Text of Socialist Party leaflet distributed on April 12th
They call this "liberation"?
End the US/British occupation of Iraq
Let the Iraqi people decide their own future
Defend the rights of the Kurds to a state if they so wish
No privatisation of Iraqi oil
Bring the oil companies under democratic public ownership
Money for public services, not for war
End the rule of big business – fight for the socialist alternative to global capitalism
What is taking place in Iraq is a bloody occupation and re-colonisation, not liberation.
US and British forces have bombed their way to Basra and Baghdad and have succeeded in their military objective of the overthrow of the regime and the seizure of most of the main towns and cities.
Thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed or maimed in the process as billions of dollars worth of missiles and bombs have rained down on urban areas. A huge humanitarian crisis is now opening up with food, medicines and essential supplies looted while up to 17 million people face the danger of starvation.
A section of the Iraqi population has come onto the streets celebrating the removal of the hated Saddam regime. Some have welcomed the US and British troops but it is clear that the vast majority of Iraqis are opposed both to Saddam Hussein and to US occupation.
Bush and Blair’s promises of freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people will soon be exposed as completely hollow. Any honeymoon that the occupying forces might enjoy with a section of the population will be brief indeed when they discover what the real agenda of the Bush administration is.
The Iraqi people want democracy and the right to determine their own destiny.
The fall of the old regime has meant looting and chaos. Elements of civil war, with bitter ethnic conflict between Sunnis and Shias and within these communities, is opening. In order to maintain "order" and prevent an Afghanistan style disintegration of Iraq the US will try to bring back sections of the old regime, including sections of the hated police. Together with US troops they will be used to suppress the aspirations of Iraqis for genuine liberation.
Bush intends to impose a US military dictatorship. The country is to be run by a former US general and arms contractor, Jay Garner. They propose 23 Ministries each of which will be headed by an American with Iraqi stooges as advisors.
The wealthy elite who have lived in exile are to be brought back. Ahmed Chalabi, exiled banker and pal of Donald Rumsfeld who has been convinced of fraud and has not lived in Iraq since 1958, is tipped for a job in the finance ministry.
The Kurdish people want the right to establish their own state.
The US are now sending their troops to the Kurdish cities of Mosul and Kirkuk to evict the Kurdish militias who have taken them. The US will use its military might to prevent the Kurds from having their own state.
Iraqis want to control the resources of their country. This war was never about "liberation". It was about oil. The first thing the invading forces did was to seize and "secure" 600 oil wells. The military race to Kirkut is to seize the huge oil fields there.
The new US administration will now privatise the oil handing it over to the big petrochemical multinationals, especially to US companies. Iraq’s oil wealth will be plundered, partly to pay for the £100 billion cost of the war and the ongoing costs of occupation, but mainly to make us profits for these companies.
Meanwhile Bush has set aside a paltry $2.4 billion for reconstruction. Much of this money will go directly to the US companies who have been give all the contracts.
This means another economic objective – the privatisation of much of Iraq’s infrastructure, it’s ports, telecommunications, water service etc - will be achieved.
For a socialist Iraq
For US corporations this war will bring big profits. For the Iraqi people it will bring more poverty, upheaval and misery. The only way the aspirations of the Iraqi people for democratic rights and a decent life can be met is through a struggle for a socialist Iraq, and beyond this a socialist federation of the Middle East.
Can US Imperialism be challenged?
Bush went ahead with this war despite the millions across the globe who demonstrated against it. This, and the fact that he won a military victory, may reinforce the idea that nothing can stand in the way of the economic and military might of the US.
In fact this conflict and the events leading up to it have shown the limitations of US power. The anti war protests did have an effect. If they had gone further and involved the working class across Europe and in the US in strike action against the war this movement could have made it impossible for Bush and Blair to proceed.
They have won a military victory only because the mass of the Iraqi population were not prepared to give up their lives to defend the hated Saddam regime. If they were to take military action against a regime with a mass base of support among the population they could end up bogged down in a drawn out conflict that would provoke such opposition internationally and at home that it could end in defeat. There could be a repeat of what happened three decades ago in Vietnam.
Capitalism means WAR
This war will not stabilise the Middle East. It will lead to further conflict and instability. Some of the hawks in the Bush administration are already looking for the next target, with Syria and Iran coming into their sights. Wars for profit are now the very nature of capitalism in crisis.
In order to end wars we need to get rid of the system that causes war. We have to fight for a system in which the resources of the planet are publicly owned, democratically controlled and used for the benefit of all, not to make profits for a small handful of capitalists. We need a society in which money is put into services not wasted on weapons. We need a democratic socialist world run in the interests of the billions, not the billionaires.
The Socialist Party is affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International which brings together socialists in over forty countries and on every continent. If the warmongers like Bush and Blair can link together internationally those fighting for a global alternative to their system must do so also. That is what the Socialist Party and our sister parties around the world are trying to do.