The U.S. Occupation and the Resistance In Iraq
The U.S. Occupation and the Resistance In Iraq
By STEVE ARGUE
Although U.S. officials are now trying to deny it, Muhammad Zobaidi was named the administrator of Baghdad at a meeting run by U.S. officers on April 13. The New York Times documented this on April 19 when they wrote, "Muhammad Zobaidi was installed as city administrator at a chaotic meeting called by American Officers."
Trying to pretend that he doesn't know who Zobaidi is and that a real inclusive process will take place in deciding who runs Iraq retired U.S. general and "civil" administrator of Iraq Jay Garner stated, "There are a lot of de facto leaders, I don't know who they are but our goal is to start a process whereby the Iraqi people elect their own leaders. We think the playing field is level. We haven't appointed anyone or recognized anyone." Reuters April 21
Zabaidi has pointed out that he is in close contact with the U.S. military and is, according to him, working with them to bring the power back and resume needed supplies of fuel and cooking gas.
From the third floor of U.S. military headquarters Zobaidi stood surrounded by his new police force, recruited by the U.S. Marines from Saddam Hussein's police and wearing their old uniforms. From this U.S. military base Zobaidi pointed out that Iraq would be an open zone for capitalist privatization under U.S. control stating, "I invite all U.S. companies to come here to work in Baghdad and make business in this country. We are a rich country. Now we are considered the first in oil."
Yet many of the Iraqi people and their real leaders who, unlike Zobaidi, have not been on the CIA payroll for years have a very different message for the American capitalist expropriators of Iraqi resources. A good case in point is Sheik Kubeisy in Baghdad. He declared at a prayer service, "The United States is the enemy of mankind, we all know why they are here."
Sheik Kubeisy did not have to mention trillions of dollars in oil, everyone already knew what he was referring to.
Puppet administrator Muhammad Zobaidi is a member of Ahmed Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC). The INC has received millions of dollars from the CIA while the State Department has raised questions about their accounting practices. Ahmed Chalabi himself was tried in absentia in 1992 and given a sentence of 22 years of hard labor for absconding from Jordan with hundreds of millions of dollars from the Petra Bank where he had worked. Chalabi ran from Jordan in a Mercedes with his crimes causing the collapse of the Petra Bank, bankrupting many investors, and wrecking havoc on the Jordanian economy.
Today Chalabi is set up in luxurious quarters in the wealthy Mansur district of Baghdad, where he is surrounded by U.S. Special Forces and American Bradley fighting vehicles. The INC soldiers themselves wear uniforms made from surplus American desert fatigues and many were recruited in the last few months and trained by the U.S. military in Hungary.
Chalabi was the primary recipient of money from the Congressional Iraqi Freedom Act under Bill Clinton and there is no question that he presently has the support of the U.S. military under the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
While Chalabi is being positioned for power, and his man Zobaidi has been appointed by the U.S. military as the administrator of Baghdad, retired U.S. lieutenant general Jay Garner has been appointed as the "civil" administrator of Iraq. Garner is well known in the Middle East for his outspoken support for the hated and genocidal anti-Arab government of Israel.
Opposition to the U.S. occupation is strong, and it is getting organized. It includes Pan-Arabists, Shi'ites, Sunni's, revolutionary socialists, and Kurds. At an April 18 prayer service held at a Sunni Mosque in Baghdad the doors were opened to Shi'ites where the overflow crowd sat in front of a banner saying, "No to America, no to sectarianism, one Islamic State." Speaking Ahmed al-Kubeisy warned the United States to, "Get Out before we kick you out."
Meanwhile, showing their fear of the people, the 5 million people of Baghdad have been instructed by the U.S. military in a "Message to the Citizens of Baghdad" to, "Please avoid leaving your homes during the night hours after evening prayers and before the call to morning prayers. During this time, terrorist forces associated with the former regime of Saddam Hussein, as well as various criminal elements, are known to move through the area ... please do not leave your homes during this time. During all hours, please approach Coalition military positions with extreme caution ..."
Elsewhere, in Mosul, the political repression of the people by the U.S. forces has been even harsher. On April 15th U.S. soldiers opened fire on unarmed protesters demonstrating against the U.S. occupation. In the shooting seventeen Iraqi protesters were murdered and many more were injured.
There have been many protests against the U.S. occupation, including 20,000 in Nasiriyah on April 15th and others are planned.
