The New Worker
The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 13th August 2004
Iraq - the fight goes on!
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By our Arab Affairs Correspondent
Iraqi partisans are fighting the US-led
occupation army across the length and breadth of the country following the
imperialist offensive against the Shia Mahdi Army that began last week with
an attempt to retake the Shia holy city of Najaf. American troops backed by
tanks, helicopter gunships and warplanes are pounding resistance centres in
Najaf, Fallujah and the other towns liberated in June. In Baghdad US
tanks are trying to enter Sadr City, a barricaded slum quarter under the control
of the resistance. Guerrillas have stepped up their daily rocket and mortar
attacks on the US HQ in the “Green Zone” compound and in the British occupied
south the Shia resistance has opened up a new front following the arrest
of four of their local leaders.
Stooge premier Alawi reintroduced the death penalty last week while offering
a token amnesty for minor offences and closed the Arab al Jazeera TV station’s
office in Baghdad for a month claiming its on the spot reports of the Iraqi
revolt were inciting violence.
But the puppet government is in clear disarray with the Shia element fearful
that the backlash from their own community will sweep them all aside while
others know their survival depends entirely on US guns.
“Vice president” Ibrahim al Jafari broke ranks to denounce the American
assault on Najaf as an “uncivilised” way to rebuild Iraq stating that he could
find no justification for the deaths of Iraqi civilians. And while all this
is going on the puppet council has issued warrants against two leaders of
the Chalabi clan – once the most favoured Iraqi traitors in Washington.
The Chalabis are Shias and Ahmad Chalabi fell out of favour in Washington
after he was accused of working for Iranian intelligence – a charge he denies.
Ahmad Chalabi has been charged with counterfeiting and the offices
of his “Iraqi National Congress” have been closed. His nephew Salem, who headed
the kangaroo court set up by the Americans to condemn Saddam Hussein, faces
a murder rap. Salem Chalabi was in London when he heard the news and he is
wisely refusing to return home.
The Americans have called on all civilians in Najaf to flee before the city
is stormed by the Marines that have encircled the city for months.
But rebel Shia leader Muqtada al Sadr has vowed to fight to the death in
defence of the city and he has called on all Iraqis, Shia and Sunni alike,
to rally in its defence. In a sermon read out on his behalf in the al Kufah
mosque al Sadr blamed the United States for all the violence in Iraq. The
puppet “interim government” called America “our partner”, al Sadr said. “I
say America is our enemy and the enemy of the people and we will not accept
its partnership” he declared.
The call was taken up on Wednesday by Iran’s Supreme Leader of the
Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei, who said that the crimes
going on in Najaf send shivers to the hearts of all Muslims.
“In the name of liberal democracy, one of the worst crimes
against humanity is taking place in Iraq, especially in the holy city of Najaf.
The US has embarked on bloodshed in one of the holiest cities of the Muslims.
The Iraqi people will not leave such an atrocity unanswered,” he declared.
The resistance is fighting with rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled
grenades, heavy machine-guns and automatic weapons against a heavily armoured
foe. So far the imperialists have been held at bay.
The Mahdi Army militia is fighting with considerable shrewdness and flexibility,
drawing the Americans into various areas and then exhausting them in battle.
When the US troops believe they have to a degree gained the upper hand in
one location the patriots open up another front elsewhere.
When night falls the Americans come out to fight but in daylight nowhere
is safe for them. Convoys are attacked and hostages taken. Puppet police stations
are overrun and ransacked. Over 80 hostages are currently being held by guerrilla
units – some foreign “contractors”, others local quislings. Last Friday the
bodies of 11 US troops, including a captain, were found with their throats
cut in the town of Al Qaim, near the Syrian border.
American claims to have killed over 400 Mahdi Army fighters and taken a
thousand more prisoner have been dismissed with derision in Al Sadr’s HQ.
They report the loss of 36 militiamen last week though, doubtless, the US
figures include all the innocent civilians they’ve slaughtered with their
indiscriminate bombing of residential areas.
The Mahdi Army has sent a delegation to the resistance controlled and mainly
Sunni city of Fallujah which has now set up anti-aircraft defences that downed
two US drones (robot spy planes) last week. Increased co-operation between
the fighting Iraqis of all communities can only strengthen the hand of resistance.
The constant attacks on the oil pipelines have sent the world price soaring
reaching $45.04 for US light crude before falling to $44.61 on Wednesday,
still up 11 cents on last week. Washington is pushing the Saudis to step up
their own oil production to halt the rise that will have severe knock on
effects on the economies of all the imperialist countries in the very near
US presidential hopeful John Kerry says that he will withdraw a “significant
amount” of US troops by August 2005 if he beats Bush in August. Kerry said
this week that George W Bush had “rushed to war without a plan to win the
peace”, pushing aside US allies and eroding America’s credibility in the world.
He’s clearly going to have pulled them all out if he wants to end America’s
isolation in the world. That goes for Blair as well.
Keep out of Darfur
Millions of workers on summer holidays, spending their
hard-earned savings for a break from the monotonous grind will doubtless take
comfort at the fact that Tony Blair is also putting his feet up, lording it
in style at Cliff Richard’s Barbados villa and then popping in for a short
stay at reactionary Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi’s mansion in Sardinia.
Blair can relaxed content at the fact that he’s got his mate Peter Mandelson
a cushy job in Brussels without too much flack, and indifferent to the prospect
of the loss of another Labour seat to the Liberal Democrats when the by-election
Not that the future of Labour Party troubles Blair much these days. He’s
got other things on his mind at the moment. Even as the occupation of Iraq
collapses under the telling blows of the heroic Iraqi resistance Blair is
talking about another neo-colonial adventure. The greedy eyes of Anglo-American
imperialism are focusing on the Sudan to prepare the way for an armed intervention
in the province of Darfur.
The war party in Britain is drumming up the usual atrocity stories that
preceded previous attacks on Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, spiced up with
anti-Arab hysteria that exploits the fact that few people in Britain have
any idea of what’s happening in Darfur.
No one denies there’s a conflict in Darfur, not even the Sudanese government
that has made some efforts to end the fighting between the Janjaweed militia
and other para-military groups. Hundreds of thousands have been forced
to flee the fighting, described as “ethnic cleansing” by the war-mongers and
lurid statistics of massacres are being bandied around though the Sudanese
authorities put the death toll at just 1,200 since the fighting began last
year. Though the war lobby routinely describes the Janjaweed militia as “Arab”
what is not explained is that they come from the same ethnic group as the
people they are fighting. They are all black, Muslim Sudanese Arabs.
Imperialism, which readily sacrificed millions upon millions of lives during
the past World Wars, is not worried about tribal conflicts or the plight of
refugees. Anglo-American imperialism has routinely ignored the plight of
the Palestinian Arabs for over 50 years while arming Israel to the teeth.
They turned a blind eye to the slaughter in Rwanda in the 1990s and say little
about the current turmoil in the Congo. But the tap of moral sanctity is turned
on when imperialism thinks it can exploit a situation for economic gain and
in Sudan it means oil.
At the moment China is helping Sudan develop its embryonic oil exploration
in Darfur and the south of the country. The big oil corporations of imperialism
want it all for themselves.
Regional institutions like the African Union and the Arab League are both
capable of mediating to end the violence and their efforts must be supported.
There has to be an African solution to African problems and any British imperialist
meddling must be opposed.
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