The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 7th October 2005
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ANOTHER DOOMED US OFFENSIVE
by our Arab Affairs Correspondent
AMERICAN and puppet troops,
backed by tanks and helicopter gunships, are sweeping through western
Iraq in a new offensive against the resistance. A suicide bomber got
past the security in the heavily-guarded “green zone” US military
compound in Baghdad. He detonated his car when halted at a second
check-point inside the US military and administrative enclave in the
heart of the capital.
The British and US consulates in the southern port of Basra were
rocketed on Sunday evening. The puppet regime has withdrawn last-minute
changes to the electoral rules covering the forthcoming referendum
following UN complaints and their stooge oil minister narrowly escaped
with his life when his convoy was ambushed on the road some 35 km north
Thousands of civilians are fleeing towns and villages in central and
western Iraq as US troops embark another drive to crush the resistance.
Though operation “River Gate” is officially aimed at “wiping out” what
the Americans call Al Qaeda “terrorists” it looks much more like mass
collective punishment against the people of a region that is a
stronghold of resistance activity.
Partisan units have withdrawn from the city of Hadithah to avoid a
head-on confrontation with the US Marines and to spare the residents
from suffering the destruction that would have inevitably have
American troops and their local lackeys have moved into a number of
other towns along the Euphrates River valley and the resistance has
reverted to hit-and-run attacks to harass them. But further down the
river partisans swept through the town of Ramadi forcing the Americans
and their puppets to flee after fierce fighting on Monday.
Simultaneously the Americans are making another push to control the
towns along the frontier with Syria. Once again al-Qaim has borne the
brunt of the fighting. A resistance commander was killed on Saturday in
fighting on the outskirts of the city but most of the casualties have
been civilians hit by US fire. Dr Ali al Rawi, the director of the
emergency ward of al Qaim’s general hospital said that 80 per cent of
the dead and wounded taken to his facility so far have been women and
The new US onslaught, the tenth major offensive in western Iraq since
7th May, is plainly aimed at cowing the largely Sunni Muslim population
in advance of next week’s “referendum” that the Americans hope will
partition the country into three sectarian statelets, leaving Iraq a US
protectorate for years to come.
The underground Baath party, the rest of the resistance and a number of
Sunni Muslim clerics have called for a boycott of the vote, arguing
that it’s going to be rigged anyway. Others across the political
spectrum are campaigning for a “no” vote as a two-thirds “no” vote in
three provinces is enough to veto it.
The prospect of the “constitution” getting rejected even under their
own rules clearly frightened the puppets. Last Sunday the Baghdad
“parliament”, an assembly dominated by feudal Kurdish chiefs, senior
Shia Muslim clerics and collaborators, tried to solve the problem
by approving changes that would allow the “constitution” to
be endorsed by a simple majority of all registered voters. But this was
reversed on Wednesday following UN concern at the
amendments, which it said did not meet international standards.
Meanwhile speculation about Abu Musab al Zarqawi grows. Al Zarqawi is
the man who the Americans claim leads the al Qaeda movement in Iraq.
But many others believe he died three years ago. They argue that
Zarqawi’s anti-Shia statements and the spate of sectarian bombings
targeting the Shia community are part of a covert CIA operation
designed to drive the Shias into the collaborationist camp.
Baghdad University Professor Jinan Ali told the Egyptian Al Ahram daily
that there was more to the “Zarqawi threat” than meets the eye. “The
so-called war against Shias began after Muqtada al Sadr announced his
opposition to drafting the constitution,” he said. “Most of the Shias
targeted are Muqtada’s followers with the intention of forcing them to
cast a “yes” vote in the coming referendum”.
Urban intellectuals and the war
THE DEFINING moment of
last week’s Labour Party Conference has to be the manhandling of an 82
year old man by Blair’s goons for daring to heckle Jack Straw over
Iraq. When the veteran peace campaigner Walter Wolfgang tried to get
back in he was held by the police under the terrorism Act. Now it
transpires that some 600 other protesters were detained by the Brighton
police during conference using legislation that we were told was needed
to combat violent fanatics and terrorists. Needless to say none of the
delegates, anti-war protesters or pension activists were charged.
On four key issues; housing, pensions, secondary strikes and NHS
reforms the Labour leadership’s line was overturned. Blair & Co
will naturally ignore the four major defeats their clique suffered at
the hands of the union-led defence of workers’ rights at this year’s
conference. But they can’t ignore the war in Iraq no matter how much
the Blairites try to keep it off the agenda.
The Labour leader’s minions may dismiss the anti-war protesters as
“urban intellectuals” but that is precisely what Blair and his cronies
are – intellectuals of the worst order: those who crawl to their
masters in return for the crumbs from the rich man’s table.
But the rich, the ruling class, are bitterly divided over Iraq and
Europe. Though the most venal and aggressive sections of the
bourgeoisie remain dominant, those who see their interests best served
in partnership with Franco-German imperialism within a European
super-state are keeping up the fight to force the Government to change
At the moment the focus is the struggle for the Tory leadership. Ken
Clarke, the leader of the pro-EU Tories will have an uphill struggle to
defeat the die-hard Euro-sceptics. Clarke’s dropped his long-standing
support for the Euro for tactical reasons. But he’s continuing to
oppose the war and he can rely on the backing of the liberal bourgeois
media that has kept the Iraq war top of the agenda for the past three
years. He can also count on support from other quarters.
Disgust at the downgrading of the Army to little more than American
sepoys in southern Iraq comes from elements of the ruling class who
have little sympathy for the European project but are enraged at the
Blair’s surrender of British sovereignty to US imperialism. It is
inconceivable that the Military Families Against the War movement could
have been set up without the blessing of senior serving officers.
Only last week retired Colonel Tim Collins, who led the British troops
into Basra in 2003, made a blistering attack on the Blair government,
accusing it of having “blundered” into the war and warning that the
consequences could ultimately lead to the Army “being chased over the
border into Iran”.
Collins, who resigned his commission last year, is by no means a
liberal or an “urban intellectual”. The Tories and the Ulster Unionists
have both asked him to stand for election on their tickets. He may be a
reactionary but he is clearly not a fool.
Earlier in September he said: “One cannot help but wonder what it was
all about. If it was part of the war on terror then history might
notice that the invasion has arguably acted as the best recruiting
sergeant for al Qaeda ever; a sort of large-scale equivalent of the
Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry in 1972, which in its day filled the
ranks of the IRA. If it was an attempt to influence the price of oil,
then the motorists who queued last week would hardly be convinced. If
freedom and a chance to live a dignified, stable life from terror was
the motive, then I can think of more than 170 families in Iraq last
week who would have settled for what they had under Saddam. UK military
casualties reached 95 last week. I nightly pray the total never reaches
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