November 17, 2006

Gandhi's Plan For Peace In Iraq

Here are five concrete and much-needed steps that will make an IMMEDIATE difference to the situation on the ground:

1. Bush must announce immediately that:
- the USA will be withdrawing 100% of its forces from Iraq as soon as possible,
- the USA will not be maintaining permanent military bases in Iraq,
- US government advisors will be removed from Baghdad, and
- the Green Zone and other US-held assets will be handed over to the Iraqi Government.

2. The USA must immediately stop pressuring the Iraqi government to sign the proposed Oil Law, which will give US-based Big Oil control of Iraq's oil resources for generations to come. The Iraqi government must announce immediately that any changes to laws governing revenue from Iraq's oil resources will need to be approved by the Iraqi people in a referendum.

3. The current Iraqi government must immediately announce new elections, to be held after the last US forces have withdrawn.

4. The USA must immediately pledge to finance these elections, and the UN must be prepared to monitor them and deploy peace-keeping forces at short notice. The USA must also finance these UN missions.

5. Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other regional powers must immediately pledge to respect Iraq's borders and support the elected government.

These simple steps will have the immediate effect of removing support for fanatical anti-US propaganda and terrorist groups. They will convince people that there is a peace dividend to be reaped if only they can wait for US forces to withdraw and elections to be held.

The Iraqi people have already shown that they are more than capable of holding their country together (mostly through religious and tribal cohesion) during such a period of instability.

These are immediate steps which can easily be done right now. In particular, let me say this:

If Bush is not prepared to renounce permanent US military bases and control of Iraqi oil, nobody should take all this talk of US withdrawal seriously.

As for withdrawing "with honour", the most honorable thing the USA can do now is to honestly confess to past mistakes, including the political manipulation of WMD intelligence, pledge to make amends to the Iraqi people, and hold those responsible for this disaster accountable.

1 comment:

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