Iraqi puppet government splits after Maliki refuses to order US withdrawal

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THE political bloc of anti-occupation Shia cleric, Moqtada al-Sadr, yesterday quit the Iraqi puppet government with its six ministers quitting the cabinet.

They walked out after ‘their’ Prime Minister Maliki said publicly on his trip abroad that he was not in favour of setting a date for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

Al-Sadr was demanding that Maliki set the date by which a US withdrawal had to take place.

This walk-out is just days after insurgent bombers penetrated the US top security zone in Baghdad, the Green Zone, to blow up an MPs dining area, next to the debating chamber in the Iraqi assembly, killing eight MPs.

The ruling Shia parties and groups are now completely fractured.

Maliki and the leaders of the Dawa Party, the party that organised the 1982 assassination attempt on Saddam’s life at Dujayl, and then organised the revenge trial of Saddam and his execution, has shown that their loyalty now lies with the US.

That this is so, has been proven by Sadr’s walk out, and the fact that Iran turned his plane back when Maliki sought to overfly Iran on his way to speak in Japan last week.

His trip was delayed by 20 hours after the Iranian government told him that he did not have their permission to overfly Iran.

Sadr and the Mahdi army are not a pro-Iranian force – Sadr is an Iraqi nationalist.

The fracturing of the Shia parties has reached the point where the Badr brigade, trained in Iran, and which fought with Iran against Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war is now supporting US troops in their security drive in the towns to the south of Baghdad, where the bulk of the opposition is made up of the members of the Mahdi army.

The political leader of the Badr Brigade and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), al Hakim, recently had an ‘excellent’ meeting with President Bush and is also opposed to a withdrawal of US troops, causing a growing friction between himself and Iran.

The secret of Al-Sadr’s position is that he is the leader of the Shia poor, the urban poor in the great cities of southern Iraq, and Sadr city in Baghdad.

This movement of the most oppressed is anti-capitalist as well as being Iraqi nationalist.

It will not kowtow to a US occupation of Iraq and it will not agree to Iraq’s great oil industry being privatised by a puppet regime for the benefit of the US monopolies.

This shattering of the Shia religious coalition, which sought to gain out of the US organised overthrow of Saddam Hussein, is the fruits of the four year long insurgency that has fought the US-UK occupiers to a standstill and is now poised to push them out of Iraq altogether.

The Shia masses understand that the hour for carrying out this task has arrived, and this was seen in the recent great demonstration of hundreds of thousands in Najaf, where they marched draped in Iraqi flags and thrust a group of Sunni mullahs to the front of the demonstration to show their opposition to sectarianism and the divisions that it creates.

The US-UK occupiers are now sinking fast in a political and military disaster.

They have long overstayed their welcome.

What is required is for the resistance forces to unite militarily and politically to establish a joint command of the resistance and a provisional government to organise the last great push to force the occupiers into the Shatt al Arab.

Then free of the occupiers there can be a democratic election of a government that will proceed to build a socialist Iraq based on the nationalisation of its oil and gas industries and striving for the restoration of the free education and medical care that were the great gains of the Iraqi revolution, before proceeding to establish new heights of development for the Iraqi people.