Iraq: Anglo-American imperialism heading for defeat
In the middle of November, following its barbaric assault on Fallujah, the US-led occupation of Iraq boasted that it had broken the back of the resistance and captured Fallujah. Barely a month later, it is patently clear that, far from overcoming the resistance and pacifying Iraq in readiness for the election farce set to be staged on 30 January 2005, the occupation is in further deep trouble, engulfed as it is on all sides by the rising tide of the Iraqi national liberation struggle.
As the imperialist aggressors unleashed their forces on Fallujah, the resistance, while putting up an heroic fight in that city, launched powerful attacks against US forces and their Iraqi puppets and foreign collaborators in scores of towns right across the country, inflicting heavy casualties on them. With 138 US troops killed, November was one of the bloodiest months for the American forces since the start of the war in March 2003. By the end of November, 1,401 imperialist mercenaries had been killed and 9,300 wounded – mostly Americans. By the middle of December, the number of killed had risen to 1,448 and those injured to 10,000. An additional 5,500 US soldiers have deserted, some of whom have sought refugee status in neighbouring Canada.
Fighting has continued on an ever escalating scale in the heroic city of Fallujah, which the US forces believed they had conquered. On 20 November, the Iraqi resistance staged a nation-wide offensive against the occupation forces, with battles erupting everywhere, including the capital – Baghdad. On the same day, the resistance broke through US lines in Fallujah to bring fresh supplies to their comrades defending the southern part of the city that they hold. Two days later, the Iraqi freedom fighters forced the US soldiers out of the city centre in a bloody battle while a section of the resistance infiltrated the northern part of the town held by the US forces.
Several residents of Fallujah who managed to venture out of it told the New China News Agency’s (Xinhua) correspondents that the Iraqi resistance was still in control of most of the city notwithstanding prior US claims of victory. “The defenders control 60 per cent of the city and they are encircling dozens of US soldiers in the Jolan neighbourhood”, they stated, adding “some American troops are based in government buildings and they are pounded by fighters. In the daytime, groups of Mujahideen engage with hit-and-run attacks against the US Marines and at the same time they gear themselves up for night battles”.
It is not just the so-called ‘Sunni triangle’ which is home to the resistance, as the imperialist spokesmen and media would have us believe. As a matter of fact the resistance is active in all parts of Iraq – from Zakho in the extreme north to Fao in the south. Nasiriyah, Amara, Diwanya, Hilla, Najaf, Baquba, Mosul, Kirkuk, Tikrit, Karaba, Samawah, Abril, Sulamaniah and Baghdad are all home to the resistance. The truth is that the resistance have managed to liberate nearly 30 cities and towns, thus creating an environment conducive to the liberation struggle through the formation of a death zone for the forces of the occupation and their puppets.
The Iraqi resistance have forced ten of the armies of occupation, including Spain’s, to leave Iraq. Hungary, Poland and the Netherlands are leaving early this year (2005). The resistance has also succeeded in compelling many of the plunder corporations, the so-called reconstruction companies, to leave the country – the latest to leave being Contract International, which made its decision on the basis of security concerns and the consequent costs. This is not surprising, considering that half of the costs of business deals are accounted for by security costs and insurance cover. Thus, it is clear that the Iraqi resistance are the masters of the Iraqi street and it is no exaggeration to say that the mercenary imperialist troops are terrified of leaving their fortified bases.
A Few Examples
Here are a few examples of the daring attacks launched by the resistance against the forces of imperialism and the puppet Allawi regime. On Friday, 3 Dec, the resistance overran a police station and detonated a car bomb in Baghdad, killing 30 people, in the capital’s bloodiest days since the US assault on Fallujah. The attack on the police station, the first of its kind in Baghdad, raised fresh questions over the viability of the election charade scheduled for 30 January. In this attack on the police station in the southern Baghdad neighbourhood of al-Amel, approximately 50 resistance fighters drove up with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and stormed inside. They then lined up at least 11 policemen on the roof and shot them dead, before freeing the prisoners held in the station and looting its arsenal. When two Iraqi police cars arrived during the fighting they were immediately hit and set on fire. A US relief column very wisely arrived only after the station had been stormed. In passing, let it be said that on 10 and 11 November, the resistance overran at least 9 police stations in Mosul, which led to the complete disintegration of the police force there.
