Saturday, March 24, 2007

Four Years of US-Led Occupation of Iraq: Playing the Shi'i-Sunni Divide

A Long and Informative Article

By K Gajendra Singh
(Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey and Azerbaijan from August 1992 to April 1996. Prior to that, he served terms as ambassador to Jordan, Romania and Senegal. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.)

"US led western talk of a Shi'i-Sunni war looks troublingly real , although the option is now on slow backburner. The policy of divide and rule is as old as the Roman empire – a constant guide to the Christian West and implemented ruthlessly during its colonial onslaught on the rest of the world. Evolution of Western nationalism based on a narrow definition of shared religion , ethnicity , language , culture or history after centuries of religious and ethnic wars was then employed to divide multi religious and pluralistic empires and kingdoms in the East and South during its crusade of colonial wars and expansion, masked as 'civilizing mission ' or 'white man's burden' 'or 'saving the soul' by converting natives to Christianity .Europe and Orthodox Russia became self proclaimed 'Guardians of Christians' or nationalities like Serbs ,Bulgarians, Greeks , Armenians and others to divide and break up the far flung Ottoman empire which had reached right up to the gates of Vienna. Religious 'millets' had full freedom of faith and Christians and Jews dominated trade and industry in the Ottoman empire......

So from the very beginning as Scott Ritter , a former UN Chief Weapons Inspector for Iraq, revealed after occupying Baghdad and Iraq (Kurdistan in any case has been a US protectorate since the end of 1991 Gulf War), US and allied special forces provided information on dethroned ruling Sunni elite for taking revenge to the Iraqi exiles ,like Ahmet Chelebi, a convicted embezzler , Iyad Allawi , both intelligence assets of CIA , MIV and others , Shi'i outfits like SCIRI and Badr corps nurtured , nursed and financed by Iran ,opportunists ,carpetbaggers and others who rode into Baghdad on US tanks ,helicopters and F-16s. Scott Ritter also revealed that the Ba'athist regime under President Saddam Hussein was quite realistic about West's objectives and had planned Iraqi resistance much before the invasion.

Later ,Washington , London and Tel Aviv also looked at the option of dividing Iraq into Iraqi Kurdistan , with almost half of Iraqi oil wealth ,which being weak would remain subservient to the West. Its oil can be easily sent to the Mediterranean via the Kirkuk Ceyhan pipe line. Perhaps even a defence alliance could be signed with the Kurds. Washington had in fact planned to have an air base in north Iraq on the pretext of saving Kurds from Saddam's forces in 1991, so an anxious Ankara offered its Incirlik airbase for US-UK jets to patrol over Iraq and bomb it at will.......

The continued divisions in and exploitation of the Arabs and Kurdish problems in the region are the consequences of British policy of divide and rule after the First world war , now being pursued by USA. Like the British then ,now George Bush never tires of bringing liberty and democracy to the Arabs .Pentagon even called US led illegal naked 'shock and awe ' invasion of Iraq as 'Operation Iraqi Freedom '- some cheek .Whose intelligence are they insulting ?Their own as no one believed them except the info-challenged Americans .And even they have wised up......

'After centuries of vibrant interaction, of marrying, sharing and selling across sects and classes, Baghdad has become a capital of corrosive, violent borderlines. Streets never crossed. Conversations never broached. Doors never entered.

"Sunnis and Shiites in many professions now interact almost exclusively with colleagues of the same sect. Sunnis say they are afraid to visit hospitals because Shiites loyal to the cleric Moktada al-Sadr run the Health Ministry, while Shiite laborers who used to climb into the back of pickup trucks for work across the Tigris River in Sunni western Baghdad now take jobs only near home. Baghdad is increasingly looking like Sarajevo in the 1990s", said Damien Cave in International Herald Tribune in early March......"

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