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By Dr. Álvaro Montero Mejía
It is enough to look at a map of Central Asia to understand the importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as an indispensable and expeditious route for the transport of the immense mineral deposits of ancient "Soviet Islam" towards the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
An Examination of the Political and Economic Conditions Driving The War of Aggression Against Iraq.
The weight of reasons: yes or no to war
President GW Bush has announced his determination to launch a military campaign against Iraq, with the expressly declared purpose of removing the ruler of that Arab nation, Saddam Hussein. Reasons: Saddam Hussein is part of what he calls "the axis of evil" and his existence endangers the so-called free world.
Many question whether these demonstrations will lead to US military intervention or whether, on the contrary, there is some margin for human reason and peace. Those who think that there will be no war start from a reasoning that seems very solid: The United States is isolated from world public opinion.
But how would the war unfold? The United States has not shown that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction or is about to acquire them. The American government knows that, according to the classic canons of war, no battle has been won if it does not involve territorial control over the enemy camp. This means that it will have to develop an air strike that turns the nerve centers of Iraq into scorched earth and then proceed to land occupation. The Iraqi people will suffer an apocalyptic tragedy. At that point, the US may have calculated an unconditional surrender on the part of Hussein. But if that surrender does not take place, they will have no other way than the ground offensive and no one is unaware that the human cost of the invasion could be enormous for the United States. Then came the unprecedented complications of the stabilization of internal power proposed by the Americans. If the calculations of Bush and his team are based on the overthrow of the Taliban, the miscalculation can be abysmal.
We are talking about a military adventure in which the United States is practically alone on the international stage. Their traditional allies in the economic and military field, notably France and Germany with the exception of the Tony Blair government and Aznar's shameful and insignificant genuflection, have expressed their dissatisfaction with the war in different ways. The Japanese government has expressed similar views. China and Russia, both member countries of the UN Security Council, have declared a categorical opposition. The countries of the Arab and Islamic world, center of the storms and contradictions that will ensue, have expressed, through the mouth of the President of the Arab League, that an invasion of Iraq would be like "opening the gates of hell".
On the other hand, eminent analysts and prominent world personalities, including the Nobel Peace Laureates, Dr. Oscar Arias Sánchez and Nelson Mandela, have categorically rejected the use of war and continue to request a statement from the United Nations that lead to processes of negotiation and dialogue with the Iraqi government. At the level of evidence, Bush has not been able to present a single proof of the existence or construction in Iraq of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. The same UN Secretary General, Koffy Anan and the Director of the Armaments Inspection Program, Hans Blix, affirmed on Tuesday September 10 in their report to the Security Council that there is no evidence that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. no evidence that Baghdad is rebuilding its arsenal. So far the sum of irrefutable, reasonable reasons that can be used in favor of a negotiated agreement, the return of the inspectors within the framework of the Security Council provisions and against the war.
But the government in Washington does not seem to give in to common sense. Its main spokesmen, Bush himself, Colin Powell, Dick Cheaney, Condoleza Rice, Runsfeld even old hawks like Henry Kissinger repeat, without rhetorical excesses, their firm conviction that the United States is obliged to play its role as a unipolar empire and that its will and ability to define the course of humanity, can not be doubted.
Even when their arguments reach very high limits of irrationality and their arguments resemble fables or advertising inventions, they are enough for the US government to unleash a new war. As Mandela so well pointed out, there are oil interests and other economic causes that we will examine as a backdrop.
The geopolitics of corporations
In reality, and beyond all rhetoric, the corporate groups that control the military and economic power in the United States continue in their task of dominating the main arteries of world geopolitics and especially the nerve centers where the deposits of materials are located. strategic premiums with oil and natural gas first.
It is enough to look at a map of Central Asia to understand the importance of Afghanistan and Pakistan, as an indispensable and expeditious route for the transport of the immense mineral deposits of ancient "Soviet Islam" towards the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. All the riches of Turkmenistan, with its vast reserves of natural gas; Uzbekistan, with its vast and unexploited deposits of oil, natural gas, uranium, and gold, and Kazakhstan, with its vast mineral reserves and especially natural gas, oil, coal, uranium, and gold, have been left at the disposal of US corporations and have been saved, in this way, the geographical and political obstacle of Iran and the complicated route of the Caspian Sea and the convulsive republics of the Caucasus. Bin Laden's murderous madness created the conditions for a war and an invasion that in any way was urgent for the interests at stake.
The Hussein government and the Iraqi nation
Since his rise to power in 1979, Saddam Hussein has remained the same. He is one of the politicians of the Arab world who are part of the nationalist and secular current of the "baas" movement that proclaim the construction of nations freed from the long colonial yoke and the construction of socialist states, although his concept of socialism has nothing to do with the models of the now-defunct Soviet bloc or with the different western versions of socialism.
