UNHRC Resolution on Lanka: Why no such resolution for US-UK war crimes in Iraq
he United Kingdom-initiated UN Human Rights Council resolution calls on Sri Lanka to account for its alleged human rights abuses and deliver justice to the victims of the 30 year civil war.
Iraqi prisoners being ill treated by US guards at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq
The resolution on Sri Lanka is the direct outcome of Sri Lankan government’s short-sighted policies and blunders. However, the question is why there is no such UNHRC resolution on the United States and Britain for their barbarity in Iraq even eighteen years after the illegal invasion.
In March 2003, the US and the UK invaded Iraq based on the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The then British Prime Minister Tony Blair was an active accomplice of the then US President, George Bush Junior, in the criminal invasion of Iraq and turning this almost developed country into a graveyard.
Iraq, a land where many great ancient civilisations such as Mesopotamia, Sumer, Akkad, Babylonian and Assyria flourished between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers for more than 7,000 years, was ruthlessly raped and ravaged by the European colonial powers followed by the US to loot its oil wealth for more than a century.
For example, gaining control over Iraq’s oil wealth had been the focus of US policy, even before World War I. Huge oil deposits were found in the Mosul area in 1927. The Iraqi Petroleum Company, comprising British Petroleum (then Anglo-Iranian), Shell, Mobil and Exxon (then Standard Oil of New Jersey), had enjoyed complete monopoly. They divided the spoils of Iraqi oil among the US, Britain, France and Holland, 23.75 percent each, while the remaining five percent went to oil baron Caloste Gulbenkin who negotiated the deal.
Deprived of their own wealth, the Iraqis revolted. They were ruthlessly suppressed with Britain carrying out gas attacks from warplanes for the first time in history. Poison gas was released over Sulaimaniya.
Despite all these colonial atrocities, Iraq emerged as an almost developed country with modern infrastructure, health, educational and all other facilities. People enjoyed a high standard of living.
Then came the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran when the US, Europe, the Gulf and other Arab states got the then Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein, to despatch troops and trigger off the eight-year Iran-Iraq war that killed more than a million people. Some estimated the cost of the war at around 100 billion dollars. Western weapons industries flourished.
The war ended in 1988. However the US President George H. Bush tricked Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. Once Iraqi troops entered Kuwait, Bush Sr unleashed one of the most destructive bombing campaigns in known history and pushed Iraq to its pre-historic age. He used cluster bombs to rip body’s apart, napalm and white phosphorous to cling and burn skin and small nuclear bomb type fuel air explosives to cause other damage. The total amount of bombs dropped on Iraq was far more than the bombs dropped by the allies in the entire World War II. The military campaign incinerated around 130,000 Iraqi civilians.
The west sold a staggering $ 157 billion worth of armaments.
Battered by aerial bombardments and crippled by UN sanctions that killed more than 500,000 children, Iraqis were subjected to untold misery. More than one-third of the population was exposed to malnutrition, epidemics, miscarriages and declining life expectancy.
Later President George Bush Jr invaded Iraq in March 2003.
The American forces indiscriminately bombed Iraqi cities and within days the war battered people were once again deprived of water, electricity, medicine, food and even shelter. Imagine the terrifying prospect for the ordinary Iraqi citizens who suffered incessant bombardment. Day in and day out, the skies over Iraq rained bombs which shook the earth and relegated once thriving cities into bloody human abattoirs.
Then there emerged shocking pictures of American troops’ gang-raping Iraqi women. It was alleged that these hapless women were forcibly dragged out of their homes, screaming in terror, and gang-raped by the very people who had ostensibly been there to protect them.
Among the victims, were ordinary housewives, mothers and daughters – all brought up in a decently conservative society and whose religious traditions had always valued feminine purity as a prerequisite for a happily wedded life?
Hundreds of thousands of innocent men and women were arbitrarily arrested and subjected to the most sadistic and savage forms of torture, which brought swift condemnation from all over the world. .
Obviously, these bestial crimes were kept under wraps until Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a series of exposé articles illustrated by damning photos of the torture by US military police of prisoners in the Iraqi prison of Abu Ghraib near Baghdad.
There were calls from all over to try Bush and Blair for war crimes.
Now the question is: where is the UNHRC resolution on the US and the UK, the so-called champions of human rights, freedom and democracy and the sole source of global violence and misery?
This is today’s world which the racist politics in Sri Lanka refuse to understand?