Monday, January 08, 2007

Freedom

For all the talk from the Americans about bringing freedom to Iraq they are failing in possibly the most important aspect of Freedom. That of the right to self-determination.

Over the Christmas period I started to watch Aljazeera and I have to say I have been impressed. It gives you a view of the middle east that you don’t here. Where you get the westernised version of the truth. Now this is not just an attack against the fox news’s of this world and their Bush is great approach but also the so called liberal media that approach the subject from lets prove Bush is Hitler view point. This came from an altogether approach. An approach that we don’t see much over here. So it is very original to me anyway. But also it is not what you might think.

I watched a recent documentary on the channel. Called Witness Return to Kirkuk. (You can watch a shorter version here from PBS). Basically it followed a Kurdish journalist who fled Iraq years ago after being tortured by Saddam’s hench men at the age of 14. In one scene he was getting the grave of his parents fixed up. When the guy who came to fix the graves arrived he realised that it was the guy who had given him up to the “police” all those years. Ago. After asking him. Why did you give me up? The guy retold of how he to had been tortured. And was told the only way it would stop was if he gave the other guy in. Anyone that doubt’s Saddam’s regimes brutality should watch this.

The attitude of the Kurdish people towards Bush and Blair was on the whole positive. One old women even wished a statute be erected in honour of the them (there is something to make the Galway Alliance against War angry) . But the one problem they had with them was the fact that they did not support their wish to be an independent nation.

He called the oil underneath Kirkuk as a curse. Saying that it only ever brought them misery and they had seen very little of the money or jobs it generated. Indeed it was posed if they had no oil. Would they be independent? Even though they have more oil under the city then in Texas. Fuel shortages are rife. One scene outside a petrol station should tensions rise as one person bribed a police officer to skip the queue for fuel. The black market in petrol was also rife and there was a shortage of Gas.

This to me has always been the Americans biggest fuckup in Iraq. People were meant to believe that after Saddam was gone. Things would get better. But in fact they got worse. In the ensuing chaos of the first few weeks of war America lost the war. Wars like this are one by winning the hearts and minds. Hard to do when the hearts and minds are struggling to survive. The first order of Business should have been the rapid repair of electricity, oil and food distribution. The CIA estimates that in 2005 Iraq exported 1,420,000 barrels of oil a day. None of this should have left the country. The Americans were thinking to far ahead. They were thinking of improving the countries image abroad by making them an oil exporter again.. The priority for the Americans should have been to make sure people were 100% better off under the new administration then. Even some of the Kurds the coalitions main allies doubt this. Imagine the people who don’t support the coalition are saying. The American’s had to insure that every Iraqi had more food, more gas, more medicine then they had prior to the invasion. That should have been a priority above all else. Suffer the little children is great propaganda for the insurgents.

I wonder are the Americans looking at this the wrong way round. They seem to think by crushing the insurgency that underlining poverty and injustice in the country will solve itself. Without realising that the poverty and injustice is in itself a cause of the insurgency. And that it can not be left unsolved and the insurgency defeated.

The Kurds themselves find themselves in a catch 22 situation. Not one of their own making but one of America’s making. Turkey is a great ally of America. But they do not want to see a Kurdish state, less the 15 million Kurds in Turkey want to join. Not wanting to anger Turkey they are not going to budge on Kurdistan. To suit political expediency the very freedom Bush says he is intent on bringing to Iraq. Is going to be denied to their biggest friends there? It seems the neo-con’s are not dissimilar to their arch enemy of the Realists Kissinger.

The journalist in the documentary said he feared that Iraq would turn into Yugoslavia. A bitter ethnic conflict that will rip the nation apart with the blood of the Iraqi people. I fear that to. Iraq is a country made up by the League of Nations not the people of the region. I am afraid it will take a blood civil war for the world to see that nations are determined by people not lines in the sand.

3 comments:

xaosseed said...

Even the Iraqi government only claims refining capacity for 700,000bopd - everything over that they *have* to export because raw crude is near useless and the country needs gasoline, diesel and other refined products to function.

Insurgents blowing up the pipelines isn't a matter of preventing the oil from being 'stolen', it prevents the Iraqis benefiting at all from their resources - no export, no sales, no useable fuels for the population.

xaosseed said...

Even the Iraqi government only claims refining capacity for 700,000bopd - everything over that they *have* to export because raw crude is near useless and the country needs gasoline, diesel and other refined products to function.

Insurgents blowing up the pipelines isn't a matter of preventing the oil from being 'stolen', it prevents the Iraqis benefiting at all from their resources - no export, no sales, no useable fuels for the population.

Niall said...

"I wonder are the Americans looking at this the wrong way round. They seem to think by crushing the insurgency that underlining poverty and injustice in the country will solve itself. Without realising that the poverty and injustice is in itself a cause of the insurgency. And that it can not be left unsolved and the insurgency defeated."

I think you might be spot on there. But it is a real Catch-22 situation. The insurgency tends to attack any attempt to improve the country's infrastructure, which is necessary if they hope to tackle the issue of poverty.

Of course, this could have been avoided if they'd managed the fall of Sadaam better, but that little observation is of little good these days. The good will that the Americans need if they are to proceed in re-building Iraq just isn't there.