The ultimatum delivered by President George W. Bush to President Saddam Hussein of Iraq is an incredible act of arrogance which only this administration would dare to commit.
Saddam Hussein is the legally-constituted President of Iraq. It is this country which has to decide on who it chooses as leader, not George W. Bush. The ultimatum, requesting him and his close family to leave the country was received with great regret by Moscow, a feeling which has already been expressed to President Bush by President Vladimir Putin.
Although it surprises nobody that this administration in Washington can decide on regime change to suit its interests and then press ahead without any regard for international law, destroying at the same time the credibility of the United Nations Organization, it is the beginning of a grave mistake.
At a stroke, Washington has destroyed the wave of international goodwill following the horrors of September 11th, becoming instead a state which performs acts of terrorism: an act of war outside the auspices of the UNO is illegal because Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 all refer to the need for a second resolution. Washington decided not to press for this because it knew that it would not arrange the nine votes necessary…and because France and Russia had declared that they would use their right to veto.
Instead of listening to world public opinion, the Bush administration blindly pressed ahead, goaded on by the protagonistic Prime Minister of Britain, Anthony Blair. At a stroke, Washington has destroyed the notion that the UNO is anything more than a global institution of charity and at a stroke, the Bush administration has rekindled the hatred felt for “Americans” around the world (wrongly, because “Americans” are so many individuals).
At a stroke, the Bush administration has given the green light to all would-be terrorists who follow the “have-a-go” philosophy because countries like Iran, Syria and Libya know only too well that they are next on the black list, if not in future the Central Asian Republics and in the medium term, who knows, Siberia?
The pretexts will be tailored to the needs of the day. That George Bush cannot pronounce the word “dictator” correctly, stressing the first syllable instead of the second, is possibly due to the fact that Dick (Cheney) is running the show. However, whether or not Saddam Hussein is a dictator makes no difference…Washington, or the energy lobby headed by Cheney, thought it perfectly viable to consort with Suharto’s Indonesia, which massacred hundreds of thousands of people. General Wiranto, the Army Chief of Staff even had weekly liaisons with CIA officials for a time in the 1990s. The point is that Washington wants to punish Baghdad for adopting the Euro, potentially ruinous in the long term to the US economy.
Washington wholly misjudged the international climate, going too far too fast, after the wave of sympathy following September 11th led the world to remain silent as the USA/UK alliance attacked Afghanistan, also outside the auspices of the UNO but upon the pretext that Afghanistan had violated international law by harbouring terrorists who had in turn perpetrated an act of such barbarous proportions.
Rather than an act of self-defence, it was an act of retaliation which is not covered by any of the UN Statutes, however, the climate at the time was favourable or at least neutral in the event.
Convinced that the world would swallow the terrorism link to Baghdad, Washington pressed ahead, first calling for the inspections to restart, never imagining that Saddam Hussein would comply. He did. The words “Now what?” were almost audible in the silence which gripped the Pentagon and the White House. Imagining that because nobody had spoken out against the attack on Afghanistan, where the Taleban regime had earned few friends, the Bush administration imagined that it would be easy to bully the international community into allowing it to steal the resources of a sovereign state, Iraq, which sits on 10.7% of the world’s oil resources. Now George Bush realizes that he has gone beyond the point of no return and that he is about to commit the biggest mistake any US President has made in the history of the country.
For the time being, only shock and horror are expressed in “diplomese”, in expressions of regret and preoccupation and concern. These expressions will unfortunately set in the minds of the countless millions of people around the world whom Washington has just made an enemy of.
In the minds of many, gone are the notions that terrorists are crazy fanatics, rather that they are desperately fighting for their freedom against the oppressor. Gone are the notions that the USA stands for democracy and law, because it has totally disrespected international law and its methods at the UN Security Council were closer to blackmail than democracy.
This administration has just initiated a dangerous cycle of events which will unfortunately cause the wholesale massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians around the world, in an unprecedented spiral of violence which will last for many years.
The United States of America, in attacking Iraq outside the auspices of the UNO, is committing an illegal act of war. George Bush is about to commit war crimes. He may not be eligible for prosecution at the ICC, because the USA has not ratified the act recognizing the tribunal, but Tony Blair and those who support this illegal act are, and will be taken to this court accordingly.
What a depressing comment on the collective state of mankind, that the only proper forum for discussion has been violated just because it would not vote the way Washington wanted.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru