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From The Socialist newspaper, 22 February 2006


Bush and Blair's total failure

3 years of war and occupation

IRAQI AUTHORITIES in three regions have withdrawn all co-operation from British forces in response to the sickening videos showing prisoners abused in 2004. It's a further indication of the increasing anger in Iraq to the occupation.

Chris Newby

The occupation of Iraq has been a disaster from the beginning. Over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed in the three years of occupation but Bush and Blair have no workable political solution as the floundering attempt to create a new coalition government shows.

Representatives from Kurdish groups and Sunni Arabs are complaining of the undue influence of militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr within the Shia alliance, UIA, whilst Moqtada al-Sadr himself is calling for the rejection of the new Iraq constitution.

Iraq's leading non-Shia parties are also mounting a last-minute bid to block the reappointment of Ibrahim al-Jaafari as prime minister, citing his previous ineffectiveness in office and his new "political debt" to al-Sadr.

And while Western multinationals profit from reconstruction contracts and carve up Iraqi's huge oil wealth between them, the US ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, threatens to cut aid to Iraq if the various government parties do not sort out a new constitution and agree on the Prime Minister.

With reconstruction aid set to end, the Bush regime continues to spend huge amounts on the military and on the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. The US defence budget is set to top $517 billion in 2007 of which Iraq and Afghanistan will take a major part.

But not only is pressure building on Bush and Blair over the war and occupation of Iraq but pressure is also building within the occupying forces. With over 2,200 US forces and 100 British troops killed this unease has reached a level that British soldiers are now demanding a "trade association" along the lines of the Police Federation to protect their rights.

Colonel Tim Collins (famous for his speech to troops on the eve of the invasion of Iraq), said: "I think such an organisation is needed at the moment because confidence in the chain of command and general morale has collapsed across the Army." And as Jeff Duncan from Save the Scottish Regiments says: "Many within the military have reached breaking point, either leaving en masse or attempting to protect themselves via this organisation."

It is vital that the campaign to end this brutal occupation is increased by building for the national demonstration on 18 March.

The campaign must be linked to the struggle for a democratic socialist society in Iraq, allowing the country's huge oil wealth to be used for the benefit of ordinary Iraqis and not the multinational billionaire profiteers.

Stop the War Coalition demo

18 March 2006

Assemble 12 noon Parliament Square, London SW1.

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In The Socialist 22 February 2006:

Unite Save pensions, jobs and services

Fight for your future!

Campaign for a New Workers' Party conference

Gas price rise the biggest in history !

Daggers at NHS's heart

Why rural workers need socialism

Bush and Blair's total failure

Car workers fight layoffs

Trade wars and protectionism

Khrushchev: The Stalinist who denounced Stalin

Music industry: Do we only hear his master's voice?

Good Night and Good Luck

Get your May Day greeting into the socialist!

University staff vote to strike over pay


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