Saturday, September 25, 2010

Bush Admn Documents Violate Charter of Nuremberg Tribunal on War Crimes

Bush Admn Documents Violate Charter of Nuremberg Tribunal on War Crimes 

 "History is but glorification of murderers, criminals and robbers." - Karl Popper

"On February 15, 2003, a month before the US invasion of Iraq, probably the largest protest in human history, between six and ten million protesters took to the streets of some 800 cities in nearly sixty countries across the globe" William Blum.

The war in Iraq is a historic strategic and moral calamity undertaken under false assumptions – undermining America's global legitimacy – collateral civilian casualties, – abuses, – tarnishing America's moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability." Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser to US President Jimmy Carter.


Rumsfeld, Bush and the Supreme War Crime

According to US Prof Juan Cole 's blog of 24 September ,2010, Joyce Battle used the Freedom of Information Act to extract  classified documents from 2001 about the Bush administration's plans for an aggressive war on Iraq.

Document 8 [pdf] contains notes of then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld prepared for a meeting with CENTCOM commander Gen. Tommy Franks in Tampa, Fl., on November 27, 2001. It shows a plan to pull a lot of troops out of Afghanistan and put them into Iraq and to 'decapitate' the Iraqi leadership.

After all that, the memo sets out points under the heading 'how start?', which clearly detail various schemes to start a war under false pretenses, including baiting Saddam into an attack on the Kurds in the north, or breathlessly announcing from the White House that a firm connection had been found between Saddam and Usama Bin Laden. That several such possibilities were listed showed that Rumsfeld did not really care how the war was started, he just wanted that war. And it shows he was entirely willing to manufacture the pretense once it was decided on.

The memo clearly was developed in close consultation with deputy secretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz and his subordinate Douglas Feith, both of them part of the Israel Lobby in the Bush administration, whose obsession with Iraq derived from their right-Zionist commitments.

Rumsfeld's memo certainly violates the charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal on war crimes:

(a) Crimes against peace:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).

The Nuremberg Tribunal declared that "To initiate a war of aggression . . . is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

That the United States has failed to come to terms with its war crimes in Iraq only sets us up for a repeat performance. For a nation that lives by laws and the esteem of allies to act like an outlaw will ultimately undermine its own foundation. It is like playing golf in a bathroom– you're going to end up with a lot of self-inflicted bruises. So ends Prof Cole

Operation Iraqi Freedom is a War Crime

For details on US led illegal Iraq war and brutal occupation see my             

Below is a report of Dirk Adriaensens , Coordinator of SOS Iraq, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Since 1990 Dirk has followed the situation in Iraq closely.


Iraq has been converted into a living hell by US and its allies.


Take care Gajendra Singh 24 September, 2010.Delhi



 Part I : "Success", a devastating balance sheet

  In the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion, the triumphalist verdict of the mainstream media was that the war had been won; Iraq was assured of a benevolent, democratic future. The Times's writer William Rees-Mogg hymned the victory: "April 9 2003 was Liberty Day for Iraq. (…) It was achieved by "the engine of global liberation", the United States. "After 24 years of oppression, three wars and three weeks of relentless bombing, Baghdad has emerged from an age of darkness. Yesterday was an historic day of liberation."


"The problem with this war for, I think, many Americans is that the premise on which we justified going to war proved not to be valid, that is Saddam having weapons of mass destruction," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told reporters while visiting Iraq.


"So when you start from that standpoint, then figuring out in retrospect how you deal with the war — even if the outcome is a good one from the standpoint of the United States — it will always be clouded by how it began."


So here Robert Gates acknowledges that this war was illegal according to international law, because there was no "casus belli". But in the same sentence he says that the outcome has been good for the United States. What does he mean exactly? How can all the killing and destruction be a good outcome for the USA? And what about responsibilities? If you know that Iraq is still paying reparations for the invasion in Kuwait in 1990, how about the payment of reparations by the USA for the destruction it inflicted upon Iraq? 


"We fought together, we laughed together, and sometimes cried together. We stood side by side and shed blood together," Gen. Ray Odierno told Iraqi military leaders and hundreds of American soldiers and officers during the ceremony that officially closed combat operations."It was for the shared ideals of freedom, liberty, and justice." Yes, they laughed together, like in the infamous, by Wikileaks released video of the "Collateral Murder" helicopter gunship attack on Baghdad civilians in July 2007, that killed more than a dozen Iraqis, two of them journalists of Reuters. And blood they surely have shed together! A lot of blood of over a million mothers, fathers, children and elderly Iraqi people. All that for "shared ideals of freedom, liberty and justice", Mr. Odierno? Well, most Iraqis don't share that view. For them, the country has slided into the age of darkness.


The facts

Here the facts: Iraq's child mortality rate has increased by 150 percent since 1990, when U.N. sanctions were first imposed. By 2008, only 50 percent of primary school-age children were attending class, down from 80 percent in 2005, and approximately 1,500 children were known to be held in detention facilities. In 2007, there were 5 million Iraqi orphans, according to official government statistics. More than 2 million Iraqis are refugees and almost 3 million internally displaced. 70 percent of Iraqis do not have access to potable water. Unemployment is as high as 50 percent officially, 70 percent unofficially. 43 percent of Iraqis live in abject poverty. 8 million Iraqis require immediate emergency aid. 4 million people lack food and are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. 80 percent of Iraqis do not have access to effective sanitation. Religious minorities are on the verge of extinction. In a recent Oxfam-designed survey, 33 percent of women had received no humanitarian assistance since 2003; 76 percent of widows did not receive a pension; 52 percent were unemployed; 55 percent had been displaced since 2003; and 55 percent had been subjected to violence - 25.4 percent to random street violence, 22 percent to domestic abuse, 14 percent to violence inflicted by militias, 10 percent to abuse or abduction, 9 percent to sexual abuse and 8 percent to violence inflicted by multinational forces. Iraq has a dysfunctional parliament, rampant disease, an epidemic of mental illness, and sprawling slums. The killing of innocent people has become part of daily life.


William Blum gives a short but devastating overview of the "good outcome" of this war: "No American should be allowed to forget that the nation of Iraq, the society of Iraq, have been destroyed, ruined, a failed state. The Americans, beginning 1991, bombed for 12 years, with one excuse or another; then invaded, then occupied, overthrew the government, killed wantonly, tortured ... the people of that unhappy land have lost everything — their homes, their schools, their electricity, their clean water, their environment, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their archaeology, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their state-run enterprises, their physical health, their mental health, their health care, their welfare state, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their safety, their security, their children, their parents, their past, their present, their future, their lives ... More than half the population either dead, wounded, traumatized, in prison, internally displaced, or in foreign exile ... The air, soil, water, blood and genes drenched with depleted uranium ... the most awful birth defects ... unexploded cluster bombs lie in wait for children to pick them up ."


