Iraq looted from all possible materials  31-05-2004
Corruption in Iraq
100,000 civilians may have died in Iraq conflict       Helen Pearson 31 October 2004
Colonial Violence Against Women In Iraq
Falluja - All the Makings Of A War Crime
Fallujah: Ugly the  War

Scrap-laden trucks from Iraq banned entry

AMMAN (JT) ‹ Customs authorities have banned
scrap-laden trucks from Iraq entering the Kingdom
after on-the-spot checks detected radioactive metal
among the cargo.
The shipment was en route to Aqaba Port for export to
the United States, Britain, and European countries.
Officials used devices that were able to detect
quantities of enriched uranium in the shipment.
The officials said one truck was carrying ³around 40
tonnes of scrap that had radioactive material stuck to
it,² adding that the total quantity was measured at
1,118 sievert (a measurement of radiation) while the
normal limit is 75 sv.
Sources told Al Rai and The Jordan Times the vehicles
were sent back to Iraq.
Government Spokesperson Asma Khader could not
immediately confirm the report but told Agence
France-Presse that Jordan had taken measures to ensure
scrap entering the country from Iraq was not
³We had scientific information that scrap and metal
could be contaminated and radioactive... so Jordan
took preventive measures to test these shipments
before they enter the country,² Khader told AFP.
³We took all the necessary measures and have placed
detection devices at the border (with Iraq) to make
sure that no such material enters Jordan before it is
The same sources added that Jordan has also banned the
entry of foodstuff from Iraq for fear of contamination
as a result of the US bombardment of the country
during the war.
Jordan has set up three testing centres on the border,
capable of detecting traces of enriched uranium as
well as chemical material.
AFP reported that The New York Times newspaper on
Friday said military equipment as well as seemingly
brand-new parts of oil rigs and water plants might be
leaving Iraq by truck every day in what could be a
massive looting operation.
³This is systematically plundering the country,² John
Hamre of the Centre for Strategic and International
Studies, a nonpartisan Washington research institute,
told the paper.
While coalition authorities have approved the removal
of scrap metal from Iraq, including thousands of
damaged Iraqi tanks and military vehicles, material
seen in scrapyards in neighbouring Jordan include new
material from Iraq's civil infrastructure, the daily
One hundred semitrailers loaded with what is billed as
scrap metal arrive in Jordan everyday from Iraq
bearing legitimate scrap metal, but also inestimable
amounts of plundered material, said the paper.
The customs sources that spoke to Al Rai and The
Jordan Times said they deal with 200-250 trucks on a
daily basis.
The New York Times said one of its reporters saw
³piles of valuable copper and aluminum ingots and
bars, large stacks of steel rods and water pipe and
giant flanges for oil equipment, all in nearly mint
condition, as well as chopped up railroad boxcars,
huge numbers of shattered Iraqi tanks and even beer
kegs marked with the words `Iraqi Brewery.'²
The head of the UN International Atomic Energy
Agency's verification office in Iraq, Jacques Baute,
told the paper that satellite photographs the agency
uses to monitor hundreds of military-industrial sites
for the removal of sensitive material show ³jarring²
Entire buildings and complexes of as many as a dozen
buildings have vanished from the photographs, he said.

³We see sites that have totally been cleaned out,²
Baute added.
The Centre for Strategic and International Studies has
sent a team to Iraq and published a report on
reconstruction efforts at the request of the Pentagon
last July.
Sam Whitfield, a spokesman for the Coalition
Provisional Authority, told the paper that the
coalition had put a stop to widespread looting in
But an engineer at a scrapyard in Sahab, Jordan,
pointed to items that did not look like scrap at all.
He indicated five-metre-long bars of carbon steel,
water pipes 30 centimetres in diameter stacked in
triangular piles three metres high and large falanges
he identified as oil-well equipment.
"It's still new and worth a lot", Mohammad Al Dajah
told the Times. "Why are they here? They need it
there", he said.
Monday, May 31, 2004

Corruption in Iraq.
This message has been received today.

Dear Editor,
One thing may change the November's election.

Coalition of corruption
Polish politics make private business on the war. The corruption range to the highest authorities.

Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka was earlier the Chief of International Coordination Council in Iraq. As the chief of the council, he supported a choice of Bank Millennium (in which he was a member of the supervisory board) to the consortium that would menage the Trade Bank of Iraq. Accidentally, the Prime Minister admitted (in Polish parliament) that he had known how the members of the commission had voted - nevertheless, he was not a member of the commission.

Another matter regards to the public tender that decided about a contract on equipment for Iraq's army. In consortium that won the first tender was "Ostrowski Arms" - the firm that had not a license on the trade of weapons and whole firm was consists of a few persons. What is interesting in this firm? The owner and the chief of the firm was Andrzej Ostrowski - a good acquaintance of President Aleksander Kwasniewski. Mr. Ostrowski had issued a book about the calendar of the choice of F-16 to Polish army. It was only one book wroted by him ...and President Kwasniewski wrote an introduction to this book. At present, Mr. Andrzej Ostrowski is the accused of a trade of weapons without a license.

After the journalist's investigation regards Ostrowski Arms the public tender in Iraq was cancel. What the tender was it? The firm without license on a trade of weapons is the one of winners. The firm with a few people staff, not famous in branch... However, good famous for Aleksander Kwasniewski.

I think you should confirm both events: the run of the choice of the consortium managing the Trade Bank of Iraq and the choice of the unknown firm without a license on weapons trade to the consortium that was expected to equip the Iraq's army.

The international corruption affair will range to the high Bush's administration and to the highest Polish authorities.

Enclosed please find more details, nevertheless, it is only in Polish:

Best Regards,
Jaroslaw Suplacz

About the author:

100,000 civilians may have died in Iraq conflict

Helen Pearson

Study suggests most of those killed were women and children.

An Iraqi woman is told of the death of her son in Basra, southern Iraq, on 23 May 2004.

© AP Photo/Nabil Al-Jurani)
As many as 100,000 civilians may have been killed as a consequence of the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, according to the first attempt at a systematic analysis, published on 29 October.

A US-Iraqi team led by health researcher Les Roberts of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, interviewed nearly 1,000 Iraqi households in 33 randomly selected neighbourhoods across the country. They asked residents about the number and cause of deaths in each household in the 15 months before the March 2003 invasion, and the 18 months afterwards.

The group calculated that the risk of death went up by 2.5 times after the invasion. This gives an estimate of at least 100,000 more deaths since the war, and possibly many more. Most of the dead were women and children killed in military activity, particularly air strikes, the researchers report.

The results "demand a re-evaluation of the consequences of weaponry now used by coalition forces in populated areas", they write in The Lancet1.

The Lancet's editor, Richard Horton, writes in an accompanying commentary2: "This result requires an urgent political and military response if the confidence of ordinary Iraqis in the mostly American-British occupation is to be restored."

 These guys were trying to do a remarkably difficult thing in a dangerous environment. 

Jon Alterman
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington DC
Hard task

Previous estimates of the Iraqi death toll, such as those based on collating news reports, vary from around 13,000 to more than 30,000. "These guys were trying to do a remarkably difficult thing in a dangerous environment," says Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a think tank based in Washington DC.

But Alterman questions the accuracy of the data. For example, two-thirds of the deaths were recorded in the exceptionally violent city of Falluja. "In general more data is good but fuzzy data doesn't help as much," he says.

The study's authors acknowledge that Falluja may not be representative of the rest of the country, and excluded those figures in their estimate. Including them gives a significantly higher death toll.

Horton accepts that more data would have made the results more accurate, but says that this would have involved "enormous and unacceptable" risk to the study's interviewers.

 There seems to be little excuse for occupying forces to not be able to provide more precise tallies. 

Les Roberts and colleagues
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore
What if?

Alterman also points out that there were periods of mass killing before the recent Iraq war, such as during the Iran-Iraq war or in Saddam Hussein's attacks on the Kurds. It is difficult to predict whether the current conflict might have prevented similar incidents, he says.

Most people agree that civilian deaths during war should be minimized, Alterman adds, but the paper's calculations do not show how this might be done.

The report's authors argue that a necessary first step is for the occupying forces to carry out systematic body counts. "It seems difficult to understand how a military force could monitor the extent to which civilians are protected against violence without systematically doing body counts or at least looking at the kinds of casualties they induce," they write. "There seems to be little excuse for occupying forces to not be able to provide more precise tallies."
  1. Roberts , et al. The Lancet, 364 advance online publication (2004). | Article |
  2. Horton, The Lancet, 364 advance online publication (2004).

