At 10.45 this morning Baghdad local time, in a hasty ceremony held behind locked doors, the American proconsul Paul Bremer handed over power to an interim government composed of Iraqis. More than the representative of an imperial power handing over power to a grateful ally, Paul Bremer resembled a man who had burned his fingers hastily tossing the hot potato to another. Alan Woods looks at what is the real state of play.

As mass resistance to the occupation of Iraq develops, the new Iraqi "government" will find it extremely difficult to control the situation. This growing instability in Iraq comes at a time when just across the border the Saudi regime is on the verge of a major crisis and could be toppled. This has led US strategists to consider the invasion of Saudi Arabia as a possible next step. But it is fraught with danger.

The severe fighting taking place in Iraq is presented to us as some inexplicable phenomenon, produced by “dark forces” resisting the march of “progress and democracy”. In reality what we are facing is a mass resistance movement aimed at expelling a foreign army of occupation. This movement is fuelled by the terrible conditions Iraqi workers are facing, conditions created by the domination of imperialism.

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