Iraq’s oil and Labour lies

On 22 May the last British troops left Iraq when 81 Royal Navy trainers left the southern port of Umm Qasr. That same day there were at least ten bomb attacks across the country. Foreign Secretary Hague declared that the allies had left Iraq ‘a much better place than we found it’. In 2010 the death toll from attacks in Iraq was 4,038 or 11 a day. So far this year 1,200 Iraqis have been killed in attacks. 179 British military personnel were killed in Iraq since the 2003 invasion. Iraq’s dead run into hundreds of thousands.


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War for global domination

FRFI 172 April / May 2003

The US/British Coalition war on Iraq has immense consequences not only for the countries involved, the invaders and the invaded, and the neighbouring countries in the Middle East, but also for the rest of the world. This war is a watershed, marking the complete disintegration of the old world order which subsisted from the Second World War onwards. This war initiates the new century that the US has marked down as its own: this is its opening bid for global domination. The British ruling class, under the leadership of its most committed imperialists, the Labour government, is no poodle, but a greedy partner in this enterprise. The Coalition strategy is both a war for oil and for stamping its authority on future world relations. We should be clear, however, that while the US may want to claim ‘a new American century’, and Britain may demand its share, the seeds of their own destruction have already been sown. Alongside wars come revolutions.

The Coalition war began on 19 March after months of diplomatic manoeuvring, strong-arm tactics, and behind the scenes, the remorseless movement of troops and war materiel to the region around Iraq. US Joint Chief of Staff, General Tommy Franks, promised ‘this will be a campaign unlike any other in history’, comprised of ‘shock, surprise, flexibility and overwhelming force’. ‘S, G and A’, he said, adopting the style of an advertising executive, ‘special forces, ground attack and air bombardment, in that order.’ Hundreds of journalists were ‘embedded’ with Coalition forces, ready to be drip-fed information favourable to the invaders. As if as a warning, a crew of ITN journalists travelling independently, were wiped out by Coalition ‘friendly fire’ in the first days of the war.


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Bin Laden killing signals US military intentions

As the crisis of capitalism deepens, the US must become ever more determined in defence of its global hegemony. The killing of Osama Bin Laden on 2 May 2011 was a calculated act to demonstrate that the US will use its military power wherever and whenever necessary, regardless of international law and national sovereignty. As President Obama boasted in his ‘victory’ speech, ‘Tonight, we are once again reminded that America can do whatever we set our mind to. That is the story of our history.’ Jim Craven reports.

Since Obama took office, air attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan launched against the (professed) wishes of their governments, and certainly against the wishes of the people, have increased dramatically. According to the Brookings Institute, ten civilians have been killed for every militant victim. In the past two years special forces operations have multiplied six-fold and now average 20 attacks every night. Their rules of engagement allow soldiers to kill ‘enemy combatants’ even if they are unarmed and present no visible threat. Hundreds of innocent men, women and children have been slaughtered.


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Iraq: Demonstrations rock government

Anti-government demonstrations were held in dozens of towns and cities across Iraq during February and continued into March. Thousands of people took to the streets and occupied buildings, demanding better services, clean water and electricity, more jobs and the dismissal of corrupt politicians and officials.

In Suleimaniyah in the Kurdish north, nine people were killed and 47 injured when the local militia fired on a crowd of more than 3,000 besieging the headquarters of Masoud Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party. Iraqi security forces also had to defend the headquarters of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, which is led by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani. Protests continued every day, causing the local government to impose a night time curfew. In Kut three people were killed in clashes with police while demonstrating against the US occupation and Iraqi Prime Minister Al Maliki. In Basra hundreds of protestors erected tents outside government buildings, while in Fallujah demonstrators carried banners reading, ‘No for sectarianism, yes for unity, down with Al Maliki’s government.’ In Sadr City, the poor working class area of Baghdad, posters read, ‘We voted for you, where are your promises?’ The Iraqi army tried to force demonstrators to leave Baghdad’s Tahrir Square and established checkpoints to identify protesters.


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Afghan people resist occupation

Reviewing the war on Afghanistan in December 2010, President Obama claimed that US/NATO troops had arrested and reversed the Taliban’s momentum. The US military claimed it had killed over 1,260 Taliban leaders and fighters and captured 2,360 in the previous three months. Since July 2010, when General Petraeus took command of US and NATO forces, there has been a 300% increase in special forces’ night-time raids. In Kabul, the CIA now has its biggest foreign station since the Viet Nam war, with a private army of 3,000. The number of bombs and missiles launched by the occupying forces increased by almost 50% last year. One US official proclaimed, ‘We’ve taken the gloves off, and it’s had a huge impact.’ Jim Craven reports.


