Iraq

At recent gatherings of the major powers (from the D-Day celebrations to the G8) a lot of noise has been made about more cooperation between the major powers, in particular between the USA and Europe. What lies behind this? Is there really a common position developing? Yossi Schwartz explains why any idea of unity between the major powers is a mere pipedream.

In the last few days the masses in many parts of the Middle East have been pouring out onto the streets in protest against the murder of civilians in Iraq and Gaza. They have been coming out emboldened by the feeling that the killing machine of the occupying armies in Iraq and Gaza can be defeated. Yossi Schwartz, just returned from one of these protests in Rafah (Gaza) looks at the effects throughout the Middle East and in particular in Israel. 

Despite all their best efforts at covering up the truth, the United States military has been compelled to open a criminal investigation into the acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, which have now been broadcast on TV screens around the world. Each passing day brings new and more shocking revelations. Now it seems there are a further 1000 digital photographs to be published. As usual, the military only admit what cannot be denied. As we are now learning, these initial pictures represent only the tip of a vast and extremely ugly iceberg.

The invasion of Iraq stands exposed for what it always was: an act of naked aggression leading to the forcible occupation of a country by foreign troops against the will of the people. Naturally, such a state of affairs can only be sustained by the massive, uncontrolled and unlimited use of force. We can now see the results of this on the front pages of today’s newspapers.The United States military has been compelled to open criminal investigation into acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, committed by US soldiers and officers as photographs of horrific incidents were aired for the first time on US network television.

The monstrously oppressive nature of US imperialism stands exposed in all its bloody nakedness. Fallujah is being reduced to smoking rubble before the eyes of the world. Heavily armed American gunships are slowly pounding it into dust. Many civilians have fled in panic; many lay buried beneath the shattered remnants of their homes.

The US army is now faced with a general insurrectionary upsurge all over Iraq. This marks a qualitative change in the situation. This week has seen the heaviest fighting since the end of the war, with the US losing 33 soldiers in three days. By last night, the troops which overthrew Saddam Hussein a year ago this week, had been driven from five Iraqi cities after heavy fighting.

Iraq is in flames. Insurrections and fighting have spread across the country. The US-led coalition is fighting a desperate war on two-fronts: against Sunni rebels concentrated in the western towns of Falluja and Ramadi and a Shia uprising in south and central Iraq. This is just three months before the US is due to transfer power to an Iraqi government and the situation is deteriorating with every passing day.

Yesterday’s bomb attacks in Iraq have brought the plight of the Iraqi people back into the attention of the whole world. It reminds everyone of the terrible mess that the US-UK war against Saddam Hussein has provoked. Iraq was no threat to anyone. That has been abundantly demonstrated now. So what has been achieved?

Things are going from bad to worse for the occupying forces in Iraq. As the guerrilla insurgency intensified, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad to check things out “on the ground”.

Saddam Hussein has been captured. On Saturday, US troops finally caught the man who had eluded them for months. The Americans could not conceal their euphoria. Paul Bremer, the imperial proconsul in charge of occupied Iraq opened the long anticipated press conference with the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've got him." The capture of Saddam Hussein may give Bush and Blair a temporary respite. But nothing fundamental has changed and none of the basic problems have been solved. The fighting will continue as before, or even get worse.

Bush is now in Britain on the first state visit of a US president to this country in eighty years. The trip was obviously planned long ago and when it was organised Blair probably was not aware of how strong the antiwar mood in Britain would become. But the consistent lies on the part of both Blair and Bush have convinced even many of those who initially went along with their arguments that the whole war was totally unjustified. It has exposed the real reasons for the occupation of Iraq - to get their hands on the oil and to achieve a strategically important position in the Middle East.

Opposition to the presence of foreign troops is not merely expressed in the daily attacks on US soldiers. Now there are signs of a growing militant mood among the Iraqi workers. The number of strikes has been increasing. By Roberto Sarti. (October 28, 2003).

The robbery of Iraq's national assets was formally legalised last Sunday. The American-appointed Iraqi National Council has opened up all sectors of the economy to foreign investors. From now on, all the strategic sectors of the economy can be sold off completely to foreign buyers.

Sometime last May a triumphant George W. Bush hired an aircraft carrier (at the tax payer's expense) to announce to the nation that the war in Iraq was over and America had won. Just four months later a more sober George Bush, his feet now firmly on dry land, faced the television cameras to inform the American public that they were in for a long, hard haul in Iraq, that they would have to put up with a lot of pain and expense before the show was over.

Apparently as one enters Baghdad from the west there is graffiti on the walls that says "Welcome to the Republic of Darkness and Unemployment". The devastation of Iraq's economy and infrastructure makes that statement literally true. The war in Iraq has solved nothing from the standpoint of US imperialism, instead it has ushered in a period of even greater instability throughout the Middle East and on a world scale.

The situation in Iraq and the whole of the Middle East is far from being stabilised. The very fact that there is an army of occupation right in the heart of the region has opened up a completely new scenario. But is not just in the Middle East that the occupation of Iraq is having widespread repercussions. In the USA and the UK, the two countries that are occupying Iraq, the situation is getting worse for their respective governments.

As the US discusses the future of Iraq with its friends and allies from all over the world, the opposition movement to US occupation is growing and within this the old Communist traditions are once again beginning to take root. It is not just Islamic fundamentalism that is growing in post-war Iraq.

When President Bush stated on May 1 that combat operations had ended in Iraq, for most of the American people it seemed the war was over. It is not. The behaviour of the US forces is looking increasingly like that in Vietnam. Villages and towns are raided, where every one is considered an enemy and a potential target for besieged troops in a foreign and hostile country.

Yesterday's UN resolution provided the "legal framework" which allows the US and Britain to run Iraq as they please. Fred Weston looks at the meaning of the resolution while US companies prepare to loot Iraq.

On the eve of the war in Iraq, George W. Bush talked about a "crusade". He was obviously quite pleased with himself for having thought of such a catchy phrase. But he was quickly silenced by his advisers, who pointed out to him that the word "crusade" has very unfortunate associations for the Moslem world.

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