The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 13th August 2004




Iraq - the fight goes on!

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Iraq Erupts!!

By our Arab Affairs Correspondent

Iraqi partisans are fighting the US-led occupation army across the length and breadth of the country following the imperialist offensive against the Shia Mahdi Army that began last week with an attempt to retake the Shia holy city of Najaf. American troops backed by tanks, helicopter gunships and warplanes are pounding resistance centres in Najaf, Fallujah and the other towns liberated in June. In  Baghdad US tanks are trying to enter Sadr City, a barricaded slum quarter under the control of the resistance. Guerrillas have stepped up their daily rocket and mortar attacks on the US HQ in the “Green Zone” compound and in the British occupied south the Shia resistance has opened up a new front following the arrest of four of their local leaders.

Stooge premier Alawi reintroduced the death penalty last week while offering a token amnesty for minor offences and closed the Arab al Jazeera TV station’s office in Baghdad for a month claiming its on the spot reports of the Iraqi revolt were inciting violence.

But the puppet government is in clear disarray with the Shia element fearful that the backlash from their own community will sweep them all aside while others know their survival depends entirely on US guns.

 “Vice president” Ibrahim al Jafari broke ranks to denounce the American assault on Najaf as an “uncivilised” way to rebuild Iraq stating that he could find no justification for the deaths of Iraqi civilians. And while all this is going on the puppet council has issued warrants against two leaders of the Chalabi clan – once the most favoured Iraqi traitors in Washington.

The Chalabis are Shias and Ahmad Chalabi fell out of favour in Washington after he was accused of working for Iranian intelligence – a charge he denies.

 Ahmad Chalabi has been charged with counterfeiting and the offices of his “Iraqi National Congress” have been closed. His nephew Salem, who headed the kangaroo court set up by the Americans to condemn Saddam Hussein, faces a murder rap. Salem Chalabi was in London when he heard the news and he is wisely refusing to return home.

The Americans have called on all civilians in Najaf to flee before the city is stormed by the Marines that have encircled the city for months.

But rebel Shia leader Muqtada al Sadr has vowed to fight to the death in defence of the city and he has called on all Iraqis, Shia and Sunni alike, to rally in its defence. In a sermon read out on his behalf in the al Kufah mosque al Sadr blamed the United States for all the violence in Iraq. The puppet “interim government” called America “our partner”, al Sadr said. “I say America is our enemy and the enemy of the people and we will not accept its partnership” he declared.

The call was taken up on Wednesday  by Iran’s Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who said that the crimes going on in Najaf send shivers to the hearts of all Muslims.

    “In the name of liberal democracy, one of the worst crimes against humanity is taking place in Iraq, especially in the holy city of Najaf. The US has embarked on bloodshed in one of the holiest cities of the Muslims. The Iraqi people will not leave such an atrocity unanswered,” he declared.

    The resistance is fighting with rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, heavy machine-guns and automatic weapons against a heavily armoured foe. So far the imperialists have been held at bay.

The Mahdi Army militia is fighting with considerable shrewdness and flexibility, drawing the Americans into various areas and then exhausting them in battle. When the US troops believe they have to a degree gained the upper hand in one location the patriots open up another front elsewhere.

When night falls the Americans come out to fight but in daylight nowhere is safe for them. Convoys are attacked and hostages taken. Puppet police stations are overrun and ransacked. Over 80 hostages are currently being held by guerrilla units – some foreign “contractors”, others local quislings. Last Friday the bodies of 11 US troops, including a captain, were found with their throats cut in the town of Al Qaim, near the Syrian border.

American claims to have killed over 400 Mahdi Army fighters and taken a thousand more prisoner have been dismissed with derision in Al Sadr’s HQ. They report the loss of 36 militiamen last week though, doubtless, the US figures include all the innocent civilians they’ve slaughtered with their indiscriminate bombing of residential areas.

The Mahdi Army has sent a delegation to the resistance controlled and mainly Sunni city of Fallujah which has now set up anti-aircraft defences that downed two US drones (robot spy planes) last week. Increased co-operation between the fighting Iraqis of all communities can only strengthen the hand of resistance.

The constant attacks on the oil pipelines have sent the world price soaring reaching $45.04 for US light crude before falling to $44.61 on Wednesday, still up 11 cents on last week. Washington is pushing the Saudis to step up their own oil production to halt the rise that will have severe knock on effects on the economies of all the imperialist countries in the very near future.

US presidential hopeful John Kerry says that he will withdraw a “significant amount” of US troops by August 2005 if he beats Bush in August. Kerry said this week that George W Bush had “rushed to war without a plan to win the peace”, pushing aside US allies and eroding America’s credibility in the world. He’s clearly going to have pulled them all out if he wants to end America’s isolation in the world. That goes for Blair as well.
 

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Editorial

Keep out of Darfur

Millions of workers on summer holidays, spending their hard-earned savings for a break from the monotonous grind will doubtless take comfort at the fact that Tony Blair is also putting his feet up, lording it in style at Cliff Richard’s Barbados villa and then popping in for a short stay at reactionary Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s mansion in Sardinia.

Blair can relaxed content at the fact that he’s got his mate Peter Mandelson a cushy job in Brussels without too much flack, and indifferent to the prospect of the loss of another Labour seat to the Liberal Democrats when the by-election takes place.

Not that the future of Labour Party troubles Blair much these days. He’s got other things on his mind at the moment. Even as the occupation of Iraq collapses under the telling blows of the heroic Iraqi resistance Blair is talking about another neo-colonial adventure. The greedy eyes of Anglo-American imperialism are focusing on the Sudan to prepare the way for an armed intervention in the province of Darfur.

The war party in Britain is drumming up the usual atrocity stories that preceded previous attacks on Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, spiced up with anti-Arab hysteria that exploits the fact that few people in Britain have any idea of what’s happening in Darfur.

No one denies there’s a conflict in Darfur, not even the Sudanese government that has made some efforts to end the fighting between the Janjaweed militia and other para-military groups.  Hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee the fighting, described as “ethnic cleansing” by the war-mongers and lurid statistics of massacres are being bandied around though the Sudanese authorities put the death toll at just 1,200 since the fighting began last year. Though the war lobby routinely describes the Janjaweed militia as “Arab” what is not explained is that they come from the same ethnic group as the people they are fighting. They are all black, Muslim Sudanese Arabs.

Imperialism, which readily sacrificed millions upon millions of lives during the past World Wars, is not worried about tribal conflicts or the plight of refugees. Anglo-American imperialism has routinely ignored the plight of the Palestinian Arabs for over 50 years while arming Israel to the teeth. They turned a blind eye to the slaughter in Rwanda in the 1990s and say little about the current turmoil in the Congo. But the tap of moral sanctity is turned on when imperialism thinks it can exploit a situation for economic gain and in Sudan it means oil.

At the moment China is helping Sudan develop its embryonic oil exploration in Darfur and the south of the country. The big oil corporations of imperialism want it all for themselves.

Regional institutions like the African Union and the Arab League are both capable of mediating to end the violence and their efforts must be supported. There has to be an African solution to African problems and any British imperialist meddling must be opposed. 

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