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The News Line: Editorial US AGENT MALIKI TURNS ON SHI’ITE MASSES IN the last days of the Bush presidency, the US military has unleashed the Iraqi puppet army, led by its Prime Minister Maliki, to attack the Mahdi army which controls the majority of Basra and has the support of the mass of the people, not just in that city but throughout southern Iraq.

The cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr is the leader of this movement and he is distinguished, among those Shi’ite leaders who returned to Iraq after the US-UK overthrowal of Saddam Hussein, by being an Iraqi nationalist.

He is also an opponent of the US-UK occupation and has constantly called for all US-UK troops to quit Iraq.

His followers have already led two uprisings against the US forces in central Iraq, in which they fought the US army to a standstill.

Maliki has gone to Basra to command the counter-revolutionary operation in person, and his soldiers are now busy killing the Shi’ite poor, in alliance with US troops, not just in Basra but in a number of other cities, from the Sadr City area of Baghdad to Hilla, and the cities of Najaf and Karbala.

The reason for the operation is that the US wants to make the south safe for Maliki to rule on its behalf, before there is a change of administration in Washington, when perhaps the Democrats will be forced by the masses to organise a rapid withdrawal from Iraq.

The US-Maliki operation is another chapter of the military adventure launched by Bush and Blair in March 2003, with the accent on adventure.

The chancy nature of the operation is underlined by the fact that the US was unable to persuade the British government that its 4,500 troops in Basra airport should take the lead in the operation.

The British government declined. This is because it has already been beaten by the Mahdi army, and knows that it cannot fight a war on two fronts.

However, the Mahdi Army allowed the British forces to retire unmolested from Basra Palace to the Basra airport, when they could have caused it terrible casualties.

The Mahdi Army has also kept its word that it would not shell the Basra airport provided the British troops stayed in the base and asked for permission if they wished to leave it.

Far from being confident that the US and Maliki will beat the Mahdi army, the British forces are watching and waiting to see what will happen since they may well need the goodwill of the Mahdi army to be able to leave Iraq for Kuwait.

Yesterday Moqtada al-Sadr urged Maliki to quit Basra and to negotiate, saying that otherwise he will organise a national civil revolt. He followed this up by calling for national action to secure the dismissal of Maliki.

Maliki responded by giving the Mahdi army 72 hours to surrender, something that is not going to happen.

Bush’s adventurism has actually brought Iraq to the brink of an enormous leap of the insurgency with the masses of southern Iraq being driven by this attack to unite with the insurgents throughout the rest of Iraq.

The British ruling class is dreading that the moment will arrive when Maliki, unable to defeat the Mahdi army, calls on the UK forces in Basra airport to march out and come to his aid.

Then it will have to choose between recovering its long lost political independence from the United States or to bend the knee to its master and move its troops into a situation where there will suffer very heavy casualties.

Workers in the west must support the millions of Iraqis who are struggling to end the occupation.
The way to stop any new war with Iran is to force the withdrawal of all British troops from the Middle East and Afghanistan. The British trade unions must tell Brown to bring all of the troops back now, or they will take action to bring his government down.









 
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