Colonial Violence Against Women In Iraq

By Ghali Hassan

31 May, 2004

" Great day for the people in Iraq, torture chambers and rape rooms are shut down". Colin Powell, U.S. Secretary of State, 08 March 2004.

In one of the most secular country in the Arab world, where women were until recently a visible and integrated part of public life, females have all but disappeared. The lawlessness, brought by the occupation forces into Iraq, is felt disproportionately by young women and girls who have yet to finish
their education. This is the "freedom" George W. Bush and his cabal brought to the Iraqi people.

Immediately after the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the U.S. army failed to establish effective authority and security of their own. And because of the power vacuum that developed when the Iraqi regime collapsed, there was acomplete breakdown of law and order encouraged by the invading forces. According to Amnesty International, "violence against women and girls has sharply increased in Iraq compared to the time before last year's war". Under the U.S.-British occupation, Iraqi women faced arrest; torture, including rape; and even execution simply because their husbands or male relatives were sought by the occupation forces" (1). Women detainees and Iraqi Prisoners of War (POWs) arrested without charge by the occupying forces are denied humane treatment and rights under the Geneva Conventions and International laws. So far, only Saddam Hussein has been granted "prisoner of war" status by the United States.

Under international humanitarian law, the occupying forces have a responsibility to guarantee the "safety of the civilian population in Iraq". They have an obligation to maintain and restore public order and to provide food, medical care and relief assistance. So far, they have failed in their duties. The occupying forces must provide effective protection, investigate and punish all perpetrators of violence against women.

The U.S. occupation force in Iraq is taking women and their close relatives hostages, and using them as "bargaining chips". Recently, Newsday reported that, "the U.S. military is holding dozens of Iraqi women as bargaining chips to put pressure on their wanted relatives to surrender. These detainees are not accused of any crimes, and experts say their detention violates the Geneva Conventions and other international laws. The practice also risks associating the United States with the tactics of countries it has long criticized for arbitrary arrests"(2). The Australian SBS World News reported on 29 May 2004 of horrific cases of Iraqi women detainees tortured and raped by U.S. soldiers and their quislings.

Cases of torture and rape of Iraqi women detainees first come out of prison through smuggled note by a female detainee to the resistance fighters in which the other women detainees asked the fighters to bomb the prison and spare their dignity. Amal K. Swadi, one of several female lawyers representing Iraqi women detainees in Abu Ghraib prison, detailed the systematic abuse and torture (including rapes) perpetrated by U.S. soldiers against Iraqi women held in detention "across Iraq" without charge. According to Swadi, the women have been detained - not because of anything they have done, but merely because of whom they married to. Often U.S. soldiers raid a house in their violent manners, and if they fail to find a male suspect, they will take away his wife or daughter instead.

The wife and daughter of the former Vice Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Council, Izzat Ibrahim al-Duri, were arrested in November last year. The occupation authority has acknowledged that they are detained, but they haven't said anything about their legal status or the reason for their detention. Although, Amnesty International and several human rights organisations have called on the occupation authority to "guarantee adequate protection of women and women rights defenders", they received no response.

US officials have acknowledged detaining women in the hope of convincing male relatives to provide information: a strategy that is in violation of all international laws. "The issue is the system", Nada Doumani of the International Committee of the Red Cross told Luke Harding of the Guardian of London. Iman Khamas, head of the International Occupation Watch Centre, a non-governmental organisation which gathers information on human rights abuses under coalition rule, said, "one former detainee had recounted the alleged rape of her cellmate in Abu Ghraib. According to Khamas, the prisoner said; "her cellmate had been rendered unconscious for 48 hours". She claimed; "she had been raped 17 times in one day by Iraqi police in the presence of American soldiers". Kamas reported that, "since December 2003 there are around 625 women prisoners in Al-Rusafah prison in Umm Qasr and 750 in Al-Kazimah alone. They range from girls of twelve to women in their sixties". The allegations made by the victims in the report are sickening, and can only be attributed to those who live in a sick society, like America. Furthermore, British Labour MP Ann Clwyd, Tony Blair's personal human rights envoy to Iraq, highlighted the humiliation last year of an Iraqi woman in her 70s detained by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib for about six weeks without charge. The elderly women had been abused, insulted and ridden like a donkey by U.S. soldiers.

