that Saddam was try to make huge quantities of "pesticides". As a German official said, "Judging by the flow of materials, Iraq must have a huge problem with insects".
    Last but not least, Germany supplied Saddam with his own bunker. It was built by a Dusseldorf company and furnished by a Munich firm. It was provided with all the comforts in case the temperature above ground reaches deadly levels (in other words, in case the USA drops a nuclear bomb on Baghdad).
    If well-paid German engineers were so willing to sell Saddam these dangerous secrets, can you imagine how tempted the poorly-paid Russian engineers must be to do the same? What are the odds that at least one Russian or Kazak or Ukraine engineer has sold Saddam the nuclear core that he needed? Very high.
    And, yet, in october 2002 a familiar pattern is repeating itself: France and Russia are slowing down the United Nations resolution that would send inspectors into Iraq. What are they hiding in Iraq?
    See a timeline of the Middle East
    German exports of nuclear technology to Iraq
    German cooperation with Iraq on weapons of mass destruction
    Iraq's nuclear programme
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  • (October 2002) Why Saddam must go. Saddam must go not because he is a threat to other countries, but because he has been, is and will always be a threat to his own people. He has been dictator of Iraq for a quarter of a century. He has obviously never contemplated retiring, even after losing two wars (Iran and Kuwait).
    It is a shame that the international community has agreed to disarm Iraq, but not to remove Saddam. Disarming Iraq is plainly unfair: why should the Iraqi people be left with no weapons, when their neighbors are allowed to keep their arms? Why should the Iraqis destroy weapons that they have legally purchased with their oil? Those weapons belong to the Iraqi people, and the Iraqi people should be allowed to decide what to do with them. Is anyone telling Saudi Arabia, Israel, Iran, or, for that matter, France which weapons it is allowed to keep? Disarming Iraq is just unfair.
    Removing Saddam, on the other hand, and dissolving the Baath party, is a humanitarian act. The Iraqi people deserve a better government. Hopefully, an American invasion of Iraq will remove Saddam and let the Iraqi people rebuild their country. Hopefully, this will result in the first Arab democracy in history. Hopefully, this will be the beginning of a new era for the entire Arab world and the entire Middle East.
    The people who don't want an American invasion of Iraq are simply hypocritical. They know exactly what Saddam has done, and they know exactly what he would do again. They simply want to avoid another American triumph, and they are willing to sacrifice the entire population of Iraq, if necessary, to keep America from annihilating another dictatorship.
    The war in Afghanistan has been a terrible blow to anti-Americans world-wide. They expected the Afghani population to rise against the Americans like they did against the Soviet Union twenty years ago. Surprise: the Afghanis actually welcomed the British and the Americans who were liberating Kabul, and they actually shaved their beards and they started watching tv and listening to the radio. In other words, they very much enjoy the freedom given to them by the Americans and the British. Karzai, the US-appointed new leader of Afghanistan, is by far the most popular leader in Asia, the only one who is supported by a huge popular consensus. After opposing the invasion of Afghanistan and screaming "jihad jihad" against America, the European Pacifists and the Arabs (the main anti-American groups in the world) are changing the subject. It is fairly obvious that the Afghani people are happier now than they ever were over the last 30 years. One thing that is now fairly obvious is that Afghanis hate Arabs and Pakistanis, considering them the invaders (not America). It was the Arab countries (led by Saudi Arabia) and Pakistan that engineered the invasion of Afghanistan by the Taliban. Even the Russians have been forgiven. The Arabs and the Pakistanis have not been forgiven yet. They are seen as ready to destabilize the country again at the first opportunity.
    The horror for Euro-pacifists and Arabs is that an invasion of Iraq could end up the same way: millions of Iraqis celebrating the fall of Saddam, a very popular US-appointed leader, and Iraqi hatred for the other Arab countries that helped Saddam stay in power. That is the main reason to oppose an American invasion of Iraq.
