Do you want to know who the
Americans running Iraq really are?


PressInfo # 183 - Part 1

 May 14, 2003


Jan Oberg, TFF director


They are people with a background in the far-right of the Republican Party, the Israel lobby, Perle and Wolfowitz henchmen, central to the war on terror, to the Homeland Defence authorities, to anti-ABM and pro-Ballistic Missile Defence (Star Wars), close to conservative think tanks, affiliated with mercenary companies, the military-industrial complex (MIC) and CIA. They are former "stabilisers" in Bosnia and Kosovo, and Marine Corps-people (many in Vietnam); they are private consulting firm executives affiliated with the inner circles of power in Washington. And, of course, several are associated with the oil industry, the computer industry as well as the media and public relations industry. With a few exceptions they are Pentagon and not State Department people, they are generals and technocrats.

Less than a handful have any prior experience in Iraq or in nation-building, conflict-resolution, reconciliation, post-war trauma healing, civil society empowerment and other quite relevant matters. In short, they are perfectly fit to "do" Iraq for the US and totally unsuitable for the Iraqis. They are not accountable to anyone, except President Bush and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. Their operations and decisions are not transparent to the world community or any world organisation.

The Bush regime is setting up a basically military administration in Iraq. The disputes and the infighting are coming out in the open, as reported by the Washington Post on May 4. General Jay Garner and Ambassador Bremer and a team of some 300 retired military men, diplomats and functionaries from numerous US government agencies have been recruited by the Bush regime, and especially by the Pentagon, to administer postwar Iraq. None of them are coming to Iraq as a result of democratic processes. They have been appointed in ambiguous ways to supposedly quick-fix something they call democracy among 24 million Iraqis. It's the largest nation-building project in modern times. It is supposed to create an interim government by mid-May.

Why is their presence in Iraq causing so little debate, not to speak of outrage? There are basically four reasons: 1) because they are Americans and the US is a country few dare investigate and question; 2) because the average Iraqi does not know them yet; 3) because the free press does not bother much about Iraq now that the war drama is over; and 4) because there was - and is - only an anti-war movement, not a peace movement.

Like in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, the media flock to the wars, not to the "peace"-building - like vultures feed on carrion. Unfortunately, it is now the real battle for Iraq and its future is being fought. Unfortunately, the millions of war protesters stay home now; they do not seem to be able to get their acts together in a peace movement in solidarity with the Iraqis whose resources, education, economy, society and leadership is being colonised.

No matter what the Amerians tell the Iraqis and the rest of us, they will run "liberated" Iraq colonial style. Below you will learn a bit more about each of the centrally placed personalities. You are right if you wonder why you have not seen an analysis like this, systematic and with documentation, in your daily newspaper or on television. You are right if you find it strange that the media have given you much more (mostly unsubstantiated) information about 55 top Iraqis, tastelessly depicted on a deck of cards.

Only the uninformed and the politically naive, only the opportunists and the imperialists can believe that this has anything whatsoever to do with democracy or with doing good to the Iraqi people. They have suffered so terribly in their double cage, the inner cage under Saddam and the outer cage of sanctions, war and occupation. Every bit of future humanitarian aid, of civilian support and American NGO activity in Iraq will serve mainly the interests of the Bush regime and corporate America, not the needs and hopes of the Iraqis.

The Guardian could state already on April 1 that there was a secret US plan to set up 23 ministries, all run by Americans.

"The government will take over Iraq city by city. Areas declared "liberated" by General Tommy Franks will be transferred to the temporary government under the overall control of Jay Garner, the former US general appointed to head a military occupation of Iraq.

Decisions on the government's composition appear to be entirely in US hands, particularly those of Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defence. This has annoyed Gen Garner, who is officially in charge but who, according to sources close to the planning of the government has had to accept a number of controversial Iraqis in advisory roles."

This is how CNN reported the Bush plan to take over Iraq:

The Bush administration has selected a U.S. government official to oversee each Iraqi ministry that the U.S. plans to keep running after the war, CNN has learned. Each official will attempt to keep his or her ministry running with Iraqi civil servants. Some changes will be made, though, the sources said:

• The Iraqi Ministry of Information, which controls the state-run media, will be disbanded and restructured with free television, radio and print elements
• Sensitive ministries such as those overseeing justice and intelligence will be overhauled
• The Special Republican Guard and Republican Guard are to be disbanded, but the plan calls for maintaining the regular army and using its manpower during reconstruction
The plan also calls for the U.S. administration team to run a Ministry of Religious Affairs that will oversee mosques and other religious activities, the sources said.

And here are some general overviews of the main personalities, one from The Guardian, one from the Washington Post and one from National Journal. A quite comprehensive one has been published by the Sunday Herald. They are only the beginning. They do not offer the comprehensive background and necessary links that TFF PressInfo series here does.

This PressInfo series, updated by May 14, will give you much more, with documentation based on thousands of searches on the Internet. We have used predominantly Western and American press sources exactly to show that the materials are available and but need to be put together. You may ask yourself why it is produced by TFF and not by multi-million dollar research institutes or leading media of the free press.

Here is a proposal to someone with money, a heart for the Iraqis and an ability to get into Iraq. Create a new deck of cards with portraits and descriptions in Arabic of the Americans who are unlawfully running the independent, sovereign state of Iraq, a UN member. Distribute it all around Iraq so every Iraq in even the remotest village will have a precise sense of who his and her new rulers are. And just let them draw their own conclusions.

The Americans pay the Iraqis with some prestige and money. At the moment, they promise people US$ 20 a month to work for them. Imagine how attractive that is in a country where teachers used to have US$ 3-5 a month. The Americans will undoubtedly get some things going and we can be certain that the first McDonald and Burger King will soon open in Baghdad. Quite a few Iraqis may like that what they see. But the basic point is that the freedom the Iraqis have to reconstruct and develop Iraq against the will of the Bush regime is not a bit bigger than the freedom they had to do something against the will of Saddam.

Coalition partner governments and the rest of us belonging to the West should be deeply concerned - if not ashamed of what is being done to Iraq. It's the contemporary version of a 300-year old colonial tradition. We seem to have learnt nothing. May it soon be brought to an end, for instance through a mass-based, nonviolent uprising all over Iraq that would send the people you'll meet in these PressInfos running.

By mid-May it was announced that some of the people portrayed below were "re-assigned," "called back" or simply leaving, among them Jay Garner, the top man. That the US occupation of Iraq came off as a disaster even before it really took off is beyond doubt. The Times of London muses that Garner "surrenders control of Baghdad in a blodless coup in the fastest regime change in Iraqi history..."


Continued here in Part 2.


© TFF 2003



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