Socialist Worker

In brief

Issue No. 1907

Kill and cover up

TWO MISSILES fired by US warplanes killed 22 Iraqis in Fallujah last Saturday. Fallujah was the scene of fierce resistance to the occupation of Iraq earlier this year. US forces were forced to withdraw from the city and give control to the "Fallujah brigade" made up of Iraqi troops.

But US troops decided to flex their muscles last weekend. Local residents say that the second missile was launched only after neighbours had come out onto the streets to rescue victims from the first strike. US brigadier general Mark Kimmitt said that one of the houses hit was being used by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian who the US claims has links to Al Qaida.

Iraq's interim prime minister Ayad Allawi parroted the US's line, saying, "We welcome this hit on terrorists." But the local "Fallujah brigade" were outraged by the attack. Brigadier Nouri Aboud said, "We inspected the damage. We looked through the bodies of women and children and the elderly. This was a family. There is no sign of foreigners having lived in the house. Zarqawi and his men have no presence in Fallujah."

The attack echoes the massacre on the Iraqi-Syrian border last month when US warplanes, supposedly targeting "terrorists", killed 40 at a wedding party.

Price of a life

THE MINISTRY of Defence has been trying to buy the silence of families of victims killed by British troops in Iraq. Iraqi families have been asked to sign documents accepting cash payments as "full and final settlement" for the lives of their loved ones.

According to Amnesty International the going rate for an Iraqi life is around $1,400. One exception to this rule was Baha Mousa, a hotel worker beaten to death by soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.

His father is a well known Iraqi police colonel. His family were offered $8,000 in return for their silence-an offer they refused. Baha's father plans to take the Ministry of Defence to court next month. There are four other prosecutions pending against British troops involving the deaths of Iraqi civilians.

Anti-war protests

PROTESTERS WERE preparing for Bush's visit to Dublin this week for the European Union and US summit, and in Istanbul in Turkey for his appearance at the NATO summit next week.

A Turkish socialist reports, "Bush and his guys are only able to have a meeting by turning the city into a mini police state. Workplaces have distributed maps of those parts of the city which will be closed to traffic and pedestrians. It covers practically the whole city centre. There will be some 35,000 policemen on duty, and this does not include the foreign or local secret police. The Gelme Bush (Don't Come Bush) campaign has turned the city into a permanent and lively protest area. There have been demonstrations, a concert, and last week the Alternative Summit started discussing peace and where next for global resistance. On Sunday there will be a big demonstration to show Bush and his partners in war, occupation, murder and torture that they are not wanted in Istanbul."


More chaos in the pipeline?

IRAQI OIL exports ground to a halt last week as resistance fighters blew up Iraq's last functioning pipeline. A bomb attack destroyed the pipeline near Basra in southern Iraq on Wednesday of last week.

It was the latest in a series to hit Iraq's oil industry. The resistance fighters are using the attacks to prevent the occupying forces from stabilising the country. Their tactics are working. Most Iraqis rightly blame the occupying forces for bringing chaos to Iraq.

As Kamal, an Iraqi shopkeeper, told journalists, "I can't believe that the Americans can equip an entire army here but don't bring in spare parts for our power stations."

Most of the people living in Baghdad get eight hours electricity a day. This means that food cannot be stored and air conditioning is off most of the day.

Battle against the occupiers

FIVE DAYS in Iraq give a glimpse of the anger and resistance to the regime the US has created:

Sunday 20 June: Two Iraqi soldiers were killed during an attack on a US military convoy on the road to Baghdad airport. The US now admits that it no longer controls this strategically crucial road. Helicopter gunships are being used for six hours each day to get convoys through. A guard and three others were killed in a mortar attack on the central bank in Baghdad on Sunday morning. In Fallujah US troops shot and killed a Turkish civilian and his Iraqi guide. In Sadr City, a suburb of Baghdad, around 20 Iraqis were killed or wounded in clashes with US troops.

Saturday 19 June: The resistance attempted to assassinate health minister Alladin al-Alwan and killed seven of his guards. Ten Iraqis were killed in fighting north of Baghdad. A US marine was killed in fighting in the Anbar province west of the capital. Resistance fighters attacked the house of the interior minister Faleh al-Naqib with rockets in Samarra, north west of Baghdad, killing four of his guards. In Tikrit gunmen killed a city council member, Izzuddin al-Bayati.

Thursday 17 June: Some 35 people queuing for jobs at an army base controlled jointly by the US and Iraq were killed by a suicide bomber. Bashar Abdul Jabbar, who was badly injured in the blast, told the Guardian's Jonathan Steele, "The Americans are behind these bombs. If I get better, I'll fight the Americans myself."

Wednesday 16 June: Three US troops were killed in a rocket attack on a US base near the city of Balad.

Monday 14 June: Five foreign contractors travelling in a convoy were killed in Baghdad. According to the Independent's Patrick Cockburn, "A crowd spontaneously danced around one of the charred bodies chanting 'America is the enemy of God'."

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Article information

Sat 26 Jun 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1907
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