Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Iraq: Bush, Blair and Howard – losing the war

Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the 72 hours following the London bombs, there were 17 bombings in Iraq and up to that point 40 suicide attacks in July alone including the horrific attack in Musayyib, south of Baghdad, where more than 100 people were killed and 130 injured when a suicide bomber blew up a fuel tanker near a crowded marketplace in front of a Shi’ite mosque.
By Stephen Boyd, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland) The US, British and Australian governments are trying many different tactics in order to try to crush the resistance in Iraq. None of them have had any real impact on the situation so far. The elections have failed to deliver stability, overt and covert military operations continue to do no real damage to their elusive target, and imperialism’s divide and rule tactics are preparing the ground for a possible civil war.

Polls show that 60% of Americans want the occupation to end and Bush’s rating has fallen to 40%, his lowest ever. A Republican Senator, Chuck Hagel said “The White House is completely disconnected from reality. It’s like they’re just making it up as they go along. The reality is we are losing in Iraq.” Blair too will face even more opposition to Britain’s involvement in the occupation when the dust settles from the London bombings.

Capitalist plunder

The World Bank has agreed to lend $500 million to Iraq for infrastructure projects, but this is a pittance and will have no impact on the crisis in Iraq. Previous meetings in Madrid and Tokyo pledged aid of $33 billion but to date only $1 billion has been paid amid concerns over corruption and security. The chief economist at Iraq’s central bank, Mudhir Salih Kasim has said that basic services such as water and electricity are in their worst state in decades.

In the West, governments, security forces and the media have been painting a picture of an Iraq in the grips of al-Qaeda. The majority of news reports focus on attacks claimed by al-Zarqawi and his al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia group. However according to Michael Schwartz, Asia Times, 8 June 2005: “Don’t be fooled by the press coverage – the car bombs are not detonated at random, nor are they primarily directed at Shi’ite mosques. In fact, only a handful have been targeted primarily at civilians – the vast majority are aimed at recruits or active duty members of the Iraqi police and army” as a tactic to destroy the US attempts to build an Iraqi armed force.

He goes on to explain that the small proprtion of sectarian attacks which target civilians are carried out by Al Qaeda, who have stated that the occupation leaders were “being aided by their allies from Shi’ites…The Shi’ite sect has always spearheaded any war against Islam and Muslims thorughout history.” It is estimated that despite what Bush, Blair and Howard claim only a tiny proportion of attacks in Iraq are carried out by Al Qaeda, perhaps as little as five attacks out of an average of 400 per week, and 70% of these are directed against the US armed forces. Leading members of the resistance movement have now labelled al-Zarqawi and Al Qaeda as criminals and enemies of the Iraqi people.

Unending horror

The US is involved in a dirty war of black ops involving death squads. James Steele, a leader of a Special Forces team in El Salvador in the 1980s is now in Iraq. As is Steve Casteel, a former top official involved in the “drug wars” in Bolivia, Peru and Columbia. He is a senior advisor to the Interior Ministry to which “friendly” militias (pro-US death squads) are subordinated.

The US has been trying to build up and use an Iraqi military force in order to cut the losses of US troops, which are now rising towards 1,800. Yet the forces they have been putting together have been fermenting sectarian division. In Fallujah members of the Iraqi National Guard are made up of Peshmerga (Kurdish militia) and Badr forces (Shi’ite militia) and have been accused by local Sunnis of acts of humiliation and repression. The people of Fallujah have also accused US troops of raping many women during the battles there last year.
It is estimated that over 100,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion of Iraq and that 60,000 Iraqis are in detention, although the US has only registered the names of 17,000.

The horror faced by the Iraqi people and the bombings in London, Madrid and Bali are a direct result of imperialism’s war to control Iraq’s oil – mass murder in the pursuit of profit. The occupying armies should be withdrawn immediately from Iraq, and a mass party of the Iraqi working class and poor uniting all ethnic groups must be built on the basis of fighting for a socialist future for Iraq. By using the oil wealth for the majority of the people and not in the interests of international capitalism or Iraqi’s new capitalist leaders, the Iraqi people can secure a future free from occupation, repression, poverty and the threat of civil war.

The Socialist Party says

– No to Terrorism!

– No to War!

– Withdraw all imperialist troops from Iraq and the Middle East!

– For a socialist Iraq of the poor peasants and workers!

– No to racism, for workers unity!


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