Hannah Gurman adds the following challenge to this grim picture of "success": "No matter how much the U.S government erases the past or predicts the future of Iraq, ordinary Iraqis will continue to face the more messy and complicated realities of the present. I dare Obama and everyone else in the spin machine to go to Iraq and look a child in the eyes. A child who, seven years after the U.S. invasion, still lacks adequate housing, drinking water, sanitation, electricity and education. Now, tell that child that the war in Iraq was a success."


Or read this evaluation of the " Iraqi success story" by Iraqi Dr. Riad El Taher: "To date the net achievements of the Bush/Blair adventure are: Handing the Iraqi people a future in the hands of thugs and economic profiteers.  None of them have had the slightest interest to serve the Iraqi people.  The proof is instant wealth acquired by Chalabi, Alawi, Maliki, Sistani, Hakin, Bayati, Bachachi, Baher Alom and Rubai by virtue of their political adventure. Iraq's natural resources are mortgaged for the next 50 years to the international oil contractors. Iraq experience intellectual and talent are forced to migrate. Sectarian divide is thriving and encouraged by the constitution. Ethnic minorities are undermined or forced to leave – Christians/Subain. Human rights, particularly of women, are violated and have reversed their past achievement in protecting maternity rights, employment and health. Education, health, environment and water resources are not seriously addressed and the same applies to agriculture, industries and culture. Thanks to Bush/Blair, Iraq held several democratic elections where the votes were bought by favour, intimidation or fear. Currently Iraqi citizens have access to a mobile phone, multi-TV channels, which are owned by the Iraqi Green Zone thugs and their sponsor US/UK/Kuwait investors".


The destruction of Iraq has produced 2 million refugees but they're not welcome in Europe.   The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) on Friday expressed its concern and objected to the continuing forced returns of Iraqi citizens from Western European countries soon after 61 people were flown back to Baghdad.


The fundamental contradiction of this success is the fact that Bremer's 100 orders turned Iraq into a giant free-market paradise, but a hellish nightmare for Iraqis. They colonized the country for capital - pillage on the grandest scale, a cutthroat capitalist laboratory, weapons of mass destruction. Iraqis got no role in the planning nor were given subcontracts to share the benefits. New economic laws instituted low taxes, 100% foreign investor ownership of Iraqi assets, the right to expropriate all profits, unrestricted imports, and long-term 30-40 year deals and leases, dispossessing Iraqis of their own resources, so no future government could change them, writes Stephen Lendman.

A Transparency International Report states that the corruption in Iraq will probably become "the biggest corruption scandal in history". And as the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in American taxpayer funds has been wasted — more than 10 percent of the some $50 billion the U.S. has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S. watchdog agency.


That amount is likely an underestimate, based on an analysis of more than 300 reports by auditors with the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction. Despite $53 billion in "aid" spent since the 2003 invasion, 70 percent of Iraqis are without potable water or electricity. These funds have lined the pockets of foreign military contractors and corrupt officials. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction said the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for $8.7bn. Out of $9bn, 96% is unaccounted for. It's interesting to note that much of this money is not "aid" money, but came from the sale of Iraqi oil and gas, and some frozen Saddam Hussein-era assets were also sold off.


Iraqi authorities have started the construction of a security wall around the capital Baghdad, reports the country's Al-Iraqiya TV citing a Baghdad security spokesperson. The concrete wall with eight checkpoints is to be completed in mid-2011. So not only the people of Baghdad are forced to live in gated communities (concrete "security" barriers between different districts), the whole city will be gated, sealed off from the outside world like a medieval fortress.


This past May, a study called The Mercer Quality of Living survey released its results of "most livable city" in 2010. It ranked Baghdad dead last—the least livable city on the planet.

This is due to the complete destruction of Iraq's sewage treatment plants, factories, schools, hospitals, museums and power plants by the U.S. military. UN-HABITAT, an agency of the United Nations, recently published a 218-page report entitled State of the World's Cities, 2010-2011. Adil E. Shamoo's comment: Almost intentionally hidden in these statistics is one shocking fact about urban Iraqi populations. For the past few decades, prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the percentage of the urban population living in slums in Iraq hovered just below 20 percent. Today, that percentage has risen to 53 percent: 11 million of the 19 million total urban dwellers. In the past decade, most countries have made progress toward reducing slum dwellers. But Iraq has gone rapidly and dangerously in the opposite direction.


The 2007 launched Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks countries annually according to peacefulness, identifying key peace or violence drivers. Of the 144 countries in its 2009 report, Iraq ranked last, Afghanistan second last. In April 2010, Amnesty International released a report titled, "Iraq: Human Rights Briefing," Their conclusion: "the human rights situation in the country remains grave. All parties to the continuing conflict have committed gross abuses and the civilian population continues to bear the brunt of the ongoing violence. The security situation is still precarious despite some improvement in 2009. Attacks on civilians, arrests, kidnapping, armed clashes" happen daily.

There is still no functioning government in Iraq. "Some cynical analysts intimate that the current situation was exactly what the US (and Israel) wanted or what Washington had in mind when it drafted the constitution. The current Iraqi divisions keep the country weak and at the mercy of the US and allow the latter to continue playing the part of the balancing power in order to perpetuate its presence", writes Saad Jawad, professor of political science at Baghdad University.


Who is threatening Iraq's security? Who is responsible for the deadly attacks, car bombs…? There are a lot of stories about involvement of security forces. On the 28th of August U.S. forces have arrested a deputy of Ahmad Chalabi, Ali Faisal al Lami, who was once the Bush administration's favorite Iraqi politician, and implicated him in bombings that killed Americans and Iraqis. Al Lami is a Shiite Muslim official and a member of the Sadrist Party who's serving as an executive of the Justice and Accountability Committee, which Chalabi heads.  The meaning of this piece of information is that the thugs, who came to Iraq with the US troops, whose militias were armed, funded and trained by the US, are at least partially responsible for the strings of bombings that ravage the country.


With these facts in mind, it's astonishing to hear the US officials talk about a "good outcome for the United States". Obama declared the so-called end to Combat Mission in Iraq.  He refuses to look back at 7 years of catastrophe; he wants to look at the future, escape his responsibilities. Perhaps the most striking comment on Obama's speech came from Chris Floyd:


After mendaciously declaring on 31 August an "end to the combat mission in Iraq", (…) Obama delivered what was perhaps the most egregious, bitterly painful lie of the night: 'Through this remarkable chapter in the history of the United States and Iraq, we have met our responsibility."  "We have met our responsibility!" No, Mister President, we have not. Not until many Americans of high degree stand in the dock for war crimes. Not until the United States pays hundreds of billions of dollars in unrestricted reparations to the people of Iraq for the rape of their country and the mass murder of their people. Not until the United States opens its borders to accept all those who have been and will be driven from Iraq by the savage ruin we have inflicted upon them, or in flight from the vicious thugs and sectarians we have loosed -- and empowered -- in the land. Not until you, Mister President, go down on your knees, in sackcloth and ashes, and proclaim a National of Day of Shame to be marked each year by lamentations, reparations and confessions of blood guilt for our crime against humanity in Iraq.'


