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News ::
19 Oct 2003

By Fred Goldstein
Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the Oct. 23, 2003
issue of Workers World newspaper


By Fred Goldstein

The Bush administration may finally get its Security Council resolution dubbing the U.S.-British colonial occupation a "UN multilateral force." The resolution would leave the U.S. in military command and with absolute political authority over Iraq for the indefinite future.

Washington has apparently been able to strong-arm enough support from
the seven dependent members of the Security Council that, along with the U.S., British and Spanish votes, it will get the 9 or 10 votes
sufficient to pass its long-sought resolution. The French, Russian and Chinese governments have signaled that they will not veto, according to reports.

With mounting U.S casualties and the Pentagon military unable to stop
the Iraqi resistance or control the situation on the ground, plus the
skyrocketing costs of the occupation, the French and German imperialists and the Russian counter-revolutionary capitalists have sought to take advantage of the U.S. predicament.

Washington was compelled to go to the UN for a resolution as a condition of getting outside troops and money. Its rivals have sought to use the UN as a wedge to get into Iraq and break the U.S. stranglehold on the occupation. To this end they demanded a UN resolution that would give early "sovereignty" to an Iraq provisional government and a "central role" to the UN in shaping the political and economic process of "reconstruction" in Iraq.


At the moment, it appears that Washington gave nothing of substance and that the French, Germans and Russians have had to acquiesce in allowing the Bush administration's resolution. It declares that the puppet Governing Council-- appointed by and run by Paul Bremer--and the Coalition Occupation Authority will "embody" the sovereignty of Iraq, while the UN will play a "vital role," such as training police, supervising elections and so on.

The resolution spells out a protracted, purely hypothetical process by giving the Governing Council until Dec. 15 to come up with a constitution. It then establishes an electoral process that presumably leads to elections and an Iraqi government. In the meantime, the U.S. occupation has sole governing authority.

No one has explained how the Governing Council can "embody the
sovereignty" of Iraq while Bremer and company have sole governing
authority. The resolution, as such, is utterly contradictory on its
face. It is a fraudulent cover for the U.S. occupation. It will
ultimately be an embarrassment to any government that votes for it.

The French, Germans and Russians have been offering amendments but
Washington has been stonewalling on anything of substance. The three
powers say they will not oppose the vote. They are apparently fearful
of deepening the split with the U.S. imperialists. They have to live
with the fact that the Pentagon has control in Iraq. If there is any
hope of them getting in on the ground, to further inflame relations
would make it more difficult in the future. Should they actually vote
for the resolution, it will be a signal that secret deals have been
made to cut them in on the spoils.


The world movement must be absolutely clear on what this struggle over so-called Iraqi "sovereignty" means. In the context of Iraq it is a strictly legal concept, as far as the imperialists are concerned. Sovereignty, to the French, German and Russian governments, means governmental status. Governmental status gives the legal right to negotiate arrangements with other governments and with foreign corporations. Right now, all that authority resides in the U.S.-run occupation authority. Once a so-called " regime is declared in Iraq, the other imperialists will have the opening to deal with
the government.

Sovereignty, in this limited legal sense, has nothing whatever to do
with sovereignty in its political meaning of a government able to
determine its own affairs, or in the sense of national independence or self-determination. Any Iraqi regime created under the aegis of
imperialism, whether by the "unilateralist" U.S. government or the
"multilateralist," UN-sponsored group, including the French, German and Russian corporate robbers, would be financially, economically,
militarily and politically dependent on the great powers. The legality is a figleaf. It is about the sovereign right to make a deal--at the expense of the Iraqi people.


The struggle between the Bush administration and sections of the U.S.
ruling class over bringing in the UN also arises out of the fierce and growing resistance faced by the U.S. military and the enormous costs of the war. The broad struggle boils down to two camps: those critics of the Bush administration who want the occupation and the subjugation of Iraq to succeed, but feel it is worth making concessions to get help, and those in the Bush administration who want help but are not willing to make any other than atmospheric concessions.

There is a third position, which is causing a war within the Bush
administration. It is the position of Donald Rumsfeld--and possibly
of Dick Cheney--that wants no concessions. It does not want to acknowledge the need for any humiliating reliance on other imperialist powers for support. It does not want any infringement on the Pentagon's role or to legitimatize the role of the United Nations in Iraq.

