Iraq

“We can have just our usual flag with the white stripes painted black and the stars replaced by the skull and cross-bones.” (Mark Twain). “With the ramrod as instrument, ‘Freedom’ is to be jammed down the throats of the insurgent patriots whom our expansionist capitalists insult with the name of ‘insurgents’.” (Daniel De Leon).

On the day of the elections the media led us to believe there had been a massive turnout, with pictures of Iraqis celebrating “democracy”. Now the real figures are out and the turnout was shown to be well below 50%, even 30%. As they lied about the reasons for the war, why not lie about the elections as well?

Today they are ringing their bells. Tomorrow they will be wringing their hands.” (Walpole)

The propaganda machine was well oiled and ready to roll into action. The speeches had been written weeks in advance by clever people in Washington. The Iraqi elections were an outstanding success, a victory for democracy; millions of ordinary Iraqis were queuing up to cast their vote for freedom. The rule of the gun had lost, the rule of democracy had won. The future of Iraq was bright, and so on and so forth.

The elections have taken place in Iraq. The masse media have presented us with the myth that now “democracy” will reign in Iraq. An occupied country cannot have genuine democracy. Different sections of the population reacted in different ways. Some boycotted, others took part with the illusion that this is the road to peace. The illusion will soon be shattered. Not until the heavy yoke of imperialism and its monstrous twin, capitalism, are removed will the people of Iraq begin to breathe freely.

Recent revelations about British troops using torture on Iraqi prisoners have finally put an end to the myth that the British army is somehow better than the American. All occupying armies are using these methods. The Labour movement must demand the unconditional withdrawal of all troops from Iraq.

The real reason why the insurgents are opposed to the “elections” is because they are a cynical lie and a deception of the people of Iraq and world opinion. They are not intended to introduce a genuine democracy. How can any people be free with a foreign jackboot on its neck? The real purpose of the so-called elections is quite clear: to legitimise the American-led invasion of Iraq and disguise the cruel reality of foreign occupation under the façade of a puppet administration.

Some American Republicans are calling for the resignation of Kofi Annan as UN general secretary. The alleged reasons are accusations of corruption. As always the real reason lies elsewhere. It is part of the onging conflict between the major powers over the war in Iraq.

On October 21 Prime Minister Tony Blair confirmed that the British government had agreed to a US request to redeploy the approximately 850 troops and support staff of the Black Watch regiment from their base in southern Iraq to positions near Baghdad.

The Black Watch regiment was clearly moved to Baghdad for political reasons. Blair wanted to help Bush in the US elections and also prove that British troops are needed in Iraq. Once again he has lied to the British public and he has shown that he is prepared to risk the lives of ordinary soldiers to achieve his own political objectives. Not by Christmas! The troops should be pulled out now.

On the face of it, the siege of Fallujah seems to be going relatively well for the US troops. Most of the city has been captured and according to the mass media “Operation Phantom Fury” will be finished in a couple of days. However, things are not so simple. The war in Iraq was also supposed to be over, whereas it clearly is not. The same applies to Fallujah, where an official victory may well turn out to be a Pyrrhic one.

Only a few weeks ago the bourgeois newspapers bombed us with their great expectations in Iraq, presumably on its way to “freedom and democracy”. Yossi Schwartz comments on these predictions.

The war drums are being beaten once again in Fallujah. After the siege in April this year, the city will again be the scene of an onslaught, probably bigger than last time. During the last weeks, the US forces stepped up their daily air raids while at the same time applying heavy psychological warfare tactics. Threatening to crush the resistance, US imperialism is now actually heading steadily for an all-out assault on Fallujah.

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. Until this moment, June 30th had long been put forward as the unchangeable and non-negotiable date when the future of Iraq would be decided. Now the whole thing was rushed through with indecent haste, two days early.

“Wait until Charlie gets back with the final report,” George Bush said confidently in June in reply to reporters fishing after a confession of the president that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Well, now Charlie is back and the report is nothing less than a devastating blow to Bush and Blair.

After three weeks of fighting the moderate Shia Islamic leader, Ali al-Sistani, has intervened and brokered a compromise in Najaf. However, no long term solution can be provided by such manoeuvres. Today they may "pacify" Najaf, but the fighting will erupt again in the future. Only if the working class gives a lead to the resistance can a final solution be found. By Fred Weston (August 27, 2004)