SELECTED READINGS AND VIDEOS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC GEO…

SELECTED READINGS AND VIDEOS FOR UNDERSTANDING THE BASIC GEOGRAPHY OF IRAQ AS WELL AS THE “WHAT,” “WHY,” “WHO,” AND ” AFTERMATH” OF THE U.S.-LED WAR IN IRAQ: 1. Learn the basic geography of Iraq (the strategic location of Iraq in the MIDDLE of the Middle East): (a) Learn the basic geography of Iraq (size of population, area, languages, religions, ethnic groups, major rivers, significance of the oil sector, and GDP per capita) (b) Learn the name, location, major language, dominant ethnic group, and government type of each country bordering Iraq (c) Compare and contrast Iraq’s population size, ethnic groups, and GDP per capita with those of the United States. The information you need for the above (a), (b), and (c) is available from the online CIA World Factbook at: 2. Learn the “what” of the U.S.-led war in Iraq (Human/financial/moral cost of the war): (a) Find out the estimates of US and Indiana casualties (deaths and wounded) in the Iraq war: (b) Find out “What is the real death toll in Iraq?” (c) Find out the estimates of Iraqi refugees living inside and outside Iraq: = (d) Find out the estimates of Iraqi children believed to have died as a result of the sanctions imposed by the UN and enforced by the US and Britain on Iraq. Watch how former Secretary of State Albright “justifies” those sanctions (which killed hundred of thousands of children) in the following video clip: (e) Find out the Iraq war budget allocations to date and the long-term/hidden costs of the Iraq war to the US government and to the State of Indiana: (f) Find out the country where the head of the American company whose personnel are implicated in Abu Ghraib tortures received “anti-terror” training and an award? Read Robert Fisk’s The Trail of Torture: The Things Bush Didn’t Say in His Speech, CounterPunch, May 26, 2004, (g) Find out why the CIA destroyed videotapes of interrogations of al Qaeda suspects: (h) Watch PBS video “Iraqi Exodus” at: 3. Read critically about the “who” and the “why” of the U.S.-led war in Iraq: At least five different “explanations” or “justifications” or “excuses” were invoked to justify the Iraq war: (i) to search for illegal weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, (ii) to punish Iraq for an alleged Al-Qaeda-Hussein link, (iii) to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East, (iv) to control oil fields and business contracts, and (v) to provide long term security for the State of Israel and/or the Gulf States. The first and second explanations (search for illegal weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and to punish Iraq for an alleged Al-Qaeda-Hussein link) have already been dismissed as big lies). Read: The third explanation (to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East) has more to do with political rhetoric and demagoguery than with Middle East political reality. First, U.S. government’s best Arab friends and allies in the Middle East are Bahrain, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, whose governments are monarchies, not democracies. Second, U.S. government’s special friend and ally in the Middle East is the State of Israel, dubbed “the only democracy in the Middle East.” But the State of Israel is at best a “Jewish ethnocracy” (democracy for Jews only). Israel was founded on the ethnic cleansing of Muslims and Christians from Palestine and continues to discriminate between Jews and non-Jews in a ‘legal’ manner (for example, the Law of ‘Return’). On the fourth explanation (oil), let’s point out the following: First, there is no public record of the big oil companies supporting the war in Iraq or the current confrontation with Iran (as James Petras, John Mearsheimer, Walt, and others have shown). Second, President Bush repeatedly promised to replace more than 75% of US oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. Third, President Obama’s ENERGY POLICY states explicitly that its central goal is to “end our addiction to foreign oil” and eliminate our current imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within 10 Years.” Fourth, the American Jewish Committee’s top ENERGY POLICY had for a long time been focused on ending US oil imports from the Middle East as a strategy of weakening predominantly Arab OPEC. The following examples indicate that the shift to new sources of energy is not purely motivated by ‘economic’ and/or ‘environmental’ concerns. “If the U.S. continues to increase its reliance on foreign sources of oil, our dependence on OPEC member nations and rogue states (overlapping categories that include the nations with the largest share of the world’s proven oil reserves) will increase…. The American Jewish Committee, therefore, urges that the United States set as a primary national goal a comprehensive energy policy aimed at a substantial