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Iraq: new government – same occupation

At the end of December 2010, the Iraqi parliament finally endorsed Nouri Al-Maliki as prime minister, nine months after the elections. In a compromise deal following pressure from both the US and Iran, Sunni candidates received nine ministries and one of three deputy prime ministers. Iyad Allawi, favoured candidate of the US, whose Sunni-supported Iraqiya alliance won the most seats in the election, called for ‘real reconciliation’, having previously repudiated any coalition with Al Maliki. Supporters of the Shia cleric Moqtada Al Sadr received eight junior ministries. The Sadrists had also previously refused to join any government headed by Al Maliki, who had backed US attempts to destroy the Sadrist militia, the Mehdi Army, in 2007. Al Sadr himself returned from four years’ self-imposed exile in Iran and called on his supporters to give the new government a chance.


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Currency wars

The 11-12 November meeting of the heads of the G20 group of countries ended in failure. The world economy faces crisis: massive unemployment exists internationally, there are huge global trade and investment imbalances, and the shadow of a future financial crisis looms large. Yet by the end of the meeting, all they could agree about was a collection of platitudes, hopes, wishes and fine words about the desirability of co-operation.


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IRAQ: a record of death, torture and deceit

Secret US documents revealed by Wikileaks in October confirmed the record of atrocities committed by US, British and Iraqi forces that we have regularly reported in FRFI, but which the imperialists have always denied. Jim Craven reports.

In order to try to hide the extent of the slaughter, the imperialists maintained they never recorded the number of Iraqis killed, but the leaked documents log over 109,000 deaths. This is still a gross underestimate. For example, only 103 deaths were logged from 3,800 air strikes. The documents contain evidence of the murder of 21 civilians by British troops and 700 civilians killed at checkpoints. Video footage of resistance fighters being killed in cold blood while trying to surrender is included, as well as evidence that US forces were involved in Shia death squads. There are over 300 examples of US abuse and torture of detainees and at least 1,500 records of torture by the Iraqi security forces. Between 2004 and 2005 orders were issued to US forces not to intervene in such cases, but US troops continued to hand over Iraqi detainees, knowing they would be tortured.


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Violence rises in Iraq

Keen to bolster his poll ratings before the forthcoming mid-term elections, President Obama declared the end of US combat operations in Iraq at the end of August. The 50,000 US troops still in the country are supposed to leave by the end of 2011. They remain fully armed and combat-ready but are supposed to fight only in self-defence or if asked to do so by the Iraqi government.

However, six months after the elections in March, no elected Iraqi government was in place. The parliament of ‘democratic, sovereign’ Iraq, as Obama recently called it, had not met since January. Talks between State of Law, the coalition of incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, first with the other main Shia coalition, the Iraqi National Alliance, and then with Iraqiya, the coalition headed by Iyad Allawi that won most seats in the election, broke down because of Al Maliki’s insistence on remaining in office. The US is now trying to devolve prime ministerial powers while allowing Al Maliki to stay. The plan is to create a council for national strategy that would be headed by Allawi. He was the imperialists’ choice as first prime minister after the invasion and is long associated with the CIA.


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Iraq: eyes still on the prize

Iraq held a parliamentary election in March 2010 but still the country does not have a new government. The State of Law coalition, led by incumbent Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, joined forces with the other Shi’ite bloc, the Iraqi National Alliance, to achieve an overall majority but they cannot agree on who should be the new prime minister. US Vice-President Joe Biden has intervened to try and forge an agreement between Al Maliki and the imperialists’ favourite, Iyad Allawi, whose Iraqiya coalition won the most seats.


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Iraq: Sectarian elections provoke more violence

Following the stalemate in the March Iraqi parliamentary elections, sectarian divisions that were inflamed by the imperialist occupation are again threatening the security of the Iraqi people, as the various bourgeois factions battle for control of the country’s resources. In the election, the predominantly Sunni Iraqiya Alliance, headed by Iyad Allawi, won two more seats than Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki’s State of Law Party. Al Maliki immediately made accusations of electoral fraud and demanded a recount in Baghdad, which he hopes will give him four more seats. An Iraqi court has disqualified another two Iraqiya MPs because of links to the old ruling Baath party. Other opposition MPs have been arrested or have fled their homes fearing arrest.


