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From The Socialist newspaper, 13 November 2004

Withdraw The Troops

Enlarge: The reckoning to come: detail from Socialism Today coverAS SOON as the US elections were out of the way, the bloody assault on Fallujah began.

Christine Thomas

15,000 US troops are leading a street by street invasion of the city.

Cartoon: The reckoning to come: detail from Socialism Today cover: new issue out now

They want to wrest control from the Iraqi resistance before planned elections in January next year.

In the last attack on Fallujah in April, as many as 1,000 Iraqi civilians were slaughtered. This time most have been forced to flee the city. But up to 100,000 remain, many sick and elderly.

The US-led occupiers hope that if they crush the resistance in Fallujah they will regain control of the rest of Iraq. But as soon as they do seize one city another is taken over by the resistance, as in Samarra and Ramadi.

There is no doubt that militarily the US has the power to seize Fallujah. But for how long and at what cost? Thousands more civilians face death in a war and occupation that has already claimed the lives of 100,000 - half of those women and children.

After just two weeks, the names of four Black Watch soldiers have been added to the grim toll of troop fatalities. Tony Blair has given his stamp of approval to this latest bloodshed. Like a loyal pet he rushed over to the US to be the first foreign leader to congratulate Bush on his re-election.

The invasion of Fallujah will not crush the Iraqi resistance to imperialist occupation of their country. On the contrary, the very brutality with which Fallujah is being crushed will lead at a certain stage to a strengthened resistance.

Struggle

In 1995 Russian troops destroyed Grozny the capital of Chechnya. But the struggle for Chechen independence is still being waged nine years later. The terrible slaughter of hundreds of children at the school in Beslan recently is a stark reminder of the barbaric actions that can arise from brutal imperialist occupation.

Bush and Blair try to write off the resistance as a handful of "foreign terrorists". But the April assault on Fallujah provoked a mass uprising amongst both Sunnis and Shias throughout Iraq. This time stooge Prime Minister Iyad Allawi has declared a state of emergency in the whole of Iraq, with the exception of the Kurdish areas in the North. This shows just how widespread the resistance really is.

Curfews and house-to-house searches, together with the invasion of Fallujah, will further enrage ordinary Iraqis, particularly the Sunnis who could boycott elections planned for 27 January. If the resistance escalates in the short-term, it's possible that elections won't be able to take place at all.

In addition to Fallujah, at least 22 cities are out of US control. Even if US troops succeeded in capturing all of those cities, how could they maintain control for any length of time? As long as occupying troops remain, the resistance will continue.

Mass resistance

THE SOCIALIST Party calls for the immediate withdrawal of all occupying troops. We support the right of Iraqis to fight imperialist occupation and advocate mass resistance through the building of democratically controlled workers' and farmers' militias, uniting all ethnic groups.

Actions which result in the indiscriminate killing of ordinary Iraqis, carried out by a small minority, do not advance the long-term interests of the working class. Mass resistance however, could massively weaken the occupation while laying the basis for independent working-class organisation, and the struggle for democratic control and planning of the country's resources to ensure jobs, a living wage, healthcare education and basic services for the Iraqi people.

This is essential to cut across ethnic and religious divisions and prevent the dominance of right-wing political Islam, which is a danger to the Iraqi working class.


More countries say no

GOVERNMENTS IN more and more countries are responding to pressure to withdraw their forces from Iraq. The latest countries to announce withdrawal include Hungary and the Czech Republic.

Hungary's new (millionaire) prime minister Ference Gyurscany said he'd pull his country's 300 troops out of Iraq by March 2005.

The Czech Republic said that its 100 police officers will go home in February. Poland, with its 2,400 soldiers, will start reducing its presence next January and completely withdraw by the end of 2005.

Other countries' forces either withdrawn or withdrawing:

New Zealand: 60 troops returned home 15 September. Thailand: 423 troops returned home 9 September. Philippines: 51 withdrawn on 19 July 'to save lives of hostages'. Norway: 10 currently in Iraq; 140 withdrawn on 30 June 'because of growing domestic opposition'. Honduras: 370 withdrawn on 12 May. 'Troops were sent for reconstruction, not combat'. Dominican Republic: 302 withdrawn on 4 May. 'Growing domestic opposition'. Spain: 1,300 withdrawn on 4 May, fulfilling the incoming PSOE government's election pledge. Singapore: 160 withdrawn on 4 April. Nicaragua: 115 withdrawn on 4 February.

We say to Tony Blair: Bring back British troops now!

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In The Socialist 13 November 2004:

Withdraw The Troops

Big events will shake Bush win

How Could Bush Win?

A balance sheet on Nader's campaign


Socialist Party campaigns

Civil Servants Strike

Civil servants show Blair they mean business

Great display of solidarity

Defend Pension Rights

We won't work till we drop

Fight for your future

Why the North East said 'no'

Organising against low pay

Support Jag workers' fight for jobs


International socialist news and analysis

Massive vote for social change in Uruguay

Slovakia solidarity appeal:

Film director's Murder sparks racist backlash


 

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