WASHINGTON ONLY WANTED LEADERSHIP CHANGE
Washington never wanted regime change. They just wanted
leadership change. As predicted in War Plan Iraq a
year ago, and documented in the new anti-war book Regime Unchanged
(published this month), the British and US authorities are betraying
the Iraqi people and restoring Saddams institutions to power.
Not everyone in Saddams Baath Party was a torturer,
but every week brings new evidence that the torturers are being
THE US RECRUITS SADDAMS SPIES
Mark Franchetti, in Baghdad, CIA recruits Iraqs feared
secret police, Sunday Times, 21 Sept. 2003, p. 26, opening
sentences: American forces have launched a covert campaign
to recruit former officers of the Mukhabarat, Saddam Husseins
infamous secret police, who were responsible for the deaths and
torture of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
Dozens of agents are now in the pay
of the Americans, who have turned to their former foes for help
in hunting resistance groups responsible for daily guerrilla attacks
against coalition forces. The agents are also involved in the
hunt for Saddam and in identifying and tracking down Iraqis suspected
of spying for Iran and Syria, the neighbouring countries most
hostile to Washington.
Franchetti quotes Mohammed Abdullah, a colonel
with ten years in the Mukhabarat and eight in military intelligence:
We are under strict instructions not to publicise our work
with the Americans, but dozens of former Mukhabarat officers have
already been recruited.
DE-BAATHIFICATION AND RE-NAZIFICATION
Col. Abdullah has apparently worked for the occupation forces
since May. A fluent English speaker, he is paid $700 a month.
Wages for ordinary Iraqis are one-hundredth of this. May was also
the month when Paul Bremer, US ruler of Iraq, publicly declared
a de-Baathification order banning senior members
of Saddam Husseins Baath party from holding office.
So, in the same month that the US occupation
said that it would stop employing Saddams leaders, it began
recruiting Saddams torturers and spies. Franchetti reports,
US officials claim all recruits from the former Mukhabarat
are vetted. Unfortunately, he notes, vetting is tricky:
The Americans often find themselves forced to rely on
Mukhabarat agents already working for them when selecting new
Get the Gestapo to vet the Gestapo. Genius.
There has been no real de-Baathification
of Saddams security forces, just paper measures that hurt
lower-ranking officials. Just as in Germany after the war (see
Chapter 16 of Regime Unchanged for details.)
What is happening in Iraq is re-nazification.
TERROR AGAINST TERROR AGAINST TERROR
This is the first time the Mukhabarat recruitment
story has received prominent treatment in the UK, but it was reported
on the front page of the Washington Post on 24 Aug. (U.S.
Recruiting Husseins Spies: Occupation Forces Hope Covert
Campaign Will Help Identify Resistance), and in the New
York Times on 22 July (U.S. Said to Seek Help of Ex-Iraqi
Spies on Iran).
A senior American official said concern
about Iran was driving some of the discussion about moving quickly
to re-establish an intelligence service. The officials
said it was unclear to whom a new Iraqi intelligence service would
reportapart from the CIA, which is paying. (New York
Authorities have stepped up the recruitment
over the past two weeks, one senior U.S. official said, despite
sometimes adamant objections by members of the U.S.-appointed
Iraqi Governing Council, who complain that they have too little
control over the pool of recruits. (Washington Post)
The only way you can combat terrorism
is through intelligence, the senior US official said. (Post)
So we must hire Saddams terrorists to terrorise those resisting
the US/UK occupation (itself a form of terrorism).
A Western diplomat: There is an obvious evolution in American
thinking. First the police are reconstituted, then the army. It
is logical that intelligence officials from the regime would also
be recruited. (Washington Post, 24 Aug.) Yes, very logical.
Re-nazification was evident from the very
first days: The American army has sacked the police chief
it was working with, because he was accused of being a senior
Baathist and running his own mafia in the force. Major-General
Hamid Uthman, who headed the police under Saddam Hussein,
is the second to have tried to lead the force since the war ended.
Major-General Zuhair al-Noami, who had been a deputy chief
of police, resigned last week amid similar criticism.