But the US does not intend to pay reparations for the damage done. On the contrary: Christopher Crowley, USAID director in Iraq, said the push for Iraqis to take over the U.S. victims aid program is part of a general trend for all American assistance programs in Iraq. The U.S. is "seeking a larger contribution from the (Iraqi) government to these programs so they will become more sustainable as time goes on," he said. Crowley said many in the U.S. believe Iraq has the means to pay its own way to rebuild after the war, with the world's third largest proven reserves of crude oil. Asked why the Iraqi government should pay compensation for deaths during American operations, he said the victims "are Iraqi citizens". This is really unbelievable: The US wants the Iraqi government to pay compensations for the destruction and all the killings the US military machine inflicted upon the country. The reasons they give are: a) Iraq can sell a lot of oil to reconstruct the country and b) the victims are Iraqis and thus compensations should be paid by… Iraqis. Twisted logic this is. Comment from an Iraqi: "Someone entered my house illegally and destroyed everything and killed my family and he asks me to pay for the damage? Am I talking to barbarians who just came out of a cave?"


All this destruction has cost the US taxpayer a lot of money. "As the United States ends combat in Iraq, it appears that our $3 trillion estimate (which accounted for both government expenses and the war's broader impact on the U.S. economy) was, if anything, too low. For example, the cost of diagnosing, treating and compensating disabled veterans has proved higher than we expected." writes Joseph Stiglitz in the Washington Post. Moreover, a report published by the Strategic Foresight Group in India in a book entitled The Cost of Conflict in the Middle East, calculates that conflict in the area over the last 20 years has cost the nations and people of the region 12 trillion U.S. dollars. The Indian report adds that the Middle East has recorded "a high record of military expenses in the past 20 years and is considered the most armed region in the world." Imagine if that sum would have been spent on rural and urban infrastructure, dams and reservoirs, desalination and irrigation, forestation and fisheries, industry and agriculture, medicine and public health, housing and information technology, jobs, equitable integration of cities and villages, and repairing the ravages of wars rather than on arms that can only create destruction.


The unbearable lightness of Iraqi public services

As mentioned above, basic necessities such as potable water, reliable electricity, garbage pickup, a functioning sewage system, employment, health care, etc. are beyond the reach of the vast majority of Iraqis. Iraq has slided into the age of darkness, not only in the figurative, but also in the very literal sense, since light has become a scarce commodity. Complaints have been growing about public power lasting just a few hours each day. Iraqi police used water cannon and batons to disperse protesters in the southern city of Nassiriya after protests flared on 22 August over crippling electricity shortages and inadequate services. Similar demonstrations occurred in Nassiriya in June when 1,000 protesters tried to storm the provincial council building, scuffling with police, and also in Basra, where two people died in clashes with police.


Violent protests in several cities over power shortages In June forced Iraq's electricity minister Kareem Waheed to resign.


 He was replaced by Hussain al-Shahristani, Oil Minister of Iraq, who came to Iraq in 2003 on the back of US/UK tanks. He issued a decree: "prohibits all trade union activity and ceases all forms of cooperation and official discussions with the electricity sector unions; Directs management to help police enforce the closure of union offices and confiscation of documents, furniture, computers and anything else present.


Akram Nadir, the International Representative of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, FWCUI, has urged people to write protest letters to Al-Shahristani: "This order is a clear violation of international labour standards which your government is obligated to uphold, and we call on you to reverse course and stop this assault on Iraqi unions."


After the "Desert Storm"bombing campaign in 1991, power plants and power lines were for 91% destroyed: 95 power stations and all power lines of 400,000 and 135,000 volts. The oil supply had totally stopped: the oil fields of Kirkuk in the north and Rumaila in the south, refineries, pumping stations, oil terminals for export in Um Qasr and Fao: all eliminated. Iraqis were able to restore electricity within 6 months, despite the severe sanctions imposed on the country. The reconstruction campaign following the end of hostilities in March 1991 was an achievement of staggering proportions. Now, after 7 years of "liberation", basic public services are still not properly functioning.


A blogger wrote: "During the reign of the old minister, we used to have electricity power for two hours on and four hours off. That means we used to have electricity for eight hours a day. Sometimes it was less than that. Now and during the days of Shahristani, we have less than four hours a day electricity during the crazy SUMMER of Iraq where temperature is always over 50 degrees for more than three months. The great minister came up with the reason for the problem and a very simple solution to solve the dilemma of electricity. He believes that we (Iraqi people) waste electricity and all the families in any house should gather in one room at night and sleep together. I do not know how he could even say that or even think about this shameful solution."

Shahristani doesn't have to worry about the summer heat. Have a look at some of the Iraqi Excellencies' salaries: Iraqi president: About 700,000 USD a year. Iraqi Vice presidents: 600,000 USD a year. Iraqi news agencies claim that Vice President Adel Abdul Mahdi receives One Million USD a month, in total. Maliki's salary is equal to that of the Iraqi President.

Head of the Judiciary council: about 100,000 USD a month (not clear on allocations).

Their pension: 80 percent of the last received paycheck for the rest of their lives.

Freedom? Liberty? Justice?


Part II: Endless occupation and its insidious effects   


Even as President Barack Obama was announcing the end of combat in Iraq, U.S. forces were still in fight at the so-called end of Iraq combat mission. American soldiers were sealing off a northern village early Wednesday as their Iraqi partners raided houses and arrested dozens of suspected insurgents.


"Along with the Great Wall of China," said Ambassador Hill, " the US embassy in Baghdad is one of those things you can see with the naked eye from outer space. I mean, it's huge." Indeed. At 104 acres, it is the largest U.S. embassy in the world. In addition to six apartment buildings, it has a luxury pool, as well as a water and sewage treatment plant. (…) The State Department has requested a mini-army to protect this Fortress America -- including 24 Black Hawk helicopters and 50 bomb-resistant vehicles.


After this month's withdrawal, there will still be 50,000 US troops in 94 military bases, "advising" and training the Iraqi army, "providing security" and carrying out "counter-terrorism" missions. About 5,800 of them airmen, said Maj. Gen. Joseph Reynes, director of the Air Component Coordination Element for U.S. Forces-Iraq.


Meanwhile, the US government isn't just rebranding the occupation, it's also privatising it. There are around 100,000 private contractors working for the occupying forces, of whom more than 11,000 are armed mercenaries, mostly "third country nationals", typically from the developing world. One Peruvian and two Ugandan security contractors were killed in a rocket attack on the Green Zone only a fortnight ago.


The Pentagon may be sharply reducing its combat forces in Iraq, but the military plans to step up efforts to influence media coverage in that country -- as well as in the US. "It is essential to the success of the new Iraqi government and the U.S. Forces-Iraq mission that both communicate effectively with our strategic audiences (i.e. Iraqi, pan-Arabic, international, and U.S. and USF-I audiences) to gain widespread acceptance of core themes and messages," according to the pre-solicitation notice for a tean of 12 civilian contractors to provide "strategic communication management services" there.