    The other reasons that Euro-pacifists (Saddam's strongest friends) and Arabs mention are obviously false: an invasion would kill fewer people than Saddam would kill in a year. The Euro-pacifists can hardly pretend to care for the Iraqi people, since they never said a word against Saddam's atrocities and they did not complain when the USA shamelessly fled Iraq in 1992 leaving Saddam free to massacre shiites and kurds. The Euro-pacifists care for many things (mainly gasoline) but certainly not for the Iraqi people. And, yes, the Iraqi people do want an invasion: there are about one million Iraqis who managed to escape, and who now live in other countries, and the vast majority is in favor of an invasion even if their own relatives could be harmed. The Kurds who live in the north of Iraq have formed their own parliament and are living a very civilized life, afraid only that the USA may pull out and Saddam may return. The Euro-pacifists never ask the people what they want, because the goal of the Euro-pacifists is not to give the people what the people want but to give them what they, the Euro-pacifists, want. The people of Iraq (shiites, kurds and ordinary sunnis) want a regime change, and they will get help from anyone who offers to help. Alas, only the USA and Britain are offering that kind of help.
    So it's only the Euro-pacifists and the other Arab dictators who don't want an American invasion of Iraq. And the reason is that they don't want another American triumph. Period.
    We, on the other hand, think that there can be only one end to the Iraqi problem: 1. removal of Saddam Hussein from power, and 2. trial of Saddam Hussein by an Iraqi court. Period. Anything else is a disgusting compromise for the sake of oil. This is a serial killer who has personally assassinated relatives and dissidents. This is a demented tyrant who tried to exterminate entire towns. This is a megalomaniac bent on invading the entire world. He must be removed, and he must be tried. No, it is not enough to disarm Iraq: we do care for the safety of the people of Iraq, not just for our own safety. We want Saddam removed. And we want Saddam tried, so that other Arab dictators will think twice about repeating those horrors.
    (Ideally we would also love to see the Euro-pacifists pay a price for defending Saddam, and maybe condemned to visit the families of all the innocents massacred by Saddam over the years).
    No doubt that Bush has done a lot to boost the case of the Euro-pacifists. He is a most unpleasant solution to the problem of removing Saddam. But you don't look at the teeth of the horse when the horse is a gift. We swallow our pride and put the interest of the Iraqi people first: if Bush is the way that Saddam can be removed, let Bush be. (It would help, though, if Bush shut up and let Powell deal with the world's public opinion).
    "It's the oil", as the Euro-pacifists say; but it's "their" oil that they are talking about. It's the Euro-pacifists who want to keep Saddam in power so that he can sell his oil to their countries, and they can keep driving to the discos while he slaughters the Iraqi population. That is what the Euro-pacifists have been doing since Saddam came to power: enjoy the ride and ignore the crimes that make that ride possible. "It's the oil" that, for example, keeps France and Russia from agreeing to an invasion.
    "It's the oil" that keeps us from doing what we have done in Serbia and Afghanistan.
    And please dismantle the United Nations if that institution exists only to defend the interests of mad dictators.
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (October 2002) The world on the war against Iraq
    • Most Americans are in favor of military intervention against Iraq but only want to disarm Iraq so that Iraq cannot pose a threat to America
    • George W Bush also wants to remove Saddam, not only disarm Iraq
    • The only other world leader who wants to remove Saddam is Tony Blair of Britain
    • Most British are opposed to the war, although by a narrow margin
    • Most Europeans are opposed to any military action, no matter what, by a large margin
    • Most nations are opposed to military action unless Iraq provokes the United Nations.
    • All Arab countries are opposed to a war against Iraq.
    • Most Arabs are strongly opposed to a war against Iraq (not because they love Saddam, but because they perceive a double standard in America's behavior towards Iraq and towards Israel).
