DEMOCRACY & NATURE: The International Journal of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY
vol.9, no.2, (July 2003)
Iraq: the new criminal "war" of the transnational elite
Abstract: The aims of this paper are fourfold. First, to show that the present invasion and occupation of Iraq is in fact the culmination of a campaign that began with the ‘war’ in the Gulf in 1991 and continued with over a decade of constant bombardment and embargo, with the overall aim of establishing a client regime in Iraq as a means of achieving a number of important economic and geopolitical aims. Second, to discuss the role of the UN in the New World Order and the change in its role between the ‘Clinton doctrine’ and the ‘Bush’ doctrine’. Third, to discuss the criminal invasion itself and the dubious character of the ‘victory’ claimed by the transnational elite, all the members of which, directly or indirectly, took part in this campaign and, finally, to examine the role of the Left in relation to the ‘war.
“Our armies do not come into your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators”
(British) Proclamation of Baghdad, 19 March 1917,
“Our forces are friends and liberators of the Iraqi people, not your conquerors”
Tony Blair's address on Towards Freedom TV, April 10, 2003
As I attempted to show elsewhere, the next stage of the ‘war’ against ‘terrorism’ --after that against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the parallel suppression of the Palestinian movement at the hands of the transnational elite’s proxy in the area, the Zionist state of Israel-- involved the elimination of the ‘rogue’ regime in Iraq. However, as I will try to show in this article, the aim of overthrowing the Baathist regime (and not just the Saddam regime as the mass media of the transnational elite presented it) began being implemented in the last decade when it became obvious that, despite the ‘war’ in the Gulf in 1991, the criminal embargo and the constant bombardments, the overthrow of the regime from the inside ―through some form of pro-western coup that would establish a client regime― was impossible. In fact, the New York Times, perhaps the most authoritative organ of the transnational elite, accurately pointed out the causes, as well as the timing of the invasion, a year before it happened:
The Bush administration, in developing a potential approach for toppling President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, is concentrating its attention on a major air campaign and ground invasion, with initial estimates contemplating the use of 70,000 to 250,000 troops. The administration is turning to that approach after concluding that a coup in Iraq would be unlikely to succeed and that a proxy battle using local forces there would be insufficient to bring a change in power.
The outrageous excuse used by the elite this time to justify the bloodbath was that the Iraqi regime had not implemented all of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions and that it had developed chemical weapons of mass destruction—an excuse which, not only had hardly any connection to the war against terrorism (since no connection of Iraq to terrorism has ever been shown) , but also proved to be a ridiculous lie by the fact that the brutal (according to the transnational elite) regime preferred to fall rather than to use them! This is why the Americans sent their own team of ‘inspectors’ to Iraq (the Iraq Survey Group) to find (read: plant) the hidden weapons, bypassing not only the UN-appointed team, which apparently was not submissive enough to produce the right results, but even their own 75th Exploitation Task Force, the group directing all known U.S. search efforts for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which, at the time of writing, ‘is winding down operations without finding proof that President Saddam Hussein kept clandestine stocks of outlawed arms, according to participants.’ All this, at the very moment when the transnational elite itself was fully aware of the fact that the embargo they have imposed (through the UNSC) on Iraq operated in breach of the UN covenants on human rights, the Geneva and Hague conventions and other international laws and that its client regime, the Zionist Israel, has contemptuously ignored all UNSC resolutions passed against it and, on top of this, possesses weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear ones.
As I will try to show in the following pages, there is no significant evidence to substantiate the propaganda of the transnational elite concerning the weapons of mass destruction supposedly possessed by the Iraqi regime. It is not therefore surprising that the transnational elite used every method available to it in order to preclude any independent assessment of the weapons of mass destruction supposedly possessed by Iraq, including an unprecedented coup to oust the director-general of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) that enforces the chemical weapons convention who has proposed a peaceful solution to ‘the problem’. As Monbiot pointed out at the time, ‘the coup will also shut down the peaceful options for dealing with the chemical weapons Iraq may possess, helping to ensure that war then becomes the only means of destroying them’
It is also indicative of the ‘democratic’ character of the ‘international community’ (i.e. the transnational elite) that the entire campaign was organised and launched despite its wide-world condemnation by millions of people who took to the streets to protest against the gangsters of the transnational elite and that even the polls in countries of the alliance like Britain and Spain showed that the majority of the population in those countries was against the ‘war’ and the actions of their own elites. In this sense, the invasion, which would have been impossible had the decision to launch it been left to the peoples themselves rather than to their own elites, is also, in a sense, a very significant proof of the fact that representative ‘democracy’ is in fact a form of covert dictatorship by the elites.
The outcome of this criminal invasion was not unexpected either. Having killed and maimed thousands of Iraqis in a ‘war’ that involved the most effective murderous machine of mercenaries in human History against a Third World army which, as a result of the embargo and the constant bombings, had, according to military experts lost 50% of its potential, the victory of the ‘brave‘ mercenaries-- who never moved on the ground unless their unopposed B-52s and Tomahawk missiles had ‘cleared’ the ground first —was secure. However, it was not only the ‘victory’ that was predetermined. Equally anticipated was the huge deceit of the world public opinion through the stage-managed ‘welcomes’ for the invaders, culminating in the TV show of dismantling Saddam’s statue by ‘the people of Baghdad’, i.e. a couple of hundred or so supporters of the US stooge and president designate Chalabi. No wonder that a few days later (April 18) thousands of Iraqis (Sunnis and Shiites together), in a real massive demonstration through the streets of Baghdad, were demanding the immediate withdrawal of what they called the ‘occupiers’ (whom the transnational elite’s media called the ‘liberators’ of Iraq!), expressing their disdain against both the foreign elites of the invaders, as well as the discredited local elites.
The first two parts of this article will deal with the background of the invasion, i.e. the ‘war’ in the Gulf and the decade of embargo and bombings that followed it in relation to the aim of the present campaign, i.e. the establishment of a client regime in Iraq as a means of achieving a number of important economic and geopolitical aims. The third part will discuss the role of the UN in the New World Order and the change in its role between the ‘Clinton doctrine’ and the ‘Bush’ doctrine’. The fourth part will deal with the criminal invasion itself, the role of the ‘dissenting’ European members of the transnational elite and the dubious character of the ‘victory’ claimed by it at the end of the campaign, whereas the final part will examine the role of the Left in relation to the ‘war.
The aims of the campaign that began in 1991
The transnational elite made it clear, as early as 1992 ―just a year after the end of the catastrophic ‘war in the Gulf’― that this ‘war’ was only the initial step in its broader plans for the area. At that year, the UNSC, which after the collapse of the ‘actually existing socialism’ was under the complete control of the transnational elite, adopted a series of resolutions that were laying the foundations for a new conflict with Iraq. The declared aim was to force the Iraqi elite to accept the conditions of the embargo which, according to an authoritative analyst, meant “the loss of national sovereignty and the economic/political tutelage of the country”. This, despite the fact that the Iraqi elite had already amply shown its willingness for compromise in accepting the terms for the destruction of its arsenals. All the same, the transnational elite rejected any compromise, exactly as it did in all of the ‘wars’ that it launched since then, clearly showing that a new state of permanent conflict with the Iraqi elite was the real aim of the Security Council resolutions, which it should be noted were passed unanimously by all members of the transnational elite and not just by the USA and UK.
As I will try to show here, the first war in 1991, the embargo and constant bombardments that followed it over a decade, as well as the present invasion, are parts of the same campaign which had a single fundamental aim : the destruction of the Ba’athist movement and the replacement of its regime with a client regime fully integrated into the New World Order. The reasons why the transnational elite wished to overthrow the Ba’athist regime had a geopolitical as well as an economic dimension to which I now turn .
The geopolitical dimension of the campaign that began in 1991
Starting with the geopolitical aims we have to make a brief historical digression to understand the factors at work. The story starts almost 90 years ago, when the British elite, after invading Mesopotamia in 1914 and conquering the three Ottoman provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, welded them into the new state of Iraq, initially under British mandate and, after the Iraqi revolt against it in 1920 that was crushed by the British army, under monarchical rule. In fact, the regime that is planned today by the Americans has some similarities to the one imposed by the British before the second world war. At that time, British stooges under king Faisal took over the administration from departing British officials and formed the backbone of the new Iraqi army. Charles Tripp accurately describes the developments at the time:
British influence continued through its advisers in the Iraqi ministries, through its two major air force bases in the country and through the multiple ties which bound the two countries together and sustained Britain's informal empire even after Iraqi independence in 1932.
If in the above quote one replaces "British" with "American" (the British, after losing the hegemony of the West in the aftermath of the second world war have since functioned as the junior partners of the Americans) and increases the number of bases from two to four s/he will get a fair semblance of the planned regime in Iraq after the installation of ‘democracy’ in 2003! There are however some important differences as well. As we shall see below, the US control of the planned regime in Iraq will not have to be secured through direct interference in its affairs (as happened in the British case) but mainly through the workings of the free market economy and representative "democracy" (the cornerstones of the New World Order). This has the important advantage that the new regime might have better chances to avoid the fate of the regime imposed by the British in the prewar period.
Thus, on July 14 1958, after a series of popular revolts in the 1950s, nationalist elements in the army under Qasim captured Baghdad, overthrew the monarchy proclaiming a republic and declared in the provisional constitution which they introduced that Iraq formed an integral part "of the Arab nation" and that "Arabs and Kurds are considered partners in this homeland." However, this regime lasted only five years and, in February 1963, it was in turn overthrown (and Qasim was executed) by one faction of the army, in cooperation with an Arab nationalist group ―the Iraqi regional branch of the Arab Socialist Ba’ath ("Revivalist" or "Renaissance") Party― which consisted mainly of young activists who advocated Arab nationalism and socialism. However, the first rule of the Ba’athist party lasted little as internal friction among its leaders on the implementation of a transitional program of Arab socialism soon led to the collapse of the regime. The first Ba’athist regime was succeeded by a military backed regime under Arif who, in May 1964, introduced a new provisional constitution adopting the principles of Arab unity and socialism and leading to the nationalization (in July) of the banks and a number of the country's industries. The Arif regime was in turn overthrown in July 1968 by an army coup backed by the Ba’ath party (in which Saddam Hussein played a crucial role, although he did not rise to formal power for more than ten years, i.e. in July 1979) which allocated most Cabinet posts to party cadres.
The Ba’athist regime that effectively had controlled Iraq since then, i.e. for over thirty years, not only joined the Arab cause against the Zionist occupation of Palestine but had also developed a strong (relatively to the other Arab states) military machine. In this sense, it was an obvious target of Zionist Israel, as well as of the Zionist elements within the transnational elite. Furthermore, as Zionist Israel, since its creation in 1948, had always played the role of the western gendarme in the Middle East, controlling the politically "unstable" Arab populations, any threat against Israeli interests was also a threat against Western interests. No wonder that Iraq was always at the top of Israel’s list of enemies and, in 1981, the Israeli Zionists went as far as destroying ―with tacit Western approval― Iraq's nuclear plant. Also, it is not amazing that Bush Snr secured the Congress vote to launch his 1991 "war" against Iraq only thanks to the vote of pro-Israeli Democratic party members. Nor is it surprising that the negotiations proposed by the Iraqi regime on August 12, 1990 to avert the war through a withdrawal of the Iraqi forces from Kuwait, in exchange for an Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories, were immediately rejected by the US elite, exactly because this proposal linked the (illegal) occupation of Kuwait with the (equally illegal!) occupation of Palestine. Finally, the same ‘Israeli connection’ could also explain why Israel, as early as December 5, 1990, was demanding not simply the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait but the removal of the Ba’athist regime from power as well—an aim that the transnational elite, for the reasons we shall see below, was not as yet ready to achieve at the time.
However, the geopolitical factors that motivated the transnational elite to campaign for the removal of the Iraqi Ba’athist regime did not simply refer to the threat it posed with respect to its Zionist Israel proxy. The regime represented an equally significant threat to the client regimes of the west in the Middle East (the protectorates in the Gulf, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt), not so because of its military strength but, mainly, because of its political influence in the Arab populations, given its consistently pro-Palestinian (and since 1990 anti-Western) stand. Clearly, this stand significantly increased the political instability of those regimes; particularly so as the Ba’athist regime was not based on Islamic fundamentalism, which did not appeal to several social strata in those countries, but on secular ideologies.
The economic dimension
Western hostility to the Iraqi Ba’ahists did not start in 1990 when it invaded Kuwait –after it had received the green light by the Americans (as strong evidence shows), who, perhaps, trapped the regime in order to set in motion the campaign that ended today with its overthrowing. This hostility began in the mid seventies when the Ba’athist regime embarked on a program of Arab socialism that culminated with the nationalization of oil. Still, the first moves for greater Iraqi control of oil took place in 1961 when Qasim opened negotiations with the British-controlled Iraq Petroleum Company to increase Iraq's royalties, but his demands were rejected. Not accidentally, the British at the same time granted full independence to Kuwait, in order to maintain part at least of their control over Iraqi oil in case Iraq nationalised it —as it did in the 1970s. This provoked Qasim to demand the reintegration of Kuwait to Iraq on the grounds, as he rightly stated at the time, that Kuwait has always been a single country (nationally, geographically and socially) with Iraq, from which it was artificially separated by Britain. In fact, the British had to land military forces in Kuwait at the time in order to avert an Iraqi invasion.
Thus, the Ba’athist party, seeking to achieve a form of economic independence to complement political independence, soon realized that it had to de-integrate Iraq’s economy from the capitalist market economy and minimize free enterprise on the means of production, with the ultimate objective to establish an Arab socialist society in which all citizens would enjoy the benefits of prosperity. This is why the five year economic plans of the 1970s aimed at reducing dependence on oil revenues as the primary source for development. Still, it was the nationalization of the oil industry that was rightly considered by Ba’athists as their greatest achievement. The nationalization process began with the conclusion of several agreements with the Soviet Union and others, between 1969 and 1972, to provide the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) with the capital and technical skills to exploit the oil fields. Then, in 1972, they started the operation of the oil-rich North Rumaylah field and created an Iraqi Oil Tankers Company for the delivery of oil to foreign countries. At the same time, they nationalized the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) and established a national company, the Iraqi Company for Oil Operations, to operate the fields. Finally, in 1973, when the fourth Arab-Israeli War broke out, the Ba’athist regime nationalized U.S. and Dutch companies, which were followed in 1975 by the nationalization of the remaining foreign interests in the Basra Petroleum Company.
