Iraq

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.

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.

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.

At recent gatherings of the major powers (from the D-Day celebrations to the G8) a lot of noise has been made about more cooperation between the major powers, in particular between the USA and Europe. What lies behind this? Is there really a common position developing? Yossi Schwartz explains why any idea of unity between the major powers is a mere pipedream.

In the last few days the masses in many parts of the Middle East have been pouring out onto the streets in protest against the murder of civilians in Iraq and Gaza. They have been coming out emboldened by the feeling that the killing machine of the occupying armies in Iraq and Gaza can be defeated. Yossi Schwartz, just returned from one of these protests in Rafah (Gaza) looks at the effects throughout the Middle East and in particular in Israel. 

Despite all their best efforts at covering up the truth, the United States military has been compelled to open a criminal investigation into the acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, which have now been broadcast on TV screens around the world. Each passing day brings new and more shocking revelations. Now it seems there are a further 1000 digital photographs to be published. As usual, the military only admit what cannot be denied. As we are now learning, these initial pictures represent only the tip of a vast and extremely ugly iceberg.

The invasion of Iraq stands exposed for what it always was: an act of naked aggression leading to the forcible occupation of a country by foreign troops against the will of the people. Naturally, such a state of affairs can only be sustained by the massive, uncontrolled and unlimited use of force. We can now see the results of this on the front pages of today’s newspapers.The United States military has been compelled to open criminal investigation into acts of abuse, humiliation and torture against Iraqi prisoners, committed by US soldiers and officers as photographs of horrific incidents were aired for the first time on US network television.

The monstrously oppressive nature of US imperialism stands exposed in all its bloody nakedness. Fallujah is being reduced to smoking rubble before the eyes of the world. Heavily armed American gunships are slowly pounding it into dust. Many civilians have fled in panic; many lay buried beneath the shattered remnants of their homes.

The US army is now faced with a general insurrectionary upsurge all over Iraq. This marks a qualitative change in the situation. This week has seen the heaviest fighting since the end of the war, with the US losing 33 soldiers in three days. By last night, the troops which overthrew Saddam Hussein a year ago this week, had been driven from five Iraqi cities after heavy fighting.

Iraq is in flames. Insurrections and fighting have spread across the country. The US-led coalition is fighting a desperate war on two-fronts: against Sunni rebels concentrated in the western towns of Falluja and Ramadi and a Shia uprising in south and central Iraq. This is just three months before the US is due to transfer power to an Iraqi government and the situation is deteriorating with every passing day.

Yesterday’s bomb attacks in Iraq have brought the plight of the Iraqi people back into the attention of the whole world. It reminds everyone of the terrible mess that the US-UK war against Saddam Hussein has provoked. Iraq was no threat to anyone. That has been abundantly demonstrated now. So what has been achieved?

Things are going from bad to worse for the occupying forces in Iraq. As the guerrilla insurgency intensified, US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived in Baghdad to check things out “on the ground”.

Saddam Hussein has been captured. On Saturday, US troops finally caught the man who had eluded them for months. The Americans could not conceal their euphoria. Paul Bremer, the imperial proconsul in charge of occupied Iraq opened the long anticipated press conference with the words: "Ladies and gentlemen, we've got him." The capture of Saddam Hussein may give Bush and Blair a temporary respite. But nothing fundamental has changed and none of the basic problems have been solved. The fighting will continue as before, or even get worse.

Bush is now in Britain on the first state visit of a US president to this country in eighty years. The trip was obviously planned long ago and when it was organised Blair probably was not aware of how strong the antiwar mood in Britain would become. But the consistent lies on the part of both Blair and Bush have convinced even many of those who initially went along with their arguments that the whole war was totally unjustified. It has exposed the real reasons for the occupation of Iraq - to get their hands on the oil and to achieve a strategically important position in the 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).