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Iraq at the Boiling Point
from the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
April 7, 2004

The Iraqi revolt against occupation is spreading in qualitative developments. The Pentagon is reacting with a murderous iron fist that is making the popular Iraqi position increasingly clear to the world: that the occupation forces are indeed an enemy - not liberators.

In the last 72 hours, as the colonial force attempts to hold the country in a tight grip, the number of casualties has mounted, as Iraqi cities are besieged and bombed by missiles and tanks. Street fighting is raging throughout the country.

In a classic demonstration of colonial practices, the U.S. is conducting a widespread reign of terror. In fact, the U.S. and its allies are now conducting military operations in Ramadi, Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Sadr, Adamiya, Kufa, Kut, Karabla, Amarah, Kirkuk, Mosul, Nasiriyah, Shula, and other cities and towns. The city of Fallujah has been exceptionally targeted. This is the same city where in the first weeks of the occupation U.S. troops took over a local school and killed 15 residents who were protesting the takeover of the facility.

Yet, this is not exactly George W. Bush's Vietnam. During Vietnam it took years for the majority of the people and most soldiers to turn against the war. This time, the people of the United States have learned within the span of only one year that the war against Iraq is not only based on outright fabrications and lies. One year after the occupation, and even before, the people of this country and the world are and have been turning against the occupation and the warmakers.

Although an allegation has been made that this is isolated "trouble" within a "Sunni Triangle," the revolt is in reality over an entire Iraqi rectangle encompassing nearly all areas - from north to south. Over the past three days, the previously simmering rejection of foreign occupation has evolved into a near full-scale revolt that has spread to many cities in the south of Iraq. All while the U.S. has implemented collective punishment against the people of Fallujah and other cities in the central part of the country.

In a predictable attempt at molding public opinion, the U.S. media continues to use racist stereotyping to characterize those who are resisting. The constant designation of the Iraqi people as "Sunnis" or "Shiites" is carefully calculated language designed to conceal the single most important fact: that the Iraqi people (Sunni and Shiite) believe that their country has been seized by foreign imperialist occupying forces and that they - as one people - are fighting to evict them.

If the analogy with Vietnam has validity, it is this: U.S. political leaders, again emboldened by arrogance and drunk with power, falsely believe that their possession of high tech weapons is sufficient to subdue small Third World countries seeking independence and sovereignty. The words associated with Vietnam - "debacle," "quagmire," etc. - are certainly apt for Bush's war and the occupation of Iraq.

But there are fundamental differences between the war in Vietnam and Iraq. The most important one being that the United States could, at the end of the day, disengage from Southeast Asia and withdraw from Vietnam. The policy planners and decision makers for the U.S. imperial establishment know full well that the United States military, political and economic structures will never voluntarily withdraw from Western Asia and Northern Africa, also known as the Middle East.

This is where the oil is. Not just in Iraq, but also throughout the Gulf region where two-thirds of the world's known petroleum reserves are located. This region is also the gateway to the rapidly expanding economies of East and Southeast Asia, the northern entrance to the African continent from Europe, and the where several strategic waterways are located: the Suez Canal, Gibraltar Strait, the Red Sea, and the Gulf. The Arab portion of that region is also simmering with a popular notion of unity and desire for full sovereignty spanning northern Africa and western Asia. It is where the Palestinian struggle anchors a populist anti-colonial sentiment, and where imposed proxy regimes are dependent in their existence directly on the U.S. In the heart of that region, there is Israel, the U.S.'s most important ally and power broker, functioning as a spearhead that simultaneously requires a political, economic and diplomatic cover and support from the U.S.

Absolute control - military control - over these highly strategic resources is the key to the exercise of hegemony in the world capitalist economy. If the United States were to leave, Japan, Germany, Britain, France would be quick to attempt to fill the void. Therefore, Bush does not contemplate withdrawing from Iraq as an option, nor would it be a considered option if Kerry replaces Bush in November.