    • The Iraqis hate the USA more than they hate Saddam (the sanctions have punished the Iraqi people but obviously not Saddam Hussein, who is still in power)
    • The Kurds in the north of Iraq do not want to be part of Iraq and have assembled their own parliament
    • The Iraqi government in exile (in London) has plans to grant autonomy to ethnic minorities
    • Nobody seems too worried about the 4,000-year old monuments of Mesopotamia (the oldest in the world), which happen to be in today's Iraq

    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (March 2002) What it takes to take on Saddam. As the American build-up in the Gulf continues day and night (whether acknowledged or not by the Bush administration) and it appears ever more likely that a strike will happen before the November elections (the only thing that really drives US foreign policy), a number of factor has to fall in place for the operation to be successful:
    1. Some sort of peace agreement must have been reached in Palestine. That is the purpose of the sudden American determination in stopping Sharon's bloody massacres of Palestinians. Those massacres have further deteriorated the mood in the Arab world, where America is largely seen as the defender of an injustice: Israel's occupation of Palestine. America has never done a good job of explaining why Israel has entitled to occupy those territories (has any Arab country ever surrendered what it conquered in a war?) and has never done any effort to explain to the Arab masses that life is much better under Israel than under any of the dictators of the Arab world (millions of Arabs have been killed by their dictators, relatively few have been killed by Israel). America now pays those decades of indifference: the Arab world is convinced that an injustice has been committed, that America is biased towards Israel (hard to deny) and that America lies all the time. Without peace between Israel and Palestine, nobody in the Arab world will support a war against Saddam Hussein: hatred for Israel is far stronger than despise for Saddam.
    2. There must be an alternative to Saddam. Nobody (not Turkey, not Israel, not Saudi Arabia) wants the disintegration of Iraq in a number of smaller states (as in Yugoslavia). This is probably the biggest problem, as there is no single person in Iraq or outside who has the charisma to take over the country.
    3. Last but not least, a pretext must be found. Saddam is dumb enough to keep challenging the United Nations inspectors: the United Nations has had a valid excuse to attack Iraq since 1991. However, Saddam could get smart and allow the inspectors in. At that point, a US strike would become impossible. Bush has to fabricate an international incident (as Johnson did in Vietnam) or find a link between Saddam and Osama (but they have been trying for six months and could not come up with anything).
    Bush needs this war and a victory. He has obviously lost the war against Osama: Osama achieved what he wanted (terror in the USA, destruction of the World Trade Center) and is still alive. Only a couple of his most dangerous associates have been arrested: the others are still free, address unknown, ready to strike. This would be hardly reassuring for the American people, if only American people read the news. Sooner or later they will. Bush needs to win one, a big one, before Americans begin wondering what has truly been won in Afghanistan. Saddam is the obvious target. He is hated by everybody, even by those who defend him. He has his hands tied behind his back. Nobody will go to war to help him.
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (October 2001) Saddam's biological weapons Richard Butler, the chief United Nations arms inspector, has pointed out some interesting facts about Iraq's opposition to inspections of its military facilities (see UNSCOM's reports). Iraq won a psychological and propaganda war against the USA and Britain: while the winning countries wanted to continue United Nations inspections of weapons of mass destruction, Iraq wanted them to stop, claiming there was nothing more to inspect. First Russia and then France agreed that enough was enough, and the inspectors were sent home without having finished their job. Therefore, Saddam Hussein is free to continue building weapons of mass destruction undisturbed.
    Butler points out that Iraq opposed all kinds of inspections and did everything it could to hamper the work of the inspectors, but Butler points out that there was relatively little opposition to inspections of nuclear facilities compared with chemical and especially biological facilities.
    We know that Israel bombed a nuclear facility in Iraq in 1981 and Israel's intelligence is usually very reliable. So we know that Saddam Hussein was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Israel may have stopped him just in time and the US bombing of 1991 may have finished that job. Besides, let's face it: nuclear weapons are too complicated to manufacture, complicated to store and complicated to shoot. The enemy knows who sent them and may retaliate massively (Israel certainly would). What are they good for? Only for Saddam Hussein's image (he was dreaming of becoming the first Arab leader with a nuclear weapon).
