This article by Michel Collon was first published by Global Research in December 2003. It outlines with foresight the strategy of the US, through covert intelligence operations, of breaking up Iraq into a number of separate states. The unleashing of a civil war with a view to deliberately breaking up Iraq was part of the US war agenda from the outset.
They have found the solution! Divide Iraq into three mini-states and then pit them against one another. Does that remind you of something else? Oh, yes! It’s not the first time something like this happened….
The New York Times published an editorial on November 25, 2003 carrying Leslie Gelb’s by-line. He’s an influential man who, until recently, presided over the very important Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank that brings together the CIA, the secretary of state and big shots from U.S. multinational corporations.
Gelb’s plan? Replace Iraq with three mini-states:
“Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” The objective? “To put most of its money and troops where they would do the most good quickly — with the Kurds and Shiites. The United States could extricate most of its forces from the so-called Sunni Triangle, north and west of Baghdad…. American officials could then wait for the troublesome and domineering Sunnis, without oil or oil revenues, to moderate their ambitions or suffer the consequences.”
In short, starve the central state around Baghdad because the Sunnis have always spearheaded the resistance to U.S. imperialism.
We denounced this CIA plan, which has been around for some time now, albeit discreetly, in an article that appeared in September 2002. But, to divide Iraq has, in fact, been an old Israeli dream. In 1982, Oded Yinon, an official from the Israeli Foreign Affairs office, wrote: “To dissolve Iraq is even more important for us than dissolving Syria. In the short term, it’s Iraqi power that constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. The Iran-Iraq war tore Iraq apart and provoked its downfall. All manner of inter-Arab conflict help us and accelerate our goal of breaking up Iraq into small, diverse pieces.”
Will you take some ethnic cleansing again? So, Gelb wants to break up Iraq while transforming the north (Kurdish majority) and the south (Shiite majority) into “self-governing regions, with boundaries drawn as closely as possible along ethnic lines.”
But didn’t this method provoke a civil war and a bloodbath in Yugoslavia? Because all the diverse regions in that country contained significant minorities, and partition was impossible without the forced transfer of populations. That is why Berlin, and then Washington, discreetly financed and armed racist extremists, who were nostalgic for World War II. This made civil war almost inevitable because the IMF and the World Bank had plunged Yugoslavia into bankrupt to make it submit to triumphant neo-liberalism after the fall of the Berlin Wall. All of this was carefully concealed from the public.
Just as they are now concealing from the public the fact that all of the peoples of the former Yugoslavia have been plunged into misery and unemployment, which is worse now than it has ever been. Meanwhile, multinational corporations have taken the upper hand in controlling the country’s wealth.
In Iraq too, the three large populations do not reside “each in their own region,” but are, for the most part, intermingled. Furthermore, Gelb knows very well that to start up this strategy in Iraq once again would, in all likelihood, provoke serious “ethnic” conflicts, even maybe a civil war. He cynically announces that the state in the center of Iraq “might punish the substantial minorities left in the center, particularly the large Kurdish and Shiite populations in Baghdad. These minorities must have the time and the wherewithal to organize and make their deals, or go either north or south.” In this way, millions of people would be forced to leave the regions where they have always lived, but Gelb doesn’t find this inconvenient if it permits the U.S. to secure colonial domination. Doesn’t the Yugoslav precedent serve as enough warning? The truth is that, for Gelb, the civil war in Yugoslavia was a great success for the U.S. because it permitted the breakup of a country that resisted multinationals.
Again the Theory of “Ethnically Pure States”! In effect, Gelb openly refers to “a hopeful precedent … Yugoslavia.” Curious, indeed! Weren’t we told that the United States intervened there in order to prevent “ethnic cleansing”? Not at all, he admits : “ethnically pure” states are alright when they serve Washington’s plans.
While extolling “ethnically pure states” (Gelb also speaks of “natural states”!), he criticizes Tito for having regrouped in a united Yugoslavia “highly disparate ethnic groups,” while pretending that Iraq is “an artificial state” for the same reasons; Gelb is resorting to old theories held by the extreme right.
His theory about ethnically pure states is really identical to Hitler’s: “Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer” (one people, one empire, one führer). It is also a theory adopted by Zionists who dream of Israel “purified of Arabs.” In Yugoslavia, it was the theory held by Western protégés, the Croat Tudjman and the Bosnian Muslim Izetbegovic. It was also a theory held by the right-wing Serbian leader, Karadzic. It is strange to find the U.S. extolling theories that it once pretended to fight against!
The truth is that the United States — just as all other colonialists — is for or against ethnically pure states according to whether or not it suits U.S. strategic interests. The only thing that counts is to weaken resistance. Divide in order to conquer. As always. The Britons carefully organized the division of Ireland, India and Pakistan as well as other places in the world. The influential U.S. strategist, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wants to divide Russia into three countries in order to isolate Moscow from oil reserves. The CIA also has its “own plans” to divide Saudi Arabia. In an era when very large economic and political entities are forming around the European Union and the United States, look at how these same Great Powers are organizing the balkanization of certain other states — states that resist them.
The guiding principle of U.S. international policy is that there is no guiding principle. The U.S. can pretend to fight ethnic cleansing one day and then organize it the next. And with complete arbitrariness. In the past, the United States had obliged the Kurds to remain inside the Turkish state which was being led by fascist generals, but today, the U.S. is preparing a Kurdish state, allegedly rooted in the principle of “self-determination” (in reality a puppet state). They are pretending to bring democracy to the world, but in these instances the U.S. is rehabilitating fascist theories about “ethnically pure” states.
The Danger of a Theory that Is Exportable throughout the World The danger of this false theory goes far beyond Iraq and Yugoslavia. Most of the states existing on the planet today are “multinational.” And sensible people consider themselves to be enriched by this mixing of cultures. But if one allows theories of “ethnically pure” states, the USA would have a pretext to break up any “multinational” country that resists it.
