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Sign the Pledge of Resistance against an attack on Iraq


Geoff Simons, 'Morning Star', September 03
Milan Rai is a matchless campaigner against war and for justice. He founded the British branch of Voices in the Wilderness and co-founded ARROW, a London-based direct action and anti-war information group.

In 1993, he was awarded the Frank Cousins Peace Award for Research by the Transport and General Workers' Union.

His new book, inevitably overlapping with his earlier 'War Plan Iraq', is a detailed account of the US-led aggression against Iraq in the run-up to the war and the character of the military occupation of the country and the relevance of previous US occupations.

He details, in unanswerable terms, how the US was bitterly opposed to the UN inspectors, not wanting them to succeed in their UN-mandated tasks, how the Bush administration lied about the scope of key resolution 1441 and how Washington was concerned to preserve an authoritarian regime irrespective of the wishes of thousands of Iraqi people.

Rai has contributed an immensely valuable text of great use to activists and anyone else who wants to understand the full extent of the lies perpetrated by the Bush and Blair regimes in the effort to justify an aggressive war.

Rai should be applauded for marshalling so much information in so short a time. In all justice, it is work of this sort that that should be influential in hastening the demise of the Bush and Blair Administrations

Alan Cottey, 'Scientists for Global Responsibility', November 2003
[Regime Unchanged] is a near instant book which I think is nevertheless, in the few months since publication, well on its way to being vindicated by history.

The book's radical scepticism about every aspect of the US-UK war propaganda continually becomes more orthodox. The case is set out in detail with more than a 1000 references and notes.

[Media] distortion in the case of the 2003 war on Iraq is, in my opinion, much less likely to succeed and indeed is already being exposed widely, partly due to Milan Rai's own writings.

[I]n his introduction, Milan does express qualified optimism about the global anti-war movement, pointing out, for example, that it "helped to lay the basis for a stronger movement better able to prevent the next war." I consider this book to be part of that basis and I hope that many people will use it. I am going to register my copy with www.BookCrossing.com and give it to a friend. I hope to find, a few years hence, that it has become a well-travelled peace activist.

Red, 'Peace News', December 2003
Though self-contained, Milan Rai's new book takes up from where his previous best-seller 'War Plan Iraq' (Verso 2002) left off. Like that work it is, in part, the product of the author's long-term experience campaigning with the anti-sanctions group, Voices in the Wilderness UK.
'Regime Unchanged' splits roughly in two: the first half dealing with the long run-up to the war, recounting in meticulous detail how the US and British governments ran roughshod over the UN and destroyed the weapons inspectors while lying to their domestic populations on an epic scale that has since come back to haunt them; the second with the early stages of the occupation and likely future developments.

Rai contends (and provides plenty of evidence to support his claim) that the US approached the war "set on triggering a military coup in Baghdad," anticipating that having won a military victory it would be able to utilise the existing police force and army to control the country - the apparent explanation for the book's title.

Woven into the second half of the book is a fascinating account of how the US and Britain re-installed fascists, their collaborators and other reactionaries in Germany, Japan and elsewhere after WWII. Rai documents how - following these precedents - many former Ba'athists were reinstalled in positions of power in the early days of the occupation and poses some serious questions regarding the reality of occupation authority's subsequent May 16th "de-Ba'athification" law.

Rai's fears on this latter score appear to have been prescient: almost five months after "de-Ba'athification" the Guardian reported that the US had shown "little compunction in rehabilitating the real instruments of [Saddam's] brutal control", having "come around to the view that [they] cannot rule effectively without the [regime's] security and intelligence services".

Densely packed and scrupulously referenced 'Regime Unchanged' is essential reading for all those who opposed the war. This is very much a book geared to action: for people who need accurate, well-sourced information to lobby politicians, argue with their work-mates or speak to the media. read it and take action!

Tom Wall, 'Red Pepper', December 2003
...Now the US administration insists that it will rebuild Iraq just like the Truman administration 'rebuilt' Japan and Germany.

In his follow-up to the widely praised 'War Plan Iraq', Milan Rai argues that just as the victorious Allies relied upon large parts of the old fascist political apparatus to maintain order in Germany, so the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority has reinstalled Ba'athist-era police officers, judges, civil servants and mayors across Iraq. Of course, public pressure has forced the US to remove some of the more infamous Ba'athists and pay lip service to de-Ba'athification, but as the resistance to the occupation intensifies the reliance on Saddam's lieutenants can only grow.

Rai suggests that the coalition is heading for a major confrontation with much of the Iraqi population over the pace of de-Ba'athification and democratisation. Shiite hatred for the Ba'athists is only matched by their suspicion of the occupying powers. Demonstrations routinely condemn Saddam and Bush. Calls for Iraqi self-rule fall on deaf ears, however. The White House says it will not tolerate an 'Islamic dictatorship'.

There is more than a passing resemblance to the crushing of popular anti-fascist forces at the end of WWII. Just as the aspirations of the Greeks, French and Italians were dashed in the in the cause of anti-communism, so too will the hopes of Iraq's Shiite Muslims be sacrificed to preserve the existing balance of regional power.

All this amounts, Rai believes, to 'Saddamism' without Saddam. To salvage any credibility Washington must support democratic initiatives until the UN organises elections and then the US can withdraw.

[ Back to the 'Regime Unchanged' page ]


REGIME UNCHANGED: Why The War On Iraq Changed Nothing, by Milan Rai
Published by Pluto Press in the UK in September 2003, and in North America in November 2003. £10.99 ISBN 0 7453 2199 2 paperback.

Ask your library to order a copy!

Introduction: Tony Blair Wobbled—We Nearly Derailed The War

I Argument Over—The War Was Wrong
II ‘Regime Change’A Prior Commitment
III First Strike—The February 2001 Bombing Of Baghdad
IV Sickly Inhibitions—The Political Significance Of 11 September
V George Bush Lied—Misconnecting Iraq, WMD And Terrorism
VI The First Ultimatum—The Five Demands
VII Disaster Strikes—Iraq Accepts The Weapons Inspectors
VIII The Minefield—Resolution 1441: Designed To Be Refused
IX No Smoke, No Gun—No Evidence Discovered
X Colin Powell Lied—Turning On The Inspectors
XI Inspection Was An Option—Qualitative Disarmament
XII Blitzing Dr Blix—UNMOVIC Resists
XIII The Censored Document—Destroying The Inspectors
XIV Authority And Power—US–UK Versus The UN
XV Regime Reloaded—Re-Nazifying Iraq
XVI Hitler Won—False De-Nazification
XVII Coup d’État—The US Wanted A Coup
XVIII Why ‘Regime Stabilization’?—Turkey and Saudi Arabia Need Saddamism
XIX Crushing the Resistance—After WWII: Betraying The Anti-Fascists
XX Regime Revolutions—De-Ba‘athification?
XXI Shia Power—A Looming Confrontation With The People Of Iraq
XXII Sunni Rage—After Falluja
XXIII Capitalism’s War
XXIV Regime Unchanged

Postscript—What Would You Have Done?

Updates will be available here.