[Marxism] Sadr backs UN peacekeepers

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at rogers.com
Mon Apr 19 20:57:55 MDT 2004

David McDonald wrote: "This is a bold move on al-Sadr's part...He is a
politician as well as organizer and a thoughtful leader careful to amass
allies and split enemies as he leads at least a section of his people in
battle against US imperialism, and, having fought them to a standstill,
proposes a realistic end to the US occupation in the extremely immediate


There are two different meanings attached to the demand for a UN
peacekeeping force and, as David McDonald points out, al Sadr has one which
is clearly at odds with the one favoured by the Bush administration.

The US wants to put a UN fig leaf on the US occupation by having American
commanders don blue berets and nominally report to Kofi Annan rather than
Donald Rumsfeld. The US occupation force would remain and nothing would
change, except the occupation would gain its long sought-after patina of

Sadr and what appears to be the main body of the international
anti-occupation movement have quite a different perspective: they envisage
the withdrawal and replacement of US forces by a multinational force
composed of troops from the Arab League and those UN states, notably France,
Germany, and Russia, which didn't support the invasion. It is not likely,
however, that the US would agree to remove the bulk of its forces, or that
the Arabs and Europeans would agree to send troops unless they have
reasonable assurance they are going to be engaged in peacekeeping rather
than combat operations. The Iraqi resistance has not distinguished between
the US and UN forces up till now, although Sadr's comments may be an
indication this is changing.

The question is: Does the demand for UN peacekeepers, as interpreted by Sadr
and the antiwar movement, advance the struggle against the US occupation, as
David contends, or does it simply promote illusions and reinforce the push
by the Bush administration for a UN fig leaf?


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