The US-led forces finally 'liberated' Iraq around
sunset on April 9 Pakistan time. Their entry into Baghdad came three
weeks of unexpected fierce resistance by the Iraqi army, paramilitary
forces and people. The prized destruction of Saddam Hussain's giant
statues was broadcast live across the world amidst the plunder and
loot in a city which braved thousands of missiles and some of the most
horrific bombs in the 21-day war.
Perhaps the most important commentary about the
role, or lack of it, of the United Nations to stop the US invasion of
Iraq without the approval of the Security Council, has come from Cuban
leader Fidel Castro. He said that "the Iraq war has rendered the
UN meaningless." There are many who agree saying that UN's
failure to protect Iraq from the attack of a fellow member state
without approval of the Security Council has severely eroded the
authority of the UN.
The unilateral use of force by the US has
fragmented the world like never before. It has not only turned the
world into two major blocks; US and others, but has also created
divisions within the developed world itself. Some of the closest
allies of the US and its fellow G-7 states like France and Germany had
strongly opposed military action in Iraq. France, a permanent member
of the Security Council, threatened to veto the resolution while
Germany, a non-permanent member, said it would vote against it.
Another permanent member Russia also said that it would veto the
resolution allowing use of force in Iraq. China also took a similar
Sensing the mood in the 15-member Security Council,
the US withdrew the resolution saying that it needed no authorization
from the UN to disarm Iraq from the weapons of mass destruction for
the security of its country and people.
All along the 21-day war, France, Germany and
Russia reiterated their demand that the UN should play the central
role in the rebuilding of Iraq. The US snubbed their demand saying
that only the US and its allies, particularly the UK, deserves to play
the role because it were they who sacrificed the most to 'liberate'
Iraq. The push came to shove when the US Congress passed a bill
prohibiting France, Germany and Russia to benefit from contracts for
the rebuilding of a country ravaged by over a decade of economic
sanctions and the recent war.
The majority of the developing world, including
Muslim states, pussyfoot the US diktat. Despite overwhelming anti-war
sentiments the governments of these countries aligned themselves with
the US appearing neutral at best and indifferent at worst. Many of
them chose to remain silent as if nothing was going on.
How the world has been fragmented is obvious from
the fact that the US government and public opinion turned hostile to
an otherwise longtime friend France for its refusal to endorse the
Security Council resolution. French fries and French toast were no
longer available in the US and UK only Freedom fries and Freedom toast
were. There were drives to boycott of all things French.
After the fall of Baghdad, the US-European
relations still remain far from friendly despite the softening of the
language. Two days after the fall German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
warned the US against any new wars, "I caution against a
repetition." He also said that the primary task now "was to
avoid a humanitarian disaster in Iraq and to return the country 'as
soon as possible into the hands of a legitimate Iraqi democracy."
Pakistan, where public support and sympathies lie
heavily with Iraq and Iraqis also said that it want early end to
hostilities. "We want Iraqi people to have control of their
country and we want UN to play a role," said Foreign Office
spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan.
A television address by the US President George W.
Bush meant for Iraqis was aimed at soothing a war-ravaged people:
"A long era of fear and cruelty is ending... You deserve better
than tyranny and corruption and torture chambers. You deserve to live
as free people." His vow was matched by most staunch ally in war,
the British Prime Minister Tony Blair who added, "The money from
Iraqi oil will be yours, to be used to build prosperity for you and
your families... This Iraq will not be run by Britain, or by the US,
or by the UN. It will be run by you, the people of Iraq."
Meanwhile the hawks in Washington kept issuing
warnings to other countries in the region and beyond. The Deputy
Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz warned Syria sternly, "The
Syrians are behaving badly, they need to be reminded of that and they
continue, we need to think about what our policy is." Damascus,
in return, called for the "end of occupation" adding that
"In view of the dangerous circumstances facing the Arab nation,
the Syrian Arab Republic reiterates its full commitment to the unity
of Iraq-land and people."
The hawks in Washington have also advocated action
against Tehran; "It's time to bring down the other terror
masters. Iran, at least, offers US the possibility of a memorable
victory, because the Iranian people openly loath the regime, and will
enthusiastically combat it, if only the United States supports them in
their just struggle." So wrote Michael Ledeen of the American
Enterprise Institute in his article "Syria and Iran Must Get
Is the Iraq war really about liberation and
democracy in the country and the whole of the Arab world. The US
should think twice because it would mean loss of American-friendly
leaders in a region where the aspirations of the masses have never
coincided with their leadership.