Thoughts on Iraq
g.maclennan at qut.edu.au
Sun Aug 10 18:42:16 MDT 2003
In military terms the situation in Iraq would appear to be poised on the
knife edge. Stan Goff knows more about military matters than I have ever
wanted to and he seems to think that the USA is losing the war as they did
of course in Vietnam.
There are obvious differences, not least political and geographical but we
may be, if I can borrow a phrase, looking at Vietnam in slow motion IMHO.
What is missing on the Iraq side is a true progressive liberationist force
which will transcend the dialectics of religious fundamentalism and
divisions. The liberation of Iraq requires the Arab revolution.
In the mean time the Americans may be able to stave off such an
eventuality, but also dialectically their very presence in Iraq makes the
*necessity* if not the probability of the Arab revolution increasingly obvious.
Looking on from afar it would seem that in the immediate term the Americans
are striving to mop up what they claim is resistance based on remnants from
the former regime. Hence the euphoria when they assassinated Saddam's sons.
In the process of this 'mopping up' they are however thoroughly alienating
the Sunnis. Even worse from the point of view of the American military,
they have not prepared for guerrilla warfare. They are still presenting
soft targets, because they do not have an Iraqi based infra-structure to
run the country. This means that the Americans cannot retreat to the Forts,
while a native based gendarmerie takes the casualties.
The Shia meanwhile have been looking on largely passively with the
exception of the killing of the 6 British military police and the Basra
riots of the last few days. It is too early to say what these riots will
lead to. It would seem that the Shia clergy by and large are staying on
the side lines watching the Americans take out their old enemies - the Sunnis.
It would seem pretty obvious to deduce that they expect to lead a
democratic Iraq. If America will not give them that then presumably they
will contemplate armed resistance.
All in all the situation is still a recipe for a disaster for the Americans
and the British. However I am inclined to think that there is still not in
place what is required for a revolutionary defeat of American imperialism
in the region.
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