The sabotage of the only concrete initiative as an alternative to the Iraqi war

The sabotage of the iitiative: “Free Iraq, the only alternative to the war in Iraq”

NEW! The questions never asked to Tony Blair and... Saddam Hussein

Demandoj neniam starigitaj al Tony Blair kaj al… Saddam Hussein (Esperanto)

Through the silence of the media, playing against the majority of the Italian Parliament, the Government prevented the success of the radical project for the exile of Saddam Hussein.

"What you are about to read is a story of Great Lies. James Reston, a great journalist, once said that the first victim in a war is the truth; it happened always. For example President Polk lied that 'Mexico had invaded American territory and shed American blood upon the American soil' in order to launch war against Mexico. During the Vietnam war, President Johnson resorted to the famous, but invented, incidents in Tongking as a pretext for "expanding" the conflict. George W. Bush is therefore in good company when he invoked the existence of weapons of mass destructions that no one ever saw nor discovered, and organic links with Al-Qaeda that were never documented in order to justify the military intervention against Saddam. His lies are ascertained and documented; henceforth the White House does not bother denying them anymore.

There is something else, and even more serious : the deliberate sabotage of the only concrete initiative that would have on one hand avoided the war, saved lives of thousands of persons, avoided spoils and destructions; and at the same time that would have liberated Irak from Sadam's dictatorship. It is the story of the sabotage of the political initiative of Marco Pannella and the Radicals "Exile for Saddam, Irak liberated". A reading of unpublished but sensational facts. One would note that it is useless to cry over spilled milk. But for the sake of history, it is important to cherish memories for what happened. It is useful to run through the different stages of this event.

It was the 19th of January 2003, following literally day after day of campaigns, that the initiative "Exile for Saddam" of Pannella and the Radicals received the formal commitment of the Parliament and the Italian government, in addition to the support of various groups and personalities from 171 countries. The assumption is that Saddam, in a dead-end, had no choice but consider convenient the proposal for an exile that guarantees to save his life. Once exiled, the UN and the international community will launch a transition process for democracy in Irak, entrusted to a Trustee Administration.

Foto: Marco PannellaFoto: Marco PannellaOn 5 February 2003, an important debate took place at the UN Security Council. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs Dominique De Villepin voiced out a "novelty" in the French position : send several hundreds of international observers in Irak. The proposal cannot be considered unfamiliar with the position set against that of the US and the "Coalition of the Willing". The dramatic split among European countries could now be overcome and at the same time be reconciled with the objective of liberating Irak from Saddam's dictatorship : positions that seemed until then irreconcilable finally converged. The UK Prime Minister Tony Blair attempted a dialogue with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak : a dialogue that necessarily had to involve the entire Middle East and Arab world. At this point, objections to the proposed "Exile for Saddam" backfired.

On 8 February, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi sent a long and complex memorandum to Khaddafi : it set up possible scanarios of understanding with Saddam; several days later Berlusconi referred to Bush the positive response of Saddam, obtained through Khaddafi.

On 19 February 2003 : the Italian Parliament, with the support of the Government, voted on the Radical proposal for an exile for Saddam and his entourage, with a guarantee for immunity (but not impunity). The proposal was favorably received by the Greek President in office of the European Union, George Papandreu.

On 22 February 2003 Bush received in his ranch in Crawford, Texas, the Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar. That was a key moment in understanding what was happening and what would happen. Blair and Berlusconi participated in the meeting through a conference call. The minutes of the meeting is off-the records according to Ambassador Javier Rupérez. A document (consequently revealed by the Government of Zapatero) recounted how Bush thought it necessary and urgent to move towards war in Irak. From the meeting it also emerged that Aznar suggested extreme prudence to Bush. In this context, the American President revealed what Berlusconi communicated to him earlier (the positive answer of Saddam on the proposal for exile, obtained through Khaddafi). Bush remained nevertheless rigid in refusing any agreement whatsoever with the dictator; he judged the condition of Saddam as desperate and said that "he could be killed within two months". He added that Saddam - who was labelled as "a thief, terrorist, war criminal, and compared with Saddam, Milosevic would have been a mother Teresa" - asked for "one billion dollars" and "all information he wanted on weapons of mass destructions". At this point, Blair implored that the start of hostilities be delayed by a few days with respect to the date of "10 March". Bush was inflexible : he wanted war.

Pannella warned the Italian Government, EU and Blair against trusting Khaddafi as a mediator. The unreliability of the Libyan leader was confirmed during a summit of the League of Arab States in Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt. According to converging witnesses (among others that of Egyptian President Mubarak), Khaddafi succeeded in obstructing the League of Arab States (of which Libya is not a member state) from convening a meeting to debate on the proposal for exile for Saddam, put forward by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan. An important meeting was sabotaged by Khaddafi. Officials sent by the president of the United Arab Emirates Zayed al-Nahyan had a meeting with Saddam for four times. The Emir himself was about to announce that the Irakian dictator was ready to accept the exile. He was simply asking to officially receive the proposal from the League of Arab States and "not from the Americans." After the conclusions of the meeting, the Minister of Information of the United Arab Emirates announced to journalists that the initiative undertaken by his country for a pacific change in regime in Irak was also supported by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. " At the end of the meeting we also received support from other countries, but unfortunately these countries refuse to confront the problem in discussion tables. All arab states agreed that Saddam should give up his power, but no one had the courage to say it in public."

Events were accelerating at this point. On 6 March 2003 official Arab sources mentioned that the "Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Syria and the League of Arab States announced a mission to Baghdad asking Saddam to leave the country and hence avoid war". At the same time, during the UN General Assembly, the Ambassador of Pakistan Munir Akram communicated that Saddam conditioned his acceptance to exile with a guarantee for immunity against war crimes committed.

We are on the eve of the war. On 18 March 2003 Bush posed an ultimatum : Saddam had 48 hours to leave the country. In fact he constrained Saddam to be exposed to the situation described on 22 February in Crawford. Saddam had no guarantee that his life will be saved. On the contrary, during those very hours public opinion learned about the results of a survey conducted on 25 January which had been withheld from the public until then : the majority of Americans (62%) are in favor of an exile for Saddam, on the condition that he left power and that war be avoided.

Bahrain offered Saddam "a secure exile, provided that a new war in the Gulf territories be avoided". Useless. Bush wanted the war, and the war was on.

Probably Bush momentarily dreamed of emulating his great idol Winston Churchill, who proclaimed a famous speech on radio on 12 November 1939 to the English people : "It is indeed a solemn moment when I speak to you...". Mr President, you missed your goal. The exile of Saddam could have been the real alternative to military attacks. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey elaborated an exile "Plan". Important commentators such as Thomas Friedman ("New York Times" 29 January 2003) suggested a "third option"; even the Arab press (Memri Report of 18 February 2003) underlined more than once the possibility of Saddam's resignation...

The goal of liberating Irak in a non- violent way instead of through war was on the verge of happening without bloodshed.

Pannella and the Radicals affirmed that Bush deliberately wanted to obstruct this by precipitating into war. He is being asked to document and be auditioned by the American Congress; he is being asked to be put in a condition to know and be able to judge : "We, the Ghandian nonviolent Radical Party, "Americans" for over half a century", says Pannella, "we are asking whether, in that manner, he would not have been guilty of high treason to the oath of loyalty towards the USA and the Republic that it represent".

Is it true that there was an alternative to the war and at the same time the possibility of liberating Irak from Saddam? Why was it not pursued? Is Pannella right when he talked about a sabotage? Why this sabotage? These are questions which need to be answered."


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