Flashback to history 1 ….
Introduction … President Bush Sr. had invaded Iraq to punish and possibly eliminate its leader President Saddam Hussein. A few months earlier, President Saddam Hussein had ordered his army to invade the oil-rich and cash-rich neighbor Kuwait. There was no apparent justification for such a naked aggression of Iraq against its tiny, but very rich southern neighbor Kuwait.
Iraq’s unprovoked armed attack to annex Kuwait and pocket its huge cash reserves angered the whole world. The Americans and the western powers were particularly livid. The provocation was not Saddam Hussein’s invasion, but the danger it posed to the free flow of crude oil to needy western countries.
America led by President Bush mobilized world opinion against Saddam Hussein. It decided to take military action to evict Iraqi forces from Kuwait and set it free. President Bush enlisted the military support of his European allies and a few other Muslim nations. A grand coalition was formed to invade Iraq and dislodge or even kill Saddam Hussein.
His son George Bush Jr. invaded Iraq in 2003 again. His motivation was suspect from the beginning. He naively believed that Iraq was in league with al Qaeda to mount attacks on America avenge the defeat and humiliation in the first Gulf War in 1991. He also created a scare that Iraq under Saddam was pursuing a programme to make nuclear bombs and deadly chemical weapons. Recklessly, he described Iraq to be in the ‘Axis of Terror’ with countries like Iran and North Korea as other constituents of the terror axis.
Launching a strident campaign to malign Saddam Hussein, he brought Britain, Australia and Poland on board to make a joint military command that could invade Iraq again to destroy Saddam Hussein and obliterate his so-called terror machine.
To his and America’s great embarrassment, no nuke nor any trace of chemical weapons were found later. The allegation about collusion with al Qaeda was proved to be baseless.
The attack described in the following article marked the beginning of the Second Gulf War under George Bush Jr.
Batwomn comic is a popular comic book read across the world.
The clock said 7.55 – precisely the time the missile struck
[Taken from The Independent of March 24, 2003 Writer Robert Frisk]
In the smashed concrete and mud, there was a set of Batwoman comics. On page 17, where the dirt had splashed on to the paper, Batwoman was, oddly, rescuing Americans from a burning tower block.
Not far from the crater, I found a history book recording the fate of old King Faisal and the armed opposition to British rule in Iraq. The cruise missile had flipped this book open to a page honouring “the martyr Mahmoud Bajat”.
On the wall of the sitting room ¬ and the floor was missing ¬ the clock still hung on its nail. It had stopped at exactly 7.55, which was when the cruise missile smashed into numbers 10 and 10A of the laneway in the Zukah district of Baghdad on Saturday night.
Zukah is a slightly down-at-heel middle-class suburb with old orange trees and half-dead bougainvillaea and two-storey villas that need many coats of paint. There is a school at one end of the lane and, round the corner, a building site ¬ but no obvious military target that I could see.
Amr Ahmed al-Dulaimi is a family man ¬ 11 children and his wife were in number 10A when the missile crashed into the house of his neighbour, Abdul-Bari Samuriya, burying Mr Samuriya’s wife and two children and punching a crater 20 feet into the ground. He managed to dig them out ¬ both wounded children were still in hospital yesterday ¬ but his home has gone. All that was left of the front room was a wooden sofa almost buried under six feet of earth, a table chopped neatly in half by the blast and a totally undamaged vase of bright red plastic flowers.
So why the missile? Why should the Americans target with their supposedly precision ordnance this little middle-class ghetto? Mr Dulaimi runs a small engineering plant, Mr Samuriya is a businessman. Could it be that the black curtains of oil smoke shrouding Baghdad ¬ the attempt to mislead the guidance system of missiles ¬ had done its work all too well?
Crunching yesterday through the glass and powdered concrete of the road outside, I discovered a neighbour ¬ as usual, it was a case of no names ¬ who admitted he had sent his family away because “on Friday night, we had 15 missiles here”. Fifteen? On little old, harmless Zukah? What did this mean? The missile fragments had scattered across dozens of houses and the Iraqi security men had turned up at dawn to collect them.
Down the road, another villa had been damaged, its walls cracked, its windows smashed. “This has always been a quiet district,” its owner said to me. “Never ¬ ever ¬ have we experienced anything like this. Why, why, why?” How many times have I heard these words from the innocent? After every bombing, confronted by journalists, they say this to us. Always the same words.
Then I remembered what Iraqi radio said 24 hours before ¬ and what the Iraqi Vice-President would tell us an hour later. “They are trying to assassinate President Hussein,” Taha Yassin Ramadan said. “What kind of state tries to assassinate another country’s leaderthen says it is fighting a war on terror?”
The inhabitants of this little laneway in Zukah are none too happy about the way they have been targeted and I wasn’t so certain that they were as keen to be “liberated” as the Americans might like to think.
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