This position has been pushed back, at least for now, with the elevation of National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, the State Department, the CIA and the Treasury Department to an oversight role of the occupation, under the rubric of the Iraq Stabilization Group.

The opposition to the Bush administration was typified in an editorial in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 10 entitled "Tone-Deaf on Iraq": "U.S. troops have learned that Iraqis greet a foreign occupation army with rocket-propelled grenades, not flowers. And that was before the latest slap: the proposed addition to the occupation forces of perhaps 10,000 soldiers from Iraq's former colonial master, Turkey. ...

"The U.S. should shift from military belligerence, going it alone and
lecturing global allies to employing diplomacy to get them into the Iraq mission. ... If Washington doesn't change, the U.S. role in Iraq could be even more lonely, costly and bloody."

To be sure, the Pentagon is desperate to get other countries' troops in harm's way so that U.S. soldiers don't take the brunt of the Iraqi
resistance. With the introduction of Turkish troops, the colonialist
triumvirate is complete: the power that for 400 years had a despotic
empire in the land that is now Iraq joins with Britain, the colonial
power of the 20th century, and the U.S. superpower, which is seeking to colonize Iraq in the 21st century.


This is a formula guaranteeing resistance. Witness the car-bombing of
the Turkish Embassy. Zaki Chehab, political editor of the Arabic
television station al-Hayat-LBC, summed up his findings of a survey of the Iraqi resistance in the Oct. 14 edition of the London Guardian:

"The Iraqi suicide bomber who yesterday attacked the U.S.-frequented
Baghdad Hotel was the fourth member of the Iraqi resistance to kill
themselves for the cause. The bombing came only three days after last
week's suicide attack on a Baghdad police station that left at least
eight people dead. From the meetings I have had with resistance fighters in different parts of Iraq, there is no doubt that there will be many more such attacks to come."

Chehab met with fighters in Ramadi, Mosul, Tikrit, Fallujah, Samarra,
Baghdad and other places. He cited U.S. killings at checkpoints,
arbitrary mass arrests, wild shootings, body searching of women,
invasive home searches, collective punishment, the conviction that the U.S. is there for oil, and the hated idea of being occupied as the common threads stoking the resistance.

According to Chehad, the various currents in Iraq have united for
resistance. In Ramadi, the resisters "defined themselves as
nationalists." In Tikrit, the fighters interviewed were loyal to Saddam. In Fallujah and Mosul, Islamist forces predominated. In each area there were ideological differences among the fighters. But despite this, the struggle is uniting them.

"In the back streets of Mosul, soon after the fall of the city, I came face to face with a group of armed men, shouting and firing shots in different directions. I asked them who they were: some introduced themselves as former Baathists, others said they belonged to Islamist organizations ... they all took their orders from the same committee in the city, which was headed by a group of religious leaders. I later found there were similar relationships in Fallujah and Samarra."

As the resistance grows, the U.S. grows more frustrated and more brutal--despite Bush's remarks that "things are going well."

Patrick Cockburn, writing in the London Independent of Oct. 12, revealed that the U.S. military is beginning to act like its Israeli clients. "U.S. soldiers," wrote Cockburn, "driving bulldozers, with jazz blaring from loudspeakers, have uprooted ancient groves of date palms as well as orange and lemon trees in central Iraq as part of a new policy of collective punishment of farmers who do not give information about guerrillas attacking U.S. troops."

An area of crops a kilometer long was destroyed and 50 families lost
their livelihoods in Dhuluaya. When Sheikh Hussein Ali Saleh al-Jabouri went with a delegation to the nearby U.S. base, the officers described what happened "as punishment of local people because 'you know who is in the resistance and do not tell us.'"

What the Israelis had done by way of collective punishment of
Palestinians is now happening in Iraq, added Sheik Hussein.

Asked how much his lost orchard was worth, one of the farmers, Nusayef Jassim, replied, "It is as if someone cut off my hands and you asked me how much my hands were worth."

- END -

(Copyright Workers World Service: Everyone is permitted to copy and
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