War on Terror


The attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York and on Pentagon on September 11, 2001, shocked the world and gave the elites of the City of London and Washington D.C. pretext to blame al-Qaeda and launch an invasion on Afghanistan. The Anglo-American coalition wanted to maintain as much flexibility as possible and thus did not take up the implicit offer of a UNauthorized military action against Afghanistan. Within four weeks from 9/11 attack, on October 7, 2001, U.S. and British forces started bombing Afghanistan, claiming they exercised right of selfdefence under the terms of the UN Charter. The U.S. fielded a small ground force, about 1,000 CIA and Special Forces to work with the Northern Alliance, a band of warlords, who fought the Soviets in the 1980s and then resisted the Taliban government in the 1990s. They had longstanding ties to the CIA. The Taliban forces did not offer much resistance and by December 2001, they were driven out of Kabul and their last stronghold, Kandahar, escaping together with Osama bin Laden and members of Al-Qaeda into the inaccessible high terrain, in the Tora Bora mountains. The war henceforth turned into a long guerrilla warfare. After departure of the Talibans, the US forces appointed the warlords mainly Tajiks and Uzbeks, who long dominated the drug traffic in the area of north-east Afghanistan, with positions in the new government and Hamid Karzai, a prominent member of Pashtun political family in the Kandahar region in the south, a new president of Afghanistan. Whilst the Taliban regime almost eradicated drug trade, under American tutelage Afghanistan became a leading narco-state, producing 90% of the world's heroine. In a development without historical precedent, in 2003, illicit drugs would be responsible for 62% of the country’s gross domestic product.465 The Afghan drug trade soon became source of revenue for western drug dealers and western intelligence services, who laundered their profits in numerous offshore banking havens, in Switzerland, Luxembourg, the British Channel Islands and the Cayman Islands.466 The huge profits generated from drug trade made the Anglo-American elites reluctant to find a rapid solution to the war in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, President Bush and PNAC group returned to their plans to invade Iraq, the second largest reservoir of oil after Saudi Arabia. General Wesley Clark, who served as a Supreme Allied Commander of NATO during the Kosovo War, recalled how the decision to invade Iraq was decided in the Pentagon: “About 10 days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to worked for me and one of the generals called me and said: 'Sir you gotta come in you got to come in and talk to me a second'; well, you're too busy I said, 'No, No', he says,''we've made a decision we are going to war with Iraq'. This was on or about 20th of September. I said we are going to war with Iraq – why? He said: 'I don't know. I guess they don't know what else to do'. And I said: did they find some information connecting Saddam to Al-Qaeda, 'No, no', he says, 'there is nothing new that way. They just made a decision to go to war with Iraq'. He said 'I guess its like we don't know what to do about terrorists but we got good military and we can take down governments'. So I came back to see him a few weeks later and by that time we were bombing in Afganistan and I said are we still going on war with Iraq. And he said: 'Oh, its worst than that. He said, he reached over on his desk and picked up a piece of paper – I just got this down from upstairs meeting the Secretary of Defense Office today, this is a memo that describes how we going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off Iran”.467

The decision to invade Iraq was becoming more urgent when in October 2000, Saddam Hussein announced he planned to dump US dollar and start selling oil in the European currency – Euro. Since 2001, Saddam Hussein sold Iraq's oil in euros, under the United Nations oil-for-food program.468 This rose fears that Iraq might spark a general assault on the US petrodollar system. Time was ripe for action. On January 29, 2002, President Bush announced that an “axis of evil”, consisting of North Korea, Iran, and Iraq was "arming to threaten the peace of the world" asserting both a right and intention to wage a preemptive war. In May 2002, John Bolton gave a follow-up speech entitled "Beyond the Axis of Evil” adding three more nations to be grouped with the aforementioned rogue states: Cuba, Libya and Syria. Bolton said they were all "state sponsor of terrorism that are pursuing or who have the potential to pursue weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or have the capability to do so in violation of their treaty obligations.” The same month, May 2002, the Bush administration stated that the U.S. did not intend to become a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted in Rome in 1998, with purpose to prosecute individuals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Rome Statute had been signed by Clinton administration but had not been submitted for ratification. Apart from the United States, two other major powers opted out from the jurisdiction of International Criminal Court. These were Russia and Israel.

