Socialist Worker

Assault means new tragedy for Iraqis

by SImon Assaf
Issue No. 2098

Imagine a helicopter gunship firing missiles into your home, or troops storming into your neighbourhood to round up all the men. This is the life ordinary people in Iraq face today.

Both the US government of George Bush and Britain’s Gordon Brown want us to believe that foreign troops are in Iraq to help the country become a democracy.

But, as with everything they have said about this war, it is a lie. In 2003 Bush claimed that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction.

None were found after the invasion. The US also said that Iraq helped plan the 9/11 attacks – that was also a lie.

When the reasons for war were found to have been made up, they said Britain and the US had to stay in Iraq to “stop a civil war”.

Yet it is the Iraqi government, put in place by the US and British occupation, that is creating this civil war.

Sectarian militias, armed and backed by the US and Britain, kidnap and murder those who are opposed to the occupation.

This is known as the “war of the corpses”, as the bodies of the victims are found in canals or by the side of the road every day.

Meanwhile the invasion opened up the country to those who want to stir trouble among Iraq’s different religions.

Millions of Iraqis have suffered untold horrors under the occupation.

Over one million have been killed, four million have fled their homes and many more are living in poverty and misery.

The people of Iraq want the occupation to end. In poll after poll the vast majority say they are sick of the foreign troops.

It has got so bad for Iraqis that a man who in 2003 helped pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein – the former dictator and one-time friend of the US and Britain – now says he regrets it.

For five years occupation troops have rampaged through neighbourhoods, towns and villages.

Now they are laying siege to the poor slums of east Baghdad.

The mainly Shia Muslim areas – known as Sadr City – support the Mehdi Army, a resistance organisation headed by popular cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.


US troops and their Iraqi allies have put these poor neighbourhoods under siege. They are building a wall to imprison its people and have cut off all medical supplies, food and water.

The 2.5 million people who live in this area are refusing to allow occupation troops into their homes. So the US military has been firing missiles into the neighbourhoods.

These missiles are armed with fragmentation, incendiary or fuel air explosives that are designed to rip apart, burn or implode the lungs of their victims.

Hundreds of people have been killed in the area over the last few days. The hospitals are full of the wounded, but have run out of medicines because of the siege.

Sadr told his followers not to get involved in a war with occupation troops or Iraqi soldiers. Since August of last year he has enforced a ceasefire.

But last month troops attempted to storm the poor neighbourhoods of Basra, the oil rich city in southern Iraq.

Iraqis across the country rose in revolt, seizing a string of towns and launching attacks on the Green Zone – the former palace of Saddam Hussein in the centre of Baghdad that is now the headquarters of the occupation.

Still Sadr ordered his supporters not to carry on with the battle. He said he wanted to negotiate. But his pleas were ignored.

Now Sadr has threatened to extend the resistance across Iraq if the siege and the bombings do not stop.

He said, “I’m giving the final warning to the Iraqi government to desist and take the path of peace and denounce violence with its people – or we will announce an open war until liberation.”

Over 4,000 US troops and hundreds of British soldiers have given their lives for this war of lies – over half a million have been maimed or are suffering psychological problems because of what they have seen or been ordered to do.

Thousands of soldiers have been organising against the war in their military bases and among their families.

This opposition means there are less young people prepared to join the army. So the US and British governments want to use schools as recruiting centres.


Teachers and students are opposed to this, saying, “Why should young people sacrifice their lives for oil?”

One of the main reasons why Iraq was invaded was so the US could open up the country’s vast reserves of oil and gas to Western companies.

Multinationals such as Exxonmobil, Total, Premier and Occidental Petroleum have swooped on the country in a mad dash for super profits. But this oil rightfully belongs to the Iraqi people.

The estimated cost of the occupation is spiralling towards $3 trillion. This is more than enough money to feed the world, end poverty and eradicate disease.

The occupation is increasing the instability of the Middle East. The US is threatening military action against Iran and Syria.

The first step towards getting a peaceful future for Iraq is for the foreign troops to get out.

The hope lies with the millions around the world who are opposed to the war.

The anti-war movement has been called the “other world power” and will bring to book those who sold this bloody war of lies. If you want peace, you should join this movement.

To join the Stop The War Coalition go to » you have a relative or friend who is in the army contact Military Familes Against the War at » stop the military recruiting in your school or college go to »

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Tue 22 Apr 2008, 18:32 BST
Issue No. 2098
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