IRAQIS REJECT US PUPPETS
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
IMPERIALIST TROOPS have now entered every major city in Iraq encountering little open resistance. But no one knows where Saddam Hussein is and none of his chief ministers or army commanders have been seen either.
In Baghdad the Americans are trying to restore the city police to provide some semblance of order, at least in daylight. But this has done little to deter the looters who’ve robbed and torched all the major buildings and museums in the Iraqi capital apart from the Shia Muslim quarter, which has put its own armed militia on the streets. And a senior Shia Muslim religious leader, well-known for his pro-imperialist views, was cut down by an angry mob as he left a mosque in the holy city of Najaf.
Organised guerrilla resistance to the Anglo-American expeditionary force continued in most of Iraq’s towns and cities tying down the occupation forces and hindering their efforts to set up a puppet regime under the governorship of US General Jay Garner.
Their first attempt, a hastily organised conference in a huge tent outside Nassiriyah, was boycotted by the major Shia movements. Outside tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied against the Anglo-American occupation chanting “No to Saddam! No to America!”.
Ahmed Chalabi, the leader of the American-funded Iraqi National Congress, was widely tipped to head the puppet regime despite the fact that he was sentenced, in his absence, to 22 years hard labour for bank fraud in Jordan following the collapse of his Petra Bank. This was another occasion he didn’t turn up to, though a minion was sent to represent his interests.
The Western-educated Iraqi businessman who left the country when he was 11, probably got cold feet following the assassination of Abdel Majid al-Khoei last week in Najaf.
Al Khoei had spent the last 12 years in London working with the pro-imperialist Iraqi exiles. Though he was highly regarded by some Shia exiles in Britain and the United States he was regarded with suspicion in Shia Iran and, as it soon become clear, by many from his own community in Iraq. On a recent trip to Iran angry Shias jeered him telling him to “Go back to America”.
He was killed barely two weeks after returning to Iraq. Tony Blair said he was “saddened and appalled” by the news and the assassination was “strongly condemned” by the White House.
And in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul American troops opened fire on a crowd who had turned up to demonstrate their opposition to their new American - appointed city governor.
At least 12 people were shot dead and more than 100 wounded on Monday when US troops turned their guns on demonstrators jeering their new governor, Mashaan al Juburi, who was addressing a meeting outside the governor’s house.
When Al Juburi called on the people to co-operate with the Americans the crowd called him a liar and started to stone him. His car was overturned. American troops escorted him to safety before opening fire with deadly effect.
A US military spokesman later claimed that the troops had only fired after coming under sniper attack.
With the battle for Baghdad barely over the struggle for the freedom and independence of Iraq has begun.
The thieves of Baghdad
IMPERIALIST TROOPS are now in complete control of Iraq’s oil fields. In Baghdad public buildings and museums are being ransacked under the eyes of American troops. One pro-imperialist religious leader has been killed within days of returning from exile in the West.
The Shia Muslim leaders are refusing to work with the puppet assembly organised by the Americans and armed resistance to the occupation continues in the capital and the rest of the country.
But while looters roam the streets unhindered by the occupation armies the corporate looting of Iraq is being planned in London and Washington.
Blair, well aware that the Americans could easily marginalise British companies now the dirty work’s been done, is trying to revive his European ties to ensure British imperialism keeps some of the spoils of war. Blair and Straw now talk about a new role for the United Nations and Europe in the reconstruction of Iraq offering France and Germany a share of the plunder if they back British imperialism.
Whether they will is a different matter.
The European troika
Last weekend Russia, France and Germany held a summit in St Petersburg to plan their next moves over the crisis. Grandly dubbed the “anti-war alliance” by some Russian commentators and referred to in France as a new “Triple Entente”, the three major powers of Europe re-affirmed their original opposition to the Anglo-American invasion and stressed the need for the United Nations to now oversee the establishment of an elected government in Iraq.
Any move that blocks the establishment of an Anglo-American puppet regime in Iraq is welcome. But not if it substitutes one protectorate with another, albeit controlled by a consortium of Great Powers under the flag of the United Nations.
The central issue is the right of the Iraqi people to independence,
to choose their own government and social system and control their own
resources. They certainly will not be able to do this under imperialist
occupation. The Iraqis could easily establish a new independent government
within weeks if freely allowed to do so. That, however, is not on George
W Bush’s agenda.
Bush and the most aggressive circles within the American ruling class want to carve-up the Middle East as part of their plan to rule the world. Iraq is just the first step. All its oil is going to be handed over to the big oil corporations. All it’s territory will be used as a strategic base to threaten the other countries in the region which stand in imperialism’s way.
They call it “globalisation” or the “new world order”. They call their colonial wars “the fight against terrorism”. What it means is simply world domination. The next target is Syria. Iran and Democratic Korea could soon follow.
In the old days the ruling class justified their colonial wars by using the racist and imperialist theories of the “white man’s burden”, “the master race” or “manifest destiny”. The horrors of the two world wars of the last century killed most of that reactionary nonsense. So now they fly the false flag of “democracy” and “liberation” to justify their crimes.
We’ve seen their “liberation” in practice in Iraq; worthless puppets and crooks imported into the country to act as stooges; civilians bullied and gunned down by trigger-happy US Marines while their cities burn.
Over the past few months an anti-war movement of unprecedented scale has swept the world, not least in the United States and Britain. The peace struggle in Britain must be stepped up to bring all the British troops home and end the occupation of Iraq.
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