These events created the background that constituted the economic dimension of the campaign, which started with the war in the Gulf in 1991. In other words, the main economic aim of this campaign was to return oil exploitation to the western powers and reintegrate the Iraqi economy into the world capitalist market. This aim was confirmed by recent reports according to which State Department blueprints, sent to Congress before the present invasion began, laid out a vision for Iraq's reconstruction that would move the country aggressively toward "self-managed economic prosperity, with a market-based economy and privately owned enterprises that operate in an environment governed by the rule of law."
However, although the rationale for the campaign that began in 1990-91 was born in the 1970s, the West could not embark on such a campaign at the time because a new big threat to their interests had just emerged: the unexpected overthrowing, in 1979, by Islamic fundamentalists of their main client regime in the area, i.e. Shahs’ monarchy in Iran. The fact that Iraq, given the Shiite majority in it, was high on the Iranian list of countries whose governments was highly desirable to be replaced by a fundamentalist regime (particularly so since it was also a secular regime and therefore a perfect candidate for the implementation of Ayatollah Khomeini’s policy of "exporting the revolution,"), combined with some territorial disputes between the two countries, played well at the hands of western elites in encouraging the Iraqi elite to attack Iran and start a long war against it. It was during this war that, when Iraqi Kurds in the North collaborated with the Iranians against the regime, the latter used chemicals (provided by Western elites) against the Kurds in what has been exploited as the main Western propaganda weapon since 1990 ("Saddam used chemicals against his own people"). All this, despite the fact that Reagan strongly objected the attempts of the US Congress in July 1988 to impose economic sanctions on Iraq for the use of chemicals against the Kurds!
With massive help from western elites (the USA, for instance, supported Iraq, both diplomatically at the United Nations and militarily, by providing information about Iranian military movements in the Gulf area and, at least on two occasions, by attacking Iranian ships and oil platforms) the Iranian regime, at the end of the 1980s, was forced to accept an agreement to settle their differences. Needless to add that the long war was a perfect "gift" to the western elites which encouraged it, since, not only it exhausted financially and militarily two countries hostile to western and Zionist interests, but also cleared the ground for the campaign that started in 1991 to overthrow the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. Thus, when the corrupt prowestern elite in Kuwait continued, despite Iraqi protests, violating the OPEC agreement on oil quotas, pushing the price of oil down and considerably reducing Iraq's oil income (Iraq at the time had accumulated a war debt estimated at more than $80 billion), the conflict became inevitable. Particularly so, at a moment when the negotiations that had begun earlier between the Iraqi regime and the Kuwait emir to settle the border differences between the two countries had broken down, after advice by USA, UK and Egypt! In this connection, it is worth noting an important ‘collateral damage’ of the war as regards the democratic character of the Ba’athist regime. At the end of the Iraq-Iran war, Saddam promised to liberalize the regime and, in January 1989, announced that a committee had been appointed to draft a new constitution that would establish a multiparty system as well as freedom of the press. In fact, the draft constitution was approved by the National Assembly and was about to be submitted to a public plebiscite at the time of Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
It should be noted here that the control of oil that interests the multinationals does not necessarily refer to the physical control of this basic source of energy on which the entire "growth economy" depends. What is of utmost interest to the multinationals is the price of oil given that in that it is cheap energy which, by keeping the cost of production low, maximises profits. This is particularly true for the Americans, for instance, who, when the first war in the Gulf was launched, they were consuming 25% of the world oil production, although they constituted only 2% of the world population. The long term solution for the transnational elite, which would secure keeping the price of oil as low as possible for as long as possible, presupposes the establishment of client regimes in the oil producing countries that would be willing to let the quantity produced, and consequently the price of oil, to be basically determined by the market forces, and exceptionally --when the market forces do not express the interests of the transnational elite-- directly by its dictates. This is the essence of neoliberal globalisation, which constitutes the cornerstone of the New World Order into which every country in the world has to be integrated today, either through economic means (i.e. the economic policies imposed on them by the world organisations controlled by the transnational elite, such as the IMF, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation-WTO) or, in the last resort, through military force as in Iraq, Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.
The west, by supporting the client regimes in the Gulf, secured that the purchasing power of a barrel of oil was reduced by 50% between 1950 and 1970. It was the same client regimes that prevented OPEC, the cartel of oil producing countries that was created in 1960 and functioned on the principle of unanimity, from effectively protecting its members by determining oil prices that would keep pace with world prices. Even the dramatic rise in the price of crude oil that OPEC achieved in the 1970s, due to mainly political events which were set in motion by the Yom Kippur War of October 1973, simply restored the oil price to the levels it would have achieved anyway had it followed the general trend of world prices in the post-war period. However, this development was only a temporary aberration and the price of oil continued falling in the 1980s, with the Iran-Iraq war (which, as we have seen, was induced by the West and further weakened OPEC) playing a crucial role in this. As a result of this downward trend in the price of oil, a barrel of crude oil had a lower purchasing power even during the occupation of Kuwait than in 1973, whereas in 1992, a year after the end of the war, the price of oil was less than half its pre-war price in September 1990!
The present invasion of Iraq has also the same aim of keeping the long-term price of oil as low as possible, as a prominent member of the transnational elite declared before its launching. Thus, Rupert Murdoch, owner of 175 papers (which, not accidentally supported a fanatical pro-war policy) selling 40 million copies a week in three continents, in a recent interview in the US magazine Fortune, was revealing: “I have a pretty optimistic medium and long-term view but things are going to be pretty sticky until we get Iraq behind us. But once it's behind us, the whole world will benefit from cheaper oil which will be a bigger stimulus than anything else”. And, clarifying his comments further in a later interview for the Australian news magazine The Bulletin he stated: “The greatest thing to come out of this for the world economy, if you could put it that way, would be $20 a barrel for oil. That's bigger than any tax cut in any country”.
Iraq, with 112bn barrels of proven reserves, is second only to Saudi Arabia, and has the potential to become a superpower in the oil industry. In fact, experts believe that with billions of dollars of investment in the nation's crippled infrastructure it could produce up to 6m barrels a day, within five or six years, to exploit the 200bn barrels of probable reserves. It seems therefore that the present occupation of Iraq and the subsequent establishment of a client regime in this country has the long-term aim of controlling, directly or indirectly, the entire Arab-Iran basin, which contains two thirds of the known stocks of world oil. Thus, the supranational elite hopes that the establishment of such a regime in Iraq would have a domino effect in Iran and Syria and will make the regimes in these countries much more accommodating to its wishes. This will also strengthen the client regime in Saudi Arabia, which has been threatened lately by the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, as well as that in Kuwait. As regards Saudi Arabia in particular, as Anthony Sampson, the author of 'The Seven Sisters', pointed out before the present invasion, ‘If Saddam were toppled, the Western oil companies led by Exxon expect to have much readier access to those oil reserves, making them less dependent on Saudi oilfields and the future of the Saudi royal family’. No wonder that a briefing to the Pentagon by the Rand Corporation, leaked last year, talked about Saudi Arabia as 'the kernel of evil' and proposed that Washington should have a showdown with its former ally, if necessary seizing its oilfields which have been crucial to America's energy’!
Irrespective, therefore, of whether the new regime in Iraq will eventually proceed to privatise the oil industry, the effect of the presently planned US management of the Iraqi oil industry would be to break OPEC and leave the price of oil to be dictated by the demands of the ‘world community’, i.e. the transnational elite. Thus, one of the first decisions announced by the US occupiers was of their plan to reorganise the state Iraqi oil industry like a US corporation, with an American as chairman of its management team (probably the former chief executive of the US division of Royal Dutch/Shell) who would play a similar role to the former oil minister and would represent Iraq at meetings of Opec. Another indication of the occupiers’ plans to effectively steal Iraqi’s people oil wealth came in the form of the draft UNSC resolution they submitted on May 9 2003. This draft not only legitimises the illegal war and makes no mention at all of the weapons of mass destruction (which however were supposed to be the casus belli!) but goes on to give the occupiers exclusive control of Iraq’s oil revenues ‘for an initial period of 12 months; this jurisdiction would continue automatically unless the security council decided otherwise’. No wonder that the European Union's commissioner for aid and development, Poul, returning from a fact-finding mission to Iraq, accused the Americans of seeking to seize control of Iraq's vast oil wealth. As Nielsen told the Danish public service DR radio station, in a statement that not unexpectedly was immediately rebuked by the EU commission as not expressing the views of the European elites:
the US was on its way to becoming a member of Opec (...) They will appropriate the oil (...) It is very difficult to see how this would make sense in any other way.
It seems therefore that the time has come for Henry Kissinger’s brutally frank admission that “oil is much too important a commodity to be left in the hands of the Arabs" to be justified!
Old and New World Orders
The differentiating element between the Old Order and the New Order that is expressed by neoliberal globalisation and representative ‘democracy’ is not the aim which is the same, i.e. the reproduction of a system of concentrating economic and political power at the hands of various elites, but the means to achieve it. Whereas in the Old Order this aim was mainly achieved through political mechanisms, in the New Order the economic mechanisms created by neoliberal globalisation (free and open markets) are sufficient by themselves for the achievement of this aim. This , in combination with the collapse of the socialist project, has led to a general decline of the antisystemic movements in the South, despite the explosion of poverty, unemployment and inequality. The "democratisation" wave which swept the dictatorial regimes throughout the South in the last twenty years or so (with the encouragement of the transnational elite) could be partly explained by the decline of antisystemic movements but also by some "systemic" factors. Thus, the political complement of the economic globalization of open and free markets is the political globalization of representative ‘democracies’ that form the basis of the New Order pyramid, at the top of which is the transnational elite. The mechanism which brings about the concentration of economic power at the hands of the elites in a market economy is well known and has been analyzed both by orthodox and radical economic theory. As regards the mechanism which brings about the corresponding concentration of political power this consists not only of the process of continuous decline of the nation –state, in the context of neoliberal globalization, but also of the process of continuous transfer of political power from parliament to the executive and from it to small teams, think tanks etc around the president or the prime minister , while the electorates are manipulated by the mass media to vote for alternating elites with homogenised political programs expressing the neoliberal globalisation.
The exception to these trends was the Middle East where not only the full integration of the Arab regimes into the internationalised market economy was delayed but also the political globalisation, i.e. the spreading of representative ‘democracy’, was still not in the offing. This is not unrelated to the fact that the client regimes in the area , on the stability of which depends the growth economy of the North, were never threatened by socialist movements; instead, yesterday, they were under attack by Arab nationalism and, today, by Islamic fundamentalism. No wonder the transnational elite does not have any problem in ignoring the true nature of the authoritarian regimes in the area ―as long as they are of the client type― even when a rudimentary democracy, like the Algerian one, was destroyed for its own protection! But when the regimes themselves show unwillingness to play their client role, then, this elite does not hesitate to campaign against them for the sake of ‘democracy’, freedom and international law.
The successful invasion to Iraq however changes many things and brings much closer the full integration of the Middle East into the internationalized market economy. As an establishment analyst recently pointed out, the Middle East has more trade barriers than any other part of the world and, aside from Israel and Turkey, 8 of its 11 largest economies remain outside the World Trade Organization (WTO) whereas, last year, the entire Muslim world received barely more foreign investment than Sweden. The proposed cure by the same writer is not surprising :
As it formulates its strategy, the Bush administration should seize this opportunity to complement its fight against terrorism by bringing trade and economic liberalization to the region (...) The United States should build on this through an integrated, long-term strategy for returning the Middle East to the world economy”.
At the timing of writing, the American elite began already implementing such a strategy. Thus, Bush Jnr launched a 10-year effort to form a U.S.-Middle East Free Trade Area and promised to build on the victory in Iraq by increasing trade with the Arab world. This implies, of course, as a senior official added, that any country seeking an agreement with the United States would first have to meet all requirements for WTO membership. It is interesting, however, to note that Bush justified this plan, which he described as "a great goal for this nation," on the grounds that "across the globe, free markets and trade have helped defeat poverty and taught men and women the habits of liberty". All this, at the very moment that inequality and poverty have reached, within the context of neoliberal globalisation, unprecedented levels!
The ‘containment’ campaign: 1991-2002
The real aims of the containment campaign
Throughout the last decade the constant bombings and the crippling embargo against Iraq (which was introduced immediately after the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and before the Gulf war but, with various excuses, was renewed ever since) continued unabated. The aim of both was to force the people of Iraq to abandon the Ba’athist regime and replace it with a client one that would have been willing to submit to the transnational elite. It should be noted here that such a regime change was not feasible during the ‘war in the Gulf’. This was because such a change required the occupation of the entire country—exactly as it happened today after the criminal invasion. However, the 1991 ‘war’ relied on a specific Security Council resolution that was supported by a broad military coalition that had a single goal: the liberation of Kuwait. Furthermore, public opinion in the countries of the transnational elite had not been elaborately prepared, as at present, for such an adventure that could have led to serious casualties on their own side. Particularly so, as it seems that, unlike the present invasion, no deal had been struck at the time between the transnational elite and elements of the regime to minimize their resistance. As a postwar message by Saddam Hussein indicated, the pathetic resistance of some elements within the army, which made the march to Baghdad by the ‘brave liberators’ a stroll, could easily be explained by such a deal. Finally, as the Kurdish and Shiite uprising at the end of the 1991 war showed, there was an immediate risk at the time of dismembering Iraq and enhancing the fundamentalist regime in Iran—the primary target of the transnational elite in the 1980s. This is why although, at the beginning, this elite encouraged the secessionist Kurds and Shias in order to use them, as they hoped, as a leverage in the overthrowing of the regime, when they found out that a coup, which was always the preferred safe solution, was impossible, they abandoned these movements to their fate.
