The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 30th May 2003

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US troops on the home front

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

THE IRAQI RESISTANCE stepped up its attacks this week  — a week in which the Americans admitted that the Saddam Hussein government might have indeed destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction before the Anglo-American invasion began.

Another message apparently signed by Saddam Hussein has been sent to the Arab media in London, urging the resistance to fight on and Washington has admitted that its battlefield successes were largely due to the treachery of senior officers in the Iraqi army.

Iraqi traitors

It’s now clear that the Iraqi army’s sudden collapse was due to the treachery of senior officers who turned their coats for American dollars and ordered their men to go home. The US commander General Franks revealed this week that key Iraqi commanders had been bribed to abandon their positions though no details have been given of the numbers involved or the sums of money that changed hands.

 But a senior Pentagon official gave a hint when he said: “What is the effect you want? How much does a cruise missile cost? Between $1 million and $2.5 million. Well, a bribe is a PGM [precision guided missile] – it achieves the aim but it’s bloodless and there’s zero collateral damage”.
“This part of the operation was as important as the shooting part; maybe more important. We knew that some units would fight out of a sense of duty and patriotism, and they did. But it didn’t change the outcome because we knew how many of these [Iraqi generals] were going to call in sick”.

Partisan warfare

Iraqi resistance forces went on the offensive this week killing four American troops and wounding many more in attacks throughout the country. On Tuesday two American soldiers were killed and nine others wounded in a gunfight in Fallujah, a Baghdad police station used by the US military police was rocketed twice, an American military convoy was ambushed on the road to Baghdad and another convoy was hit on the outskirts of the Iraqi capital.

 “They deserve it and they deserve more,” an Iraqi said looking at the wreckage of an American armoured car destroyed in an ambush in the west of Baghdad. “They are occupiers, not liberators”.

Imperialist attempts to set up a puppet administration have ground to a halt at least for the moment along with their efforts to restore law and order in Baghdad. In the Iraqi capital large sections of the city are virtually no-go areas at night apart from the Shia Muslim quarter which is policed by their own militia.

The health service has collapsed, schooling is more or less non-existent and the simmering resentment against the occupation is reaching boiling point.

The American military authorities have been unable to cobble together a puppet government largely because their tame stooges drawn from the venal Iraqi opposition based in London and Washington have no credibility inside the country and the Americans do not trust those forces with popular support to do their bidding.

The Shia Muslim leaders, who look to Iran as their protector, are being marginalised by the occupation. The Kurdish feudal leaders in the north are in turn distancing themselves from the US administration’s efforts to set up an “interim” administration because they can see that it will simply be a rubber-stamp for the occupation and a waste of their time and credibility.
Now former Iraqi army officers made redundant when the US authorities abolished the old military and security services are threatening action of their own.

“We demand the speedy establishment of a government, the return of security, the rehabilitation of public institutions and the payment of wages to all soldiers,” General Saheb al Mussawi declared at a meeting of 100 former officers in central Baghdad this week.

The question of back-pay for the soldiers is a key demand.  The Americans could easily meet this out of all the gold and currency reserves they looted from Iraq’s banks when they captured the capital last month but much of it has probably been set-aside to off-set the bribes paid to other officers to betray their country during the war and pay for the current occupation itself.

“If our demand are not met,” the former Iraqi general warned “ next Monday will mark the date of the break of the Iraqi army and people on one side and the occupiers on the other”.  One of his colleagues, Colonel Ahmed Abdullah said they would take up arms if their demands were not met. “We are soldiers used to combat and we have volunteers for martyrdom,” he warned.

The American authorities have called on all Iraqis to hand in their weapons by the end of June or face unspecified consequences. Needless to say few have taken up the invitation.


A nobel game

THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE has been the preserve, with a few honourable exceptions, of retired Western politicians and prominent agents of imperialism. The anti-communist Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov won it in 1975.  The reactionary Polish union leader Lech Walesa was rewarded for his counter-revolutionary campaign in 1983.  Gorbachov was similarly rewarded for his treachery in 1990.

 Needless to say the Dalai Lama is on the list of winners together with Henry Kissinger, who was jointly given the prize with the chief north Vietnamese negotiator Le Duc Tho in 1973 for negotiating the Vietnamese peace accord. Comrade Le, the only communist ever to get this accolade, took the principled stand and declined the prize on the grounds that the war in Vietnam was still raging.

Adolf Hitler was nominated in 1938 so it comes as no surprise to see Tony Blair and George W Bush’s names in the running for next year’s Nobel medal and the vast fortune that goes with it. Their “service” to peace has been the conquest of Iraq or as their nominee, a reactionary Norwegian politician, put it: “Sometimes it’s necessary to use a small and effective war to prevent a much more dangerous war in the future”.

Bush and Blair will face fierce competition in next year’s race. Over 160 nominations have been made for this year’s prize including the Pope and the Irish rock star Bono.  But the front-runner must surely be the Cuban anti-communist   “democracy” activist Oswaldo Jose Paya Sardinas  – the winner of the European Union’s rubbishy “Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought” in 2002.

The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a five-strong committee that conducts its business in secret. Needless to say the Iraqi people will not be consulted.


The right to vote

This isn’t the first time Blair’s name has been bandied around for a Nobel prize. His followers – a diminishing band these days – thought he had earned it for his work in securing the Good Friday Agreement in northern Ireland. Nothing came of it and the 1998 Nobel peace prize panel gave the award to two northern Irish politicians – John Hume of the SDLP and the Unionist leader David Trimble.  The panel might be having second thoughts about Trimble given his performance since the deal was signed and Blair won’t be getting any prizes for his current manoeuvres in the occupied north of Ireland.

This week hundreds of thousands of people in northern Ireland should have gone to the polls to elect members to the regional government established under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. The British government has cancelled them, fearful that the voters would give Sinn Fein an even bigger vote than they did before.

The Blair government absurdly claims that the democratic outcome of the Assembly elections would have made further progress in the peace process impossible. In fact the cancellation of the northern Irish assembly elections by the British government is yet another cynical move to appease British imperialism’s Unionist allies and limit the influence of the Irish republican movement. London’s summary suspension of the polls reveals the reality beneath the “democratic” veneer of the Good Friday institutions.

Blair’s actions are totally unacceptable and the labour movement must back Sinn Féin’s demand for fresh elections to go ahead this June. At the same time the campaign for a just and lasting peace in Ireland must go on focusing on the demand for the withdrawal of all British troops from the occupied Six Counties and an end to the cruel partition of Ireland.

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