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Iraq: elections serve occupation

The Iraqi parliamentary elections at the beginning of March demonstrated how the imperialist occupation has ‘enshrined sectarianism’. The strategy of dividing opposition along sectarian lines and then tying factions into a ‘legitimate’ electoral process is a well-tried imperialist tactic for emasculating national liberation movements: most recently in the so-called power sharing process in the Irish Six Counties. In Iraq, the imperialists armed the Shia militias for their battle against Sunni insurgents, and then paid and armed the defeated Sunnis when they had to seek the protection of the occupying forces. The imperialists then attacked the main Shia anti-occupation force, Moqtada Al Sadr’s Mehdi Army, which was eventually persuaded to lay down its arms following secret talks between Iran and the US. All the groups stood in the election but parties and voting predominantly reflected the sectarian divisions. A Sunni in Arasat, quoted in The Independent, said ‘I want to vote for a secular party, but everything now is divided along religious lines.’ A Shia worker in Najaf said ‘Democracy in Iraq is chaotic. Everyone lies.’


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Multinationals grab Iraqi oil

Since the height of the violence in Iraq in 2007, both civilian and US casualties have fallen by over 90%. There is, however, no peace for the Iraqi people. In the northern Kurdish areas around Kirkuk and Mosul tension remains high because Kurdish aspirations for an autonomous government controlling its own oil are being thwarted by central government and Sunni political advances in the region. Car and suicide bombs in the latter part of last year aimed at Iraqi government and US targets in the heavily fortified Green Zone in Baghdad killed more than 500 people. Sadi Piri of the Kurdish PUK said ‘This proves that the Iraqi forces are not able to control their own cities and borders’.


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Iraq: Tensions threaten to explode

Several large bomb attacks on Iraqi government buildings this autumn have demonstrated that the war there is far from over. The Iraqi government, which had begun to remove the US-built concrete blast walls, has been forced to start rebuilding them. 1.6 million internal refugees are still unable to return to their homes because of the violence. The attacks have highlighted the inability of Iraqi forces to maintain security and thus throw into doubt whether US forces will pull out according to the schedule promised by President Obama.

There are still 120,000 US troops in Iraq, supposedly away from the towns and not in combat roles. In reality, town boundaries have been redefined to allow US bases to remain nearby and US troops have been accompanying Iraqi forces on combat missions re-labelled as ‘reconstruction’. US forces are supposed to fall to 50,000 by 31 August 2010. Any delay will affect US options in Afghanistan.


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Iraq: US occupation under threat

Despite President Obama’s much vaunted pull-out from Iraq, there are still 134,000 US troops in the country, occupying 320 outposts and bases. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said he will maintain an average of 100,000 troops in Iraq during the next fiscal year and at least 50,000 throughout 2011. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki has reiterated that US troops may stay beyond the 2011 deadline. In addition, there are around 133,000 military contractors in the country, 36,000 of whom are US citizens.

US combat troops were supposed to have withdrawn from Iraqi cities by the end of June, according to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). Several city bases were able to remain, however, by simply redrawing city boundaries to define them as being outside. British television has also shown US troops continuing to operate within the cities in full combat gear, with guns at the ready supposedly undertaking reconstruction missions.


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Iraq: Obama’s great vanishing trick

On 4 June President Obama made a speech at Cairo University that was intended to cement ‘better relations’ between the US and the Muslim world. The cornerstone of the speech was a promise that the US would keep no bases in Iraq and would withdraw its military forces from the country by the end of 2011. Fine words, but reality does not mirror them. Obama has stated that only ‘combat’ troops will be withdrawn; such troops make up only about a third of the 130,000 US forces still in Iraq. The rest of the military personnel have now been re-labelled ‘advisors’ so that they can stay on in the areas vacated by ‘combat’ troops.


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US extends Afghan war into Pakistan

‘Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.’ Thus, in the first significant statement of his in­augural address, President Obama reiterated US imperialism’s justification for its military rampage in pursuit of global domination. In February he announced that 17,000 extra US troops will be sent to Afghanistan this spring. More will follow later in the year. Obama has requested $75 billion this year and $130 billion next year for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to a 4% increase in the Pentagon budget, bringing it to $534 billion: over $23,000 a second. JIM CRAVEN reports.

