People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 27

July 04, 2004

On To A National Anti-War Assembly


(Below we are publishing a write-up prepared by the Citizens Against War And Occupation as a part of its preparations for a national level anti-war assembly to be held some time later this year.)


ABOUT one year ago (on March 20, 2003) the US and allies, despite opposition from most of the world’s governments and peoples, brutally invaded Iraq. This was immoral, illegal and unjustifiable. US excuses about weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq and a Saddam Hussein–Al Qaeda tie-up are now exposed as lies. The US remains entrenched in Afghanistan and supports Israel’s repression of Palestinians. We, the Citizens Against War And Occupation, demand an immediate end to the occupation of Iraq, and also that of Afghanistan and Palestine.




  1. No WMDs were discovered in Iraq. It is the WMDs of the eight nuclear weapons states, particularly of Israel and the US, that represent the gravest threat to the world.

  2. Even before the invasion, British intelligence, the FBI, CIA and Israel’s Mossad reported no meaningful links between Al Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein regime.

  3. The US did not invade to establish democracy. It has supported numerous repressive regimes everywhere including (for over a decade) that of Saddam Hussein. In the conduct of US foreign policy it is the interests of US business, commercial and political elites that are paramount. It is for Iraqis, not for anyone else, to overthrow their own tyrant.

  4. US troops were not welcomed as liberators. Resistance by Iraqis has been growing irrespective of Hussein’s capture. Far more US soldiers have been killed during the occupation than in the war of invasion. Of the 500 plus dead, over 450 died during the occupation. The ratio of injured to deaths is approximately eight to one.



  1. The 12 years long sanctions regime (1991-2003) imposed through the UN by US and UK caused the deaths of around 1.5 million Iraqis including over 500,000 children. One third of all children born in Iraq are underweight and malnourished.

  2. In the 1991 and 2003 wars, around 2500 tonnes of depleted uranium munitions (which emit radiation) were used resulting in much higher than average rates of birth deformities and of certain cancers. Today, some sites have background radiation levels 2000 times above the normal.

  3. Around 30,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in this latest war. Over 8000 civilians have died and over 20,000 injured so far, including unarmed demonstrators for which no US soldier has been punished.

  4. There is mass unemployment. Agriculture is in a deep crisis. Public services like electricity, water, telephones, health and education systems are all in a shambles. The public food distribution system, on which 60 per cent of the population depends for survival, is being dismantled.





  1. There are currently 140,000 US and 20,000 allied troops in Iraq.

  2. Through Resolution 1483 (May 22, 2003) the UN unfortunately endorsed the occupation. Nor has the UN imposed any timetable for withdrawal or for holding elections.

  3. The US is establishing three major military bases. A future Iraqi government is to authorise their permanent presence and accept that US troops will stand above both Iraqi and international law.




The US has violated the 1949 Geneva convention whereby an occupying force cannot auction a country’s assets.

  1. Except for the oil industry, the US is preparing for massive across-the-board privatisation of some 200 public sector enterprises (including 6 banks) to foreigners. Current oil revenues are completely controlled by the US.

  2. The G-8 countries led by the US, has arbitrarily fixed Iraq’s national debt at 120 billion dollars or 360 billion dollars if full compensation to Kuwait is included. Since this is a regime debt, the fall of Saddam Hussein means this debt should be completely cancelled. The US opposes this so as to manipulate the future Iraqi governments.

  3. Halliburton, Bechtel and other American companies, financed by US taxpayers’ money and by an Iraqi puppet government, are being favoured with billions of dollars worth of contracts, for “reconstruction.” First the US blames Iraq for the destruction it causes and then expects Iraqis to be grateful for the “reconstruction” that it will most profit from!

  4. Fifty per cent of the Iraqi workforce or 7 to 8 million are unemployed or underemployed. Most workers get 60 dollars or less than Rs 3000 a month. Unions and strikes are banned in the public sector. The occupying forces have carried out arbitrary arrests of leaders of the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions.


Culture and Society


The US has violated the 1954 Hague convention on the responsibility of occupiers to protect artistic treasures. Despite pre-invasion warnings to the Pentagon by international scholars, US troops on capturing Baghdad protected only the oil and interior ministries, allowing looting of the National Museum of Antiquities and burning of the National Library, promoting the destruction of Iraq’s cultural heritage.

  1. Eighty per cent of 170,000 artifacts were looted or destroyed, including materials from the oldest known Mesopotamian civilisations. Tens of thousands of books, manuscripts and newspapers from the Ottoman Empire were burnt.