On 5 December, nearly two dozen people were killed, in two separate attacks by the resistance in northern Iraq. In the first of these attacks, two carloads of freedom fighters ambushed a bus carrying Iraqi employees of a company working for the US army in Tikrit, killing 17. In the second attack, a suicide bomber rammed his explosives-packed car into a National Guard Checkpoint near the town of Beiji, home to one of Iraq’s biggest oil refineries.
On 13 December, the first anniversary of President Saddam Hussein’s capture by the occupation forces, a suicide bomber killed 13 people in Baghdad, while fresh battles erupted in Fallujah. Seven US marines were killed in battles on this day in western Iraq – one of the deadliest days for US forces.
The Iraqi guerrillas, emerging from ruined buildings, continue to confront US marines in Fallujah. The US forces and their puppets are under attack in almost every other town in Iraq, while people wait for two days at a time queuing for petrol in Baghdad, thanks to the successful sabotage of the petroleum industry by the resistance.
President Saddam Hussein appealed from his prison cell to Iraqis to unite against US efforts to sow sectarian divisions.
On 20 December, the resistance ambushed and executed three employees of the Electoral Commission, charged with staging the farcical elections on 30 January.
Attack on U.S. Base
On 21 December, in the most daring and deadly attack so far, the resistance struck a US military base near Mosul, killing at least 24 and wounding 60. A suicide bomber, wearing an Iraqi police uniform and explosives strapped to his body, entered the base’s dining tent as hundreds of US soldiers and Iraqi security personnel sat down for lunch, and detonated the charge, engulfing the roof of the tent in a fireball and blowing soldiers off their feet and out of their chairs. 19 of the dead were American soldiers and three were from other nationalities.
In terms of fatalities this attack was even more deadly than the previous two bloodiest incidents for US forces, both of which were in November 2003, both on helicopters, which claimed the lives of 17 and 16 US soldiers respectively.
The accuracy and timing of these attacks is indicative of a new level of sophistication in the operational capability of the resistance. Further, it furnishes proof of the successful infiltration by the resistance of the puppet security forces, for without accurate inside information and assistance it would have been next to impossible for the resistance to mount such a lethal strike with such surgical efficiency.
After the attack on 21 December, US President Bush expressed his confidence that “…democracy will prevail in Iraq. I know a free Iraq will lead to a more peaceful world” (quoted in Financial Times, 22 Dec 04). For once we express our complete agreement with Mr Bush. Only, it is our firm belief that democracy is in the process of being born through the armed resistance of the Iraqi people to the US-led occupation. This revolutionary democracy will doubtless triumph over the counter-revolutionary attempts of Anglo-American imperialism to subjugate the Iraqi people. With the victory of the Iraqi people, and the defeat of the occupying, predatory powers, Iraq will be free and the world more peaceful.
Although the Iraqi people continue to pay a very heavy price for confronting the forces of occupation, nevertheless their fierce armed resistance, and the consequent rise in casualties among the imperialist soldiery, has begun to shake the confidence of the political and military representatives of Anglo-American imperialism and made them openly acknowledge, as did Bush just 24 hours before the attack on the US base in Mosul on 21 Dec, that the “bombers are having an effect” on the morale of the US and Iraqi forces. The dramatic increase in the number of US and British soldiers in Iraq suffering from mental illnesses is solely attributable to the total absence of a belief in the justness of their war on the Iraqi people.
Growing Disillusionment and Divisions
Iraqi elections held under the guns of the occupying powers will not solve any problems for the latter, for a new government after these sham elections will still be composed of the same handful of Iraqi stooges representing no one but themselves and their imperialist masters; such a government will still be obliged to be completely dependent on US military backing as it will not have enough forces of its own to be able to fight the resistance. In this situation, which is only a month away, the central question will become inescapable: Just how long, and on what terms, are the Anglo-American imperialist forces going to stay in Iraq? With the increasing Iraqi opposition to the war translating into larger and larger recruits to the ranks of the armed resistance, the US and British occupation of Iraq is bound to be clearly seen by the US and British people to be part of the problem rather than the solution.