The US is preparing more intense aggression over a wider area. Rules of engagement suggested by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to try and prevent civilian casualties were dismissed as ‘unworkable’ by US/ NATO commanders. NATO’s senior military commander General John Craddock called for the indiscriminate shooting of alleged drug traffickers. US army chief General George Casey spoke of ‘no quick fixes’, expecting the military to be in Afghanistan in ten years’ time. The arena of war is now referred to as ‘AFPAK’ – Afghanistan and Pakistan combined. Within days of his inauguration, Obama sanctioned missile attacks on Pakistani villages that killed 22 people, including children; attacks that have continued with bloody regularity since. Rustam Shah Mohmand, former Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, said, ‘If anything, the policy [of missile attacks] is going to be more focused, more aggressive under Obama.’


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Iraq – internal conflicts threaten US plans

Between 92,000 and 107,000 US combat troops are to leave Iraq by the end of August 2010, four months later than Obama promised in his election campaign. His top generals wanted an even later date. Up to 50,000 troops will remain in the country. These troops are supposed to leave by the end of 2011. However, Defence Secretary Robert Gates has argued for ‘some very modest-sized presence for training and helping’ beyond 2011. Furthermore, a get-out clause in the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) allows the Iraqi government to ‘request continued US presence after the 2011 deadline’. The collaborationist Iraqi regime will be dependent on US money and weapons to maintain its power.

Corruption and election apathy
In January’s provincial elections Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki appeared to strengthen his position. His State of the Law coalition now dominates the councils in 10 provinces. Al Maliki, however, has been accused of using the state machinery to buy political support, giving money to tribal councils in return for votes, using the government-controlled media and doling out patronage and jobs. Turnout in the election was 51%, less than in 2005. In Baghdad the turnout was just 40%. As one Baghdad woman told the Financial Times, ‘What’s the point? All the local councils do is give money to their friends.’ In Salahaddin province Faka’a Ahmed Jihad concurred, ‘Electricity, water and employment, these are the three main things. But usually, everyone who comes along just pockets the money and changes nothing.’ The US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction is investigating the misuse of $125 billion of aid, including $50 billion that has ‘gone missing’. Senior US military officers are under suspicion.


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Occupation of Iraq – no end in sight

FRFI 207 February / March 2009

When Iraqi journalist Muntazer Al Zaidi threw his shoes at President Bush during a Baghdad press conference last December shouting, ‘This is a farewell kiss. This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq’, he no doubt hoped to be seeing the end not only of Bush but also the whole of the imperialist occupying forces. The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) signed between the US and the Iraqi governments in November calls for US troops to be withdrawn from Iraqi towns and cities by 30 June this year and from the whole of Iraq by the end of 2011. Opposition to the occupation by the people of Iraq and neighbouring governments, principally Iran, forced the Iraqi government to insist on far more than the US initially wanted to concede. But they both knew that the Iraqi government and President Al Maliki had to be able to pose as ending the occupation; otherwise the followers of Moqtada Al Sadr, who, unlike the Iraqi government, have consistently opposed the occupation, were likely to make sweeping gains in the forthcoming provincial elections. SOFA, however, includes provision for it to be cancelled by either side at any time.


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Iraq: Imperialists attempt an orderly retreat

FRFI 206 December 2008 / January 2009

Months of wrangling resulted in a vote for the Status of Forces Agreement between the US and Iraq by the Iraqi parliament on 27 November. ‘All US forces shall withdraw from all Iraqi territory no later than 31 December 2011.’ Make no mistake: if this is enforced it will be a defeat for US imperialism. All US forces are to pull out from cities, towns and villages ‘on a date no later than 30 June 2009’. From the boast of ‘Mission Accomplished’ in 2003 to the so-called victory of the surge in 2007, the reality is that the ground has given way beneath the imperialists’ feet until they stumbled and fell and could no longer claim success. They have accepted a way out that allows them to claim an orderly withdrawal – leaving behind over one million Iraqi dead, and, thus far, 4,136 US soldiers killed.


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Afghan War: Problems deepen as more troops are promised

In October, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, commander of the 16th Air Assault Brigade, told the Daily Telegraph, ‘We’re not going to win this.’ He had just returned from his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Three months earlier Carleton-Smith had claimed that the Taliban leadership had been ‘decapitated’ and that the ‘tipping point’ in favour of the occupation forces had been reached.

