Iraq: Bogged down in an unwinnable war

"WE ARE locked into a bogged down problem not dissimilar to
where we were in Vietnam," lamented Republican Senator Chuck Hagel
after US general Peter Schoomaker admitted that 100,000 troops would be
needed in Iraq for another four years.

Dave Carr

The growing Iraqi insurgency and rising US body count, the impasse in
drafting a written constitution, the widespread corruption, etc, has
resulted in a continued fall-off of support for George Bush’s Iraq

Stop the War Coalition Demonstration

24 September 2005

Assemble 1pm Central London

Now, over 50% of Americans believe the Iraq war was a mistake. US
domestic opposition to the occupation has been focused by the protest
outside George Bush’s Texas ranch by Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US
serviceman killed in Iraq.

Consequently, the Bush administration is keen to get a new Iraq
constitution agreed and voted on by the 15 October deadline. However,
the ethnic and sectarian divisions between the leaders of the three main
population groups of Shias, Sunnis and Kurds is proving impossible to

Having extended the deadline for agreeing a draft constitution,
arguments over Islamic rule, federalism and sharing oil revenues,
continue to dog Iraq’s opportunist politicians. A no vote in only three
of Iraq’s 18 provinces in October’s proposed referendum would
effectively kill the constitution. The Sunnis, who overwhelmingly
boycotted elections to the interim government, are opposed to a federal
constitution which would see them lose out on political power and oil

Moreover, the Kurdish leaders in the north will not relinquish the
autonomous region they rule over. The imposition of Islamic law wanted
by Shia clerics is also anathema to the more secular Kurds.

Now, increasingly, Shias are talking of their own separate region in
the south of the country. A political fudge will only delay inevitable
splits, with the US-led coalition forces fearing a slide into a deeper
civil war.

However, the new Iraqi army, the bedrock of a new Iraqi state, is
already organised along sectarian lines with exclusively Shia or Kurdish

As the socialist predicted, the imperialist ambitions of the US and
its UK junior coalition partner in ‘reconquering’ the Middle East have
foundered in Iraq. The idea that ‘regime change’ would provide the US
with a platform for exerting its power in the region and at the same
time secure cheap, long-term oil supplies has been dashed. It is now
mired in an unwinnable war and lacks a viable exit strategy.

For the time being, in the absence of a mass socialist movement to
provide a working-class opposition to imperialism, the Iraqi resistance
is largely a disparate mix of Sunni insurgents and Islamic jihadist

But the potential to build a non-sectarian, united working-class
opposition exists in the emerging trade unions and in the workplaces,
where strikes and protests have already been organised against the
occupying powers and the stooge Iraqi government.