Tragedy in Iraq
A series of coordinated
attacks in Baghdad on Tuesday killed 127 persons and injured
over 500 others. It is the third such big attack since August
last. Apparently anti-government elements within the Sunni
community with links to Al Qaeda may have carried out these
attacks. While we sympathize with the victims of this ruthless
terrorist attack it is opportune to dwell on why such a fate
befell Iraq. It is no secret that this unfortunate plight of the
Iraqi people started with the invasion of the country by the
United States and other partners of its Coalition of the
Though there was loud talk about the necessity of weeding out
Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) they were not there. It was
an excuse to effect a regime change as the then existing regime
of Saddam Hussein had fallen out of favour with Washington.
During the regime of Saddam Hussein fundamentalist militant
groups were non-existent in Iraq. In fact, it was the only
country with a secular government albeit with certain drawbacks.
Saddam was also unjustifiably blamed for having links to Al
Qaeda which was proved to be wrong.
It is the destruction of Iraq with its resources, both human
and material, and the loot of its rich cultural treasures that
has made Iraq a hotbed of tension and anarchy and a breeding
ground for terrorism. The blame goes to the United States and
its allies in the war as well as to their local collaborators.
Most Iraqi leaders including Saddam Hussein had been on the
payroll of the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States
at one time or other. This dangerous collaboration of Iraqi
politicians with the CIA and other foreign agencies has made it
impossible for genuine nationalist elements to rise to the top
in any ruling dispensation.
As analysts have claimed the net result of the US occupation
of Iraq has been the division of Iraq dangerously along communal
lines. The ultimate result of this intensification of communal
and religious divisions between the Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds
would be the division of the country.
We would like here to draw the attention of the people to the
dangers of fifth columns operating in countries like ours.
Present day fifth columns work through various channels, both
overt and covert. Powerful nations employ many citizens of
foreign countries to gather information, stir up public opinion
in favour of them and to influence governments of their
countries in policy and other matters. They even fund civil
society organizations and political parties and groups.
Sri Lanka has defeated the world's most ruthless terrorist
organization. Yet its international network of fund collectors
and political cells are still operative. Hence, there is the
need to be vigilant about the machinations of fifth columns and
external interference in the elections. The Iraqi bomb blasts on
Tuesday may also be an attempt to disrupt the forthcoming
elections in that country.
Which to promote: Public or private transport
The Copenhagen world summit on climate change is now
deliberating. If world leaders fail to come to an agreement to
cut CO2 emissions considerably the human species may be
threatened in the not too distant future.
This is a question not to be left to the leaders or
governments to grapple with. Each and every one of us should
find ways and means of reducing CO2 emissions. One way would be
to reduce the use of cars driven by fossil fuel that pollute the
Hence the temptation to use private transport has to be
curbed at some point or other. Public transport should be
developed so that the need for private transport would be less.
It is sad that even projects that wanted to reduce the entry
of private cars to the city did not find support among the
The middle classes love to own vehicles as a status symbol
even if the cost of maintenance is high. Some would find it
infradig to use public modes of travel. This is the psychology
fostered by the market economy where vehicle manufacturers tempt
them to own a vehicle.
Imagine what chaos and what a wastage of resources and what
enormous pollution would result if every family, every public
servant were to own a vehicle of their own. It would simply be
madness when there won't be enough room for them on the roads
and vehicle parks.