The Baghdad Gulag
By Pepe Escobar
04/13/07 “Asia Times” — — DAMASCUS – There are three overlapping wars in Iraq: the Sunni Arab guerrilla struggle against the US; strands of Sunni Arab guerrillas against assorted Shi’ite militias/death squads; and al-Qaeda in Iraq against the puppet, US-backed Iraqi government in the Green Zone. Make it four wars: the Sunni Arab guerrilla war against the government inside the Green Zone. Better yet, make it five wars: the Sadrists, from Sadr City to Kufa and Najaf, against the Americans.
All strands of these five overlapping wars will never allow the United States – or Anglo-American Big Oil – to control Iraq’s oil wealth. Even if the new oil law is ratified by Parliament before June, implementation will be a certified nightmare, and security for billions of dollars of necessary investment non-existent.
Strands of these five overlapping wars also will never accept the long-term imposition of vast US military bases under a Status of Forces Agreement negotiated with dodgy politicians who spend more time in London than in Baghdad.
Setting a precise date for a total US withdrawal – the crystal-clear demand insistently formulated by Muqtada al-Sadr – would be the only way for the Bush administration to salvage a modicum of not totally humiliating defeat. Instead, the world had better be ready for the imminent arrival of the Baghdad gulag.
Can I leave my condo, please?
US corporate media/think-tanks may think they fool strands of US public opinion (or themselves), but they don’t fool Iraqis on the (dangerous) ground. No realist in his right mind could possibly ignore the 14-kilometer-long throngs compacted all along the Kufa-Najaf road this past Monday, on the fourth anniversary of the fall of Baghdad.
There were hundreds of thousands, perhaps more than a million Iraqi nationalists, waving Iraqi flags – with no room for a religious divide – responding to Muqtada’s call for “Occupation out!” The Shi’ite million-man march proved once again Sadrists rule the Shi’ite street – and are the most powerful political force among Iraqi Shi’ites.
Yet for the administration of US President George W Bush, Muqtada al-Sadr – like every nationalist with immense popular appeal – is nothing but an evildoer who must be squashed by all counterinsurgency means necessary.
Imperial and neo-colonial systems are incapable of thinking laterally. The French failed to do so in Algeria. The Americans failed in Vietnam. The Israelis failed in Palestine. The Americans will fail to do so again in Iraq. Call it counterinsurgency run amok. Thirty of Baghdad’s 89 districts will become gated communities from hell – cellophane-wrapped compounds where only Iraqis with a new, theoretically safe ID will be allowed in and out of this “secure environment”, in Pentagon newspeak. Yes, it will be Orwellian. Better yet, it will be a post-mod, Arab condo version of Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon, where the eye of the system is ubiquitous.
In the last chapter of my book Globalistan – titled “Condofornia vs Slumistan” – I argue that the future now revolves around the tension between gated communities and unruly slums, “secure environments” and black waves of anger. Wherever both meet – from Baghdad to Sao Paulo – we may see endless replays of Black Hawk Down.
The Baghdad gulag is a Pentagon-enforced Condofornia imposed over an Arab Slumistan. Let no one be fooled: it’s being conducted as a technical experiment, with live Iraqis as guinea pigs, and is bound to be replicated in other areas of the Pentagon-created “arc of instability” from the Andes to the Horn of Africa to Arabia to Central Asia.
Let no one be fooled (again): guerrillas will IED the system from their underground cells, and many a Black Hawk will go down. But as everyone watches the destined-to-failure experiment, really serious matters – such as three new, crucial US mechanized brigades deploying east of Baghdad on the way to be strategically positioned at the Iraqi-Iranian border – will be taking place under the cover of night.
Read all of it here.