[THS] ElBaradei: Iraq War Killed A Million Innocent Civilians
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Sat Apr 3 22:27:42 CEST 2010
Former IAEA Chief: Iraq War Killed A Million Innocent Civilians
By Patrick Martin
April 03, 2010 "WSWS" -- The former head of the UNs chief nuclear agency,
Mohammed ElBaradei, said in an interview with the British newspaper Guardian
Wednesday that those who launched the war in Iraq were responsible for killing a
million innocent people and could be held accountable under international law. He
was clearly referring to US President George Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair,
and their top military and security aides.
It was his first interview with an international publication since ElBaradei returned to
his native Egypt, after a decade heading the International Atomic Energy Agency,
where he won the Nobel Peace Prize, in large measure because of his opposition to
the efforts by the Bush administration to use concocted charges about weapons of
mass destruction as an all-purpose pretext for military intervention throughout the
I would hope that the lessons of Iraq, both in London and in the US have started to
sink in, he told the Guardian. Sure, there are dictators, but are you ready every
time you want to get rid of a dictator to sacrifice a million innocent civilians? All the
indications coming out of [the Chilcot inquiry in Britain] are that Iraq was not really
about weapons of mass destruction but rather about regime change, and I keep
asking the same question?where do you find this regime change in international law?
And if it is a violation of international law, who is accountable for that?
This suggestion that Bush and Blair were guilty of war crimes, coming from a high-
ranking former UN official, would ordinarily be considered major news. The Guardian
interview was reported by the main British and French news agencies, Reuters and
AFP, but the entire American corporate media gave it zero coverage. Not a single
major American newspaper or television network mentioned it.
The discussion of the violation of international law in launching the Iraq war came in
the course of a longer discussion of the bankruptcy of US-British foreign policy in the
Muslim world. ElBaradei criticized the longstanding support of Washington for
dictators like Mubarak. The idea that the only alternative to authoritarian regimes is
Bin Laden and Co. is a fake one, yet continuation of current policies will make that
prophecy come true.
He warned of increasing radicalization in the Arab world: People feel repressed by
their own governments, they feel unfairly treated by the outside world, they wake up
in the morning and who do they see?they see people being shot and killed, all
Muslims from Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Darfur.
Western policy towards this part of the world has been a total failure, in my view,
he said. It has not been based on dialogue, understanding, supporting civil society
and empowering people, but rather its been based on supporting authoritarian
systems as long as the oil keeps pumping.
ElBaradei warned of the hypocrisy and double standard of Western policy. The West
talks a lot about elections in Iran, for example, but at least there were elections, he
said. Yet where are the elections in the Arab world? If the West doesnt talk about
that, then how can it have any credibility?
ElBaradei is now reportedly considering a presidential bid against 81-year-old
President Hosni Mubarak, whose fifth six-year term expires next year. He clearly
hopes that Western pressure will compel Mubarak to permit a more robust opposition
campaign than during the last presidential election, when the largest opposition
party, the Muslim Brotherhood, was barred from standing a candidate, and Ayman
Nour, the bourgeois liberal candidate who finished second, was jailed for alleged
Speaking to a British newspaper, ElBaradei was in essence warning his old patrons,
the major European powers, of the counterproductive character of Western policy,
particularly that of the United States. When you see that the most popular people in
the Middle East are Ahmadinejad and Hassan Nasrallah [leader of Hezbollah], that
should send you a message: that your policy is not reaching out to the people, he
He also took note of the extreme social tension in Egypt, where the vast majority of
the population lives in crushing poverty. The Guardian account reads: In Egypt the
rich live in ghettoes, he said, waving his hand at the beautifully manicured garden,
complete with pool. The gap in social justice here is simply indescribable.
In addition to the US media blackout of the interview, the Guardian engaged in
apparent self-censorship. The initial article appeared at 6:01 GMT on the Guardian
web site, including the implicit reference to Bush and Blair violating international law.
It is here.
Just over two hours later, that article had been replaced by a longer profile of
ElBaradei, containing additional comments about the political situation in Egypt. But
the reference to the Chilcot inquiry and the killing of one million innocent people had
been excised. The revised article is here.
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