    Iraq used chemical weapons both during the 1980s in the war against Iran and in 1988 against its own rebellious Kurdish population. So we know Iraq had chemical weapons. There is no doubt that Iraq has produced huge amounts of VX nerve gas. Iraq itself has admitted producing 4 tons of VX nerve gas, but United Nations inspectors estimate that at least 200 tons of VX nerve gas could have been produced before the war (one kg of VX is enough to kill thousands of people, one ton is enough to kill everybody in a city as big as New York). Iraq tried to hid its missile warheads, but the United Nations inspectors found a few of them and they tested positive for VX nerve gas: Iraq was busy arming its missiles with chemical weapons (something that Israel had claimed all along but nobody listened). During his "experiments" with the Iranians and the Kurds, Saddam Hussein came to appreciate the power of chemical weapons but he also realized that you can't win a war with chemical weapons (in fact, he lost against Iran). Again, the main problem is that it is not very easy to kill with chemical weapons without being noticed: the enemy gets really mad at you and can easily defend itself from your chemical weapons.
    Biological weapons are, instead, beautiful, because the enemy does not realize it has been struck until it's too late; and it may not even know who struck it. If your population starts dying of anthrax, how can you tell if the anthrax came from Iraq or Iran or Korea? Nuclear weapons are the weapons of choice for any world power because they cause immediate and direct destruction. They are the most effective deterrent. But biological weapons are actually the weapon of choice for any kind of guerrilla-like or terroristic activity: they don't require a missile (any human being can be a carrier of a biological weapon, as long as s/he is willing to die with it), they are hard to detect, they are easy to carry.
    Iraq's suspicious resistance to any inspection of its biological facilities is coupled with a chronic level of lying that would look pathetic if it wasn't so blatant. At the end of the Gulf war, Iraq initially admitted that it had produced 650 litres of anthrax. As inspectors found more and more anthrax, Iraq kept admitting higher and higher figures. By the time the inspectors had to leave, the figure stood at 8,400 litres... and counting. Saddam claimed that the vast Al Hakam factory complex produced agricultural products: the inspectors found clear traces that huge quantities of anthrax (about 50,000 litres of anthrax and botulinum) had been produced there. The latest estimate is that Iraq had produced 19,000 litres of botulinum, 8,400 litres of anthrax, 2,000 litres of aflatoxin and clostridium. These are all deadly agents that can cause painful deaths. There is evidence that Iraq had armed ballistic missiles with botulinum, anthrax and aflatoxin.
    Iraq has also been known to court former Soviet biologists who worked on biological weapons programs for the old Soviet Union. Between 1945 and 1992, the Soviet Union produced the largest stockpile of biological weapons in the world, about ten times more than the USA. We now know that 60,000 Soviet scientists worked on biological weapons, as opposed to 3,400 American scientists (see this table). It is unknown what happened to that huge stockpile of biological weapons and what happened to those 60,000 Soviet scientists (A brief history of the Soviet biological weapons program).
    Unfortunately, the United Nations inspections basically stopped at the end of 1998, because of Russian and French pressure (Russia still thinks in cold-war terms, and France is eager to do business with Iraq). We don't know how much more Iraq has produced since then, where it has hidden it and who it has given it to.
    The USA is largely to blame for this. First of all, the USA refused to pay its dues to the United Nations for several years: this weakened the USA position within the United Nations and eventually even allies like France reacted with a "hey, if you don't believe in the United Nations, why should the United Nations work for you?".
    Second and most important, in august 1995 two of Saddam Hussein's sons in law (general Hussein Kamel al-Majid, who oversaw Iraq's program of weapons of mass destruction, and colonel Saddam Kamel al-Majid, head of Saddam's bodyguards) fled to Jordan with a bounty of information about those very weapons of mass destruction that the inspectors had not been able to find. Their defection was the single most important breakthrough in the war against terrorism ever. For six months they waited patiently in Jordan for the USA to rescue them. The USA was too busy with sex scandals and let them languish there, where they could be killed any day by Saddam's agents. Eventually, they made a deal with Saddam to be allowed to return to Iraq. In february 1996 they returned to Iraq and one week later they were both shot dead in an "incident" with guards led by Saddam's eldest son, Uday, the rising star of Iraqi politics (their mother was then brutally killed in 2000). There will never be a defector again: the USA has proven to the Iraqi people how it treats heroes who risk their lives to help the USA against Saddam.
