A PANEL of White House advisers led by a former Secretary of State, James Baker, is reported to be recommending a major shift of US policy in Iraq to US President George Bush.
Baker has stated: ‘Our commission believes that there are alternatives between the stated alternatives, the ones that are out there in the political debate of “stay the course” and “cut and run” ’. These are the alternatives that President Bush has stated in every speech for the last two years.
Baker is recommending a phased US withdrawal from Iraq, and the bringing in of Arab and Islamic peace- keeping forces to pacify the country.
The fact that he has suggested inviting Syrian and Iranian forces to take part in the peacekeeping, confirms that Baker favours the partition of the country into at least three entities.
Calling in Syrian and Iranian peacekeepers would be the ultimate humiliation for Bush and Blair. The fact that Baker is seeking to put this on the table only emphasises how desperate the crisis of US and UK imperialism is in Iraq.
The Baker visit to Iraq infuriated the majority of Iraqis because he made it clear that he favours partitioning Iraq.
Some Iraqi groups have supported the Baker plan, including a section of the Iraqi government grouped around the SCIRI (Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq). This body returned to Iraq from Iran in 2003, as part of a deal between Iran and the US and Britain. Another supporter of partition is the ‘Al Qaeda in Iraq’ group.
Al Qaeda has rushed to proclaim Western, Northern and Central Iraq an Islamic republic, making crystal clear that its establishment will mean war with the Kurds by claiming the Kirkuk oilfields for its republic.
All of the insurgent groups, the Ba’athists, the nationalists and the Islamic movements have denounced the plan for partition as a device for dismembering Iraq and for launching new wars of division.
They have been joined by the Al Sadr movement and the Mahdi Army. Both are supported by millions of the Shi’ite poor and are opposed to partition. Al Sadr has called for the revolutionary unity of all the movements that want to drive the occupiers out of Iraq.
Saddam Hussein has also issued a letter calling for the unity of all Iraqis saying that victory over the occupation ‘is certain’ and opposing all attempts to settle old scores, in favour of defeating the imperialists.
The statements by the Baker committee and also those of the British General Dannatt will have the effect of concentrating the minds of the Iraqi masses into making a huge push to inflict such casualties on the occupiers that they flee the country.
That the masses feel that victory is certain is illustrated by an event in Basra on Saturday when three British consular vehicles escorted by an armoured car were attacked, with one car set alight.
Iraqi TV described the mood of the masses. ‘The residents soon gathered around the burning vehicle. The scene seemed to be delightful to many who not only stood by watching but also threw stones at the vehicle, which expressed a state of resentment over the presence of foreign troops in their territory.
‘A resident said: “The British had come here but ran away. Look at this damaged vehicle. Two British cars and an armoured vehicle fled the scene. The people of Basra, God willing, will never be conquered.”
‘Although the firemen immediately put out the fire, the locals set the vehicle ablaze again. Meanwhile, the British forces stayed away from the scene of the incident to avoid a residents’ uprising as happened in the past.
‘Although the incident has not resulted in serious human casualties, it has, however, supported the conviction that all forms of occupation will disappear from Iraq soon.
‘The attack comes as if it were a direct translation of the British army commander’s comments in which he called for an immediate pullout of the British forces from southern Iraq.’
The Iraqi masses know that they have the imperialists on the run and they are not going to stop until they see the back of the occupation.
Workers in Britain must be inspired by the example of the revolutionary will of the Iraqi people, to complete the job by bringing down the Blair government and going forward to a workers government and socialism.