Therefore, when the American and British elements of the transnational elite concluded at the end of the 1991 war that a regime change was impossible at the time, they embarked on a long-term plan of further weakening the regime and eroding it of its popular base, through the constant bombings and a crippling embargo, so that the conditions for regime change-- preferably from within but in the last resort from without—could be created. In fact, members of the transnational elite occasionally were frank about this aim, as when Malcolm Rifkind, the then British foreign secretary, declared in 1996 that “the lifting of the embargo is impossible as long as the present regime remains in power». In fact, by the time the transnational elite launched the heavy bombardments of 1998, they did not have any qualms about declaring their real intentions. Thus, the US Congress passed legislation at the time for the ‘liberation’ of Iraq and authorized military aid of 97 million dollars for that part of the Iraqi opposition which was groomed by the American elite for governing the ‘post-Saddam’ Iraq.
Finally, it should be noted that it was not just the ‘conservative’ elements of the transnational elite that carried out the criminal embargo/bombings campaign. The 1998 bombings for instance, the heaviest since the Gulf war, were not carried out by the ‘neoconservatives’ of the Republican party in the USA with the help of the conservative party in UK, but by the ‘progressive’ generation of the 1960s, i.e. the centre-left of Clinton-Blair, with the support of Schroeder’s socialdemocrats and Yoska Fishers’ Greens! Furthermore, the centre-left showed that it cared even less than the neo-conservatives on the legalities of its actions. Unlike the 1991 war campaign which was based on a UN resolution (even though it was, once more, the product of blackmails, deception and so on), the bombing campaign of 1998 was a clear unilateral action by the US/UK parts of the transnational elite, without even a prior briefing of the Security Council members. Thus, a well known crook of professional politics like Clinton, who has amply shown that he would use any type of deception to save his political skin, in cooperation with a con artist of social democracy like Blair, did not hesitate to proceed to a senseless bloodletting, without any UN mandate, causing, according to the ex UN- coordinator in Iraq, the death of 144 civilians and the injury of another 446
The intermediate aim of the constant bombings was the continuous degradation of the regime’s military machine whereas that of the crippling embargo (which, according to Sandy Berger, national security adviser in the 1990s, was unprecedented in History for its severity as well as its comprehensiveness) was to deprive the regime of any popular support and facilitate the regime change. The deadly effects of the embargo could easily be explained by the fact that Iraq is a country whose 70% of its needs for food, medical equipment and drugs were being met by imports at the time it was imposed.
Thus, as regards first the economic cost of the embargo it is enough to note that Iraq, in 1990, was a country with a per capita income about equal to that of Greece, as the World Bank country ranking showed . Still, by 1994, i.e. after three years of embargo, the Iraqi per capita GNP was only 15% of the corresponding Greek one. No wonder that , according to UN estimates, one million of Iraqis were in a state of hunger in the late 1990s—something that was unthinkable in the 1970s, or even the 1980s during the long Iran-Iraq war. Second, as regards the human cost, the life expectancy of Iraqis was reduced from 63 years in 1990 to 57 in 1994 and the infant mortality rate which was 119 per 1000 births in 1960 and 65 in 1990, took off to 146 in 1994, as a result of the criminal embargo. It was not therefore surprising that , according to a study by a Harvard university medical team, the number of embargo victims among children was 500,000, i.e. ten times more than those killed during the war in the Gulf. Neither was it surprising that by 1998 Iraq was 107th in the UN Human Development ranking (whereas Greece by then was ranked in the 25th position)
Naturally, western mass media hushed this effective genocide of the Iraqi people. At one point, it was estimated for instance that 99% of British TV coverage referred to the biochemical weapons and less that 1% to the embargo victims. No wonder that the polls showed approval of the bombings/embargo campaign. In fact, the transnational elite was so impudent as to blame the Ba’athist regime for the effects of the embargo, which supposedly wasted the food for oil revenue in order to built new palaces for Saddam etc. This, at the very moment that the same elite put a myriad of obstacles to the import of medicine, cotton wool, ambulances, even pencils, on the grounds that they had dual military use!
The declared aims of the campaign
Once the decision for the long-term campaign to oust the Ba’athist regime has been taken, the rest was a matter of organising the provision of some sort of legal ‘cover’ for this campaign through the Security Council, as we shall see in the next section. The declared by the transnational elite aims, which at the beginning did not mention the ultimate aim of regime change, were part of the huge campaign of deception that was set in motion in the early 1990s. Such aims were supposed to be:
- Securing the implementation of the UN resolutions –a flimsy excuse since even as early as 1993, as a spokesman of the Jordanian government (a client state) stated, "Iraq has already implemented 90% of the Security Council resolutions". Furthermore, it was highly hypocritical to condemn to misery an entire population for the supposed violation of UN resolutions when the Zionist elite in Israel, with the full backing of the transnational elite, had violated scores of similar resolutions on account of the occupation and the illegal settlements it built on the territories it conquered during its wars against the Arab states. In fact, as Chomsky pointed out, the countries which historically put obstacles to the UN’s work and violated its decisions were the USA and Zionist Israel. Furthermore, apart from the dubious legality of the embargo, the bombings were surely illegal, not only because there was no specific UN mandate for the armed protection of the no-fly zones that the USA/UK elites unilaterally declared as a means to ‘protect’ the Kurds in the North and the Shias in the South respectively, but also because, as Marc Weller, professor of UN law at the university of Cambridge, stated at the time, some of their targets, e.g. those in Baghdad itself, were clearly out of these no-fly zones!
- Securing regional and world peace and stability, which was supposedly threatened by Iraq’s chemical, biological and (potentially) nuclear weapons of mass destruction . These claims were proved, of course, as ridiculous lies by the Gulf war and, even more so, by the present invasion. In both cases, the Iraqi army, which supposedly was threatening the world, suffered very heavy casualties, eventually lost its own country, but still never used any such weapons! Clearly, the reason was that, even if Iraq at some stage possessed such weapons, they were destroyed during the inspection process. It is known for instance that the UN inspectors destroyed 40,000 chemical weapons, 700 tonnes of chemical substances, 48 missiles, a plant producing anthrax etc. Scott Ritter, who was a UN weapons inspector in Iraq from 1991 to 1998, declared recently that ’under the most stringent on-site inspection regime in the history of arms control, Iraq's biological weapons programmes were dismantled, destroyed or rendered harmless during the course of hundreds of no-notice inspections’. Even an extensive survey among Western arms inspectors and military and foreign affairs experts drew similar conclusions. Thus, according to this survey, ‘most analysts concede that there is considerable doubt about the extent of Saddam's weapons programme, and about how dangerous it could be to the rest of the world’. Furthermore, several experts, including ex-inspectors, agree that the inspectors destroyed 95% of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, whereas the remaining 5% had been rendered unusable by the fact that Iraq was prevented under sanctions from replacing equipment needed to deploy them. Also, as a Kent university professor pointed out, no UN report has ever verified Iraq’s capability of producing biological weapons. Ironically, the USA not only possessed the biggest quantity of such weapons than any other country but have also used them not only against the Vietnamese but even against US army deserters. Still, US never validated the Geneva protocol which forbids the use of chemical weapons and in 1998 a legislation was passed through Congress which authorised the president to refuse at will inspections of US arsenals!All this, not to mention the fact that, during the Gulf war, according to official Pentagon data, 940,000 depleted uranium bombs were used by the Americans and, as a result, in some of the affected areas, according to UN data, there is a sort of cancer epidemic with cancer incidents having increased six times between 1989 and 1994. Furthermore, according to the Iraqi medical authorities, at the end of last decade, three times more children were born with genetical defects than before the war –a fact that was partially confirmed by an independent research by the Guardian in South Iraq.
- The destruction of the nuclear potential of Iraq. Thus, a nuclear plant was bombed in January 1993, although, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it was ‘absolutely inactive". But, as Rosemary Hollis, head of the Middle East programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, reported on the basis of discussions with nuclear scientists, it seemed clear that Iraq does not have the capacity to build nuclear weapons. Similarly, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for monitoring nuclear weapons, concluded that there was no sign of a surviving programme. At the same time, Israel was not only free to possess and develop a nuclear potential but continued receiving a huge financial aid from the US elite, perhaps as a reward for its blatant refusal to sign the treaty for the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons!
To conclude, after more than a decade of embargo and constant bombardment of what was left of the Ba’athist regime’s military facilities, and following a huge brainwashing campaign in USA/UK, the conditions were judged by the transnational elite to be ripe for the invasion and occupation of Iraq that we shall consider next. However, before we consider the invasion itself we need to refer to the role of the UN in this process and in the New World Order (NWO) in general.
The UN role in the New World Order
The decision-making body of the United Nations, i.e. the UN Security Council (UNSC) looked like an actor searching for a role in the NWO, which dawned since the emergence of neoliberal globalisation, the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the consequent universalisation of representative ‘democracy’. Thus, at the beginning of last decade, when the new Russian elite was begging the transnational elite for financial aid to avert the total economic collapse brought about by the catastrophe of marketisation,and the Chinese elite was anxious to integrate the country into the NWO (open its markets, join the WTO, attract foreign investment etc.), it seemed that the transnational elite would not have any problem in turning the UNSC into a mere pawn in its hands. Even as far as aggressive activities was concerned, like those launched in the Gulf war and later in Somalia where the ‘peace-keeping’ operation led to thousands of victims. However, by the end of the decade, it became obvious that the tactical differences among members of the transnational elite on such issues as the war against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and finally the invasion in Iraq were jeopardizing the original role assigned to the UNSC by the ‘Clinton doctrine’ at the beginning of the decade. In fact, the ‘Bush doctrine’ at the beginning of the new millennium cast doubt on the very existence of the organization, at least in its present form.
The UN under the ‘Clinton doctrine’
The new role that was assigned to the UNSC at the beginning of the decade was summarized in ‘the Clinton doctrine’ that was formulated by the Democratic president himself on the occasion of the Somalia bombings. Thus, according to Clinton:
the US would continue to play its unique role of leadership in the world…through multilateral means, such as the UN , which spread the costs and express the unified will of the international community
As the above quote makes clear the transnational elite was assumed to have a unified will since, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, there was no force to challenge its general interest determined by neoliberal globalization and its political complement. It is therefore obvious that it was the tactical differences that arose among members of the transnational elite at the end of last decade that broke this unified will --despite the common strategic aims--and led to the present impasse.
The pattern that seemed to be established at the beginning of last decade, in accordance with Clinton’s doctrine, was that whenever the transnational elite could easily show its authority and did not face any effective reaction from the object of its ‘peace-making’ mission, as in Somalia, then the leading power within this elite, the US, would have no hesitation to undertake aggressive military action through the UN. On the other hand, whenever the cost from aggressive action was assessed to be significant then the role assigned to the UN was mainly ‘regulative’ and if military action had to be taken, it had to be restricted to air raids, which are painless for the subject of the ‘peace-making’ activity (although not for its object), as in Bosnia.
A fundamental characteristic of the new UN role under this doctrine was that when aggressive action was to be taken, it was assigned in principle to the US, which carried it out on its behalf. This implied that the military forces which were responsible for this activity were not under the UN orders but those of the US Pentagon. In fact, this tactics was initiated in the Gulf war when the UN General Secretary was informed about the launching of the war from a TV news bulletin! Similarly, when the General Secretary dared to propose that the UN forces, which were assigned the mission to implement the Vans-Owen plan in Bosnia, should be under UN control, his proposal was unceremoniously set aside by the US elite. Also, the force that was sent to (the then Yugoslavian) Macedonia was directly under US control. This was not of course accidental. Had the real aim of these missions been that UN should play a peacemaking role in the regional conflicts that emerged at the end of the Cold War, the international organisation should have had the exclusive control of an international military force that should have been put permanently under its mandate, as was formally proposed at the time by the UN General Secretary.
In effect, under the Clinton doctrine the UN was called to play a similar role to the one that its predecessor, the League of Nations, used to play before the second world war, which was simply a permanent conference of colonial powers that expressed the pre-war international balance of power. The post-war establishment of the UN and the parallel creation of the world economic organizations (International Monetary Fund and World Bank) aimed at expressing the new balance of power. In fact, it was precisely this separation of economic from political/military functions that made possible the UN survival during the Cold War. Thus, when the West wanted to advance its world economic strategy it did not have to ask for the UNSC vote and face the Eastern bloc veto, nor the General Assembly vote where the Third World controlled the majority of votes, but could advance it instead through the world economic organizations under its absolute control. Today, this mechanism has been perfected; in the era of neoliberal globalization, the transnational elite’s economic control is done mostly ‘automatically’, through the workings of the market forces-- provided of course that these forces are left free to do their job (which invariably ends up favouring the stronger economic partners) through the freeing and opening of markets that was imposed in the first instance by the world economic organizations.
Still, bipolarism gave some leverage to the Third World elites in exploiting the conflict between the two poles, through organisations like the ‘non-aligned movement, the ‘Group of 77’ etc. This leverage has been lost in today’s unipolar world that the NWO established, as pointed out by a Western ambassador who stated at the time ‘the big Western powers (read: the transnational elite) ‘regained control’. This is particularly so as regards the elites in the ex-Second World, as well as those of the Third World, which, by joining the neoliberal globalization, have left their development process to the market forces and have become completely dependent at the economic (as well as the political) level on the transnational elite for investment, loans and aid. Still, despite these built-in safety valves within the NWO, the transnational elite was in no mood in the last decade, when the issue of restructuring the UN came back in the agenda, to become in any way dependent on the vote of the South. This is why they were only prepared to grant the General Assembly some decision-making power that would be confined to issues like the protection of the environment, where their participation was necessary.
