On Monday at least 13 were killed and an unknown number wounded when US soldiers opened fire on a crowd of unarmed demonstrators who were protesting against the occupation of a local school by the US army. The mask of "democracy" and "liberation" is slipping to reveal the crude reality of foreign occupation and violent oppression.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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