Iraq

Since 1 October, massive and radical protests have rocked Iraq. Starting (uniquely) this time in Baghdad, they have quickly spread nationwide. The Iraqi armed forces and police responded with extreme violence, resulting in the deaths of at least 150 people (some sources claim over 300), and the wounding of more than 6,000. However, the brutal response has not halted the protests. Since 8 October, they have subsided, but there is a new nationwide demonstration planned for 25 October.

Below, we publish an interview with an Iraqi-Kurdish activist about the situation in Iraq. Although we do not agree with all the conclusions drawn in the interview, we still think it will be of interest to our readers. The interview was conducted in August: that is, before the present protests, and before the forming of a new government in October. Nevertheless, it gives some very interesting background information about the processes going on in Iraq today.

A wave of protests is sweeping Iraq, with the latest taking place on 21 December in Basra. About 250 people gathered outside the temporary headquarters of the provincial council throughout the afternoon to protest against corruption, and demand jobs and better public services. A few weeks before, on the 6 December, 100 protesters were seen mimicking the recent French mass protest movement by wearing yellow high-visibility vests, when they gathered in front of the Basra’s council building and in Baghdad at Tahrir Square.

The protest movement in southern Iraq has continued into its second week. The protest broke out on Sunday 8 July over the government's inability to provide basic services such as electricity and clean water. The protesters are also demanding jobs for the local population.

When the Iraqis went to the polls to elect a new parliament on 12 May 2018, the establishment was confident that they had the whole situation under control. All the factions were basing themselves on the presumption that the central government, having defeated IS was enjoying large scale support from the population. The final result shocked all bourgeois commentators revealing the exact opposite of what they had been expecting.

On 12 November, a 7.3-magnitude earthquake occurred on the Iran-Iraq border, affecting an area stretching from the Kermanshah Province in northwestern Iran, to Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan. The whole of the political establishment made statements in support of the victims and the Kurdish areas, with dozens of national papers publishing their front pages in Kurdish. This is supposedly to show their solidarity with the Kurdish masses. Yet the events on the ground paint a clearer picture of the real attitude of the Iranian ruling class.

Millions of Iraqi Kurds last Monday voted in a referendum on secession from Iraq and to set up an independent state. According to the official organisers, 92.73 percent of voters supported Kurdish independence while the participation rate stood at 72.16 percent. A huge majority of the Iraqi Kurdish people have made it clear that they feel no attachment to the quasi-sectarian Iraqi central government.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

In this article Benjamin Curry goes to the roots of the revolutionary history of the Iraqi people which is far from the barbarism which it is often labelled with by the bourgeois media today.

On Friday up to 500,000 protesters took to the streets of Baghdad after a full week of escalating protests all across the southern and central areas of Iraq.

In a press conference on 28th August, US president Barack Obama openly admitted that he did not have a strategy yet to combat the jihadist ISIS group in Iraq and Syria. Obama’s confession reveals the impasse the US are facing with the new, explosive crisis provoked in the Middle East by the advance of ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

In clinical Psychology, déjà vu is defined as “the experience of perceiving a new situation as if it had occurred before. It is sometimes associated with exhaustion or certain types of mental disorder”.

The speed with which large swathes of Iraqi territory have fallen to a relatively small force of armed militias begs the question as to how this was possible. The Iraqi armed forces were numerically much superior to the groups who took over towns such as Mosul in the north. The army actually melted away. This cannot be explained simply by referring to armed Islamic groups. Something deeper is going on.

On Tuesday, the Islamisc fundamentalist group ISIS captured Mosul, one of the key cities in Northern Iraq and then proceeded South towards Baghdad, capturing several important cities on the way. Hundreds of thousands have already fled fearing their lives under the rule of this reactionary group. This spectre of barbarism rising on the horizon, is the direct result of the cynical adventures of American imperialism.

We received this request for international protests against the new labour Law being introduced in Iraq under the pressure of the IMF. It is clearly against the interests of workers in Iraq and openly defends the right of capitalists to brutally exploit the workers.

