Troops out of Iraq now!

Paddy Meehan

In just five years, the seemingly invincible super-power of the US and its ‘Coalition of the Willing’ has been brought to its knees in a war they thought would last a few weeks. Instead, there is no end in sight to the disaster they have created, not only for themselves, but for the people of Iraq.

In the last few weeks, Iraq has been invaded yet again, this time by the Turkish military in their own local ‘War on Terror’. This incursion was only supported by the US on the basis that it would be short. The fear of US imperialism is that yet another insurgency could develop in what has been up to now supposedly the most stable region of Iraq.

Pressure is continually mounting in the US for withdrawal of troops. Both Clinton and Obama have been forced to deal with the issue of Iraq in their primary campaigns but neither can give a definite date for withdrawal. As 62% of Americans believe the war was a mistake, both candidates are desperate to outdo each other by appearing to call for withdrawal. However, both had their chance in the Senate to block funding for the war and ensure an end of the occupation, but chose not to.

The need to secure Iraq’s oil resources and US imperialism’s interests in the region will be the priority for the next President. Deploying divide-and-rule tactics, the US has leaned on different tribal and religious militias to pit them against each other. This has involved arming and integrating into the army and police the Sunni Awakening Councils, supposedly as a reward for their fight against Al-Qaeda. Instead, this has resulted in the army and police being split along sectarian lines.

Any talk of withdrawal of the US-led occupation is set in the distant future and only on the criteria that a divided Iraq can be controlled from the outside. The prospect of ethnic cleansing and a sectarian war is an afterthought in their thirst to secure the country’s oil resources.

The occupation of Iraq can only deliver more bloodshed, sectarian division and dire poverty. It has been a disaster for the people of Iraq and also threatens to destabilise the entire region. Only the Iraqi people themselves should decide their own destiny. The corrupt warlords and religious fundamentalists who effectively control large parts of Iraq rely on sectarian division and offer no way out of the barbaric conditions most Iraqis have to endure. Capitalism offers no solution for the people of Iraq.

Socialists support all attempts by Iraqi workers, youth and poor to build a movement which fights against the barbaric conditions of poverty, sectarian conflict and the occupation. Such a movement should also fight for a socialist alternative where the resources of Iraq are publicly owned and democratically run to meet peoples’ needs.

Thousands endorse Socialist Youth anti-war campaign

Socialist Youth ran a very successful campaign across Northern Ireland against the occupation of Iraq in the run-up to the 5th anniversary of the invasion. Thousands of signatures were collected from school students calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Dozens of stalls with anti-war leaflets and information about the occupation were held outside many schools in Belfast, such as St. Joseph’s College on the Ravenhill Rd, Ashfield Boys and Girls School in East Belfast and St Malachy’s Grammar on the Antrim Rd.

Hatred for George W Bush has definitely not disappeared amongst young people as was evidenced by our anti-Bush badges being sold out on many stalls. As well as campaigning in schools, Socialist Youth members also organised activity in Belfast Metropolitan College, Queen’s University and University of Ulster Coleraine where we received an attentive responsive from students.

As a result of this campaigning work, the profile of Socialist Youth has leaped and socialist ideas have been introduced to thousands of young people.

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