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Socialist Democracy July 2004



By Dagga Tolar


Two days before their proposed exist date of June 30, Bush and Blair were forced to abandon direct administration and occupation of Iraq. Consequently, Iraq would be governed by an handpicked and unelected gang of returnee Iraqis, to be known as the Iraq Interim Government, who would according to the former US appointed Administrator of Iraq, Paul Bremer, "assume and exercise full sovereign authority on behalf of the Iraqi people"!

This government headed by an Iraqi, Prime minister Iyah Allawi, is not in any way sovereign. It was conceived to protect the interest of imperialism. If it had its way, imperialism would not have ever contemplated a retreat from Iraq, but for the waves of protests against the occupation not only by the Iraqis but in other parts of the world especially in Europe and America coupled with continuous terrorist attacks on US soldiers, U.S. imperialism was forced to wake up to the reality of the situation in Iraq. With 120 billion dollars already spent, 700 US soldiers killed, 500 of them after actual battle had stopped and a defeat handed to US forces in Falluja, and the spreading uprising in Nasiriya, Najaf, Basra and Baghdad, it would only have been a question of time before the imperialist forces were disgraced completely out of Iraq. It was therefore a no choice situation for the US led occupation force.

However, the imperialist arrangement put forward by Bush and Blair would however not move Iraq closer to peace or democracy. It will take very little time for the Iraq people themselves to see that practically nothing has changed contrary to the illusion that Bush and Blair are trying to foster so as to boost their already damaged ego - an attempt at salvaging their fast drowning political careers in the face of approaching elections. They still want people to believe that they were acting altruistically, when indeed the basis for the war, (possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction) was untrue.

US imperialism was simply driven from the outset by the greedy quest to gain control of the rich oil fields of Iraq. This it has achieved by denying Iraqis people the right to decide the future of their country, to elect democratically, those to run the affairs of their country. This implies that from outset, the Allawi government would face a crisis of legitimacy.

In Iraq today, electricity at its worst ever with less than 6 hours a day; unemployment is above 50% of the population and an acute shortage of basic necessities. Rebuilding and reconstruction of Iraq may take a low pace if we take a clue from Afghanistan. This means that resistance would again be on the agenda. That Bush administration has left behind an occupational force numbering 136,000 to provide the necessary security for the new government. This fact alone will continue to provoke the anger the Iraq people to go all out against the imposed Allawi regime.

Al-Sadr and his Shia based Mahdi army would reap a lot from this mass discontentment, as his profile is bound to grow given the role he played in resisting the occupation.

However, the kind of alliance he enjoyed with the Sunni Muslims which resulted into defeat for the occupying force in Falluja is not guaranteed as all interest groups begin to scheme for the spoils of power and office. Again, Al -Sadr, given his right wing political brand of Islam and his goal of transforming Iraq into a theocratic Islamic state does not in any way represent a progressive way forward for the Iraqi people, neither is the more moderate Shite leader, Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, who the US wanted to prop up but failed as a national figure as opposed to Al Sadr, who could not be trusted..

The Kurdish question remains unresolved, given the betrayal by US imperialism whom they had courted and supported, believing that the invasion of Iraq would in one way or the other advance the quest for a form of self-determination. Unfortunately, events turned the other way round. All these are possible indices that could lead to a civil war situation. The only way forward is for the mass of the Iraqi working people and the poor to unite across the religious and ethnic divide on a programme of struggle, solidarity and socialism. If they ultimately win political power, they should nationalize the commanding heights of the economy under a democratic control and management of the Iraqis to guarantee the resources and means to transform Iraq as a gateway for a democratic and socialist Middle East.



Socialist Democracy July 2004