All the 223 oil workers at Shiwashok oil company in Kurdistan Iraq have begun an open-ended strike since 05:00 this morning, August 1, 2011, which has stopped the work of the entire field.

In today's [April 8] demonstration on Tahrir Square (Baghdad), the youth marched towards the bridge in order to cross to the Green Zone, and chanted the slogan of “Ousting the System”. The security forces – under the "General Commander of the Armed Forces" Mr. Nouri Al Miliki gave orders to detain and torture all the organizers of the demonstration. Division 11 of the Iraqi army (army intelligence) took pictures of all the demonstrators including the OWFI women. The same division used civilian cars to arrest tens of demonstrators into detainment.

Last Friday was Iraq’s Day of Rage, where 70,000 came out on the streets in cities all over the country. Here we publish an account of what happened, that was sent to us by the president of the OWFI, the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq.

The wave of revolution that started in Tunisia is now also reaching Iraq, where the Kurdish areas had already flared up last week. But the protests are not limited to these areas. On Friday an anti-government rally named the Day of Rage, was organised in Baghdad and other cities with thousands taking part.

There have been reports that an uprising has started in Sulaymaniyah, the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Reports indicate that the security forces have used brute force to suppress the protests and nine or ten people have been shot and killed. We know that street protests have taken place on two consecutive days (16th and 17th February).

We received this note from the FWCUI in Iraq about the ongoing struggles to defend the right to form a union. The invasion of Iraq was presented as a way of establishing “democracy”. Well, one fundamental democratic right is the right to form a union!

The invasion of Iraq was supposed to establish a western-style “democracy”. But when it comes to basic trade union rights there is no such democracy. Union offices are raided, closed down, union assets are confiscated and union activists are victimized. Here we have the latest example of “democracy” at work in the Ministry of Electricity. But the workers are resisting as the photos provided here demonstrate.

Last month’s killing of the journalist Sardasht Osman in the city of Mosul in northern Iraq was clearly aimed at silencing dissent under the Barzani regime that controls the Kurdish area of the country. It also highlights the limits of this bourgeois regime and the need for a socialist perspective in the region.

The administration of the Cotton Industries issued – based on a ministerial warrant – an order to transfer the unionist Falah Alwan from the company. The decision came as a result of the strike of the workers of the Cotton Industries Company which started on December 13, 2009.

Part of the process of creating a so-called western style “democracy” in Iraq is the passing of laws that restrict trade union rights. One of these involves the direct intervention of the state to decide who can and who cannot represent the workers, imposing an official union over the tops of the existing unions created by the workers. Here we publish a statement of the FWCUI for the information of our readers.

The workers in the leather production achieved a historic victory, when the administration agreed to pay safety benefits after more than fifty days of strike. The strikers have not responded to any promises made by the administration, but instead insisted in the fulfilment of all of their demands.

The workers in the leather industries achieved a historic victory when the administration officially agreed to pay all back safety benefits, and write out checks for other worker back pay. The workers maintained the integrity of their strike for forty-seven days, not allowing doubt or division to creep up on them.

The militancy of the Iraqi leather industry workers is forcing management to make concessions, but the workers have been holding out until they get all their demands. The strike, the longest since 1931, is having an impact on other groups of industrial workers who are looking to the leather workers as an example to follow.

Although we do not necessarily agree with every position of the Worker-communist Party of Iraq, we are making available one of their latest statements which highlights the sectarian logic behind the latest electoral reform in Iraq where people will be represented in parliament according to their ethnic background rather than their political affiliations. This helps to strengthen and deepen ethnic conflict, not solve it.

We received this news item on a significant strike in the Leather Industry in Iraq. Some 1,500 workers have been on strike for more than 40 days and they need international support and solidarity. The duration of this strike marks a new record in the strike history of the workers’ movement in Iraq. We publish it for the interest of our readers.

There is much talk in the media about the “building of democracy” in Iraq. This brief report about how the present Iraqi government treats oil workers reveals the real interests that it defends. Oil worker trade union activists need your support.

