Anniversaries of Three Wars of Aggression

This week marks the anniversaries of three wars of aggressions waged in violation of international law by Western powers against foreign countries, claiming countless victims – including through war crimes – that still remain unpunished.

WASHINGTON/BERLIN (Own report) – This week marks the first bombing waves of the wars of aggression in violation of international law, which have had no consequences for the perpetrators. Today, twenty years ago, US troops launched the invasion of Iraq with the participation of British, Australian and Polish troops. This invasion was legitimized with blatant lies and was to serve strategic power interests, like the assault on Libya, launched by French fighter jets twelve years ago yesterday – invoking initially a resolution of the UN Security Council, which was immediately violated and illegally used to overthrow the Libyan government. On Friday, 24 years ago, NATO troops, including German troops, launched their aggression against Yugoslavia in violation of international law to split off its southern province, Kosovo. Loudly applauded in the media, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock proclaimed that wars of aggression should “not go unpunished,” but, of course, she – like the leading media organs – do not want this to apply to Western wars. The same holds true in regards to the most serious war crimes committed by Western soldiers. Only whistleblowers, who helped expose them to the public, are being punished.

War Objective: Overthrow Domino

The US-led assault on Iraq was launched with initial airstrikes exactly 20 years ago, on the night of March 19-20, 2003, immediately followed by an invasion of ground troops. In addition to US armed forces, units from Great Britain, Australia and Poland were involved. This invasion was carried out without UN Security Council approval and was therefore in violation of international law. The official reason – that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction – was a complete fabrication. In reality, the objective was to replace a government that was no longer favorable to the West with one that is pro-Western. Some in President George W. Bush’s administration also spoke in terms of a “democratic domino” effect, hoping that the toppling of Iraq's government would be followed by the fall of other governments across the Middle East, particularly in Syria and Iran. A “first Arab democracy” in Iraq would “cast a very large shadow across the whole Arab world,” declared Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defense Secretary, at the time.[1] Commodity interests also played a major role. As Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz, Polish Foreign Minister, at the time, confirmed in early July 2003, Warsaw “has never hidden our desire for Polish oil companies to finally have access to sources of commodities,” it “is our ultimate objective.”[2]

Hundreds of Thousands of Civilian Casualties

Scientists from the “Costs of War Project” at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs in Providence (Rhode Island) have repeatedly assessed the human costs of the war in Iraq. Brown University is one of the eight famous Ivy League universities in the United States. The Costs of War Project has presented its most recent research just prior to today's anniversary of the US invasion. According to its findings, at least 7,043 civilians were killed from March 19 to April 19 2003, one third of them through the US-led war coalition's airstrikes.[3] However, the fighting never really ended and ultimately merged into the West's war against ISIS, the terrorist militia that emerged from the crumbling structures of war-torn Iraq. The Costs of War Project estimates the number of deaths in Iraq and temporarily ISIS controlled regions in Syria, until March 2023, at a total of 549,587 – 584,006, including 348,985 civilians. The report points out that these refer only to verified direct deaths. The toll of indirect deaths – due to the consequences of war, such as disease and malnutrition – may be as many as three or four times that amount.

War Objective: Expand Influence

The Wests assault on Libya began 12 years ago yesterday, initiated by attacks by the French Air Force and soon expanded into a NATO war. Later, renowned experts told a British parliamentary committee that the official reason for the war – to prevent a massacre of civilians by the Libya’s military – had been an extremely unlikely scenario. In fact, French intelligence officers told the committee that the French government’s real objective had been “to strengthen France’s influence over North Africa,” to have greater access to Libyan oil production, as well as to demonstrate France’s military effectiveness. ( reported.[4]) A UN mandate for the protection of the civilian population was abused to effect regime change, i.e., it was violated. The number of civilian killed in that war was estimated for 2011, alone, by the British organization Airwars to have been, at least, 1,142, and possibly up to 3,400.[5] The war had not only largely destroyed Libya materially, but socially as well. Fighting, repeatedly flaring up between rival militias, has escalated into civil war. Twelve years after NATO’s aggression, that country is still in ruins.

