OVER the weekend, President Bush made personal phone calls to both the leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdul Hakim al Aziz, and also to the US puppet Prime Minister, the leader of the Dawa Party, Ibrahim al Jaafari.
Despite the phone calls, plus the presence in Iraq of 138,000 US troops and an Arabic speaking ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, who was sent to Iraq specifically to run the constitutional show, the world’s number one super power was unable to get the result that it wanted from its colossal effort.
Bush wanted to see, at least, a fraction of the Sunni clerics signing up to the constitution in the hope that this would draw the considerable sting of the powerful anti-occupation insurrection, and create the conditions for the withdrawal of thousands of US troops.
But the US, which has so far spent £200 billion in installing its puppets inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, and has seen 1,800 of its troops killed and over 15,000 very seriously wounded, was unable to get its way.
To give its support to the constitution, the Sunni clerical establishment demanded that the issue of federalism, and with it a Shi’ite entity in the south, be postponed and that all reference to a permanent purge of Ba’athists be removed from the constitution.
Neither the Kurds nor the official representatives of the SCIRI or the Dawa party were willing to concede these things, meaning that any of the Sunni delegation that were willing to support the constitution would be signing their own death warrants. The US was not able to control its own puppets who had flocked to be at its service after the removal of Saddam Hussein.
The reason is that they had split loyalties. The issue of a separate Shi’ite state in the south was advanced in recent weeks, after the US threatened Iran with war, and sought to prevent the Iranian government using nuclear power to generate electricity.
SCIRI, the Badr Brigade and the Dawa Party spent the 25 years before March 18th 2003 US-UK invasion of Iraq, in Iran.
They were willing to serve the US while it sought to liquidate the Ba’ath party. They were not so amenable with the US preparing to attack Iran. It is out of this crisis that the demand for a separate state in the south emerged.
That the US chose to base its puppet regime on a gang of ex-Ba’athists around Allawi and a group of pro-Iranian mullahs and their militias, including the Badr Brigade, shows the absolutely desperate, even foolhardy, nature of the Anglo-US military adventure in Iraq.
In fact, the insurrection against the occupation is now strengthening every day. The Shi’ite movement has now openly split between the working class and the poor who support Moqtada al Sadr and the unity of Iraq, and the Shi’ite bourgeoisie and petty bourgeois traders who support SCIRI and the Dawa party and a pro-Iranian secession in the south.
Last week this struggle was fought out in all of the main southern cities. The fighting in Basra between the Al-Sadr, Mahdi army and the Badr brigade was so fierce that British forces were ordered not to attempt to intervene in it. They had become irrelevant.
What are the US-UK ruling classes to do? They are bogged down in a killing field of their own making. US army leaders have warned that quitting Iraq would have incalculable consequences, including the loss of Middle Eastern and central Asian oil fields.
They leapt into Iraq and now they cannot get out. They are going to be bled white by troop losses and huge petrol rises. There is only one solution to this crisis of the imperialist powers. The trade unions must bring down the Blair government, to achieve the immediate withdrawal of British troops from Iraq!