The imperialist’s exasperation was emphasised by Major Will Pike, a former serving officer in Afghanistan, saying, ‘No real thought is going into what we are doing and why. Who is in charge of the campaign in Afghanistan – the Secretary of State for Defence, the Foreign Secretary or the Minister for International Development?’ Major Pike highlighted the dilemma for British imperialism, the second biggest imperial power in terms of overseas assets, yet militarily too weak to defend its global interests without riding on the back of the US. He said, ‘If the UK wants to play on this stage, across the world, then the will has to be backed by the resources. Otherwise it’s a bit of a con.’ Jim Craven reports.


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Afghan war escalates: Pakistan under threat

US presidential candidate Barack Obama calls the tragedy in Afghanistan a ‘good war’, adding ‘we must win...there is no other option’. He has promised to send 10,000 extra troops to ‘finish the job in Afghanistan’. Far from winning, the imperialist occupation forces are stuck in quicksand and the more forces they throw in the more they will sink. Jim Craven reports.

A poll carried out by the Canadian Globe and Mail earlier this year showed that only 14% of Afghans wanted the occupying forces to leave the country immediately. However, more than half wanted them out within three to five years, 74% wanted negotiations with the Taliban and 54% would support a coalition government with the Taliban, indicating that a majority of the Afghan people does not see the war as Obama does; as a war to be won by the invaders. Furthermore, only a small minority of Afghans in the poll saw the Taliban as a united political force. The Globe and Mail concluded that, ‘The typical Taliban foot soldier … is not a global jihadist’… but a young man who has had someone he ‘knows or loves …killed by a bomb dropped from the sky’ and ‘fervently believes that expelling the foreigners will set things right in his troubled country’.


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Iraq: ‘sustained progress’ is ‘fragile and reversible’

Speaking of Iraq this summer President Bush claimed, ‘A significant reason for the sustained progress is the success of the surge’. It is thankfully true that casualties have fallen greatly in the past year, but that is only in comparison with the worst period of sectarian conflict. According to Iraqi government figures there were 851 Iraqis killed in July of this year, 300 more than in June. More than 3,000 people have been killed by Apache helicopter attacks alone in the past year. The imperialists launched 200 Hellfire missile attacks around Baghdad in the early summer compared with just six in the previous three months.


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The Bush administration is desperately trying to secure the colonisation of Iraq and control of its resources before the President leaves office. The US wants to impose a Status of Forces Agreement (Sofa) and a strategic framework agreement on Iraq that will ensure its long-term military domination of the country and allow the US to threaten other countries in the region, notably Iran. The agreements are reminiscent of those imposed on Iraq by British imperialism in the 1920s. Jim Craven reports.


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Divisions in NATO aid Afghan resistance

FRFI 203 June / July 2008

In 2006, the then Labour Defence Secretary, John Reid, claimed British forces were in Afghani­stan to ‘help and protect the Afghan people reconstruct their own economy and democracy’. The following year was the deadliest since the 2001 invasion with over 6,200 Afghan people killed. Louise Arbour, UN Commissioner for Human Rights, said that civilian casualties have reached ‘alarming levels’ and an Oxfam report said the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan was ‘comparable with sub-Saharan Africa’.

With the spring the struggle in Afghanistan has intensified again. The US launched unmanned Predator aircraft attacks on the Pakistan border and urged the Pakistan government to move troops into the region. Pashtuns on both sides of the border united. The resistance spread into the Swat Valley and rockets were fired at the provincial capital Peshawar. The Pakistan army suffered thousands of casualties.


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Iraqi poor resist imperialist onslaught

Much of the British media has fallen silent on Iraq. However, most recent attempts by the US, Britain and the Iraqi puppet government forces to secure the imperialist occupation of Iraq is meeting fierce resistance from sections of the Iraqi working class. The present onslaught began on 24 March when 15,000 Iraqi troops and another 15,000 members of the Iraqi police force attacked militia forces in Basra. At least 40 people were killed and 200 injured in the first two days of fighting. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki demanded that the militia disarm within three days. He proclaimed there would be, ‘No retreat, no talks, no negotiations.’ Al Maliki labelled the militias ‘criminals’ and ‘terrorists’, but the only target of his attack was the Mehdi Army, supporters of the Shiite cleric Moqtada Al Sadr. The militia supporting Al Maliki’s own Dawa Party and the Badr Organisation, supporters of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), were not targeted. Many of the Iraqi government forces are Badr militia in uniform. Jim Craven reports.


