Article from the Mar. 2005 issue of the Socialist
newspaper of the Socialist Party, Irish section of the CWI

Iraq 2003 - 2005 Imperialist plunder & colonial oppression

by Stephen Boyd

CORRUPTION ON a massive scale can now be added to the list of crimes and disasters to have been inflicted upon the people of Iraq by the US occupation. According to Christian Aid, at least $20 billion in oil revenues and other funds intended for use to rebuild Iraq have disappeared from banks administered by the now defunct US puppet CPA (interim government).

A report from the US Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction has also revealed that $8.8 billion of funds under the control of the CPA have also disappeared in widespread corruption. Examples of this corruption include the CPA paying salaries to 74,000 security guards who could not be accounted for, and in one specific case wages were paid to 8,206 guards but only 602 real individuals could be verified.

But the corruption and theft goes much further. Halliburton (US multinational linked to Vice-President Dick Cheney) has been awarded $8.2 billion in contracts to provide support services to US troops such as meals, shelter, laundry and internet connections. Halliburton is at the centre of a scandal surrounding massive overcharging for services, goods and oil. Oil, which by the way it imported into Iraq at hugely inflated prices to the country with the second biggest oil reserves on the planet!

The Bush administration is up to its neck in this corruption and the organised theft of Iraq's public services and wealth. According to Iraq Revenue Watch, there are hundreds of US "experts and advisors" working in all of Iraq's 29 ministries. These "advisors" come from US "market institutions" or to put it another way they are representatives of US multinational finance capitalism welding massive power at the very heart of the so-called Iraqi administration. It is no wonder that Iraq is fast becoming the most privatised nation on earth and that its massive oil reserves are being carved up between the big oil conglomerates.

Negotiations to form an Iraqi government are still ongoing but the outcome will mean that for the first time in 1,400 years, the Arab world will have a Shia dominated government. The make up of this new government remains uncertain but what is clear that it will be another puppet regime of US imperialism dependant on 180,000 occupying troops to maintain it in power. The United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), the Al Sistani supported Shia alliance, the biggest group in the new government, has dropped its demand to negotiate the departure of US troops. Some of the leaders of this alliance are very close to the Bush administration. For example, the current finance minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, a former Maoist and Ba'asthist turned neo-liberal is reported to be "very close to members of the White House's National Security Council". Mahdi is tipped to become Iraq's next president. Other leading positions are likely to go to former CIA agent and premier Allawi, who is known as "Saddam without a moustache," and Chalabi, former ally of the CIA who has been implicated in fraud and corruption scandals. The Shia leader, Muqtada Al Sadr, has already attacked these pro-US leaders in waiting, "The Iraqi people want a pullout timetable, security, job opportunities and social services. We will obey the new elected government if it serves the best interests of the Iraqi people. If not, we will be its arch enemies."

The elections which Bush and Blair proclaimed would solve the problems of Iraq have in fact resolved nothing and instead have complicated the situation further. They have deepened sectarian and ethnic divisions and intensified the process towards civil war and the prospect of the "Balkanisation" of Iraq. Hundreds have been killed since the elections in attacks on government officials, occupation forces and in sectarian attacks.

The Socialist Party fully supports the right of the Iraqi people to defend themselves with arms against the occupation forces and to fight for the removal of the imperialist armies from Iraq and also to prevent sectarian attacks. However, we do not support all of the actions of the resistance movement. It is wrong to speak of one resistance movement as it is made up of many diverse groups who have different aims and ideologies. We do not support those sections of the resistance who are based on right-wing reactionary political Islam and whose aim is to create a fundamentalist state similar to that of the Taliban or Iran's Ayatollahs. Nor do we support groups who carry out sectarian attacks and are trying to provoke communal violence and even civil war. The Socialist Party supports the formation of a non-sectarian, armed militia which unites Shia, Sunni, Turkmen and Kurdish workers and poor in a struggle against the occupation and also against sectarian attacks. This militia should conduct its struggle under the democratic control of elected committees of the Iraqi people.

The longer the occupation of Iraq continues the clearer it becomes that capitalism, whether under the guise of US imperialism or the various pro-capitalist Iraqi elites, offers no future for the people of Iraq. A future free from colonial domination, poverty and oppression can only be guaranteed by socialism, which would ensure that the vast wealth of Iraq would be used for the benefit of all of the Iraqi people.

Earlier reports on the occupation of Iraq

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