Yours comradely joins the world in grief in mourning the death of the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations and the founder of the Kofi Annan Foundation who died peacefully on Saturday 18th August after a short illness. Kofi Annan was a global statesman and a deeply committed internationalist who fought throughout his life for a fairer and more peaceful world. “During his distinguished career and leadership of the United Nations he was an ardent champion of peace, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law. The tributes for Koffi Annan would make books given his landmark imprints on humanity and internationally diplomacy.
For me essential legacy of Kofi is commitment to global peace. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 by US led coalition contrary to Kofi’s UN and the lingering devastation further proves the efficacy of world peace. I actually did a reflection in this column in 2006. I hereby reproduce it as tribute to Koffi Anna.
“The 2006 report of the Study Group on dire situation in Iraq showed that Kofi’s UN was right, the US allied group was wrong.. The executive summary of the report of the ten members group co-chaired by James Baker111, former secretary of state and Lee H. Hamilton opened with the acknowledgement of global open sour: that the “situation in Iraq is grave and deteriorating”. The group’s singular admittance of the grim reality of the atrocities and mass human misery caused by senseless and criminal invasion of Iraq contrasts sharply with false grandstanding and whitewashing of a failed adventure by Bush-Blair war-cabinets.
Many certainly loathed the despicable regime of Sadam Hussein and his litany of governance crimes but there is global consensus today that the American-British occupation has virtually brought total ruination to Iraq. In fact, the out-going secretary General of the United Nations, Mr Kofi Annan accepted as much that Iraq fared better relatively under Sadam Hussein. According to the report the score card of 2 years of occupation shows that “..government is not adequately advancing national reconciliation, providing basic security, or delivering essential services. The level of violence is high and growing.
There is great suffering and daily lives of many Iraqis show little or no improvement. Pessimism is pervasive”. The point cannot be overstated that before the criminal invasion under a false search for weapons of mass destruction, Iraq was classified as an industrialized country of 22 proud million people. Indeed Iraq rated at the top of medium level countries in Human development index.
The damning Iraq group report also shows that invasion and occupation have atomised hitherto cohesive and united country. Iraq “runs along the sectarian fault lines of shia and sunni Islam and of kudish and Arab populations”. What then happened to the promised strong, prosperous and “democratic” Iraq by Gorge Bush in the wake of serial bombing of defenceless independent country that Iraq was? Significant in this report is the admission that it’s time for American troops to get out of Iraq. In fact the report accepts as much without saying so that American troops were the source of insecurity that has endangered sustained resistance among the Iraqis.
“Attacks against US, Coalition and Iraqi security forces are persistent and growing”, the reports notes. It adds “that October 2006 was the deadliest month for US forces since Jan 2005, with 102 Americans killed”. The critical point here is that just as it was from the beginning, the US and coalition forces are far from being forces of liberation for the Iraqis as the official propaganda in the wake of the invasion wanted the world to believe. On the contrary, the Coalition forces remain the hated forces of oppression and ruination that must be resisted and booted out. Indeed the study Group was candid enough to set agenda for the withdrawal of American troops starting from the first quarter of 2008. The major strength of this report is its bold acceptance of interdependence and multilateralism as solutions for Iraqi crisis as distinct from the dismal unilateralism and dictatorship of Bush and Blair.
The group vindicates Kofi Annan’s UN, (again without saying so), that the war on Iraq was illegal and by implication criminal. As a matter of priority, its recommendation stresses external approach that must involve all countries in the region. The linkage between the Iraqi crisis and Palestinian-Israeli conflict by this report shows that after costly and deadly drifting from hard reality of Middle-East crisis, America has come to accept that “there is no magic formula to solve the problems of Iraq”. The limitation of the group report lies paradoxically in its strength: a desperate bipartisan way out of the huge mess America plunges itself in Iraq! Precisely because the group’s goal was to rescue America from the self-imposed quagmire, the language of the report remains parochial and unhelpful.
The group actually still sees the “Suni/Shite Muslims” as sources of violence. The report also lacks sense of history such that answers to critical question such as since when has Iraqis preferred “sectarian” crises cannot be found in the report. By and large, the Iraq group report remains a metaphor for failed global governance/ leadership of UK’s Blair and American Bush. Were it not for the balance of global power that confer them undeserved immunity, the two should be tried for war crimes on the account of the damning findings of the Iraqi group report. The idea of a study after much damage and carnage had been rained on Iraq underscores the incompetence of Bush administration in particular with grim global impact for humanity. Iraqi group report has indeed conclusively proved Nelson Mandela’s acid test-message in the wake of the senseless and criminal war that US President George W. Bush jnr “has no foresight” and “cannot think properly”.
Issa Aremu mni