These heinous crimes against Iraqi women and Iraqis POWs are not the acts of a " few bad apples", as suggested by George W. Bush and his lackey Tony Blair. All the evidence now points to the facts that Donald Rumsfeld authorised physical coercion and sexual humiliation in Iraqi prisons. Julian Borger of the Guardian of London reported from Washington "General Ricardo Sanchez, head of coalition forces in Iraq, issued an order last October giving military intelligence control over almost every aspect of prison conditions at Abu Ghraib with the explicit aim of manipulating the detainees 'emotions and weaknesses'. Borger writes, "[t]he October 12 memorandum, reported in the Washington Post, is a potential 'smoking gun' linking prisoners abuse to the U.S. high command. It represents hard evidence that the maltreatment was not simply the fault of rogue military police guards"(3). So far, these heinous crimes against Iraqi civilians (women and men) proved to be ineffective; no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq, and the resistance continue to grow.

The revelation of tortures and rapes of Iraqi POWs and Iraqi female detainees "constitute the writing on the wall for a decadent civilization which has been proclaiming its moral and cultural superiority to the world for some centuries now and using that public delusion to control their own populations and bludgeon all the world's peoples into submission, with vacuous promises of civilization or freedom", writes Aseem Shrivastava (4). Western culture has never stood lower in Moslem and Arab eyes.

Mainstream Western media are in total cooperation with power. CBS, who held its story for two weeks at the request of General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, showed the kind of self-censorship in the media. CBS only aired the story to beat Seymour Hersh's report in The New Yorker. According to Danny Schecter of Media Channel, "CBS was so nervous about bucking the Pentagon that it needed to interview war supporters and spooks in its story to validate its decision to air the story"(5). The Red Cross spokeswoman Antonella Notari says, "the photographs are certainly
shocking, but our reports/ratios are worse . . .. We don't need the photos to know what's going on and that it's not acceptable". According to the Taguba's report, the report, which was prepared by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba on alleged abuse of prisoners by members of the 800th Military Police Brigade at the Abu Ghraib Prison in Baghdad, Iraqi women, have been abused, raped and forced to strip naked by sick U.S. soldiers at gunpoint. The Bush Administration refuses to release photographs and videotapes to prevent further domestic embarrassment in the land of the "free press".

Western Women's movements stood silent when tortures and rapes of Iraqi women detainees came to light. Western "feminists" are ready to attack with ferocity Moslem "fundamentalists" and community leaders, but they failed to lift a finger when innocent Iraqi women and girls are detained, tortured and raped by sick colonial soldiers. Furthermore, western feminists allowed Bush and Blair to hijack feminist rhetoric in order to bomb and kill thousands of innocent Afghani and Iraqi civilians. This is not new in imperialists thinking; western feminism has served as a "handmaid to colonialism". "Whether in the hands of patriarchal men or feminists", writes Harvard Professor, Leila Ahmed, "the ideas of western feminism essentially functioned to morally justify the attack on native societies and to support
the notion of comprehensive superiority of [the U.S.A. and] Europe (6). Bush and Blair speak the language of benevolent bullies, and their lies led to the destruction of Iraq and the murder of more than 12,000 innocent civilians.

The words "rape" and "torture" seem to be difficult words for Americans and Westerns to utter when they are caught in the act of committing them on people of other societies. The American scholar, Joseph Massad writes: "It should not be forgotten that in America, not in the Moslem World, between 40 percent and 60 percent of women killed, are killed by their husbands and boyfriends, but such murders of course are no longer even called 'passion' crimes; much less 'honour' crimes. It is the misogynistic trait of imperial American culture and its violent racism that propels the torture to which Iraqi prisoners (POWs and civilians) have been, and may still subjected"(7). Here is what the average Iraqis thinks of "the land of the free and the home of the brave": "They are an army of sick cowards. They are from a country of sick cowards".

Rightwing Americans lost their mind to think properly. It is preposterous to read the like of Michael Ignatieff advocating violence against innocent people, and at the same time encouraging the rise of terrorism. The New York Times columnist writes: "the US and its allies should use coercion and
assassination to defeat terrorism. But they must still keep faith with democratic principles". How can one keeps with these "democratic principles" if one does not believe in democratic principles for those one despised? Mr. Ignatieff proved to the world that he doesn't think properly, and that his
opinion is pure imperialist rubbish. Terrorism grows out of the violence of "state terrorism", currently practised openly by the U.S. and its close ally Israel. The definition of terrorism seems to fit the patterns of American and Western imperialism. The U.S. and its allies should be condemend for blatant violations of Intrenational laws and the Fourth Geneva Conventions.

