Jun 7, 2004
In early June, U.N. officials announced the formation of a new Iraqi government to replace the Governing Council, as the current government is called, on June 30.
This, according to George Bush, is a step toward a sovereign Iraq. But only those who close their eyes could believe this. The new government, appointed by the U.S. appointed Governing Council, will also be a U.S. puppet. The background of the new prime minister, Iyad Allawi, says it all: he is a former Iraqi exile who has had close ties to the CIA for at least seven years.
This new government, like the old one, has no power – not even on paper. It will not even have any authority over Iraqi security forces, let alone the U.S. occupation forces. It will also have no power to rescind any edicts that had previously been issued by the Coalition Provisional Authority, or CPA, the current occupation authority. And it will have no say over the granting of contracts. As for Iraq's oil revenues, while officially they will be under the control of the Iraqi government, an "international advisory board," controlled by the U.S., will decide how the revenues can be "used properly."
As for the CPA, while it will officially cease to exist, its officials will simply become officials of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, from which they will continue to direct affairs.
Most significantly, the U.S. military occupation of Iraq will continue – and grow larger. The U.S. military just announced that it will send a significant number of the troops stationed in South Korea and Germany to Iraq, and it will extend the so-called "stop-loss" program.
According to this latest version of "stop-loss," soldiers in units that are 90 days or less away from being sent to Iraq will not be able to leave the service even if their tour of duty is over. These soldiers can then be deployed in Iraq for at least a year. In other words, the U.S. intends to increase this war.
Why, then, is the Bush administration putting on this show of handing power over to the Iraqis? Neither Bush nor the U.S. ruling class and political establishment want this war to become an issue taken up by the U.S. population. They know too well how, only a generation ago, the popular opposition to the Viet Nam war, in connection with the Black movement and other social movements, seriously curtailed their options.
The U.S. military has recently made truces with both Sunni and Shiite insurgents in Iraq, allowing them to hold onto the territories they control – one in Sunni areas centered around Fallujah, and one in Shiite areas centered around Najaf and the Shiite-dominated Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. It's not that the U.S. military was shy of using brute force to crush the militias, as the heavy aerial and ground bombardment of neighborhoods and mass arrests showed. But this would mean for Iraq to continue to occupy the top news, with horrible images of war and casualties on both sides – and that's what the Bush administration wanted to avoid for now.
But the question is not settled. These insurgencies have proved that the militias enjoy the support of the population, and thus pose a threat to U.S. control of Iraq and its oil. In order to control the oil fields, the U.S. will step up its military involvement in Iraq – even if it does so quietly until the election is over.
In the second year of the occupation, everything indicates that the U.S. is not only staying in Iraq but deepening its involvement, against a hostile population plagued by poverty, unemployment and even a lack of most basic services such as electricity and running water.
The U.S. ruling class wants to continue its control of Iraq, especially the country's vast oil reserves, at the expense of the populations of both Iraq and the U.S. Like the people of Iraq, working people in this country have every reason to oppose this bloody occupation.