The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 3rd December 2004

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by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

and British reinforcements are being rushed to Iraq this month to try to contain the uprising that threatens to derail the bogus elections set for January next year. A thousand more British troops will be sent to Iraq, bringing the total contingent up 9,000. While most may expect to be deployed in the British zone in the south, it is plain, the Americans will need all the help they can get in the war they are clearly losing.

Sporadic fighting continues in Fallujah as determined bands of guerrillas play cat and mouse with the US Marines in the ruins of the devastated city. West of Fallujah partisans took control of the major highway to Jordan, blowing up police stations along the road and setting up road-blocks to seize cars and weapons.


Partisans seized control of the city of al Khalis in the north on Saturday and in Mosul, Iraq’s third largest city, the resistance continued its offensive against American and the puppet police while the oil industry north and south was again sabotaged by partisan commando units.

Puppet premier Iyyad Alawi has been bragging that violence was diminishing following the storming of Fallujah last month. Unfortunately for him, his lies coincided with the British embassy’s warning that the road to Baghdad’s international airport was too dangerous to travel and that flights from the occupied capital were equally hazardous. A bomb was found on a commercial flight from Baghdad on 22 November and the heavily fortified “Green Zone” was penetrated by two suicide bombers last month.

The Pentagon’s latest casualty figures reveal that the November death toll of US soldiers in Iraq had equalled the deadliest month since the invasion last year. In November138 American troops were killed, the same as the record number slain in April during the Shia uprising; 1,401 imperialist troops have been killed and 9,300 wounded since the war began, most of them Americans.

Occupied Iraq is a total shambles and the civilians, as usual, are suffering the most – particularly in healthcare. Iraq’s national health service, once the envy of much of the Arab world under Saddam Hussein, has collapsed. This was confirmed by a report from the British medical charity, Medact, based on surveys conducted by doctors in Iraq last September. They exposed poor sanitation in many hospitals and a criminal shortage of medicines and qualified personnel.

health disaster

“The war is a continuing public health disaster that was predictable – and should have been prevented,” they said. “Excess deaths and injuries and high levels of illness are the direct and indirect results of the ongoing conflict”.

Medact, which monitors healthcare in post-conflict situations, called for an inquiry into the situation and challenged the Blair government to set up a commission to establish the number of civilian casualties since the war began.

It is evident to everyone apart from the Americans and their stooges that any election that takes place on 30 January will be utterly meaningless. Though the Shia Muslim hierarchy is determined that they should proceed, in the mistaken belief that the poll would strengthen their claim to paramountcy, the number of parties and religious leaders calling for a boycott is growing.

The democratic left Iraqi journal, Al-Ghad, said last week that these elections are nothing more than a cover aimed at consolidating the occupation and diverting world public opinion from the destruction and shedding of innocent blood by the occupying power. The editorial warned against the danger of civil war – communal bloodshed that Anglo-American imperialism might incite as their last throw to hold on to the country – and called for genuine elections that should be held only after a timetable for ending the occupation and the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Iraq has been endorsed and proclaimed by the UN Security Council.

The elections must be held under UN supervision based, as far as possible, on proportional representation. Finally it calls on all the main representatives of Iraqi society to oppose the campaign of death and destruction of the US-led army of occupation.

It also condemns the “terrible crimes” of “suspect cliques” that “damage the reputation of the Iraqi people and the legitimate patriotic resistance and provide great services for the occupiers, helping them in justifying their occupation”.
The paper concluded that: “In the absence of these conditions the elections will be a falsification of the popular will and a prolongation of the occupation by giving a legitimate international cover to a brutal occupation, executed against the international will.”


Move the peace process forward!

  TALKS between the Government and Sinn Féin are continuing amid hopes for a breakthrough that will put the peace process back on track.Though the negotiations revolve around the thorny question of the decommissioning of IRA weapons the real problem is the intransigence of Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists (DUP) and the refusal of the British Government to honour its commitments in the Good Friday Agreement.

The IRA cease fire is now over 10 years old and the Good Friday Agreement nearly seven. Though there has been substantial progress on many issues political institutions in the occupied north of Ireland have been suspended since October 2002.

Power-sharing was the underlying principle of the Good Friday Agreement. In those days the Government clearly expected that the devolved institutions would be dominated by David Trimble’s Ulster Unionists and the SDLP at the expense of Sinn Féin.
Subsequent elections reinforced Sinn Féin’s position as the major Irish nationalist force in the north of Ireland and gave the DUP supremacy within the Unionist community. But Paisley’s people still refuse to talk face-to-face with Sinn Féin.

The question of decommissioning is plainly a diversion. The Good Friday Agreement that was endorsed by the British and Irish governments  provides the machinery for disarming all para-military groups and Sinn Féin and the IRA have made substantial concessions to  move the process forward. What Paisley upholds, and in this he differs little from Trimble, is the demand for a Unionist veto on everything it doesn’t agree with. They refuse to accept Sinn Féin’s democratic mandate nor are they fully committed to the respecting the rights and entitlements of the nationalist community that are enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement.

The Blair government, as usual, has played a double game with the aim of clawing back concessions it had previously made in negotiations. While posing as honest broker its support of Trimble led to the inevitable collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly. Now the Government lets Paisley call the shots effectively freezing the peace-process altogether.

“A peace process – any peace process – is enormously difficult,” Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said this week. That, if anything, is an understatement.

France, after many years of brutal colonial repression, eventually started the talks with the National Liberation Front (FLN) that led to Algerian independence in 1962. The dialogue that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa succeeded after many years of sacrifice and effort. The eventual establishment of a democratic South Africa was an immense achievement.

Others like the Basques are still waiting for a peace process to begin. And in the Middle East the Anglo-American “road map” has floundered because it refuses to recognise the Palestinian Arabs as equal partners with the Israelis in any negotiations to end the bloody conflict that has gone on for over 50 years.

The solution is simple. The Government must honour the pledges it made in the Good Friday deal and proceed to implement the power-sharing agreement — with or without the DUP.

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