Jul 24, 2006
On July 9 in Baghdad, dozens of heavily armed Shiite militiamen broke into homes and over several hours killed 42 civilians in a Baghdad neighborhood, including women and children, simply because they were Sunni. On July 17, Sunni gunmen went into a marketplace in Mahmudiya, south of Baghdad, and using assault rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenades, killed 48 Shiites in broad daylight in revenge for the July 9 massacre. The next day a suicide bomber killed 59 people in Kufa, a Shiite city in central Iraq. The United Nations said the number of civilians being killed has been rising, going from 1,778 in January to 3,149 in June or more than 100 a day. In July, the number killed seems to have reached 200 a day.
For months there have been almost daily violent explosions and other acts of violence, particularly since the Shiite Golden Dome shrine in Samarra was blown up on February 22.
These aren’t religious conflicts, contrary to what western commentators have repeated for many months. These fundamentalist Shiite and Sunni factions are contesting for power. They are trying to create a bloody gulf between the two communities by means of armed attacks and assassinations so their own population will rally around them. Their main objective is to get in power and impose their dictatorship.
But imperialism is the root cause of this catastrophic situation for the Iraqi population.
The war and then three years of occupation brought additional misery, and left an enormous political vacuum, which the supposedly democratic institutions put in place by Washington and London haven’t filled. For months, these institutions have been totally powerless to restore calm to the country. Several times they decreed a cease fire and threatened prison to anyone carrying arms in public, but without any result. In fact, there has been chaos, bloody chaos, for months.
The violent acts of the imperialist armies, U.S. and British in particular, pushed many youth, and older people too, into the hands of the fundamentalist militias. The list of U.S. caused bloodbaths is long, like the siege of Fallujah in November 2004. There were also revelations of the abuse by U.S. and British troops on thousands of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. Most recently, the news that four U.S. soldiers raped a young Iraqi before killing her and three members of her family raised indignation in Iraq as in the U.S. But how many other violent acts have been committed without being publicized? All these facts, all this violence can only increase the hatred against the imperialist occupier.
Bush justified the U.S. intervention and then the occupation by the necessity to bring democracy and liberty to the population. No! Imperialism has brought only chaos and misery to Iraq. The Iraqi population is caught in a pincers – between bombing by the occupation forces on the one hand and violent acts committed by armed militias and waves of terrorist attacks on the other.