Thus, the post cold war UN role gave the opportunity to the transnational elite, and mainly its military branch in the US, to protect its general interest not through the traditional gunboat diplomacy, which would expose it as an imperialist power, but through the collective UN cover. This could explain the anxious effort of both Bush Snr and Bush Jnr to secure the vote of the UNSC (through the usual stick and carrot policy) in order to legitimise their criminal wars against Iraq, as well as the embargo and constant bombardments of the last decade. As regards the latter in particular, the 1993 air raid against Baghdad, on the pretext of the alleged involvement of the Iraqi elite in an assassination attempt against ex president Bush Snr during his visit to Kuwait, was particularly significant, as it set the scene for what was going to follow in today’s invasion of Iraq. Needless to add that the legality of the specific operation was, to say the least, dubious, since article 51 of the UN Charter, which was used to legitimize it, does not in fact cover ‘defensive’ action with respect to a suspected attack against persons, even if the person attacked happened to be an ex-president of a superpower --as Rosalyn Higgins, a professor of International Law at the London School of Economics, argued at the time! Particularly so, when one takes into account that, a few years earlier, a US president approved the bombings against Libya with the explicit aim of the elimination of another head of state. All this, not to mention that Brent Scowcroft,, the national security adviser of Bush Snr, did not hide the administration’s intentions to achieve in this way the desired regime change in Baghdad—a policy that was put into effect with no qualms at all during the present invasion!
However, the Baghdad attack was also important because it marked a new defence policy for the USA, which involved a significant restructuring of their military force to become capable of carrying out small wars. Pentagon soon took the form of an imperial police force, similar to the one of the British army in the 19th century, so that it could effectively carry out the role assigned to it by the Clinton doctrine as the ‘last resort’ executor of UN resolutions. This force was massively enhanced by the end of the decade, so that it would become capable of implementing the Bush doctrine. Today, the extent of America's power is unprecedented in human history, since, with the latest increases in its military spending announced by Bush Jr, US military spending will account to 40% of the worldwide total, putting the US military predominance miles ahead of any previous military empire - from the Roman to the British – which have never enjoyed anything like this preponderance, let alone America's global reach. As Gregg Easterbrook put it, hardly disguising his joy, ‘no other military is even close to the United States.The American military is now the strongest the world has ever known, both in absolute terms and relative to other nations; stronger than the Wehrmacht in 1940, stronger than the legions at the height of Roman power‘. The target of this huge military power was made explicit by a report for the US Space Command in 2001, which, after celebrating the "synergy of space superiority with land, sea, and air superiority", which would come with missile defence and other projects to militarise space, drew the conclusion that this would “protect US interests and investment" in an era when globalisation was likely to produce a further "widening between haves and have-nots".
The UN under the ‘Bush doctrine’
As it was mentioned above, although the UN showed a high degree of adjustability to the NWO at the beginning of the last decade, towards the end of it the first problems arose, which culminated with the unprecedented friction within the transnational elite about the planned invasion against Iraq. Thus, first, securing UNSC cover for the planned attack against Yugoslavia was made impossible by the Russian threat to use its veto. This was not surprising of course given that the Russian elite was fully aware that a victory for the transnational elite would mean the loss of the last remnants of its historical influence in the Balkans and the parallel surrounding of its borders by NATOs bases ―as it did happen after the war. The transnational elite, therefore, had to do the war by itself, with the support only of its vassals in NATO (Greece, Turkey etc). Second, the UN was completely bypassed in the war against Afghanistan, whose ‘legality’ was based on a dubious resolution passed immediately after the September 11 events—a resolution which in fact meant the end of collective action by the UN, i.e. the end of its very raison d’ être. The same happened, as we shall see next, in the present war which, for the first time since the second world war, took the form of a preventive war followed by a full military occupation.
Formally, it all started with the events of 11/9 (although, as we have seen above, this was only the pretext for carrying out a war planned long ago) and the State of the Union address of Bush Jnr, when he gave the well known ‘axis of evil’ speech, which also contained the ‘Bush doctrine’, i.e. the doctrine that justified the launching of preventive wars. Thus, as Bush Jnr declared:
I will not wait on events while dangers gather (...) I will not stand by as peril draws closer and closer. The United States will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons.
Donald Rumsfeld next day was even more explicit in clarifying the meaning of the ‘Bush doctrine’:
Defending the US requires prevention, self-defence and sometimes pre-emption. Defending against terrorism and other emerging 21st century threats may well require that we take the war to the enemy. The best, and in some cases the only defence, is a good offence.
In fact, as Ivo Daalder, a strategic analyst at the Brookings Institution, characterised the speech, "it was a virtual declaration of war; it enunciated a new doctrine, which says that people we declare bad, with weapons we declare bad, are basically the same as terrorists." This new doctrine implied a radical change of the UN Charter or, at least, an equally radical re-interpretation of it to accommodate preventive wars. This new doctrine was first put into action with the invasion on Iraq.
The first step in this process was the unanimous passing of UNSC resolution 1441 in November 2002, which demanded the return of the UN inspectors by the end of February 2003. Their mandate was to look, under conditions of complete freedom of movement anywhere in the country, for the famous weapons of mass destruction, supposedly hidden by the regime. However, the demand for effective disarmament that this resolution expressed was, in fact, a code name for the transnational elites’ demand for regime change through war. Particularly so since the US/UK members of the transnational elite have made abundantly clear, both before and after the despatch of the UN inspectors, that they will neither accept a ‘no weapons found’ conclusion by the inspectors, nor an indefinite extension of the deadline until these weapons were found. Irrespective therefore of the legal issue whether this resolution constituted by itself an ultimatum or not—the point of dispute between the members of the transnational elite—it was clear that its unanimous passing opened the door for launching a preventive war against Iraq. Of course, the demand itself was completely illegitimate as it was put forward by regimes which not only were also in full possession of weapons of mass destruction, but have also used them extensively in the past; this was, for instance, the case with the British, who in one occasion used such weapons against the Iraqis themselves!, as well as with the Americans, who used them on several occasions in the past (Japan, Vietnam etc.
The next step was the drafting of a resolution by the US/UK members of the transnational elite which would specifically authorise the launching of the preventive war at the expiration of a deadline—an undisputed ultimatum. The proposed resolution was accompanied by the explicit threat that a refusal to pass it would mean that the US/UK attack would take place anyway and that those refusing to pass it would be blamed for the consequent serious undermining of the UN status—if not its actual dissolution! The implicit threat --which particularly concerned the dissenting members of the transnational elite that threatened to use their veto power-- was that, in case the Anglo-American elites carried out the invasion with no help from the other members of the transnational elite, then, they will be exclusively responsible for the post-war administration of Iraq and therefore for the distribution of the war spoils in terms of the lucrative reconstruction contracts (to be financed by Iraqi oil revenue!) and the oil revenues themselves.
But let us see in more detail the procedure followed by the transnational elite in order to secure the necessary votes in the UNSC. At the outset, it should be noted that the US/UK members of the transnational elite delayed up to the very last moment the decision-making process not only in order to give more time to the other members of the elite, which faced serious problems in persuading their electorates about the need for war, but also in order to finish with the military preparations, which have been thrown into turmoil by the refusal of Turkish parliament –against the wishes of the Turkish elites--to allow the use of the US bases in Turkey for the attack against Iraq.
The present 15 members of the UNSC are the five permanent members with veto power (USA, UK, France, Russia and China) and the ten non-permanent members (Bulgaria, Spain, Chile, Angola, Cameroon, Guinea, Mexico, Pakistan Germany and Syria). Securing the votes of non-permanent members seemed an easy target for the US/UK members of the transnational elite. Spain and Mexico have already been in a process of growing integration into EU and NAFTA respectively, the two main economic blocks of the transnational elite. On top of this, Spain had just received US help ETA, in the form of access to its technical spying capabilities, to fight the Basque movement (after the invasion Spain was rewarded with the US classification of ETA as a terrorist organisation). As regards the other South-based non-permanent members of UNSC, the transnational elite hoped that the ‘Yemen lesson’ would concentrate their minds. Thus, when Yemen voted against attacking Iraq in 1990, the American government described its vote as "the most expensive 'no' in history". Although Yemen was a member of the UNSC, supposedly having an equal vote as any other member of it, it soon discovered that with a per capita income of around 2% of that of the USA, its diplomatic rights were no match for the dollar's might. Following its refusal to back the first Gulf war, America cut off aid and pushed to make Yemen a virtual pariah state.
The US/UK members of the transnational elite followed the familiar ‘stick and carrot’ policy to secure the votes of the non-permanent members. Parts of the carrot offered, in the form of financial packets, were made public, confirming suspicions regarding the way decisions are taken in the UNSC to fit the interests of the transnational elite. Even worse (for the transnational elite), the pressures themselves against the non-permanent members came to the limelight when it was reported that “smaller countries, such as Chile, came out of a UNSC meeting protesting about the attitude of the US and Britain, which have been piling on pressure on the six undecided countries - Chile, Guinea, Cameroon, Mexico, Angola, and Pakistan” and that “diplomats described a terrible atmosphere within the council after it met behind closed doors for four hours”. No wonder that, at the end, there were signs that some of these countries began to wilt under the pressure, with Pakistan expressing openly its will to abstain. The rest formed a front asking for a brief extension of the US/UK deadline. However, the Anglo-American elites, being sure of their ‘victory’-- perhaps as a result of their secret deals with some Iraqi generals who later surrendered Baghdad to the invaders almost with no fight-- were not in a position to grant even this small concession.
As regards the permanent members, the US/UK members of the transnational elite had several reasons to hope for their vote. The French (as well as the German) elites are select members of the transnational elite and also fervently wish to keep the price of oil as low as possible—the main economic ‘benefit’ of the invasion and occupation. They only differ from the US/UK members of the elite on the tactics to be pursued in achieving this aim rather than on the aim itself. The differences in tactics were in turn due to the much stronger internal pressure the European members of the elite faced (mainly as a result of the traditional power of the Left in these countries) compared to the Anglo-American elites, but also to their traditional stronger ties with the Arabs which they did not wish to disturb, jeopardising their export share in the significant Arab market. At the same time, some at least of the European multinationals and particularly those involved in the oil industry were concerned that the oil contracts would be given by the Americans to US-based oil multinationals such as Exxon Mobil. In fact, even the British elite was worried that the Americans might not share the spoils with them, prompting Lord Browne, chief executive of BP and one of New Labour's favourite industrialists, to warn the Americans, a few months before the invasion, not to carve up Iraq for their own oil companies. It is for the same reason that the European elites unanimously pressed, in the aftermath of the invasion, for a UN administration of Iraq whereas the Americans, as Colin Powel stated , considered it as their right (since they fought the war and suffered the corresponding consequences) to undertake the administration of the occupied country –and earn the spoils which go with it!
It seems that, at the end, the specific interests of the oil and construction industries in France and Germany, geopolitical factors, as well as the expressed wish of the French and German elites to create an independent from NATO defence and foreign policy, prevailed over their general interest and did not support the US/UK ultimatum. However, one could expect that this was only a temporary aberration from the rule that the general interest of the transnational elite is more important than the specific interests of some industries. No wonder that both the French and German elites are already involved in a frantic effort to repair relations with their American counterparts, despite the fact that the latter threaten to punish them, particularly the French, for their stand during the war.
Equally difficult seemed for the transnational elite to secure the vote of the Russian elite and, less so, that of the Chinese elite. The latter , in its effort to integrate the Chinese economy into the internationalised market economy, in the last Communist party Congress in November 2002, abandoned even the pretext that it was the avant-garde of the proletariat. It is therefore clear that the visit in January 2003 of US undersecretary of state James Kelly, who reminded China that long-term gains from improved trade with America are more important than short-term political point-scoring (i.e. ‘aberrations’ on the issue of invasion) aimed at securing an abstention vote. Such a vote was never ruled out by the Chinese elite and might well have been its final stand at the UNSC had the matter finally come to a vote.
As far as the Russian elite is concerned, the US elite made several offers to secure a vote of abstention. As it is well known, Russian oil companies have made several multibillion dollar contracts to develop Iraqi wells and they have been reasonably concerned that a post-Saddam US-controlled regime would not honour these contracts. As a Russian official stated a few months before the invasion, 'the concern of my government is that the concessions agreed between Baghdad and numerous enterprises will be reneged upon, and that US companies will enter to take the greatest share of those existing contracts’. No wonder therefore that both Bush and Blair repeatedly said in public, in the few months before the crucial UNSC vote, that they will honour Russia's interests. Furthermore, they agreed to blacklist three Chechen rebel groups. However, these offers presumably did not prove sufficient enough to change the mind of the Russian elite, which eventually took a hostile stand in the UN.
In view of the failure of the UNSC to play the role assigned to it by both the Clinton and Bush doctrines, it is not surprising that a significant part of the US elite is now thinking in terms of permanently bypassing the UN whom they would prefer to play simply a decorative role, i.e. to undertake humanitarian missions and the like, rather than to collectively protect security ― as it was its mandate when it was established, immediately after the second world war. Thus, as Richard Perle, a member of the defense policy board (an advisory panel to the Pentagon), who up to a few months ago used to be its chairman, put it brutally, just before the launching of the illegal war:
Saddam Hussein's reign of terror is about to end. He will go quickly, but not alone: in a parting irony, he will take the UN down with him. Well, not the whole UN. The "good works" part will survive, the low-risk peacekeeping bureaucracies will remain, the chatterbox on the Hudson will continue to bleat. What will die is the fantasy of the UN as the foundation of a new world order.
The criminal invasion of Iraq: victory and defeat for the transnational elite
The theatre of deceit
The ‘axis of evil’ speech at the beginning of 2002 marked the starting of the countdown for the invasion. Α massive media campaign began at that time, particularly in the USA/UK, to prepare the public opinion --as well as the stock exchanges-- for the coming war with the new Hitler, who threatened the world with a battered by a catastrophic war and more than ten years of embargo and constant bombings Third World war machine! The same old excuses which had been used to ‘justify’ the embargo and the bombings were repeated again, i.e. the Iraqi regime was in breach of UN resolutions, (nobody bothered of course to mention the methods used by the transnational elite to secure the necessary votes) and that it has developed weapons of mass destruction. Although not even the CIA dared to support the case that there was any link between the Iraqi regime and terrorism, still, as the polls showed, most Americans were persuaded by their media that there was a direct link between them, justifying the war against Iraq as part of the war on terrorism!