The plain and simple fact is that the war and occupation will continue until the people of Iraq and the world force the U.S. to total withdrawal. People in this country (the USA) have a particular responsibility to build a powerful movement of determined political opposition to the ongoing occupation of and war upon Iraq waged by the U.S. government. Do not be fooled into thinking that Obama or any presidential administration will leave Iraq on its own volition, concludes Kenneth J. Theisen form the US antiwar group "World Can't Wait".  And the National Popular Resistance has stepped up its activities against the occupation recently: There has also been a major increase in rocket and mortar attacks in the fortified Green Zone and at the Baghdad airport, according to Brig. Gen. Ralph O. Baker, the deputy commander of American forces in central Iraq. General Baker, who said there had been about 60 such attacks in the last two months compared with "two or three" in the preceding months


The infamous underevaluation of civilian casualties counts.

While the destruction of Iraq is considered by Washington's ruling elite as a "good outcome for the United States", most journalists in the mainstream press keep on fixing the number of civilian casualties at around 100.000. Another lie, a gross underestimate and an insult to the suffering Iraqi people. That number comes from Iraq Bodycount, an organisation that does valuable work in collecting data of the deaths that are reported in the mainstream press. But their figures cannot serve as a scientific norm to establish a relevant estimate of Iraqi casualties.


Let's give a few examples: Twenty thousand of Iraq's 34,000 registered physicians left Iraq after the U.S. invasion. As of April 2009, fewer than 2,000 returned, the same as the number who were killed during the course of the war. Iraq bodycount has some 70 doctors in their database of casualties, which means that they have only listed 3,5% of the estimated number of killed physicians.

Iraq Bodycount has 108 academics listed in its database. The BRussells Tribunal has a partial list of 448 murdered academics, compiled from different sources. Although that list is very incomplete, Iraq Bodycount lists only 24% of the academic casualties reported by the BRussells Tribunal.

Perhaps the best monitored category of victims in this war are the media professionals. The BRussells Tribunal has a list of 354 killed media professionals. Al-Iraqiya director general Habib al-Sadr told AFP in September 2007 that at least 75 members of his staff have been killed since he took over the channel in 2005 and another 68 wounded. The BRussells Tribunal list of killed media professionals had at that moment less than 1/3rd of this number in its database. But the number of Iraq Bodycount stands at only 241 casualties.


Les Roberts, author of the two Lancet studies of Iraq mortality, defended himself on 20 September 2007 against allegations that his surveys were "deeply flawed": "A study of 13 war affected countries presented at a recent Harvard conference found over 80% of violent deaths in conflicts go unreported by the press and governments. City officials in the Iraqi city of Najaf were recently quoted on Middle East Online stating that 40,000 unidentified bodies have been buried in that city since the start of the conflict. When speaking to the Rotarians in a speech covered on C-SPAN on September 5th, H.E. Samir Sumaida'ie, the Iraqi Ambassador to the US, stated that there were 500,000 new widows in Iraq. The Baker-Hamilton Commission similarly found that the Pentagon under-counted violent incidents by a factor of 10. Finally, the respected British polling firm ORB released the results of a poll estimating that 22% of households had lost a member to violence during the occupation of Iraq, equating to 1.2 million deaths. This finding roughly verifies a less precisely worded BBC poll last February that reported 17% of Iraqis had a household member who was a victim of violence. There are now two polls and three scientific surveys all suggesting the official figures and media-based estimates in Iraq have missed 70-95% of all deaths. The evidence suggests that the extent of under-reporting by the media is only increasing with time."

A memo by the MoD's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir Roy Anderson, stated that: "The (Lancet) study design is robust and employs methods that are regarded as close to "best practice" in this area, given the difficulties of data collection and verification in the present circumstances in Iraq."In an e-mail, released by the British Foreign Office, in which an official asks about the Lancet report, the official writes: "However, the survey methodology used here cannot be rubbished, it is a tried and tested way of measuring mortality in conflict zones."


The discussion about casualties is not over yet, but we can safely put forward the number of + 1 million excess deaths caused by this war, most of them from violent causes. An archive of articles about the heated discussions in the press and blogs on civilian death counts during the US occupation can be found on the BRussells Tribunal website:

A dark summer for Iraqi academics

The BRussells Tribunal is well known for its campaign it started in 2005 to create awareness about the situation of Iraqi academics. It receives regularly updates on summary executions of Iraqi academics from a variety of Iraqi sources. Here's a short overview of casualties that occurred during the summer:


Ehab Al-Ani, Hospital Director in Al Qaim, was killed on 5 June 2010 by a roadside bomb. The initial investigation indicated that Dr. Al Ani was not killed randomly.

On 29 June, Ahmed Jumaa, vice-chancellor of the Islamic University in Ramadi, was killed by a roadside bomb in Hit. On the same day Professor Ali Sayegh Zidane, a specialist in cancer in the Harithiya hospital in Baghdad was assassinated by gunmen.

On 14 July Iraqi police found the decomposed body of university professor Adnan Al-Makki, who was stabbed to death with a knife in his home in Baghdad. On the same day an unknown university professor was assassinated by gunmen in West Baghdad.

On the 11th of August, early in the morning, gunmen burst into the house of Dr. Intisar Hasan Al Twaigry, director of Illwiyah obstetric hospital in Baghdad. They tied up her husband, shot only Dr. Al Twaigry and left with 20.000 $.

Mohammed Ali El-Din, specialized in pharmacy, was killed in the afternoon of the 14th of August in the area of Al Numaniya. He was attacked by armed men. They opened fire on the professor and he died immediately. The professor came back to Iraq a few months ago after a period of studies in George Washington University, USA.

Dr Kamal Qasim Al Hiti, prof of sociology, was kidnapped in Baghdad on 14 Aug 2010, 4 pm. A few weeks before, he received a letter with a bullet threatening him to leave. His tortured body was found on the 22th of August in the Tigris river opposite the Green Zone, in the Karad district (under control of the Islamic Supreme Council - Badr Brigade). His face was partially burned, he was tortured and hanged. He was very outspoken against the occupation. He was the editor of Al Mustaqila newspaper that was raided and eventually banned for criticizing the occupation and its militias.


On 28 August 2010 the BRussells Tribunal received the following email: "I would like to add the name of my close friend Dr.Samer Saleem Abbas, who was assassinated in his private ultrasound clinic by a gunman with silencer pistol with cold blooded killer, who told his patients: "there is no need to stay and wait in the clinic anymore: your doctor is dead". Dr.Samer was shot 5-6 bullets, one of them in his mouth... He was killed with a pen in his hand. He used to work as Radiologist/Specialists and chair of radiology department at a specialized surgery hospital (Al-Jerahat Hospital) in Baghdad medical city.

