The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 22nd August 2003

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The UN headquarters in Baghdad

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

DEVASTATING RESISTANCE attacks in Baghdad and Jerusalem shattered imperialist dreams of dominating the Arab world this week. Last Tuesday a truck packed with explosives rammed the UN headquarters in Baghdad. The same day another bomb blew up a bus in Jerusalem.

At least 18 people were killed, including the United Nations special representative for Iraq, Sergio Vierra de Mello, in the attack on the UN compound in the occupied Iraqi capital. Over 100 others were injured.

Iraqi resistance forces launched a new offensive against the American-led occupation army last week. Oil pipelines have been blown up, utilities sabotaged and American patrols and convoys ambushed throughout central and southern Iraq.

Israel to blame

 No one has claimed responsibility for the Baghdad bombing. But the Jerusalem attack was carried out by a member of the Islamic resistance in revenge for the killing of several of their leaders. Twenty Israelis were killed and over a hundred injured in the attack carried out by a suicide bomber.

“Israel started the bloodshed. The Israeli army assassinated our activists in Jenin and Hebron and it is carrying out daily attacks against our people,” a spokesman for Islamic Jehad declared. And this was echoed by a senior member of Hamas, the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood. “This is a reaction to Israeli atrocities against our people. They should understand that their blood is not more precious than our blood”.

 “Everyone had expected a revenge attack by Islamic Jehad following Israel’s killing of senior Jehad operative Mohammed Sidr last week. Violence begets violence as history and daily life remind us,” the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

According to the Jerusalem-based human rights organisation Israel has violated the current cease-fire 146 times since it came into force on 29 June.

General Sharon, the leader of Israel’s hard-line Zionist coalition government, has called off planned talks with the Palestinian Authority and he is threatening to take reprisals of his own unless the Authority cracks down on the Islamic movements.

Palestinian premier Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the bombing and he has ordered the arrest of Hamas and Islamic Jehad leaders. But this can only undermine what little credibility he has left with the Palestinian Arabs.

Though few would blame him for getting next to nothing out of the “road map” talks with Sharon many feel that his tactics are playing into the hands of an Israeli leadership which has no intention of giving the Palestinians even a fraction of what justice demands.

Independence for Iraq

Anglo-American imperialism had hoped to buy off Arab acceptance of their occupation of Iraq with some sort of settlement of the Palestinian issue based on the “road-map” proposals. But the “road-map”, which offered the Palestinians very little and gave the Zionists most of what they want, is unravelling before it has even started and the occupation of Iraq is turning into a bloody shambles for the Americans.

The worthless Iraqi “interim council”, comprised largely of hand-picked Iraqi émigrés with a long track-record of service to imperialism, has no standing with the Iraqi masses or the Arab world. It does the bidding of the American governor, Paul Bremer, who himself is now only a cover for the American military administration. And that administration’s authority stretches little beyond the US army barracks and their army’s roving patrols.

The death of the UN representative has led to a flurry of activity on the UN Security Council and renewed demands by some European powers for an independent UN “peace-keeping” force to protect its own mission and eventually replace the US-led army of occupation.

Washington is expected to resist this. It would mean sharing the spoils with Western European imperialism.

It could possibly lead to UN-sponsored elections in Iraq. And there’s no doubt that any free election would return an Iraqi leadership which would have no interest, or indeed any economic need given the country’s immense oil reserves, to serve American imperialism.

The Blair government has played a shameful role in backing US imperialism to the hilt in its crazed determination to recolonise the Arab world and control the global oil market.

British troops, who do the Americans’ dirty work in southern Iraq, are little more than US auxiliaries in danger of being sucked into the increasing quagmire of Iraq.

All British troops must be withdrawn from Iraq. The fundamental demand of the Iraqi and Palestinian people for self-determination and independence must be raised throughout the labour and peace movement. We must accept nothing less.


Bombs in Baghdad

ANY DOUBTS that Anglo-American imperialism is facing a full-scale guerrilla war in Iraq were dispelled this week with the wave of deadly attacks and sabotage, culminating in the devastating bombing of the UN headquarters in the heart of Baghdad on Tuesday.

Only the mouthpieces of the war party in America and Britain would doubt the fact that the occupiers are hated by the mass of the Iraqi people. Only the most craven apologists of imperialism would believe that the puppet Iraqi “interim council” has a shred of credibility with the Iraqi people. And only the most venal bourgeois pundits can continue to argue against the obvious fact that the only way to end the violence is to end the occupation of Iraq and end it now.

Bombs in Jerusalem

Wherever there is oppression there is always resistance and the Palestinian Islamic resistance bombing in Jerusalem this week proved the point.

Peace in the Middle East can only come when the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people are recognised. For over fifty years the Palestinian Arabs have been denied their basic rights – the right of the refugees to return to Palestine and the right to independence.

Imperialist and Zionist attempts to impose a surrender peace on the Palestinian Arabs will never succeed. Until the Palestinian Arabs get justice, there will never be peace in the region.

War in Afghanistan

Meanwhile in Afghanistan, resistance to imperialism is growing. During the past week over 90 people have been killed in clashes between the Taliban fighters and the Karzai government across the south of the country.

The authority of the American-installed president, Hamid Karzai, barely extends beyond the capital, Kabul. And that only due to the presence of American and Nato troops.

Afghanistan was George W Bush’s first target in the wake of the suicide attacks on New York and Washington. Bush’s declared aim was to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaida leader believed to have masterminded the 11 September attacks, and remove Mullah Omar’s Taliban regime which had given him protection. The American warlord also talked about  “nation-building” in Afghanistan along with the usual platitudes about “human rights” and “reconstruction” used to justify imperialist aggression these days.

Well, Mullah Omar and Bin Laden are still alive. There’s no “reconstruction” and the only real growth has been in the cultivation of opium for the Western drug market following the collapse of the Taliban regime.

Afghanistan is dominated by tribal leaders and  warlords. Those in the north and the west of the country have the support to a varying degree of the big powers in the region - Iran, Russia and India. None of them, however, have sent troops into the country.

All these powers have vested reasons for seeking Afghan allies - to secure their borders, constrain the drugs trade and, in India’s case, create a pivot against Pakistan, which helped create the Taliban militias in the first place.

US imperialism  blames the instability and weakness of the Karzai regime on outside interference – particularly focusing on Iran – just as they used to attack the old Soviet Union for intervening to back the revolutionary Afghan government that the Americans worked to destroy with the help of the same tribal leaders that they are now at odds with.

The biggest outside interference in Afghan affairs comes from the United States and the thousands of US and Nato troops there to act out Bush’s fantasy of “regime change” as part of his “new world order”.

The Afghan people, who won their full independence from British imperialism in 1919, enjoyed periods of peace and stability when they were free to choose their own leaders and their own form of government. No colonial power has ever managed to conquer and subdue the mountain peoples of Afghanistan.

 British imperialism was taught that lesson after several ferocious Afghan wars. Now that lesson is being repeated for the benefit of the Americans. 

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