Secretary Powell's promises on Women's Day stood in stark contrast to the realities on the ground in Iraq. Mr. Powell is more concerned about "America's International image" than the welfare of the Iraqi people. Mr. Powell allowed himself to become the mouthpiece for the necons gang and Israel's Zionists. Mr. Powell's job for the past decades has been selling wars against innocent and defenceless people. History shows that Mr. Powell sacrificed moral principles and human rights for his own increasingly pathetic career.

There is no military solution to the situation in Iraq, and therefore the best way to end the violence against the Iraqi people, is to end the military and economic occupation of Iraq. It will also be a historical day in the struggle for liberation from colonial occupation. That day will certainly come to Iraq.

[1] Amnesty International, Violence against women increases sharply, 31 March 2004.
[2] Mohammed Bazzi, U.S. using some Iraqis as bargaining chips, Newsweek, 26 May 2004.
[3] Julian Borger, Commander of coalition forces witnessed prisoner abuse, The Guardian, 24 May 2004.
[4] Aseem Shrivastava, Iraq torture, Znet, 03 May 204.
[5] Danny Schecter, Why Media Stood Silent When Torture Cases First Came To Light,, May 12, 2004.
[6] Leila Ahmed, Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate, Yale University Press, 1993.
[7] Joseph Massad, Imperial mementos, Al-Ahram Weekly, No. 691, 2004.

Ghali Hassan is in the Science and Mathematics Education Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.

Falluja - All the Makings Of A War Crime

By Tony Kevin

09 November, 2004 by the
Sydney Morning Herald

We need to be clear on what is about to happen in the Iraqi city of Falluja, about 64 kilometers west of Baghdad and a key center of Sunni population in Iraq. This city has for many months held out as a center of Sunni-based political-military resistance, refusing to accept the authority either of the former US-led occupying authority nor, since July, of the interim Iraqi administration led by the Prime Minister, Iyad Allawi.
Falluja is now to be brought to heel by overwhelming military power. As I write this, the US attack on the city has begun. The message to Falluja from the US armed forces in Iraq and from Allawi was brutally simple: submit now to Baghdad's authority or face attack.

It is still possible that resistance in Falluja will melt away in the face of US attack. While this would be a more optimistic scenario, I think it more likely at this point that the insurgents will fight, because too much is at stake politically for them to accept a bloodless Allawi victory. I look here at the - in my judgment, now more likely - scenario that Falluja insurgents will dig in and defy the invasion force.

What I believe is then likely to be done to Falluja will be a war crime and crime against humanity, morally indefensible by any civilized standard or for that matter, by the Statute of the International Criminal Court (to which, conveniently, neither the US nor Iraqi Government adheres).

This will be no neat, surgical strike. To get the measure of this, think of the Warsaw rising in 1944, or the Russian Army's destruction of the Chechen capital, Grozny. In 1999 this already battered city (of originally 400,000 people) was finally destroyed by massive Russian bombardment. Today, insurgents still fight it out with Russian troops among the ruins.

Eighteen months ago, before the US-led invasion of Iraq, Falluja was a living city of 300,000 people. Now - depopulated of most of its civilians by intimidation and fear - what is left looks like it is about to be blasted out of existence, simply as a demonstration of overwhelming US power in Iraq.

Of course, the US Army has been for weeks "humanely" encouraging women and children to leave the encircled city through checkpoints while there is still time to save their lives.

The Russians did the same before and during the destruction of Grozny. In a few days, as the battle and the flight of civilians expands, there may be tens of thousands of new refugees in tent cities, and tens of thousands of women left without husbands, and children left without fathers.

If this attack goes ahead as appears inevitable, it will obviously breach the laws of war and the Geneva conventions. First, it will grossly exceed proportionality in terms of ends and means. What intended political or military objective could justify so much death, the creation of so many new refugees, and wholesale destruction of homes?

What threat does the city of Falluja pose to the Iraqi state at this point? Allawi has claimed that free elections cannot take place unless Falluja is subdued. What a spurious argument.

