U.S. leaks plans for major invasion of Iraq
By John Catalinotto
A front-page story in the April 28 New York Times detailed
U.S. plans to invade Iraq toward the end of 2002 or the
beginning of 2003. Whatever the timetable, the anti-war
movement here has to take the threat seriously and prepare to
combat these ever more concrete plans for war against Iraq.
The Times reported that U.S. officials "said the nascent
plans for a heavy air campaign and land assault already
included rough numbers of troops, ranging from a minimum of
about 70,000 to 100,000--one Army corps or a reinforced
corps--to a top of 250,000 troops ... The invasion would
involve between 75,000 and 200,000 U.S. and British troops
after a heavy and continuous bombing attack."
According to the Times, U.S. officials say they are waiting
for the proper political and military conditions.
The Bush administration's most aggressive elements have
never made secret their desire to take over Iraq, or at least
to replace the Saddam Hussein government with one more
subservient to U.S. interests. It has apparently leaked its
strategy as part of its plan to promote the invasion.
The administration's war plans have run up against many
obstacles. None of the regimes in the Gulf region, even those
most obedient to Washington, is willing to say publicly that it
supports U.S. invasion plans. Even Washington's Western
European allies in NATO have warned against an assault on
Iraq--although none will confront Washington on this issue.
In addition, the Palestinian people's continued resistance
to the U.S.-backed Israeli invasion has awaked the struggle of
the Arab and Muslim masses worldwide, and infused it with
combativeness. It has also inspired the anti-war movements in
some of the imperialist countries, including the United
U.S. military tactics won't necessarily follow the program
as outlined in the Times. Indeed, a Boston Globe article
reported that aides to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld were
pushing for an invasion as soon as possible.
An unofficial grouping of veteran cold warriors including
Assistant Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, Vice
President Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Henry Kissinger have
been pushing aggressively for an assault on Iraq.
These forces contend that once the Pentagon is committed to
win in the Gulf, the reluctant leaders of these client states
will fall in line behind the United States even if this risks
revolt in their own country. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and
their cabal give little weight to the importance of mass
struggle. They are capable of overestimating U.S. strength
because they base their judgment on military and economic power
Meanwhile the United States continues to wage war on
Afghanistan and on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, and to
expand its military bases in Central Asia. The April 29
Washington Post reported that U.S. and British forces have
gathered on that border and are targeting alleged al-Qaeda
fugitives in the country's mountainous areas.
The same day, USA Today reported that U.S. Special Forces
led military raids on mosques inside Pakistan.
Javaid Marwat, the Pakistani government's deputy
administrator in Miram Shah, said U.S. and Pakistani troops
smashed the front door of a mosque and conducted a room-to-room
search of the religious shrine and preparatory school.
Marwat said the search was "totally unwarranted, baseless
While the war continues in Afghanistan, the Pentagon also
continues to expand its presence throughout Central Asia. What
a mere 14 years ago was unthinkable--U.S. military bases in
parts of what was then the Soviet Union--is now an everyday
event that hardly makes the news.
After a visit by Rumsfeld, Turkmenistan and
Kazakhstan--until now the last holdouts--have joined Kyrgystan,
Uzbekistan and Tajikistan in harboring U.S. troops, war planes,
military bases and surveillance facilities.
The Pentagon is preparing for military intervention
throughout Central Asia, where so much of the world's known oil
Tariq Aziz exposes U.S. aims
Speaking to a group of 121 progressives and anti-war
activists from 17 mostly European countries April 25, Iraqi
Vice Prime Minister Tariq Aziz exposed U.S. aims in the Gulf
After the most recent events in Palestine and Venezuela,
Aziz explained, it must be clear to the entire world that
Washington's belligerent attitude toward Iraq and Iran is based
"neither on human rights nor on democracy," but is aimed at the
"total control of the oil reserves of the Gulf states." (Neues
Deutschland, April 26)
Aziz added that it would be impossible for the United States
to use anti-Baghdad forces in the Kurdish northern region or
the Shiite southern region to foster a revolt and overthrow the
central Iraqi government as was done in Afghanistan. Both the
Shiites and the Kurds "feel too much like Iraqis" to let that
happen, said Aziz.
Apparently CIA officials agree with this assessment and have
told the Bush administration that only an invasion would
eliminate the Saddam Hussein government.
The European group, organized by the Belgian association
"SOS-Children in Iraq," had been on a two-week tour of Iraq to
examine the consequences of almost 12 years of harsh economic
In a final statement, this group called for an end to
economic sanctions against Iraq and for no support from Europe
for any U.S. military moves against Iraq.
Reprinted from the May 9, 2002, issue of
Workers World newspaper
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