In an attempt to show popular support for the U.S. invasion the U.S. government staged the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Farduus Square. Oddly enough for a "popular" event the toppling of the statue was carried out by the U.S. Marines with a U.S. mechanized vehicle. The crowd that was present was made up of about 150 Iraqis (many identified as being members of Chalabi's INC flown into the country by the CIA). The U.S. Marines excluded the Baghdad public from the event, cordoning off the square with U.S. tanks.
So began the vandalism and looting of Baghdad led and often carried out by U.S. forces. The lack of scenes of joy at the U.S. invasion had the US forces in need of images of Iraqi's who, in different ways, demonstrated their disgust with Saddam Hussein's regime.
The top Swedish daily paper, Dagens Nyheter, published an article by Ole Rothenborg where Khaled Bayomi states, "I happened to be there just as the US forces told people to commence looting... . The US soldiers shot two Sudanese guards, who were posted in front of a local administrative building, on the other side of the Haifa Avenue. I was just 300 meters away when the guards were murdered. Then they shot the building entrance to pieces, and their Arabic translators in the tanks told people to run for what they could grab inside the building. Rumors spread rapidly and the house was cleaned out. Moments later, tanks broke down the doors to the Justice Department, residing in the neighboring building, and looting was brought over there."
Khaled Bayomi went on to state, "I was standing in a big crowd of civilians that saw all this together with me. They did not take any part in the looting, but were too afraid to take any action against it. Many of them had tears of shame in their eyes. The next morning looting spread to the Museum of Modern Art, which lies another 500 meters to the north. There were also two crowds in place, one that was looting and another one that saw it happen in disgrace."
Iraqis are ready to testify that American tanks destroyed the heavy metal doors at the Museum of Antiquities so the looting crowds could get in and smash and loot the priceless art and records of the last 7,000 years of human civilization.
While U.S. forces were destroying the irreplaceable heritage of Iraq and the world, as well as many other important Iraqi ministries those same U.S. forces kept the records at the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Oil well guarded and safe.
In Baghdad Robert Fisk of the UK Independent has stated:
"So the people of Baghdad are asking who is behind the destruction of their cultural heritage: the looting of the archaeological treasures from the national museum; the burning of the entire Ottoman, Royal and State archives; the Koranic library; and the vast infrastructure of the nation we claim we are going to create for them.
"Why, they ask, do they still have no electricity and no water? In whose interest is it for Iraq to be deconstructed, divided, burnt, de-historied, destroyed? Why are they issued with orders for a curfew by their so-called liberators?
"And it's not just the people of Baghdad, but the Shias of the city of Najaf and of Nasiriyah where 20,000 protested at America's first attempt to put together a puppet government on Wednesday who are asking these questions. Now there is looting in Mosul where thousands reportedly set fire to the pro-American governor's car after he promised US help in restoring electricity... .
"It's easy for a reporter to predict doom, especially after a brutal war that lacked all international legitimacy. But catastrophe usually waits for optimists in the Middle East, especially for false optimists who invade oil-rich nations with ideological excuses and high-flown moral claims and accusations, such as weapons of mass destruction, which are still unproved. So I'll make an awful prediction. That America's war of "liberation" is over. Iraq's war of liberation from the Americans is about to begin. In other words, the real and frightening story starts now."
While the people who are the likely future leaders of Iraq are protesting in the streets against the U.S. occupation, the U.S. military has begun installing a puppet regime in Baghdad that, without extreme repression, will be unlikely to survive long. To survive and carry out the expropriation of oil for the United States Zobaidi and his political leader Chalabi will have to carry out the harshest repression against the Iraqi people. This future is being prepared for by U.S. forces who are hiring the police torturers and executioners of the regime of Saddam Hussein to keep the Iraqi people down.
The U.S. government is no stranger to installing and supporting these kinds of regimes around the world. When the U.S. took control of South Korea they hired the police torturers of the Japanese occupation in an attempt to keep the Korean people from rising up and running their own country. In 1963 the Baath Party of Saddam Hussein itself rounded up and murdered 5,000 leftists and union leaders on lists provided by the CIA. In Iran in 1953, in a counter-revolutionary coup called operation AJAX, the CIA working with the British M16 overthrew the popular and democratic government of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the hated Shah of Iran as its supreme ruler. Subsequently the Shah ended Mossadegh government's commitment to the nationalization of oil to meet the needs of the people of Iran, and his commitment to democracy.
