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"Blackwill Is A Liar, A Big Liar"

Hours before he left for Vietnam on March 12 to take up his new assignment, the Iraqi ambassador to India spoke to V. Sudarshan. Excerpts from an interview:

"Blackwill Is A Liar, A Big Liar"
Why do you think George W. Bush is targeting Iraq?
His main objective is to occupy the Iraqi oil reserves.

So, the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) issue is irrelevant?
UNMOVIC has repeatedly said in its reports—the last one on March 7—that it has found nothing. It inspected more than 600 sites, including those where Tony Blair, Bush and Colin Powell claimed that Iraq was hiding WMD; they said they had documents to prove it. But when the inspectors went there, they found nothing. We believe the US is fully aware that Iraq has no WMD. But some mercenaries in the Indian press are suggesting that capturing oil is not the real intention.

Why are they doing this?
Because they want to cover up the real intention of the US. One Indian editor said that the US wants to reform Islam. I'm not mentioning any names but permit me to say that such journalists are mercenaries. American officials are talking about oil, (Donald) Rumsfeld is going around telling France, Russia and China, 'join us and we shall give you part of the Iraqi oil cake'. What does it mean? It means they want to occupy Iraq and distribute the oil cake according to the support they get. How can any journalist claim this is not about oil?

What about the argument that this campaign is about promoting democracy?
All concepts of democracy, whether it is the Soviet concept or a liberal concept, by definition, express a nation's free will. It is not a process determined by someone else. Where someone else does the job on your behalf, it is not democracy. Call it anarchy but it's not democracy. Bush's philosophy is to impose democracy by killing hundreds and thousands, maybe millions, of people by occupying another nation, by violating its dignity and honour. What kind of democracy is this that comes about by spilling blood? This is nonsense.

But they say democracy will not come to Iraq otherwise...
So what? This is not their business. Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that there is no democracy in Iraq. Is it the job of Americans to correct the situation in Iraq? This is nonsense, colonial logic. If democracy were to be brought into the region, each and every country in the region would boot the Americans out the second day.

Are you disappointed with the way the Indian press is reporting Iraq?
Not the entire Indian press. It's normal to have some editors writing in a particular way, in the American style. Yesterday I read a newspaper editorial that described President Saddam as a 'tyrant'. Why is there a reluctance to describe the crimes of Bush? He is threatening everyone, blackmailing everyone. Why do they not write about this? Because these journalists are serving the American policy. By concentrating on President Saddam, by demonising President Saddam, these journalists want to convince the people of India that killing Iraqis is justified. Those who are writing against Iraq are controlled by the cia and the American embassy here.

How can you be so sure?
We know it. We know it for sure. We know that they are going to the embassy to receive their salary every month and sometimes every week. Otherwise, how can you imagine journalists propagating the mass killing of civilians in Iraq?

Have you been following the American arguments in the Indian press?
I saw the article US ambassador (Robert) Blackwill wrote where he claimed that Iraq is not cooperating with UNMOVIC, that Iraq is hiding WMD, that Iraq is not adhering to Resolution 1441, that Iraq is threatening its neighbours and has massacred its own Kurdish people. And for all these things Iraq should be checked. These are lies, uttered before him by his president and Powell.Both are liars, because soon afterwards Hans Blix and Mohammed el-Baradei, the director-general of the iaea, said that Iraq is proactively cooperating with us. Blix denied the allegations of the US government.

Blackwill is a liar, a big liar. The reply came from Blix and el-Baradei and not from Iraq. US foreign policy officials are lying even as they are breathing. Without lies they cannot propagate their foreign policy. Blackwill is propagating (US policy) in a very tough way. He is not respecting the feelings of the Indian people. He is insulting the Indian government...

Why do you say that?
Because he is intervening in the business of India. He is speaking about Kashmir, he is proposing something about Kashmir, proposing something about Gujarat. Why is he doing so? He is not an Indian official. He is an American ambassador. He should respect the hospitality of India. The internal situation of India is not his area. He has no right to intervene in the internal business of India. No ambassador, no diplomat has the right to speak about the internal issues of India. Even if he has some point of view, he should keep silent. He should keep his mouth shut. His is the classical, typical, American arrogance.

Have you heard from the Indian government that it doesn't agree with these analyses?
Of course, definitely. The Indian government's statements are positive towards Iraq. Today, the prime minister said again and again that his government is against regime change in Iraq, that he favours a peaceful settlement of the issue.

But Americans say the Indian government has been told of what big stakes it can have in Iraq post-Saddam.
This is the kind of blackmail they (Americans) do.

Do you find it odd that the recent Non-Aligned declaration did not name the US explicitly?
This is part of the consequences of the American blackmail. The American government is crazy now. It is insulting anyone who objects to its Iraq policy, threatening everyone. Look at what it's doing with Turkey, bargaining with it. It's a new diplomacy, dollar diplomacy. They're trying to buy up anyone who is not with them, pressurise everyone into joining them.

Vajpayee did not name the US in his statement in Parliament. Have you seen a single Indian statement that names the US?
Well, it is up to India.

Are you disappointed that India keeps saying that Iraq should disarm but never in so many words says that America should wait while the disarming process is on?
We are satisfied.

Even though India is naming Iraq but not the US?
Yes, even though.

The prime minister has said India must follow the middle path. Wouldn't it be more logical as a friend of Iraq as well as the US to tell America, 'be patient, Iraqis are disarming' and tell Iraqis also to 'disarm according to the resolutions'?
We are satisfied with the policy but we hope that India will adopt a more active policy towards Iraq by joining the big powers opposing war. Like joining France, Germany, Russia, who are adopting a very courageous policy. We hope India will join them for a collective rejection of the American war intention against Iraq. Then the Indian position will be more open, more effective than now.

Can you recall any Indian initiative in the last 10 years that sought to politically ameliorate the condition of Iraq?
You should put this question to Indian officials. But we wish to see India adopt a more active role.

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