January 03, 2021

Anglo-American “Rule of Law”: Coerce Justice and Pamper War-crime

B Arjun

EVER since the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, the country has been on a downward slide and its people have been suffering unprecedented hardships.

The never-ending trauma of war, poverty, and the disastrous state of public health and the education system continue to haunt the country which, prior to the invasion was one of the best governed States in the Arab world.

Rubbing salt into the war-wounds of Iraqi people, this Christmas President Donald Trump, granted clemency to four Blackwater guards, a private military company (PMC), convicted of voluntary manslaughter that killed 17 Iraqi civilians (including two boys aged 8 and 11) in 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad 2003. Blackwater held a $1 billion contract for guard services in the war zones in Iraq.

One of the four mercenary soldiers granted a pardon by Trump is Nicholas Slatten, who was sentenced to life imprisonment after exhaustive investigations by the US agencies and the Iraqi government.  The killing by Blackwater mercenaries was made public by Private Chelsea (Bradley) Manning, through the release of logs of military reports to WikiLeaks.

Trump’s audacity in granting pardon to criminals is no surprise because his billionaire secretary of education, Betsy DeVos is the sister of Erik Prince, Blackwater’s founder. The DeVos family is one of the biggest funders of the right-wing in the US.

According to Sarah Holewinski, Washington director at Human Rights Watch, “This pardon is an insult to justice and an insult to the victims who waited so many years to see some measure of justice.”

The Nisour Square massacre is just one of the many reported incidents of mass murder conducted by US special forces and PMCs. Many more such incidents have gone unreported. According to the World Socialist Website, “the politicians and generals who organised and led the US war in Iraq have gotten off scot-free. Under the principles laid down by the Nuremberg Tribunal after World War II, the leaders of the US government during the Iraq War—George W Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell, George Tenet, Paul Wolfowitz—and top military commanders from Tommy Franks to David Petraeus are guilty of the crime of planning and executing a war of aggression. They are collectively responsible for all the deaths that ensued as a result of their actions.”


In another shameless move, the International Criminal Court (ICC), which investigates and prosecutes war crimes, torture, and genocide, has been coerced to abandon its inquiry into war crimes committed by British troops in Iraq between 2003 and 2008. The case which began in the years after the 2003 Iraq invasion reopened in 2014.  The case was declared shut by the ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. Bensouda’s order is no surprise as she was under tremendous pressure to give up prosecution. 

Since 2018, ICC was under attack by the Trump administration. John Bolton the former national security adviser, said, “The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court.”  In June 2020, Trump authorized sanctions and family visa bans against ICC officials to force them to give up scrutiny of the conduct of US officials in Afghanistan and Israeli officials in Palestine. In September, the US imposed sanctions on the chief prosecutor of the ICC, Fatou Bensouda, and PhakisoMochochoko, the ICC’s director of jurisdiction, complementary and cooperation division.  Both the ICC officials were deemed “specially designated nationals”, grouping them alongside terrorists and narcotics traffickers, blocking their assets and prohibited US citizens from having any dealings with them.

With the case now formally closed the imperialist’s justification for launching a war of aggression against a sovereign nation has been upheld. This once again shows how the Anglo-American empire continues to rule the world through control of all global institutions. “The decision is a green light to the major powers to ignore international criminal and humanitarian law when pursuing their imperialist interests throughout the world.”

The Anglo-American power elite’s contempt for the global rule of law is a well-known fact, which largely goes unnoticed. They have never been interested in investigating and prosecuting atrocities committed in Iraq by American and British troops. It is naive to expect justice from imperialists who launched the war with the most dangerous weapons to achieve their economic and geopolitical objectives.  It is now a well-established fact that international justice remains plagued by the ugly double standards - the powerful ‘white’ world has all the rights for conducting senseless violence and exploitation while the ‘dark’ world is blamed for being insensitive savages.

The recent “Overseas Operations (service personnel and veterans) Bill introduced by the British government proposes a five-year limit on prosecutions for soldiers serving outside the UK. This will further allow the British to cover up war crimes.


On January 3, 2020, US drones killed Major General Qassim Suleimani, Iran’s top security and intelligence commander at Baghdad International Airport. As the first anniversary of the killing, authorised by President Donald Trump, approaches the ever-increasing demands on the Iraqi government to act a US proxy of the Pentagon are on the rise.
America is using all measures to twist the weak-kneed Iraqi political class to toe its line.  Currently, Iraq is witnessing massive people’s protests because of the government’s proposed budget plans to devalue dinar and slash public sector salaries. This policy proposal is an insensitive move in the midst of escalating healthcare, and economic crisis.

Iraq is in a deep economic mess. Oil revenues, Iraq’s main source of income, have plummeted and its dollar reserves are fast depleting. With the economy pegged to shrink by 11 per cent in 2020, the government intends to devalue the current by 23 per cent to appease the IMF.  The current exchange rate is 1,182 dinars per dollar, and as per the IMF direction, it has been devalued to 1,450 dinars per dollar. With dinar pegged to the dollar and its security in the tweeter grip of the Pentagon, Baghdad has very few options. The IMF conditionality for the loan includes: restructuring the state-owned banks, privatisation of state assets, and slashing public sector wage and welfare bill. And as per IMF’s political demand, Baghdad is expected to be harsh on curbing the activities of politicians and outfits that favour good relations with Iran. 

With the ruling Iraqi elite, networked to American imperial set-up, serving the US geopolitical requirements vis-a-vis Iran, the IMF is most likely to succeed having its desires filled.  The IMF proposals will lead to making Iraq prone to the outbreak of major civil war and a fresh outbreak of violence in the region.