Once in control of Iraq, Bremer immediately took steps to punish the Iraqis for Saddam’s sins. Together with the prewar sanctions, the harsh policies he imposed on farmers, for instance, turned vast swaths of Mesopotamia – viewed by historians as the cradle of agriculture and in turn of civilization itself, into a desert. Most of the damage to this sacred territory, once home to the Garden of Eden, will never be healed. Salination has taken its toll.
Bremer destroyed Iraqi agriculture – and also most of the Iraqi economy, almost completely, primarily under his infamous Article 81.
The Rawabet Center reports in its Arabic language edition (our adaptation):
“In terms of agriculture, before 2003, Iraq had a central seed system, the so-called National Seed Bank. It was developing a seed industry with centralized control and a good variety of all the different kinds of seeds and wheat in the world. The farmers worked at preserving, sharing and re-planting them. The intention was to have cultivar lines that dated back thousands of years, ie, from the time of the early farmers. But after 2003, by order of Bremer, the scientific research and development institutions of Iraqi seeds were destroyed completely and deliberately. Now, seed supplies cover only 5%, according to a study conducted in 2005.
“Resolution 81 is important in that it destroyed Iraq's agricultural economy, significantly impacting Iraq under color of law, thanks to the Law on Patents, Industrial Designs, Confidentiality, Information, Integrated Circuits and Crop Diversity. Article 81 states: "Iraqi farmers shall be prevented from using protected seeds and any item mentioned in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Article 14, prohibiting Iraqi farmers to save seeds, share with others, or replant harvested seeds.”
A US researcher, Dalia Wasfi, who visited Iraq after the debacle, came back and testified before Congress of the misery caused by US involvement there.
Rawabet Center reported on this in its English-language edition. Some excerpts (edited for clarity by NSS):
“Wasfi was referring [in comments about who benefited from Article 81] to Monsanto, a multinational company engaged in agricultural biotechnology and the undisputed world’s largest producer of seeds (regular and genetically modified). It holds 70-100% of the world market share of various crop seeds in the world.
“The company uses these seeds for one harvest season, making farmers rely on the company to provide grain each year because it was genetically modified, and its seeds cannot be replanted.
“So here lies the interest of companies such as Dow, a multinational American chemical company, and Cargill grain company which work to reproduce and deal in the seed. These are the only companies that manufacture chemicals for seeds.”
Besides the infamous Order 81, there were other orders intended to benefit US entities at the expense of the beleaguered Iraqis.
Resolution No. 39 allows for privatization of 200 formerly state-owned companies to be transferred to foreign owners, national treatment for foreign companies, tax exemption for transfer of profits and other funds. This allows US companies operating in Iraq to be sole owners of any business, to work in the business and send all proceeds to the US without having to reinvest the money locally in the service of the Iraqi economy, with no need to hire Iraqi labor or provide benefits to workers.
Resolution No. 40 transformed the state-owned banking sector to a market-driven one overnight by allowing foreign banks to enter the Iraqi market and buy up to 50% of Iraqi banking.
Resolution No. 12 suspended all customs duties and taxes on imports and additional license fees for goods entering or leaving Iraq, and all other trade restrictions applying to such goods. This led to an immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap consumer products and eliminated national industry.
Resolution No. 17: grants foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from Iraqi laws. Thus if a foreign contractor caused damage to a third party, eg, killing someone or causing environmental damage, eg, by disposal of toxic chemicals, or water intoxication, the injured party cannot resort to the Iraqi legal system, as it must submit charges to US courts.
Resolution 30 prevents many industrial products and raw materials from being exported from Iraq.
So far these laws are still on the books, preventing Iraq from rising out of poverty. The Iraqi lawmakers are mysteriously prevented from cancelling them. Minister of Industry and Minerals, Mohammad Darraji, said that “hidden entities work to keep the decisions of Bremer and prevent Iraq from exporting to eliminate Iraqi industry.”
Meanwhile, America keeps playing the only game it knows, dividing the world into black vs white, ie, those who are for it and those who are against it, while Russia has discovered nuances and shared interests that can help bring adversaries together despite their differences.
An article in Al-Monitor sums up the difference between the strategies of East and West:
“…while Putin choreographs each move with a wary and calculating eye on Iran and the ever-shifting regional landscape, the United States limits its options by seeing every Iranian move as adversarial and in zero-sum terms, which only serves to frustrate Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who prefers that the United States and Iran not play out their hostility in Iraq.”
The best hope for Iraq is Russia and the Iraqis know it.
NSS had shown in our piece our piece titled “East vs West: Who are the enlightened ones?,” that the US bases its foreign policies on an ideology reflecting the radical Enlightenment school that gave rise to the bloody French Revolution and the murderous rampaging of Bonaparte that almost destroyed Europe and Russia. This ideology – like all ideologies really – far from solving problems, did nothing but create chaos. It denied and even punished traditional thinking, common sense and nature while purporting to adopt science as its basis. Human compassion was not rewarded, it was punished.
What the US did to Iraq is a perfect example of this same ideology in action today having survived the centuries intact. Only time separates Americans from receiving the same kind of abuse themselves that they tolerated in faraway places against people of a different culture, language and religion. Where was the outrage of pro-life groups? Where were the mass marches on Washington? Clearly Christian love and compassion only extended from sea to shining sea.
