There was scarcely a part of the world where the British Empire did not intervene to draw a line on the map based on ethnic or religious divisions. This led inevitably to conflict even where none had existed before.
Now the US is using the same tactic and Iraq faces being divided into three states — one Kurdish, one Shia and one Sunni. The first two will have oil, the other not. It is a recipe for civil war. This is resulting in sectarian conflict as Kurdish groups force Turkmen and Sunni minorities out of “their” state. In Baghdad, with its Shia and Sunni mix, it threatens to turn the city into a war zone.
The initial results from voting in Iraq on the US designed constitution shows more widespread opposition to the break up of the country than the US expected. But there is a much clearer message that grows stronger from Iraq’s people every day — the occupation must end.
Don’t let them turn up the heat on Iran
Last weekend US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice was in London urging Tony Blair to join the US in threatening Iran with force if it continues to develop its nuclear power programme. Iran is being attacked because it might develop technology that could lead to nuclear weapons.
As Rice and Blair met it was revealed that New Labour has handed over £2 billion to develop a new generation of nuclear missiles. Over £10 billion more will be needed to rent the missiles off the US. The government is trying to prevent a parliamentary debate on this.
This paper opposes nuclear weapons and nuclear power, but to the east of Iran lies Pakistan which has nuclear weapons. US forces lie on two of Iran’s borders. Beyond that lies Israel which possesses nuclear weapons. Israel has threatened to bomb Iran’s nuclear power plant.
Iran is being lectured by the US about the state of its democracy but its elections are better than those in the state of Mississippi where a third of all black men are excluded from voting.
All of this demands a response opposing any attack or threats against Iran, and supporting the removal of US and British troops from the region.
Disastrous healthcare sell-out for workers
Bosses celebrated this week’s news that US union leaders have agreed a deal with General Motors (GM) management to cut £1.7 billion a year from the firm’s healthcare bill.
Rick Wagoner, GM chairman and chief executive, gloated this was the “single biggest cost reduction in a single day in the history of GM” — or indeed almost any other company.
In backing the deal — and another £1.7 billion of cuts — union leaders have accepted their members must pay more from their wages for healthcare and contribute more to costs if they fall ill. US workers are victims of the Iraq war — the $203 billion spent so far could have gone towards a national health service free to all. Union leaders have sent a terrible message that workers must pay to defend their bosses’ profits.
It’s the idea that TUC leader Brendan Barber followed over pensions this week. GM and British public sector workers should reject these deals.