Socialist Worker

Why the US and Britain are determined not to leave Iraq

Issue No. 2096

An occupation without limit and a war without end. This is the message coming out of Britain and the US following the recent uprising by Iraqis.

According to a classified document obtained by the Daily Telegraph, the US wants Iraq to accept that there will be no time limit to the occupation.

The US is planning to pressure the United Nations to change its mandate to allow foreign troops to 'conduct military operations in Iraq and to detain individuals when necessary for imperative reasons of security'.

This demand indicates that the US has lost faith in its Iraqi allies following a mutiny when the Iraqi army attempted to crush the resistance in Basra.

Now the US and Britain have frozen plans to 'draw down' their troops in Iraq.

In the last week US troops have been engaged in fierce battles in Baghdad despite a call by rebel cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for his fighters to stand down. In one incident US helicopter gunships fired anti-tank missiles into dense neighbourhoods.


In another document obtained by the German Der Spiegel magazine, Nato, the military alliance that rules Afghanistan, sets out 2011 as the earliest date it could begin withdrawing troops.

France, Germany, Holland, the US and Britain have also began to pour thousands of extra troops into Afghanistan ahead of a 'spring offensive'.

Both documents expose the lie that the occupations have turned the corner and that a 'surge' of troops has created stability.

Meanwhile the true cost of the assault on Basra and other cities two weeks ago have been revealed. According to Doctors for Iraq, over 350 people were killed during the fighting, with over 1,200 injured.

They say, 'Much of the fierce fighting in the city took place in densely populated civilian areas. Many of those who were injured are reported to be women and children.'

UPDATE: After Socialist Worker went to press, general David Petraeus, the top military commander in Iraq, announced that the US will freeze the withdrawal of its troops from the country. Petraeus told a the US Congress that he is making the 'surge' of 30,000 troops permanent.

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Tue 8 Apr 2008, 19:57 BST
Issue No. 2096
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