That there is growing US public disillusionment over the war in Iraq is made clear by two new polls, which reveal that for the first time a clear majority of Americans believe the Iraq war to be wrong. According to the Washington Post/ ABC poll, 56% of Americans said the conflict in Iraq was “not worth fighting”, given the costs. 50% disapproved of the management of the war by Mr Bush. The second, a CNN-USA Today – Gallup, revealed that a majority of Americans disapproved of the way the war was being conducted and 52% believed that Defence Secretary Rumsfeld should resign.
In Britain, there has all along been an overwhelming majority of people who oppose this war. Even Britain’s serving ambassador to Rome, Sir Ivor Roberts, one of the Foreign Office’s most distinguished diplomats with long experience overseas, was quoted in a leading Italian newspaper, Corriere della sera, as telling a private audience that US President George Bush was al-Qaeda’s “best recruiting sergeant”. This was in the second half of September and followed an open letter to Blair earlier in the year by former UK ambassadors criticising US policy in Iraq and the Middle East and London’s support for Washington.
As time passes, and the struggle in Iraq becomes even more gruesome, voices of criticism are bound to reach a crescendo and cause deep divisions within the ruling classes of the leading imperialist countries – the US and Britain. Such an outcome is being helped along by the increasing outspokenness of the troops themselves and their families, who are angry at not having their loved ones home because of extended terms of duty. For instance, members of the British Black Watch regiment, who had been eager to return home, were extremely angry at being redeployed from Basra to Baghdad and accused Blair of telling lies. When their redeployment was confirmed in October, their families in Perth, the HQ of the regiment, said they had been stabbed in the back by the government. Rose Gentle, the mother of Private Gordon Gentle, who was killed in Iraq while serving with the Royal Highland Fusiliers, said she was “sickened” by the news of her son’s death. She called Blair a “murdering pig”, adding that the “man is a disgrace – why is he sending our boys out there?” She added: “This is an unjust war, based on a lie.” (FT, 5 Nov 04) Rose Gentle received huge mail support for her views. Similar developments, revealing anger on the part of the soldiers and their families, have become frequent in the US too.
Before the attack on Fallujah, even Ghazi al-Yawar, Iraq’s puppet interim president, expressed his disagreement with the then impending assault on the city in the following terms. “I absolutely disagree with those who believe a military attack [on Fallujah] is necessary”, Mr Yawar told the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Qabas in an interview published on 1 November. “The way the coalition is managing the crisis is wrong. It is as if someone shot his horse in the head to kill a fly that landed on it. The fly flies away and the horse dies”, he said.
Even that faithful servant of imperialism, Kofi Annan, who has managed the office of the UN Secretary General as though it was the colonial office of US imperialism, warned against an attack on Fallujah because it would risk alienation and “reinforce perceptions [only perceptions!] among the Iraqi population of a continued military occupation”. He has also belatedly declared the war on Iraq to have been illegal. No wonder, then, that the US is after his head and demanding his resignation allegedly over his role in the Iraqi food-for-oil scandal.
Serving CIA Officer’s Analysis
In an unprecedented act, Michael Scheuer, a serving CIA officer and a senior terrorism analyst for the spy organisation, has published a new book, entitled “Imperial Hubris; Why the West is losing the War on Terror”. In it he charges correctly that the American politicians and media are guilty of grave deception of the public about the so-called war on terrorism, saying that the leaders refuse to accept the obvious – “We are fighting a worldwide Islamic insurgency, not criminality or terrorism.” None of bin Laden’s reasons for fighting the U.S., he goes on to say, “have anything to do with our freedom, liberty and democracy [as claimed by Bush], but everything with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world”, especially its unreserved support for Israeli repression of the Palestinians and its genocidal destruction of Iraq.
While cynically prattling about democracy and freedom, for “… cheap and accessible oil, Washington and the West have supported Muslim tyrannies bin Laden and other Islamists seek to destroy”, observes Scheurer, adding that the “… war has the potential to last beyond our children’s lifetimes and be fought mostly on U.S. soil.” Far from being seen as a terrorist and a mad man, bin Laden, argues Scheurer, is widely viewed by much of the Muslim world, infuriated by U.S. conduct in the Middle East, as a skilled warrior standing up to predatory Western powers. The U.S. and British military invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, insists Scheurer, are succeeding in nothing other than “… completing the radicalisation of the Islamic world.”
