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George Bush will still be boss in ‘free’ Iraq

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Will Iraqis really be running Iraq from Wednesday of next week? Socialist Worker looks at the facts
Issue 1907

The army

AT LEAST 140,000 US troops will remain in Iraq after 30 June. Right wing US columnist Jed Babbin recently admitted, “If they are not subjected to the law and authority of the new Iraq provisional government, how can they be anything other than an occupation force?”

The US will be in charge of recruiting, training and supplying new Iraqi troops. The Iraqi army and police will be funded entirely from the Pentagon military budget.

The economy

Iraqi oil revenues will, for the next five years, continue to be controlled by the Development Fund for Iraq. Ten foreigners and one Iraqi appointed by Paul Bremer control the fund.

Much of the money has already been allocated by the Coalition Provisional Authority in a last-minute spending spree before the handover of power (see story below). The IMF and World Bank will continue to exercise “accounting authority over the spending of all Iraqi oil revenues” until Iraq’s $110 billion of foreign debt is cleared.

The new administration in Iraq will be heavily dependent on money “donated” by the US. But the US will tightly control how this money is used and where it is spent.

The new regime

The unelected prime minister of Iraq will be Ayad Allawi. He is widely seen by Iraqis as a CIA stooge. The new government’s line-up of ministers will be almost indistinguishable from the existing US-appointed ruling council. And even this puppet regime will be allowed only very limited power.

The Wall Street Journal reported back in May, “As Washington prepares to hand over power, US administrator Paul Bremer and other officials are quietly building institutions that will give the US powerful levers for influencing nearly every important decision the interim government will make.” The US ambassador John Negroponte, who masterminded the US-backed death squads in Central America in the 1980s, will control an embassy staff of over 2,000 people. That’s the largest in US history.

The US also wants to dictate who will be allowed to contest elections in Iraq-if and when they take place. It issued a ruling banning radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr from contesting elections.

Guess what? Locals still won’t control oil

DURING THE invasion of Iraq the pro-war camp argued that oil revenue would be put in trust for the Iraqi people. But in the weeks leading up to the “handover” the US-run Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) has approved over $2.5 billion in expenditure. When the new government is established it will be obliged to meet these spending commitments.

Iraq is almost entirely dependent on oil revenue and international donations. At a conference in Madrid last September governments promised to donate $13 billion to rebuild Iraq, but only $2 billion has been delivered. The US Congress has promised more money, but the CPA has hardly used any of this money, preferring to make the Iraqi people pay to rebuild the country.

The spending wing of the CPA is called the Programme Review Board. Its members are drawn from among the US, British and Australian military and diplomatic staff, with two Iraqis nominated by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Planning.

‘Liberated’ give verdict

AN OPINION poll carried out by the Coalition Provisional Authority in May was leaked to the press last week. It reveals that 2 percent of Iraqis see the US troops as liberators, while 92 percent see them as occupiers.

More than half believed that all Americans behave like the guards at the Abu Ghraib torture centre. Some 55 percent said that they would feel safer if the US withdrew their troops immediately.

Two thirds of Iraqis supported Moqtada al-Sadr, the militant Shia cleric who mobilised his supporters against the occupation. He is the second most popular figure in Iraq.

The most popular was Ali Sistani, the Shia cleric who demanded democratic elections in Iraq.

Let the Iraqis choose

Protest on day of fake handover

Wednesday 30 June, 6-9pm Parliament Square, Westminster, London

Called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and Muslim Association of Britain 020 7053 2155


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