  2. Al Jazeera, the only independent Arab television network, has had its offices in Kabul and Baghdad bombed, journalists killed, and faces continuous harassment from the US and the puppet Iraqi government.

  3. Close to 500 university teachers have been dismissed on suspicion of being opponents of the occupation.

  4. A progressive 1959 Family Code protecting women’s rights in matters of divorce, maintenance, guardianship, etc (preserved by the Saddam Hussein regime) has been abrogated to allow control by religious bodies in such family matters.

  5. The US is promoting social and religious divisions: Shia versus Sunni, Kurds versus other Iraqis. Encouraging such fractures enables the US to play the permanent referee: the old story of divide and rule.



  1. The US has set up a Coalition Provisional Authority as the supreme governing body headed by the civilian administrator, Paul Bremer.

  2. There is also a 25 member Inter-Governmental Council (IGC) that provides the necessary front for US control. The IGC also provides the model for the US’s future plans, being deliberately organised along separate ethnic, religious and political lines to prevent any kind of internal nationalist consolidation.

  3. The US has set up a puppet “interim regime” including a handpicked president and prime minister to which it is supposed to hand over ‘sovereignty’ on June 30, 2004. But US troops remain under its control. Each Iraqi ministry will have a key decision-maker appointed by the US government through its ‘pro-consul’ Paul Bremer who remains the actual supreme ruler. The US is seeking UN endorsement for this farce and has obtained the consent of the Secretary General Kofi Annan and his envoy to Iraq, Lakhder Brahimi. It remains to be seen how other countries respond and whether or not they will buckle under US pressure to approve this UN cover up. According to this plan, only the UN Security Council can end the US ‘mandate’ over Iraq or even call for a review of the US presence there. Of course, the US can exercise its veto in the Security Council, thus prolonging its stay as long as it wants.




The Afghan occupation is meant to serve two main purposes --- geopolitical domination of Central Asia and control over the region’s oil and gas reserves. To achieve this, the US can ignore the needs of reconstruction in Afghanistan and leave the countryside to the warlords. It can concentrate on controlling a puppet government in Kabul, determine the oil and gas contracts and pipeline routes, and expand and maintain permanent military bases.

To dominate West Asia geopolitically and economically, the US must destroy resistance in Iraq; help Israel impose a Bantustan settlement on the Palestinians that ensures its permanent domination or simply allow Israel to continue its brutal repression. Israel is building a wall in the West Bank to further imprison the Palestinians, take away more land and force people to leave.

The US (supported by Israel) is trying to reshape the region by setting up frightened or puppet regimes throughout West Asia.




The BJP-led NDA government desperately wanted to become America’s strategic ally. It came close to sending troops to Iraq but backed off because of strong domestic opposition.

That government wanted a share of the contracts for “reconstruction” that the US was promising. It was like a jackal waiting for its pickings after the jungle cats (Europe and Russia) were allowed their larger share.

That government was committed to consolidating its alliance with the US and Israel and to deepening military connections with them. Apart from lip service it cared nothing for the people of Iraq.


The new UPA government, led by the Congress party, has declared that it wants good relations with the US and Israel though it will move back from the kind of relationship that the former government was pursuing with these two countries. Nevertheless, it will be under pressure to recognize the post-June 30 puppet regime in Iraq and to maintain and even deepen military and political collaboration with the US and Israel. Progressive forces inside and outside the government must oppose this and push the new government to change direction towards stronger support for the peoples of Iraq and Palestinian and for all those opposing US imperial behaviour.




Iraq is today the crucible of world politics. America’s political defeat there will mark the first phase in the unravelling of its attempt to establish an informal global empire. This would also enormously strengthen resistance everywhere. We, the Citizens Against War And Occupation, declare our solidarity with the struggling peoples of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. We demand and declare the following: 

US and other occupiers must get out of Iraq.

An immediate end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.

Neither their war nor their peace.

Hold free and fair elections in Iraq after immediate withdrawal of occupying forces and under genuinely impartial international supervision.

No constitution or governmental system set up under occupation to be considered valid. The Iraqi people must freely and democratically decide their economic and political future

An independent war crimes tribunal for Iraq.

Cancel Iraq’s debt.

Revoke all contracts entered into by the occupying powers and their puppets in Iraq.

Full reparations to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

No to military collaboration by India with the US and Israel.