The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 21st May 2004
The wall must go! Demonstrators last Saturday
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IRAQ: US STRATEGY SHATTERED
by our Arab Affairs correspondent
THE IRAQI resistance hammered the Americans on Monday, striking
down the head of the puppet “interim council” in the heart of Baghdad while
fierce fighting continues in the besieged cities of Najaf, Karbala and Kut.
And as more revelations of sadism and atrocity at the US Abu Ghraib concentration
camp come out, Anglo-American imperialism is scrabbling around to find more
troops to boost the occupation that now has its back to the wall.
Abdel Zahra Osman, also known as Izzedin Salim, was the head of the
quisling “interim governing council” when he was killed together with his
deputy and six other Arab traitors on Monday when a car laden with explosives
rammed them as they were queuing to enter the American central headquarters
Salim and his entourage were on their way to a meeting of the puppet council
when they were struck down by the resistance. Fifteen others were injured
by the blast including two American soldiers. The driver, a member of the
Arab Resistance Movement, sacrificed himself in the attack.
Izzedin Salim was the leader of the “Islamic Dawah Party” a sectarian
Shia movement long opposed to the Baath whose militia regularly fight alongside
the US occupation army. Salim was a willing tool of imperialism appointed
to sit on the quisling council whose members take in turn to pretend to govern
Iraq. Salim’s turn came up in more than one sense this month.
On Wednesday a US army guard was court-martialed and sentenced to a year’s
imprisonment for abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib. He admitted taking some
of the images of prisoner abuse that have shocked the world in recent days.
But others facing court-martial are pleading not guilty claiming they were
only following orders of senior US intelligence officers.
US intelligence officers instructed military police at Abu Ghraib on pre-interrogation
techniques that were in violation of the Geneva Convention, according to
the New York Times on Tuesday. The paper says the information came from a
classified, 6,000-page report by General Antonio Taguba on the Iraqi prisoner
abuse scandal. Meanwhile the US Senate Armed Services Committee has summoned
three senior commanders to testify about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.
General John Abizaid, head of US operations in the Middle East, General Ricardo
Sanchez, ground commander in Iraq and Major-General Geoffrey Miller, head
of detention operations in Iraq all have to answer questions on the scandal
that is rocking Washington.
The vultures who hoped to plunder Iraq under the cover of Bush and Blair’s
guns are also having second thoughts following the wave of kidnappings and
attacks on foreign contractors. Most of the countries that opposed the invasion,
like Russia, France and Germany, have advised their nationals to leave.
American corporations like Bechtel and Halliburton are hanging on. But Bechtel
employs two security guards for every one of its western staff in Baghdad
and 34 Halliburton employees have been killed so far in Iraq.
The Americans have now been forced to transfer troops from south Korea to
bolster their crumbling hold on Iraq and Blair has dutifully obeyed the call
Four thousand troops will be sent from their garrisons in south Korea to
Iraq and Britain is planning to send 3,000 re-enforcement’s to take the place
of the countries that have followed Spain’s example by pulling their token
At the UN Anglo-American imperialism is still trying to wring a face-saving
mandate from an increasingly sceptical and hostile Security Council. The
US “transfer of power” still set for June has been exposed as a farce and
Russia and France are taking the lead in opposing any UN move that could
sanctify the invasion and occupation they opposed from the start.
Western media pundits now say that Iraq spells “quagmire” for imperialism
but for the Arabs it now clearly reads Victory.
The Way Out in Iraq
THE BLAIR GOVERNMENT has spent as much on the war in Iraq over
the past 18 months, some £10 billion, as on pensioners over the past
seven years, the National Pensioners Convention was told in Blackpool this
week. That’s another grim statistic to add to the list that includes the
numbers of Iraqis slaughtered by Anglo-American imperialism’s forces or the
number of torture victims languishing in the American’s Abu Ghraib concentration
camp in Baghdad.
Nothing should surprise us now. Or as Michael Moore, the American satirist
and film producer put it: “Immoral behaviour begets immoral behaviour. If
you create the immorality don’t be surprised then if immoral behaviour takes
Moore was doubtless thinking of the appalling images of sadistic violence
and sexual abuse coming out of the Abu Ghraib prison – scenes that stunned
US senators who voiced their “shock” and “disgust” at the gruesome
acts committed by American guards against Iraqi prisoners.
A number of US soldiers have indeed been arrested and they will no doubt
be made to account for their actions in an American court. Their lawyers
will plead that they were obeying orders. While that doesn’t excuse personal
responsibility, their claim that they were acting on the authority of US
intelligence agencies, if proven, points the finger straight at Bush and
his defence minister, Donald Rumsfeld.
The fact that the Daily Mirror has backed down over the photos of alleged
British army brutality they published doesn’t let Blair off the hook either.
Iraqis in the British zone of occupation have made many claims of brutality
and unlawful killing against the Army of which only a small number are likely
ever to be heard in a British court, if at all.
Karl Marx famously said that “no nation which oppresses another can itself
be free”. Marx had Ireland and the British workers in mind when he wrote
this in the 19th century. It’s still true today in the occupied north of
Ireland as much as in occupied Iraq.
Make no mistake about this – British workers are paying a heavy price for
the criminal ambitions of the Bush and Blair clique. Pensioners are forced
to eke out a miserable existence to enable the Army to do America’s dirty
work in southern Iraq. Working people are condemned to long hours on pittance
pay while social welfare is being slashed to keep the British war machine
and its arsenal of nuclear weapons going.
Of course the greatest victims are the Iraqis themselves, under an Anglo-American
occupation they neither asked for nor wanted. But they have taken destiny
into their own hands, taking up the gun to fight for their freedom.
Today the media pundits on both sides of the Atlantic are talking about the
search for an “exit strategy” as if it was as elusive as the Holy Grail.
Well, there’s no mystery here. The Iraqi resistance is pointing the way –
it’s out the door, same way they came in.
And at home the quickest way to end the war is to boot Blair out and replace
him with a Labour leader who will heed the workers and pensioners and not
the megalomaniac dreams of world domination of George W Bush and his cohorts.
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