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Iraq Resists Occupation

by Meredith Aby-Keirstead |
June 1, 2003
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In the face of growing resistance, the U.S. is unable to consolidate its occupation of Iraq. Efforts to quickly assemble a puppet regime have failed. As we go to press, dozens of attacks are taking place on U.S. and British forces on a daily basis. The number of Americans killed and wounded is surpassing the causalities of the 1991 Gulf War. The Pentagon is weighing the issue of sending additional troops, while former Defense Department officials are speaking of a guerrilla war that will last for years.

As the U.S. struggles to increase its control throughout Iraq, repressive tactics are fanning the flames of struggle. "The resistance is going to increase," said Abdul Qader Fahd, 30, a teacher. "Dealing with civilians like this is terrorism." (CNN.com, 6/16/03).

Mass protests against the presence of U.S. forces and for basic public services like electricity and running water continue - despite the use of deadly force against demonstrators.

Robert Fisk, a reporter from the Independent newspaper in London, in a June 12 interview with Democracy Now, described how the resistance in Iraq is much larger than reported here in the U.S. For example, every night the Baghdad airport is under Iraqi sniper fire. U.S. aircraft have to corkscrew down tightly to the runways from up above rather than use normal flight paths, because they are shot at so much.

The White House portrays the resistance as a 'handful' of holdouts from Saddam Hussein's forces. This is wishful thinking. There is a consensus in military circles that the size, scope and intensity of the attacks are increasing, as is the level of organization shown by the armed resistance movement. This underscores the bottom line - Iraqis don't see U.S. troops as liberators. They are angry that they were attacked. The Iraqi people want self-determination and the right to move their country forward without the U.S. occupation.

Occupation is Wrong!

The U.S. government says the purpose of the occupation is promote democracy and to help rebuild Iraq. In fact, the Bush administration wants Iraqi oil for American oil companies, a client state that will do its biding, a base from which to threaten Iran and Syria and to expand its power over the Middle East.

The U.S. occupying force sets up checkpoints throughout Iraq, searches private homes, imprisons Iraqis and starves them of needed food and medical supplies. Far from 'rebuilding,' U.S. forces are destroying the country. CNN reports that up to $100 million of damage was done by U.S. troops at Saddam International Airport, after they 'secured' the facility.

Iraqis have their own political parties and movements. Occupation, by its very definition, is the opposite of a people choosing their own leaders and government. The U.S. will not allow Iraqis to have a genuine, democratic process for choosing their government. The reason for this is simple. U.S. policy makers are scared, rightfully so, that any new government, chosen by the Iraqi people themselves, would be hostile to U.S. goals in Iraq and the region as a whole. So Washington's plan is to create a puppet regime, similar to the one they put into place in Afghanistan.

Paul Bremer, head of the occupation authority that runs Iraq, has announced the broad outlines of how the U.S. plans to organize the puppet government. First, he will choose a 'governing council.' His hand-picked people from the council will then be given 'some say' over some government ministries. In the unlikely event that everything goes well for Bremer and company, national elections might take place next year. The occupation authority will decide which political parties will be allowed to participate.

The problems faced by the Bush administration are highlighted by their largely unsuccessful efforts to secure American corporate control over Iraqi oil. Thamer al-Ghadban, the former oil minister appointed by U.S. authorities to oversee the industry, has publicly defended the Iraqi people's public ownership of the oil fields. Without an internationally recognized puppet government in place, it is not possible to sell the oil industry to U.S. oil monopolies. Then there's the fact that oil pipelines are being blown up the Iraqi resistance.

Now is the Time for Solidarity!

The Iraqi people are resisting the occupation and U.S attempts to establish a puppet government because they know they need to pick their own leadership to serve their own interests. This is a just cause. It is essential that the U.S. progressive movements organize and fight in solidarity with the Iraqi people!

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