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Bush and Blair still in denial
AS IRAQ descends further into sectarian violence, ethnic cleansing, corruption and poverty, Western leaders Tony Blair and George Bush continue to be in a state of denial over the country's impending collapse.
Lacking an easy exit strategy the warmongering double act continue to declare their intention to 'stay the course' to achieve 'a democratic Iraq' while reducing coalition troop numbers and redeploying Iraqi forces.
This statement of intent would be laughable if the situation in Iraq wasn't so tragic. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed since the March 2003 invasion - victims of coalition violence and now, increasingly, of sectarian tit-for-tat murders. In addition nearly 3,000 US and 130 UK troops have been killed. Millions have fled abroad or have become internal refugees as Sunnis, Shias and Kurds flee each other's neighbourhoods in Baghdad and other cities.
Even Kofi Annan, the stooge outgoing UN secretary general told the BBC that the average Iraqi was safer under the Saddam dictatorship than in today's Iraq! And many Iraqis are materially worse off too. Out of a population of around 25-27 million less than ten million have access to clean drinking water - down from 12.9 million before the war. Similarly, electricity supplies are intermittent, with people connected for fewer hours a day than before the occupation. And, one-third of children are now suffering from malnutrition.
How can Bush and Blair bang on about achieving a democratic Iraq when civil war is raging across central Iraq and when the police and armed forces are loyal to their sectarian political groups rather than the government?
Now, the Shia party led by the Iraqi nationalist cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has suspended participation in the coalition government, as its militia increasingly clashes with occupation forces and Sunni groups.
As Patrick Cockburn suggests in the Independent: "Iraq may be getting close to what Americans call 'the Saigon moment', the time when it becomes evident to all that the government is expiring."
Over 70% of Iraqis want the US to leave within 12 months. The recent US mid-term elections, when Bush's Republicans suffered defeat, also reflected American voters wish to speedily end the occupation.
The US bipartisan Iraq study group, headed by former secretary of state James Baker (who served under George Bush senior), is reportedly urging a 12-18 month timetable for withdrawal without a 'democratic and stable Iraq', based on negotiating a co-operation pact with the 'evil twins', Syria and Iran. Such a conclusion will further undermine Bush's waning political authority.
But the US administration's Iraq policy is sinking deeper into a quagmire, as revealed by a leaked memo from former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld written two days before his 'resignation'. In it Rumsfeld suggests 'buying-off' Iraq's politicians, saying: "Provide money to key political leaders (as Saddam Hussein did), to get them to help us get through this difficult period."
It's unclear whether or not this includes the beleaguered Iraqi prime minister Nuri Karmal al-Maliki, who snubbed a meeting with George Bush in Jordan after it was revealed that Bush's national security advisor believed Maliki to be incapable and unwilling to stem the rising tide of sectarian violence.
Maliki is supported by the anti-American al-Sadr, which is one reason why Bush is now courting Maliki's Shia rival, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.
As long as the coalition forces occupy Iraq, the bloody chaos will continue. And without a genuine political alternative based on a united working-class struggle for jobs, decent living standards, and democratic rights in Iraq, the existing political set-up of institutionalised sectarianism will lead to a violent fragmentation of Iraq.
Imperialism and capitalism has evidently failed to bring about a democratic Iraq, only a socialist movement in Iraq and throughout the region can end this capitalist nightmare.
In The Socialist 7 December 2006:
War and terrorism
Socialist Party news and analysis
International socialist news and analysis