The Muslim world, he says, believes that it is under total attack by the U.S. with the aim of imposing its total domination on the region and sustaining puppet rulers – “spreading democracy” in Bush’s lexicon; that the U.S.-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are lost causes and the U.S. is incapable of creating legitimate governments in either of these countries, only puppet regimes backed by American bayonets. While saying that terrorism is merely the tactics of the poor and the weak fighting against the rich and the strong, nevertheless Scheurer is of the view that the longer the U.S. stays in these countries, the greater the certainty that it will bleed endlessly and face political disaster; that bereft of a strategy, the U.S. is merely “winging it”; and that for all its riches and military might, the U.S. cannot fight or buy its way to victory in either Afghanistan or Iraq.
If one discounts the far too frequent references to the “Muslim world”, one cannot fail to agree with this author’s main conclusions. Substitute the “Muslim world” with the correct expression “the oppressed and super-exploited peoples of the Middle East”, and the “West” by a handful of imperialist predatory powers and bloodsuckers, everything in Scheurer’s analysis falls into place.
Notwithstanding the correctness of the above analysis and conclusions, one must avoid the complacency that Anglo-American imperialism is just about to quit the field and allow the victims of its predatory wars to determine their own affairs. Far from it. These two predatory powers, the U.S. and Britain, are fighting for dominance, first against the people of the Middle East and, second, against their rival imperialist powers. The Middle East, indeed the vast region stretching from the Middle East through Central Asia right up to the Ukraine, has become a hot bed of major contradictions in the world and two major imperialist blocks are trying to gain domination in this area of fabulous mineral wealth and great strategic importance.
Dependency on Middle East Oil
What is more, with each passing day the oil wealth of the Middle East assumes greater importance, for not only is it the repository of two-thirds of the proven global oil reserves, its share in the world supply, and therefore the rest of the world’s dependence on it, are set to increase markedly. In its report, released on 26 October, 2004, the International Energy Agency, the imperialist oil watchdog, warned that the world economy will in the future face higher prices than during the past decade – $27 a barrel in real terms, rising to $31 in 2020 and $34 in 2040, in contrast to an average of below $20 in the 15 years to 2000.
Further, the IEA warned that the demand for oil will rise from the current 82.4m b/d (million barrels per day) to 90m b/d in 2010 and 121m b/d in 2030. To make matters worse, to satisfy this demand, the oil consuming countries will be forced to greater dependency on Opec (mainly the Middle East) and Russia.
“The increased dependence of oil-importing regions on a small number of Opec producers and Russia will increase those countries’ market dominance and their ability to impose higher prices,” says the IEA report.
This report projects a doubling of oil trade, from producing to consuming countries, to 65 m b/d over the next 26 years. If in September 2004, Opec accounted for about 35% of the global oil production, by 2030 it will supply over 50% of the world’s oil needs – a share even larger than in the 1970s, when its market share was at its peak. And, most of this additional trade in oil “… will have to pass through vital chokepoints, sharply increasing the possibilities of a supply disruption,” said Claude Mandil, the executive director of the IEA.
It is, inter alia, the above cold statistics, not the rhetoric about democracy, which explain the reasons behind Anglo-American imperialism’s predatory war against Iraq, the opposition of French and German imperialism to it, and the intensified struggle of the leading powers for re-dividing the Middle East – a struggle spurred on by the ever-deepening crisis of imperialism.
In addition to its military bases and facilities in Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Oman, the U.S. is busy establishing bases in Iraq, having already done so in several of the Eastern Republics of the former Soviet Union in Central Asia – threatening both Russia and China. The latter two countries are not inclined to let U.S. imperialism become the arbiter of their destinies and national sovereignty and are therefore taking counter-measures, economic and military, to frustrate U.S. plans to encircle and subjugate them.