    Ironically, the very reason that Iraq (and anyone else) could develop its biological weapons goes back to a decision taken by the USA in 1991 (George Bush senior) to oppose verification of the Biological Weapons Convention (the USA was joined by Iran and Iraq). On July 25, 2001, due to the opposition of the Senate, the USA announced that it would not ratify the protocol for verification of the Biological Weapons Convention (one of the many international agreements that the George W Bush administration has refused to sign). How ironic that, only two months later, terrorists attacked the USA and people started dying of anthrax (See this paper).
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (October 2001) Did America kill the Iraqi children? Arabs routinely accuse America of having caused terrible sufferings to the Iraqi people by enforcing sanctions that hurt the civilians, not Saddam. In particular, a recurring mantra is that hundreds of thousands of children have died in Iraq because Iraq cannot buy medicines or food. Even some Americans admit that thousands of Iraqi children have suffered and died because of the sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iraq. Was this slaughter of innocents justified?
    (See also How many Iraqi civilians are killed by the sanctions?)
    First of all, one wonders why the Iraqi children are so precious. Nobody did much to save the thousands of children who were killed in Rwanda by the hutus, in Timor by Indonesia, in Afghanistan by the Taliban, in Hama by Syria, and, lo and behold, by Saddam Hussein in northern and southern Iraq (even using chemical weapons). Nobody seems too concerned that every day thousands of children die of hunger in Africa. It seems that the only children that really matter are those born in Iraq.
    Second, before believing dictators one should always make sure of what the facts really are. Saddam and a whole bunch of terrorists claim that up to one million children died over the last ten years because of the United Nations sanctions against Iraq. But that is way too many because of the population of Iraq: it would mean that almost every child is sick and that a large percentage die, which is not consistent with the image of well-nourished children we have seen in Bagdad and it is not consistent with the children we can count in the areas that are not ruled by Saddam (kurdish and shiite areas, which happen to be the poorest areas).
    Some Americans estimate that half a million children died over ten years. That figure is also not realistic. By all accounts, Sudan has a far more devastating situation (apparently, neither Arab countries nor westerners care much about the lives of Sudanese children) because of the drought and the civil war. Humanitarian organizations estimate that about 20,000 children die every year in Sudan because of lack of food and medicines. That would make 200,000 in ten years. But there is no comparison: half the population of Sudan is starving, whereas nobody is starving in Iraq. Sudan is in the middle of a devastating civil war, whereas in Iraq all infrastructures are working (albeit not as well as before the war). So it is hard to believe that more Iraqi children die than Sudanese children, unless somebody proves that the Iraqis are genetically inferior to the Sudanese. By comparison with Sudan, we can estimate that possibly between 10,000 and 100,000 children have died in Iraq over the last ten years. That is a more realistic number.
    This is also consistent with the numbers provided by Iraqi dissidents in exile. Nobody ever asks Iraqi dissidents what they think. It seems that Saddam Hussein is the only reliable source of information on Iraq. Whatever he says, it immediately becomes news for Arabs and westerners alike. Whatever the dissidents say, it is completely ignored by everybody. Somehow, we have decided that dictators like Saddam Hussein are more credible than freedom fighters like his opponents.
    Now: how many people did Saddam kill before the sanctions were imposed? We don't know for sure, because Iraq does not have the free press that America has, but most estimates by Iraqi dissidents put the figure at between 100,000 and one million people, mostly in the shiite south and in the kurdish north of the country (lots of them were children, but Westerners are not very interested in children killed before 1991). Plus Saddam caused the death of about one million Iranians when he attacked Iran (this was before the invasion of Kuwait, but nobody cared for the lives of Iranian children the way they now care for the lives of Iraqi children). Saddam used chemical weapons against both Iran and Kurds.
    We can estimate that at least one million total died because of Saddam Hussein before the war in Kuwait.
    There is no evidence that Saddam has suddenly become a saint, so we can expect that he would use the same chemical weapons and kill the same number of people if he only could.
    Grand total. By enforcing the current control of Iraq, America has saved the lives of about one million people and caused the death of about 100,000 children. The problem is that the children are Iraqi, and they seem to count a lot more than the Iranian, Kurdish and Shiite children.
