Socialist Worker

Bloodbath in Baghdad as US army lashes out

Issue No. 1919

THE US occupation is losing its grip on Iraq—and it is lashing out with ever greater brutality in response. At least 110 Iraqis died at the hands of the US military last Sunday.

“We’ve seen a tremendous increase in the number of attacks,” admits Brigadier General Erv Lessel, a US military spokesperson.

Iraqi resistance fighters attacked the so called Green Zone in central Baghdad last Sunday.

This is the fortified compound in which the US embassy and the Iraqi “interim government” is based.

Shortly after the Green Zone attack, Iraqi resistance fighters destroyed a US Bradley armoured vehicle using a car bomb.

A crowd of unarmed Iraqi civilians surrounded the empty vehicle. US helicopters fired into the crowd, killing 13 and injuring 60 others.

The US army claimed the helicopter had fired on the Bradley to destroy it after it had been hit and caught fire. “It was for the safety of the people around it,” said Major Phil Smith.

But eyewitness reports and television footage show that the US helicopter fired directly at the crowd. The incident took place in Haifa Street, a Baghdad neighbourhood known as a centre of resistance to the occupation.

“We are just ordinary workers. We are just trying to live,” said Haidar Yahyiah, 23, sobbing as he lay in bed in Karkh hospital with a broken leg after the helicopter attack.

Clashes between the Iraqi resistance and occupying forces are now breaking out all across the country. Colonel Alaa Bashir, police chief for the Yarmouk district in west Baghdad, was killed by a bomb while on patrol. A US plane attacked the Mehdi Army in their stronghold in Sadr City, east Baghdad.

US troops have now lost control of three Iraqi towns: Fallujah, the Sunni Muslim city in central Iraq; Ramadi, which lies 20 miles to the west of Fallujah; and Tal Afar, a town dominated by ethnic Turkmen in northern Iraq.

A US attack on Tal Afar last week killed at least 60 civilians and wounded a further 100. US forces bombarded the town for 13 hours.

A further 57 Iraqis were killed in Tal Afar on Sunday, according to US military figures. The town’s Turkmen community leaders say the death toll is as high as 500.

The bloodshed has prompted the Turkish government to threaten to halt cooperation with Washington. Turkey has close ethnic and linguistic links with Iraq’s Turkmen minority.

Bosses’ paper admits no way out for US

THE OCCUPATION of Iraq is such a disaster that even establishment papers like the Financial Times are calling for the withdrawal of US troops from the country.

An editorial in the paper on Friday of last week argued, “After an invasion and occupation that promised them freedom, Iraqis have seen their security evaporate, their state smashed, and their country fragment into a lawless archipelago ruled by militias, bandits and kidnappers.”

It added, “There are signs that US officials are beginning to ‘get it’.

“But if they are increasingly aware that what they have created in Iraq is a disaster, they seem at a loss to know what to do about it.

“The time has come to consider whether a structured withdrawal of US and remaining allied troops can chart a path out of the current chaos...

“None of this will be less than messy.

“But whether George Bush or John Kerry wins the upcoming election, the US will eventually have to do something like this.

“Chaos is a great risk, and occupiers through the ages have pointed to that risk as their reason for staying put.

“But chaos is already here, and the power that is in large part responsible for it must start preparing now to step aside and let the Iraqis try to emerge from it.”

Iraq: bring the troops home

Meetings organised by the Stop the War Coalition

Tower Hamlets

Mon 20 September

7.30pm, Kingsley Hall, Powis Road (Bromley-by-Bow tube/ Bow Church DLR).

With Tony Benn (Stop the War Coalition)

Lindsey German (StWC)

Sami Ramadani (Iraqi political exile)

Kate Hudson (CND)


Fri 24 September

7.30pm, Irish Centre, 14-20 High Street, Digbeth (near coach station).

With Tony Benn (StWC)

Salma Yaqoob (Birmingham StWC)

George Monbiot (campaigner and writer)

John Rees (StWC)


Mon 27 September

7pm, Main Hall, St Peter’s Chaplaincy, Precinct Centre, Oxford Road.

With Rose Gentle (mother of Gordon Gentle)

Ken Loach (film-maker)

John Rees (StWC)


Mon 27 September

7.30pm, Civic Hall.

With Ghada Razuki (StWC)

and Anas Altikriti (Muslim Association of Britain).


Tuesday 5 October

7.30pm, Friends

Meeting House, The Friars.

With Lindsey German (StWC).

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Article information

Sat 18 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1919
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