reduction in U.S. dependence on imported oil, with the potential for energy flexibility and near independence in the longer term.” —-The American Jewish Committee, “Energy Security for America,” May 5, 2003. “Our goal should be to replace hydrocarbons with carbohydrates.” —-US Senator Richard G. Lugar, The National Interest, Summer 2006. “Let us build on the work we have done and reduce gasoline usage in the United States by 20 percent in the next ten years — thereby cutting our total imports by the equivalent of three-quarters of all the oil we now import from the Middle East.” ——- President Bush’s State of the Union, CNN, 1/23/2007. “Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred…. and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries… We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.” —– President Obama’s inaugural speech CNN, 1/20/2009. Moreover, Israel appears to be preparing the ground for a shift from ‘US dependence on Middle East oil’ to ‘US dependence on Israel’s new sources of energy.’ Read this promotion story “Israel and California cut world’s largest solar energy deal”: On the fifth explanation (Israel), review carefully the following: (a) Read “IRAQ: War Launched to Protect Israel – Bush Adviser:” (b) When Vice-President Cheney launched the Iraq war campaign before a meeting of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (CNN.com, 8/26/2002), he told them: “The risks of inaction are far greater than the risk of action.” But Cheney campaign was simply the coronation of an Iraq war campaign launched by Israeli leaders themselves in the United States. For example, (i) on 4/14/2002, former Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu came to Washington to brief U.S Senators and the editor of the Washington Post on the removal of Saddam; (ii) on 5/12/2002, Israeli Foreign Minister Peres appeared on CNN to say that “Saddam Hussein is as dangerous as bin Laden;” (iii) on 6/8/2002, former Israeli Prime Minister Barak wrote in the Washington Post: Bush “should, first of all, focus on Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein;” (iv) on 8/13/2002: Israeli Prime Minister Sharon told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Knesset that Iraq “is the greatest danger facing Israel;” and (v) on 8/16/2002: CBSNews.com reported: “Israel To U.S.: Don’t Delay Iraq Attack.” (See also Mearsheimer & Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy, 2007, p 234). (c) Read the two stories about Congressman Jim Moran, D-Virginia, who said on the eve of the Iraq war “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this.” Moran was pressured to apologize and resign from his leadership post: (d) Learn about the book The dagger of Israel (1957), in which Indian journalist Rustom Khurshedji Karanjia published a secret Israeli plan involving, among other things, the partition of Iraq: (e) Find out when and how did the Israelis bomb and destroy Iraq’/ s first nuclear plant near Baghdad? (f) Find out what Ze’ev Schiff, the military correspondent of Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz , said on June 2, 1982 about Israel’s “best” interest in the partition of Iraq: ” The dissolution of Iraq into a Shi’ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part”. (g) Learn about Jewish-American Jonathan Jay Pollard, a US Naval civilian intelligence analyst and a convicted Israeli spy, who received a life sentenced in 1987 for stealing thousands of pages of classified documents on behalf of Israel. Pollard wrote in 1991: “Appeasement of Iraq Made Me A Spy.” Pollard, a sayan (plural sayanim, which Andrew I. Killgore describes as “Israel’s volunteer spies within the U.S. government, U.S. industry, and within the American Jewish community itself”) provided the Israelis with satellite photographs of Iraqi weapons sites (see Jonathan Jay Pollard, “Appeasement of Iraq Made Me A Spy, by Jonathan Pollard,” The Wall Street Journal – Originally published February 15, 1991.  Posted to Web November 4, 2002: (h) Learn about Mossad Agent Ephraim’s comment in 1986 on building up Iraq as the “next target” and Saddam Hussein as “the big villain.” Ephraim was quoted: “After the bombing of Libya [Mossad’s Operation Trojan, 1986], our friend Qadhafi is sure to stay out of the picture for some time. Iraq and Saddam Hussein are the next target. We’re starting now to build him up as the big villain. It will take some time, but in the end, there’s no doubt it’ll work.” Source: Victor Ostrovsky, The Other Side of Deception: A Rogue Agent Exposes the Mossad’s Secret Agenda, New York: Harper Colins Publishers, 1994, page 117. (i) Note the Mossad assassination of Canadian-American weapons developer Gerald Bull in Brussels in 1990. Gerald Bull allegedly ed Iraq build a “big gun”: (j) Note that the United Nations did not authorize the no-fly zones through which the US and Britain partitioned