the Disillusioned kid
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Sunday, April 18, 2004

Perhaps I should think about things before I post on this thing, but then what would be the fun in that? And besides as I far from sure anyone actually reads it, who cares?

Anyhow yesterday I mentioned that the US shift towards a UN role in Iraq could be seen as a victory for the "resistance" and as a broadly positive development. On reflection this might benefit from some clarification... So, here goes...

Firstly, the "resistance"...

When I use the term "reststance" I use it to include all those resisting/oposed to the occupation within Iraq, however this is expressed. I think it is important to understand that this, particularly in light of recent times, includes a huge variety of political opinions, some of which I feel some affinity with, some I oppose wholeheartedly. Nonetheless I believe that opposition to the continuing US/UK occupation is now the prevailing opinion among the Iraqi population. Polls show that this was the case prior to the Shia insurrection and Fallujah and we can safely assume in light of those and other events that this feeling is now only stronger.

The Worker Communist Party of Iraq have released a statement in which they describe the current conflict as a "war of terrorists":
In one side of this conflict there is America, terrorizing through its occupation and militarizing the whole society as well as bombarding through tanks and airplanes, and having armed solders. On the other side of this conflict there is political Islam and its forces, which are kidnapping people, carrying out suicide bombing, and killings that are terrorizing people of Iraq. Both sides of this conflict have held people's lives hostage and are driving the society into more chaos and bloodshed.
Similar concerns about the brutality of Sadr's supporters, Salam Pax even compared them to Saddam's secret police, the Mukhbarat. many of the other prominent sections engaged in resisting the occupation, particularly the armed groups, are also quite reactionary and include former Ba'athists and Islamic extermists (both foreign and domestic, although primarily the latter as far as it is possible to tell). Despite the concerns, it is important to understanc that these groups have only been strengthened by the brutality and incompetence of the occupying forces. The occupation cannot and will not stop the spread of these groups, ultimately only the Iraqi people can do that.

In this light, it seems to me, activists in the West should do what they can to support the developing progressive movements in Iraq such as the Iraqi Federation of Trade Unions, the Union of the Unemployed of Iraq and the Organisation of Women's Freedom in Iraq, which I would also consider part of the "resistance", albeit less prominent. Support for such organisations coupled with opposition to the occupation present the best hope of a free, democratic, sovereign Iraq, at least in my opinion.

And now the UN...

There is considerable controversy within the anti-war movement as to the attitude which should be taken towards the UN. Many point out the fact that it is controlled by the US, the need for reform, and the risk of "Bluewash" if the UN is simply called in to sort out all the US's messes. Nonetheless I believe that the US policy shift towards the UN can be seen as broadly positive. This is primarily because it is a step away from the US's original plan in which they and they alone (even in some case to the exclusion of their otherwise entirely complicit British ally) would oversee the "handover". Such a situation would have seen an Iraq which although nominally free would have remained under de facto (and in some case very overt) US control. UN involvement makes it that much more difficult for the US to subvert the handover of sovereignty for its own ends.

Some activists argue that there is no need for the UN at all and the Iraqis should be left to look after themselves. Indeed, this is perhaps the ideal situation, but we do not live in an ideal world. The invasion and action of the occupying forces has seen the destruction and/or disbandment of much of the state infrastructure and it is likely that in the shirt run at least, some external force will be neccesary to assist Iraq in its transition to sovereignty, although one would hope this would be as limited as possible and removed as quickly as the situation allows. In the world today the only body in a position to do this with even the pretense of impartiality is the UN, possibly with a primarily Arab peacekeeping force.

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