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).

Yesterday the Histadrut trade union federation in Israel formally announced a labour dispute in Israel's public sector. At the end of a 15-day "cooling off" period, some 700,000 workers will be legally entitled to take strike action.

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.


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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.

The student protests that began in Iran on June 9, have revealed how little support is left for the Islamic regime among not only the students and the workers, but also large layers of the middle classes. In spite of the harsh clampdown of the regime, it is clear that it is dieing. It is no longer a question of "if", but rather of "when" it will fall.

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.

After months of playing a game the likes of which have few comparisons in modern history, the war in Iraq is now a reality. From a personal point of view I gave a sigh of relief. This may sound callous, but living in Israel one is more or less on the front line, and the tension for me had reached a point where it was almost unbearable. So now the mighty war truck of the United States will go forward eventually achieving its object, with the British van bringing up the rear. No doubt Tony Blair will be rewarded with a few miserable rebuilding contracts, like a begging dog being thrown half eaten food from the dinner table.

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.

According to different reports that have been coming in, at least 90 people have been killed in three suicide bomb attacks carried out in the Saudi capital Riyadh. A further 160 were injured. Ten of the dead have been confirmed as American citizens. A fourth attack was aimed at the headquarters of Siyanco US-Saudi-owned company. Contractors for a U.S. defence firm were based in one of the compounds that was hit.

On May Day this year in Tel-Aviv there was an impressive demonstration which shows that the left is growing. Nobody had expected such a large turnout. On previous May Day demonstrations only a few hundred took part. This year on the streets of Israel's main city 5,000 left activists marched. The column moved from the Tel-Aviv museum to the building of the Histadrut union. The people chanted slogans against Netanyahu's economic plan and Sharon's aggressive policy. The public and many foreign workers from local buildings welcomed the demonstration. There were also a lot of policemen and special service people with cameras. They filmed the demonstration.

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.

The war in Iraq solved nothing from the standpoint of US imperialism but has ushered in a period of even greater instability on a world scale. The world is now a far more turbulent, volatile and dangerous place than it was a few months ago.

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.


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The occupation of Iraq is leading to ever-increasing problems for US imperialism. A mass movement against the “liberators” has already started. At this stage a big role as organizers of the movement has been played by the Muslim clerics and mullahs. The main purpose of this article is to understand the history of the Iraqi Left, in order to help the best activists not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Yesterday’s British ‘The Independent’ published an article confirming that looting, on the part of US troops and even some journalists, of precious works of art has indeed been taking place in Iraq.

In the present epoch, the bourgeoisie is no longer capable of advancing human civilization, but the decay of the capitalist system threatens to poison every aspect of social life. The most heartbreaking example of the way in which capitalism is destroying the cultural heritage of mankind is what has just happened in Iraq.

The media has shown a lot of pictures of looting in Iraq, especially in the days immediately following the fall of the regime. Of course, the real looting was taking place in a much more organised and systematic manner. The first things the US military “secured” were the oilfields, underlining why they were really there.

Last week we reported on the growing tensions between the Sharon government and the Israeli trade unions. It looked as if a general strike was about to be called, but last minute deals were being made to avert it. In the end the Histadrut leaders climbed down and called off the action, in response to a Ministry of Finance agreement to open negotiations with the unions.


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A comment by David Mitchell on the threat of the US to attack Syria

The media are busy informing us that the war in Iraq is practically over, bar a few "mopping up operations". It is clear that now the central command of the Iraqi army has collapsed. As is always the case, as it becomes abundantly clear that the war is lost, the top officers flee to save their skins and abandon the lower ranks. These have fought bravely in many instances against overwhelming odds. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers have lost their lives in a desperate attempt to stop the invaders. Thousands of others have abandoned any attempt to stop the unstoppable.

Baghdad lies shattered and bleeding. The bloody battle appears to be entering a decisive phase. The final result was never in doubt, but the time scale over which the military action would unfold and the cost in lives could only be revealed by the march of events.


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It now appears that in many parts of Baghdad the Iraqi military forces seem to have collapsed as a viable force of resistance. There is still fighting in some areas and the "coalition" forces are wary of declaring that the war is over. There may still be some surprises in the next few days, but it is clear that we are on the verge of an important turning point. Here Roberto Sarti compares the experience of the siege of Beirut in 1982 by the Israeli army with what is happening today in Baghdad.

On Sunday, March 30, 50,000 ministry employees started what amounts to a work-to-rule (a work ban) in Israel. The following day a further 100,000 municipal workers came out on strike, and have stayed out. They came out in protest against government plans to make drastic cuts of around $2.3 billion (11 billion shekels) in public spending. Civil servants will have to suffer a 10% pay cut if the government programme goes ahead. It could also mean 10,000 sackings and further attacks on public pensions.

Israel is not a member of the powerful coalition, (which includes such giants as Micronesia, Estonia and the Solomon islands) that has gone "to liberate" Iraq under American leadership. Bush and Sharon in fact have no interest in reminding people of the role of Israeli in this war. There are two good reasons for this.

The war now determines everything. It is the most decisive element in the equation of world politics. It is reshaping the map of international diplomacy and profoundly modifying the web of world relations established since 1945. Its reverberations will be felt for decades ahead.

US imperialism is preparing a military governor to run Iraq. One of his tasks will be to plunder the resources of the country to the benefit of US multinationals. The people of Iraq refuse to submit and that explains their fierce resistance to the advancing US-British forces.


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Yesterday, workers throughout Bahrain were being urged to stop work for 10 minutes at 10am, in protest against the war on Iraq. The action was called by the "Central Committee for Arab Workers" (an organisation that coordinates several trade unions in the Arab world) at its emergency meeting over the war held in Damascus last Thursday.