The Bush gang opted to use naked military force as a means of further consolidating an existing U.S. dictatorship over the region. The project in Iraq was designed not only to crush the Iraqi government, it was seen as a means to a larger end. The plan was to build large-scale U.S. military bases in Iraq, establish in Baghdad the largest U.S. embassy (more than 3,000 personnel) in the world, and use Iraq as the launching pad for regime change throughout the region - the imposition of a true Pax Americana. Earlier U.S. governments, including the Clinton administration, also declared regime change in Iraq as the top priority in U.S-Iraq relations. The Bush administration, however, saw Iraq in a different light: that the conquest and takeover of Iraq would be used as a strategic pivot for the long-term reorganization and globalization of this region under U.S. authority.

This was not the first time the U.S. has utilized Iraq for this purpose. In 1955, the Baghdad Pact was orchestrated by Britain and the U.S. as a response to the emergence of the non-aligned movement that was established in Bandung, Indonesia by decolonizing movements and nations. The Iraqi people have never accepted that they should be pawns in someone else's geo-strategic chess board. They have always resisted colonialism.

Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died already as their country was invaded and occupied. It is clear from the events of the recent days that so many Iraqis are enraged and disgusted with the occupation of their country that thousands and thousands of people are prepared to give their life rather than accept foreign domination.

The Iraqis are paying with their lives rather than be colonial subjects. Meanwhile, the young men and women of the foreign occupying forces, including U.S. troops, really just want to go home. They and their families know that contrary to the assertions of Rumsfeld, the U.S. forces are not considered liberators by the people. This is the classic equation for an unwinnable imperialist war. In this sense too, the conflict resembles Vietnam. The Vietnamese people were prepared to endure immeasurable sacrifice to reclaim control over the country against foreign occupying forces that, in turn, only wanted only to return to their families in one piece.

In the recent days, the U.S. media establishment has been filled with analysis and stories reflecting the grave concern within the political establishment that Bush's Iraq design may be creating the biggest crisis for U.S. imperialism since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The actions of Bush and Rumsfeld have catalyzed a revolt that is moving from an embryonic stage to a potential full-scale rebellion. Unable to prevent the spread of the rebellion by other means, the U.S. military is carrying out more murderous repression against the people, which in turn will inflame the situation in Iraq and throughout the region. Under these conditions, there is no actual exit or withdrawal strategy in site. Even should the U.S. succeed in outsourcing the occupation authority from Paul Bremmer to his hand picked Iraqi proxies, there will be no actual exit of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

Even the phony exit strategy is collapsing as the Pentagon brass ponders the current need, like General Westmoreland did 1967, to send thousands of additional troops to crush a rebellion that has its roots in the anti-colonial yearnings of an occupied people. Rumsfeld has said publicly that he is considering sending additional troops to Iraq. The Pentagon has relied not only on the 120,000-plus U.S. military forces but, according to Nightline on April 6, an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 "guns for hire" - U.S., British and South African mercenaries - that are now fighting in Iraq under the euphemistic label "private contractors."

The people of the world, including the people of the U.S., created an unprecedented mass movement in the last 18 months opposing Bush's war and subsequent occupation of Iraq. At this critical time it is urgent to take to the streets in emergency mobilizations to demand: U.S. Out of Iraq; Bring the Troops Home Now; Money for jobs, education and healthcare - Not for wars of aggression.

From Friday April 9 through Monday April 12 there will be nationally-coordinated emergency local demonstrations in cities and towns throughout the country. Organize an action in your local area. To list your local action on the website and in future emails, fill out the easy-to-use form at http://www.internationalanswer.org/campaigns/a10/event.html

Downloadable flyers, other literature and more can be found at:

New York 212-633-6646
Washington 202-544-3389
Los Angeles 213-487-2368
San Francisco 415-821-6545

Posted: April 7, 2004


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