In the following months, President Bush and his advisers, including signatories of PNAC, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, started to build up a case that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Douglas Jay Feith, Under Secretary of Defense Policy, played a key role in the build up to the Iraqi War. He cooked the intelligence linking Saddam Hussein to Al-Qaeda. A Pentagon Inspector General report would later find that Feith's office engaged in "inappropriate" intelligence work on the case for war with Iraq. The report provided that his office had "developed, produced, and then disseminated alternative intelligence assessments on the Iraq and al Qaida relationship, which included some conclusions that were inconsistent with the consensus of the Intelligence Community, to senior decision-makers.”469 Concurrently, Bush administration drew other countries into the anti-Iraq coalition. British Prime Minister Tony Blair did his best to convince the British public opinion that Saddam Hussein had been stockpiling WMD. In September 2002, his government published a dossier based on reports made by British intelligence services which contained a number of allegations according to which Iraq possessed WMD, including chemical and biological weapons. Although newspapers such as The Daily Mirror and The Independent opposed the invasion, the media largely failed to scrutinize the government's claims. All of Rupert Murdoch's 175 newspapers across the world backed the war against Iraq.470 In October 2002, U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution called the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 accusing Iraq of capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction, of harbouring Al-Qaeda and other international terrorist organisations, and of interfering with UN weapons inspectors, consequently authorizing the U.S. government to use the United States Armed Forces in order to "defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq.” On November 8, 2002, UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding that Iraq readmit inspectors. Iraq complied with the resolution and on December 7 handed a 12,000-page declaration of its arms program to UN inspectors, a day before a deadline set by the UN resolution. Yet, the chief UN weapons inspector, Hans Blix, said there were gaps in Iraq’s declaration, and the U.S. ambassador John Negroponte added that these omissions meant Iraq was in “material breach” of the UN resolution. In early 2003, President George Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were adamant that Iraq continued to hinder the inspections and still retained the prescribed weapons. There was no agreement within the Security Council on the next move. President of France Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Hu Jintao strongly opposed the military invasion. Chinese President Hu Jintao told President Bush that “China consistently advocated a political resolution of the Iraq issue within the framework of the United Nations. We hope for peace and do not want war.”471 On February 3, 2003, Alastair Campbell, Blair's Director of Communications and Strategy issued to journalists a second Iraq dossier concerning the WMD which confirmed the findings included in the 2002 September dossier. Many people realized the whole case rested on false charges and on February 15, 2003, 1.5 million people marched through London in the biggest public rally in British history to protest against planned military invasion in Iraq. On the same day, in a coordinated day of protests, in hundreds of cities, including Damascus, Athens, Seoul, Rome, Tokyo and Sydney, demonstrators marched, chanted and unfurled banners to oppose the invasion plans of the elites of the City of London and Washington D.C.472

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465 Alfred W. McCoy, “How the heroine trade explains the US-UK failure in Afganistan”, The Guardian, 9 January 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/09/how-the-heroin-trade-explains-the-us-uk-failure-in-afghanistan »

466 Andrew G. Marshall, “Afgan Heroin & the CIA”, Geopolitical Monitor, 1 April 2008 https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/afghan-heroin-the-cia-519/ »

467 An Interview with General Wesley Clark, Democracy Now, 2 March 2007 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXS3vW47mOE »

468 Faisal Islam, “Iraq nets handsome profits by dumping dollar for euro”, The Guardian, 16 February 2003 https://www.theguardian.com/business/2003/feb/16/iraq.theeuro »

469 Spencer Ackerman, “No faith in Feith”, The Guardian, 9 February 2007 https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/feb/09/nofaithinfeith »

470 Owen Jones, The Establishment. And how they get away with it (London: Allen Lane, 2014), p. 94 »

471 Guy Roberts, US Foreign Policy and China: Bush's First Term (London, New York: Routledge, 2015), p. 132 »

472 Simon Jeffery, “UK's biggest peace rally”, The Guardian, 15 February 2003 https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2003/feb/15/politics.politicalnews »