May 1, 2004
The Guardian

Mutiny is the Only Way Out of Iraq's Inferno

The UN betrayed Iraq by becoming the political arm of US occupation

by Naomi Klein

First Spain announced that it would withdraw its troops, then Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Kazakhstan. South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers. El Salvador, Norway, the Netherlands and Thailand will likely be next.

And then there's the US-controlled Iraqi army. Since the latest wave of fighting, its soldiers have been donating their weapons to resistance fighters in the south and refusing to fight in Falluja. By late April, Major General Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armoured Division, was reporting that "about 40% walked off the job because of intimidation. And about 10% actually worked against us".

And it's not just Iraq's soldiers who have been deserting the occupation. Four ministers of the Iraqi governing council have resigned in protest; and half the Iraqis with jobs in the secured "green zone" - as translators, drivers, cleaners - are not showing up for work. Minor mutinous signs are emerging even within the ranks of the US military . . .

The UN's greatest betrayal of all comes in the way it is re-entering Iraq: not as an independent broker but as a glorified US subcontractor, the political arm of the continued US occupation. . . .

There is a way that the UN can redeem itself in Iraq: it could choose to join the mutiny, further isolating the United States. This would help to force Washington to hand over real power - ultimately to Iraqis, but first to a multilateral coalition that did not participate in the invasion and occupation and would have the credibility to oversee direct elections. This could work, but only through a process that fiercely protects Iraq's sovereignty. That means:

- Ditch the interim constitution . . .

- Put the money in trust . . .

- De-Chalabify Iraq . . .

- Demand the withdrawal of US troops . . .


Gabriel Kolko, "The U.S. Must be Isolated and Constrained," CounterPunch, March 12, 2004

Robert Fisk, "Iraq Power Handover 'a Fraud'," ABC (Australia), April 20, 2004

"Diplomats blast Blair for 'US' foreign policy," Reuters, April 27, 2004

Editorial: "A Way Forward in Iraq," Washington Post, May 2, 2004

Guy Dinmore, "Bush runs out of options as chaos deepens," Financial Times, May 7, 2004

Nigel Morris, "Poll shows majority want UK troops to pull out," Independent, May 10, 2004

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