Imperialist Brutality and Resistance
In addition, the hundreds upon hundreds of millions of people in the oppressed nations, especially in the Middle East, who are the target of imperialist oppression, super-exploitation, predatory wars and brutality in the name of democracy, have no intention of passively accepting the fate assigned to them by imperialism. They are fighting, and fighting successfully, against imperialist occupation, as the news from Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine makes it patently clear.
Imperialism cannot maintain its occupation otherwise than by the most abominable reign of terror, as witnessed by the hundred thousand killed since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and other concentration camps set up by the occupation regime in Iraq and the latest revelations concerning the abuse of detainees at Guantanamo, where detainees have been chained in a foetal position to the floor with no chair, food or water. According to an FBI interrogator, “most times they (the prisoners) had urinated or defecated on themselves and had been left there for 18, 24 hours or more”.
One prisoner was shivering with cold, with air-conditioning turned low, while another one was left chained in an “unbearably hot” room, with loud music playing for more than a day. Yet another was reported to be nearly unconscious in a very hot room, with a pile of his torn hair next to him.
A second FBI agent wrote, “I saw another detainee sitting on the floor of the interview room with an Israeli flag draped around him, loud music being played and a strobe light flashing.”
A third e-mail said that the FBI witnessed defence department interrogators using sleep deprivation, loud music, bright lights, and growling dogs at Guantanamo. According to yet another FBI e-mail, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary, had approved the impersonation of FBI interrogators by the military personnel (see FT, 23 December, 2004).
Iraqi Victory inevitable
The death and destruction showered by the occupation on the Iraqi people, the untold misery heaped on them, and the sadistic brutality meted out to detainees, far from cowing them, is galvanising the Iraqi people to fight even more steadfastly to defeat the imperialist forces and free their country – a fact which has begun to sink into even the most impenetrable bourgeois journalistic skulls.
Bourgeois journalists, even the intelligent types, through their inability or unwillingness to grasp the essence of the economics and politics of the imperialist epoch of capitalism, unable to comprehend that imperialism seeks domination not freedom, that in an already fully divided world, imperialism is a most fearful struggle between a tiny handful of incredibly rich and incredibly powerful states for a re-division of the world and a scramble for the spoils, are obliged to write in language at once obtuse and incomprehensible. One such clever, and yet stupid, journalist is Mr. Philip Stephens. Writing in the FT of 19 November, 2004, this is what he says in the opening paragraph of his article, “the course of U.S. foreign policy over coming years will be set by the outcome of a struggle between liberal interventionism and hard-headed realism – between George W. Bush’s embrace of democratic transformation in the Middle East and the harsher strategic truths confronting America’s power in the region.”
Ordinary human beings with normal reasoning powers would find themselves at a loss to understand the meaning of the hocus-pocus which constitutes the essence of the above-quoted statement. No matter how unpleasant the task may be, we must decipher this rigmarole in order the better to expose the apologetics of a mercenary bourgeois ideologue who seeks, and cannot help but to seek, to confuse his readers in the service of imperialism. Liberal interventionism, shorn of all euphemism, means nothing other than the freedom of the most powerful imperialist power to wage predatory wars without any hindrance, constraint or rule of law. It is the liberal use of force, not the spread of freedom, which is at the heart of it. Hard-headed realism, on the other hand, is not a voluntary option of such an imperialist state, but something imposed from the outside – either by rival powers or by the resistance of the victims of imperialist plunder and aggression. If Republican realists are still a force in Mr. Bush’s party, as is the assertion of Mr. Stephens, then it is only because they are, in his own words, “… openly sceptical about the chances of defeating the current insurgency” in Iraq. Notwithstanding his convoluted terminology, in which the link between language and thought is almost completely severed, in which the success of imperialist occupation passes for the spread democracy and freedom, where wanton imperialist brigandage and predatory wars don the garb of liberal interventionism, Mr. Stephens nevertheless has a vague inkling that the creation of a “democratic Iraq” [read: the success of the occupation forces] is an “unattainable dream”.
