The New Worker

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Week commencing 9th February 2007




Sinn Féin Extraordinary Ard Fheis special report

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Lead 

US ‘HAS FAILED IN IRAQ’

by our Arab Affairs Correspondent

AMERICAN
troops are stepping up their offensive in advance of the “surge” of troops expect to arrive within weeks to boost the imperialist army of occupation in Iraq. The US “Green Zone” military compound in the heart of Baghdad is under constant mortar attack.

Iran has said it holds the United States responsible for the kidnap of one of its diplomats by puppet regime commandos in Baghdad. French premier Dominique de Villepin told a British daily that the United States had “failed” in Iraq and resistance leaders have met in Baghdad to plan their next moves to drive the imperialists out.

More US troops were killed in combat in Iraq over the past four months — at least 334 up to 31st January — than in any comparable stretch since the war began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press analysis of casualty records. Five US helicopters have been shot down in the past two weeks. The resistance has held off US and puppet forces in the heart of the capital and partisans have regained control of the centre of the city of Ramadi some 110 km from Baghdad.

And in partisan controlled Baghdad, commanders of all the resistance organisations met on Monday to draw up detailed plans for a counter-offensive to  “break the backs” of the imperialists and their sectarian Shia and Kurdish militia allies and liberate Iraq. The six-hour meeting was attended by top commanders from every resistance movement along with tribal leaders and local notables.

co-ordinate

According to the resistance media, the partisan leaders agreed to co-ordinate their forces to resist the imminent American offensive along with plans for the protection of women and children and the maintenance of clinics and food supplies for the civilian population.

The Americans are inciting sectarian strife to divert and weaken the resistance while encouraging “ethnic cleansing” in the north to retain the loyalty of the feudal Kurdish chieftains. Some 50,000 Sunni Arabs have been told to leave their homes in oil-rich Kirkuk by mid-March in preparation for a hand-over of the city to  Kurdish “autonomous” control.

Sunni tribal leaders have called on Arab kings and presidents to resist the efforts by the US and Iran to expel the Arab tribes from Kirkuk on the pretext of “normalising” the situation in the city.No one knows when the onslaught in Baghdad will begin and few doubt it will be bloody and even fewer outside the ranks of Bush’s clique believe it has a hope in hell of crushing the resistance.

The United States “has failed in Iraq” and foreign troops should fix a timetable to leave Iraq, French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said in an interview published in the Financial Times this week.  “More than 3,000 US solders have been killed since 2003, (and) 12,000 Iraqi civilians (were killed) in 2006,” the French premier declared.

He called the proposal to send more troops to Iraq “absurd” and noting “the question now is how we stop the spiral”. He appealed for a schedule “that says on what date foreign troops will leave and from that date we start a turnaround.”

founding stone

The presence of foreign troops was the “founding stone of the crisis,” he said.

 “I am not saying foreign troops must leave tomorrow,” he added “When you want to solve a crisis in the world, you will not advance without fixing a schedule.”

“If you do not say that in one year there will be no more American or British troops in Iraq, nothing will happen in Iraq except more deaths and crises,” de Villepin stressed. “Why? Because no one is taking responsibility and even some people are fuelling the crisis”.

Meanwhile back in London Tony Blair remains determined to cling to Bush’s coat-tails till the bitter end. He’s going but nobody knows when. A massive turn-out for the anti-war demonstration in London on 24th February will certainly hasten him on his way.

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Editorial

The same old rope for Kosovo

KOSOVO returned to the international arena last week with the publication of the draft proposals of Martti Ahtisaari, the UN Special Envoy for Kosovo, for a region which is still technically part of Serbia, even though it has been occupied by Nato troops since 1999. But there was nothing new in the Ahtisaari plan, which envisages an autonomous Kosovan administration that could join international organisations with its own national anthem and flag and a proper constitution but not full independence.

While this is presented as a sop to Serbian claims to the province and the remaining Serb minority in Kosovo, the real reason is that Franco-German imperialism is quite happy with the existing arrangements which have reduced Kosovo and Bosnia to European Union protectorates.

 The break-up of the old Yugoslav federation was planned by Franco-German imperialism and put into action with the support of Anglo-American imperialism and it was all done in the name of a bogus self-determination that upheld the rights of all the recognised communities in Yugoslavia with the exception of the Serbs.

Nationalist parties in Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia were all encouraged to leave the federation while substantial Serb minorities were denied the right to secede or unite with Serbia. This inevitably led to the bloody conflicts in Bosnia and Kosovo, and the imperialist war against the rump Yugoslav state in 1999 that did not solve the national questions in the former socialist state or bring peace, prosperity and stability to the Balkans.

The current plan includes international and UN guarantees for the remaining Serbs in Kosovo, some 10 per cent of the population but these are just empty words. The Palestinian Arabs were told the same thing in 1948 when the UN partitioned Palestine and look what happened to them.

Franco-German imperialism is, of course, not the slightest bit concerned about the rights of small nations except when it suits them. The imperialists claim to have given the Kosovan Albanians freedom but the only ones to have benefited from the end of direct Serbian rule are those who were lucky enough to claim asylum in Britain and the rest of the European Union when the conflict began. Kosovo is one of the poorest regions in Europe and half the two million odd people of the province are unemployed.

The economy is kept afloat through international and imperialist “aid” and the remittances of Kosovan workers abroad, which alone accounts for over 13 per cent of the province’s GDP. The Euro is the official currency of Kosovo and there’s certainly a role for the province in the EU, but only as a source of cheap labour. Franco-German imperialism is certainly not prepared to treat the local nationalist leaders as equals and in any case they’ve still got there eye on the bigger prize, which is Serbia itself.

The Ahtisaari plan may easily come to nothing as Russia has threatened to veto it at the UN Security Council if it is not backed by the Kosovan Serbs and the Serbian government – and the Serb leaders have all expressed their opposition to the draft which gives them nothing more than the little they’ve already got.

The only solution to the problems of former Yugoslavia is a comprehensive and just settlement that covers all the former republics of the Yugoslav federation including Serbia and Montenegro. All foreign troops must be withdrawn from the Balkans to allow all the states in the region to resolve their problems without interference and all the refugees must be given the right to return to their homes including the tens of thousands of Serbs driven out of Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

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