In the midst of the violence and fear that is Iraq today, and after a mortar attack had killed 7 Shia pilgrims, it was easy for panic caused by suspicion of a suicide bomber to cause a stampede. On August 31, in Baghdad, nearly 1000 were killed and hundreds more injured by a stampede on a bridge over the Tigris, with the bottleneck amplified by security barriers.
Many of the victims who jumped from the bridge were pulled to safety by local people, Sunnis, who came to help. In contrast to the ideology of communal hatred and violence that is being whipped up by the bourgeoisie, poor and working people responded to the tragedy with human solidarity.
This comes at a time of heightened tension over the future of Iraq between the various factions of the Iraqi bourgeoisie, all armed and dangerous, as they squabble over the constitution. Under Saddam the minority Sunni bourgeoisie had the upper hand and were able to seize most of the wealth. Now the Kurdish and Shia parties want ‘autonomy’, and the revenues from the oil produced in their areas, leaving the Sunnis high and dry and isolated in the middle. Unable to find a compromise between Islamic and secular law, between a unified or loosely federated state, and particularly between each armed gang of the Iraqi ruling class grabbing what it can get, the deadline for the proposed constitution was delayed again and again until they gave up trying to agree and proposed the constitution for the October referendum without the support of Sunni politicians.
This constitution, even if they are able to push it through the referendum in October, will not benefit the mass of the population who will continue to be exploited, when they are fortunate enough to find jobs, and to run the gauntlet of the suicide bombs of the ‘Resistance’ and the guns, prisons and brutality of the occupying force and its client government. Meanwhile the death penalty has been reintroduced and the first executions carried out.
The developing tensions in Iraq, bringing the country to the verge of civil war, are a consequence of the imperialist conflicts between various protagonists large and small. As we said at the time of the invasion 2 years ago: “the war is already exacerbating the divisions in Iraqi society, in particular between those who have allied themselves with the USA (as in the Kurdish regions) and those who have fought against the invasion. These divisions can only serve to create disorder and instability in post-Saddam Iraq, further undermining the USA’s claim that it will be the bearer of peace and prosperity in the region” (‘Resolution on the international situation’ from the 15th Congress of the ICC, IR 113). Since then the divisions and disorder have only got worse.Alex 3.9.05