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U.S. Government Tries to Put an "Iraqi Face" on Its Occupation

May 6, 2003

For months the Bush administration, relying on typical imperialist doublespeak, has claimed it was "bringing democracy" to Iraq by invading the country and occupying it with U.S. troops. Today, Bush and the monopoly-controlled media continue to sell this transparent fraud by advertising how the Iraqis are forming their "own transitional government" and civil administration. In the words of Jay Garner, the retired U.S. general in charge of administering Iraq, the U.S. is putting together "a government with an Iraqi face on it that is totally dealing with the coalition."

To begin with, the real power behind any civil administration is the 150,000-plus occupying U.S. army. It is the U.S. high command, from Rumsfeld on down, which is deciding which Iraqi political groups can operate and which cannot. For example, Rumsfeld has declared that any "Iranian-style" government will be forbidden and Lieutenant-General David McKiernan, commander of U.S. ground forces in Iraq, has issued a military proclamation declaring "the coalition and the coalition alone retain absolute authority within Iraq .... [anyone] who challenges the edict will be viewed as criminals and subject to arrest."

Rumsfeld and McKiernan have been as good as their word, arresting religious and political leaders, firing on unarmed political protests, hunting and outlawing various political parties, establishing permanent U.S. military bases throughout the country, etc.

As for the "government with an Iraqi face," it is made up mostly of American citizens who have been on the payroll of the U.S. government for years. In particular, the "Iraqi faces" being put into power include 1) a group of exiles handpicked over the last two months by Deputy Defense Secretary Wolfowitz, and 2) members of the Iraqi National Congress, a group of exiles knocked together in 1992 by the CIA.

Iraqi Exiles: American Citizens

During the last two weeks, the Pentagon has flown 150 Iraqi exiles into the country to serve as "advisers" and "ministers in waiting" for the new "Iraqi" government. This group was organized at a Pentagon meeting, presided over by Wolfowitz, in late February. Since then, the group has operated out of Pentagon offices in suburban Virginia under the name of the Iraqi Reconstruction and Redevelopment Council. In organizing the group, Wolfowitz said: "It's an enormously valuable asset to have people who share our values, understand what we're about as a country, and are in most cases citizens of this country, but who also speak the language, share the culture and know their way around Iraq."

Some of the members of this group are:

-- Emad Dhia, a pharmaceutical executive on leave from Pfizer Corporation;

-- Khidhir Hamza, expected to help draft the new "Iraqi" constitution, on the CIA payroll since defecting from Iraq in the 1990's;

-- Dr. Maha Hussein, professor at University of Michigan and most recently employed by General Garner;

-- Mohammad Ali Zainy, American citizen and oil company executive in the U.S., who has been chosen senior adviser to Iraq's Ministry of Oil.

Dr. Fadhal, another member of the Wolfowitz team, describes their role in this way: "The Iraqi people have been brainwashed and it is our responsibility to build a new brain."

Iraqi National Congress

The second major group of "Iraqi faces" are drawn from the ranks of the Iraqi National Congress (INC) and its allied groups. On May 5, General Garner announced that a "nucleus of leadership" for an "temporary Iraq government" had been formed. This nucleus included Ahmad Chalabi, Jalal Talabani, Iyad Allawi and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, all aligned with the INC.

Chalabi, the head of the INC, was flown into Iraq in mid-April along with 700 "fighters," armed, financed and commanded by the Pentagon, to serve as an adjunct to U.S. occupationist forces.

The INC was organized by the CIA in 1992 to give an "Iraqi face" to U.S. efforts to destabilize and overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein.

In 1998, the U.S. Congress passed the Iraqi Liberation Act which allocated $97 million in financing for the INC. The following year, at a conference of the INC organized by the Clinton administration, Jalal Talabani, another leader, said: "Some say we look like puppets of the U.S., but we are making independent decisions. Without U.S. support it is impossible to change the dictatorship."