Revolution #210, August 29, 2010

From A World to Win News Service

Feeding Iraq to the Wolves

August 9, 2010. A World to Win News Service. The U.S. and UK "killed our country," Saddam Hussein's former foreign minister Tariq Aziz told the UK Guardian in an interview published August 7. Now it is "leaving Iraq to the wolves."

Aziz knows his fellow wolves when he sees them. The U.S. is not actually leaving Iraq, but it is setting beasts on the country's people. That's how it plans to keep control.

Anyone who argues that history can only move forward should look at Iraq. On an economic level, the country was destroyed by 12 years of UN sanctions, "shock and awe" bombardment, the invasion and more than seven years of occupation. This once oil-rich country with well-developed educational and medical systems now no longer even has a national electricity grid, let alone a unified national economy or a consolidated ruling class, exploiters held together by common economic and political interests. So, motley mixes of warlords, tribal, and religious forces contend for pieces of power, each with their own militias and all claiming the legitimacy of Islam. Most are dependent to some degree or another on foreign support. Under these circumstances, the country will be divided for the foreseeable future.

The U.S., which once supported Saddam and his Baathist party when that suited their interests (especially in opposition to the USSR and Arab nationalism), has befriended and fattened most of these wolves. Some of these carnivores have been contending to form a new government since the elections last March. The U.S. supports Iyad Allawi, a former Baathist thug who returned to Iraqi politics as prime minister appointed by the U.S. With financing from Saudi Arabia, he is trying to reconstruct some of Saddam's old ruling coalition and expressed sympathy for "my friend" Aziz. Until now at least, the U.S. also backed the current prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, a former asset of the Islamic Republic of Iran who served as chief enabler for the occupation for the past few years and now has refused to leave office. It would be hard to decide which is a worse enemy of the Iraqi people.

There are also the Sharia-law loving gangsters led by Moqtada al-Sadr, who have tried to combine Iranian influence with a grudging acceptance of the U.S. occupation (which has been Iran's position, too). Then there are the Kurdish wolves, bought and betrayed by the occupiers, whose clan-based rule is increasingly opposed in Kurdistan. Their ambitions have been frustrated by the fact that the U.S. has fed their interests (like ownership of oil fields) to hungry Iraqi Arab wolves.

Finally there is what's called Al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an assortment of Sunni fundamentalists, former Baathists and others who are fighting to impose their own hell on the country's people, when they aren't making deals with the other wolves and entering into and out of various wolf coalitions. 

Barack Obama campaigned for the presidency on what many people took as a promise to end the war in Iraq. On August 3, he boasted that he would fulfill his promise "on time and on schedule" by reducing the number of American troops there to 50,000 by the end of the month. His plan at this point is for them to be there for at least another year and a half. Like U.S. President George W. Bush, who announced "Mission accomplished" in 2003, Obama claims that the U.S. is no longer playing a combat role in Iraq. So why are his soldiers there?

Obama used to pretend that they were not a combat force but simply "trainers" helping to stabilize the elected Iraqi government and help it build up its own army. But it's been six months since there was even the pretense of such a government and everyone knows that its so-called army is a collection of rival militias. So now we're told that they are there to "protect American military personnel and facilities" (U.S. troops are there to protect U.S. troops?) and conduct "counterinsurgency operations." That certainly sounds like a combat role.

That is a huge occupation force, backed up by offshore naval and air power. It is more than enough to give the U.S. the final say on whatever the next Iraqi government does, both conciliating with some Islamic forces and keeping the anti-U.S. ones at bay, while the wolves can do whatever they want to the Iraqi people.

This is the Iraq the U.S. has made, and the way it wants to keep it. It will use its military and other powers to ally with and strengthen reactionary rival wolf packs, one after another or in various combinations, while it continues to keep the country out of its own people's hands.

A World to Win News Service is put out by A World to Win magazine (, a political and theoretical review inspired by the formation of the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, the embryonic center of the world's Marxist-Leninist-Maoist parties and organizations.

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