The truth is that this city, which has become a symbol of Sunni-Iraqi political resistance to the occupiers, is to be made an example of, to deter others. The message the siege of Falluja sends is brutally simple: resist us and we will destroy you. It is the same message that the Wehrmacht sent in Warsaw in 1944, and the Russian Army in Grozny in 1999.

This attack will also violate the rules of war and the Geneva conventions in having grossly indiscriminate effects on civilians and civilian homes and infrastructure. America's largely untrained in battle but over-armed forces will start their attack "humanely", but as they inevitably take numbers of lethal casualties, their tactics will quickly escalate to indiscriminate bombing and shelling of the city using their WMD armories.

Eventually, the attackers will flatten the city and kill everyone that still resists in it. Falluja will be the Iraqi people's Masada, and it will sow seeds of deep anti-Western hatred in the Middle East for decades to come.

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, understands all this, in pleading for a negotiated solution. And as usual, Washington is summarily ignoring his pleas.

As a military ally with our troops in Iraq, Australia is morally implicated in this. While Australian former SAS commanders, the Governor-General, Major-General Michael Jeffery, and the Australian Christian Lobby's executive chairman, Brigadier Jim Wallace, moralize about abortions and gay marriages, Australia's military ally is about to destroy a living city and its families.

An unnamed US military commander in the tightening military ring around Falluja proudly boasted (as heard on ABC Radio yesterday) that this battle will go down in US military history as another Hue. Indeed it will - who can forget the wholesale artillery destruction of that sacred, historic Vietnamese city? "We had to destroy it in order to save it" was the line at the time. Now it looks like our military ally in Iraq is about to do it all over again in Falluja.

What are Australian political leaders - Government or Opposition - saying to Washington at this point? Are they saying anything at all? We reap what we sow.

Tony Kevin, a former Australian diplomat, is a visiting fellow at the Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University, Canberra.

© 2004 The Sydney Morning Herald

Fallujah: Ugly the  War
Iraq Watch Specials: From Peace No War  Network
November 13, 2004
URL: _http://www.PeaceNoWar.net_ (

US  Marines of the 1st Division dressed as gladiators stage a chariot race reminiscent of the Charlton Heston movie-complete with confiscated Iraqi horses at their base outside Fallujah, Iraq,  Saturday, Nov. 6 , 2004. For U.S. Marines tapped to lead an expected attack on  insurgent-held Fallujah, the bags have been packed, trucks have been loaded and  final letters have been sent, leaving one final task - the 'Ben-Hur.' (AP  Photo/Anja Niedringhaus)

US  soldier moves a captured man by the leg after US troops entered Fallujah hospital, in Iraq, Monday, November 8. (AP  Photo/APTN)

