Magazine of Socialist Action in Australia

Iraq: Four years of occupation

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Four years on from the invasion of Iraq, and what have the Iraqi people got? A more dangerous and insecure situation than ever. 2006 was the most violent since the occupation began, with 44% of all violent civilian deaths under the occupation occurring.
By Greg Maughan, Socialist Party

Not surprisingly, according to a BBC and other news media poll, 100% of people in Baghdad believe the coalition’s presence has been a failure and 78% of Iraqis oppose the occupation.

The poll also reveals what life is like for ordinary Iraqi people. Only 39% of Iraqis feel that things are good in their lives, little wonder when sectarian violence and suicide bombings mar their daily lives. Three-quarters of Iraqis reported feelings of anger, depression and difficulty concentrating.

67% said they felt reconstruction efforts have been ineffective. Again, no big surprise, when much of the $16.5 billion reconstruction budget has been siphoned off into ‘security costs’ and pocketed as ‘profits’ and bribes.

The US Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group estimated that between five billion and seven billion dollars have simply ‘gone missing’ every year since the occupation began!

79% of Iraqi people thought that the current availability of jobs was bad – this in a country where unemployment is estimated to stand at around 70%.

The bloody ‘shock and awe’ of US/UK imperialism has shattered Iraq’s infrastructure. Now a layer, with no other option and desperate for work, are turning to the only people that seem to be hiring; the Iraq police force.

But in an interview with the New York Post Ahmed Habib reveals how he was told to pay a $200 bribe to have his application processed. Unable to afford the payoff, he was turned away and now spends most days waiting on the side of a road with other unemployed labourers, hoping someone might offer $10 for a morning’s work.

“If there is no work, I stay until sunset and go back home,” said Habib. “I go back and tell [my family] they should sleep because there is no dinner.”

Iraq’s shattered infrastructure, huge unemployment and daily violence is the result of Bush and Blair’s war for power, prestige and profit in the Middle East.

Bush’s ‘surge’ of troops, which will bring total US military expenditure up to $20,000 a second by 2008, will not improve the situation that the workers and poor masses of Iraq face. On the contrary, the longer the troops stay the worse things will get. Their presence is deepening sectarian tensions and fuelling the descent into civil war.

The only way out of the nightmare is through the united struggle of Sunni, Shia and Kurdish workers, for an end to the occupation and for a fight to use the huge mineral wealth and resources of Iraq to improve the lives of the majority and not to line the pockets of foreign multinationals or regional capitalists.

This means a fight against capitalism and the sectarian division that imperialism has bred and the working class – Shia, Kurds and Sunni as well as Turkomen and others – establishing a workers’ and peasants’ Iraq and struggling for socialism. This is the only road that can end the nightmare of Iraq.


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