The cult of personality fulfills not only a function of confirmation of Hussein as the irreplaceable leader of the Iraqi nation, but also encapsulates the national unity indispensable to face the threats of subduing that people by force. The more aggressive and vigorous the external threats to Iraq, the greater the will to resist and support is forged among the vast majority of that nation. Saddam Hussein's legitimacy grows in direct proportion to the dangers of Iraq being threatened and invaded.
Iraq, with its 438,320 km2 and its 23 million inhabitants, is an immensely rich country. Today, Iraq has the largest oil reserves in the Middle East. In it was the historical Mesopotamia, settled in the so-called "fertile crescent", the valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, where, 4000 years BC, the oldest civilization in history, the Sumerian, originated. But in our day, Iraq's wealth is based, as we said, on its oil reserves. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire the British divided historic Palestine, created Iraq as a state and placed a monarch on it in 1932. Its oil reserves were first controlled by the Iraq Petroleum Company and after its nationalization in 1958, jealously controlled and guarded by the military governments that followed after the overthrow of the monarchy. In the capital of Iraq, Baghdad, in 1960, the agreement that created the oil cartel of the oil-producing countries, OPEC, was signed.
The Hussein government is a military dictatorship, an autocracy that exercises its internal power with an iron fist and with absolute control of the media. This situation has not changed at all since the terrible years of the Iran-Iraq war during the eighties, when these two countries faced each other in one of the most cruel, useless and bloody war conflicts of the 20th century.
For the US government at that time, the "spawn of evil" was not Hussein but Ayatollah Ruhola Homeini, leader of the Iranian revolution that overthrew Sha's satrapy of Iran, a staunch ally of the US during the Cold War. Homeini creates the first fundamentalist Islamic state in the region and gives impetus to that movement, whose influence extends to the entire Muslim world. That is why the US provided Saddam Hussein with considerable military aid and encouraged him to consolidate his power, suppressing all forms of internal opposition, especially the Kurdish nationalist movement. Saddam suppressed the Iraqi Kurds with weapons and poisonous gases and turned a blind eye when the Turkish army crossed the common border to attack the Kurdish guerrillas fighting in both countries. All of this was possible thanks to the support it received from the United States.
Costa Rica was part of that macabre game. From its northern border, Lieutenant Oliver North and John Hull (still persecuted by the Costa Rican justice for his complicity in the crime of La Penca), at the service of the Pentagon and CIA hawks during the Reagan government, smuggled cocaine to the The US to finance the purchase of weapons with which to feed the Iran-Iraq war and pass a good part to the Nicaraguan "counter" that operated between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
The common thread
This two-sided policy, according to US geopolitical and military interests, is an old practice, as we just saw when the intense relations of the Pentagon, the CIA and some US businessmen, with Osama Bin Laden, came to light. But this contradiction is perhaps apparent. In reality, it is a single policy and a single objective, which radically disparages any moral or humanitarian principle or external actors and subjects them always and according to the circumstances, to their vital internal interests.
The common thread of US politics is its interests as a unipolar power, or at least what the extremely aggressive corporate groups represented by GW Bush understand by that. For the first time in the history of capitalism, a single nation incontestably leads the main military and economic forces on the planet and is willing, by virtue of that power, to take in its hands, as we said, the fundamental arteries through which the energy flows. major world mineral resources.
Another aspect of enormous importance to understand the logic of this empire is that in its historical development as an economic and military nation of the first order, it has never had any concern about the adverse or favorable judgment that, outside its borders, its policies of great power. For GW Bush, like his predecessors, the balance between the advantages and disadvantages of his State decisions is the internal political opinion and its electoral gravitation, intensely manipulated despite the critical spirit of an important sector of the local press. At this time the resort to patriotism, motivated by the terrible events of September 11, falls like a glove to create the feeling of crusade that accompanies this new military adventure. The most decisive thing, in any case, is the assessment made by the economic and military power groups that surround the President about the facts and decisions. This disregard as we could call it, with external opinion, is increased today by its character as a unipolar power, whose overwhelming economic and military presence multiplies its arrogance and its conviction that the world is necessarily subject to its decisions.
The USA: more than imperial reasons
However, we must emphasize that even with all its immense power, the United States is not only made up of its imperial legions. In the history of this country, cultural and humanitarian values have emerged that stand out as formidable contributions to the human spirit. From the Declaration of Independence and other writings of Jefferson, the reflections of Benjamin Franklin, the universal actions and words of Lincoln, the role of Roosevelt with the "New Deal" towards Latin America and his role in the fight against fascism, the The unfading message of Martin Luther King, the nobility of Muhamed Ali, the messages of his poets, together with the creations of his writers, scientists and humanists, fill thousands of pages in the struggle to make human values prevail.
