Truncheon foreign policy rule
Reason Wafawarova on Thursday
In November 2012 Foley was abducted again, this time in Syria, and in another glory-hunting expedition, the audacious journalist had gone to document the anticipated fall of the Assad government.
The world has been drenched with social and mainstream media headlines of beheaded US journalist James Foley, gruesomely de-collated by a callous militant in Iraq. The grisly act of filming and publicising the heartless act has shaken many people, and it has reignited world focus and interest on the goings on in Iraq.
Foley was a journalist specialising in covering conflict zones involving his sabre-rattling home country, the United States, and the abduction that led to his horrendous death was not the first of his daring adventures.
For 44 days James Foley was kept under captivity by pro-Gaddafi Libyan forces in 2011. He had gone to Libya to cover the conflict that led to the ousting and hideous murder of Muammar Gaddafi at the hands of the imperial triumvirate, the US, France and the UK. It took massive campaigning led by his parents to secure his release then.
Six months after being released, Foley’s boss at the Global Post, Philip Balboni, was quoted saying Foley “was chafing to return to Libya.” The Washington Post writer Manuel Roig Franzia says James Foley “had to be there,” be it Afghanistan, Libya, Syria or Iraq; he was there. According to staffers at the Global Post, Foley went back to Libya “to document Gaddafi’s fall”, a feat he doubtlessly viewed as an act of heroism.
In November 2012 Foley was abducted again, this time in Syria, and in another glory-hunting expedition, the audacious journalist had gone to document the anticipated fall of the Assad government. After Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the script for Syria was already in place, but events turned the other way, as it were. Sadly no campaign was effective enough to secure Foley’s release this time around.
It is quite ironic that the hailed “revolutionary heroes” of Syria now form the greater part of ISIS (Islamist State in Iraq and Syria), the group that derived malevolent pleasure in the heartless beheading of James Foley. The Syrian information minister was quick to remind the world that Foley’s murderers are the same heroes the journalist and his other Western colleagues had hailed as gallant revolutionaries at the height of the Syrian conflict, indeed people of the same ideological radicalism as Foley’s heroes in Libya.
James Foley is just one of a myriad victims of the ISIS. If there is one point the ISIS has doubtlessly made clear, it is the fact that imposing puppet regimes in the Middle East is a vacuous exercise destined to futility. When the group launched its campaign in Iraq earlier in the year, the US armed and trained Iraq army just melted away and vanished like irredeemable cowards, abandoning most of Iraq to a few thousand militants, most of them armed with US supplied weapons, others with Gaddafi’s weapons smuggled from Libya.
Imperial history confirms without doubt the vulnerability of puppet regimes, and the Iraq situation is no exception to this historical norm. There is this blatant omission in post-invasion Iraq history — the concealed international crime of aggression. The Nuremburg judges defined the concept of aggression as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.”
Aggression carries in its context genocide, crimes against humanity, and all other war crimes, and in this context it is the ultimate international crime.
Nailing the World War II losers Robert Jackson, the US chief prosecutor argued: “The record on which we judge these defendants is the record on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass the defendants a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well.”
Despite apologists of Western imperial exploits invoking vacuous nobilities over the intentions of the Iraq invasion, especially the stratagem of democratisation, and despite any feat to ignore the glaring impertinence of such airheaded efforts, the US-UK 2003 Iraq invasion remains the textbook definition of aggression.
Just like the nobilities of Japanese and German foreign policies did not count for anything at the Nuremburg tribunals, the preached nobilities around the invasions of Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq do not count for anything outside Western power corridors. They are blatant acts of aggression in the eyes of the progressive world, and even mainstream Western societies concur with the rest of the international family of nations on this indisputable actuality.
The Arab truth about the current chaos in Iraq is very simple. The conflict has its origin in the US/Western occupation of the country and the backing of it by local Arab puppets. According to the Pan-Arab website editor Abdel Bari Atwan, “any other claim is misleading and aims to divert attention from this truth.”
People like Tony Blair have suggested that the current conflict has no links to the invasion itself, and that even Saddam Hussein could have faced a similar rebellion if he was still in power. That of course is speculative revisionism coming from a man sentenced to rascality by history.
Iraq political scientist Raed Jarrar argues that “sect wasn’t really a part of the national consciousness” during Saddam Hussein’s reign, and that Jarrar himself hardly knew the religious identities of his own relatives during the pre-invasion era. He argues that the “sectarian strife” plaguing Iraq today is synonymous with the US-UK invasion and occupation.
Jarrar further argues that the Western aggressors destroyed the “Iraq national identity and replaced it with sectarian and ethnic identities.” The divide and weaken tactic is not new in imperial history, and hardly is it an invention of academic sophistication.
