BLOOD AND OIL
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
AMERICAN TANKS are in the heart of Baghdad and organised resistance in the Iraqi capital has all but ended. The Iraqi leadership and their military commanders have vanished amid reports of ongoing secret negotiations with the Americans for a cease-fire in exchange for asylum abroad. Tony Blair held a summit with George Bush in Belfast to discuss the carve-up of Iraq and the three major European powers opposed to the Anglo-American aggression are holding a summit of their own in St Petersburg this weekend.
American forces entered the heart of Baghdad virtually unopposed on Tuesday morning, taking control of the main highways and government buildings.
Anti-Baathist elements and members of the Shia Muslim community long opposed to Saddam Hussein took to the streets to celebrate together with looters who descended on empty offices and stores when it became clear that the police had vanished as well.
Imperialist forces are continuing their advance into northern Iraq where the cities of Mosul, Kirkuk and Saddam Hussein’s home town of Tikrit remain under Iraqi army control. The apparent overnight flight of the leadership remains a mystery. But reports from Moscow suggest that it was part of a deal struck with the Americans via CIA elements based in Baghdad working as a secret negotiating link with the Iraqi government and the USA throughout the conflict.
And other Russian reports suggest that the American attack on the Russian diplomats leaving the Iraqi capital by road last week was an attempt to stop the Kremlin keeping Iraqi intelligence archives given to them at the last moment in Baghdad. The Americans had earlier accused the Russian embassy of providing technical assistance to the Iraqi defenders in Baghdad.
Though the Russian convoy’s route had been agreed with the Iraqi and American forces it was fired on by US troops wounding four diplomats including the Russian ambassador to Iraq. After protests the convoy was allowed to proceed safely to Syrian territory.
Condoleezza Rice, one of Bush’s top aides flew to Moscow later to call on Russian President Vladimir Putin to end its opposition to the Anglo-American aggression and start collaborating – what she calls taking a “constructive stance” – with imperialist plans for the future of Iraq and its vast oil fields.
But the Russians, along with the French and Germans, know and have already been told that Washington plans to give them nothing when the corporate looting begins. The three big European powers are insisting that the only authority which can supervise the restoration of government in Iraq is the United Nations. People’s China is also pressing for the UN road while the Arab League – impotent though it is – warns that a US puppet regime in Iraq will not be recognised by the other Arab states.
The American plan – backed dutifully by Blair who thinks that British imperialism will get some crumbs in return for his loyal service – is to rule Iraq as a virtual protectorate for as long as it takes to return the Iraqi oil industry to the big oil corporations whose assets were nationalised back in the 70s.
How they’re going to do it remains to be seen. Organised resistance by Baath loyalists continues in the north and the party has a history of going underground when defeated in the past. New resistance could easily erupt amongst the Kurdish and Shia communities. Their leaders expect a share of the profits from the oil fields that lie in their territories not to mention a lion’s share in the new government of Iraq. They are likely to be disappointed on both counts.
The Arabs have suffered defeats in the past at the hands of imperialism and Zionism but they have never given up the fight for freedom and unity. That will becoming increasingly clear in the grim days to come.
An Empire of Blood
IMPERIALIST TROOPS are pouring into Baghdad. Basra has fallen. Bush and Blair have met in Belfast to carve up Iraq and soon we will be told that "victory" is at hand. A victory based on the bodies of the thousands of Iraqi civilians killed or wounded largely at the hands of the US air force. A triumph based on lies and provocations.
An Empire of Lies
In the beginning Bush and Blair told us that this war was over the weapons of mass destruction Iraq allegedly still possessed. It wasn't the view of the UN weapons inspectors. It was opposed by the majority of the members of the United Nations. It was opposed by the other Great Powers including People's China, France, Germany and Russia. And it has been exposed as a crude lie by recent events. The Iraqis haven't used poison gas or any other banned weapons, nor have any stores been found by the Anglo-American expeditionary force.
The warmongers then claimed the invasion was for the benefit of the Iraqi Kurdish minority. But the imperialists, who only seek to use them as auxiliaries in their campaign to take-over the whole of Iraq, have categorically ruled out their hopes for full autonomy or independence.
We are now told that the war is about bringing "democracy" to the Iraqi people. But this is the last thing on the imperialists minds at the moment. There's no plan for elections; no intention to seek a mandate from the United Nations. The imperialists haven't even found any credible stooges to set up a puppet government.
A War for Oil
What is planned is a prolonged period of direct imperialist rule under an American governor. Very detailed plans to carve up the Iraqi oil fields and its nationalised oil industry have been prepared. The immense task of reconstruction needed to get Iraqi oil pumping again for the benefit of imperialism has already been earmarked for chosen American corporations. Any side benefits for the Iraqi people in the form of education, transport and health will all be paid for by the Iraqi people themselves - out of what is left of the oil profits once the big oil corporations have taken a juicy cut.
By establishing direct control of the Iraqi oil-fields, Anglo-American imperialism hopes to control the price and production of the global oil industry. This was what the war was about and this is why France, Germany and Russia are so concerned. They're planning their next moves this weekend in St Petersburg.
The Struggle for Peace
The Blair leadership has aligned itself with the most reactionary and venal sections of the British ruling class - those who profit from British imperialism's neo- colonial exploitation, those who know it can only be propped up by the guns of the American war-machine. This war party, which includes most but not all of the Tory leaders, has the backing of the North American owned press. But it doesn't represent the views of that section of the ruling class which wants closer integration with the European Union. It doesn't represent the views of the mass of the Labour Party nor the mass of the working class.
Moves to challenge Blair's leadership are afoot inside the Labour Party while his own followers have countered with a hate-campaign against some of the premier's most outspoken critics within the parliamentary party like George Galloway.
The issue is clear. This is an illegal and unjust war. British troops should never have been sent to Iraq in the first place. They must be brought home immediately. The Iraqi people's legitimate rights to independence and the control of their resources must be upheld. Their resistance must be supported.
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