Iraq: War & Chaos Without End

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In the last few days, the situation in Iraq has once again returned to the front pages of the bourgeois daily papers. The latest attempt of the US forces to crush the radical shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and his ?Mahdi army? in their Najaf stronghold has spurred a new wave of violence across Iraq, from the slums of Baghdad to practically all Shiite cities of southern Iraq. Cities and towns are being bombed and hit by rockets, adding untold numbers of dead and injured to the growing list of victims in this latest example of capitalist barbarism. The much ballyhooed ?return of sovereignty to the Iraqi people? at the end of June notwithstanding, after over a over one year since ?major hostilities? were declared over, the war shows no signs of abating. The American casualties of war are reaching one thousand soldiers dead while thousands have been injured and condemned to a life of physical pain and psychological problems. And regardless of the many promises that preceded the US invasion of Iraq, there won?t be road to a prosperous, peaceful and ?democratic? Iraq.

A year after the overthrow of Sadam Hussein the rationalizations that the American bourgeoisie used to launch its war against Iraq have been exposed to be nothing but gross fabrications. Today even school children know that the Bush administration lied about the whole issue of ?weapons of mass destruction? in supposedly in the possession of the Iraqi regime. The very people that the American paid to find Iraq?s secret weapons and illicit armaments programs have concluded that there were no such things after all. The same goes for the supposed involvement of Sadam Hussein in the September 11 attacks to New York and Washington. The reality is that there has never been any evidence to substantiate the Bush administration?s claim of links between Sadam Hussein and the terrorists of al Qaeda.

Now the actions to crush the new Shiite uprising and the behavior of the brand new ?Iraqi government? are putting a couple more nails in the coffin of the much worn-out American political credibility.

The US invaded Iraq, the myth goes, among other things, in order to ?liberate? the oppressed Shiite population that Saddam Hussein had so ruthlessly victimized. The massacres that ended the 1991 Shiite uprising were used as one more proof of the immorality of Iraq?s regime. In this regard, it is worth remembering that after the first Gulf war, the US encouraged the Shiite population to revolt but left the butcher of Baghdad enough military force to easily suppress the rebellion. Nevertheless, despite being let down previously by American imperialism, when the US invaded Iraq last year, the Shiite population welcomed of the US ?liberators,? even if they did not join in the fighting. Now it is within this same Shiite population that the opposition and hatred for the Americans is among the strongest in Iraq. Last May, after battling Moqtada Al-Sadr?s militia for over a month, the US reached a face-saving political compromised that averted an all-out assault against the holy city of Najaf and other strongholds of its supporters. Now, at a time when the Bush administration is so much in need of being to point to some kind of success of its policy in Iraq, the US seems to have gone back to square one. Neither a military solution nor a new political compromise with Al-Sadr and his supporters can help the US out of the quagmire in Iraq. At the military level, despite the fact that unlike last April, it has the option of using the resurrected ?Iraqi army? as a first line of attack, thus putting an Iraqi face to its military operations, still an all-out military assault to crush Al-Sadr and his supporters will further alienate the Shiite population and discredit even more the puppet government of Iyad Allawi. On the other hand a political compromise with Al-Sadar and his militia has no better chance of success and can only erode more American political credibility. It is this dilemma that explains the constant change of course and hesitations of the US and its creature, the Iraqi ?provisional government,? in dealing with the new Shiite uprising. Meanwhile the carnage goes on sinking the whole population in a nightmarish situation far removed from the promise of peace and prosperity that the US used to justify the overthrow of Sadam Hussein.

Regarding its self-proclaimed mission of bringing ?democracy? to Iraq, US actions are also in blatant contrast to its promises. Faced with an obvious crisis in its military adventure in Iraq, the Bush administration has been trying recently to give same credence to its suppose intention, as Bush said, of ?helping the long suffering people of Iraq to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East.? Now the US version of this ?decent and democratic? Iraq is its new puppet government led by Iyad Allawi an ex-Bathist head of an exile organization, the so called Iraqi National Accord, made up largely of ex-Baathist military officers, backed by the CIA and Britain?s MI6, known for planting car bombs in downtown Baghdad in the 1990?s. Mr. Allawi has lost no time in showing his democratic colors reinstating the death penalty for more or less all acts of rebellion, instituting a curfew in Sadr city and banning the Arab television network Al-Jazeera.

Despite the Bush administration?s promise that the invasion of Iraq would lead to peace, democracy, and stability, not only in Iraq, but in all of the Middle East, the situation is completely the opposite. The war rages on, the stillborn ?democracy? implements repression that the Americans could never have dared to impose as an occupying power, ?prosperity? is not even a relevant word, the country faces greater instability, and the chaos is spreading throughout the Middle East.

Eduardo Smith.

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