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Iraq resistance grows under U.S. provocations

Published May 26, 2005 5:17 PM

The Pentagon war to annex Iraq as a profitable region of U.S. capital’s empire is still raging, long after the fragile pretexts for invasion have torn like tissue. The sheer brutality and colonial-style character of the occupation have unleashed a firestorm of resistance that enjoys widespread support in the Iraqi population.

But not many people here—in what Vietnam-era anti-imperialist activists referred to as the “belly of the beast”—are seeing the reality of life for Iraqis and GIs on TV news or in newspapers.

A Los Angeles Times survey examined the war coverage of six major newspapers and two news magazines from Sept. 1, 2004 to Feb. 28, 2005. The results revealed that although 559 U.S. troops and other West ern “Coalition” soldiers died during that period, the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Washing ton Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution did not run a single photo of a dead GI.

War correspondents in Iraq are either “embedded”—stenographers for the military brass—or their lives are in danger. Newspaper Guild President Linda Foley said May 20 that the U.S. military is deliberately killing reporters, particularly Arab journalists, in Iraq.

Her statement in St. Louis was reminiscent of CNN executive Eason Jordan’s statement at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Jordan said that U.S. troops had specifically targeted some of the 63 journalists who had been killed at that point in Iraq. He was forced to resign soon after; Foley is already under political siege.

In an April 15 report on its website, the Newspaper Guild charges that on April 8, 2003, troops from the Pentagon’s Third Infantry Tank division fired an incendiary shell at the Palestine Hotel where two journalists—Jose Couso and Taras Prots yuk—were standing on a balcony. Both journalists were killed.

On May 24, two unions—the News paper Guild-Communications Workers and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists—sent official letters to the White House asking the Bush administration to “heed the requests from journalists around the world for an independent investigation into the record number of deaths.”

The Guild represents 35,000 reporters and other media workers in the United States and Canada. AFTRA represents close to 80,000 news media employees.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, based in the United States, is demanding that the United States and its puppet forces reveal where at least eight Iraqi reporters have been held since they were detained in March.

War rages, without being televised

Whether the cameras are rolling or not, furious battles are still joined between GIs, increasingly weary of being foot soldiers for the imperial legion, and Iraqi resistance forces determined to oust the occupation through military and political pressure.

Abul Waleed, commander of a brutal U.S.-trained police commando unit, boasted as he introduced a new music video to viewers on Iraqi “state-run” television May 23, “We will cut off the arms of insurgents.” However, the resistance appears to have strong limbs that reach deep into the population.

Using car bombs, insurgents killed three U.S. troops on May 24 in two attacks in Mosul. The same day, in Samarra, two suicide combatants detonated themselves outside a Pentagon military base, wounding four U.S. soldiers.

The day before, three separate insurgent bombings had injured a total of three U.S. soldiers in Samarra. Three U.S. troops were also killed and one wounded when resistance fighters rained mortar fire at a joint army/police base in Samarra. In Tikrit, one GI was killed and two others wounded in a bomb assault.

U.S. military forces, leading battalions of Iraqi puppet forces to help do their dirty work, have carried out a terror sweep dub bed “Operation Squeeze Play.” In Baghdad neighborhoods adjacent to the U.S. prison at Abu Ghraib, and near the road that runs from downtown to the main airport, hundreds of Iraqis have been trapped in a dragnet of mass arrests.

This offensive in the western part of the capital is a Pentagon attempt to quell ongoing attacks on the U.S.-run dungeon. The insurgents exert strong control over the six-mile stretch of paved road to the airport, now ruefully characterized by GIs as the “highway of death.”

The bloody operation itself demonstrates that, no matter how the Iraqis are outgunned by U.S. capital’s high-tech weaponry, sheer force alone is not subjugating the population.

Who profits from
‘divide & conquer’?

The motive of some other bombing attacks is less clear. Faced with a population that wants the U.S. force to leave their country, Washington stands to gain from what is often vaguely reported in the U.S. mass media as “sectarian violence.”

The big-business media is aiding and abetting imperialist efforts to drive a wedge between Sunnis and Shias. Although some dispute these figures, they say the Sunnis make up some 20 percent of the population and that they held greater political power in the Ba’athist government; thus the U.S. media treats them as the “bad guys.”

On May 22 Associated Press writer Paul Garwood wrote, “The Sunni fall from grace is regarded by many as a key source of Iraq’s raging insurgency, which claimed more victims Sunday, including Trade Ministry official Ali Moussa and his driver.”

What’s missing? No mention of the im per ialist occupation fueling the resistance.

This AP report’s approach is just the visible tip of the iceberg of Washington’s attempts to pit Sunnis and Shias and Kurds against each other. It’s an effort to keep the entire population divided in order to steal Iraq’s natural wealth and defeat the fight against the occupation.

But the insurgency is so tenacious and so strong that even some of the brass hats themselves are, well, down.

Many years and many more troops are the best that even the most optimistic of the “unnamed” officials are willing to venture it would take to “stabilize” Iraq. By stable, they mean winning enough class peace to plunder Iraq’s vast resources.

But the insurgency has claimed the lives of an estimated hundreds of mercenaries and contractors working for the Pentagon. As a result, a big chunk of those billions of dollars earmarked to build the infrastructure—necessary, for example, to funnel out Iraq’s vast oil reserves—is being channeled instead into military “security.”

For the people of Iraq, after enduring two years of life under occupation, most of the 27-million-strong population is still without adequate electricity, sewage disposal, clean water or other essential services.

Conditions like these, and the military boot heel of the occupation, drive the Iraqi people’s determination to resist the occupation.