The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 2nd July 2004
Imperialist war crimes go on and on and on!
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PANTOMIME IN BAGHDAD
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
MONDAY was just another day in Baghdad. The US
governor, Paul Bremer, jumped on his helicopter to the airport following a
secret “handover” ceremony with his stooges inside the fortress-like “Green
Zone” of the Iraqi capital and the resistance marked the occasion with deadly
bomb attacks and raids on US and puppet police bases throughout the country.
The new US governor, US “ambassador” John Negroponte formally moved in and
his handpicked Iraqi stooge cabinet, drawn largely from the old puppet “interim
council”, strutted around trying to breathe the illusion of independent action
to a very old game indeed.
The “prime minister” is Dr Iyyad Alawi, a Baathist turncoat who spent the
best part of the last 30 years in London working for British and American
intelligence. His first act has been to drop the interim council’s worthless
blue banner, so reminiscent of Israel’s, in favour of Iraq’s historic red,
white and black flag.
The second was to announce that Saddam Hussein and other members of his
government had been handed over by the Americans to stand trial for “war
crimes” in an Iraqi court.
Even that isn’t true. The former Iraqi president is only symbolically in
Alawi’s hands as the Americans don’t think their puppets have a prison secure
enough to hold him. Saddam Hussein is still under US guard and ready to challenge
to the proceedings.
French lawyer Emmanuel Ludot, one of the 20-strong team of lawyers appointed
by Saddam’s wife to represent him, said the former Iraqi leader would in the
first place refuse to acknowledge any court or any judge while one of his
British attorneys told the media that they were preparing a robust defence
to any charges.
The Iraqi courts would have their hands full if they were allowed to question
the dubious practices of the US military occupation. Last weekend Christian
Aid released a damning report that accused the US occupation of failing to
account for up to $20 billion in Iraqi oil revenues that should have been
spent on relief and reconstruction projects. And the Liberal Democrats are
demanding a full inquiry into where the oil money has gone, claiming that
the “Development Fund for Iraq”, which was set up to handle occupied Iraq’s
oil income, could be short by as much as $3.7 billion.
Paul Bremer was lucky to get to Baghdad airport unscathed. It comes under
resistance attack everyday and last week a US Air Force C-130 transport plane
was forced to return after coming under small arms fire on take off.
One American “contractor” was killed and a number of others wounded. On
Wednesday guerrillas mortared a US logistics base on the outskirts of the
airport wounded a number of US troops and ignited petrol stores that sent
a pall of black smoke over the runways for over an hour.
On the hostage front three Turkish captives were spared by the Islamic militants
who held them after they pledged “not to support the unbelievers again”
and another group of Turkish hostages may be released soon following secret
appeals from Ankara.
But an American soldier captured last April was executed by guerrillas and
a US Marine held by Islamic militants since 21 June will be executed if their
demands for Iraqi prisoner releases are not met.
With nearly a thousand US and allied troops and probably the same again
in mercenaries killed since the war began and thousands more wounded, the
Pentagon is scraping the barrel. Some 5,600 US army veterans are now being
called up to make up the shortfall and more reservists may follow.
And more of the minnows roped into Anglo-American imperialism’s “coalition
of the willing” last year when they thought the going was good are having
second thoughts now. Thailand will begin withdrawing some of its 450-strong
contingent on Thursday. Two Thai soldiers were killed in a resistance attack
last December. Thailand pledged to keep its troops in Iraq for at least a
year but now Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra says all of them will be withdrawn
if attacks on foreigners worsen.
Like the others, the Thais have been taught a terrible lesson by the Iraqi
people – a lesson summed up in a recent statement from the Central Committee
of the Syrian Communist Party: “The most painful blow the American imperialist
received recently was in Iraq. Our party had foretold that the imperialist
aggression against Iraq would not be a picnic; the Iraqi people, with their
long revolutionary and patriotic history, would never accept the yoke of occupiers.
“Successive events have proved our party’s prophecies. The heroic Iraqi
resistance represents a defeat for American imperialism. The Iraqi liberation
movement is now taking the lead in the frontline of the international liberation
movement. Iraq has written a glowing page of heroic liberation struggle in
modern history, exactly as Vietnam did last century”.
Iraq for the Iraqis
LIKE THIEVES in the night, the Americans “handed over” sovereignty
to their chosen Iraqi puppets in a meaningless furtive ceremony in Baghdad
on Monday. Nothing was handed over apart from a meaningless bit of paper.
But it did allow the US governor, Paul Bremer, the chance to scuttle
off home a couple of days early though the ritual was brought forward simply
to wrong-foot the resistance whom the imperialists feared would “celebrate”
the occasion with more than the usual dose of bombings and the ambushes the
occupation has been accustomed to in recent months.
Nothing has changed and nobody is fooled, least of all the Iraqi people
who knew nothing about the secret “handover” until after the event and who
had no say in the choice of stooges that Anglo-American imperialism now call
the “Government” to justify their continued looting and occupation.
The new American governor, John Negroponte, is called the US “ambassador”.
His 3,000-strong team will doubtless all be called “diplomats” and perhaps
the 160,000 troops of the US-led occupation will be referred to as military
“advisers” in future, in the same way as the Western mercenaries are called
“contractors” today. The puppet “president” and “prime minister” will be paraded
from time to time, surrounded by bodyguards, for the benefit of the world’s
media. They may even get their faces on the stamps. But their only task will
be to do the bidding of those who put them there in the first place.
A puppet regime is designed to give the semblance of independence to an
occupied country to the outside world and the people it claims to represent.
The puppet government, in theory, would command the loyalty of a considerable
section of the population and be confident enough to raise troops and police
to quell all opposition while the puppeteers pull the strings in the background.
It rarely – if ever – works, as Adolf Hitler discovered during the Second
Nazi puppets like Petain and Quisling tried to build home-spun fascist movements
motivated by hatred of communism, rabid anti-semitism and the belief that
Germany was going to win the war. Bush’s Iraqi stooges, a rag-bag of émigrés
on the CIA payroll, Kurdish feudal chiefs and some religious leaders who believe
they can use the occupation for their own sectarian purposes can’t even do
No one, apart from the handful of Iraqi spivs and collaborators who
directly work for Anglo-American imperialism and the transnational corporations,
wants the occupation to continue. Every Iraqi knows that the fabulous oil
wealth that the imperialists covet could transform their country into a modern,
democratic republic if they were allowed to keep its profits. In the past
the Saddam Hussein government, which nationalised the oil industry in the
first place, devoted some of the oil wealth for the creation of a national
health service, national education and raising the standard of living for
many working people to the extent that Iraqi workers enjoyed some of the highest
wages in the Arab world.
Anglo-American imperialists have no interest in the welfare of Iraq’s
working people. They’ve left them to live in squalor during the 15-months
of occupation. They want the oil for themselves.
The resistance is not going to let that happen. And nor must we. That sickening
sycophant, Tony Blair, sent the Army to southern Iraq to do Bush’s dirty work
in the face of mass opposition from our labour movement and the country as
a whole. Blair bleats on about “freedom” and “democracy” to the media but
denies freedom to the Iraqis and ignores the will of the people at home.
But the voice of the masses is clear. All British troops must get out of
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