    Now, what killed those 100,000 Iraqi children? Iraq has been receiving plenty of food and medicines in exchange for oil. Why do children still die? What do they die of? This is not clear. All accounts are vague about the causes of those deaths. In many cases it is surgeries that are not possible because hospitals do not have the appropriate equipment. Excuse us, but about 150 countries of the world are in the same situation: why do we worry only about the hospitals of Iraq and not about the hospitals of Laos or Ghana or Guyana? Are Iraqis a superior race?
    Ditto for the other medicines. In most if not all cases, the medicines that Iraq does not have are the very same medicines that no other developing country has. Children die in all of those countries: why do we count only the children killed in Iraq? who killed them? Saddam
    Now, who killed those 100,000 Iraqi children? Saddam says that America did. But the truth is that America would be more than happy to flood the Iraqi market with American made medicines. The reason America does not send medicines to Iraq is that Saddam takes the medicines for his own entourage, his army, his government, and even sells some of them abroad to buy arms on the black market. Sending medicines to Iraq is a way to help Saddam.
    If Saddam really wants to save those 100,000 children, why can't he just resign? After all, nobody elected him and we suspect that many Iraqis would be very happy to see him go. Why doesn't Saddam resign and save those 100,000 children?
    Arabs tend to forgive Arab dictators and place the blame for everything on the West. They would have a better chance to improve their part of the world (by far the highest density of dictatorships on the planet) if they faced the fact that most of their problems are due to their dictators, not to the western democracies.
    Saddam Hussein has killed one million dissidents, one million Iranians and 100,000 Iraqis children. That is the truth. America has committed only one "crime": it has been too nice to Saddam Hussein. In the old days, the loser of the war would be dead or in exile. Saddam Hussein lost a war and is still in power. That is what is killing the Iraqi children.
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (December 1999) Iraq commands and France obeys.
    See a timeline of the Middle East
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  • (December 1999)
  • (Ocotber 1999) Iraq: the hidden war. While the world is looking at Kosovo and Indonesia, a war is still underway in Iraq. UK and US warplanes keep pounding Iraqi positions in the south: they have flown 16,000 sorties, dropped more than 600 bombs, fired more than 1,000 missiles in the first nine months of 1999 alone. This is almost exactly the number of bombs and missiles used against Serbia during the Kosovo war. Note: this is in the south as well in the north. This is not to defend the kurds.
    The official version is that the Iraqis fire to US and UK planes and they fire back. No explanation is given as to why the Iraqis would attack vastly superior air forces and be glad to receive such damaging punishment.
    The facts say that Iraq has won the political conflict: while the US and UK insisted that Iraq accepted the periodic NATO controls over weapons of mass destruction, Iraq has expelled all of the NATO experts and has unmasked a few of them as US spies. This has embarassed the US and weakened the argument in favor of international isolation of Iraq. France and Russia have de facto already broken that isolation and are ready to reopen business routes with Iraq. Most Arab countries would be in favor of letting Iraq resume selling oil, now that oil prices are high enough. So the US and UK are left alone to struggle with Saddam's political victory. Their only consolation is that every day that goes by they destroy another little bit of Saddam's powerful war machine.
    Bottom line: Iraq has won politically, while it is losing militarily.
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  • (November 1998) Iraq is cheating, but the West is hypocrite . There are no doubts that Iraq has been cheating and will be cheating on the United Nations' inspections. Saddam's power and prestige rests on Iraq's most precious possessions: its weapons of mass destruction, which are most likely just chemical weapons. At the end of the war, Iraq claimed that it didn't have a single chemical weapon. Since the, the United Nations inspections have destroyed some 38,500 chemical weapons. At the end of the war, Iraq claimed that it didn't have a single nuclear weapon. True, but the United Nations inspections found clandestine caches of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enough to build more nuclear weapons than China has. It would be comic if it weren't tragic. Whatever else Iraq has managed to hide from the inspectors (mainly thanks to tips from the French and the Russians) is likely to constitute a considerable arsenal. Otherwise Saddam would not have lost 120 billion dollars in oil revenues over the last seven years.
