Socialist Worker

The US is set on attacking Iraqis

Issue No. 1827

UNITED Nations weapons inspectors went into Iraq again on Monday. US president George Bush is still desperate to go to war against Iraq. 'The inspections cannot work-period,' said a senior US Pentagon official last week.

'Military power works-period. All this is a sideshow which, the longer it drags on, the greater the need to break the cycle becomes and the need to get involved militarily.' On Sunday 8 December Iraq will have to make a declaration of its stock of weapons.

The US plan is to claim that this list is 'untruthful', and to use this as a pretext to launch an attack. Even before they entered Iraq, the US was piling pressure onto the United Nations weapons inspectors to ensure they found Iraq guilty of a 'material breach' of UN resolutions.

Shortly before the weapons inspectors arrived in Baghdad US and British aircraft bombed Iraq for the third consecutive day. When the Iraqis fired back, the Us said that this already amounted to a breach of UN resolutions and sufficient grounds to start a war. It is Bush who will decide when the bombing starts, not the UN.

More details of the US plans to attack Iraq came out last week. The US military will launch a 'massive onslaught' to convince Saddam Hussein's soldiers to 'surrender or die'.

'The basic question the Iraqis are going to have to answer is, 'Am I safer as a prisoner or fighting for Saddam?'' one source told the Observer newspaper. 'If you find an infantry unit facing you there are various options,' said the source.

'If you have as much money as you want you can put 25 Apache helicopters in the air, fly 50 F-16 sorties, and destroy it. 'It's kind of difficult to surrender to a plane that is several miles above you. 'There will be no gradual build-in or insertion as in Afghanistan. This will be all out from day one.'

The US wants to increase its global power and ability to attack anywhere. This week's NATO conference was to set up a rapid response force of 20,000 troops, backed up by air and naval support. This would strike suspected 'terrorist bases' anywhere in the world without the permission of the host nation.

The US and other states like Britain want to redefine NATO from a 'defensive' organisation to an offensive one that can take action anywhere in the world. 'This force would go 'any time, anywhere, at very short notice', says US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld.


Build anti-war movement

By Lindsey German, convenor, Stop the War Coalition

THE STOP the War Coalition has organised a national conference for Saturday 7 December. This comes out of the success of the 28 September demonstration and 31 October day of action against the war.

It is a very important conference, as the drive to war is not letting up. We want to get all the activists, the people who represent the coalition, together. A lot more forces now back the coalition-the Green Party has affiliated as well as many trade unions. We now have hundreds of groups affiliated.

We want to get together and discuss where we think the coalition is going. There will be political discussion at the conference-the drive to war on Iraq, the US strategy, and opposition to the United Nations resolution.

There will also be discussions about what kind of campaign we want, and the relationship between the national steering committee and local groups. A new steering committee will be elected.

There are several ways that people can be delegated to the conference. Each local Stop the War Coalition can send up to four delegates to the conference.

Any affiliated organisation-like union branches, tenants organisations or campaigning organisations-can send delegates depending on the number of members it has. An individual member with a standing order to the Stop the War Coalition can come as a delegate.

Other people can come along as observers. The Stop the War Coalition has organised a national demonstration for Saturday 15 February in London. This will now be an international day of action against war.

We want to have occupations of universities and mosques, and have anti-war film showings for people to go to the night before. This takes a lot of organising. In the event of a war breaking out sooner, we will have a national demonstration in London the Saturday after the attacks. There will also be protests in every major town and city.

We have another day of action planned for Saturday 14 December when people should collect money, leaflet and do stalls around the theme of peace at Christmas.

There are a lot of local anti-war demonstrations coming up-in Manchester this weekend at the CBI conference, Newcastle, Oxford and Belfast. The conference is about organising the Stop the War Coalition so that we come out of the New Year ready for the war that the US is looking for in January or February.

Stop the War Coalition national conference, Saturday 7 December, 10am-5pm, Camden Town Hall, London (opposite King's Cross station). Phone 020 7053 2155/6 or go to www.stopwar.org.uk


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News
Sat 23 Nov 2002, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1827
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