Naked Colonialism: U.S. General Considered as Future Ruler of Iraq

Revolutionary Worker #1171, October 20, 2002, posted at

"The White House is developing a detailed plan, modeled on the postwar occupation of Japan, to install an American-led military government in Iraq if the United States topples Saddam Hussein... In the initial phase, Iraq would be governed by an American military commander--perhaps Gen. Tommy R. Franks, commander of United States forces in the Persian Gulf, or one of his subordinates."

New York Times , Oct. 11, "U.S. Has a Plan to Occupy Iraq, Officials Report"

It has now leaked out: Deep in the bowels of the White House, a plan has been cooked up to conquer Iraq and run it as a direct colony--without even bothering to set up some local government of pro-U.S. flunkies. The Washington war planners are considering a U.S. general to be the future ruler of Iraq--like some Roman proconsul ruling in a distant corner of the empire.

President Bush has insisted that he intended to "liberate" the people of Iraq from Saddam Hussein. His recent speech threatening Iraq with war was plugged full of hypocrisy about "prosperity" and "self-determination" after the war. U.S. officials say they want to make post-war Iraq into a "model" for the rest of the Muslim world. Now it is becoming clear that this "model" envisions a "transitional period" (of unknown length) when Iraq will be directly ruled by U.S. military conquerors.

At a recent Washington, DC conference sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute, a right-wing imperialist think tank, one expert argued, "We have to be prepared for a military occupation that could start at 150,000 total international forces and could stay above 100,000 for several years." ( Los Angeles Times , October 12)

In the discussion over these plans several things have emerged as important to the U.S. war planners:

First, the U.S. has taken a close look at the so-called "Iraqi opposition forces"-- squabbling, isolated, reactionary exiled cliques and CIA agents--and decided they are clearly incapable of creating a stable government to replace Saddam Hussein and his army.

Second, the U.S. is afraid of giving too much democracy to the peoples of Iraq. They want to make sure the oppressed Kurdish people on the Turkish border in northern Iraq don't form an independent Kurdish state--which would be strongly opposed by Turkey. And they don't want the Shia Muslim population (which is 60 percent of Iraq's population) to get control of the future central government-- because they may form close ties with Iran, the neighboring Shia country.

And so, the "option" U.S. war planners end up considering is: U.S. military conquest of Iraq and years of direct colonial rule.

The scheme, involving 75,000 U.S. troops for years, was outlined by President Bush's senior adviser on the Middle East, Zalmay Khalilzad, at a meeting of diplomats and Middle East experts. In this scenario, the U.S. troops would directly occupy and control Iraq's most important resources: its southern oil fields.

The New York Times reports, "For as long as the coalition partners administered Iraq, they would essentially control the second largest proven reserves of oil in the world, nearly 11 percent of the total." The Washington Post (Sept. 15) reports that, "A U.S.-led ouster of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein could open a bonanza for American oil companies long banished from Iraq, scuttling oil deals between Baghdad and Russia, France and other countries, and reshuffling world petroleum markets, according to industry officials and leaders of the Iraqi opposition."

The leak of these plans sent shockwaves around the world. An Arab diplomat in Washington told the Guardian that the direct and long-term U.S. seizure of key oilfields in the Persian Gulf could have an "explosive" impact in the Middle East. Others pointed out that even UN resolutions (which the U.S. currently claims are the rationale for war on Iraq) all upheld Iraq's right to national sovereignty.

The U.S. is demanding "regime change" in Iraq--and now it turns out that their plan for post-war Iraq is a U.S. military dictatorship. Meanwhile, the question will be asked all over the planet--just who gave this U.S. government and military the right to invade and take over the key oilfields of the world?

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