The resistance in Iraq has been scoring success after success in their struggle against the occupying imperialist forces of the US and the UK, as well as the forces of the stooge Al-Maliki government foisted on the country in fake ‘free’ elections held under the auspices of armed and aggressive alien forces.
The situation as of 1 November, reported in The Independent of that date in front page headlines is that Baghdad is under siege. “Sunni insurgents have cut the road linking the city to the rest of Iraq”. Militias – i.e., resistance fighters – are engaged in “bloody battles for control of towns and villages north and south of the capital”. The town of Al-Amarah, handed over with much fanfare by the British army of occupation to the quisling forces promptly fell in October to Shia militias commanded by Muqtada Al Sadr.
The bourgeois press in this country, including The Independent, is presenting the raging battles as sectarian in-fighting between Sunnis and Shias, which will lead to Iraq’s effective partition into Shia, Sunni and Kurdish statelets – but this is no more than wishful thinking on the part of British imperialism.
The fighting in Al Amarah, for instance, was between quisling Shias (the al-Badr Brigade) and anti-imperialist Shias, and can in no way properly be described as sectarian. Likewise, if anti-imperialist Shias control much of Baghdad, while anti-imperialist Sunnis control much of the surrounding countryside this division of labour by no means implies a sectarian divide.
It is possible, with a good degree of twisting of the facts, to make out some just about credible (albeit false) case for the fighting being ‘sectarian’, because Sunnis did not for the most part participate in the elections staged by imperialism in Iraq, while very many Shias did. The result of this is that Shias are over-represented in the hated quisling government, as well as in the armed forces and police at its disposal. These people, however, are targeted by the resistance – both Sunni and Shia – not because they are preponderantly Shia but because they are quislings and national traitors.
The resistance in Iraq is fully aware of the machinations of imperialism to divide them. They are quick to point out that the cowardly attacks on unarmed civilians that take place are frequently in areas cut off by imperialist troops, where nobody can enter unless the imperialist troops allow them to do so. It is so contrary to the interests of the resistance to carry out such attacks, that the only possible conclusion is that they have been staged by imperialist spies and saboteurs. A recent report by resistance sources on an incident which took place in Madinat as-Sadr where a bomb hidden in a dustbin bag killed 29 people, mostly day labourers queuing up in the hope of getting a day’s work, noted: “Such bombings that target civilian areas are widely believed to be part of an effort to spark sectarian conflict in Iraq in order to facilitate efforts to partition Iraq according to plans drawn up by Zionist and American strategists.
“Since the US occupation of Iraq, plans of this nature were reflected by Leslie Gelb (President Emeritus of the US Council on Foreign Relations) in ‘The Three-State Solution’ published in The New York Times on 25 November 2003, in the article by Gelb and US Democratic Senator Joseph Biden in ‘Unity through Autonomy in Iraq’, in The New York Times on 1 May 2006. Banking on splitting the Shi`ah in Iraq from the rest of the country was a cornerstone of the neo-Conservative strategy laid out in ‘A Clean Break’ a paper drawn up by American Zionist government officials Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser, and Paul Wolfowitz in 1996 for the then Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Then in 2000 the neo-Conservative Project for a New American Century wrote Rebuilding America’s Defenses on the basis of the ‘Clean Break’.
“But before the recent period, the idea of ‘the dissolution of Iraq into a Shi`ite state, a Sunni state and the separation of the Kurdish part’ was voiced by veteran Zionist military correspondent Ze’ev Schiff in Ha’aretz on 2 June 1982 and was a part of the divide-and-rule strategy laid out by Zionist writer Oded Yinon in his ‘Strategy for Israel in the 1980s’, published in Kivunim (Directions), A Journal for Judaism and Zionism, published by the World Zionist Organization in occupied Jerusalem in February 1982. (It was translated by the late anti-Zionist writer and activist Israel Shahak and is widely available.)”
The fact is that the resistance is very well aware of imperialism’s strategy on this question, and of the fact that the partition of Iraq could only benefit imperialism, not the people of Iraq, be they Shia, Sunni or Kurdish, and there is no evidence of the resistance falling prey to imperialism’s divisive propaganda.
Demoralisation of imperialist forces
As a direct result of the successes of the Iraqi resistance we witnessed last month the extraordinary and unprecedented spectacle of the newly appointed British Chief of General Staff in Iraq, Sir Richard Dannatt, openly questioning his orders.
The Sunday Telegraph was dumb-struck. Sean Rayment wrote in ‘Fighting for his army’: “It has long been a time-honoured convention that the Army’s top general fights his Whitehall battles behind closed doors. While many previous military chiefs have complained privately that their expertise was often ignored, few dared to venture into the treacherous waters of public political debate for fear they would quickly find themselves floundering out of their depth.
