My 'Cassandra' letter to The Independent,
10 Sept. 2002:-
The Independent (
), London Sep 10, 2002 Letter from John Pedler
Sir: Isn't a
attack on US just what Osama bin Laden's flagging plan requires? After 11 September it waswidely suspected that al-Qa'ida's plan was to provoke a massive ill-directed, unilateral,anti-Muslim retaliation from the Iraq .This would release extremist Islamic forces, destabilising the already precarious United States Middle East and compromising the West's oil supply. Thatin turn would create economic and political havoc in the developed world. Whenthe dust eventually settled a new extremist Islam would face a debilitated West.
With political skill and military luck the Bushadministration avoided such a scenario with a measured, internationallyaccepted response in
.Now though, the President is squandering the world's good will in a series ofunilateral actions. He declines to ensure stability in Afghanistan ,and refuses his vital support in settling the Israel/Palestine problem on thelines now acceptable to all interested nations. Afghanistan
In these circumstances a war in
,followed by some questionable nation-building, makes 11 September look like agamble al-Qa'ida might yet win. Iraq
[Six months before the invasion was launched in March 2003we had identified (thanks to the work of experts with a variety of expertise) andpassed on to correspondents on 4 September 2002 - see below - some 10 major (and mostly quite evident) reasons to opposean invasion of Iraq. See our paper of
8 Nov 2003, and others on this site, which expand on our initialassessment. The latest is of 3 August 2008- "A Blunder that Vote for " ".] Iraq
Here is our
4 September 2002 analysis prepared in consultation with one of AlGore's former National Security Advisers:-
Ten reasons why
must not be invaded without UN approval: Iraq
Collecting the views of experts in the various fields whoare not involved in supporting the present
administration or the U.S. government, we find the following principal objections to an invasion of U.K. without Security Council approval (which is unlikely to be obtainable):- Iraq
:it could well undermine success in Afghanistan .It would be folly to start a second, elective, war before Afghanistan has been secured, a new government has won general support, warlords are tamed,and reconstruction is safely underway. Aghanistan would lose its top priorityto Afghanistan bothfor manpower, finance, and other resources - e.g. expertise on Islam andterrorism. Without prompt definitive success in stabilising Iraq ,al Qaeda and the Taliban could once again return to use it. Afghanistan
ii) Worldwide backing: it risks losing the quite remarkableworldwide support, both political and financial, which President G W Bush hasenjoyed for the occupation of
since Al Qaeda's "9/11" attackson the Afghanistan ..Thissupport is essential to uprooting al Qaeda style international terrorism. US
iii) Culture clash: the invasion of a second Muslim countrymust surely further Al Qaeda's major aim with its "9/11" attacks ofprovoking the profound clash of cultures it needs if it is to win wide Muslimsupport. Such a clash must be avoided if Al Qaeda is to be isolated within theMuslim world.
iv) Al Qaeda's home turf: Saddam Hussein has kept Al Qaedaout of
. WithSaddam gone it would surely strive to get in and cause mayhem. Once in Iraq AlQaeda would be back on its Arabic Middle Eastern homeground only one frontieraway from Iraq ,its prime target for destabilisation. Saudi Arabia
v) Splitting allies: without UN approval, an invasion wouldall but certainly split NATO,
Europe and the largelyunited Western presence in the UN. This would not only affect the outcome ofthe occupation in ,but the standing and influence of the West in the Middle East and indeed, throughoutthe world. Afghanistan
vi) No nuclear threat: it would be folly to invade Iraq (whichvirtually all experts agree has no nuclear weapons) in order to prevent nuclearproliferation, instead of focussing, with the riparian states, onreversing the nuclear programme of NorthKorea which is well on the way to possessing a nuclear bomb.
vii) Iraq is fissiparous: If Saddam Hussein is removedSunnis (now dominant), majority Shi'as (repressed), Kurds (who would preferindependence) and other disgruntled groups, would all seek to protect andforward their interests risking grave civil disturbance, even iternecine strife- should any invasion not be accompanied by a carefully prepared transfer ofpower and swift departure. But it appears that the
(whose participation the UK seeks) is still far from satisfied that post-invasion policy has beenmeticulously and wisely planned. U.S.
viii) American hegemony: such an invasion would be seen bymany (notably Russia and China) as an American attempt to dominate the MiddleEast and thus secure US world hegemony in the 21st century. (The "neo-conservativemovement" calls itself The Project for A New American Century. Vice-PresidentCheney and several other "neo-conservatives" are in key positions inthe G W Bush administration). Such a
move for world dominance would be counter-productive. It is not the way for the U.S. - the remaining superpower - to lead theworld towards the international cooperation so essential in the post-Cold Warera. US
,the Arabs & Israel: putting American forces to the west as well as to theeast of Iran must lead to conflict with Iran for influence in Iran and strain - or end - the nascent cooperation between the Iraq & US withthe overthrow of the Taliban, the common enemy. Saddam's Sunni secular Iran (backed by the West) waged war on Iraq for 8 years with tremendous World War I style losses. Iran will be be out to exercise all possible influence over any new regime in Iran ,and Shias in the Sunni states. This would cause tension between Shiarevolutionary Iraq and Iran 's Sunnineighbours as well as with the Iraq There is a grave risk of destabilising the entire U.S. Middle East- which would gravely undermine 'ssecurity - and of course the Christian minorities in the Israel Middle East.
x) Climate change, etc: The international disruption to beexpected from such an invasion of
would distract world attention from the existential threats that humanity nowfaces, including Human Rights - all of which require world cooperation. Iraq
Conclusion: These ten objections alone make an "unapproved"invasion far too high risk to be acceptable. This could change if a) continuedworld support - military and financial - demonstrates that the reconstructionand stabilisation of
is on the way to irreversible success, and if b) the main recruiting source foral Qaeda - worldwide Muslim bitterness at Palestinian woes - is removed by anIsrael/Palestine agreement which should now be the top priority for the Afghanistan Middle East. "9/11" plus the successful occupation of with such worldwide backing makes an Israeli/Palestine settlement far morepossible than it has ever been before.... Afghanistan
All these ten reasons for not now invading