(Guardian, 14 May)
Saddams police chiefs were hired by
the US, and fired under public pressure from the people of
Baghdad. Thats why the US issued the de-Baathification
order: because of the enraged reaction of the Iraqi people to
the re-nazification of their country.
Down south, in the British-occupied zone,
things were not much better: in Umm Qasr, the Telegraph reported
that Members of the police force, currently under the supervision
of the Royal Military Police, have allegedly been using old-style
techniques to beat confessions out of those they
have arrested. Across the southern zone of occupation, there
was unhappiness among British troops over the choice of re-hired
police officers, many of them former Baathists. Theyre
all murdering bastards, said one lieutenant at a police
station in Basra, where military police officers withdrew to leave
the former police in charge. (Telegraph, 16 May, p. 16.)
Iraqs newly-appointed interior minister will recruit
a paramilitary force composed of former Iraqi army special forces
troops to pursue guerrillas, terrorists and saboteurs who are
undermining the countrys stability... After having dismantled
Iraqs army in the spring, the United States is apparently
now trying to retrieve the cream of Iraqi military forces to help
battle anti-occupation fighters. Although the Interior Ministry
will recruit elite former soldiers from Husseins army, none
will come from military units personally loyal to him, especially
not the Republican Guard or the Special Republican Guard.
(Washington Post, 2 Sept., p. A10)
Right. Like Republican Guard commander General
Hussein Jassem al-Juboori, asked by US forces on 9 May to become
governor of Saddam Husseins home province. Interviewed by
the Financial Times in late June, the General explained that he
had cancelled elections in Samarra, appointed a Baath Party
official as mayor, employed former soldiers as police officers,
and kept former Baathists on the payroll. (24 June, p. 11)
Explaining the new paramilitary force, Iyad
Alawi, head of the Iraqi National Accord, an exile group favoured
by the CIA and now in the Governing Council, said that former
members of Saddam Husseins four principal intelligence services
and senior members of the Baath Party would not be hired but could
be retained as freelancers to provide information.
(Washington Post, 18 Sept., p. A01)
Earlier this summer, [US official Paul]
Bremer dissolved [Saddams four intelligence agencies]...
But Wafiq Samarrai, a former military intelligence chief who went
into exile in 1995 and retains contacts, said U.S. officials were
seeking to reconstitute them in some form. They are trying
to rebuild it very quietly, he said. (Washington
Post, 24 Aug., p. A01)
The torturers wont be employed, theyll
work on a consultancy basis.
LEADERSHIP CHANGE, REGIME STABILISATION
How did the US and Britain get bogged down? Why did they invade
with security forces that they knew were too small to control
a country of 23 million people? Because they were gambling
that they would be able to use security forces that WERE big enoughthe
same Nazi security state that controlled Iraq for Saddam Hussein.
Donald Rumsfeld, 20 Mar.: Iraqi soldiers
and officers must ask themselves whether they want to die fighting
for a doomed regime or do they want to survive, help the Iraqi
people in the liberation of their country and play a role
in a new free Iraq? (CNN Online, 21 Mar.) A source at the
British Armys HQ in Kuwait: The plan is to keep the
military largely intact to maintain the security of the
country after Saddam falls. (Times, 22 Mar., p. 14) Major
Eric Murray of the US 3rd Infantry, during the war: the
majority of the low-ranking POWs... may simply be set free or
even converted into a post-Saddam peacekeeping force.
(Time magazine, 24 Mar., p. 37) Our plan is basically to
put them into a constabulary force. We are not going to
make them POWs.Senior US official, 18 Mar. (FT, 19
Mar., p. 4) (Material taken from Chapter 17 of Regime Unchanged.)
GAMBLING ON THE NAZIS
The regime fell apart instead of remaining stable and usable.
The US and UK are having to slowly restore the core of it. Slow
restoration, not regime change. The re-nazification
of the security structures of Iraq. An obscenitylargely
obscured by the mass mediathat must be resisted.
[For further information on US & UK policies in post-war Iraq
please see Regime Unchanged by Milan
Rai (Pluto, September 2003).]
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