The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 3rd December 2004
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IRAQ SAYS NO TO SHAM ELECTIONS
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
AMERICAN 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
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.
“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
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
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
“A peace process – any peace process – is enormously difficult,” Sinn
Féin President Gerry Adams said this week. That, if anything, is
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
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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