Another general strike against the war called in Greece for April 3

Antiwar feelings are running very high in Greece. There has already been a general strike against the war. This took place shortly after the war broke out. And if some people thought this would die down once the war had started they will have to think twice. The workers and youth of Greece are not going to give the imperialists any respite.


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The imperialist attack on Iraq is provoking a wave of anger across the whole of the Middle East and risks destablising a whole series of reactionary Arab regimes. After only one week since the war started, the entire Arab world is in complete turmoil.

In spite of the huge propaganda machine that has been set up it is quite clear that the war on Iraq is not going according to plan. They are meeting stiffer resistance and are losing greater casualties than expected. A heavy backlash is being prepared.

As the war broke out also in Poland we've witnessed a quite spontaneous demonstration in front of the American Embassy. The preparation for the demo was organized quite badly: you couldn't see any posters on the streets, no gatherings at schools or in the factories were organized to explain the nature of the present war with Iraq. Nevertheless what has to be stressed is that the people in Poland are deeply shocked by the conduct of Bush & Co., and also the servile attitude of the Polish government to their plans. Recently published polls show that 62 per cent of Poles oppose war and as much as 75 per cent do not accept sending Polish troops to fight in Iraq. In spite of all this the

...

Despite the propaganda of the mass media, millions of workers and youth have flooded onto the streets of cities all around the world to protest against the attack on Iraq. On Friday Greece was brought to a standstill by a massive 4 hour general strike. More than 150,000 people demonstrated in Athens, in addition to tens of thousands around Greece, while airports, banks, public services, public transport, ferry boats and passenger ships, supermarkets and stores were shut down as a result of the strike.

Thursday morning (March 20) once the general public heard that the imperialist war against Iraq had broken out, tens of thousands of school students left the schools spontaneously and marched from every district of Athens to Sindagma (Constitution) Square. At the same time thousands of university students left their faculties and together with thousands of other people they flooded to the square and then a huge demonstration marched to the American Embassy, which is about three kilometres to the North East of the town.


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This article was written in the early stages of the present war. Unfortunately for technical reasons its publication was delayed. It gives an interesting perspective as it was written by Marxists in Turkey, a country closely involved in what is unfolding in Iraq.

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This article was written in the early stages of the present war. Unfortunately for technical reasons its publication was delayed. It gives an interesting perspective as it was written by Marxists in Turkey, a country closely involved in what is unfolding in Iraq.

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The war in Iraq is the burning issue in Turkey today. But apart from this central issue there were (and are) two other main items on the agenda of the class struggle here, the new labour bill and the International Working Women's Day.

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The war in Iraq is the burning issue in Turkey today. There are in fact a lot of minor and major antiwar meetings and mass rallies taking place all over Turkey.

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In the first hours of the present war it became immediately evident that the systematic manipulation of public opinion was a weapon in the hands of London and Washington which is being deployed in the same way as the Cruise and Tomahawk missiles. This is a very necessary activity. US imperialism shows its teeth, but for the sake of public consumption, it must appear in a most civilized and acceptable light.

As war broke out in Iraq mass antiwar protests erupted all over the world. In Italy a general strike was organised. Tomorrow there will be a general strike in Greece. While in Spain huge student demonstrations have taken place in many instances involving large numbers of workers. Similar protests are developing in Australia, Germany, Austria and many other countries. As the reports come in we will keep you updated. (March 20, 2003, 18.00 London UK time)


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The hounds of war have been unleashed. US and British forces started to roll towards the Iraqi frontier. Simultaneously, Baghdad was rocked by explosions. This is a reactionary imperialist war of aggression. In the war between a poor Middle Eastern county, fighting for its existence and a mighty imperialist superpower that aims to crush it and reduce it to a status of foreign conquest, occupation and colonial-type subjugation, all our sympathies lie with the underdog and the victim. This is what determines our attitude.

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Until yesterday British and American diplomats at the UN were scrambling to round up the required Security Council votes. But the mighty US military machine is rolling and American military commanders say they are now ready to invade. Diplomacy has been exhausted. The time for fun and games is over.

Elections in 18th century England were very jolly affairs. Instead of long and tedious speeches about wars and taxes and the like, politicians invited voters to the tavern to get them drunk on election day and buy their votes for what were known as "rotten boroughs" - small rural places that nobody had ever heard of and where few people lived, yet were entitled to vote and send representatives to His Majesty's Parliament.


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We received this article a few days ago from a Turkish Marxist, who looks at the reasons behind the failure of Turkey's parliament to pass a motion giving the US the right to move its troops across Turkish territory into Iraq. Now it seems the Turkish government is attempting to get a second motion authorising the US to use Turkish air space to bomb Iraq, and this is to be voted on tomorrow.

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On March 1, Ankara witnessed two important events. While as a result of the dirty haggles between the government and the US, parliament was negotiating the government petition for a permit to allow US troops on to Turkish soil, there were tens of thousands of workers and youth in the streets of Ankara shouting no to war in Iraq. From Turkish Marxist website Marksist Tutum.

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On March 1, Ankara witnessed two important events. While as a result of the dirty haggles between the government and the US, parliament was negotiating the government petition for a permit to allow US troops on to Turkish soil, there were tens of thousands of workers and youth in the streets of Ankara shouting no to war in Iraq. From Turkish Marxist website Marksist Tutum.

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We received this article a few days ago from a Turkish Marxist, who looks at the reasons behind the failure of Turkey's parliament to pass a motion giving the US the right to move its troops across Turkish territory into Iraq. Now it seems the Turkish government is attempting to get a second motion authorising the US to use Turkish air space to bomb Iraq, and this is to be voted on tomorrow.

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