The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 6th April 2007
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WINS WHERE THREATS FAIL
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
MIDDLE Eastern diplomatic efforts paid off this week with the
ending of the crisis over the Royal Navy crews held in Iran and the
warm welcome given to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi when she arrived in
Damascus for talks with the Syrian leadership.
Oil prices dropped on Wednesday following the news that Iran had agreed
to release the 15 British naval personnel accused of entering Iranian
waters and reports that Israel was now ready for talks with Syria.
Divisions within the American ruling class are now become more open.
Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic Party, who won the majority in both
houses of Congress at last year’s mid-term elections, are now publicly
calling for an American dialogue with Iran and Syria to help US
imperialism extract itself from the quagmire of Iraq.
And only last week Senate majority leader Harry Reid said he will
propose legislation to cut off funds for US combat operations in Iraq,
and provide money for only three missions: targeted counter-terrorism
operations, training and equipping the Iraqi security forces, and to
provide security for US personnel and infrastructure.
Predictably Pelosi’s visit provoked a sour response from
President Bush who called her trip “counter-productive” and one which
would “lead the Assad government to believe they’re part of the
mainstream of the international community, when in fact, they’re a
state sponsor of terror”.
Nancy Pelosi is the highest ranking American politician to meet with a
Syrian leader since former President Bill Clinton met Al Assad’s
father, the late Syrian President Hafez al Assad in 1994. In her talks
with Assad she raised the question of the Israeli soldier captured by
the south Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah, last year and told
him that Israeli premier Ehud Olmert was “ready to engage in peace
President Assad of Syria assured her that his country would respond
positively but whether this will kick-start the stalled Middle East
“peace process” still largely depends on Bush, whose neo-con war
lobby within the Republican Party still dream of victory in Iraq
and imposing American hegemony over the entire Middle East.
But American imperialism’s hold over Iraq is weakening by the day. No
one talks about the “surge” offensive anymore because it has clearly
failed to drive the partisans out of Baghdad or anywhere else in Iraq
for that matter.
In Mosul, on the fringe of the Kurdish autonomous area, the resistance
won a stunning victory when they seized control of most of the city
last Sunday. The partisan offensive began Sunday afternoon with the
detonation of three explosives-packed vehicles.
Two truck bombs targeted the headquarters of the 3rd Regiment of the
puppet army and then violent fighting erupted between resistance men
and puppet troops.
One truck bomb blew up by the 3rd Regiment headquarters in the
industrial zone of the city. That blast was followed by the
explosion of a second explosives-packed truck by the same target.
The explosions inflicted a number of dead and wounded and it is
believed that the second truck bomb had also been packed with toxic
A third truck bomb went off near the headquarters of the
pro-American Kurdish separatist Kurdistan Democratic Party led by
Masoud Barzani, the US-installed puppet “president” of the northern
Iraqi Kurdish enclave. The guerrillas then attacked numerous puppet
army patrols and checkpoints in the city, many with their faces exposed
– an indication of their relative sense of security.
In Kirkuk, a town on the fringe of the Kurdish enclave that the Kurdish
feudal chieftains hope to annex, partisans rocketed the international
airport hitting one runway and a building used by the American garrison
as a rest area and internet centre. Resistance sources claim that three
US troops were killed and 12 more wounded in the attack.
Back in Baghdad a US base was set ablaze when it was rocketed last
week. Flames six metres high could be seen as the fires raged through
the American camp and unconfirmed reports say that an American cargo
plane was shot down in a remote area in eastern Dalouiya as it took off
from the US Anaconda air-base.
Bush and his cohorts are indifferent to the suffering of the Arabs or
the hardships of their own troops sent to Iraq on a fool’s mission to
seize the oil the big oil corporations want. But millions upon millions
of people around the world and in the United States are demanding an
end to the war and the withdrawal of all imperialist forces from the
country they invaded four years ago. They cannot be ignored.
THE SAGA of the 15 Royal Navy
sailors and marines held in Iran since 23rd March continues with still
no end in sight. Behind the scenes diplomatic moves to reach an end to
the crisis, involving Russia, Syria and Turkey, continue. But their
efforts have not been helped by the Blair government, which stirred up
an anti-Iranian media frenzy last week to back up failed attempts to
get forceful support from the United Nations and the European Union for
the crew’s immediate release.
The fact that all the detained naval personnel, including their
officers, have admitted to illegally entering Iranian waters has
clearly embarrassed the Government and the Admiralty. The fact that the
Iranian authorities made no secret of the arrests contrasts sharply
with the treatment of the six Iranian diplomats arrested by the US army
of occupation and its pawns in Iraq. And the fact that they have all,
apparently, been well treated contrasts sharply with the fate of the
prisoners in Guantánamo Bay or in the American concentration
camp in Abu Ghraib.
The detention of the crews of two patrol boats seized in disputed
waters ( a dispute that led to a ferocious war between Iraq and Iran in
the 1980s) would be hard to resolve quickly at the best of times.
Taking place while Iran is under threat of imminent attack by US
imperialism makes it ten times worse.
The release on Monday of one of the Iranian diplomats seized by Iraqi
puppet army troops in February helps. So would the release of the other
five held by US forces since January. Meanwhile the Government’s offer
to discuss ways of avoiding territorial disputes in the Persian Gulf
could provide the mechanism for a diplomatic resolution of the
But none of this would have happened if the British forces weren’t
there in the first place and that’s another reason why we demand the
immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all British forces from Iraq.
Wales takes the lead
THE DECISION of the Welsh
Assembly to scrap all prescription charges is good news for everyone
who lives in Wales. All the three million or so patients in Wales are
now entitled to free prescriptions while the cost rose by 20p to
£6.85 for the rest of us on 1st April.
The move by the Assembly in January was undoubtedly taken to boost the
Labour-led minority administration in the run-up to the assembly
elections in May. The Welsh Labour Party and the nationalist Plaid
Cymru— Party of Wales voted for it. The Tories and Liberal Democrats
dared not oppose. But they pointedly abstained. The chair of the Welsh
General Practitioners’ Committee of the British Medical Association
said it was good news for those who found paying for their vital
medications difficult, while the drugs manufacturers bleated that
abolishing the charges could lead to medicines going to waste and
funding for new drugs being lost.
Labour’s Grandees in London are saying little and the Tories are
bleating that the Welsh move will create a “two tier” National Health
Service. The remedy is easy. Scrap the charges in England,
Scotland and northern Ireland as well.
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