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Iraq ‘surge success’ unravels

The fires beneath the ashes still burned and have burst into flames. On the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, 20 March, the US and British governments gave the impression of victory. Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband said, ‘I think the war itself was a remarkable victory… building the peace has been more difficult but indications over the last year or two have been more encouraging about change’. President Bush told US forces that the ‘surge’ had ‘opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terrorism’. Three days later four US soldiers were blown up, bringing the death toll for US soldiers in Iraq to 4,000. On 25 March the Iraqi army attacked the Shia population’s biggest militia, the Mehdi Army, in Basra, unleashing clashes from Basra to Baghdad as the militia fought back. Four days into the fighting the Mehdi Army still commanded much of Basra. Mortars and rockets fired from Baghdad’s Shia neighbourhoods struck the Green Zone containing the US embassy and Iraqi government. US General Petraeus accused Iran of supplying the weapons and Baghdad was placed under a three day curfew. If this is ‘victory’ what would defeat look like? Jim Craven and Trevor Rayne report.


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IRAQ – resistance beyond the ‘surge’

FRFI 201 February / March 2008

The media have been feeding us images of life returning to normal in Iraq. They would have us believe that the US ‘surge’ has turned the tide and that perhaps the invasion and occupation have been worthwhile after all. The Daily Telegraph, alongside a picture of the man smiling and waving, voted General Petraeus, architect of the ‘surge’, their ‘Person of the Year’. It said, ‘Where once Iraqis saw the glass as virtually empty, now they can see a day when it might be half full’ –a cruel metaphor at a time when fewer than a third of the Iraqi people have access to safe water, cholera has broken out in the poorest parts of Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan and water-borne diarrhoea is the second-biggest killer amongst Iraqi children. More than nine million Iraqis are living below the poverty line. Women and children have to beg or prostitute themselves to feed their families. The number of items available on government rations has just been halved. One in five children has stunted growth because of malnutrition. What sort of warped humanity gains comfort from these conditions? Only those longing for just enough improvement to begin the plunder of Iraq’s oil and resources. JIM CRAVEN reports.


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IRAQ: Normalising genocide

FRFI 200 December 2007 / January 2008

The war on Iraq has been removed from the headlines, except for reports of British or US soldiers’ deaths. We are fed the occasional lie that ‘life in Baghdad is returning to normal’ and that ‘the surge is working’. We are being conditioned to accept war as normal. Meanwhile, the leading groups on the British left squabble in public over the legacy of the Stop the War Movement and the remains of Respect, and they build nothing, absolutely nothing, to oppose the warmongering British Labour government. JIM CRAVEN reports on the war in Iraq.


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Iraq: bloody reality behind the lies

FRFI 199 October / November 2007

September’s report by General Petraeus on the progress of the so-called ‘surge’ was always going to be ambiguous, for the reality is too obviously horrific. Accordingly Petraeus, commander of US forces in Iraq, claimed modest success in reducing sectarian violence and in preparing the Iraqi security forces so that he could plead more time was necessary for the ‘surge’ to work. Since the military aims of the ‘surge’ were vague, Petraeus’s report was never going to give a clear judgement on the success or failure of the supposedly short-term strategy. He was left, therefore, to say that the undefined tasks were unfinished and so make the continuing US occupation of Iraq seem inevitable. The political purpose of the ‘surge’ was to give a new impetus to the occupation and defuse the mounting criticism of President Bush. In that sense, the ‘surge’ and Petraeus’s report have done their job. Jim Craven reports.


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Iraq: Resistance grows to imperialists’ bloody surge

FRFI 198 August / September 2007

At the end of May, President Bush warned the US people to ‘prepare for a bloody summer of heavy fighting and loss of life’. In the three months to mid-July 2007 331 US soldiers were killed and 2,029 wounded in Iraq, the bloodiest three months for the US since it and Britain invaded the country in March 2003. From early June to mid-July 13 British soldiers were killed in Iraq. The so-called troop ‘surge’ was reaping its predicted toll on US and British soldiers and taking thousands of Iraqi lives. JIM CRAVEN and TREVOR RAYNE report.


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