Thus, the transnational elite created a huge theatre of deceit for the benefit of the international public opinion, with the aim to prepare it for war to achieve regime change in Iraq , under the disguise of a war to secure its disarmament. The title of the play was ‘Saddam (read: the entire Ba’athist regime) must go’ because, according to the script, he owned weapons of mass destruction threatening humanity, and, on top of this, he was a dictator oppressing his own people. The script had, of course, as little relation to reality, as any good product of the imagination. Even if we assume that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, then, as Hans von Sponeck, the UN humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq from 1998-2000, stressed, ‘the US Department of Defence and the CIA know perfectly well that today's Iraq poses no threat to anyone in the region, let alone in the United States’. All this, not to mention the fact that all members of the transnational elite possess such weapons and some (like USA and Israel) do not even accept any UN controls on them. Furthermore, the transnational elite has never shown any real concern about the authoritarian nature of its client regimes, as it is obvious by the fact that it never revealed any intentions of replacing equally authoritarian regimes, such as those in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait etc. It seems therefore that the criterion for regime change is determined by the client nature of a regime rather than by its democratic credentials.
The leading actor in this theatre of deceit was, as we saw in the last section, the UNSC. The obvious aim of the playwright (i.e. the transnational elite) was the preparation of the world public opinion and particularly the public opinion in their own countries which was rightly concerned about a ‘crusade’ of such a magnitude-- even though their huge technological superiority promised to effect massive destruction at almost no cost to itself. Another aim was to allow enough time for the military preparations to be completed. A third and even more important aim was to make every effort possible to even out of the differences on tactics among the members of the transnational elite.
The myths about the ‘progressive’ European elites
However, despite this massive publicity campaign for the transnational elite’s cause, the polls before the war, as well as the massive demonstrations worldwide, showed that very few people in countries outside USA (and less so in UK) were fooled by this campaign and believed the spurious excuses given to cover a decision for war that had been taken long ago. In fact, the range of peoples involved and the scope of these demonstrations exceeded even those of the Vietnam anti-war movement. Τhis culminated in the weekend of 15-16 February 2003, which saw over eight million people demonstrating all over the world against the criminal transnational elite, in a huge manifestation of popular anger. It seemed that millions of people all over the world were awakening to the fact that this war was marking the entry into a new barbaric historical phase.
Not unexpectedly, the transnational elite showed its crude contempt for the popular will revealing, at the same time, the real nature of ‘democracy’ today. Its answer to this huge popular movement was simply to ignore it because the elite, as every elite in History, ‘knew better’. Thus, Bush Jnr informed us that the role of the leader is to decide the policy to be followed irrespective of the size of demonstrations, whereas Tony Blair, his lieutenant, stated (through a “well-placed source”) that the unprecedented in British History anti-war demonstration in London of over one and a half million people “changes nothing at all. The quicker it is done, the better.” The same spokesman, going a step further and dropping any disguise about the real aims of the war, made it clear that “to back down now would be the worst result possible. We would have no credibility if Saddam Hussein was still in place." In other words, all the propaganda that the war, supposedly, aimed only at the disarmament of Iraq was shown to be fairy tales for the naïve members of the public who wished to believe it. Both the American-- and now the British-- elites blatantly admitted that their real aim was regime change.
However, contrary to the propaganda of the ‘dissenting’ EU members of the transnational elite (France, Germany etc) –a propaganda that was also adopted by the reformist Left-- the EU took a similar stand to that of Bush-Blair in ignoring the massively expressed anti-war popular will, although admittedly in a more sophisticated way. Thus, an emergency meeting of EU leaders, on February 17 2003, unanimously passed a resolution which secured EU unity through an essential adoption of the Bush-Blair line! The final communiqué, after declaring that a decision for war should be taken by the UN, goes on to state that the aim of the Union, as far as Iraq is concerned, remains the full disarmament of Iraq, in accordance with the relevant decisions of UNSC and specifically resolution 1441. Furthermore, to eliminate any doubt as to who is to blame for the forthcoming war, it declares that it is up to the Iraqi regime to end this crisis by complying with the demands of the UNSC and stresses that Baghdad should have no illusions that it should be disarmed (a code name for regime change, as I pointed out above).
It is therefore clear that the European members of the transnational elite, facing a massive ‘pressure from below’, were forced to demand some sort of legal cover before they could support this blatantly illegal war (a UNSC resolution specifically authorising military action after a report by the UN inspectors, production of some sort of indisputable evidence about the weapons of mass destruction etc). However, all this referred only to the means of achieving a common aim agreed by the entire transnational elite, as it was shown by its unanimous adoption of resolution 1441 which, as I mentioned above, in effect, opened the war door by demanding the disarming of the Iraqi regime from any weapons of mass destruction, despite the fact that the regime had probably already destroyed any remnants of them. Clearly, in spite of the declared pseudo-aim of disarmament, the real aim shared by all members of the transnational elite was the change of the regime and its replacement by a client regime to their approval. The transnational elite was fully aware of the fact that securing the control of the Iraqi regime would create the possibility for the control of the sources of energy in the Mid East for the benefit of all its members. This, coming on top of the fact that control of the sources of energy in central Asia had already been secured, through the previous war against Afghanistan, created the possibility for the control of the sources of energy in a vast area of huge concern to this elite. It should be added here that these changes were particularly significant not only for the short term, as they might give a boost to the world economy out of the present deep recession, but also for the long term, through securing future oil control. The significance of this, particularly for the US elite, was made obvious by the ‘Cheney report’ which foresaw that, by the year 2020, the USA, which today import about half the oil they consume, would have to increase their imports by 60% to meet their needs!
Therefore, although the differences over tactics between the members of the transnational elite are not insignificant, particularly as they create (and, in turn, are created) by differences concerning the sharing of the war spoils, still, they do not refer to their general interest, i.e. securing the integration of the area into the New World Order. Furthermore, these differences do not refer to a conflict of interests between nation-states, as in the past, since, in today’s internationalized market economy, the central economic units that come in conflict at the international level are no longer nation-states, but huge multinational corporations. To the extent therefore that some of these corporations are controlled by US capital, which has direct access to the most murderous war machine in History, the conflicts over tactics with the multinationals based in Europe or the Far East are unavoidable. This could go a long way in explaining the battles raging on at the moment among the transnational elites’ multinationals as to the sharing of the lucrative reconstruction contracts, with the American multinationals being prepared at the moment to grant only some sub-contracts to other multinationals.
The criminal invasion
At the end of March 2003, the US/UK parts of the criminal transnational elite launched their brutal invasion of Iraq, completing the campaign that began in 1991, despite the blatant illegality of this action since the fig leaf of a UNSC resolution had not been secured. Thus, unlike the 1991 ’war’ in which the entire transnational elite (political,. economic, international mass media etc) took part, despite the differences over tactics they had again emerged among its members at the time, a consensus proved impossible this time. The basic economic aim in both ‘wars’, as I attempted to show above , was to secure the control of the oil price process determination at the hands of the transnational elite, and to eliminate any ‘outside’ interference in this process by ‘rogue states’ (like the Ba’athist Iraq or the fundamentalist Iran). The looming threat to the client regime in Saudi Arabia, as a result of the rise of fundamentalism in this country, made imperative the recovering of control over the area, through the establishment of a new client regime in Iraq, as it was pointed out by an important member of the ‘progressive’ elements of the transnational elite.
Furthermore, the establishment of a client regime in Iraq, through such pseudo-‘democratic’ procedures as the ones proposed today by the occupied powers, would also be the means for achieving a number of important geopolitical aims, apart from the basic economic aim I mentioned above. Thus, the creation of a permanent military presence in Iraq (as mentioned above, four US bases are already planned for Iraq) would guarantee the security of the oil fields, as well as the stability of the client regimes in the area (Saudi Arabia, emirates in the Gulf, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq itself). Following the establishment of similar military bases in Afghanistan, as a result of the previous ‘victorious’ war there, a radical change in the balance of power in the area would be achieved , with two of the ‘rogue regimes’ (Syria, Iran). fully encircled. This change in the balance of power allows, in turn, for an indirect control of these regimes or—in the last resort—for a full invasion of the respective countries that would be much easier from the new advanced positions. No wonder that the transnational elite is presently attempting to crash the Palestinian movement and impose a kind of Israeli protectorate in Palestine, like the one proposed today by the ‘Road-Map’ that is adopted by the entire transnational elite plus Russia, and which Zionist Israel makes it sure on the ground that it will eventually be a huge ‘walled’ ghetto.
However, the invasion itself, despite the long preparation, did not go according to the US/UK plan. The plan seemed to involve a rapid advance to Baghdad followed by ‘mopping up’ operations in the rest of the country. It now looks as if the US/UK political elites relied not only on their huge military and technological superiority over the Iraqi army but, even more important, on secret deals that took place between Iraqi generals defending Baghdad and US military. Although Ramsfeld publicly hinted about such deals, most thought that they were simply part of the huge psychological war aiming to stifle any popular Iraqi resistance against the invaders. However, the strange surrender of Baghdad, almost with no fight by the significant forces of the regime that had been concentrated in the area, makes Ramsfeld’s claims more credible today. Even more so, when these claims are now confirmed by Saddam himself who, in a hand-written letter received by the reliably anti-imperialist London Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi, urged the Iraqi people to resist coalition forces and explicitly referred to ‘betrayals that led to the coalition's victory’. It was presumably these deals that gave a boost to the self-confidence of the US/UK members of the transnational elite in deciding this criminal invasion, despite the pre-war serious doubts raised against the war even by Western military experts.
Yet, although the plan had worked well, at least as far as the surrender of Baghdad was concerned, the heroic resistance of the ordinary Iraqi people against the invaders, during the three weeks of fierce fighting before the fall of the capital, in the cities and towns of the South—none of which was secured by the ‘liberators’ before the surrender of Baghdad-- almost stalled the operation. No wonder that the ‘liberators’ resorted to the usual war crimes, familiar from the previous ‘wars’ of the transnational elite (which their media tried everything they could to minimize) and with growing intensity to curb the resistance against them, carried out even by citizens armed with old shotguns. Thus, they bombed and maimed with cluster bombs thousands of Iraqis in markets, buses, even in schools and hospitals. They also destroyed whatever infrastructure was left from previous bombings and the embargo, condemning millions of people to live without electricity and clean water, in a blatant violation of international law―still, the transnational elite-controlled NGOs, such as Amnesty International, simply asked for ‘independent investigations’! The criminal nature of these bombings becomes even clearer by the valid suspicion that they were not ‘collateral damage’ –as the invaders claimed—but deliberate actions to bomb the Iraqi people to submission. The arch-criminal US Defence Secretary Ramsfeld was clear on the reasons which induced him to launch his ‘shock and awe’ campaign when he stated that ‘apparently, what we have done this far has not been sufficiently persuasive’. Also, the ‘progressive’ media of the transnational elite, such as The Observer and The Guardian , after their about turn to support the criminal war, did not have any qualms to reveal the real aims of the brutal ‘shock and awe’ campaign. As a leader in The Guardian made clear, on the first day of this campaign, ‘the aim is to pound Iraq into submission and surrender without any more delay’.
No wonder that during the first three weeks of intensive bombardments, 2,320 Iraqi soldiers and 1,400 Iraqi civilians were killed, 5,103 were injured, whereas 250,000 people are expected to die in the first three months, as a result of injuries and epidemics caused by the destruction of the infrastructure (Basra is already reported on the verge of a cholera epidemic). Since then, the number of dead and injured among the Iraqi population has been mounting, particularly so because the occupiers, in order to terrorise the population into submission, follow the tactics of the Zionist army in occupied Palestine and shoot to kill scores of people simply because they demonstrate and throw stones against them. This was the case in Mosul, Falluja and elsewhere.
There was no doubt of course that the invasion by the US/UK members of the transnational elite, with the direct or indirect support of the other members of it, would prove at the end ‘victorious’. Neither was there any doubt that, as History has always been written by the victors, sooner or later the special services of the invaders would ‘discover (read: plant) the weapons of mass destruction, in order to ‘legitimize’ the war, even after the event! Finally, nobody doubted that invaders would become liberators overnight ― although the ‘welcome’ of the invaders as liberators was easily seen by many as having been staged. This was particularly the case with the pathetic dismantling of Saddam’s statue by about 200 supporters of the US stooge Chalabi on April 9 (with the decisive help of a specially equipped US tank which just ‘happened’ to be around) in front of the western journalists’ hotel. It seems that it was only in the Kurdish areas that the invaders were really greeted as liberators, something that was fully expected following the decision of their elite (after the effective dismantling of the anti-imperialist Kurdish movement, the PKK, following the capture and imprisonment of its leader Abdullah Ocalan) to leave their ‘liberation’ to the transnational elite —an event for which the Kurdish people will probably pay a high price in the years to come.
The ‘victory’ of the transnational elite was of course celebrated by its members
―even those who raised objections against the tactics used who came out celebrating the victory of ‘democracy’
―and the media controlled by them. The world stock exchanges joined the celebration, after the initial shock waves following the ‘shock and awe’ given to them by the resistance of the Iraqi people in the first three weeks, which eliminated the initial gains made at the launching of the invasion. This was again not surprising at all, as the markets were simply discounting the anticipated increase in the supply of oil and the consequent drastic decrease in its price, following the American take-over of Iraqi oil management. In fact, the occupiers took immediate steps, as soon as they secured their occupation, to confirm the expectations of stock exchanges. Thus, the first decision of the meeting of representatives of the Iraqi ‘people’ called (by personal invitation of the US forces!) in April 15, 2003, at an airbase outside Nassiriyia, was the dismantling and banning of the Ba’ath party, i.e. of the party that nationalised Iraqi oil! The launching of Iraqi ‘democracy’ with this decision illustrated the kind of regime planned for this country by the invaders. A few weeks later, the occupation administration announced the names of five Iraqis to form the nucleus of a provisional government. The political and religious groups mushrooming in the country were absent from this list but Ahmad Chalabi, the well known embezzler and Pentagon favourite to become the Karzai of Iraq, was prominent in it. Finally, to dispel any doubts about their intentions, the US occupiers made clear that the US dollar will be the main currency for ‘about two years’!
