Occupation of Iraq

130,000 Shias chant "No to America"

A three mile long demonstration in Baghdad of 100,000 Shias, and another of 30,000 in Basra demanding direct elections has thrown Bush and Blair's plans for Iraq into disarray.

By Cillian Gillespie

US and British imperialism are now struggling to find a "solution" that will give them a Government which they can live with and "control" whilst stopping a Shia dominated Islamic Government from coming to power. Bush wants this all done in time for the US presidential elections in November!

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of the majority Shia population have come out on the streets of Baghdad and Basra under the leadership of the Islamic cleric Ayatollah Sistani demanding immediate free elections. The Ayatollah has threatened to call a fatwa against the occupation if this demand is not met, which will swell the forces of the resistance movement and multiply imperialism's problems. Ayatollah Sistani is against the US plans for the "election" of a Government by a select electorate in 18 regional caucuses.

It is now clear that the capture of Saddam only acted as a short term propaganda boost for the US which did not cut across the growth in the resistance movement. US imperialism is now faced with a catch 22 situation. The resistance movement; the death of over 500 US troops and the growing unpopularity of the occupation in the US and Britain; coupled with the exposure of Bush and Blair lies on WMD are forcing them to look for a suitable exit strategy. However Iraq is a country with the world's second largest oil reserves consequently US imperialism will want to hand over power to a regime it knows it can rely on, making the question of withdrawal more difficult.

On the other hand any Government that is seen to be a puppet regime of US imperialism similar to the present Iraqi governing council will have little or no social basis of support within Iraq.

The plans that have been put forward by the Bush administration in terms of self government is that an Iraqi puppet regime will be established in July 2004 followed by the election of a parliament in December 2005. However, whatever Government is put in place it is clear that the US wants to keep real power in the hands of their 150,000 troops. The US and Britain are now trying to find a "compromise" plan that will satisfy the Shia's demand for open and free elections.

The Socialist Party stands for the immediate withdrawal of occupying forces and allowing the Iraqi people to decide their own fate. We also argue that the opposition to the presence of the imperialist forces in Iraq should be linked in with the need for a socialist programme, which would decisively challenge the rule of capitalism and landlordism in Iraq. Such a programme would argue for the coming to power of a workers and peasants Government that would begin the process of transforming Iraq along socialist lines while giving self determination and protecting the rights of all minorities within it.

More articles on post war developments in Iraq are available in our sitemap

This article is from the Feb. 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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