“That unwritten rule, however, was blown apart in the most sensational fashion last week when General Sir Richard Dannatt, the newly appointed Chief of the General Staff (CGS), appeared to launch a pre-emptive strike against the Government’s foreign policy when he declared that Britain’s presence in Iraq was exacerbating the security problem. The 55-year-old general also said that the military mission to turn the war-torn country into a pro-Western Arab democracy was too ambitious and, for good measure, he declared that there was a direct link between the Iraq war and ‘Islamist violence’ in Britain.
“Never in living memory has the professional head of the British Army created a furore on such a global scale. Overnight, the face of the previously unknown general was splashed across virtually every newspaper in Britain and the fallout from his comments reverberated around the world. While his strident views and his willingness to speak out on controversial subjects earned the general instant hero status among the Army’s rank and file, his comments created a sense of complete panic within Downing Street and along the corridors of the Ministry of Defence”.
Another point made in his interview to the Daily Mail upon which Sean Rayment was commenting is that British troops in Iraq were serving no useful purpose:
“The British are not even policing Iraq, merely guarding bases and venturing on occasional patrols that offer target practice for passing mujaheddin” (as reported by Simon Jenkins, Sunday Times, 15 October 2006, ‘A simple-minded general stirs internet mutiny in the ranks’). The general’s conclusion was that the presence of British troops in Iraq was only exacerbating the situation and they should be withdrawn some time soon.
He also implied that the presence of British troops in Afghanistan was illegitimate: they had not been invited in but had “kicked the door in”, and as a result were resented by local people. Last but not least, he warned of the risk that the Iraq mission could ‘break’ the army.
Several bourgeois newspapers remarked that such mutinous and ‘unconstitutional’ remarks warranted General Dannatt’s instant dismissal, but instead Tony Blair and his minions, who must have been incandescent with rage, went round pretending that the government was entirely in agreement with General Dannatt because he had said troops should not be withdrawn from Iraq immediately – and General Dannatt was persuaded to ‘explain’ what he had ‘really’ meant was not actually what he had said. But the reason General Dannatt could not be sacked, as Simon Jenkins so succinctly pointed out, was that “Ninety per cent of the army appear from media and internet evidence to support him, which must render him unsackable”. That is to say that British troops can see perfectly well that they are in a complete no-win situation and they want out! Furthermore, the Daily Mail of 16 October tells us (Matthew Hickley, ‘Now the Whitehall knives come out for the honest general’) that “Opinion polls revealed the risks facing the Government as three quarters of the public said they agreed with Sir Richard”.
Mid-term elections in the United States
It is not the British alone who are fed up with this war. Mid-term elections are coming up in the United States and it is considered likely by most people that the unpopularity of the Iraq war (i.e., the fact that the US is losing it) will cost Bush’s Republican Party control of Congress and perhaps even the Senate. The spin doctors are fighting a rearguard battle to try to convince the American public that they would be succumbing to the strategy of the Iraqi bad men – to use American democracy to defeat America, and of course Americans can’t allow the bad men to get their evil way! One can only hope that the American electorate will see right through this tricky rhetoric.
Saddam Hussein sentenced to hang
Another desperate measure to gain support for the Republicans is the death sentence hurriedly pronounced on 5 November against Saddam Hussein. His lawyers, who are being constantly changed, had asked for time to prepare their closing speeches but this was refused precisely in order to get the verdict out in time to influence the US elections. It seems that there is nothing that enthuses the American public more than a juicy judicial murder, and George Bush is hoping that Saddam can save his bacon. Perhaps he can.
The fact remains, however, that convicting Saddam Hussein and sentencing him to death was a foregone conclusion once he had been captured. His trial was an elaborate sham conducted at the behest of foreign aggressors who had illegally invaded his country in order to depose its elected government. His ‘crime’ was to try to defend Iraqi national interests against imperialism. We unreservedly condemn this cowardly death sentence against Saddam Hussein – whose legitimate right to be President of Iraq is more than amply proved by the armed struggle that the people of Iraq are so heroically conducting against his enemies. Although the imperialist forces have lost in Iraq, even though they are actively looking for ‘exit strategies, they will murder Saddam Hussein before they go because he has defeated them. But in killing Saddam they will be unable to kill the fighting spirit of the Iraqi people who refuse to succumb to the imperialist diktat in spite of the shocking hardships to which they have been subjected. Even as the imperialists plan Saddam Hussein’s dispatch, they are trembling with fear contemplating what will be the Iraqi people’s response to the news of the death sentence. They know it will spark off even more vigorous resistance, and they have mustered together all their forces – cancelling all leave for army personnel – in the hope of being able to withstand the blows the Iraqi people will be directing at them on Saddam’s behalf. In the end, however, in killing Saddam, it is round their own necks that they are tightening the noose.