Since the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq by U.S. forces, the world has witnessed a string of U.S.-orchestrated jubilations; each of one was celebrated in the West, as a “new dawn for Iraqis”. Every time, the euphoria was short-lived. However, the aim remains the same; to provide enough propaganda to manipulate public opinion and justify murderous war and Occupation against the Iraqi people.
From George W. Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” to occupy Iraq and the “handover of sovereignty” to the fraudulent elections and the recent “killing” of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi (not his real name), the targets have always been the poor peoples in the West, Americans in particular. They are reduced to football spectators, frightened and constantly diverted from the crimes committed in their name.
Al-Zarqawi was part of the U.S. big lie. He was created by the U.S. and linked to Iraq to justify an illegal act of aggression condemned by the majority of the world as international war crimes. In 2004, Al-Zarqawi’s phantom was used as pretext to justify the destruction of the vibrant city of Fallujah in indiscriminate Nazis-like attacks. Using banned weapons, including ‘white phosphorous’, napalm and cluster bombs, U.S. forces murdered more than 6000 civilians in cold blood. The war crimes received with deafening silence in the West and more Iraqi towns and cities, including Najef, Karbala, Al-Hillah, Baquba, Samarra, Al-Qaim, Tel Afar, Al-Ramadi and other towns and cities endured the same barbaric attacks and destruction.
However, the truth about the Al-Zarqawi’s phantom remained conspicuously absents from even the most popular of Western media. There is no hard evidence to substantiate the presence of Al-Zarqawi in Iraq and his “attacks” against Iraqis. When and where Al-Zarqawi lived and later “killed”, only his minders (the Americans) know. Furthermore, using the Al-Zarqawi’s phantom, the U.S. and its allies, have succeeded (at least in the West) in the Islamisation of terrorism. Westerners have been conditioned into a U.S. agenda that Islam and terrorism are interrelated, making it easier for the U.S. and Israel to conduct their wars of aggression and violence with impunity.
According to an internal briefing, produced by the U.S. military headquarter in Iraq, that Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt, the U.S. military’s chief propagandist in Baghdad had concluded that; “The Zarqawi PSYOP [‘psychological operations’] program is the most successful [dis]information campaign to date”. Further, the U.S. was very clear about the use of the Al-Zarqawi phantom. The Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon was deeply involved in a propaganda campaign to “Villainize” Al-Zarqawi, to make him the public face of terror in Iraq.  The success of the ‘psychological operations’ campaign was summarised in a military memo (‘leverage Xenophobia’) obtained by the Washington Post as: “Through aggressive Strategic Communications Abu Musab al-Zarqawi now represents:
Terrorism in Iraq
Foreign Fighters in Iraq
Suffering of Iraqi People (Infrastructure Attacks)
Denial of Aspirations (Disrupting Transfer of Sovereignty)”.
The Post suggests that PSYOP was almost too effective, distorting the fact that Al-Zarqawi’s violence, according to one military commander, Col. Derek Harvey, was a “very small part of the actual numbers”. Col. Harvey added: “Our own focus on Zarqawi has enlarged his caricature, if you will — made him more important than he really is”, and provided the U.S. with smokescreen to perpetuate violence and foment ‘civil war’.
The fact that Al-Zarqawi was able to operate in Iraq with ease and lethality was never questioned by Western media and pundits. “Who financed his activities and secured the money, the weapons and the recruits; who provided him with protection and what role did those forces that are said to have penetrated his ranks play in pushing him to carry out the atrocities he did or to undermine the Iraqi nationalist resistance?”, asks an Iraqi commentator, Dhafer Al-Ani, in the Egyptian weekly, Al-Ahram. “It is such a strange coincidence that his agenda to divide Iraq has been similar to that of the invaders”, adds Al-Ani. An imperialist agenda of fomenting sectarianism developed by the U.S. and Israel and implemented with brutality against the entire nation of Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi was a U.S. propaganda tool designed to blacken the name and distort the image of Iraqis and the Iraqi Resistance. Hence, the removal of Al-Zarqawi stain is welcomed news for the Iraqi Resistance against the Occupation. It is time for the so-called “Left” and “Progressives” in the West to come out of their hibernation closet, condemn the ongoing Occupation as crimes against the Iraqi people and lend their support to the Iraqi Resistance against U.S. violence.
It is important to remember that, since the illegal invasion of Iraq; Al-Zarqawi was “killed” and eluded capture at least ten times. Each time it was a massacre of innocent Iraqi children and their parents hiding in a “save house”. The timely orchestrated “killing” of Al-Zarqawi was designed to cover the blood of countless Iraqi massacres. Indeed U.S. propaganda and Western media have exaggerated and magnified Al-Zarqawi “killing” to cover the Haditha massacre and provide “good news” out of Iraq at the time when the U.S. trying to cover up its war crimes. The Haditha massacre was not an “inevitable part of the war” and not an act of “a few bad apples” as propagated by Western media and Western pundits; it is part of ongoing big massacre planned and executed by the top commanders, the defence secretary and the Whit House. It is only a small fraction of these U.S. committed massacres were covered in Western media, the majority passed with deliberate ignorance.
While the Western media reports continue to focus on the Al-Zarqawi, on 12 June 2006, U.S. war planes bombed a house in Baquba killing nine innocent civilians, including two small children. As usual, the U.S. alleged it was a “save house”. Who is the terrorist? From the beginning, U.S. forces attitudes towards Iraqi civilians have been characterised by disregard for human life and lack of distinction between armed resistance and young children and women. It is not Iraqis (or Muslims) who have no regard to human life; it is the U.S. and its murderous maniacs, as they are called by Iraqis.