Iraq’s air space in 1992 [very much along the lines of the Israeli proposed partition plan of Iraq in 1957]: (k) Skim through the stories about Jewish-born Leslie Gelb, former editor and columnist for The Times and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, who wrote in The New York Times of 11/25/2003: The United States should “move in stages toward a three-state solution: Kurds in the north, Sunnis in the center and Shiites in the south.” See how [then] Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware (chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee) and [currently] Vice President of the United States jumped on the bandwagon, while The New York Times of 8/19/2007 carefully dubbed the partitionig of Iraq “The Biden-Gelb plan” (at the same time an Iraq’ s Partition map appeared on the internet): (l) Read and learn from this New York Time story how the Iraqis in Baghdad call American soldiers “The Jews,” according to Jewish-American Thomas Friedman, “Jews, Israel and America,” The New York Times, October 24, 2004: “Many Iraqis have so much distrust for U.S. forces we found they’ve come up with a nickname for our troops,” Scott said. “They call American soldiers ‘The Jews,’ as in, ‘Don’t go down that street, the Jews set up a roadblock.’ (m) Find out which “catastrophic and catalyzing event” was used by the top pro-Iraq war party (the neoconservatives) as an excuse to justify the Iraq war? The Neoconservatives indicated that to speed up their preconceived plan they need: “some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.” Print and review only the above quote on PAGE 51 of the September 2000 Report: (n) Who are the neoconservatives (neocons) who conceived and pushed for the war in Iraq? According to the Jewish-American newspaper FORWARD, “If there is an intellectual movement in America to whose invention Jews can lay sole claim, neoconservatism is it.” See The Neoconservative Persuasion; Examining the Jewish Roots of an Intellectual Movement; The Neoconservative Revolution: Jewish Intellectuals and the Shaping Of Public Policy; Commentary in American Life; The Neocon Reader;” Gal Beckerman, Forward, January 6, 2006, Vol. CIX, Iss. 31,583; pg. 12. (o) Read carefully the brief biographies of the 12 key figures of the neoconservatives (The Christian Science Monitor, June 2005): , It appears that this article has later been removed from the Internet. (p) Compare and contrast Paul Wolfowitz’s call and plan to “OVERTHROW HIM [Saddam Hussein],” (The Weekly Standard, December 1, 1997) with the content of the Neoconservatives’ Letter to President Clinton (January 26, 1998): (q) Watch and find out when was the Iraq Liberation Act signed into law and by whom? (r) Read carefully “Transcript of Bin Laden’s October [2001] interview”: (s) Read the New York Times story entitled “WAR IN THE GULF: Muslims; Saudis Decree Holy War on Hussein,” …Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority has issued a decree sanctioning a holy war against Saddam Hussein by all Muslims and “those assisting them” to evict his forces from Kuwait. The “fatwa,” or religious decree, authorizing the “jihad,” or holy war, was issued by Sheik Abdulaziz bin Abdulla bin Baz, the head of the Council of Ulema, Saudi Arabia’s most senior Islamic authority. It was written at the beginning of the coalition’s offensive against Iraq, and published on Friday in a special edition of al-Muslimoon, the most popular Islamic weekly newspaper. Copies of the decree were posted today in several mosques across Riyadh…. “The fatwa removes any doubt about the religious justification for asking non-Muslims to this country attack another Muslim country,” said a religious scholar, who spoke on condition that he not be identified…. The New York Times, January 20, 1991. (t) Read “Saudi Cleric Issues Warning Over Militants,” Asharq Alawsat”, 01/10/2007: (u) Read one translation of “Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders, World Islamic Front Statement,” Al-Quds Al-Arabi, 23 February 1998: (v) What was the main request in the Neocons’ Letter to President Bush (September 20, 2001)? (w) Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Full program: House Session, Oct 5, 1998): (x) See how Vice President Dick Cheney describes his relationship with Bernard Lewis (his intellectual and political mentor on the Middle East): “You simply cannot find a greater authority on Middle Eastern history — from classical Islamic civilization, to the Ottoman Empire, to the modern period — than this man [Lewis Bernard] and his works.”