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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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 World War.

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 that.

 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 Iraq now!

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