Former Indian prime minister comments on US and Iraq

Jan 20, 2003 01:00 AM

The main objective of the US policy on Iraq is to gain control of that country's oil reserves which the 1991 Gulf War failed to achieve, says former Indian prime minister I.K. Gujral.
"The issue is not (Iraqi President) Saddam Hussein. He has done horrible things, but individuals are dispensable. The issue is Iraqi people, long suffering under economic sanctions. The issue is the American desire to control oil," Gujral said.

Gujral also said the issue was one of American unilateralism. While America is "the pre-eminent power of this age, the world, especially our region, is full of apprehension that this hyper-power would act unilaterally to impose its own form of global order and enforce its values in shaping the world to its own taste," Gujral said.
"It is highly unacceptable at the beginning of the 21st century to have powerful outsiders decide which particular government is good and which one is bad. It would be a strange thing to have some powerful powers, sitting thousands of milesaway, dictating what should happen in which country," he added.

Gujral said a multi-polar world order was the only viable option to American domination of the world. He said, "the principal centre of this (new world) order will be America, of course, and a newly assertive European Union (EU), and resurgent Russia and Asia, particularly the rising economic powers of China and India".
"Consultation and cooperation among these powers will be central to maintaining the stability of this (world) order," he added. He argued that US President George Bush was working through the UN only to subvert it and said the US president "is trying to defeat the purpose of the UN inspection regime" on Iraq.

Gujral said: "It is the UN which decides the merit of the report. Let the inspectors tell the world whether Saddam Hussein has or does not have weapons of mass destruction."
He recalled a meeting he had with then US secretary of state James Baker and said: "He minced no words when he told me: 'Mr Minister (Gujral was foreign minister at the time), oil is our civilisation and we will never permit any demon to sit over it.'" That seemed to be still the main objective of American policy, Gujral said.

Source: Siliconindia
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