Socialist Worker

Bullying, bribing and lying to justify killing

Issue No. 1837

BUSH AND Blair are ready to ignore the vast majority of the world's people to launch their war. They are ready to wage war with or without getting it sanctioned by the United Nations (UN).

But to try and give their war the veneer of UN support they are also bullying and bribing other states to whip them into supporting it. The rulers of France, Russia and China have made noises of opposition to Bush and Blair. No one should trust these crooks to stand against war.

France's president, Jacques Chirac, has already sent an aircraft carrier to the Middle East, and if given a big enough share of the carve-up of Iraq's oil will fall into line behind Bush and Blair. China's leaders will do the same. And the US is bribing Russia by agreeing to help Russian president Vladimir Putin's bloody war of terror against the people of Chechnya.

The US is simply bullying the smaller states on the UN Security Council.

  • Last week the US approved an extra $4.1 million for the resettlement of refugees in Angola. The Angolan government is desperate for trade and aid deals with the US.

  • The US has given $2.1 million to Guinea in north west Africa. Guinea is run by a right wing dictatorial government, similar to that of Saddam Hussein's, headed by Luansana Conte.

    Instead of facing condemnation, let alone the threat of war, Western governments hand over about $200 million a year to his regime-around half of the country's national budget. All the smaller countries on the UN Security Council remember what happened to Yemen during the 1990-1 Gulf War.

    Within days of Yemen voting against a UN resolution supporting that war, the US stopped some £70 million in aid. Last week a US official threatened, 'Those countries that receive aid from the United States themselves recognise the importance of donor dollars, and don't need to be reminded.'

    Bush and Blair are only bothering with the UN because they are worried about the growing strength of the global anti-war movement. But if slaughtering Iraqi people is wrong, it is still wrong even if the US and Britain bully and bribe the leaders of other states to support it. A chain of false links


    A chain of false links

    COLIN POWELL, the US Secretary of State, was to attempt to link Saddam Hussein with Al Qaida this week. His claims are lies to justify war. The US says that a man called Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a key member of Al Qaida. He was injured in the US bombing of Afghanistan and was treated in Baghdad. But al-Zarqawi was never mentioned in the long list of Al Qaida's senior men which the US has paraded before.

    'He's just an ordinary man,' said a former Arab fighter in Afghanistan. 'He ran a guesthouse in Afghanistan in an area run by an anti-Taliban warlord.' Another claim is that the Al Ansar Islamist group, which operates in an area in northern Iraq, is connected to Saddam Hussein.

    Mullah Krekar, the leader of Al Ansar, lives freely in Norway. He says, 'If Powell says anything against me I can use documents to prove it is not true. Our aim has always been the toppling of the Iraqi regime.' Even high placed US officials say that there is no link between Iraq and Osama Bin Laden.

    'I've talked to my sources at the CIA,' says former CIA analyst Melvin Goodman, who heads the National Security Project. 'All of them are saying the evidence of a link between Al Qaida and Saddam Hussein is simply not there.'


    A day of global rage

    NEXT SATURDAY, 15 February, will see the world's biggest day of action against war. Up to 15 million people will demonstrate in 37 different countries. Since the meeting of the social movements from around the world in Porto Alegre in Brazil last week, even more countries are now organising protests.

    US anti-war activists expect more people to protest in New York than the 300,000 who marched in Washington three weeks ago. Socialist Worker spoke to some of those planning demonstrations around the world.

    'This is not a war to free the Iraqi people, this is a war to seize Iraqi oil. Millions around the world understand this. On 15 February we will fill the capitals of every country with one message-no blood for oil, victory to the intifada,' says Simon Assaf in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

    'The global day of action is going to be massive here in Athens,' says Panos Garganas of Greece's Stop the War Coalition. 'The governing party, Pasok, has said that it backs the demonstration. Both the Greek TUC and the civil servants' TUC are calling for their members to join the march.'

    A Zambian socialist told Socialist Worker this week, 'We've been inspired by London and the US. We are holding a demonstration in our capital, Lusaka, on 15 February.'

    An anti-war activist in neighbouring Zimbabwe told us, 'We are holding demonstrations on 15 February in both Bulawayo and the capital, Harare. The two themes of the demonstration will be 'Stop the war on Iraq' and 'Stop police brutality in Zimbabwe'. What George Bush and his poodle Tony Blair are seeking to achieve, as unaccountable global dictators, is what Mugabe is doing at a smaller level in Zimbabwe.'

    Antonino Campenni is a national executive member of the Cobas union in Italy. He told Socialist Worker, 'We can stop this war. We expect at least 500,000 in Rome on Saturday, but there could be many, many more. We are working on a general strike against the war.'


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