We named the lecture hall in his department after his name.
We used to chat and dream about building the radiology in Iraq after the war.

Please I hope these informations are fair enough to add his name."

There is no end in sight of the targeted killings of Iraq's best and brightest minds. Roughly 40% of Iraq's middle class is believed to have fled the country by the end of 2006. The situation has only worsened since then, although at a lower frequency. Actions to reverse this brain drain remain very necessary. But most observers don't see the government taking concrete measures that create the necessary conditions for the educated middle class to return. Without the middle class Iraq has no viable future.

Dirk Adriaensens is Coordinator of SOS Iraq, member of the Executive Committee of the BRussells Tribunal. Since 1990 Dirk Adriaensens is following the situation in Iraq closely. Between 1992 and 2003 he led several delegations to Iraq, to observe the terrible effects of the sanctions. He is co-founder of the BRussells Tribunal, and he is one of the coordinators of the Global Campaign Against The assassination of Iraqi Academics. He wrote several articles on Iraq and cooperated on the book Cultural Cleansing in Iraq (Pluto Press, ISBN: 9780745328126°

Roy Greenslade, Press Gang: How Newspapers Make Profits From Propaganda, see:


Friday, September 24, 2010



A JUST PEACE FOR PALESTINE – A conference at IIC, New Delhi 22-23 Sept , 2010


                             FOUNDATION FOR INDO-TURKIC STUDIES                     

Tel/Fax ; 43034706                                                          Amb (Rtd) K Gajendra Singh                                                      

Emails;                                                   A-44 ,IFS Apartments                                                                     Mayur Vihar –Phase 1,                                                                Delhi 91, India

                                                                                                        22 September , 2010.


Since the weather has improved and I am feeling better I have gone out to deliver a few lectures and attend some. Today I went a conference at IIC. I was suspicious since IIC and many such places have become centres of US soft diplomacy with Washcons and multinational employees promoting Western viewpoint .But I went to meet someone who had invited me.


I spent some time at the afternoon session .I could see that those who were seated at the dais were the usual suspects , some residual Communists and leftists peace council types , whose financiers and patrons like USSR vanished two decades ago .After listening to the usual drivel about lack of democracy in Israel ( yes ,from Kibbutz based leftist ideology ,it has morphed into a military ruled apartheid state , where Generals assume political power after taking off their military uniforms) I enquired during question time , who represented Hamas in the conference, which won the first ever free elections in Palestine in 2006 .The gentleman who was extolling the virtue of democracy and lack of it for Arabs in the Jewish state replied rather tartly that he did not want any comments on the internal affairs of Palestinians .Some democracy among Palestinians !.


I met him and other seminar attending types Arabs later outside at teatime and told them that as Ambassador in Amman ( 1989-92) I know the problem well .I enquired from where he and others were .From Jerusalem ,he said , whose lights I could sometimes see from mount Nebo not far from Amman , where Prophet Moses is supposedly buried . I stated that I know what difficulties the Jewish state made in allowing Arabs to leave and enter back via the King Hussein bridge on river Jordan from the Jordan side .I was told there were reasons for their coming out .I presume the reasons are , letting out approved Arabs .They were not very comfortable talking to me and moved away.


There were the other seminar attending types from India , young men and women from JNU or elsewhere flitting in and out self-importantly .One speaker criticised India's purchase of arms from Israel which US would not sell to India . He said India should develop home defense industry .india cannot even organize Commonwealth Games  .In any case what should India do. Yes , India's political and official elite in league with the defense agents do promote Israeli profile and cover Tel Aviv's criminal activities , backed by US , whose politicians are in thrall with the Jewish lobby in USA .In spite of threats from Secretary  of State George Marshall that he would not speak to President Truman , the latter recognized Israel , simply because Truman ,short of election funds was financed by the Jews .That stranglehold of Jewish money over US political elite continues .


When I was posted in Amman ( 1989-02) the PLO ambassador in India was always recommending his relatives for scholarships for education in India .By the time of 2006 elections in Palestine , the PLO leadership had been bribed and thoroughly compromised by the Israelis. I do not think Arab states can or do much for the Palestinians except mouthing empty slogans from outside . Egypt living on US doles has become a US poodle .


The spontaneous intifadah from within began in Gaza when Arafat and PLO were exiled from Lebanon following illegal Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1980. The PLO had already been expelled from Jordan when as a state within a state it threatened the Hashemite throne ( with Golda Meir stating that a Palestine state already existed in Jordan ,with 60% of the population being of Palestine origin) .The military operations and execution was done by one Brig Zia-ul Haq , with the King thanking the Pakistan President later that he had saved the Hashemite throne .


Till 1979, Shah of Iran was the West's policeman in the Middle East , but his overthrow made Tel Aviv crucial in Western strategy to rule and exploit Arab energy resources , making Israel more obdurate in its demands .After the collapse of the Soviet Union with US and Western troops reaching into central Asia and Afghanistan , with Washington's fond hopes of getting Ukraine and Georgia into NATO , Tel Aviv' s importance might have dimmed but after the return of Kief into Moscow's arms , bashing by Russia of Georgia , US and Israeli ally two years ago , Tel Aviv's strategic value has gone up again .So any change in Israel's  policy any time soon is unlikely .And imagine liar Tony Blair involved in the middle east peace talks .


Below is an old piece on the roots of the Arab-Israeli dispute worth a read still.


Take Care Gajendra 22 September, 2010 .Mayur Vihar ,Delhi

                  30 June,2003


by K.Gajendra Singh 

In early 1990, an Indian delegation to Jordan was driven down 40 kms from its capital Amman for lunch at a restaurant on the Dead Sea, 400 mts below sea level. On enquiry, when it was pointed out that the hills and the land across just 18 kms of sea water was the occupied West Bank with Israel in south and north, the Indian leader burst out in Hindustani,"These British ,where ever they went, they first encouraged divisions and then created problem before they left; Palestine, Cyprus, Iraq and India," much to the delight of his host, a Jordanian minister, who having studied in Pakistan, understood everything and was fully in agreement. 

But in some ways, the Arab- Israeli problem is as old as time, beginning from the days of the Trojan wars i.e. the struggle between the West and the East, or the expulsion and dispersal of Jews from Palestine. Or since the differences between Prophet Mohammed and the Jews in Medina after the Hijra.  Or the Christian Crusades to recover the religious sites in the holy land, except that the Crusaders had treated Jews as brutally as the Muslims and maltreated the Orthodox Christians at Constantinople.  And, now in the blunt words of US deputy secretary of state Paul Wolfowitz, to control and exploit the petroleum reserves under Arab lands. 