U.S. Marines carry an  injured colleague after an offensive in Falluja,
November 9. Ten U.S. troops and  two Iraqi troops fighting alongside them have died in the assault to take  control of rebel-held Falluja, but senior insurgency leaders probably escaped  the city, the U.S. military said on Tuesday. (Photo by Eliana  Aponte/Reuters)
For more photos and Videos from Iraq,  visit:
"Report from Baghdad" July, 2003
Squeezing jello in Iraq
by Scott Ritter
Tuesday 09 November 2004 6:52 PM  GMT
The  much-anticipated US-led offensive to seize the Iraqi city of Falluja
from  anti-American Iraqi fighters has begun.  Meeting resistance that, while 
stiff at times, was much less than had been anticipated, US Marines and 
soldiers, accompanied by Iraqi forces loyal to the interim government of Iyad 
Allawi, have moved into the heart of Falluja.  
Fighting is  expected to continue for a few more days, but US commanders are
confident that  Falluja will soon be under US control, paving the way for the
establishment of  order necessary for nation-wide elections currently
scheduled for January  2005.  
But will  it?  American military planners expected to face thousands of Iraqi
resistance fighters in the streets of Falluja, not the hundreds they are 
currently fighting. They expected to roll up the network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his foreign Islamic militants, and yet to date have found no top-tier  leaders from that organization. As American forces surge into Falluja, Iraqi fighters are mounting extensive attacks throughout the rest of Iraq.  
Far from  facing off in a decisive battle against the resistance fighters, it
seems the  more Americans squeeze Falluja, the more the violence explodes
elsewhere.   It is exercises in futility, akin to squeezing jello. The more you
try to get a  grasp on the problem, the more it slips through your fingers.  
This kind  of war, while frustrating for the American soldiers and marines
who wage it, is  exactly the struggle envisioned by the Iraqi resistance. They
know they cannot  stand toe-to-toe with the world's most powerful military and
expect to win. 
While the  US military leadership struggles to get a grip on a situation in
Iraq that  deteriorates each and every day, the anti-US occupation fighters
continue to  execute a game plan that has been in position since day one.  
President  Bush prematurely declared "mission accomplished" back in May 2003.
For  Americans, this meant that major combat operations in Iraq had come to
an end,  that we had won the war. But for the Iraqis, it meant something else.
In Iraq,  there never was a ‘Missouri moment', where the government formally
surrendered.  The fact is, Saddam Hussein's government never surrendered, and
still is very  much in evidence in Iraq today in the form of the anti-US
While we in  America were declaring victory, the government of Saddam was
planning its  war.  The first battles were fought in March and April 2003.  Token
resistance, no decisive engagement.  The Iraqis fought just enough to 
establish the principle of resistance, but not enough to squander their  resources.
Since May  2003, the resistance has grown in size and sophistication.  Some
attribute  this to the incompetence of the post-war occupation policies of the
United  States.  While this certainly was a factor in facilitating the
resistance,  the fact remains that what is occurring today in Iraq is part of a well-conceived plan the goal of which is to restore the Baath Party back to 
power. And the policies of the Bush administration are playing right into their hands.
The terror  attacks carried out against the United Nations and other
international aid  organizations succeeded in driving out of Iraq the vestiges of foreign  involvement the Bush administration relied upon to present an
international face  to the US-led occupation. In the chaos and anarchy that followed, the United  States was compelled to use more and more force in an attempt to restore order,  creating a Catch-22 situation where the more force we used, the more resistance  we generated, requiring more force in response.  
The cycle  of violence fed the resistance, destabilizing huge areas of Iraq
that are still  outside the control of the Iraqi government and US military.
High profile  operations in Najaf, Sadr City and Sammara did little to bring
these cities to  bear.  
Today, fighters  in Iraq operate freely, continuing their orgy of death and
destruction in order  to attract the inevitable heavy-handed US response.
Falluja is a prime case in  point. While the US is unlikely to deliver a fatal blow to the Iraqi  resistance, it is succeeding in levelling huge areas of
Falluja, recalling the  Vietnam-era lament that we had to destroy the village in order to save it. 

The images  from Falluja will only fuel the anti-American sentiment in Iraq,
enabling the  anti-US fighters to recruit ten new fighters for every
newly-minted 'martyr' it  loses in the current battle against the Americans.
The battle  for Falluja is supposed to be the proving ground of the new Iraq
Army. Instead,  it may well prove to be a fatal pill. The reality is there is
no Iraqi  Army. Of the tens of thousands recruited into its ranks, there is
today  only one effective unit, the 36th Battalion. 
This unit  has fought side by side with the Americans in Falluja, Najaf, and
Samara. By all  accounts, it has performed well.  But this unit can only
prevail when it  operates alongside overwhelming American military support. Left to fend for  itself, it would be slaughtered by the resistance fighters. Worse, this unit  which stands as a symbol of the ideal for the new Iraqi Army is actually the  antithesis of what the new Iraqi Army should be.  

While  the Bush administration has suppressed the formation of militia units
organized  along ethnic and religious lines, the 36th Battalion should be
recognized for  what it really is  – a Kurdish militia, retained by the US
military because  the rest of the Iraqi Army is unwilling or unable to carry the fight to the  Iraqi resistance fighters.
The battle  for Falluja has exposed not only the fallacy of the US military
strategy towards  confronting the resistance in Iraq, but also the emptiness of the interim  government of Iyad Allawi, which is so far incapable of building anything that  resembles a viable Iraqi military capable of securing its position in Iraq void  of American military support.
Falluja is  probably the beginning of a very long and bloody phase of the
Iraq war, one that  pits an American military under orders from a rejuvenated
Bush administration to  achieve victory at any cost against an Iraqi resistance that is willing to allow  Iraq to sink into a quagmire of death and destruction in order to bog down and  eventually expel the American occupier. 
It is a war  the United States cannot win, and which the government of Iyad
Allawi cannot  survive. Unfortunately, since recent polls show that some 70% of the American  people support the war in Iraq, it is a war that will rage
until the American  domestic political dynamic changes, and the tide of public
opinion turns against  the war. 
Tragically,  this means many more years of conflict in Iraq that will result
in thousands  more killed on both sides, and incomprehensible suffering for
the people of  Iraq, and unpredictable instability for the entire Middle  East.

