Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/373/6110
Iraq election crisis
Seventeen political groups, mostly Sunni, have called for the postponement of elections in Iraq, scheduled for 30 January. They include the party of the stooge interim prime minister Iyad Alawi and former foreign minister Adnan Pachachi.
The Association of Muslim Scholars had already called for a boycott of the elections.
Despite US forces reducing the city of Fallujah to rubble, resistance to the occupation continues. The main targets have been the Iraqi security forces. In Mosul, the 10,000 strong police force has collapsed and 50% of the National Guard deserted after an uprising in the city.
Now 5,000 US troops are engaged in the 'sequel' to the 'Battle of Fallujah', carrying out raids on cities and towns south of Baghdad along the Euphrates. One senior US commander was forced to admit: "We're in here for the long haul".
For ordinary Iraqis the effects of occupation are devastating. Acute malnutrition amongst young children has almost doubled since March 2003, made worse by lack of clean water and sanitation. More than a third of children under five are chronically malnourished.
Free and democratic elections are impossible under imperialist occupation and the troops should be withdrawn.
If, as the puppet Iraqi government is saying, the elections go ahead at the end of January, huge swathes of the country, mainly Sunni, will be disenfranchised risking further polarising Sunnis and Shias.
The use of Kurdish Peshmerga forces in the ethnically mixed city of Mosul and the increase in ethnically motivated killings show that the threat of civil war and the break-up of Iraq is a real one.
The socialist's call for democratically controlled ethnically mixed militias and the building of workers' and farmers' organisations to defend and of unite ordinary Iraqis against the occupation is therefore an urgent one. As is the struggle for democratic working-class ownership and control of Iraqi resources in order to plan society in the interests of ordinary Iraqi people.
In The Socialist 4 December 2004:
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