Iraq: Chaos

The US/UK coalition has caused the complete breakdown of authority, has ruptured the water and electricity supply to large swathes of territory and faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe which it caused by its illegal and murderous attack on Iraq.

The scenes in Baghdad were repeated all over the country. Banks were robbed, shops were looted, palaces, shopping centres, hotels and government buildings were ransacked and set ablaze, while armed confrontation broke out between shopkeepers and looters, 25 people being taken to hospital with gunshot wounds in the capital.

The Shi’ite leader Majid Al Khoei was assassinated by militiamen at Najaf yesterday along with another cleric, while the tribal chief placed in charge of Basra by the British has incurred the wrath of local residents, some of whom complain that the tribal chiefs were paid by Saddam Hussein to support the regime, and now they sell themselves to the coalition.

In the north, the US forces had to take control of the administration of the cities of Mosul and Kirkuk, because the Turks were eyeing the advance of the Kurdish Peshmerga with growing suspicion. How long the Americans will remain in charge of these cities is unclear, but a prolonged period of administration was exactly what Washington did not want.

In doing such an effective job of destroying the Iraqi command and control, the coalition, in its colonialist zeal, forgot that under international law, the occupying armed forces are obliged to protect the civilian population and to enforce law and order.

As to who to place in charge of this country, which appears more fragmented by the day, Rumsfeld’s protйgйs, Ahmed Chalabi and Jay Garner, a personal friend, are eyed with suspicion in other quarters, especially Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, seen as a charlatan interested in his own profit by the State Department and the CIA.

While the rest of the world clamours for the UNO to be involved in the rebuilding of Iraq, the companies which gravitate around the White House asking for wars prepare to carve up Iraq, drawing lines on maps in a neo-colonialist and imperialist frenzy.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru