Socialist Party
| Print

25 June 2014

Western hypocrisy as Iraq disintegrates

The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isis) continues making territorial gains, controlling much of western Iraq along the border with Syria and has captured Iraq's largest oil refinery.

Iraq's army, riddled with corruption and reviled as a sectarian Shia force by Sunnis, ignominiously fled in the face of the better-armed and disciplined Isis-led forces. Isis was lavishly funded and armed by the reactionary Sunni Gulf states in its fight against the Assad regime in neighbouring Syria. Now the Frankenstein's Monster, which began life in Iraq during the western occupation, has surged back into Iraq, exploiting the hatred of Sunnis for the sectarian, corrupt and oppressive Maliki regime in Baghdad.

Isis's initial force of around 6,000 has been bolstered with new recruits, including foreign fighters arriving from Syria and hundreds of freed prisoners. No wonder the Cameron government fears the 'blow-back' of jihadist fighters returning to Britain.

In response, Moqtada al-Sadr, leader of the Mahdi Shia militia, and Iraq's highest Shia authority, Ayatollah al-Sistani, made a call to arms. Twenty thousand volunteers took part in Shia militia parades in the vast Shia slums of Sadr City, in Baghdad, on 20 June, promising to act "in defence" of Shia shrines in several cities. Kurdish military forces have clashed with Isis but have also taken advantage of the crisis to capture territory they dispute with Arabs.

Sectarian divisions

The Isis offensive has features of a general Sunni revolt. But the jihadist's alliance with Ba'athists, former army officers and Sunni tribal leaders is very shaky. They are also unlikely to make big advances into Baghdad or other majority Shia areas. For the moment, many residents in 'liberated' areas welcome the back of the sectarian Iraqi armed forces but these communities will fall foul of ultra-reactionary Isis rule, which is already oppressing women.

The military situation is fluid but it is clear that Iraq is in the process of disintegrating along sectarian, national and ethnic lines, with catastrophic consequences for the region. "Iraq has effectively broken up," wrote Patrick Cockburn, the veteran Middle East journalist, and ominously adds, "and some people are on the wrong side of the line," (Independent, 22 June). The White House and former prime minister, Tony Blair, both absurdly claim that the current Iraqi crisis has nothing to do with western policies. But western imperialism is primarily to blame for the sectarian division and bloodletting. Iraq's sectarian and ethnic fault lines became a chasm after George Bush and Tony Blair's 'blood for oil' 2003 military invasion and occupation.

Since 2006, the western-supported Shia prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, presided over sectarian discrimination, torture and imprisonment without trial. Maliki deployed sectarian rhetoric to take attention away from the atrocious conditions facing all Iraqis. The forcing of a leading Sunni minister into exile triggered popular protests in Sunni areas in December 2012 and early 2013, which the authoritarian regime brutally suppressed.

In the absence of a united workers' movement to draw together general opposition to Maliki from all quarters, the reactionary Isis was able to step into the political vacuum.

Proving the dictum attributed to Lord Palmerston, "We have no permanent allies, we have no permanent enemies, we only have permanent interests," the US and Iran - whose competition for influence in Iraq is greatly responsible for today's catastrophe - find they have common purpose, saving Iraq from Isis takeover.

Shia militias closely linked to Tehran are resisting Isis. Obama sent 300 special advisors to aid the Iraqi army and warships to the area in possible preparation for air strikes. However, air attacks will not dislodge Isis from its urban bases but will only kill many civilians and widen the conflict.

US Secretary of State John Kerry calls for a 'unity' government in Iraq and the idea of a 'federal' government is touted. Such a proposal would be strongly opposed by neighbouring states with minorities that are either restive or in open revolt, like Turkey and Syria.

Socialist programme

The working people and poor of Iraq can only rely on self-organisation to end war and misery. An independent, united working class movement is needed to organise self-defence of all communities. With a socialist programme, such a movement could find many regional and international working class allies in its struggle to overthrow the rotten Maliki regime, to expel imperialism and to sweep away all the sectarian, reactionary politicians and militias.




http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/articles/18822




Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

triangle20 Jun Save our NHS

triangle20 Jun Rolls Royce: fight all job cuts!

triangle20 Jun Desperate divisions in Tories - Corbyn and unions must act

triangle20 Jun 1000 issues of the Socialist: A vital weapon standing in proud...

triangle13 Jun No to Trump and Tory racism

triangle13 Jun Civil service pay strike ballot: vote yes!

triangle13 Jun How can we fight for trade unions that fight for women?

More ...

WHAT'S ON

triangle23 Jun Tower Hamlets Socialist Party: Karl Marx walk

triangle26 Jun Manchester Socialist Party: Who are the 'alt-right' and how do we stop them?

triangle27 Jun Harrogate NSSN: Fight austerity in Harrogate

triangle27 Jun Salford Socialist Party: The abortion rights victory in Ireland

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

What we Stand For

About the Socialist Party

Our 2015 election manifesto

Joining the Socialist Party - what will it mean for you

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999