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  Global Views
Escalating the War: The Height of Folly
Special Contribution
By Dr. Chandra Muzaffar
Victims of war image

There is widespread opposition to President Bush's plan to escalate the war in Iraq. The majority of Iraqis are opposed to his plan. The opposition of the Arab Sunni community aside, even advisers to Shiite leaders like Iraqi Prime Minister, Nuri al- Maliki and the influential Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, have expressed misgivings about the injection of 21,000 additional American troops into Iraq. It is only the leadership of the Kurdish Sunni community which has worked hand in glove with the US government for more than 15 years that appears to support the Bush plan.

It is equally significant that 66% of Americans, according to a recent poll, reject the plan. Media surveys conducted in Europe and various other parts of the world indicate that an even larger percentage of the people are against what Bush is preparing to do in order to 'secure victory in Iraq.' In this regard, it is important to observe that the majority of Asian leaders are convinced that additional troops and the increased use of force will not bring peace to Iraq or the Middle East.

If there is so much opposition to the Bush plan it is because sensible people everywhere realize that given the quagmire in Iraq the only sane thing to do is to end — not enhance — the occupation. It is occupation which has generated so much resistance among the majority of Sunnis and a big segment of the Shiite population that is responsible for the violence and bloodshed that have devastated Iraq in the last 37 months. The occupation is also the root cause of the Sunni-Shiite conflict since many Arab Sunnis see some Shiite leaders and the police and military that serve them as American collaborators. Even the kidnapping, looting and gangsterism that plague Baghdad today can be traced back to the breakdown in law and order that has followed in the heels of the occupation.

But Bush and the ruling elite in Washington will not end the occupation. The conquest of Iraq is the lynchpin of their diabolical plan to create a ‘new Middle East' where US and Israeli interests would reign supreme. This is why they are determined to cling on to Iraq whatever the cost and consequences. In fact, the decision to increase troops may even be linked to their yet undisclosed fears about certain possible developments in Iraq in the near future. Is the Washington elite afraid that with Saddam executed, Shiite opposition to US occupation will intensify — hence the need for more soldiers? Is the US strengthening its military position in Iraq because it knows that Israel acting alone or Israel with the backing of the US will soon attempt to attack Iran's nuclear facilities and this could lead to a massive Shiite uprising against the US in Iraq? In other words, is the Bush escalation plan a preemptive move to quell an imminent Shiite revolt which will spell doom for the US in Iraq?

Whatever the hidden motive behind escalation, the people of the world should continue to demand that the US and its allies withdraw from Iraq immediately. They should also demand that the Bush Administration scrap any plan it may have for the building of permanent military bases in Iraq. Most of all, they should demand that US engineered legislation which allows Western oil corporations to reap mammoth profits from the large-scale exploitation of Iraqi oil — the third largest reserves in the world — be abrogated at once.

Dr. Chandra Muzaffar,
International Movement for a Just World (JUST)






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