Tuesday, April 08, 2003

"Sunday School is over and we are going home ..."

In the wake of the downfall of Saddam what awaits ravaged Iraq and its traumatised population?

A Pentagon controlled civilian administration, headed up by retired General Jay Garner, is getting ready to take over from Saddam Hussein.

Jay Garner turns out to be a controversial character, in a number of respects. First is his status as an arms trader, and one whose firm supplied the military technology responsible for demolishing the country he is to set about rebuilding. An investigation by the San Francisco Chronicle two months ago revealed that the former three-star general – and a friend of Donald Rumsfeld, the contentious US Defence Secretary – was, until he took up his new post, president of the defence contractor SY Coleman, which specialises in missile systems. These include the Patriots so heavily used in Iraq and the Arrow defence system, which has been deployed in Israel.

It is not the only problem. In 2000 General Garner went on what seems to have been a routine 10-day freebie to Israel, organised by the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs, an organisation striving "to inform the American defence and foreign affairs community about the important role Israel can and does play in bolstering democratic interests in the the Middle East".

To make matters worse, Garner then backed a statement by the group praising the Israeli Army for showing what it called "remarkable restraint" when dealing with the Palestinian uprising. "A strong Israel is an asset that American military planners and political leaders can rely on," it said.

"We are in the job of saving lives and we're going to save lives and do a good job of it" – Jay Garner on protecting Kurdish refugees after the 1991 Gulf War.

Jay, tell it to the marines ... the ones that left the Kurds at the mercy of a very vengeful Saddam.

Then when Jay figures it's safe there will be the installation of Ghengis Wolfowitz's "Government of the Iraqis, by the Iraqis for the Iraqis", AKA Ahmed Chalabi who is as Iraqi as apple pie, having left Iraq when he was 11, returning once for a fleeting moment to organise a ballsed up Kurdish revolution. But give the Chalabi kiddy his due, he knows what pockets in which to piss. What the World needs now is another dodgy wheeler and dealer in charge of a large American corporation. Good luck "Iraq® Pty. Ltd."

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and his civilian aides, along with officials in Vice President Dick Cheney's office, wanted to appoint an expatriate Iraqi businessman, Ahmed Chalabi, as the leader of a post-Saddam government. Rumsfeld denied on Monday that he had spoken in Chalabi's behalf, but others familiar with the discussions here said it is clear that Rumsfeld favors a major role for Chalabi.

Chalabi, a Shiite Muslim born in 1945 to a wealthy banking family, is the leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), umbrella opposition movement. He left Iraq in 1956 and has lived in the United States and London ever since, except for a period in the mid-1990s when he tried to organize an ill-fated uprising in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq.

A gifted lobbyist, he has been dogged by financial scandal, however. In 1992, he was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison for bank fraud after the 1990 collapse of a bank he founded more than a decade earlier. Chalabi maintained the case was a plot by Saddam to frame him. Internal inquiries at the State Department and the CIA have since raised questions about the Iraqi National Congress's accounting practices.

But Chalabi "says all the right things," a U.S. official here said: The INC would be willing to recognize Israel and be sympathetic to American business interests.

Welcome home Uncle Tom Chalabi.

Oh what a tangled web we weave when we practice to change regimes.

Nearly forgot. For his undying support of the Coalition of the Wheeling and Dealing, Australian Prime Minister John 'My Middle Name is Winston, so There' Howard has been given a time share at one of Saddam's 3419 former holiday palaces. "See, Australia's involvement was worth it after all and I look forward to seeing all those pinko vegetarian long haired protesters eating crow", the triumphant pint sized peace maker proclaimed.

(Synthesised from various sources, Only the little italic sniper shots are mine.)