Socialist Worker

The new dictators act like the old dictator

The brutality of the US-led occupation of Iraq has given rise to a new resistance

Issue No. 1896

THE BIGGEST single group of people who suffered repression under Saddam Hussein's regime are in revolt against the US occupation. And George Bush's only answer to the Shia uprising is to act in the same brutal fashion as the government that was toppled a year ago.

US forces are again bombing people in Baghdad and strafing them from helicopter gunships. Bush is ready to send in thousands more troops in an attempt to break further resistance.

US spokespeople said they will not "tolerate violence in Iraq". What they mean is that they will only tolerate violence carried out or sponsored by the US. In a chilling echo of the Israeli army's tactics in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip, the US military has surrounded the city of Fallujah and has said it will "pacify" the protesters.

But no amount of fake rhetoric about "protecting freedom" and no amount of bloodshed can hide the reality that the US is now in deep trouble. Naomi Klein said this week in the Guardian, "Make no mistake: this is not the 'civil war' that Washington had been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds.

"Rather, it is a war provoked by the US occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shia who support Moqtada al-Sadr."

The US invaded Iraq to control its oil and increase US power and influence across the world. Instead it has got bogged down in a war of resistance. The chaos and the mounting US deaths in Iraq are burning the imperialist dreams of George Bush and his cabal of right wing followers. They are also creating big problems for Bush with the US elections approaching.

This week's events confirm that the millions who opposed the war and the Bush gang's plans for the world were right. The Respect candidates standing on 10 June will be trying to focus the feeling that Blair's government of war criminals must now pay the price for following Bush to war.

Madrid 'terror' protest targets the war

THE BBC and other news organisations reported a large protest in Madrid, Spain, on Monday "for peace and to say no to terrorism". But they didn't add that the marchers, in a working class suburb, carried banners which included "The working class pays the price for capital's wars" and others against US militarism and the occupation of Iraq

After 'handover', power stays with US

THE SUPPOSED "handover of power" to Iraqis at the end of June is a sham. "Power" will be given to a hand-picked group of pro-US politicians. Over 100,000 US troops will be stationed in Iraq. US engineers have begun building 14 "enduring bases" there.

Paul Bremer, the US overlord of Iraq, passed a law at the end of March further opening up Iraq's economy to foreign ownership-and none of the contractors pay tax. The US has imposed a series of regulations to shackle the press and TV. They cannot use material that "incites violence against coalition forces" or "incites civil disorder".

The new Iraqi government is forbidden to change any of these provisions under the interim constitution and Bremer-appointed regulators will stop the Iraqi government from making any changes to business contracts. The US embassy, situated in one of Saddam Hussein's palaces, will administer the $18.4 billion from the US which will be used to "reconstruct" Iraq. Iraqi soldiers will still answer to the US commander in Iraq.

The only significant "handover" is the health service, which Iraqis will be able to run-and fund-themselves. The war based on lies is followed by the "democracy" based on US repression and theft of resources.

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What We Think
Sat 10 Apr 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1896
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