“The visitor to Washington,” says Mr. Stephens, “is struck by how many supporters of the administration have come to see the creation of a democratic Iraq as an unattainable dream. The discussion has turned to damage limitation. The realists’ case – that military victory is impossible and that the U.S. voters have neither the will nor the patience for a long-term U.S. occupation – has increasing resonance.” In other words, Anglo-American imperialism’s war is heading for the buffers and bound to end in disaster. Only in this sense is the struggle in Iraq going to end in the victory of “hard-headed realism”. However, this result would be achieved not by the struggle between “liberal interventionism” and “hard-headed realism”, but as a result of the struggle between U.S.-led imperialism and the Iraqi national resistance – through the victory of the latter over the former. Be that as it may, we cannot but thank Mr. Stephens for his admission, albeit enveloped in language the most obscure.
Economic factors also point in the same direction. While the U.S. is groaning under the burden of increasingly unbearable military expenditure (which this year stands at $437bn – 50% higher than in 2001) and ever-increasing imperialist wars abroad, its ability to wage such wars is in relative decline because of the shrinking industrial base and with it manufacturing and engineering capacities. Whereas in the 1960s U.S. manufacturing represented 27% of the U.S. economy and accounted for 24% of its employment, in 2003 U.S. manufacturing accounted for a mere 14% of the GDP and 10.5% of employment. Add to this the huge budget deficit, the current account deficit, foreign indebtedness and an economy increasingly hovering on the edge of recession, one gets an idea of the speed with which the U.S. is heading not only towards a military but also an economic disaster. With other imperialist countries challenging U.S. hegemony, these factors make for an explosive mix with fearful consequences as well as revolutionary opportunities for the peoples of the world.
Role of the East and the Need to Fight Opportunism
The East long ago, around about the time of the First World War, was “… definitely drawn into the general maelstrom of the revolutionary movement”; today it is playing a leading role in the revolutionary destruction of imperialism, and, in many ways, determining the outcome of the struggle between imperialism and counter-revolution, on the one hand, and the forces of national liberation and proletarian revolution, on the other hand.
In this struggle between the counter-revolutionary imperialist West and the revolutionary and nationalist East, going on right before our eyes, the proletariat of the imperialist countries is duty bound to support the revolutionary liberation struggle of the peoples of the East, for the freedom of the latter from imperialist plunder, occupation and subjugation is a necessary condition for the success of its own struggle of social emancipation. It is the duty of the vanguard of the proletariat – the communist parties in the imperialist countries – to bring home to the proletariat the significance, and the relationship, of the national liberation struggles to the struggle of the proletariat for socialism. It must do everything to counter the petty-bourgeois defeatism, masked behind a barrage of revolutionary phrases, which either portrays imperialism as all-powerful, or prettifies its most faithful servant, social democracy, as a vehicle for working class social advance, in the fashion of the mummies of the CPB and the NCP.
After seven years in office of the imperialist Labour Party, during which it has attacked the working class at home and the oppressed peoples abroad, waged predatory wars against the people of Yugoslavia, Sierra Leone, Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq, and has dropped more bombs in these wars than did the previous Tory government during its 19 years in office, New Worker, the weekly organ of the NCP, instead of enlightening the British working class as to the impeccable imperialist credentials of the Labour Party, sows illusions about this incurably counter-revolutionary party in the following disgustingly nauseating terms: “the Blair leadership has turned its back on the values of the Labour Party and the millions who put them into office in the hope of justice and a better life.” (NW, 19 Nov 2004)
Reading this profanity, one begins to wonder if the NCP gentry inhabit the same planet as do ordinary mortals. What values, and which Labour Party, have they in mind? Do they have in mind the same Labour Party which waged war against Bolshevism, subjugated the colonial peoples, unleashed repression on the Irish, helped re-establish French and Dutch colonial rule after the Second World War in Indochina and Indonesia, helped start the Cold War and establish the war-mongering Neo-Nazi NATO alliance, sent troops to fight the genocidal war against the Korean people, played an active part in the defeat of the General Strike in 1926 and the Miners’ Strike of 1984/85, has waged four predatory wars since May 1997 and persecutes the victims of these wars who seek asylum in Britain and … but enough? Such wilful ignorance, perfectly reasonable in someone certified as being insane, is intolerable when it comes from people who claim to be communists, swear by Marxism-Leninism and kneel in prayer before it. They need to be condemned and their opportunism exposed, for the struggle against imperialism is a sham and a fraud unless it is accompanied by the struggle against opportunism.