We received these short news items on significant labour struggles in Iraq in the oil industry in Basra, and a gathering of the Electricity workers in Nasiriyah. We publish them for the interest of our readers. They show that the Iraqi labour movement is beginning to recover from the devastation of recent years and achieving important victories.

We received this small news item from the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, which highlights how so-called "anti-terror" laws are used in Iraq to harass trade union activists, whose only crime is to defend the interests of Iraqi workers.


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We have received this appeal from workers in Iraq against the victimisation of an Iraqi trade unionist in the oil industry. Please send message of protest to the Iraqi authorities and copies to the address provided here in the appeal.

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Formally speaking Bush has gained control of Iraq, and now the puppet Iraqi government has been granting oil concessions to the major multinational oil corporations. But all this comes at a heavy price in political terms...

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When the coalition forces marched into Baghdad in March 2003, the imperialists were full of confidence. The things they were going to do! Intoxicated by the power of their military machine, they predicted a glowing future for Iraq and the Middle East. How different things are now!

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Five years after the invasion of Iraq all the lies cooked up by Blair and Bush at the time have been exposed for what they were. They cannot hide the terrible suffering and destruction they have inflicted on the people of Iraq. And to make things worse they have even failed in their avowed aim of establishing what they define as a "democracy".

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Since the first Gulf War the US and UK have been using Depleted Uranium (DU) weaponry. DU has a half-life of 1.5 billion years, can result in cancerous tumors and genetic mutations, and pass from mother to unborn child, resulting in birth defects. This reveals not only the depths of imperialist barabarity, mocking the idea of 'the rules of war', but demonstrates with painful acuteness capitalism's inability to regard the environment.

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The Pentagon is continuing intensive planning for a possible bombing attack on Iran. These preparations began already last year, by order of the President. In other words, the decision has already been arrived at. All that Bush is waiting for is a suitable opportunity to put it into practice.

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In the same way that the revolutionary movement depends at critical moments on the quality of the leadership, so the outcome of a war, such as the war in Iraq, can be decisively influenced by the political and military leadership of the bourgeoisie. Bush is now acting against the interests of the class he is supposed to represent.

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Chinese military strategist Sun-Tzu, wrote his famous treatise, The Art of War 2500 years ago. The basic postulates laid down in this classical work are as valid today as they were when they were first written. Today, on the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Alan Woods points out that Bush has made every possible mistake in the book.

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An interview with Darrell Anderson, an Iraq War veteran, on his experiences in the Iraq War. He discusses the "insurgency," the attitudes of average Iraqis toward the US military, and the attitude of average US soldiers toward the war.

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Instead of listening to the advice of Baker and the Iraq Study Group to seek an exit strategy, Bush prefers to up the stakes, increasing the number of troops in Iraq and threatening both Syria and Iran. He is coming into conflict with the ruling class he is supposed to represent. Herein lies a potential political crisis of major proportions in the USA.

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George W. Bush last night announced his “new strategy” for Iraq. His speech consisted of the usual rhetoric about “establishing democracy” and “defeating the terrorists” but particularly a lot of wishful thinking. Like an about to be defeated poker player, US imperialism faces the problem every gambler has when he is losing: if he leaves the table, he won’t be able to win back his losses. But a final bet can prove fatal too.

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The execution of Saddam Hussein could not have been a more cynically calculated PR event if a banner proclaiming "mission accomplished" had been placed above the gallows. His hanging will not provide a day of relief from the misery, humiliation, and violence the Iraqi people are enduring under the occupation, or absolve imperialism of its role in Saddam's rise to power and decades of brutal rule.

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What started off as a show of strength on the part of US imperialism is now turning into its opposite. The war in Iraq is bringing to the surface all the contradictions of present-day capitalism. Defeat is staring the imperialists in the face. This will have far-reaching consequences well beyond the borders of Iraq.

The war in Iraq has been an unmitigated disaster. Far from “promoting democracy” what the imperialists have done is to plunge Iraq into the depths of barbarism. Even from a purely military point of view they are losing their grip on the country. Now the talk is about an “exit strategy”. We say the troops must leave now. Let the people of Iraq decide their own fate.

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