The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 23rd February 2007




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Lead 

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME!

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

BRITISH TROOPS
have begun their retreat from Iraq days before the big anti-war demonstration in London. Prime Minister Tony Blair announced on Wednesday that some 1,600 troops will be recalled in the next few months with another 500 to go by autumn amid rumours that all British troops will be gone by 2008.

Blair says nothing about this and claims that the withdrawal is due to the “success” in handing over power to puppet regime forces in Basra but few doubt that the move has been driven by the mounting casualties and the overall failure of Anglo-American imperialism to control the country they invaded four years ago.

But thousands of American reinforcements are pouring into Baghdad to take part in Bush’s “surge” offensive and “the coalition remains intact,’’ or so American foreign minister Condoleezza Rice said in Germany when the news broke. What she didn’t say is that all that remains of what imperialist propaganda called the “coalition of the willing” is a rag-bag of token forces drawn largely from the most venal American lackeys in Eastern Europe, along with slightly larger numbers from south Korea and Australia.  The south Korean parliament wants their troops out by the end of the year and the Australian troops spend most of their time guarding their own diplomats or training puppet regime units.

Last week the Americans ordered a pull-out of their own – but it wasn’t of their choice and it was far from voluntary. US occupation forces had to abandon one of their bases in Khalidiyah, some 90 km west of Baghdad, just two days after “securing” it, due to persistent resistance attacks.

rain of rockets

It had taken the Americans 40 days to build the base but as soon as their troops moved in they came under a rain of partisan rocket and mortar shells that made in untenable.

The American offensive in the western Al Anbar province has, once again, run out of steam with nothing to show for it and it is clear that the “surge” will focus almost entirely on Baghdad.

Puppet premier Nuri al-Maliki has been bragging about the “brilliant success” of the crackdown while calling on the Sunni Muslim community to end their support for the resistance and support the puppet administration he leads. But Al Maliki is the leader of one of the major sectarian Shia Muslim parties and his standing amongst the Sunnis, such as it was, has sunk to new lows following allegations of police gang-rape of a young Sunni woman.

The woman says she was raped by three members of the predominantly Shia puppet police after being wrongfully arrested for helping the resistance. The claim has been denied and the Sunni official in charge of religious charities who had called for an international inquiry into the alleged incident has been dismissed.

 In the heart of the Iraqi capital the partisans have launched a counter-offensive aimed at smashing the “New Baghdad Security Plan”. Guerrillas from five major resistance movements are fighting as one and battles are raging along the road to the airport and in the nationalist neighbourhoods of the city.

In a coordinated assault on an American combat outpost north of Baghdad, suicide commandos drove one or more cars laden with explosives into the compound just after dawn on Tuesday, while other guerrillas opened fire in the ensuing chaos.

laid siege

During the raid a gas storage container exploded, sending black smoke billowing into the sky as partisans laid siege to the US position in a former police station, firing on the Americans from multiple directions. As the gun battle raged, at least four American helicopters swept overhead to evacuate the wounded troops. Two American soldiers were killed and at least 17 were wounded.

Swarms of American helicopters are now in the air but they’re coming under increasing fire from the partisans. Another Apache helicopter gunship was shot down this week – the tenth US aircraft hit in four weeks.

And the other “war for oil” – the constant attack on the oil industry to halt the American plunder of Iraq’s oil riches – continues almost unnoticed by the imperialist media. Last month oil pipelines were sabotaged and breached near Kirkuk and an oil well was set on fire in the town of Dibs after the facility was overrun by partisans.

Twenty puppet troops were killed and more than 20 wounded when  a large force of the “Oil Protection Force” was ambushed in January and collaborators who work for the puppet oil companies go in daily fear of their lives.

This is not what Bush and Blair meant when they claimed that imperialist-run Iraq would be a “model” for the Middle East but it was entirely predictable. Wherever there is oppression there is always resistance… and so it will go on until the last imperialist soldier leaves the last inch of Iraqi land.

 *************
Editorial

Bring all the troops home!

MILLIONS OF PEOPLE all around the world are demanding an end to the war in Iraq. The tide is turning in America. Over half a million protestors marched on Washington in January to demand the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq.

 Hundreds of thousands are joining them this weekend in London to call for the pull-out of all British troops in Iraq. And across the five continents millions more are campaigning for the end of this cruel, unjust and illegal war that has brought death and destruction to hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

According to a new Lancet report published last year, the occupation by Anglo-American imperialism has led to the deaths of an estimated 655,000 Iraqis. More than 500 Iraqis die each day due to the violence of the occupation army; the sectarian strife inflamed by the US-led army of occupation and the worsening health and environmental conditions that have followed following the invasion in March 2003. One in three Iraqis lives in poverty. Some two million Iraqis have fled the country and another 1.7 million are internally displaced inside Iraq – about one in seven of the entire population.

In the streets of Baghdad and throughout the occupied Arab country the heroic Iraqi partisans have fought the American invaders to a standstill and resistance to imperialism is growing in the mountains of Afghanistan as well.

  Blair and Bush claimed they invaded Iraq to find “weapons of mass destruction”. There were none. They lied. Thousands of American troops have since died and many, many more wounded in US imperialism’s insane bid for world domination. Hundreds of British troops have also been killed or injured serving as sepoys to do America’s dirty work in southern Iraq and Afghanistan.

But Tony Blair sits in his ivory tower as if nothing has happened. “Of course I am devastated by the numbers of people who have died in Iraq, but it’s not British and American troops that are killing them,” he bleats oblivious to the fact that he is hated by so many for plunging Britain into the quagmire.

Now Blair wants to spend billions on new Trident nuclear missiles while continuing to give total support to the Bush administration which is now contemplating bombing Iran to halt Tehran’s development of its own nuclear industry.

At home Blair is leading the Labour Party to disaster. Hundreds of thousands have left the party he claims to lead. Few of those left are prepared to campaign for a leadership that slavishly follows the twists and turns of American imperialism; does nothing for the trade union movement while preparing to introduce draconian new controls including an identity card nobody wants and a green light to the secret police to snoop and spy on anybody they like – all this in the name of a bogus “anti-terrorist” campaign that has demonised and scapegoated the Muslim community in Britain.

The anti-war movement that began on the eve of the invasion of Iraq three years ago has forced Blair to quit mid-term – but he hasn’t gone yet. Mass protests have forced the Government to start pulling the troops out of Basra. But thousands still remain in southern Iraq.

 The sooner Blair goes the better for Labour and for the people and the campaign must redouble its efforts for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

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