Another “new dawn for Iraqis” worth mentioning was the so-called “handover of sovereignty” to a U.S.-installed puppet government. This of course has been deliberately forgotten by the media. Instead the Western media continue to promote a puppet government and to celebrate the illegitimate “constitution”, concocted and enforced by the U.S. at gunpoint. The U.S. form of “sovereignty” was granted two days earlier than originally announced on 28 June 2004 to allow Paul Bremer (Occupation’s Proconsul) to sneak out of the country unnoticed.
Theoretically, the Occupation supposed to end after the hastily signed event. However, Iraqis still do not know how their nation can be sovereign when the installed puppet government has no control over the economy, natural resources and the armed forces. How a nation can be sovereign when its people are murdered, imprisoned and enduring torture on a daily basis since 2003? How a nation can be sovereign when more than 200,000 U.S. forces and an army of mercenaries are enforcing a murderous and repressive Occupation against the vast majority of the Iraqi population. The U.S. ensured that a weak government dependent on the Occupation for survival and continuous violence is the only way for ongoing Occupation. The puppet government is so powerless that it doesn’t control who enters and who leaves Iraq. The recent trip by George W. Bush to the ‘Green Zone’ in Baghdad which was taken in complete secrecy is just a case in point.
Much like his first visit to the ‘Green Zone’ on Thanksgiving Day 2003 to give U.S. forces a plastic turkey, Bush’s recent visit was conducted in dark secret. No one knew about the visit and the puppet government was only made aware just few minutes before Bush met with the U.S-imposed “Prime Minister”. The President and Commander-in-Chief of the most “powerful” country on earth has neither the guts to make his visit public, nor the courage to venture outside the fortified ‘Green Zone’ created by his invading forces in a country that was defenceless and posed no threat to any other nation. After three years of violent Occupation, “Sovereignty and democracy in Iraq are nowhere in sight. But a colonial dictatorship, a U.S. puppet regime, is in the making”, wrote Joachim Guilliard, the coordinator of the German initiative for an international tribunal on the U.S. war on Iraq. .
Since 2003, billions of dollars is being spent on building massive U.S. military bases and an American town – disguised as U.S. Embassy – to house the U.S. military and CIA officials on annexed Iraqi land. Iraq’s institutions and civilian infrastructures destroyed by U.S. violence remain in ruin. This form of colonial occupation is not against the wishes of the Iraqi people but also in violations of international laws and UN Charter. The U.S. has no right to enforce its imperialist-Zionist agenda on the Iraqi people and the region, the U.S. has an obligation to refrain from violence and pays war reparations to Iraq.
Meanwhile, the living conditions for Iraqis in all areas of life have deteriorated with every day of the Occupation and are worse today than before the invasion and under the U.S.-Britain enforced genocidal sanctions. The health system – once the best in the region – has been reduced to rubble with hospitals lacking basic medical equipments and repairs. As a result, the health of Iraqi children has worsened and the infant mortality rate has increased dramatically since the invasion. “The mortality of children in Basra has increased by nearly 30 percent compared to the Saddam Hussein era”, Dr. Haydar Salah, a paediatrician at the Basra Children’s Hospital told IRIN, a UN humanitarian news and information service. “Children are dying daily, and no one is doing anything to help them”, added Dr. Salah. (See also Iraq’s Children: Choir of Despair, GlobalResearch, 09 August, 2005).
Furthermore, hundreds of thousands, perhaps 500,000 of innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed as a result of U.S. criminal war and Occupation. The figure is based on the study published in the British medical journal, The Lancet,  which shows that more than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in the 18 months period following the invasion. The study shows that 80 per cent of violent deaths were caused by U.S. forces and that most of the people they killed were women and children. The study adds that Iraqis are now 58 times more likely to die a violent death than before the U.S. war. The violence is deliberately encouraged by “legal immunity” from prosecution enjoyed by “trigger happy” U.S. soldiers and mercenaries trained to dehumanise Iraqi and enjoy.
In addition, tens of thousands of mercenaries, armed militias and death squads – armed and financed by U.S. forces – are terrorising and murdering Iraqi civilians at an alarming rate. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been murdered in cold blood, including thousands of prominent Iraq politicians, intellectuals, scientists and academics.
As I write these lines, U.S. troops continue attacking Fallujah and besieging of the city of Al-Ramadi. For months, the city of more than 400,000 people is completely cut off from the outside world. The population have been denied food, water, electricity and medical supplies. Hundreds of innocent civilians have been murdered so far by U.S. snipers and aerial bombardments. Can you imagine nearly half a million people are at the mercy of the murderous maniacs? In a Nazis-like occupation policy, Al-Ramadi will be turned into a ghost town devoid of life in the same criminal way as Fallujah was turned into a ghost town. The civilised world has duty to condemn the U.S. use of the (football) World Cup as a cover to commit more war crimes against the civilian population of Al-Ramadi.
Finally, no amount of false jubilations and propaganda can normalise or alter the fact that after three years of murderous fascist Occupation, the U.S. agenda is overwhelmingly rejected and hated by the vast majority of the Iraqi people, if not the world.
The only civilised and non-violent option left for the U.S. and its allies, is the immediate and full withdrawal of U.S. forces and mercenaries from Iraq. Only the liberation of Iraq from U.S. violent ideology will be remember as truly historical new dawn for the Iraqi people.
Global Research Contributing Editor Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia
 Thomas E. Ricks, “Military Plays Up Role of Zarqawi”, Washington Post, 10 April, 2006.
 Joachim Guilliard, Iraq – “’Sovereignty’ at Gunpoint”, AUSDRUCK IMI magazine, August, 2004 [translated from the German].
 Roberts L. et al., (2004). Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: cluster sample survey. The Lancet, 364(9448), 1857-1864.