The latest roadmap or the plan for the Middle East problem unveiled by US President George W. Bush offers little to the long suffering Palestinians except demands on the Palestinian Authority to abandon the struggle against Israel's ever creeping occupation of its territories and suppress those who are struggling for their rights. Except for a brief reference soon after 11 September, Bush has shown little interest in the problem. Perhaps it was to partly humor and strengthen his subservient ally British prime minister Tony Blair, an advocate and supporter of the road map and to appear  reasonable in the Arab and Muslim world. Bush committed himself to the road map's vision of two states side-by-side at the Arab leaders summit in Egypt in June and declared that he wanted to see a "a continuous territory that the Palestinians can call home". Then a formal summit was held at Aqaba  with the prime ministers of Israel and Palestine and the host, King  Abdullah of Jordan. But so far the so called road map has turned out to be  a mine infested bloody path.

The plan is divided into three phases which will culminate in the  founding of a Palestinian state by 2005. The first part demands an immediate  cessation of Palestinian violence, reform of Palestinian political institutions, the dismantling of Israeli settlement outposts built since  March 2001 and a progressive Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories in a series of confidence building measures.  Next comes the creation of an independent Palestinian state and an international  conference.  The third and final stage will seek a permanent end to the  conflict with an agreement on final borders, the status of Jerusalem, and  the fate of Palestinian refugees and Israeli settlements.  Arab States would  also sign peace deals with Israel.

The four god mothers who midwifed the plan, the United States, European  Union, United Nations and Russia would decide if each stage has been  completed successfully.  But like a hazy desert road each stage gets progressively less well defined and it is not clear as to what would constitute an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.  On the basis of information available, it appears to be a collection of apartheid-style Bantustans, wholly subservient to a more powerful Israeli state.

The road map was issued only after the US had successfully coerced the Palestinians to implement  the first stage i.e. a comprehensive political reform.  As Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, father of  Palestinian struggle since 1968 ,regularly and fairly elected could not be  removed ,he had to be sidelined. So Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, was chosen as Arafat' replacement for discussions to do Washington's bidding.  Abu Mazen, a businessman and former adviser to Gulf rulers, had led the discussions culminating in the Oslo Accords.

While Arafat continues to be blamed , he had shown his willingness for a  settlement with Israel by signing the Oslo Accords in 1993. But both Israel and USA then wanted to remove him because of his subsequent refusal to go along with Israeli efforts to rewrite the Oslo agreement and reduce the territories making up a Palestinian state and legalise the vast increase in the Israeli settlements on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Arafat's fate  was sealed when he failed to suppress the intifada that erupted in September  2000 as a result of Likud leader Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.

After assuming the post of prime minister, Abu Mazen has promised to  combat terrorism by any party and in all its shapes and forms, as directed by Washington. USA had also insisted on approving the cabinet list, which included Muhammad Dahlan as the top security official because of his proclaimed readiness to crack down on militant Palestinian groups. A US dependent Egypt pitched in by pressurizing Arafat to accept Dahlan.  It was only after Abu Mazen had been installed that the road map was published. An unnamed Bush official told the press candidly, We are telling people that this is the moment to build up Abu Maze, and it undermines that objective if you treat Arafat like he is still in charge.  That cannot happen and must not happen.

The first demand placed on the Palestinian Authority was that it suppress militant groups like  Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Fateh's own Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.  The document declares, A two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism, when the Palestinian people have a  leadership acting decisively against terror. A recipe for a civil war among Palestinians.


After the roll back of Ottoman Turks from the gate of Vienna in the16th century, European powers started moving into Islamic lands and from 18 the century onwards progressively colonized them.  The British had already taken over Cyprus and Egypt but the World War I provided an opportunity for further colonial acquisitions when Turkey sided with Germany. To protect its Indian possession and the Suez Canal, its lifeline, the British encouraged Arabs under Hashemite ruler Sharif Hussein of Hijaj to revolt against the Ottoman Sultan Caliph in Istanbul (and deputed spy T E Lawrence to help out) with promises of independence.

But the war's end did not bring freedom to the Arabs as at the same time, by the secret Sykes-Picot agreement in 1916, the British and French had arbitrarily divided the Sultan's Arab domains and their warring populations of Shi'ites, Sunnis, Alawite Muslims, Druzes, and Christians. The French took most of greater Syria, dividing it into Syria and Christian-dominated Lebanon. The British kept Palestine, Iraq and the rest of Arabia. When Sharif Hussein's son Emir Feisel arrived in Damascus to claim Syria, the French chased him out. So the British installed him on the Iraqi throne. Feisel's brother Emir Abdullah, was granted a new Emirate of Trans-Jordan, east of river Jordan, encompassing wasteland vaguely claimed by Syrians, Saudis and Iraqis. 

By the 1917 Balfour Declaration Britain had also promised a homeland for Jews in Palestine. Under the Versailles conference in 1920 Britain was made the mandatory power for Palestine, which appointed Samuel Butler, as liberal Jew, as the first High Commissioner to facilitate Jewish immigration and their settlement. So the European Jews began immigrating to Palestine, and the trickle became a flood with the rise of anti-Semitic policies in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe. From then onwards started fights, pogroms and battles between Palestinian Arabs and Jewish immigrants. After World War II, the state of Israel, was carved out of British Palestine by the United Nations in 1948, but it was not recognized by the Arabs. In the ensuing first 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which the Arabs lost, Israel expanded its area, while Jordan in collusion with Israel annexed the West Bank and Egypt took over Gaza. Palestinians were then just another Arab people up for grabs.

Following the rise of Arab nationalism in the early 1950s led by Colonel Gamal Nasser of Egypt, socialists and nationalists, mostly military  officers, took over the decaying medieval kingdoms of Yemen, Syria, Iraq and  Libya - much to the consternation of Western oil companies.  The Anglo-French attempt in collusion with Israel to cut Nasser down to size in the 1956 Suez war , opposed by USA and USSR ,was an abject failure.  But in the 6-day pre-emptive war of 1967, Israel captured the West bank from Jordan and Gaza from Egypt and occupied Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Syria's Golan Heights. Thus were laid the foundations for Arab Israeli problems of the region.  The core UN resolution 242 requires that Israel vacate lands it occupied after the 1967 war. 

 From its very inception, almost all its neighbors coveted Jordan.  But astute King Hussein (who ruled from 1953 to 1999 ) not only survived a dozen assassination attempts, he also fended off conspiracies against his land.  When he died in 1999 of cancer, the kingdom had become a keystone of equilibrium in the region and a modern flourishing state, despite lacking oil or other resources.  Palestinians make up 60 percent of Jordan's population (some Israeli leaders say that in Jordan Palestinians already have their own state).  PLO militants and Palestinian army officers conspired against King Hussein (King Abdullah, his grandfather, was assassinated by a Palestinian in 1951), who expelled the Arafat-led PLO to Beirut in early 1971 with some help from Gen Ziaul Haq , then posted as adviser in Amman.  The Hashemite Kings rely on tribal Jordanians for the security and armed forces and have Chechens as their praetorian guards. 

Menachim Begin and Shamir, who became prime ministers of Israel later and had fought savage guerilla battles against the British and the Arab  Palestinians to create the Jewish state of Israel were no different than  leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and others ( it can be seen in British archives). The British were unable to handle the turbulent situation and  handed over the problem to UNO, which in 1947 put forward a plan to partition the Palestine into Arab and Jewish states.  Since then there have been three regional wars between Israel and the  Arabs (1948 , 1967 and 1973) and two Palestinian uprisings (intifadas) against Israeli occupation.  It was either an Arab wish to destroy the state of Israel or an Israeli attempt to extend its (Biblical ) boundaries further  into Arab lands.  With every war and uprising more Palestinians came under Israeli control or left their home land and now number into millions.  After each war Israel gained more territory.  In 1948 it extended the Jewish areas  under the partition plan to its present internationally recognised borders ( but the Arabs of Israel do not have full and equal rights as its citizens ) From these areas a large number of Palestinian refugees fled or were forced to flee the Jewish state in 1948.  Following the wars in 1948 and 1967, Israel began an illegal program of building new settlements in the occupied  territories and which has continued all along and never really ceased. 

 The 1973 Yom Kippur war initiated by Egypt left Israel feeling vulnerable and not that invincible. Only a US military hardware air bridge  and other help turned the corner for the Israelis.  But Egypt gained little while oil rich Gulf states became obscenely wealthy with four fold increase in crude prices.  Egypt made a peace deal with Israel in 1978 at Camp David  after the 1977 startling visit and address to the Israeli Knesset (Parliament ) by its president Anwar Sadaat, who  was later assassinated  for this decision by his own Islamist soldiers. Egypt got its territories  back including oil wells in Sinai.  In 1982 when Sharon was the defence  minister  Israel invaded Lebanon and expelled Arafat and his guerrillas from  there.  It was then that massacres took place at the Palestinian refugee  camps of Sabra and Chatilla for which Sharon was blamed after an enquiry.  Arafat and his PLO headquarters were shifted to Tunis. 

 Jordan made peace with Israel after the Oslo Accords.  In 1988 it had given up all its claims on the West Bank in favour of Araft led Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO).  But the Israeli conflict with other Arab states like Syria , Lebanon, Iraq and others persists.  It is said that there can be no war against Israel without Egypt and no peace without Syria ( with its armed forces in Lebanon and its support to Hizbullah ) With Egypt  neutralized ,fears of a regional, or wider conflagration have receded but it has only spurred up Islamist terrorism, and hatred towards Israel's mainly western backers, now USA.  More so after the US-UK led invasion of  Iraq.  But every one agrees that great injustice has been done to the  Palestinians , now under Israel control or as refugees spread elsewhere, with millions still living as refugee camps. 

Israel after its agreement with Egypt had thought that it had resolved  the problem of Palestinians under their control, who also provided cheap labour.  It was then that Palestinians in occupied territories, refusing to be enslaved revolted.  It erupted as Intifada in 1987 in the Gaza Strip and  then spread to the West Bank.  Later other organizations took over and claimed credit for this spontaneous out burst of anger against repression and thirst for freedom.  Except for stone throwing by children, it was generally free from violence from the side of the Palestinians.  These pictures on TV screens around the world brought home the injustice being perpetrated on the Palestinians in their own ancestral home land. 

The 1987 Intifada  was almost like Mahatma Gandhi's non violent movement  against the British in a Middle East setting.  The Hashemite kingdom of  Jordan used to screen on its TV channel Attenborough's film Gandhi on the anniversary of Intifada in November, which was easily received in the occupied territories, Israel , Syria and the neghbourhood.  Its implicit message was to keep the revolution ( Intifada ) non-violent and not let Israel divide the Palestinian people in their struggle.  The horrendous results of change over to violence , with regular killings of Israelis by suicide bombers and carnage and destruction by Israeli military planes, helicopter gunships and missiles in the second Intifada from September 2000 are there for all to see. 

It is amazing that those who suffered so much in the Holocaust and for centuries earlier due to blind prejudice in Europe and elsewhere, are so capable of inflicting the same unspeakable horrors on the lives of others.  What the Israelis are doing is indeed the action of 'terrorists' who accuse Palestinians of terror.  When a person has to turn himself or herself into a human bomb in order to fight for a cause, when children throw stones at tanks,...these are acts of desperation from an oppressed people.

Israel is a powerful country, backed by the mighty power of America, both in money and in arms. The world  recognizes the plight of the Palestinians, and understands it but is unable do much about such incredibly inhumane events such as in Jenin and elsewhere. 


"In the present political atmosphere in the US and Europe, anybody who dares express criticism of Israel is immediately silenced as an anti-Semite. Part of the reason why the Israeli and Jewish lobby has been so successful in forcing this accusation is the massive lack of knowledge about what is really happening---The Israeli press is as obedient as elsewhere, and it recycles faithfully the military and governmental messages. But part of the reason it is more revealing is its lack of inhibition.  Things that would look outrageous in the world, are considered natural daily routine. "(From Israel/Palestine by Prof Tanya Reinhart, Tel Aviv University.)

Since the occupation of Palestinian territories after the 1967 war, the  major policy debate in Israeli military and political elites has been about how to keep maximum land (and water and other resources ) with minimum Palestinian population. Annexation of heavily populated Palestinian land, with high birth rates would have created a demographic problem" and reduced  Jewish majority. ( Massive emigration from Russia was encouraged and  organized in early 1990s).  So two solutions have been considered.  Labour party's Alon plan consisted of  annexation of 35-40 percent of the occupied territories, and either a Jordanian rule, or some form of autonomy for the remaining land to which the Palestinian population would be confined to.

It was a necessary compromise as it was inconceivable to repeat the "solution" of the 1948 Independence war, when much of the land was obtained "Arab-free", following mass expulsion of the Palestinians ( nearly 700,000 were forced to flee).  But in keeping with Sharon's character, the second solution now remains the mission how to get more land by finding a more acceptable and sophisticated 1948 style" solution ie squeeze out as many Palestinians as possible. "Jordan is Palestine" was the phrase Sharon and other leaders had coined in the 1980's. 

The 1993 Oslo accord was along the lines of the Alon plan to which Arafat had agreed.  In the past, the Palestinians had always opposed such plans, which would take away too much of their land. Arafat had agreed only because he was getting old and losing his grip on the Palestinian society.  There was opposition to his dictatorial one man rule and open corruption in his organization.  This is a difficulty with all revolutionary organizations when they acquire levers of power.  In this case funds meant for PLO were distributed among close associates ( some of them look quite well fed and content ) , which was being talked about openly. 

Only an apparent "smashing victory" could have saved Arafat in power.  So behind the back of the Palestinian negotiating team headed by Haider Abd  al-Shafi, Arafat accepted an agreement that left all Israeli settlements intact even in the Gaza strip, where 6000 Israeli settlers occupy one third of the land, while a million Palestinians are crowded in the rest.  But as time went by , Israel extended the "Arab-free" areas by new settlements and connecting roads etc in the occupied territories to about 50% of their land.  Labor circles began to talk about the "Alon Plus" plan, namely even more land to Israel.  That would have still allowed some kind of self-rule in the remaining 50% land under Palestinians, but like Bantustans in South Africa.  Palestinians would be left with less than 20% of 1945 Palestine under the British mandate. 