“Pro-Kremlin Disinformation Narrative”

Twenty-four years ago, this coming Friday, NATO attacked Yugoslavia, also without a UN Security Council mandate, therefore in violation of international law. The allegation that Kosovo was under threat of so-called ethnic cleansing was the justification for this war of aggression. Internal reports, refute this. For example, on March 19, 1999 an OSCE document, described the situation: “throughout the region” as “tense but calm,” and, on March 22, experts in Germany’s Ministry of Defense in Bonn were saying that trends toward “ethnic cleansing” were “still not apparent.”[6] The aggression against Yugoslavia is particularly significant, because it is the first war of aggression in violation of international law since the upheavals taking place from 1989 – 1991 and, therefore, set a precedent for later wars of aggression, such as those against Iraq and Libya. The number of civilians killed has been estimated at around 2,000 by the ‘Wilson Center.[7] Today, an EU body (“EuvsDisinfo”) is accusing this prominent institution in Washington of disseminating a “pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative.”[8] The Chinese embassy in Yugoslavia as well as the main building of the state-owned television broadcaster, RTS were among the targets bombed by NATO, at the time.

Who May Wage Wars of Aggression

The heads of states and governments, who have given the commands for wars of aggression in violation of international law, have never been called to account. This applies to the US President George W. Bush, the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair and the Polish President Aleksander Kwaśniewski (Iraq war, 2003), along with French President Nicolas Sarkozy (War on Libya, 2011), as well as US President Bill Clinton, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and Vice Chancellor Joseph Fischer (war on Yugoslavian, 1999). “In the 21st century, no one is allowed to get away with waging a war of aggression,” proclaimed German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock in mid-January.[9] Baerbock was not referring to those responsible for wars by western states, solely to the Russian government, with which the West is engaged in a power struggle.

Who will be Punished and Who Not

The war crimes committed by western military personnel – including during the war in Afghanistan – are hardly ever punished. This pertains to a massacre of more than 100 civilians in Kunduz, ordered by a German officer,[10] as well as for the initiation ritual carried out by a notorious Australian special forces unit, which consisted of murdering at least one Afghan civilian,[11] or the British soldiers’ murder of dozens of defenseless prisoners at the Hindu Kush.[12] However, journalists and whistleblowers exposing these war crimes are the ones persecuted. This is the case of the Australian military lawyer, David McBride, now standing trial for aiding the exposure of Australian war crimes,[13] or the journalist incarcerated in London’s Belmarsh maximum security prison awaiting extradition to the USA for having documented US war crimes in Iraq – Julian Assange.


[1] Paul Reynolds: The ‘democratic domino‘ theory. 10.04.2003.

[2] Poland seeks Iraqi oil stake. 03.07.2003.

[3] Neta C. Crawford: Blood and Treasure: United States Budgetary Costs and Human Costs of 20 Years of War in Iraq and Syria, 2003-2023. Providence, 15 March 2023.

[4] House of Commons, Foreign Affairs Committee: Libya: Examination of intervention and collapse and the UK's future policy options. Third Report of Session 2016-17. London, September 2016. See also Deutschlands Kriegsbilanz (III).

[5] Oliver Imhof: Ten years after the Libyan revolution, victims wait for justice. 18.03.2021.

[6] Zitiert nach: Heinz Loquai: Krieg - ein wahnsinniges Verbrechen. In: Forum FriedensEthik in der Evangelischen Landeskirche in Baden. Rundbrief 2/2010. April 2010. S. 4-11. See also Dammbrüche.

[7] Aleksa Djilas: Bombing to Bring Peace.

[8] Disinfo: About two thousand civilians were killed in NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.

[9] Hans Monath: „Niemand darf Krieg führen und straflos bleiben”. 16.01.2023.

[10] See also Die Bomben von Kunduz.

[11] See also The Era of Impunity.

[12] See also Der Club der Kriegsverbrecher.

[13] Christopher Knaus: David McBride will face prosecution after blowing whistle on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan. 27.10.2022.