THE United States and its puppet Iraqi government are seeking to renew the UN mandate for Iraq for just one year, meaning that the mandate will expire on December 31, 2008.
The Iraqi puppet regime says that from that date and with its agreement, US bases will be permanently established in Iraq as the guardian of the allegedly ‘democratic regime’, in order to protect it from insurgents and Al-Qaeda and the Iraqi people.
Part of the agreement, to be negotiated, includes giving the US special commercial rights in Iraq, specifically in relation to the Iraqi oil industry that the US wishes to see privatised and in US hands.
Maliki revealed on Sunday that Iraq had already signed up to an agreement to reach a ‘status of forces’ agreement for the establishment of the permanent US bases.
The US however has jumped the gun. It is already building a giant base in Iraqi Kurdistan, and is believed to be considering the establishment of up to a dozen permanent bases throughout Iraq.
The US having been unable to win the war on the various battlefields will not be able to establish its occupation by a treaty with its puppets.
Permanent US bases in Iraq mean a permanent occupation of the country, something that will greatly anger the Iraqi masses, who are constantly demanding the date for the beginning and completion of the US withdrawal.
The prospect of permanent American bases will also deepen the split amongst the Shi’ite movements.
Already, the vast majority of the Shi’ite people are opposed to the occupation and want to see it ended. In fact the severe divisions in the movement between the supporters of the Mahdi Army and the pro-American Badr Brigade have already completely undermined the Maliki regime
The Iraqi masses will also be angry that the US has not given up its plans to privatise and grab Iraq’s oil resources.
In fact the news of the permanent occupation plans should be enough to begin the process of uniting the insurgent movements to definitively put an end to the US occupation, and bring forward a revolutionary government.
Syria, Iran, and the Lebanese national movement will also be extremely angry that they are to be under permanent threat of invasion or air attack from permanent US bases in the neighbouring Iraqi state.
Israel of course will be delighted at the news. It is for the heaviest possible US military presence in the Middle East.
It has already made it crystal clear that it will not accept a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital and with the settlements demolished and the Palestinian refugees having the right to return.
Israel has begun to demand that the Palestinians recognise the Jewish character of the Israeli state, and that central to the establishing of any Palestinian state must be a population transfer of Palestinians out of Israel in return for a withdrawal of some of the settlers from the West Bank.
Israel is for the creation of a new generation of Palestinian refugees.
In the context of this move, and also the preparation of a future attack on Iran, the US drive for permanent bases in Iraq is a strategic question for imperialism.
Workers in the West and in Britain must step up the struggle for the immediate withdrawal of all British troops from Iraq, and for the end of the US-UK occupation.
British workers have no interest in assisting in the oppression of the Iraqi, Lebanese or Palestinian people, or in assisting US war preparations against Iran.
They must support the emerging Arab revolution to drive imperialism out of the Middle East.