Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Iraq: Condition critical

Despite the spin from Washington, London and Canberra, an internal report from the US embassy and military command in Baghdad shows that Iraq’s ‘political, economic and security situation’ in six of the country’s 18 provinces is “serious” and “critical” in one. Only in three Kurdish-controlled areas in the north is the situation described as “stable”.The report, compiled before February’s devastating bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, shows that Iraq is fracturing along ethnic/religious lines. It also confirms that sectarian ‘ethnic cleansing’ is happening in mixed Sunni-Shia populations.

The insurgency against the coalition troops and interim government is largely Sunni Arab based. Whereas in the south, especially in the province of Basra, pro-Iranian Shi’ite political factions and militias are growing in power.

George Bush, Tony Blair and John Howard argue that the antidote to sectarian violence is the formation of a national government – which has still not been formed since December’s parliamentary elections. But the lack of a ‘national government’ is precisely because of the domination of sectarian politicians and political parties.

That is why the dominant Shia ‘United Iraqi Alliance’ coalition in parliament is refusing demands from the US and British government’s for the Shia interim Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari to stand down.

But even if a national unity government were to be formed it would be largely impotent as the police and army battalions are loyal to the leaders from their own communities. The war and occupation has shed huge amounts of blood while greatly worsening all of Iraq’s problems.