Socialist Worker

Anti-war mood across the world

Issue No. 1830

PEOPLE ACROSS the world oppose George Bush's plans for war on Iraq, a new survey has revealed. The survey of views from 44 countries was overseen by former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. It shows how hostility to the US regime stems from a deeply rooted suspicion about Bush's motives for waging war on Iraq.

The survey also reveals a widespread feeling that the US tramples on the interests of poorer countries, contributes to a growing gap between rich and poor, and has failed to help address the world's problems. The report says, 'Images of the US have been tarnished in all types of nations - among long term NATO allies, in developing countries, in Eastern Europe and, most dramatically, in Muslim countries.'

Most people questioned drew a distinction between the US government and its policies, which they disliked, and the US as a whole, which remains popular. A separate follow-up survey found growing opposition to Bush's war on Iraq among its allies. 'Overwhelming majorities' are against the use of force to overthrow Saddam Hussein. This includes 79 percent in Russia, 64 percent in France and 71 percent in Germany.

The opposition to war is causing a massive headache for German chancellor Schršder, who was re-elected on an anti-war platform but is now letting US forces use bases in Germany. The influential German Green Party has now come out against the war. The number of people who agreed that 'the US wants to control Iraqi oil' was also impressive. It included 76 percent of Russians, 75 percent of French people and 54 percent of Germans questioned.

They believed this was much more important to the US than creating stability in the Middle East. In Britain the survey showed that around 50 percent of the population opposed war on Iraq and reject the government's pro-war propaganda. Just two years ago a majority of people in Turkey, a US NATO ally, had a positive view of the US.

Now a majority thinks war on Iraq has nothing to do with the threat posed by Saddam, and 40 percent of them have strongly negative views about the US. A huge 83 percent of people in Turkey oppose their country being used as a launchpad for a US attack on Iraq. A Europe-wide day of protest against war has been set for 15 February. In Britain the Stop the War Coalition is encouraging people to organise now for a mass show of opposition to the war. A national demonstration has been called for 15 February.

The night before, the coalition is inviting people to come to London for a festival of anti-war events. The coalition reports that anti-war meetings are still attracting big audiences, especially where they are held in new areas. Experience shows that nowhere is too small to host activities against the war. These events can help mobilise wide numbers of people for the protest in February.

  • Stop the War Coalition national conference, Saturday 11 January, London. For more information go to www.stopwar.org.uk or phone 020 7053 2155.


    Dossier that US damned from start

    PRESIDENT BUSH hijacked the Iraqi weapons dossier this week. The 11,807-page document was presented to the UN inspection team. The team's leader, Hans Blix, announced he would not allow the US regime to grab the document. But the White House just took it, claiming that it had the best photocopiers. It is censoring versions of the dossier given to some other UN members. The CIA had claimed to have a 'smoking gun' - conclusive proof that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    This proof failed to materialise. But that didn't stop the warmongers rushing to denounce the dossier as lies before they had set eyes on it. Foreign secretary Jack Straw announced, 'Saddam Hussein has been consistent about one thing only, and that is his telling of lies.' The hawks in the White House have insisted that if UN weapons inspectors fail to find evidence of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the Bush gang will 'beef up the team'.

    They will add lots of US officials, and drag Iraqi scientists and their families out of Iraq for interrogation. Richard Perle, chair of the Pentagon's defence policy board, openly ridicules attempts to find out whether Iraq has weapons.

    He warned, 'There are ways of knowing what is going on in Iraq other than as the result of a small number of inspectors on the ground looking for evidence.' There are now three times as many US planes flying over the Iraqi 'no-fly' zone than a couple of years ago. The planes are flying lower and lower and dropping more bombs in what experts see as an attempt to provoke a pretext for war.

    US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld is reported to be ready to declare Iraq in breach of the UN resolutions and launch an attack 'within weeks'. US general Tommy Franks and 600 war planners from central command in Florida have set themselves up in the small Middle Eastern country of Qatar, just 700 miles from Iraq. Some 400 military personnel from Britain are joining them to play computerised war games. They are ready and eager to start blasting ordinary people inside Iraq.


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    News
    Sat 14 Dec 2002, 00:00 GMT
    Issue No. 1830
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