Iraq: Daily life has become unbearable

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Baghdad is paralysed by fear. Every night this tortured city resounds to the sound of mortar fire. Using the car, for those who still have one, immediately puts the occupants in mortal danger from heavily armed gangs who can stop the vehicle at any moment and shoot them in cold blood. Every day brings its share of bloody attacks. It is no longer considered proper to give a daily total for the number of dead in a country plunged into the greatest barbarity. More than 200 people were killed in one week in Baghdad at the end of January, and more than 16,800 civilians were killed there in 2006. On its side, the American army announced the death of 3,068 military and associated personnel in the same period. Each day only confirms the worsening of this humanitarian disaster. Shiites have been expelled from the Sunni Al Amariyah quarter in the West of the capital. A Sunni Ba’ath Party rules there. The graffiti proclaims “Death to Muqtada [Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shiite religious nationalist] and his army of imbeciles!” This reflects what is happening in the whole of the country. In other areas of the capital, like Al-Hurriya, it is the Sunnis who have been forced to flee, also on pain of death. The tension and chaos have reached their worst in Baghdad. Everyone is waiting for a generalised explosion of violence. A majority of the Sunnis are also waiting for an offensive of the armed Mehdi gangs of Shiites at any moment, aiming to kill or expel the Sunnis from the city. All sides are accumulating arms and munitions. So Baghdad is becoming a veritable powder keg. Four years after its intervention in Iraq the American army controls no more than a few fortified zones, leaving the rest of the country to plunge irremediably into the worst kind of bloody anarchy.

America bogged down in Iraq

Some weeks ago in the United States, the Democrat victory in the elections for Congress and the Senate spread a breath of optimism in the bourgeois media. This optimism was reinforced by the proposals put forward by Baker, advisor to Bush senior. American public opinion, with an anti-war majority from now on, could dream of a withdrawal of troops after a reasonable delay. Perhaps even the end of the war in Iraq. That was nothing but an illusion! The Democrats have no alternative proposal. Reality has immediately and dramatically confirmed that there can no longer be peace under capitalism in that region of the world. The budget presented by the American administration envisages a new increase in military spending. It will allocate $622,000 million to the Pentagon, of which $142,000 million is for Iraq. Stuck in the Iraqi quagmire, American imperialism can do nothing but continue its headlong flight. 21,500 extra soldiers are being rapidly deployed for its operations on the ground. The American army, in cooperation with the government police in Baghdad, is preparing a generalised offensive on the capital. Officially its aim is to clear the sectors occupied by the armed anti-American militia. This offensive, like all those preceding it over the last four years, can only end in more massacres and greater chaos. This will only push the armed groups to try to outdo each other in more and more violence. In early February a marine CH-46 helicopter crashed in the Sunni Al Anbar province west of Baghdad, killing 7 of the crew. Six of these have now been hit in less than 3 weeks, according to official figures. The means of destruction used in this shameful war are getting more and more deadly. The American army maintains that Iran is supplying arms to insurgents in Iraq. But as the Washington Post said of this type of allegation on 12 February “Is this deja vu all over again? Is the Bush administration once again building a faulty case for war, this time against Iran?” (Washington Post).

The Middle East sinks into inter-imperialist massacres

America’s accelerating loss of control in the Middle East is stimulating the ferocious appetites of all imperialisms in the region. Iran is asserting itself more and more as a regional power. In Lebanon, in Iraq and wherever it is possible, it is pushing forward its Shiite pawns, thus participating actively in the wars and massacres going on. The United States is sending another fleet, led by the USS Stennis, to the Gulf. The mounting tensions in the Middle East have provoked a new nuclear arms race among the countries in the region. Last December the countries of the council for cooperation in the Gulf, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, announced a planned joint civil nuclear programme. In January they were joined by Jordan and the Yemen. These are countries which possess large reserves of oil and therefore of energy for non-military use. But equal to Iran in using the same alibi of civilian nuclear power, they are inevitably developing military nuclear programmes everywhere. For these Arab states in the Gulf, the growing power of Shiite Iran is intolerable. The whole Middle East, like Iraq, is in the process of splitting in two. Shiite and Sunni communities find themselves more and more opposed to each other and, within each camp, rival gangs are already tearing each other to pieces. There is not only the risk of the explosion of Iraq, but also the risk of the spread of civil war to the whole region, as in former Yugoslavia 14 years ago. Capitalism in the crisis of its senility is no longer able to hold back the development of barbarism and chaos. Tino 17/2/07 (from Revolution Internationale).

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