Recently Rex Tillerson told the Iraqi government that the PMF (Popular Mobilization Force) should “go home” now that IS is under control in the country.
The irony of this was not lost on those who know the history of Iraq and of the PMF. Firstly, in 2015 the US had swung into Iraq to launch combat light against ISIS, allowing the terrorists to take over much of the country before taking this decision, allowing the terrorists to mingle with the civilian population and indirectly causing countless subsequent civilian deaths in the effort to extricate them. When it was Trump’s turn, he bombed Mosul almost into total oblivion, inspiring an article titled Trump's anti-ISIS war keeps killing huge numbers of civilians. Trump then insensitively claimed he had “liberated” the city. PM Al-Badi took the precaution to demand no US boots on the ground. Tillerson therefore had no authority to issue orders there. The pretext for Tillerson’s brash statement was that the PMF is supposedly Iran-backed. Now it can be assumed that Iran has clout in the PMF, as it does everywhere in the Shiite world and in Palestine, but this – originally volunteer – force is largely an eclectic group comprising Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites, Yazidis and Christians, among others. It is not an Iranian force, at variance with Neocon propaganda.
The point is, the US Establishment has created another of its famous myths designed for the express purpose of shoving another war down the public throat. This time the myth is supercharged by the fact that Donald Trump himself insists, absurdly, that Iran – which we know played a decisive role in defeating ISIS in both Syria and Iraq – is the “biggest state sponsor of terror” (despite the fact that all terrorist entities operating, for example, in Europe, are Sunni Wahhabists while Iran is Shiite-dominated) and that Trump enjoys the questionable reputation of being the president who is anti-Establishment and wants to “drain the swamp.”
The thing is, much of Trump’s support was also from Americans who were sick and tired of war, and yet his anti-Iran rhetoric sounds a lot like war mongering. Further, his chumminess with the Saudi dictators looks like the same old kowtowing to these supporters of Al-Qaeda and other terrorists that we have come to expect from US presidents. Yet, while nothing substantive has changed under Trump, we are assured that Trump has nothing to do with any of this warlike behavior. “They” have “got something on him” and “his hands are tied.” But that is not far from what we used to hear about GW Bush – until the disastrous results of the Afghan and Iraqi wars became too apparent to hide the stench any longer.
Speaking of Iraqi history, we need to keep in mind that for several decades now, it’s been dominated by Washington, DC, something that was not lost on the Iraqis.
The shapers of US war policies (under color of “fighting terror”) have firmly established a reputation of being heartless, having no reverence for life, for history and antiquity, for the intricacies of foreign cultures and traditions, for beauty and the achievements of the peoples whose homes it invades, and for their welfare. One of the first mishaps after the US “won” the Iraq war was the large-scale sack of a famous Baghdad museum, where priceless art treasures were lost forever. No effort was made the invaders to stop, apprehend or deter the authors of this senseless ransacking. Washington’s obtuse callousness was jolting.
However, none of this should come as a surprise, as recent leaked government documents show that the US and the Saudis were, as has long been expected, behind the terror that the US is now “fighting” in Iraq and Syria. Here are 3 examples of official statements and leaked official documents illustrating this:
A leaked NSA memo showing US-Saudi complicity with and prior knowledge of a terror attack on Damascus international airport.
Diplomatic flight records leaked to a Bulgarian reporter reveal arms shipments to terrorists from the US and Gulf countries.
The testimony of an ex Qatari prime minister indicates that the Saudis, Turkey and the US colluded to fund Al-Qaeda and destroy Syria.
The skullduggery had already started when the US supported Saddam Hussein in the war against Iran back in the early 80s, in the first attempt to avenge the US for the seizure of the Tehran US embassy and staff during the Islamic Revolution. One might say the US was justified in seeking revenge. But one would be forgetting the CIA’s obtuse meddling that led to the ouster of popular president Mosaddeq in 1954 and subsequent US backing of the unpopular Shah, whose repressive policies led to the brutal murder of many anti-regime protesters.
This US-backed invasion of Iran by Iraq and ensuing 8 years of war led to a debilitation of the Iraqi economy, which never recovered and was further exacerbated by the US occupation starting in 2003 at the end of the US-Iraq war.
At this point Bush appointed Paul Bremer to head the Coalition Provisional Authority. Estimated civilian war casualties of at least 200,000 civilians were small change for Washington policy makers. They dreamed of a country populated by the living dead, and Bremer was their go-to man.
Now whenever older people think of how America treats defeated nations, many of them immediately think of the leniency and generosity of US economic policy toward Germany and Japan after WW II. The Marshall Plan awarded postwar Germany the wherewithal not only to pick itself up but also to quickly become a booming economy, which, as a result, is now the no. 1 economy in Europe and the no. 2 exporter in the world after China. Japan recovered more slowly with US assistance but eventually became a leading powerhouse in Asia.
Those days of US largesse toward defeated enemies are most definitely over. Ironically, the US had shown its past leniency to countries that had in fact attacked US interests and allies. Ironically, now that the US has been attacking countries unprovoked, its generosity is gone, replaced by an irrational meanness that looks a lot like hate, and not just toward the leaders who refused to bow before the Washington and Wall Street elite – for their sin in each case was to run their economies and their public policies without consulting with Big Brother in Washington – but toward the hapless little people who by and large had nothing to do with the waywardness of their leaders vis-à-vis the US. This vengefulness is the MO of the people we have come to identify as Neoconservatives.