When one looks at the composition of the post-invasion US-appointed Governing Council of Iraq, the Shia identity was quite conspicuous, and that set up being clearly a creation by the occupying powers was bound to arouse dissention. It spawned all the sectarian strife endemic across Iraq today.
Courtesy of US terror and violence, the Shiites and Sunnis are now viewed as the bitterest of enemies in the region’s history, something that was not even noticeable in the pre-invasion period.
Have we not heard of the murderous hatred brewed among Afghanis after the US invasion? Who is responsible for the resurgence of the Taliban today?
It is common knowledge that the Al-Qaeda operatives literally disappeared from public view as soon as the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, and so did the Taliban, many of whom embracing the occupying conquerors.
Renowned American intellectual Noam Chomsky argues that Washington was so desperate to be seen to be crushing terrorists that the US just had to create some in Afghanistan.
It is like the cunning Zimbabweans exploiting Western hatred against the person of Robert Mugabe in order to migrate to Western capitals in the name of seeking political asylum, including applications by allegiant loyalists to the revolutionary leader’s ZANU-PF party.
This writer has come across numerous Zimbabwean holders of Western humanitarian visas who brag buoyantly about how easy it was for them to exploit the ignorance of their Western hosts. After all they are the same people who once enslaved our ancestors and colonised our continent, they argue, implying that no moral regret is necessary when dealing with these Western elites.
Post-invasion Afghanistan is now like Somalia, a failed state run by ruthless warlords, and former Taliban members have seized the opportunity to regroup and recreate insurgency. As if the Afghanistan and Iraq failure was not informative enough for the White House, Barrack Obama chose to “lead from behind” in demolishing Libya in 2011, successfully creating another failed state in the process. In March 2011 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973, ironically supported by South Africa, a country that significantly benefited from Libyan support and benevolence during its struggle against apartheid brutalities.
Essentially the resolution called for “a ceasefire and a complete end to violence and all attacks against, and abuses of civilians.” Instead of promoting the ceasefire call France almost immediately sent its lethal bomber planes and was wantonly spraying super-devastating bombs across Libyan cities in a matter of a few hours after the passing of the resolution. The military aggression was a naked violation of the resolution itself. The US and the UK joined in, and in no time the imperial triumvirate had turned itself into an airforce for the Al-Qaeda affiliated Benghazi rebels. Estimates of between 30 000 and 50 000 civilians were killed in these indiscriminate aerial bombings, culminating in the near total demolition of Sirte, Gaddafi’s refuge.
With James Foley as part of the journalists covering the historic demise of Gaddafi’s 40-year rule, the world watched clips of the murdering of a surrendered and pleading Gaddafi. With this callous death of Gaddafi, the ferocious imperial triumvirate had accomplished its vacuous regime change goal, instantly converting Libya into a fractious war zone presided over by warring militias.
On September 11, 2012 the US-armed Islamists stoned US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith to their deaths in Benghazi in a horrendous murder significantly synonymous to the callous death of James Foley. Islamists are notorious for their hatred of their Western masters. Following the dreadful deaths of the two US officials, Obama staged a now too familiar tearing face, and he pledged resolute US vengeance, the same way he has done with the Foley death.
Thanks to the West’s imperial onslaught on a non-retaliating Gaddafi, Sub-Saharan Africa is now experiencing unprecedented Jihad terror. First to use looted guns from Gaddafi’s armouries were the Tuareg rebels in Mali, and now Nigeria has insurmountable problems containing the murderous Boko Haram.
Even Somalia’s Al-Shabab seems to be highly inspired by the Jihadist exploits in the North, and the terrorist group has been carrying out outrageous atrocities in Kenya, bombing shopping malls and targeting villagers in the East.
A flood of weapons from the invaded Libya has found its way not only into places like Mali and Nigeria, but also into Syria and now Iraq, and it is hard to believe that such weapons would have ever left Libya had the West not aided the Benghazi rebels in destroying the entirety of Libyan infrastructure.
The trailblazing legacy of the US truncheon foreign policy is well documented. The tragedies of Central America in the eighties are quite telling, from the horrors of the US-backed Contras in Nicaragua to the murderous ousting of Chile’s Allende, the US imperial onslaught was ruthlessly blatant. One can go as far back as 1960 when President Dwight Eisenhower’s wish to have Patrice Lumumba “fall into a river full of crocodiles” was fulfilled through the Belgian executed gruesome murder of Congo’s founding Prime Minister, and like what is happening in Afghanistan and Iraq now, the DRC has not known any lasting peace ever since.
The US-favoured imposed ruthless dictator Mobutu Sese Seko only managed to ravage the vastly resourced country to its most desolate status ever, and his fall at the hands of the Laurent Kabila-led rebels was quite predictable.
With world economic focus increasingly shifting towards Africa, it is important that our continent becomes alive to the disasters associated with the US truncheon foreign policy behind many of the world’s tragedies in history. Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!
Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia