The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 9th February 2007
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‘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.
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”
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
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.”
The presence of foreign troops was the “founding stone of the crisis,”
“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.
The same old rope
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
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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