THERE were no pictures beamed around the world yesterday of United States President Barack Obama at a passing out parade in Baghdad on the day that America had designated as the end of combat operations in Iraq.
Instead, Vice-President Joe Biden slipped into Iraq unannounced, because of security concerns, and Obama made a televised address last night from the White House, thousands of miles from Baghdad.
This contrasts starkly with the situation in 2003, when, following the March invasion by the US-led imperialist forces, former President George W Bush stood on an aircraft carrier under a banner ‘Mission Accomplished’. He declared: ‘In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.’
Clearly Obama and his allies, like British Prime Minister David Cameron, are aware that the opposite is the case. They are losing the war to control Iraq.
Caretaker Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tried to put a brave face on the situation. He said: ‘Iraq today is sovereign and independent,’ adding, ‘Our security forces will take the lead in ensuring security and safeguarding the country and removing all threats that the country has to weather, internally or externally.’
However, Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyer Zebari was forced to give a glimpse of reality. He told a newspaper: ‘It is the fulfilment of (Obama’s) election pledge. But it is embarrassing for them to withdraw and still we don’t have a government in place, because all the achievements, all the sacrifices that have been made, could be in jeopardy. It is embarrassing for us also.’
US troop numbers are down from a peak of 150,000 to around 50,000, but it is clear that the imperialist-trained Iraqi armed forces cannot cope without the active backing of US troops. Al-Maliki’s talk of a ‘sovereign and independent’ Iraq and ‘security’ is a lie. Insurgency, counter-insurgency and sectarian attacks resulted in more than 500 deaths in August.
The Bush administration went to war against Iraq to topple President Saddam Hussein’s nationalist Ba’athist government and install a stable American puppet regime that would privatise Iraq’s vast oil resources for the benefit of US multinationals and enable America to dominate the region.
Seven years later, Obama confronts a situation where Iraq does not have a government in place six months after the March 7th Parliamentary elections. Caretaker premier Al-Maliki, put in place by the US, and former puppet premier Ayad Allawi (2003-2005) are battling against one another to form a government.
The Parliament has not met for six months, no laws have been passed, ministries are not functioning and no government budget has been adopted to fund infrastructure projects and services.
This is part of the horrendous conditions that have been inflicted on the Iraqi nation and its people under the US-led imperialist occupation.
The organisation Iraq Body Count has concluded that there have been between 97,461 and 106,348 civilian deaths between March 2003 and July 2010 as the result of the war, occupation and sectarian killings.
The United Nations estimates that nearly 2.2m Iraqis have fled the country since 2003, mainly to Syria and Jordan. A further 2.4m are internally displaced.
Since the invasion in 2003, hours of electricity have been cut from 4-8 hours a day to 3-4 hours, one in four families do not have tap water in their homes and for two-thirds of households, sewage disposal amounts to throwing it outside.
In this situation the resistance to the imperialist occupation is growing stronger. It is a tribute to the resistance that Biden could only go into Iraq in secret.
Anti-imperialist and anti-occupation movements like the former governing party, the Ba’ath Party Iraqi regional command and the Al Sadr Trend are determined to drive out the US occupation forces and their agents, who have formed puppet governments since 2003.
Yesterday’s fiasco of ending US combat operations in Iraq showed that imperialism is on the run. The Iraqi national resistance movements, with the support of the working class in the US and Britain, must unite and force the complete withdrawal of US and British troops and ensure the defeat of imperialism in Iraq and the whole of the Middle East.