… After listening to Bernard Lewis’ advice on “the history and the way forward in the Middle East” following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney said “I decided that day that this was a man I wanted to keep in touch with, and whose work I should follow carefully in the years ahead. Since then we have met often, particularly during the last four-and-a-half years, and Bernard has always had some very good meetings with President Bush… More than three decades ago, at the height of a secular era, he wrote a prescient article titled The Return of Islam. In the 1970s he studied the writings of an obscure cleric named Khomeini, and saw the seeds of a movement that would deliver theocratic despotism. In 1990, he wrote The Roots of Muslim Rage, which anticipated the terrorism of that decade. And in this new century, his wisdom is sought daily by policymakers, diplomats, fellow academics, and the news media.” Source: Dick Cheney, “Vice President’s Remarks at the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia Luncheon Honoring Professor Bernard Lewis,” Park Hyatt Philadelphia at the Bellevue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1 May 2006, The White House, (note that the link has been disabled on the new White House Website) (y) Read the Washington Post story about a memo distributed on the eve of the Iraq war urging Israeli and pro-Israeli leaders: “You do not want Americans to believe that the war on Iraq is being waged to protect Israel rather than to protect America.” Here is the reference to the story: Dana Milbank, “Group Urges Pro-Israel Leaders’ Silence on Iraq; Memo Outlines Response If Hostilities Occur, Discourages Lecturing of Americans on Middle East,” The Washington Post, November 27, 2002. (z) Read “Rupert Murdoch and William Kristol: Using the Press to Advance Israel’s Interests”: (z2) Watch “The Israel Lobby: Does it Have Too Much Influence on US Foreign Policy?” 4. Learn more about the “Aftermath” of the Iraq war: (a) Read carefully the Executive Summary (pages 6-8) and Recommendations 1, 9, 13, 15, 16, 22, 23, 26, 27, and 28 of The Iraq Study Group Report (December 6, 2006): “The United States cannot achieve its goals in the Middle East unless it deals directly with the Arab-Israeli conflict…” (b) Review carefully Articles 4(1), 12(3), 21(1), 24(1), 26(1b), and 27 (all clauses) of the “Agreement Between the United States of America and the Republic of Iraq On the Withdrawal of United States Forces from Iraq and the Organization of Their Activities during Their Temporary Presence in Iraq” as they relate to the declared withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, the issue of immunity for US military and civilian elements in Iraq, and deterrence of  internal or external security threats to Iraq: Article 27…”In the event of any external or internal threat or aggression against Iraq that would violate its sovereignty, political independence, or territorial integrity, waters, airspace, its democratic system or its elected institutions, and upon request by the Government of Iraq, the Parties shall immediately initiate strategic deliberations and, as may be mutually agreed, the United States shall take appropriate measures, including diplomatic, economic, or military measures, or any other measure, to deter such a threat.” (c) Read carefully and critically President Obama’s speech (” REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON A NEW BEGINNING,” Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt, June 4, 2009: “The only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides to be met through two states, where Israelis and Palestinians each live in peace and security.” (d) Watch and/or read Bill Moyers’ interview with Jeremy Scahill (author of “BLACKWATER: THE RISE OF THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MERCENARY ARMY”) on the Afghan war (June 5, 2009): (e) Watch [late] Libyan Leader & African Union Chairman Qadhafi’s speech to the UN General Assembly, especially his views on UN reform, the African Union, and the Palestine-Israel conflict: “The countries of the African Union deserve a [UN Security Council] permanent seat. This is a debt from the past that has to be paid and has nothing to do with United Nations reform. It is a priority matter and is high on the agenda of the General Assembly. No one can say that the African Union does not deserve a permanent seat… With regard to the Palestinian situation, the two-State solution is impossible; it is not practical. Currently, these two States completely overlap. Partition is doomed to failure. These two States are not neighbors; they are coextensive, in terms of both population and geography. A buffer zone cannot be created between the two States because there are half a million Israeli settlers in the West Bank and a million Arab Palestinians in the territory known as Israel. The solution is therefore a democratic State without religious fanaticism or ethnicity.” (f) Read “Confidential memo reveals US plan to provoke an invasion of Iraq” (June 21, 2009): (g) Extended Interview: U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill (July 23, 2009):

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