At the time of Oslo accords , majority of the Israelis were tired of war. They thought fights over land and water resources were over. Haunted by the memory of the Holocaust, most Israelis believed that the 1948 War of  Independence, with its horrible consequences for the Palestinians, was  necessary to establish a state for the Jews.  But now both sides with their states could live normally and peacefully. Majority of people on both the sides believed that what they were witnessing were just "interim agreements" and that eventually the occupation would somehow end, and the settlements would be dismantled. Two third of the Jewish Israelis supported the Oslo agreements in the polls.  It was obvious that there was no stomach for any new wars over land and water. 

But the ideology of war over land never died out in the army, or in the circles of politically influential generals, whose careers moved from the military to the government. ( effortlessly )  From the start of the Oslo process, the maximalists objected to giving even that much land and rights to the Palestinians. This was most visible in military circles, whose most vocal spokesman was then chief of staff, Ehud Barak, who objected to the Oslo agreements from the start.  Another beacon of opposition was, of course, Ariel Sharon.  In 1999, the army got back to power through the politicized generals - first Barak, and then Sharon  ( from Israel/ Palestine by Prof. Tanya Reinhart )

So the maximalist generals turned rulers decided to correct what they view as the grave mistakes of Oslo  In their eyes, Sharon's alternative of fighting the Palestinians to the bitter end and imposing new regional order  may have failed in Lebanon in 1982 because of the weakness of spoiled Israeli society.  But now, given the new war philosophy established through U.S. military operations in Iraq, Kosovo, and, later, Afghanistan, the political generals believed that with Israel's massive air superiority, it might still be possible to execute that vision.  However, in order to get there, it was first necessary to convince the Israeli society that, in fact, the Palestinians were not willing to live in peace, and were still threatening Israel's very existence.  Sharon alone could not have possibly achieved that, but Barak did succeed with his generous offer- fraud.  There was no real offer on the table.  It was a media assisted creation.

Earlier the world was made to believe that Israel was willing to withdraw even from the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.  In the polls, 60% of the Israelis, hoping for peace , had enthusiastically supported dismantling all settlements in the Golan Heights.  But the end of this round of peace negotiations ended in the same way as with Palestinians. It was made out that Syrian leader Hafiz Al Assad did not comprehend and had let the opportunity slip.  Israelis then became convinced that it was the rejectionist Assad who was unwilling to get his territories back and make peace with Israel. Assad was a cool and wise statesman and was not fooled.  Those close to the military now say  that "Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are trying to trap Israel in a 'strategic ambush' and that Israel has to evade that ambush by setting one of its own ie another war, like the 1967 pre-emptive war. And they are encouraging hawks in US administration in that direction. USA and UK have shown the way in Iraq by their war on Iraqis to disarm Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction, which have not been found so far.

Yes, there was the increasing popularity of Netanyahu but on September 28, 2000, why did Barak permit Sharon a provocative visit to Temple Mount/Haram to ignite the boiling frustrations accumulated in the Palestinian society? The massive security forces used rubber bullets against unarmed demonstrators.  When the visit triggered more demonstrations the next day, Barak escalated the shootings and ordered Israeli forces and tanks into densely populated Palestinian areas.  By all indications, the escalation of Palestinian protest into armed clashes could have been prevented had the Israeli response been more restrained.  Even in the face of armed resistance, Israel's reaction had been grossly out of proportion, as stated by the General Assembly of the UN, which condemned Israel's "excessive use of force" on October 26, 2000.

The first Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli civilians inside Israel took place on 2 November, 2000, a month after Israel used its full military machine against Palestinians including helicopters, tanks, and missiles.  So it was not defence against terrorism as claimed by Israel.  It would appear that another plan (Field of Thorns ) to destroy the Palestinian infrastructure and to discredit Arafat ie that he never given  up the  option of violence were ready in October 2000 and are contained in a manuscript known as the White Book. 

Prof Reinhart suggests in her book that despite the horrors of the last two years, there is still another alternative.  Israel should withdraw immediately from the territories occupied in 1967. The bulk of Israeli settlers (150,000 of them) are concentrated in the big settlement blocks in the center of the West bank.  These areas cannot be evacuated over night.  But the rest of the land (about 90% - 96% of the West bank and the whole of the Gazastrip)  can be evacuated immediately.  Many of the residents of the isolated Israeli settlements that are scattered in these areas are speaking  openly in the Israeli media about their wish to leave.  It is only necessary to offer them reasonable compensation for their property.  The rest - the hard-core land redemptions fanatics - are a negligible minority that will have to accept the will of the majority.

That would leave only 6 to 10% of territories under occupation with large settlement blocks.  This along with the issues of Jerusalem and the right of return could be left for negotiations, after the Palestinian society begins to recover, settle on the land that the Israelis evacuate, construct political institutions and develop its economy. According toDahaf poll of May 6 2002, solicited by Peace Now, 59 percent supported a unilateral withdrawal of the Israeli army from most of the occupied territories, and dismantling most of the settlements.  Only this can renew the peace process.


 In the evolutionary ladder of governance, societies have moved up from the tribal model when the warrior chief , sometimes the head priest too, was the ruler.  Security of the tribe and wars was his major preoccupation. While rich Jewish communities all over the world exercised indirect influence over decision makers ( and aroused suspicion and dislike ), as it still does in USA and elsewhere, Israel is the first  Jewish state in history after 2 millennia.  It is barely 50 years old.   Based on its history of persecution leading to the holocaust, inputs of messianic religious fervour, labour (kibbutz) ideals and other ideas brought by its ruling elite mostly from the European states, the warrior king construct dominates Israel'  state philosophy and the political system, situated as it is among almost implacably hostile Arabs(tribes).

Unfortunately, policies and plans of Israel's political generals have now become dovetailed into the views of US neo-conservatives like Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, his deputy Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and others.  More so after 11 September .In the name of fight against terrorism more terror is being unleashed and spread around the world with its back lash.  But neither in Israel nor even in USA a sense of security had increased among their people. Certainly not in Israel, where stability, security and peace  remain elusive like a chimera.

A recent statement in Washington by a very senior Indian official that India should form an alliance with USA and Israel to fight terrorism was most ill conceived.  With Israel' record of brutality and injustice perpetrated on hapless Palestinians and US disregard for international law, illegal invasion of Iraq and saber rattling against Syria, Iran and others, it runs counter to India history, composite culture and civilization and long term interests and policies.  It could also learn from others about what US promises mean and its ambivalent attitude on cross border terrorism, affecting India.  It is   of totally different origins and motivation to what Israel claims as terror.

(K Gajendra Singh, served as Indian Ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan in 1992-96. Prior to that, he served as ambassador to Jordan (during the 1990-91 Gulf war), Romania and Senegal.  He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies

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