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Who wants civil war in Iraq?

Published Apr 15, 2006 12:57 PM

It is normal for capitalist governments to lie through their teeth to justify war and aggression. Even allowing for this normal deception, the Bush administration suffers from a wider than usual credibility gap. If Bush says “It’s a beautiful day,” one’s first impulse is to scan the sky for clouds and check that you’ve brought your umbrella.

So when George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, the Pentagon generals and the U.S. ambassador to Iraq say they are trying their hardest to avoid “civil war” in that occupied oil-rich country, it’s even more normal to suspect that U.S. agencies are provoking that civil war, creating incidents that encourage different parts of the Iraqi population to fight each other and in general using “divide and conquer” tactics that British imperialism, now a U.S. junior partner, used in the heyday of the Empire.

The suspicious bombing of the golden dome mosque in Samarra in February began a rapid increase in the killings of civilian Iraqis. Even worse for the Iraqis, many of the killings appeared to be pitting members of the Sunni Moslem religious group against members of the Shiite group. No organization ever took public responsibility for the bombing, and the killings were carried out by private militias, often masked and of unclear origin.

What arouses greater suspicions is that some U.S. strategists began at the end of 2004 to suggest the U.S. occupation adopt the “Salvador option.” The headline in a Jan. 14, 2005, Newsweek article was: “The Pentagon may put Special-Forces-led assassination or kidnapping teams in Iraq,” just as it did in El Salvador to kill Salvadoran progressives, unionists and any civilians in the way, and just as it did with the “Phoenix Program,” another death-squad venture in Vietnam. Once it became clear that “shock and awe” had failed to subdue the Iraqis, this bloody option started gaining support in U.S. imperialist circles.

To add substance to these suspicions, the Iraq puppet government’s interior minister, up to now someone who cooperated with the U.S. occupation, has admitted that death squads and unauthorized armed groups have been carrying out sectarian killings in the country. In a BBC interview on April 11, Bayan Jabr denied these groups were his responsibility. He added that there are non-governmental armed groups called the Facility Protection Service, set up in 2003 by the U.S. occupation, that number 150,000 effectives. Jabr said these 150,000 hired guns are “out of order, not under our control,” along with another 30,000 private security guards.

This total of armed agents is even more than the number of regular U.S. troops operating in Iraq. Whatever ax Jabr has to grind, his comments mean the U.S. has a wide supply of mercenary personnel capable of carrying out provocations and acting as death squads—in other words, executing the “Salvador option.” The Bush administration has certainly proved capable of lying about such a strategy. Anyone born earlier than yesterday can only assume it is lying once again.