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  March 2003

Current Affairs
Iraq and beyond
By Raja Muhammad Zafarul Haq
Secretary-General, World Muslim Congress

The unfortunate events of 11th of September, 2001 had created a wave of sympathy for the United States. But immediately after that event the United States invaded Afghanistan and it started a controversy especially in the Muslim world. Despite unprecedented devastation caused by the use of all types of weapons and ammunition and indiscriminate killing, Afghanistan is far from settled and the continuing conflict gives a bleak picture of its future. Although being their next door neighbour and inextricably connected with them we in Pakistan would wish Afghanistan to settle down and a process of reconstruction to start to ensure stability not only in Afghanistan but in the whole region.

Immediately after Afghanistan there were statements from the US official circles that the next target is Iraq. Different reasons were given for the proposed military action and they were so conflicting that a vast majority of people around the globe were not convinced of the legitimacy of a pre-emptive attack. Fighting terrorism was the first reason advanced although there was no connection between Iraq and the events of nine-eleven or with the overall phenomena of international terrorism which could justify targeting Iraq except that its military power despite 12 years of continued pressure and pounding from the air, could still be a potential danger for the prime US ally i.e. the State of Israel. The intellectuals and politicians in Europe as well as in the rest of the world refused to believe that Iraq could be a direct danger to the security of the United States.

The second reason given was that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass-destruction. The memories of Iraqis total disregard of international law and uncivilized behaviour both during Iran-Iraq war and unjustified occupation of Kuwait still persist. The reaction of the Arab world towards the present UN aggression can be explained in this background. But the sad events of twelve years ago did not justify the punishment of innocent people of Iraq. Under the Security Council resolutions UN inspectors were sent to Iraq to verify whether Iraq still possessed either nuclear or chemical and biological weapons. The weapons inspectors gave several interim reports clearly stating that Iraq was fully cooperating with them and that they did not find any nuclear or chemical material till the time they were asked to immediately withdraw from Iraq before the launching of the allied attack.

The proceedings of the Security Council were shown on several channels of T.V. net-works and an overwhelming majority of the members found no justification for military aggression against Iraq. On the other hand the role of France, Germany, Russia and China came out against any action by-passing the system of United Nations but they were sidelined and unfortunately the institution of the United Nations especially the Security Council was rendered so ineffective by the actions of the United States and Britain that people have started equating it with the fate of the late League of Nations.

There has been a serious blow to the relationship of United States with Europe and there are further differences of opinion between the United States and Britain over the type of post-war administration in Iraq. The United States has declared that the present incharge of the military operations shall administer Iraq for quite sometime while Britain, under pressure from the British Members of Parliament and general public, wants to follow the route of United Nations once again, as desired by other members of the European Union.

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