[Scott Ritter was a senior UN arms  inspector in Iraq between 1991-1998. He
is now an independent  consultant.]
By Scott  Ritter 
Peace, No War
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
Not in  our Name! And another world is possible!

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Iraq’s economy finds itself in a period of uncertainty, with the future of the critical oil sector still in limbo and the country’s security situation holding back development.
Iraq now finds itself in a period of uncertainty and transition after more than three decades of Ba'ath party rule. Following the end of Saddam Hussein's rule in the spring of 2003, Iraq was governed for a year by the "Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA)" led by the United States and the United Kingdom. On June 28, 2004, the CPA transferred power to a sovereign Iraqi interim government, with national elections held on January 30, 2005. On May 3, 2005, the new transitional government was sworn in, with Ibrahim Jaafari as Prime Minister. A constitutional referendum was held in October 2005, with the constitution being approved overwhelmingly. Elections for a permanent government were held in mid-December 2005. The constitution (articles 108-111) addressed the control and distribution of oil resources in general terms, but many details (e.g., exactly how oil revenues will be distributed) were not spelled out exactly. Another question that remains outstanding is whether or not Iraq will form a new Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC).
Although Iraq's unemployment rate remains high (27-40 percent), the overall Iraqi economy appears to be recovering after more than a decade of economic stagnation, sanctions, and war. However, it is important to note that estimates of economic growth vary widely. For instance, Iraqi real GDP growth is estimated by Global Insight at 34 percent growth for 2005 and 22 percent for 2006. In contrast, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently lowered its Iraq GDP growth forecast to just 3.7 percent, citing “the continuing sabotage of oil installations,” with forecast growth of 17 percent for 2006.
On October 15, 2003, a new Iraqi currency -- the "New Iraqi Dinar" (NID) -- was introduced, replacing the "old dinar" and the "Swiss dinar" used in the north of the country. Since then, the NID has appreciated sharply, from around 1,950 NID per $U.S. in October 2003 to around 1,470 NID per $U.S. by mid-December 2005. In early February 2004, Iraq was granted observer status at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In late September 2004, Iraq sent the WTO a formal request for membership.
Total, long-term Iraqi reconstruction costs could run to $100 billion or higher, with an October 2003 donors conference in Madrid resulting in pledges of $33 billion (channeled partly through the International Reconstruction Facility Fund for Iraq -- IRFFI). In mid-October 2004, donor countries meeting in Tokyo agreed on the need to speed up the disbursement or promised assistance to Iraq. To date, only a small fraction of the money pledged in Madrid has been disbursed. In late November 2005, the World Bank approved a $100 million loan (for education projects) to Iraq, the first such loan in 30 years.
On May 22, 2003, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 1483, lifting sanctions on Iraq, phasing out the 6-year-old U.N. oil-for-food program over six months (the program ended on November 21, 2003), and designating a U.N. "special representative" to assist Iraq in its reconstruction efforts. On May 27, 2003, the U.S. Treasury Department lifted most U.S. sanctions on Iraq, thereby implementing U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483.
In November 2003, the U.S. Congress authorized $18.4 billion for Iraq in a "supplemental allocation" aimed at boosting Iraqi reconstruction and economic development. As of late October 2005, only around 79 percent of that total had been committed to projects. About $2 billion reportedly had been spent on oil projects and over $4 billion on power projects, with mixed results.
Iraq assumed a heavy debt burden during the Saddam Hussein years, around $100 billion if debts to Gulf states and Russia are counted, and even more if $250 billion in reparations payment claims stemming from Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait are included. Under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483, Iraq's oil export earnings are immune from legal proceedings, such as debt collection, until the end of 2007. In November 2004, the Paris Club group of 19 creditor nations agreed to forgive, in stages, up to 80 percent on $42 billion worth of loans. The relief is contingent upon Iraq reaching an economic stabilization program with the IMF.