The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 8th June 2007




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Lead 

IRAQ SITUATION BLEAK FOR BUSH

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

ATTACKS
by the Iraqi resistance over the past few days have killed at least 21 American soldiers, marking a bloody start to the month as the US military continues with its repressive crackdown in the occupied Arab country. A total of 127 US troops were killed in May, the third worst total for US forces since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

A high-ranking American general who commanded the US-led occupation forces following the invasion says the United States can forget about “winning the war”.

And as American casualties grow, US President George W Bush is coming under increasing pressure, including from within his own Republican Party, to demonstrate progress in the unpopular war or set a timetable for the return of US troops.

Former Lieutenant-General Ricardo Sánchez, in his first interview since retiring last year, is the highest-ranking former military leader yet to suggest that the Bush administration has failed in Iraq. He said that he was “absolutely convinced that America has a crisis in leadership at this time”.

Sánchez called the situation in Iraq “bleak,” which he blamed on “the abysmal performance in the early stages and the transition of sovereignty”. He included himself among those who made mistakes in the first year of occupation.

Nearly 20,000 American reinforcements have poured into Baghdad in recent months but the imperialists and their puppets still only control about a third of the Iraqi capital. According to a New York Times report this week, based on an internal US military assessment, American and puppet regime troops control just 136 of Baghdad’s 457 neighbourhoods.

renewed

The Americans are calling in their air power in a renewed drive to crush the partisans who are continuing to strike hard at the imperialists and their local lackeys across occupied Iraq. While US war-planes can bomb with impunity their helicopter gunships are much more vulnerable. One was shot down some 40 km north-east of Baghdad only last Saturday. In another significant operation the resistance blew up a main bridge linking Baghdad with the cities of Kirkuk and Irbil in the north of the country in an attack last Saturday morning. Partisans equipped with explosives destroyed the bridge some 150km north of Baghdad.

And things are beginning to come unstuck in the northern Iraqi Kurdish autonomous area along the frontier with Turkey that is controlled by feudal chieftains allied to US imperialism. Turkish artillery shelled the border area last weekend in retaliation for a daring raid on a military outpost in Turkish Kurdistan last Sunday.

Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) guerillas fired rockets and grenades at the Turkish military outpost,  killing eight soldiers and wounding six more in a bold attack  carried out by two guerrillas, one of whom was killed in the action.

Turkey has long claimed that the PKK has camps in Iraqi Kurdistan with the tacit consent of the Iraqi Kurdish forces and it has repeatedly said it would send its army in, as it did in the 1990s, on punitive raids if the PKK continued its attacks.

Though the Turks are members of Nato and an old ally of US imperialism  they cannot count on American support this time round.  The puppet “president” of Iraq is Jalal Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, one of the two parties that run Iraqi Kurdistan. The leader of the other is Masoud Barzani, who heads the autonomous region that has recently signed a security pact with the Americans.

warned

Washington has warned Ankara that any incursion would destabilise the region, though what this really means is that it could unravel their alliance with the Iraqi Kurds, who are not under direct US occupation and who, until now, have always backed the puppet regime in Baghdad.

Apologists for imperialism in Britain often talk about the rights of the Iraqi Kurds but say little or nothing about their cousins in Turkey who have been brutally suppressed for decades. Nor have they much to say about the Iraqi Arabs, who according to a new UN report, account for a refugee tragedy that exceeds even Darfur.

Some 4.2 million Iraqis have fled their homes the UN High Commission on Refugees reported this week. Around 2.2 million have fled Iraq and another two million are living as refugees inside the country driven out of their homes by the sectarian strife stirred up by the US occupation in an effort to lay the groundwork for partitioning Iraq into three states. This was your doing Bush.

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Editorial

Palestine: the forever war?

FORTY YEARS AGO this Monday Israeli forces swept across Egypt, Syria and Jordan in a pre-emptive strike that the Zionists call the “Six Day War”. The Egyptian air-force was destroyed in a matter of hours. The Arab armies were smashed and by the end of the week the Israelis were in control of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, the Golan Heights and the Sinai peninsula.

Israel’s generals boasted about the prowess of their war machine. Their politicians talked about a “Greater Israel” that would incorporate most of their conquests. US-led imperialism, which had armed Israel to the teeth, believed it had dealt a crushing blow to the Arab liberation movement that would ensure imperialist domination of the region for generations to come. All of them thought that the Arabs were on their knees and that the Palestinian Arabs would now be finally forgotten.
Five wars later and forty years on, we know that the June ’67 war was just another round in a conflict that started in 1948 and continues to this day.

Israel was a product of the world Zionist movement that has always been the servant of imperialism. Zionism is a movement based on religious mysticism developed by 19th century Jewish capitalists that mirrors other racist and chauvinist theories used by the imperialists to justify their seizure of larges areas of the world. No wonder that Lenin, a ceaseless enemy of anti-semitism, called it “absolutely false and essentially reactionary”.

During the First World War the Zionist leadership extracted a promise from the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, that it would establish a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine that was then a province in the Turkish Ottoman Empire. At that time the Jewish population in Palestine was around 80,000 living amongst 600,000 Palestinian Arabs and Palestine was not Balfour’s to give.

By 1947 the Jewish population had grown to over 600,000 but the Palestinians were still the overwhelming majority with some 1,415,000 Arab Muslims and Christians owning around 90 per cent of the land.

The Zionist movement in Palestine had backed the British colonial administration when it crushed the first Palestinian revolt in 1936. Some 20,000 Zionist auxiliaries helped the colonial authorities crush the Arabs. But after the end of the Second World War they turned their guns on their former protectors. British imperialism, beset by troubles throughout its empire, turned the whole question of Palestine to the fledgling United Nations. That body, then dominated by the United States, concluded that partition was the only solution.

The partition plan was grossly unfair to the Arabs. It gave over half of Palestine to the Zionists even though the Jews were still in the minority. The independent Arab states opposed the plan but their leaders were worthless lackeys of imperialism to a man. Zionist terror drove nearly a million Palestinians from their homes during the first Arab-Israeli war that followed the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The Palestinian Arabs were cheated, deceived and humiliated by the Zionists and the feudal Arab leaders who posed as their protectors.

Israel still occupies Syria’s Golan Heights, Lebanon’s Shebaa Farms and much of the West Bank. The Palestinian refugees, now a five million strong community, are still denied their inalienable right to return to their homes by Israel and the imperialists that have propped up the Zionist entity since its creation.

But it is clear, even to some in the corridors of power in Tel Aviv, that peace will only come to the Middle East with the implementation of a just and comprehensive settlement outlined by the very United Nations that established Israel in the first place. Israel must withdraw from all the territories it seized in 1967 including Arab east Jerusalem. An independent, viable Palestinian state must be established and the refugees must be allowed to return to their homes or paid appropriate compensation if they so desire.

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