People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
July 04, 2004
To A National Anti-War Assembly
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.)
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
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.
before the invasion, British intelligence, the FBI, CIA and Israel’s
Mossad reported no meaningful links between Al Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
is mass unemployment. Agriculture is in a deep crisis. Public services like
electricity, water, telephones, health and education systems are all in a
The public food distribution system, on which 60 per cent of the population
depends for survival, is being dismantled.
are currently 140,000 US and 20,000 allied troops in Iraq.
Resolution 1483 (May 22, 2003) the UN unfortunately endorsed the occupation.
Nor has the UN imposed any timetable for withdrawal or for holding
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
to 500 university teachers have been dismissed on suspicion of being
opponents of the occupation.
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
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.
US has set up a Coalition Provisional Authority as the supreme governing
body headed by the civilian administrator, Paul Bremer.
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
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.
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.
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
US (supported by Israel) is trying to reshape the region by setting up
frightened or puppet regimes throughout West Asia.
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
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.
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.
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:
and other occupiers must get out of Iraq.
immediate end to the occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine.
their war nor their peace.
free and fair elections in Iraq after immediate withdrawal of occupying forces
and under genuinely impartial international supervision.
constitution or governmental system set up under occupation to be considered
valid. The Iraqi people must freely and democratically decide their economic and
independent war crimes tribunal for Iraq.
all contracts entered into by the occupying powers and their puppets in Iraq.
reparations to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.
to military collaboration by India with the US and Israel.