The first defeat of the transnational elite?
The crime of the transnational elite does not refer only to its human victims and the suffering it caused—and is going to continue causing for many years to come--to the Iraqi people. Equally important is the fact that, by this war, this elite clearly showed that, following the absolute and undisputed monopoly of world violence it has acquired, it has no intention of respecting anymore neither the national sovereignty of any people, nor the international rules that the elites themselves have established in the past. In the future, the choice given to the peoples and movements around the world would be either to submit to the New World Order, which is institutionalised by neoliberal globalisation and representative ‘democracy’, or be condemned to have the fate of the Yugoslavian, the Afghan or the Iraqi peoples. This is because, contrary to the mythology that the aim of the invasion was a new colonialism, as many in the Arab world suggest, or a new imperialism, as some in the Left assume, in fact, the invasion aimed at neither of the two. In the present internationalised market economy neither colonialisms nor imperialisms are possible anymore, as we shall see in the next section. When therefore members of the transnational elite state that both the oil revenue and the country’s administration will be returned to the locals, in a sense, they mean it. The full integration of the country into the internationalised market economy will indeed allow part of the oil revenue to be returned to the Iraqi people. The truth they hide is that this part will be much smaller than the one received by the Iraqi people in the past, since the multinationals, which will replace the local elite in the exploitation of oil, will repatriate to their bases a large part of this revenue in the form of profits, royalties, management rewards etc. Also, it is true that the representative ‘democracy’ that the occupiers will introduce might create an illusion of ‘democracy’ . What they hide is that this ‘democracy’ will involve a couple of parties or so interchanging in power and offering variations of the same policy, and that in case the people dare to vote for a party not to the approval of the transnational elite, then, its long arm will be available to re-impose order, indirectly, through economic and other means, or even directly, through military force.
However, the very ‘victory’ of the transnational elite and in particular the way it was achieved constituted also its first defeat because it made clear to many more people all over the world than ever before that:
- the aims of the war had nothing to do with the supposed ‘liberation’ of the Iraqi people from despotism, neither with the mythical weapons of mass destruction but that, instead, they had everything to do with oil and the geopolitical considerations of the transnational elite;
- the entire campaign was based on deceit, as it was shown by the fact that the invaders were never welcomed as liberators by the vast majority of the Iraqi people, whereas the much advertised revolts of the Shias in the South never materialized. In fact, a revolt against the occupiers by the Shias, most of whom are excluded from power by the political arrangements pushed forward by the occupiers, may already be in the offing;
- the real conflict was not between the ‘progressive’ elements of the transnational elite led by France and Germany and the rest led by USA and UK, but (as always) between the peoples and the elites which manage the NWO;
- the UNSC plays the role of agent for the transnational elite and when some of the members of the latter disagree on the instructions to be given to it, then, the leading parts of this elite simply bypass the United Nations; and
- the transnational elite is not unbeatable. Despite the fact that the level of consciousness of the Iraqi people was particularly uneven, given that the only connecting element between the peoples resisting the invasion was the desire to oppose the invader, still, they managed to teach a lesson to the most powerful army in History. This shows that had this brutal army been facing a determined people with a high level of consciousness, then, no technology and military superiority could ever defeat it, as the Vietnamese case clearly showed.
The crucial question today is whether the transnational elite would succeed in forcing the people of Iraq
―by depriving them of their ability to cover basic needs like food, water and electricity
―to submit to its power and cooperate in the installation of a client regime (as it managed to do with the Serbian people), or whether instead it will push the people into a generalised resistance. The answer that will be given to this question will crucially condition the issue whether a generalized resistance against the New World Order will emerge from this criminal war, or whether instead a new era of long and generalized submission to the NWO will emerge.
The Left and the ‘war’
The Left’s stand on the present ‘war’ and the criminal invasion and occupation of Iraq presents certain significant differences with its stand in the previous ‘wars’ of the transnational elite (Gulf, Yugoslavia, ‘war’ on terrorism/Afghanistan), particularly as far as the reformist Left is concerned. I think however that the following dichotomy accurately describes the main currents in the Left with respect to the present war.
The first current is expressed by the reformist Left which, however, includes at least three significant versions. The first version, what we may call ‘the orthodox reformist Left’ version, is adopted by those parties and intellectuals that do not see the war as a ‘systemic’ phenomenon but mainly adopt the transnational elites’ propaganda of a war against a brutal regime, and takes sides with the ‘progressive’ elements of this elite in condemning the means used and in keeping ‘equal distances’ between the Iraqi regime and the aggressors. The second version, what we may call ‘the inter-imperialist rivalries position’, assumes that the invasion was launched by the US elite in order to establish its imperialist power over any other elite, including the other members of the transnational elite. Although this version gives the impression of a ‘systemic’ approach, particularly when it adopts the old Marxist position of inter-imperialist rivalries, at the same time, it ends up with reformist conclusions, i.e. that the movement against the NWO should side with the ‘progressive’ elements of the transnational elite in creating an alternative ‘progressive pole’ against the ‘imperial’ Anglo-Saxon pole. In this sense, this approach is also part of the reformist Left. Finally, a third version of the reformist Left approach, what we may call ‘the Empire version’, argues that global elites do not realize at the moment that US imperialism isn't in their interest and that globalization leads to the organization of global power in a decentred ‘Empire’—something that leads the supporters of this approach to the reformist conclusion that neoliberal globalisation should be welcome as an ‘objective’ basis for an ‘alternative’ globalisation.
The second current in the Left takes a clear ‘systemic’ view of the war, like the one expressed in this paper and similar stands taken by Marxists, anarchists and others who share the view that inter-imperialist rivalries are a thing of the past and draw the conclusion that a movement against the NWO today has no meaning unless it is a clear antisystemic movement, attacking both the ‘progressive’ and the ‘neo-conservative’ elements of the transnational elite. In this antisystemic current belongs also a small part of those in the traditional Marxist Left who, although still see inter-imperialist rivalries among the members of the transnational elite, they have no doubts about the supposedly ‘progressive’ character of any of the members of the transactional elite and their alleged ability to play the role of an alternative pole.
The rest of this paper will focus on the three versions of the reformist Left I mentioned and close with the conclusions one may draw, from a ‘systemic’ viewpoint, about this Left’s dismal failure with respect to the huge anti-war movement.
The ‘orthodox reformist Left’ version
As I attempted to show elsewhere, the reformist Left, mainly expressed by the centre-Left and the mainstream Greens, has played a vital part in justifying the ‘wars’ of the transnational elite through the doctrine of limited sovereignty. This is not difficult to explain in view of the fact that both the centre-Left and the mainstream Greens have already fully adopted the New World Order in its economic and political aspects. Thus, all major European centre-Left parties (Germany, Britain, France, Italy etc) have already adopted the capitalist neoliberal globalisation. Similarly, mainstream Greens have long ago abandoned any ideas about radical economic changes and have adopted instead a kind of ‘eco-social-liberalism’ that amounts to some version of ‘Green capitalism’. It was therefore hardly surprising that the centre-Left endorsed enthusiastically all three ‘wars’ of the transnational elite, whereas the mainstream Greens, who, at the beginning of the 1990s, were concerned about the ecological implications of the Gulf war, by the end of the decade, they were dedicated supporters of the war against Yugoslavia and today have fully endorsed the ‘war against terrorism’.
However, the present division within the transnational elite as regards the tactics to be used against the Iraqi regime, which I considered in the previous sections, created a corresponding split within the centre-Left. Thus, the UK Labour party of Tony Blair took a pro war stand, despite the fact that a significant minority of Labour MPs rebelled against the leadership in a Commons vote. But most major parties of the centre-Left, particularly those in Europe, took an anti-war stand, following the French-German axis. A similar stand was adopted by the mainstream Green parties, as well as by the main movement of the reformist Left, the World Social Forum and the local branches of it.
The approach adopted by the reformist Left does not condemn the aim of the transnational elite to impose a change of regime in Iraq but only criticizes the means used for this purpose (i.e. the war), on the basis of the argument that other means were not exhausted and particularly the UN inspection process. It is therefore obvious that this approach accepted all the propaganda of the transnational elite as regards the aims of the campaign (i.e. to disarm Iraq from its weapons of mass destruction and to install a ‘democracy’) and
―not unlike the ‘progressive’ elements within the transnational elite—disagreed only with respect to the means used. This approach, by taking for granted the system of the market economy and representative ‘democracy’ and simply raising some objections to neoliberalism, which they consider as a ‘policy model’ rather than as a systemic phenomenon, cannot see that the aims of this campaign are equally illegitimate as the means used to achieve them. However, one may supporters of this version who gave the right to the transnational elite (or what they call the ‘international community’) to decide which nations (excluding, of course, their own!) should be disarmed or not, and which regimes are rogue or undemocratic (on the basis of whose criteria?) that have to be replaced. In the problematique presented in this paper, the huge significance of the enforced regime change in Iraq lies not simply in the means used by the transnational elite to achieve its aims, as argued by the reformist Left, but in the very fact that an elite, for the first time since the Second World War, attempts to replace a non-client regime with a client one, through an invasion and occupation based on a ‘preventive’ war.
Another fundamental element of the reformist Left’s approach is the ‘equal distances’ that it kept between the aggressor (whatever the cause invoked) and the victim of the aggression. Thus, the usual stand of the reformist Left was expressed by the slogans ‘neither Saddam nor Bush’—a slogan which could well lead to privacy—or the more frequent ‘down with Saddam and Bush’—a slogan which though not leading to apathy was doubly disorientating and, as such, served the interests of the transnational elite . It was disorientating because:
- first, it implicitly assumed that the war had to be condemned simply for humanitarian reasons (the war could cause many deaths, much suffering etc) or, at most, for reasons having to do not with the system itself but only with its possible malfunctioning (the war could cause instability, intensification of ‘terrorism’ etc) . Thus, the war was not condemned for its real causes, which of course did not refer to ‘the monster Saddam’ nor to his authoritarian regime, when the same transnational elite has supported exactly the same regime for many years, and still supports many regimes of similar nature all over the world, as long as they are client regimes. Furthermore, the war was not condemned as a necessary consequence of the concentration of political and economic power at the hands of the transnational elite and its branches all over the world, in other words, as an inevitable consequence of the present system of reproducing inequality in the distribution of political and economic power, i.e. the institutional framework of capitalist neoliberal globalisation and representative ‘democracy’, which is the ultimate cause of today’s wars, whenever the established Order of inequality is under threat, or some obstacles are put to its further expansion.
- second, it directed resistance exclusively against the US/UK elite, exonerating from blame the NWO and the rest of the transnational elite which, however, tolerated the invasion and took no effective measure to stop it (political, economic or even military, e.g. by denying access to the use of US/UK bases abroad for an illegal war).
This problematique was adopted for instance by the common declaration of a number of European parties of the reformist Left (Left Party Sweden, Party of Democratic Socialism, Germany, Socialist Left Party, Norway, French Communist Party , Synaspismos, Greece, together with the well know for its reformism Iraqi Communist Party). This declaration explicitly adopted resolution 1441, (which, as Ghana Karmic pointed out, ‘to Arabs, evokes nothing less than the image of a sadistic UN schoolmaster flogging an errant Iraqi pupil’) and the supposed cause of the war, i.e. the need to destroy the weapons of mass destruction.
Of course, all this does not deny the fact that the Ba’athist regime was an appalling regime indeed, despite the fact that, since the Gulf war, it strongly opposed the NWO. Particularly so if one takes into account the fact that had the Iraqi regime agreed to give up control of its oil in favour of US multinationals and establish normal diplomatic relations with Zionist Israel, the transnational elite would have no problem with its continuation. In fact, it seems that a similar proposal was indeed made to the Ba’athist leadership, as reported by the leader of the Iraqi National Alliance. Thus, according to Abd al-Jabbar al-Kubaysi:
We know that the leadership in Iraq was told more than two weeks before UN Security Council Resolution 1441 was passed that Iraq's problems could be solved if it agreed to establish relations with "Israel" in the framework of a so-called "just and lasting peace", and that they rejected this unequivocally. They remain insistent upon this rejection, and we cannot differ from them.
However, the Iraqi regime was not condemnable simply because it used chemicals against the Kurds, as the UK/US members of the transnational elite unashamedly cried, when, as we have seen above, in fact it was the British and American elites that first used such chemical weapons. In fact, the regime was condemnable for the way in which it stifled any political dissent. Still, the fact that the Ba’athist regime was repugnant does not mean that the US/UK elites (the aggressors) and the Ba’athist regime (the victim of the aggression) could be put in the same bag and equally condemned as criminal, as the reformist Left’s policy of ‘equal distances’ implies. Clearly, the transnational elite was not interested in installing a democracy in Iraq, in place of the Ba’athist regime, but simply in installing a puppet-regime, similar to the Karzai regime it had already imposed in Afghanistan. Furthermore, as Al Kubaysi stressed in the interview mentioned above, “Democracy does not come from missiles and gunboats». Democracy could only be the outcome of the struggle of Iraqi people itself and could never be imported by the US army, navy and air force. Kamil Mahdi, an Iraqi political exile and lecturer in Middle East economics at the University of Exeter, rightly points out that:
To assert that an American invasion is the only way to bring about political change in Iraq might suit Blair's propaganda fight back, but it is ignorant and disingenuous (...) The massacres of leftists when the Ba'athists first came to power in 1963 did not prevent the emergence of a new mass movement in the mid-1960s. The second Ba'ath regime attempted to buy time from the Kurdish movement in 1970 only to trigger a united mobilisation of Kurdish nationalism (...) Over the past 12 years of vicious economic blockade, the US and Britain have ignored the political situation inside Iraq and concentrated on weapons as a justification for their policy of containment (...) Instead of generating a real political dynamic backed by international strength and moral authority, Iraqis were prevented from reconstructing their devastated country.