In Iran the CIA commenced to train the Shah's Savak secret police in torture techniques and murder that were used and against labor leaders, socialists, and other nationalists in the Shah's fight to keep Iranian oil in the hands of U.S. based oil companies and in keeping the cost of labor cheap. As the Wall Street Journal stated in 1978, "The Shah is our man."
Over the years of extreme repression under the Shah most of the opposition to him and imperialism became Islamic in nature because the repression of the regime did not allow people to gather and speak out anywhere, but in the Mosques. Hence the birth of the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran that carried out a sweeping nationalization of oil, but carried out its own murders of the socialist opposition and subjected women to worse oppression than they had endured under the Shah.
U.S. intervention in Iran led directly to the misery the people of Iran suffered under the Shah from 1953 to 1979 and indirectly to the misery they've suffered under the Islamic revolution from 1979 to the present day.
Today in Iraq the U.S. has formed a truce with the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, an Iranian based group that commands 10,000 troops in Iraq and has taken control of many eastern cities. By destroying the secular regime of Saddam Hussein and allowing the growth in power of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, multiplied with moving towards establishing a hated puppet regime in Baghdad, the U.S. may once again be preparing the ground for the rapid growth of yet another clerical fascist Islamic revolution.
Such an Islamic revolution is likely to come up against the forces of the U.S. military occupation. Likewise the backward nature of Chalabi's INC will probably necessitate the worst forms oppression and murder to maintain power.
Are these the choices of the people of Iraq? No. There are socialist oppositions in the form of the Worker's Communist Party Of Iraq that stated on April 8th:
"Installing an interim military government by the US and Britain to rule Iraq for any period of time is regarded an action against the masses in Iraq and an overt violation of their free will and natural right in choosing their political regime.
"Installing such a government is a continuation of the present war, and the military operations against the masses and it substantiates the occupation of Iraq by the US and British forces.
"The interim military government led by American generals that Bush and Blair want to impose on the masses in Iraq is illegitimate.
"The Worker Communist Party of Iraq strongly condemns the measures and policies of the ruling elite in the US and Britain aimed at imposing an " interim" military government on Iraq for any period of time and regards installing such a government as an action against the masses and an overt violation of their will.
"In the meanwhile the WCPI calls for an end to the war and all military operations immediately and for the withdrawal of American and British forces from Iraq. We also stress that a socialist republic is the only alternative, which ensures the direct and free participation of the masses to determine their political system."
As I see it, under the present conditions, it is essential that the socialist resistance to the Anglo-American occupation:
1. Opposes U.S. control of the economy and fights against the privatization of shipping and oil so that the profits made can continue to be used for social programs as they were under the regime of Saddam Hussein. In the socialist republic those programs should be greatly expanded with a planned socialist economy that does not exclude national and religious groups from its benefits.
2. Fights for the right of the Kurds and other national minorities to control their land and resources, and to speak their own language without Turkish or U.S. interference.
3. Fights for the rights of all religious minorities and majorities to practice their religion without discrimination as well as for the right to have no religion.
4. For a continuation of the liberated role Iraqi women have played in Iraqi society under Saddam Hussein. This is in opposition to the puppet government the U.S. is setting up as well as in opposition to any anti-occupation forces who may not have an enlightened view on the rights of women.
5. Fights against the occupation of all Iraqi territories by American, British, and Turkish militaries as a primary first step in the liberation of Iraq, and in doing so recognizes those imperialist forces, as well as any participating puppet leaders they install, as military targets.
6. Fights for a democratic and socialist government that allows for differing opinions and dissent.
In fighting for such a program the opposition would be following in the best traditions, and improving on, the program of Tito who united the diverse ethnic and religious groups of Yugoslavia in the partisan resistance that drove the Nazi occupiers out of their country during World War 2.
While socialists are not neutral on the forms of government we fight for around the world, we also recognize that it needs to be up to the victims of imperialism to decide for themselves what kind of government they want, free from the oppression of U.S. imperialism.
U.S. TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ!
FORWARD TO THE SOCIALIST RUPUBLIC OF IRAQ!
END U.S. ALL IMPERIALIST WARS, OCCUPATIONS, AND EXPLOITATION BY ORGANIZING FOR THE SOCIALIST REVOLUTION IN THE UNITED STATES!
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