Despite the fact that developed capitalism exercises, as we have said, a control and power unparalleled in history, it has within it a certain polarity as a result of the seething of economic and commercial conflicts between the centers of power. Japan, an economic power in Asia but without its own sources of raw materials and which maintains very large industrial and energy interests with the Arab oil tankers, keeps a prudent distance and does not see with pleasure the likely consequences of a war. It is the same with Europe. There are networks of interests between Europe and the Arab world, where oil remains the primary factor. Its main countries, France, Germany or Italy, have close ties with the oil tankers in the Gulf, with Algeria, Iran or Libya. Other powers such as Russia and China maintain strong commercial and economic ties with Iraq. This prompts them not to accept, at first glance, the initiative of GW Bush. They all know that a war would generate enormous and unprecedented complications. They all say no, for now, although the United Kingdom is an infallible ally for the United States and Spain a flimsy staff that hopes to pay the bill for the use of military bases in its territory.
However, what weighs more?
However, the commercial ties of Europe and Japan with the United States have far greater significance than any ties to Islam or the Arab world. The world balance is still dependent on macrodependencies among the most developed countries on earth, among which 78% of world trade is concentrated. Even when they have differences, the preservation of the capitalist world order weighs more. The US knows it and is counting on it.
This is one of the reasons why we are inclined to think that the degree of international isolation that the decision to invade Iraq apparently enjoys, as we will see, is not something that worries the current US government too much. They have in advance the favorable support of England and trust that little by little the other countries of Europe will submit to the "fait accompli" and that their chancelleries will not go beyond issuing rhetorical protests.
The other factor of the first order that conspires against peace is the economic situation of the United States. The recession continues to weigh down on its economy and confidence does not return to investors. To say recession is to say a decrease in investments, a constant decline in global production, a contraction in consumption and employment, an increase in the fiscal and trade deficit and an imminent danger of a severe economic collapse. The war in Afghanistan and the incalculable resources injected into the military budget for the fight against terrorism (an additional $ 38 billion in this year's budget) do not seem to have fully fulfilled their reactivating role.
The calculation that some corporate sectors make is that the military actions will put into motion all the enormous resources required by military logistics and the complicated network of the military industrial complex. Because war not only demands armaments, airplanes, rifles, bombs, means of transport, tanks and so-called intelligent weapons, but also causes a huge demand for resources and raw materials that feed services, military production and civil production.
But there is no economic reactivation without psychological reactivation. There is an urgent need to reconcentrate the national will around extra-economic objectives such as the exacerbation of nationalism and the spirit of the crusade and the return to confidence in the power and capacity of the system. These elements would be amply provided by a large-scale military campaign against one of the main components of the so-called "axis of evil."
On this general psychological situation, supposedly the economic reactivation must ride, the immense military expenditures that, as we explained on another occasion, have the unique characteristic of propitiating a chained and unlimited production-destruction that only requires the massive destruction of the means used to continue a spiral of military and civil demand.
The Israel factor
We would not make a correct interpretation of the reasons behind the aggressive war, without taking into account the Israel factor. This consideration seems to contradict the fundamental force that we attribute to internal reasons. But in the geopolitical project of the US, Israel cannot be considered an "external" element. Regardless of other factors, Israel is an extension of American politics.
In the new scientific and technological revolution of our time, the factors that move the world economy are knowledge and energy. The developed world has a monopoly on the research and development of state-of-the-art intellectual production and the material means to turn it into prodigious new technological inventions. But energy, and especially hydrocarbons, which provide almost 90% of the world's commercial energy, is subject to the control or possession of its sources. The absolute monarchies of the Middle East are a Pandora's box, subject to fundamentalist religious tensions and growing nationalism, not to mention the just demands of their populations.
The umbilical relationship of the United States with Israel is dictated by the role that the latter fulfills as a severe gendarme and comptroller of the most advanced and progressive political currents that are expressed within the Arab world and first of all within the Palestinian people. Preventing by all means that the Palestinian people build their national state, is because, for the first time in the Middle East, a democratic, secular state would emerge, more open and tolerant to the different demands and currents of thought that agitate those peoples and with ample capacity to radiate the entire area with new conceptions of national sovereignty and development.
The excessive brutality with which the Sharon government represses the Palestinian civilian populations, is not only an action originating from the ideology of the Israeli extreme right, but also works as a provocation that accelerates and deepens hatred and resentment against the State of Israel, closing in advance the channels of dialogue and political commitments. Furthermore, it polarizes trends and widens the gap between the various Palestinian groups, making it increasingly difficult to achieve the necessary unity and cohesion that the formation of the new Palestinian National State requires. It is, of course, a shortsighted tactic that bases its effectiveness on increasing resentment.