In other words, had it not been for the ‘external threat’ that the war, the embargo and the continuous bombings created, a popular movement against the Baathist regime
―possibly much more dangerous to the transnational elite than the latter― might have flourished in Iraq long ago. It was exactly this possibility that the transnational elite wanted to avoid with the criminal campaign against Iraq it started in 1991.
Finally, the ‘equal distances’ stand of the reformist Left had a catastrophic effect on the huge anti-war movement since it succeeded in de-politicising it. This is because the reformist Left played a hegemonic role over this movement, through the Social Forums, the NGOs and the reformist parties and intellectuals with easy access to the mass media . Its stand, therefore, which was summarised above, could not politicise the anti-war movement, so that a radical consciousness about the real causes of the war and the direct or indirect implication of all members of the transnational elite in it, could develop. The antiwar movement was therefore bound to fizzle out when it became obvious that the elites were not going to take note of it . Furthermore, when the war ended, as one of the ‘enemies’ (according to the slogans of the reformist Left), has gone, while the other had (temporarily) stopped his war, the anti-war movement ceased to have an object to protest ! No wonder support for the war among British voters has surged to a new record level of 63% after the end of the war.
The ‘inter-imperialist rivalries’ version
A new myth that is advanced today, sometimes under a pseudo-Marxist cover referring to the supposed inter-imperialist rivalries within the transnational elite, is that of the ‘new imperialism. According to this myth, the invasion and consequent occupation of Iraq until a client regime emerges, represents a new type of imperialism which, like the old ones, is also imposed militarily but, unlike them, does not aim at a formal colonialism but at the imposition of neoliberal policies and a US-style of representative ‘democracy’. The supporters of this approach, starting from a fundamentally wrong conception of neoliberal globalisation, which is seen as a kind of exogenously determined ‘policy’ and not a ‘systemic’ phenomenon, do not realise that neoliberal globalisation, as well as its political complement, representative democracy’, are in fact the two faces of the same coin , i.e. the capitalist globalisation which is managed by an informal transnational elite, through the international economic organisations (WTO, IMF, World Bank etc) and the corresponding political (NAFTA, EU, G7+1, UNSC) and military organisations (ΝΑΤΟ, Anglo-American military alliance). No wonder they end up with the conclusion that this ‘new imperialism’, in fact, threatens the other members of the transnational elite, which supposedly form an ‘alternative’ European pole worthy of our support.
The transnational elite, as I attempted to show elsewhere, does not have a territorial centre in a particular nation-state, even if the latter was of the size and power of the USA, notwithstanding the fact that the American elite (mainly because of its military power which no other member of the transnational elite could even approach in the foreseeable future), exercises a leading role within this elite. Therefore, the policies which implement neoliberal globalization, as well as the various forms of representative’ democracy’ which are exported everywhere, are not simply US policies but the policies which express the general interest of the transnational elite and its local branches all over the world. In this sense, the problematique of new imperialism or inter-imperialist rivalries not only is anachronistic, since it refers to a previous stage of the market economy before its present internationalisation, but it also ends up with reformist conclusions, which imply that the creation of an opposing pole to US ‘imperialism’ is supposedly possible.
The transnational elite is not of course a monolithic body and there are considerable differences among its members, as it was made obvious not only by the significant differences among its members concerning Iraq but also on other important issues like the Kyoto treaty. However, these differences do not refer to the common aim of protecting the stability of the universal institutional framework, which secures the concentration of power at their hands, i.e. the capitalist neoliberal globalisation and representative ‘democracy’. Therefore, such differences could never lead to open conflict among the members of the transnational elite, as it happened with the old imperialisms. In the case of Iraq, for instance, despite the tactical differences mentioned in this paper, it is clear that all members of the transnational elite would benefit by the effective break of OPEC, which will inevitably be the effect of US management of the Iraqi oil.
However, the hypothesis of the lack of real conflict of interests between the members of the transnational elite is not based only on their stand with respect to the previous wars (Gulf, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan) but also on their stand with respect to the invasion itself. Not only, as we saw above, the transnational elite unanimously passed resolution 1441 at the UNSC that opened the road to invasion but, as soon as it was launched, the French elite, which before the invasion declared that it would never accept an unauthorised by the UNSC attack, rushed to explain that France would assure smooth passage of us bombers across its airspace (as it had not done when Reagan attacked Libya), and wished ‘swift success’ to American arms in Iraq. By the end of the invasion, the same elite was celebrating for the ‘victory of democracy’ in Iraq and declared ready to legalise the war –through the UNSC—the implicit assumption being of course that French firms will also take part in the reconstruction work and control of future Iraqi oil revenues. Similarly, at the very time when the Iraqi people was resisting heroically the invaders, the ‘Green’ Joschka Fischer declared that his government sincerely hoped for the ‘rapid collapse’ of resistance of the Iraqi people to the Anglo-American attack and for the victory of ‘democracy’, illustrating once more the conversion of the ex radical Green movement into a middle class environmentalist lobby ! By the same token, the Russian elite was declaring, through Putin, that ‘for economic and political reasons’, Russia could only desire a decisive victory of the United States in Iraq. Needless to add that none of these elites took any step to become a ‘resistance pole’ to US imperialism, not even to the extent of accepting Indonesia’s proposal for an emergency meeting of the Security Council to condemn the Anglo-American expedition!
Finally, it should not be forgotten that most of the members of the transnational elite did not even raise the type of initial objections raised by the above mentioned elites but, instead, fully approved the criminal invasion: the elites controlling over 60 percent of world production ( from Japan up to Italy, Spain and Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands) fully supported the Anglo-American attack against Iraq. And, of course, Ramsfeld’s ‘New Europe’, in other words the new hungry branches of the transnational elite in the ex Soviet bloc, were competing with each other in offering material help to the invaders! As regards the peripheral elites, as one could expect, they tried to deceive their own public, whereas at the same time they offered all direct or indirect help to the invaders they could. This was true for the new ‘progressive’ administration of South Korea, which offered even troops to the operation, as well as for ‘socialist’ Greece, which did not raise any objection to the use of the crucial US base in Crete for an illegal war. It was also true for the ‘socialist’ President of Chile, who rushed to correct his UN ambassador when he uttered the word ‘condemn’ for the invasion, instead of the correct one ‘regret’, as well as for the progressive President Lula of Brazil, who simply mumbled a few reservations! 
The ‘Empire’ version
Michael Hardt and Toni Negri put down in their best-seller Empire the (correct) thesis that the capitalist world has moved from imperialism to a ‘decentred and deterritorializing apparatus of rule that progressively incorporates the entire global realm within its open, expanding frontiers’. Within this problematique, it was clear, as the authors stated that:
The United States does indeed occupy a privileged position in Empire but this privilege derives not from its similarities to the old European imperialist powers, but from its differences. These differences can be recognised most clearly by focusing on the properly imperial (not imperialist) foundations of the Unites States constitution…this imperial idea has survived and matured throughout the history of the United States constitution and has emerged now on a global scale in its fully realised form.
However, Michael Hardt, just a couple of months before the present invasion, proposed the rather contradictory thesis that ‘the US is fast becoming an imperialist power along the old European model, but on a global scale’. Thus, instead of the Empire’s conception of the emergence of the imperial idea on a global scale he now talks about an old type of imperialism extended on a global scale. This talk is no longer about a ‘de-centred apparatus of rule’ but, instead, about a ‘centre of global domination’ (‘unilateral military actions paint a bull's-eye on the US for anyone seeking to attack the centre of global domination’). He then goes on to see new inter-imperialist rivalries arising—a clearly incompatible idea with the Empire’s conception —as when he states that :
Many political and economic elites around the world, however, do not favour the creation of a new US imperialism. One common view is that European political leaders generally oppose US unilateralism because it excludes them and prefer instead multilateral political and military solutions. What are most significant, however, are not the conflicting interests that separate US elites from others, but rather their common interests.
Although the last sentence gives the impression of some consistency with the Empire’s conception, the rest of the paragraph gives a completely different picture of today’s reality which could only mean that, for Hardt, the invasion represents a kind of regression to old imperialism. This may also be confirmed by the following passage:
However, there is an alternative to US imperialism: global power can be organized in a decentred form, which Toni Negri and I call "empire". This is not merely a multilateral coalition of leading nation states. Think of it as multilateralism squared (...) This decentred network power of empire corresponds to the interests of global elites because it both facilitates the potential profits of capitalist globalization and displaces or defuses potential security threats (...) We can be confident that in the long run their real interests will lead global elites to support empire and refuse any project of US imperialism.
This last passage gives the impression of a kind of new version of Empire in which the move from present US imperialism to the Empire has become a long-term objective rather than a well established trend. Furthermore, the present war is not seen as a manifestation of political globalization but as a ‘folly of our masters in the universe’, who apparently do not recognize their real interest! On this, at least, the co-author of Empire is consistent with the reformist thesis he proposed in the book that the present globalisation is welcome as an ‘objective’ basis on which an alternative globalisation could be built.
Epilogue: The dismal failure of the reformist Left
There is no doubt that the anti-war movement, despite the massive support that it enjoyed, dismally failed not only to stop the war or even to raise the cost of it for the transnational elite but even to achieve the minimal aim of raising the consciousness of the millions who participated in the anti-war activities by politicising the struggle beyond the mere humanitarian, pacifist level. It is also clear that only a transnational massive resistance, something similar to the one developed against the Nazis in the second world war, and not the massive symbolic and peaceful demonstrations could have stopped the transnational elite in its biggest crime to date which, after its success, is bound to be repeated wherever the transnational elite finds it necessary, until the NWO becomes unchallenged. Peaceful and symbolic demonstrations could have no effect at all when your opponent is not a ‘normal’ parliament-based government but an effective world junta in the form of the transnational elite which, unlike a normal military junta, controls not only an unprecedented military power in world History but also concentrates at its hands massive political and economic power and, on top of this, controls the world’s most powerful media and research institutions, as well as thousands of ‘intellectual commissars’ in its service all over the world.
However, this world junta would have found it impossible to control the billions of its victims all over the world had it not been for the indirect support of the reformist Left, which effectively legitimises its rule, as well as the NWO, by disorienting the popular movements, like the massive antiwar movement, on the real causes of the ‘wars’ of the transnational elite. This is the inevitable effect of the acceptance by the reformist Left of the transnational elite’s propaganda about the causes of the previous wars (supposed ‘liberation’ of Kuwait, then of Kosovo, then of Afghanistan and today of Iraq) rather than revealing the clear ‘systemic’ nature of them. This is also the inevitable effect of the reformist Left’s help in diffusing mass anger into pacifist demonstrations which, once they failed to have any effect (as they were bound to do because today’s wars are rapid—the transnational elite has learned well the Vietnam lesson), pass exactly the message the transnational elite is eager to pass, i.e. that any resistance is futile. This is finally, the inevitable effect of the fact that the reformist Left did not make any serious effort to politicise the antiwar movement and turn it against the transnational elite’s local branches in each country, which provided crucial direct or indirect help for the success of the criminal invasion.
The reformist Left’s responsibility in this dismal failure is heavy because, as I attempted to show above, it played a hegemonic role in the antiwar movement, through the World Social Forum and its local branches, the NGOs, and the reformist parties and organisations. The only way in which the popular movements could have any real impact was direct action in each country, i.e. the organisation of mass demonstrations against military bases and also against the local governments, which supported the invasion either directly or indirectly by giving access to military bases and allowing the military forces of the transnational elite to use their own air space, territorial waters and land for the transfer of their troops into the war theatre. However, the precondition for such a type of activity to develop was that the demonstrations would take an anti-government political character in each country once am initial set of demands, asking for the end of any direct or indirect support for the criminal war, was rejected. Instead, the reformist Left called for repeated demonstrations with the same abstract demand (at least for the peoples whose elites did not take direct part in the war), i.e. ‘stop the war’, until frustration sent most people home.
In conclusion, it is now clearer than ever that despite the myths created by the reformist Left about the possibility of parts of the transnational elite playing a ‘progressive’ role in creating an ‘alternative’ pole, the only effective way to resist the NWO and replace the present system of concentration of all effective power at the hands of various elites by a democratic globalisation of the peoples is the building of an international democratic antisystemic movement. The peoples have nothing to expect from their elites in the struggle to stop the NWO and only their effective self-organisation around a new mass movement for systemic change, something like the old socialist movement which, this time, would aim at new political and economic institutions directly controlled by the peoples themselves, could stop humanity’s descent into the new barbarism induced by the transnational elite’s World Order and its wars to maintain it.
 This consists of the political and economic elites that concentrate in their hands political and economic power respectively, as well as the ‘cultural’ elite in the international mass media, the international universities and research canters, which manage the present internationalized market economy; see Takis Fotopoulos, ‘Globalization, the reformist Left and the anti-globalisation movement’, Democracy & Nature, vol 7 no 2, July 2001, pp 233-280
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “The Global ‘war’ of the Transnational Elite”, Democracy & Nature, vol 8 no 2 (July 2002) pp 201-240
 The ‘war’ in 1991 is called in the text ‘the war in the Gulf’, whereas the present ‘war’ is called ‘the invasion of Iraq’. The word ‘war’ in both cases is put in quotation marks to indicate the fact that one could hardly call a war the military suppression—sometimes taking the form of a massacre—of a Third World army at the hands of the most powerful military machine in History.
 Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger, ‘U.S. Blueprint to Topple Hussein Envisions Big Invasion Next Year’, New York Times, April 28, 2002
 Barton Gellman, ‘Frustrated, U.S. Arms Team to Leave Iraq .Task Force Unable To Find Any Weapons ‘, Washington Post, May 11, 2003
 See G. Monbiot, ‘Chemical coup d'etat’, The Guardian, April 16, 2002 and ‘Diplomacy US style’, The Guardian, April 23, 2002
 Thus, in Britain, according to The Guardian/ICM war tracker poll, a month before the invasion there was a majority opposition of 52% to the war whereas, in Spain, according to a poll by the pro-government paper El Mundo carried out at the same time (Feb. 2003) 84,7% of those polled stated that they were against the war ‘under any circumstances’ and 74% declared their opposition to their governments’ stand on the war.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, The War in the Gulf, (Athens: Exantas 1991)
R Dumond, Le Monde Diplomatique, December, 1991
 See Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001)
 Charles Tripp, “Iraq: the imperial precedent”, Le Monde diplomatique, January 2003
 see David Teather and Ian Traynor, “US 'to keep bases in Iraq' , The Guardian, April 21, 2003
There is multiple evidence on this. Not only when Saddam appealed for US backing in his conflict with Kuwait, as a reward for his role in the Iraq-Iran war, the American ambassador to Iraq, on 25 July 1990, a few days before the Iraqi invasion and while its troops were concentrated on the border, replied that US do not have an opinion on intra- Arab disputes (The Guardian, 12/9/1990) but, also, John Kelly, assistant secretary of state, two days before the invasion, stated in a Congress foreign relations committee that USA are not committed to defend Kuwait! (The Guardian, 20/9/1990)
 Jonathan Weisman and Mike Allen “Officials Argue for Fast U.S. Exit From Iraq”, Washington Post , April 21, 2003
 In a written instruction to his prime minister who was conducting the negotiations with Iraq, the Kuwaiti emir stated that ‘ the opinion of our friends in Washington, London and Egypt is not to make concessions in our negotiations’ (The Guardian, 15/2/1991)
 R T Naylor, Bankers, Bagmen and Bandits, Black Rose 1990, p.20
 Julia Day, “Murdoch praises Blair's 'courage' “, The Guardian, February 12, 2003
 Anthony Sampson, ‘West's greed for oil fuels Saddam fever’, The Observer, August 11, 2002
 Anthony Sampson, ‘West's greed for oil fuels Saddam fever’, The Observer, August 11, 2002
 David Teather, ‘American to oversee Iraqi oil industry’, The Guardian, April 26, 2003
 Gary Younge and Ian Black ‘Blueprint gives coalition control of oil ‘, The Guardian, May 10, 2003; see also Guardian’s (a pro war paper during the war) highly critical leader ‘The new caliphs‘ on the UNSC draft (10/5/03)
 Hans von Sponeck and Denis Halliday, ‘The hostage nation’, The Guardian, November 29, 2001. The report by these two ex-UN humanitarian coordinators for Iraq is particularly useful in showing that ‘The uncomfortable truth is that the west is holding the Iraqi people hostage, in order to secure Saddam Hussein's compliance to ever-shifting demands’
 See Takis Fotopoulos, ‘The End of Traditional Antisystemic Movements and the Need for a New Type of Anti-systemic movement today’, Democracy and Nature, vol 7 no 3 (nov. 2001) pp. 415-456
 Charlene Barshefsky, “The Middle East Belongs in the World Economy”, New York Times, 22/2/03
 Mike Allen and Karen DeYoung, ‘Bush Calls Trade Key To Mideast’, Washington Post, May 10, 2003
 See Takis Fotopoulos, “Globalisation, the reformist Left and the Anti-Globalisation ‘Movement’”
 The letter was published in the London based Arab paper Al-Quds al-Arabi, (see Staff & agencies, 'Saddam letter' calls for Iraqi resistance, The Guardian, April 30, 2003); see also George Wright, ‘Australian newspaper handed 'Saddam tape', The Guardian, May 7, 2003
 The Guardian, 21 May 1996.
 See Takis Fotopoulos, The War in the Gulf, (Athens: Exantas, 1991)
 G. Hans von Sponeck, The Guardian , 4/11/01
 World Bank, World Development Report 1992, Table 1
 UN, Human Development Report 1997, Table 6
 Tony Ben, The Guardian , 2/2/98
 World Bank, World Development Report 1992, Tables 1& 28 and Human Development Report 1997, Table 8
 Maggie O’ Kane, The Guardian , 19/2/98
 UN, Human Development Report 2000, Table 8
 Paul O’Hanlon, , The Guardian , 20/2/98
 J. Borger, The Guardian , 3/3/98
 The Guardian, 15 January 1993
 Noam Chomsky’s interview with Republica (Eleftherotypia, 19/2/98)
 . This, despite the fact that as John Pilger pointed at the time, more Shias and Kurds were killed by the Americans and their ‘allies’ in the war in the Gulf than those the Iraqi regime has ever been able to kill. John Pilger, Distant voices, (Vintage, 1992).
 The Guardian, 15 January 1993
 No wonder US experts were admitting in 1998 that the Iraqi army, after the destruction it suffered in 1991, was not posing any threat to other countries and that there was no evidence that the Iraqi air force (which was doubtful whether it could fly 180 planes) was trained in the use of biochemical weapons, and that Scud missiles were not advisable for use with such weapons (New York Times, 21/2/98 & The Guardian, 21/2/98)
 The Guardian, Hugo Young, 17 December 1998
 Scott Ritter, ‘Don't blame Saddam for this one’, The Guardian, October 19, 2001
Julian Borger, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Brian Whitaker ‘Iraq: the myth and the reality’ The Guardian, March 15, 2002
 D A Turner, The Guardian, 7 February, 1998
 Time and CNN 31/5/98
 Ed Vulliamy, The Guardian, 12/2/98
 The Guardian 30/7/99
 The Guardian, 22 June, a998
 Maggie O’Kane, The Guardian, 21/12/98 . See also Peter Beaumont’s revealing report, “British safety claims wilt as uranium panic grips Nato”, The Observer, January 7, 2001
 The Guardian , 18 January 1993
 Julian Borger, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Brian Whitaker, «Iraq: the myth and the reality», The Guardian, March 15, 2002
 See Takis Fotopoulos, ‘The catastrophe of marketisation’, Democracy & Nature, vol 5 no 2 (July 1999), pp. 275-310
 Rakiya Omaar, The Guardian, 15/6/93
 The Guardian, ‘In the name of the UN, stop it’ (leader) 14/6/93
 The Guardian, 6/5/93
 B. Boutros‑Guali, Agenda for Peace, 1992
 The Guardian, 30/12/91
 The Guardian, 29/6/93
 see Washington Post, 20/1/93
 M. Walker, The Guardian, 28/6/93
 Gregg Easterbrook, ‘American Power Moves Beyond the Mere Super’, New York Times, April 27, 2003
 Seumas Milne, ‘Can the US be defeated?’, The Guardian, February 14, 2002
 see Takis Fotopoulos, ‘New World Order and NATO’s war against Yugoslavia’, New Political Science, vol 24 no 1 (March 2002) pp. 73-104
 As Monique Chemillier-Gendreau points out “The end of international law, likely since the Gulf war, is accelerating…the UN Security Council finally bowed to the US in Resolution 1368 of 12 September 2001…By describing the attacks of 11 September as "threats to international peace and security"… (it) has abandoned any idea of collective action in the name of the UN…the UN is encouraging a vicious circle where the response to violence and murder is a war of vengeance that may be extended to other lands’(“UN: the end of collective action”, Le Monde Diplomatique, November 2001)
 State of the Union address, January 2002
 Joseph S Nye, Jr, Bound to Lead: The Changing Nature of American Power, (New York: Basic Books, 1990)
 Julian Borger, The Guardian, January 31, 2002
 The Iraqi popular opposition against British rule in the 1920s was crushed by military force, including the use of mustard gas. Then, in 1921 Winston Churchill, a colonial secretary at the time, wrote in an official communication: "I am strongly in favour of using poison gas on uncivilised tribes." Later, he added that the gas used against the Iraqi rebels had "excellent moral effects". Ghada Karmi, The Guardian, December 28, 2002
 See Ewen MacAskill et al ‘Washington piles on pressure to secure UN majority’, The Guardian, February 1, 2003
 It should be noted here that the relations between the transnational elite and the UN are not only direct-- through governments—but also indirect, through the multinationals. Thus, as Gary Younge reports (“The golden rulemakers”, The Guardian, November 11, 2002) as globalisation has accelerated over the past decade, we have seen the ascendancy, with the UN, of the representatives not of nations but of capital. For instance, when UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, told the Business-Humanitarian Forum in 1999 that "the business community is fast becoming one of the UN's most important allies - that is why the organisation's doors are open to you as never before", two months later, the United Nations Development Programme accepted $50,000 from 11 multinationals in return for privileged access to their offices.
 Ewen MacAskill and Michael White, ‘Saddam backs down on missiles’, The Guardian, February 28, 2003
 Terry Macalister, ‘BP chief fears US will carve up Iraqi oil riches’ , The Guardian, October 30, 2002
 Ed Vulliamy, Paul Webster and Nick Paton Walsh , ‘Scramble to carve up Iraqi oil reserves lies behind US diplomacy’, The Observer, October 6, 2002
 Richard Perle, ‘Thank God for the death of the UN. Its abject failure gave us only anarchy. The world needs order’, The Guardian, March 21, 2003
 See Takis Fotopoulos, The war in the Gulf, (Athens: Exantas, 1991)
 Hans von Sponeck, ‘Go on, call Bush's bluff’, The Guardian, July 22, 2002
 Νew York Times, February 19, 2003
 Ewen MacAskill and Michael White, “Blair to defy anti-war protests”, The Guardian, February 17, 2003
 The fact that there was no real difference about aims was repeatedly stated by Chris Patten, the European Commissioner for Foreign affairs, who has always stressed that the EU and the USA shared the same aims and only differed about the means to be used.
 Μichael Κlare, ‘From war on terror to plain war-United States: energy and strategy, Le Monde diplomatique, November 2002
 see Ignacio Ramonet, ‘Global crisis over Iraq: Poles apart’, Le Monde diplomatique , March 2003
 see Ewen MacAskill, ‘Democracy blooms but US keeps a grip’, The Guardian, May 5, 2003
 see Chris McGreal, ‘No independent Palestine, Sharon insists’, The Guardian, March 17, 2003 & ‘Israeli wall to encircle Palestine’, The Guardian, March 18, 2003
 Staff and agencies, 'Saddam letter' calls for Iraqi resistance , The Guardian, April 30, 2003
 see e.g. Richard Norton-Taylor, ‘Both the military and the spooks are opposed to war on Iraq’, The Guardian, February 24, 2003
 see for an excellent monitoring of what really went on in the military front, beyond the propaganda of western media : http://www.aeronautics.ru/news/news002/news069.htm
 see for a monitor of the brain-washing techniques used by the British media during the war, Takis Fotopoulos, The War Against ‘Terrorism’, (Athens: Gordios, May 2003)
 Julian Borger et al. «Full-blooded onslaught», The Guardian, March 22, 2003
 Leader, ‘Awe from the air :The aim is to show resistance is futile’ The Guardian, March 22, 2003
 Guardian research dept, ‘Counting the cost’, The Guardian, April 12, 2003
 Ewen MacAskill, ‘Cholera threat in Basra’, The Guardian, May 10, 2003
 see, for instance, the revealing report by Judith Miller «U.S. Mobile Labs Are Poised to Hunt Iraqi Arms» Νew York Times, March 19, 2003
 see e.g. David Leigh and Brian Whitaker, ‘Financial scandal claims hang over leader in waiting’ ,The Guardian, April 14, 2003
 Ewen MacAskill, ‘Democracy blooms but US keeps a grip’, The Guardian, May 5, 2003
 See Takis Fotopoulos, ‘The Global “War” of the Transnational Elite’, Democracy & Nature, vol 8, no 2, July 2002 (pp201-240)
 Appeal of New European Left Forum member parties and the Iraqi Communist Party, February 14, 2003, http://www.iraqcp.org/
 Ghada Karmi, ‘An attack on us all’, The Guardian, December 28, 2002
 see the interview of Abd al-Jabbar al-Kubaysi, leader of the Iraqi National Alliance, with IIbrahim Alloush in Baghdad, 13 December 2002 for Free Arab Voice. http://www.antiimperialista.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1905&Itemid=0
 Kamil Mahdi, ‘Iraqis will not be pawns in Bush and Blair's war game’, The Guardian, February 20, 2003
 Alan Travis, ‘Surge in war support confirms dramatic shift in public opinion’, The Guardian, April 15, 2003
 Immanuel Wallerstein, for instance, argues that Europe is one of the main targets of the US hawks: ‘It seems to the hawks harder to break the back of Europe than that of the Middle East or of the U.S. opposition’; see Immanuel Wallerstein, ‘Shock and Awe?’ (Fernand Braudel Center, Binghamton University: Commentary No. 111, Apr. 15, 2003).
 Thus, according to George Monbiot, who has repeatedly attacked US imperialism, ‘there is only one way to check American power and that is to support the euro’, G. Monbiot, The bottom dollar , The Guardian, April 22, 2003
 See Takis Fotopoulos, ‘Globalization, the reformist Left and the anti-globalisation movement’
 see for instance , Jon Henley, ‘French try to repair relationship with US’, The Guardian, April 3, 2003; John Leicester, ‘France's Chirac, Bush Speak By Phone’, Washington Post, April 15, 2003
 Tariq Ali, ‘Re-colonizing Iraq’
 Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2001) p. xii
 ibid. p. xiv
 Michael Hardt, ‘Folly of our masters of the universe. Global elites must realise that US imperialism isn't in their interest ‘,The Guardian, December 18, 2002
 See Takis Fotopoulos and Alexandros Gezerlis, ‘Hardt and Negri’s Empire: A New Communist Manifesto or a Reformist Welcome to Neoliberal Globalisation?’, Democracy & Nature, vol 8 no 2 (July 2002), pp. 319-330