frontline 7

Mobilise to stop war on Iraq

With Blair and Bush intent on launching a war on Iraq, socialists must organise to oppose this war and to cut through the propaganda and media censorship.

When Iraq invaded Iran in 1980 the US and the UK financed Saddam Hussein. They hoped the Iraqi armies would overthrow Ayatollah Khomeni who had himself ousted the pro-Western Shah of Iran, following a peoples' revolution. The US and the UK feared the spread of Islamic fundamentalism and saw Saddam Hussein as a bulwark against that ideology.
When it looked like Iran might defeat Iraq, the US sent a fleet to the Gulf, offered protection to ships carrying Iraqi oil and destroyed Iranian oil installations.

British and US governments were clear that that Saddam Hussein was using ballistic missiles and cyanide gas on Tehran. He was simultaneously trying to defeat the Kurdish movement for autonomy within Iraq, using poison gases, destroying villages, and imprisoning and torturing entire communities.

There were no calls for sanctions against Iraq for using chemical weapons. There were no calls to halt the torture of the 3.7 million Kurds who were under occupation.

Right up until the eve of the invasion of Kuwait, Saddam Hussein enjoyed the support, financial and military, of Western imperialism. But when he actually invaded Kuwait the response of Britain and the US was completely different. Why? Because it meant Iraq controlling one fifth of the world's oil reserves. A further invasion of Saudi Arabia would have given Iraq control of 40% of the world's oil reserves.

With Western economies dependent on oil, the unwritten rule of imperialism is that it will control world oil supplies and pricing. And when they are unable to control the supplies politically, using pliable puppet regimes, military intervention is never far away.

Several hundred thousand Iraqis, mainly young conscript soldiers were killed in the Gulf War of 1991. In the 11 years since, Western sanctions have killed 500,000 more. Depleted Uranium used in the bombing campaign has caused a cancer epidemic

Iraq is still bombed frequently. In the 10 years since the end of the Gulf war, the British government has spent on average £5 million a week on this undeclared war - £2,600 million in total.

During the events following the 11th September, the US State Department and the intelligence services tried to establish with a link between the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Iraq. They found not a trace of evidence against Iraq, whose secular regime has traditionally been hostile to the political ideology known in the West as Islamic fundamentalism.

So why launch a war on Iraq? According to Blair "our main concern about that country is its determination to build weapons of mass destruction capability and the threat that it poses, not just to its neighbours, but to the rest of the world".

But according to Scott Ritter, the former senior official of the arms inspectorate, who spent years in Iraq destroying weapons, Iraq had been effectively disarmed by 1998. He also said that the campaign on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was the longest running hoax in the international community.

There are many countries who could be listed as possessing weapons of mass destruction, having been sold both the hardware and technology by companies in the west. They include India, Pakistan, Israel, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, North Korea and many more.

So what is the real reason the US and Britain are so determined to overthrow Saddam Hussein? Some people have suggested that for George W Bush, this is unfinished business, and that he is driven by an obsession to complete the task that his father failed to carry out.

While there may be an element of this, the prime reason is the stance taken by Saddam, opposing the on the war in Afghanistan and the Israeli invasion of the Palestinian authority.

As the Palestinians are held under siege by Israeli tanks in the occupied territories, the Arab world has exploded with mass street demonstrations. Saddam is cynically manoeuvring to put himself at the head of this mass anger and revolt.

He is seen throughout the region as the only Arab leader prepared to stand up to US imperialism. Hence the Iraqi regime's withdrawal of oil supplies to the West until the Israeli state withdraws from the Palestinian. Authority. When he issued this pronouncement Saddam also called on other oil producing countries in the region do the same.

Bush and Blair fear what Saddam Hussein may come to represent, as mass opposition against their 'war on terror' grows throughout the Arab world. This could undermine those Arab regimes who are currently part of the 'coalition against terrorism'.

It is not enough that the Iraqi people suffer under a dictatorship - they are now to be invaded, by 200,000 troops, who will try to take the country town by town, city by city.
This will continue until the US and Britain are able to overthrow Saddam Hussein and impose a puppet regime which will be compliant to US and British foreign policy.

Socialists are appalled at the atrocities committed by Saddam Hussein against Iraqi's and Kurds. We do not support his regime; on the contrary we will give solidarity to those opposition forces within Iraq fighting for democracy and socialism.

Western imperialism cannot bring democracy to the Middle East. It has consistently supported regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other countries that have violently suppressed all opposition within their countries.

The SSP is the only political party in Scotland that will unequivocally oppose the war on Iraq. The SNP and Liberal Democrats tamely suggest that a UN mandate is needed before war is declared. Given that the UN does what the US tells it to do, this is tantamount to supporting mass slaughter.

The SSP must stand in solidarity with the peoples of the Arab world in their struggle against imperialism and for democracy, equality and socialism.