Despite the enormous sacrifice that this policy brings to the people of Israel, the Israeli extreme right gladly fulfills the role of arousing the resentment and hatred of the Arab world, considering, perhaps rightly, that having demonstrated the impossibility of defeating them. Israel with military means, political avenues can be obstructed indefinitely. As long as the Arab world behaves like that myriad of currents, groups, tendencies, parties, sects and religious expressions, the interests that control the energy resources of that part of the world have nothing to fear. In addition, the differences are much more than ideological, since in practice they pass through the abyss that separates fundamentalist groups or terrorist organizations from secular, progressive or moderate expressions, for whom Israel's right to existence and security Its borders under the terms set by the UN have long been out of the question.
So this umbilical ally of US politics is pressing, with its developed diplomatic means and the Jewish "lobby" in Washington, for the pre-emptive elimination of any political or military threat in the Middle East, however remote. It had already done it on its own with the bombing of fledgling Iraqi nuclear reactors. The pretext of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of Hussein cannot hide the fact that Israel is the only great military power in the Middle East, producer and seller of high-tech means of warfare, equipped with more than 200 nuclear warheads, as indicated by Haider Rizvi of IPS, New York, a potential similar to that of Great Britain and with complex experimentation laboratories for other lethal weapons, including biotechnology and genetic engineering.
The History of Israel's nuclear potential is too long to review here. It begins with the site of the French 24 megawatt reactor in 1956, in the settlement of Dimona or in Hebrew, Kiria le Mehekar Garini and the subsequent contribution of uranium and enriched plutonium from an almost unknown nuclear materials processing factory called Numec, by Apollo, Pennsylvania.
There will be war
A few weeks before his death, Freud was talking with Einstein about the war that threatened to break out in Europe. Einstein argued that the chilling development of military means made a world holocaust unthinkable.
But it is said Freud replied saying to him: Dr. Einstein, nobody knows the depths of matter like you, but I know the depths of the human soul, so there will be war.
We do not know the depths of consciousness stirring among current US leaders. But we can measure and know the magnitude of the interests at stake. This allows us to ensure that the aggression against Iraq will take place in the next few days or weeks. The apparent "impasse" caused by Bush's speech this September 12 at the UN is aimed at demanding a new declaration from the Security Council and probably new and painful impositions on Iraq. It is now a matter of radically modifying the provision in progress, voted and approved at the time with the consent of the United States, which requires Iraq to the presence of the inspectors who rule on the existence of weapons of mass destruction and then the immediate lifting of the sanctions imposed.
The decision to invade Iraq has been made. How and when is an accessory matter, as accessories are world peace, universal conscience against war and the appalling suffering of the Iraqi people.
Saint Joseph. September 13, 2002.
The last days
In the last week, after writing this short document, important things have happened that, however, do not change the fundamental conclusions. The most relevant has been Iraq's decision to allow, without any conditions, the return of the UN inspectors to its territory. This fact has allowed the fundamental pretext of the US government, the alleged construction in Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, to be exposed by the world body itself.
However, spokesmen for the Bush administration have reiterated that this agreement between the international community represented by the UN and the Iraqi government is a new move by Saddam Hussein to buy time. The conclusion is obvious. For the Bush administration, no international body, not even the highest, has validity, only its own determination. In this way, the US proclaims itself a world government and army, whose decision-making capacity is above the rest of humanity. This is what we called in October 2001, "the last stage of globalization."
* Biographical review - Dr Alvaro Montero Mejía.
Dr Alvaro Montero Mejía is a Costa Rican, lawyer, doctor in Political Economy from the University of Paris, he completed Higher Studies in Political Science. and also carried out Higher Studies and Memory Approval to apply for the Third Cycle Doctorate in International Cooperation Law at the University of Bordeaux.
Lecturer at numerous national and Latin American universities. Analyst and commentator on national and international political issues.
Director and producer of several television programs Since 1990, he has been the director and producer of the opinion program "Diagnosis" that is broadcast on Channel 13. About 500 programs dedicated to politics, economics, science, art and culture in general.
He was a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic and a deputy.
National Award "Joaquín García Monge".
Writer of several books, among others, Globalization against the Peoples ”(Editorial Juricentro),” The Unequal World ”(EUNED),” Socialists and Social Democrats ”(Porvenir Editorial),“ Economic Crisis and Structural Adjustment ”, with other authors ( EUNED), “Globalization against the Peoples” (Editorial Juricentro), “El violin del campanario” (EUNA) and numerous essays and articles in magazines and newspapers.