    If the West really wants to disarm Iraq, the only option is to get rid of Saddam Hussein. No Western country seems to be willing to do that, but sooner or later there will be a showdown. Cornered, Saddam will have no choice but to use the chemical weapons that he treasures. Most likely, he will use them against Kuwait and Saudi Arabia (bombing Israel would call for devastating retaliation, bombing Iran would be unpopular across the Muslim world). The Western world must be ready to decide whether it is prepared to go to war against a country that will be desperate enough to use chemical weapons.
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  • (March 1998) Why is America so obsessed with Saddam Hussein? . The official answer is "because he constitutes a threat to its neighbors". Lie: none of Iraq's neighbors is willing to go to war against Iraq and all refuse to let the Americans conduct a war from their territory. A secondary answer is "because he is a brutal dictator". True, but so are the Chinese leaders, whom America has never even threatened to bomb. Third reason: "because he may invade Kuwait again". Well, China is still occupying Tibet and nobody seems ready to even vaguely condemn that. And Kuwait is not exactly a reputable democracy that is worth defending. The funny thing is that Saddam has never threatened the West. He has attacked only Muslim countries, first Iran and second Kuwait. He never used chemical or nuclear weapons against western or Israeli soldiers, not even during the Gulf War. He has used weapons of mass destructions only against Iran. When has he threatened the West?
    A fourth reason would be that he poses a threat to Israel. Well, first of all it is not clear why America has this duty of always siding with Israel, especially since recently Israel has done precious little to deserve any sympathy. Second, Israel possesses far more powerful weapons of mass destruction than Iraq (enough that the West should be concerned about Israel's weapon program, not Iraq's), therefore Saddam is unlikely to ever drop a single microbe on Israel. Third, Saddam's natural enemies are the other Muslim leaders (especially Syria's, Iran's and Saudi Arabia's), not Israel.
    Finally, the vast majority of countries in the United Nations would vote against a strike, and a majority is in favor or abandoning the embargo. America is right in trying to limit the spread of those weapons, but America is likely to have more influence on Iraq if it approached Saddam as a customer of its oil industry. Probably, just offering him a nuclear umbrella against Iran would convince Saddam to curtail his investment in weapons of mass destruction. Saddam is in power because neither Iraq's people nor Iraq's neighbors are willing to get rid of him. Why should America bother?
    Let us not forget that Saddam has been a far better ruler to his people than most arab dictators. Before the Gulf War, the Iraqi people did enjoy a good life. Saddam did invest in roads, hospitals and schools. Iraqis are far better educated than most Arabs.
    Let us not forget that the U.S. itself sided with Saddam during his war against Khomeini's Iran. Iraq was a friend (if not an ally) of the West. Iraq sold oil to the West for as long as the West wanted to buy it. Iraq never represented a threat to western interests in the Gulf. Saddam informed the U.S. ambassador and a delegation of U.S. senators (led by Bob Dole) of his claims over Kuwait, and he misunderstood their silence as a sign of non-interference. Most likely, he had no intention of hurting western interests, and would have been happy to continue normal relationships with the West, if nothing else to counterbalance Iran's threat to the east.
    The real issue is the buildup of weapons of mass destruction, in particular in the Middle East. That issue will not be resolved after Saddam is gone or disarmed. That issue will remain for as long as 1. Israel is at war (whether formally or ideologically) with the Arabs; and 2. Israel is allowed to keep its nuclear and chemical arsenals. It is a little unfair to expect that all Arab countries disarm when Israel has a huge and unchecked arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
    Let's not forget that the first country to ever use nuclear weapons was the United States and the first country to ever use chemical weapons was again the United States, and in both instances they killed many thousand civilians. The United States now rules the world. It is hard to explain to any developing country that weapons of mass destruction don't pay off.
    Today, Iraq is a secular country. If Saddam is removed from power, there is a strong chance that it will become (yet another) fundamental islamist country. It is not clear what interest the West has in destabilizing Iraq's current regime.
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