The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 2nd June 2006

Anti-war protesters in Los Angeles

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all imperialist troops in Iraq are mounting following the revelations about the massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha and the increasing cost in military lives as the resistance grows across the country.

British and American casualties are climbing and with the deaths of two CBS TV crew members in a bomb attack in Baghdad, the number of journalists who have died in hostile incidents in Iraq has risen to 71 — the same number killed or presumed dead during the Vietnam War.

Partisans downed another US helicopter gunship in western Iraq last Saturday and launched attacks on imperialist and quisling forces across Baghdad and throughout occupied Iraq. And the puppet regime has called for “dialogue” with the resistance – a call that was contemptuously dismissed by the partisans.

Five major Iraqi resistance movements rejected an offer of talks from the new American puppet regime in Baghdad in a communiqué released this week. They repeated their stand which is not “not to recognise the legitimacy of any government under the shade of the occupation, whatever form it might take” and warned the Iraqi people “not to be taken in by the plans of the occupation to sell out or to depart from their true aim, which is liberation.”

The Americans are pouring reinforcements into Iraq’s western province of Al Anbar, calling in repeated air-strikes on the resistance stronghold of Ramadi, where the Marines are holed-up in the town hall in the centre of the city while British forces are now facing partisan attacks on a scale never seen before in the south.

A state of emergency has been proclaimed in Basra, the provincial capital in the heart of the British zone of occupied Iraq, now seething with anti-imperialist anger.

two killed

Two British soldiers were killed and two others wounded in a roadside bomb attack in Basra on Sunday, bringing to nine the number of British troops killed in action this month and pushing total British deaths since the war began three years ago to 113.

Resistance attacks on British occupation forces in southern Iraq rose from 36 in January to 103 in April, firing the desertion rate that now totals nearly a 1,000 since the Iraq war began in 2003.

Nearly 3,000 British soldiers have gone Awol every year since the start of the Iraq war, and nearly a 1,000 of them are still missing, according to Ministry of Defence figures.

Puppet premier Nouri Maliki toured Basra this week vowing to use an “iron fist” to end the violence but given that his authority barely stretches beyond the fortified US “Green Zone” compound in Baghdad there is little he can do, apart to appeal to the mainly Shia resistance movements in the south to end their harassment of the British garrison.British troops are penned in their camps most of the time while the Americans prefer to come out and fight at night with night-vision equipment that’s in short supply to the resistance.

It also helps their troops avoid the searing heat, more so now in the summer when temperatures soar to over 40C in daylight.

But the heat is the friend of the partisans born to the climate of the Two Rivers and knowing this is the best time to step up their own war for oil – the struggle to stop the imperialists plundering the vast oil reserves that they coveted when they invaded Iraq in 2003.

Four major attacks on pipelines in May and continuous raids on fuel tankers on the roads have also crippled electricity and water supplies, which rely on oil-fuelled generators, in Baghdad. Running water is only available for an hour a day, between 1 and 2 am and electricity is down to one hour in five in many parts of the capital.

There Iraq’s jailed leader, Saddam Hussein, continued to defy his accusers in the kangaroo court set up by the Americans to try him for the deaths of  Dujail villagers during his rule.

One defence witness has already been murdered while another claimed that many of the 148 civilians allegedly executed after an attempt to kill the Iraqi president failed in 1982 are, in fact, still alive.

The anonymous witness from the same village said the case against Saddam was built on bribes. “The prosecutor said they were executed but I am telling you I ate with them some time ago” he swore. “Many of them have become rich and occupy powerful positions,” he said, as he testified from behind a curtain, going on to write down names for the judge.

“If it is true and these people are still alive, this whole case should be reconsidered from the beginning,” one of the Saddam defence team argued.

First it was the “coalition of the willing” that soon became “unwilling” as many of the minnows dragooned into sending troops in support of the Anglo-American occupation bottled out. Now it’s dubbed the “coalition of the dwindling”. Italy and south Korea are pulling their troops out by the end of the year. Token forces from other countries like Japan are expected to follow. The sooner Britain follows the better.


The beast is on the back foot

WHEN BUSH AND BLAIR met last week at Georgetown University to make mutually supportive speeches, the world’s press did not portray them as great world statesmen so much as two pathetic lame ducks, trying to shore each other up. The New York Times described Blair as looking “dismayed and tongue-tied”.

 For the very first time, they admitted some mistakes over the illegal invasion of Iraq and Bush conceded his “tough talk” and “bring it on” challenge to the resistance had been a mistake. He said: “I’m afraid, in the end we were always going to have to be prepared for the fall of Saddam not to be the rise of democratic Iraq.”

 Bush also had a desperate message for Blair: “I want him to be here so long as I’m the president.”

 Blair used his speech to call for a reorganisation of the United Nations – no doubt voicing Bush’s hopes. He called for “values based on interventionism” in the name of democracy and human rights. “What we want is to make sure the UN is an effective instrument for multilateral action,” he said. In other words Bush and Blair want to use the UN in pre-emptive actions against any country in the world that dares to defy US imperialism.

 It is a pipe-dream and both of them know it. Most world leaders recognise that the UN is long overdue for reform but such pro-American changes would never be endorsed either by the General Assembly nor by the Security Council. People’s China, Russia and France would veto such changes and the nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America would never let it pass.

 Some wondered if Blair was making a bid to become the next UN secretary general after he quits as Prime Minister. It is more likely that Bush and Blair would like to use the issue to withdraw US and British support for the UN – but even in that ambition they know their time in office is now limited and their successors are not likely to do this.

 US imperialism is now weaker than it has been for a long time. Bush’s adventurism in Afghanistan and Iraq has US and British military strength tied down more firmly than Brer Rabbit was stuck to the Tar Baby. Bush is making threats to bomb Iran but he cannot threaten to invade without reintroducing conscription in America. In both Britain and the US army recruitment is tumbling while desertions are soaring. The cannon fodder is no longer willing. Bombing Iran will be terrible and cause death a suffering. But it would not defeat the Iranian people. It would make them more angry and more anti-American.

 US imperialism is also losing its power to blackmail other nations economically. It has blockaded Cuba for around 40 years, yet the socialist island survives. Now the Chavez government in Venezuela is willing to sell oil to countries that defy the US. China is growing as a giant world economic power – beyond the control of Washington. Russia and the EU are no longer dancing to America’s tune. The US can no longer threaten to isolate countries that defy it from “the world economic community”. It can only further isolate itself.

 Two weeks ago Hugo Chavez told a mass rally in London that US imperialism was doomed as a pig on its way to the slaughterhouse. The most reactionary and avaricious section of the global ruling class is staring defeat in the face.

 But there is no cause for complacency. Soon Bush and Blair will both be out of office and their successors are likely to be cleverer. A Democrat government in the US could take up the EU plan to withdraw from Iraq, which has been on offer since 2003. That would mean all US and British forces leaving the country while neutral UN troops and negotiators broker a genuine sovereign Iraqi state. Such a government could mend bridges with Europe and Russia and try to reassert US economic influence more subtly. This more sophisticated form of imperialism could be more dangerous in the long run.

 But it would have a hard task after the damage that Bush has done at home as well as abroad. US political writer Noam Chomsky is already describing the US as a “failed state”, unable to protect its citizens, believing it is above the law and lacking democracy. These three criteria would theoretically justify a UN intervention.

 Political thinkers in the US are pondering America Beyond Capitalism – a new book by Gar Alperowitz. It’s still a long way to go to realising that socialism is the way forward but a step in the right direction. A US controlled by its working class would be a very different place to what it is now. We live in hopes of that happening but we know there are no guarantees.

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