Washington, in effect, intends to trample to a greater and greater extent international law and state sovereignty. The U.S. is preparing to do throughout the world what it had begun in Yugoslavia and Afghanistan, which, unfortunately, a majority of Western leftists allowed them to do for the worst reasons. Stop! It is time to assess the disastrous alliance of this Left with the United States in the Yugoslav and Afghan affaires. If anyone wants to resist global war, that is to say the recolonization of the world, it is time to come to the defense of the sovereignty of Third World countries, a principle that is embodied in the UN Charter. This change for the better took place in 1945 and the USA is intent on dismantling it.
Support the Resistance The essence of Gelb’s plan is to plunge Iraq into a long civil war in order to rescue the U.S. colonial occupation and to be able to continue stealing oil. The U.S. will attempt to divide the resistance — which can be found in all of the various populations — by punishing those who would continue to live together and by hypocritically organizing “ethnic cleansing.” The U.S. plan is to divide Iraq by blackmail, while defaming the Sunnis, who have long been at the forefront of resistance to imperialism.
Will Washington implement Gelb’s plan? What will prevent them from doing so? The fear that an Iraqi Shiite state would join Iran, the most powerful “hostile” army in the Middle East. And the fear that an Iraqi Kurdish state would become a lightning rod for Kurds who want to secede from Turkey, a respected strategic ally that lies on the crossroads of the Balkans, the Caucasus and the Middle East. But if Iraqi resistance continues to grow and unite its diverse currents, including Shiites, then Washington risks missing its chance to implement its plan to break up the country.
The Yugoslav precedent must serve as a solemn warning! Plunging other countries into the same drama is out of the question! In view of the fact that Bush has unleashed new dangers throughout the entire world, and in view of the fact that he is resorting to fascist theories more and more frequently, the only possible answer is to build up a united world front against the policies of the United States and to support the resistance everywhere — and first and foremost, the remarkable Iraqi resistance (the mainstream media have often characterized them as “terrorists”).
The Iraqi resistance is preventing Bush from attacking Iran, Syria, North Korea and Cuba in stride. It shows once again that the United States has never been invincible. Bush is becoming the world’s laughingstock. “Paper tiger” is the classic expression. In this way, the Iraqi resistance offsets the discouragement and the pessimism that had begun to spread in Iraq after the “liberation of Baghdad.” The war is not over; it’s only just beginning. Support the resistance, because we are supporting ourselves.
Translated by Milo Yelesiyevich Also available in French and Spanish [email protected]
In order to Understand Iraq:
– 23 million inhabitants, divided into 3 large groups (no official census and the USA destroyed state and civil registries).
– Shiites: 55 – 60%. Mostly in the south.
– Sunnis: 20 – 25%. Mostly in the center (between Mosul and Baghdad).
– Kurds: 20%. Mostly in the north (significant Kurdish minorities also live in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Russia). The majority of them are Sunni.
– Minorities (5%): 200,000 to 300,000 Turkmen, Assyrians-Chaldeans (Christians), Yezidis, 2.000 Jews….
– But no region is ethnically “pure”:
o At least one million Kurds live outside of Kurdistan (mostly in Baghdad, but also in the south, in Basrah). o At least one million Shiites live in Baghdad. o Some Sunnis live in the south. o Some Arabs live in Kurdistan.
For this reason, dividing up Iraq is impossible without risking a civil war and ethnic cleansing. Especially so in a climate where the U.S. has done everything it could over the past twenty years to stir up conflicts while provoking (i.e., financing) certain minority leaders so that they will favor a breakup. This is exactly how they did things in Yugoslavia.
In short, if the USA is permitted to divide up Iraq, important “minorities” risk being targets throughout the country. Then, Bush is going to say that he is obliged to keep his troops there to “protect” these minorities.
Exactly as in Kosovo, where the U.S. has installed a military base with a landing strip that can accomodate bombers (sic !), after having systematically fanned the flames of the conflict behind the scenes. Today, the USA in Kosovo is protecting KLA criminals and the mafia which practices ethnic cleansing. (see Test-medias, Kosovo questions 2, 5, 7 in our report “Autopsy of Yugoslavia”).
In order to Understand Yugoslavia:
– 21 million inhabitants, divided into 6 republics. According to the official census of 1991: Slovenia (1.9 million), Croatia (4.7), Serbia (9.7), Macedonia (2.0), Montenegro (0.6), Bosnia (4.3).
– No region was ethnically “pure”: substantial minorities resided throughout the country which rendered the country indivisible.
– In Croatia: Serbs (12%).
– In Macedonia: Albanians (21%), Turks (5%), Roma (2%), Serbs (2%).
– In Bosnia: Muslims (43%), Serbs (31%), Croats (17%), Others (7%). All of these groups were mixed together throughout the region.
[GLOBAL RESEARCH EDITORS NOTE: IN IRAQ CIVIL REGISTRIES WERE ALSO DESTROYED BY OCCUPATION FORCES, SEE, Destroying Iraq’s Public Records by Saad Kiryakos, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/KIR307A.html ]
Despite the warnings of numerous experts and Western leaders in 1991, Germany, and then the United States, forced the division of the country at the price of a terrible civil war and the forcible displacement of populations of all minorities.
Here also, Berlin and Washington have supported, financed and armed – secretly – separatist leaders and extremists. All this has been carefully hidden from the public.
BIBLIO: Maps showing the “indivisible” nature of Yugoslavia and Bosnia, in particular. Michel Collon, Liar’s Poker: The Great Powers, Yugoslavia and the Wars of the Future, IAC, New York 2001, P. 11 & 13.