Wednesday 18 April was an ordinary day in Baghdad. Like virtually every other day of the week, there were bombs. These killed over 190 people, many of them women and children. As so often before, the main target was a market, al-Sadriyah, very close to a building site employing workers who were risking their lives to earn a miserable wage to help their families survive. These attacks, among the most bloody since the fall of Saddam in 2003, were carried out in the same market which was hit on 3 February, killing 130 people. The aim of those who perpetrate such crimes is to kill as many people as they can. The purpose is destruction, the annihilation of human beings whose very existence makes them enemies. This is the rule of bestial hatred; this is a society in profound decomposition.
The bloody failure of US policy in Iraq
In February, the US administration announced to media fanfares its new security plan for Baghdad, known as Fardh al-Qanoon, Imposing the Law. This would involve a spectacular deployment of 85,000 US and Iraqi troops, 30,000 of them arriving directly from the US. This plan resulted in the arrest of over 5000 people. And for several weeks, the darkly famous Death Squads and heavily armed militia could no longer be seen on the streets of Baghdad, without any noticeable let-up in the number of terrorist attacks. The failure of this security ‘surge’ is already evident and the stage is set for an increase in mass murders. After the bombing of al-Sadriyah market, when the Iraqi forces of order tried to get to the scene, in principle to help the victims, they were met with hails of stones by a population that has reached total desperation. Throughout the night, armed confrontations took place in the Sunni neighbourhood of al-Adhamiya.
Now the US government has announced a new strategy which speaks eloquently of the inhumanity of the situation, the utter impasse it has reached. On 10 April, the US army began building a security wall in Baghdad. For some months American forces have been building barriers around insurgent bastions, such as the one around the town of Tal Afar near the Syrian border. But this is the first attempt to completely wall in entire neighbourhoods in Baghdad, such as Dora. These walls remind us of those which already exist in Gaza and the West Bank, and which have certainly not put an end to the violence there. On the other hand, they do result in the majority of the population behind them rotting away under the control of the soldiers of this or that country or bourgeois faction.
The American bourgeoisie is forced to recognise its defeat in Iraq
On 19 April, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, for the first time officially recognised that “he believes that the war in Iraq has been lost and that the reinforcements decided on in December have achieved nothing” (Le Monde, 19.4.07). The US has been so weakened in Iraq that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had a “businesslike” meeting with her Syrian counterpart at a conference in Egypt on 3 May, in spite of Syria and Iran being labelled part of the axis of evil.
The American bourgeoisie is today more divided than ever, totally devoid of any constructive policy in Iraq. The Democrat-dominated Congress is voting on new laws financing the military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007. The text envisages a programmed retreat by US troops from Iraq. But the Bush administration has already said that it will veto this vote. Its immediate reaction to the new wave of bombings in Baghdad was to send out the US Defence Secretary Robert gates, who cynically declared that “the rebels are going to increase the violence in order to convince the Iraqi people that this plan is doomed to fail, but we intend to persist with it and prove that this is not the case” (ibid). The message is clear: the same policies will continue in Iraq.
What future for Iraq and the Middle East?
In mid-April, the radical Shiite leader Moqtadir al-Sadr withdrew his six ministers from the Iraqi government and called for massive demonstrations against the construction of the walls in Baghdad. Such political gestures confirm that national unity is a thing of the past in Iraq. The conflicts between the different communities, especially between Sunni and Shiite, are set to widen. It’s well known that Iran is participating actively in the war in Iraq, mainly by massively arming the Shiite militia, with the clear aim of defending its own imperialist interests in the region against those of the USA. The Sunni-Shiite split in Iraq threatens to spill over to other parts of the region. The insane acceleration of such conflicts, focused around the confrontation between Iran on the one hand, the US and Israel on the other, threatens to plunge the region still further into chaos and war. Rossi (updated 5/5/07)