The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 18th December 2003

Beware of George Bush bearing gifts!

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by our Arab Affairs correspondent

IRAQI RESISTANCE attacks on the American occupation army and its auxiliary forces continue, while anti-American demonstrators defy the troops and puppet police on the streets in the days following the arrest of ousted president Saddam Hussein.

The American governor, Paul Bremer, gloated over the images of their number one captive while his master Bush verbally condemned Saddam to death before the show trial has even been prepared.

Baghdad has been rocked by car-bombs; a US patrol was ambushed in Samarra; a US army supply train halted and robbed; the northern oil pipeline was again sabotaged; and the office of the puppet mayor of Fallujah was stormed forcing the “mayor” and his police to flee until the Americans arrived.

Tanks were sent into Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit on Tuesday to end days of rioting against the occupation, in what the imperialists call the “Sunni Triangle” – the central Iraqi region that had been a stronghold for Saddam Hussein’s Baath (Renaissance) Party for decades. Some demonstrators showed their Baathist loyalty by waving posters of their former leader.

closed ranks

Others clearly came from other Iraqi movements that have closed ranks with them in the new independence struggle to overcome years of past hostility.

Saddam was taken in an underground bolt-hole in a village near Tikrit last Saturday. Though he was armed and had some $750,000, there was no radio nor did he possess a mobile or satellite phone, dispelling the American myth that Saddam was leading the resistance.

The video of the medical inspection of a bearded old man, who once shaved had the appearance of the former president of Iraq, fired rumours in Baghdad that the Americans had got the wrong man or that the whole thing had been staged for propaganda purposes. But on Tuesday a statement released in the name of the now underground Iraqi Baath confirmed that Saddam Hussein had been arrested - probably betrayed by an informer looking for the immense dollar bounty on his head.

Though the Americans initially claimed that Saddam was “co-operating” under questioning, this was rapidly withdrawn and he reportedly has denied possessing any banned weapons of mass destruction. That didn’t stop Tony Blair from issuing a statement to British troops claiming that the Anglo-American “survey group” had recently found “massive evidence” of a “huge” system of secret laboratories in Iraq. But when challenged about this “new” evidence Downing Street admitted that the Pime Minister’s remarks related to a report published by the Iraq Survey Group earlier in the year and not to any new discoveries.

The American governor, Paul Bremer, made a vague appeal for reconciliation at the Saddam arrest media conference in Baghdad that was echoed by Blair in an appeal broadcast on the BBC’s Arabic service. Blair claimed that he wanted a new Iraq to be “truly representative of all the people” adding that “it is even true that there are people…who were in the Baath Party under Saddam, who were there, not because they wanted to be, but because they had to be, and we should be reaching out to some them also”.

kangaroo court

Few if any took their words seriously. President Bush has made it clear that he wants Saddam dead even though no one has agreed on who’s to try him. Bush favours a kangaroo court organised by his quislings and the northern Kurdish warlords who hate Saddam. “Let’s just see what penalty he gets, but I think he ought to receive the ultimate penalty,” Bush declared on Tuesday.

Well we shall see. What is certain is that the capture of the ousted Iraqi leader has done nothing to halt the attacks on the imperialist forces, and they will fight on until the last invaders leave and Iraq regains its freedom. 


Bush’s ship of fools

THE CAESARS left their triumphs for last. After a tribe had been utterly crushed and enslaved, their leader would be paraded in chains to demonstrate the futility of defying the legions of the Emperor and to amuse the Roman mob. Now it seems today’s modern imperialists do things differently and their gloating display of prisoners is served up as a substitute for the victory that eludes them.

All the Americans have got to show for their invasion of Afghanistan is their concentration camp in Guantanamo Bay. Now Saddam Hussein is paraded on television as a broken old man to display the might of imperialism and boost the flagging morale of Iraq’s army of occupation.

But where is the “victory”? Not in Afghanistan where the Taliban are turning their guns on the one-time American allies who ultimately betrayed them. Nor in Iraq where the resistance continues with or without Saddam Hussein.

Saddam didn’t lead the Iraqi resistance. The circumstances in which he was captured showed that he was a man on the run bereft of any means of communicating with, let alone directing, the scores of attacks on the American occupiers that take place each day. But he was a symbol for his own Baath [Renaissance] Party and his supporters braved the wrath of the American troops to take to the streets to shout out Saddam’s name when the news of his arrest broke.

Far from being demoralised, as some bourgeois pundits predicted, the resistance has stepped up its actions in a rolling offensive that began last month. That’s because they’re not fighting for one man or one party. They’re fighting to free Iraq from Anglo-American occupation.

Freedom-fighters have always been branded as “terrorists” by imperialism. That’s what British imperialism called the IRA and the Nazis called the partisans in the Second World War.

In the topsy-turvy world of bourgeois logic it’s “terrorist” to fight back with car-bombs and ambushes but “modern warfare” to carpet-bomb or use depleted-uranium shells and chemical weapons like Agent Orange. Guerrillas are painted as savage fanatics while the soldiers of imperialism are portrayed as new centurions defending what Blair and Bush call the “civilised world” with mass arrests, curfews, collective punishments and torture.

National liberation through people’s war is based on two simple principles. The first, as the poet Shelley said, is “we are many, they are few”. The second is that wherever there is oppression there is always resistance.

The partisans in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, France and throughout Nazi-occupied Europe proved these points in the Second World War. The Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese people taught the Japanese imperialists the same lesson. Over a million Algerians died in the struggle to free themselves from French colonialism. But they won. And in Ireland, Cyprus, Kenya and Aden British imperialism was driven out despite all its guns, tanks and planes.

Sooner or later the Iraqi people will drive out the imperialists and reclaim their independence and control over their natural resources. That, there can be no doubt.

The Roman slave-owners empire lasted for over four hundred years. Adolf Hitler’s “Thousand Year” Reich barely made 13. Bush’s “new world order” will be lucky to outlast his presidency. 

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