The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 2nd September 2005

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

ANGLO-AMERICAN imperialist plans to divide Iraq into three sectarian statelets are hitting the buffers with Sunni politicians refusing to endorse the US-backed “constitution” and opposition to it crossing the sectarian divide within the Arab majority.

Maverick Shia cleric Muqtada al Sadr’s call to reject the puppet constitution has now been embraced by another prominent Shia cleric and warmly welcomed by Sunni religious leaders and mujahideen resistance fighters.

 Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets last Friday to voice their anger at American attempts to break-up Iraq like they did Yugoslavia. Some carried portraits of Saddam Hussein; others chanted religious slogans or burnt American flags.

In the poor neighbourhood of Baghdad known as Sadr City supporters of the rebel cleric – who now wants simply to be called a “Muslim” rather than a “Shia” leader – tore down posters of Grand Ayatollah Sistani, the top Shia cleric who has put his weight behind American sponsored “federalism”.

Protests soon turned to violence when members of the pro-Sistani Badr Brigades opened fire on al Sadr’s supporters. Al Sadr’s own Mahdi Army responded in kind torching Badr Brigade offices in Baghdad, Najaf and Basra before agreeing to a ceasefire.

Muqtada al Sadr’s move has significantly strengthened the anti-imperialist forces but there are still major obstacles towards the building a united resistance front – not least the attitude towards the Baathist underground whose armed wings are responsible for the majority of the attacks on the US-led army of occupation.


Al Sadr is, for instance, in favour of continuing the ban on the Baath party under any constitution – a view shared by some of the Sunni clerics as well. And until the concept of national reconciliation is embraced by all sides a united political front will remain elusive.

In practice though, the various resistance movements and militias are increasingly working together to fight the Americans and their lackeys. The current resistance offensive has pushed the Americans onto the defensive throughout occupied Iraq taking an ever increasing toll in US lives and material.

The cost, as always, is borne by the American public and it is now higher than it was during the Vietnam War, which the United States also lost. According to a report published by two US liberal bodies, the Institute for Policy Studies and Foreign Policy in Focus, the Iraq war is costing America $5.6 billion a month or almost $186 million a day.


“By comparison, the average cost of US operations in Vietnam over the eight-year war was $5.1 billion per month, adjusting for inflation,” the report entitled the Iraq Quagmire said. Though the Vietnam War cost 12 per cent of America’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) compared to the two per cent for Iraq today, the report points out that the Iraq campaign is being financed with deficit spending and may nearly double the projected US budget deficit over the next ten years.

“Broken down per person in the United States, the cost so far is $727, making the Iraq War the most expensive military effort in the past 60 years,” the report concludes.

That’s not all. The cost of petrol in the United States is expected to soar by 15 to 20 cents a gallon following the devastation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana and the continuing war in Iraq. Iraqi commandos repeatedly hit oil exports last week, blowing up an oil well in the Kirkuk field in the north of the country as well as a pipeline feeding the Daura oil refinery in Baghdad.

Consequently, US crude oil prices surged to record highs on Monday topping $70 a barrel after the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and seven refineries were closed ahead of the hurricane.

Huge anti-war demonstrations will take place in London and Washington on 24th September. A massive turn-out in London will make it clear to Blair that the people want all British troops out of Iraq now and that the sooner he quits Downing Street the better.


US versus the rest of the world

  EVER SINCE President Bush nominated his mate Robert Bolton to be the United States ambassador to the United Nations, the world has known there was trouble in store. Even members of Bush’s own Republican Party opposed it, leading to Bush having to appoint him in a so-called “recess appointment”.

 So the rest of the world was dismayed but not surprised when Bolton began his term of office by demanding 750 amendments to a proposed programme of reshaping and strengthening the UN – virtually negating the whole plan.

 Bolton wants to remove all references to the Millennium Development Goals, which are aimed at reducing poverty and disease while improving education, trade and aid. He wants to delete calls for wealthy nations to give 0.7 per cent of their gross national product to foreign aid and replace them with political and economic strings on all aid.

 He wants to reject a global action plan on world climate change and to remove an appeal to the major nuclear powers to get cracking on disarmament. Instead he wants the UN to concentrate on not letting anyone else have nuclear weapons, through the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

 He wants to remove any reference to the International Criminal Court. Bush withdrew the American government from its commitment to this court in 2002. Bolton also wants to keep developing countries outside the World Trade Organisation.
 The US, as a permanent member of the Security Council, can veto any UN changes and Bolton’s demands will practically paralyse the UN.

 The UN was founded after the Second World War as a forum for nations to resolve differences peacefully without need to resort to arms. Its strength and its political nature have always reflected the balance of power in the world. In the early 50s the US imperialists were able to use the UN as a front in the invasion of Korea. But throughout the Cold War the strength of the Soviet Union and the nonaligned inhibited the imperialists from using the UN in this way.

 When the Soviet Union fell, the US imperialists saw it as their opportunity to dominate the world, and again to use the UN as their puppet. But they knew they had to move fast – other powers in the world, including rival imperialists, were not going to hang about and just let them take over the planet. The American neo-cons declared that America no longer had allies – only interests.

 They decided they needed full control over the world’s oil supplies and this is what the Gulf Wars have been about. They were able to use the UN as a front in the first Gulf War – but not the second. The rest of the world was starting to feel uneasy about the blatant greed for power of the American ruling clique.

 The invasion of Iraq – thanks to the heroism of the Iraqi resistance – has proved a nightmare for the US imperialists. Far from securing a reliable source of cheap oil, the continuing conflict has sent oil prices rocketing. And in America’s own backyard, precious Venezuelan oil is now under the control of a progressive government that wants to use it for the benefit of the people and not for strengthening the power of the neo-cons.

 So the neo-cons are giving up on any pretence of diplomacy. They declare that the UN must do as the US says or they will effectively render it useless.

 In doing so, they hasten the process of uniting the rest of the world against them. The US is now becoming world enemy number one. The European Union, People’s China and Russia are forging closer links, economically and politically. Brazil, India and Iran are moving closer to each other in the face of US greed for power. Even Blair’s government will not support Bolton in his demands on the UN. And in American itself more and more people from all walks of life want to distance themselves from the neo-con scramble for world domination.

 The growing desperation of the neo-cons shows they themselves are losing confidence and time is not on their side. The defeat of the most extreme version of US imperialism is now looking possible. It is likely to be messy and painful for the whole planet. But it will end is a massive opportunity for the world’s working class to take huge strides towards peace and socialism.

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