Anne Ashford

Iraq: Unreconstructed Colonialism

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Six months into the occupation Iraqi society is becoming increasingly fragile. A generation living under war and sanctions has stretched the ties of social solidarity painfully thin.

Those at the bottom of the pile face utter destitution. A World Food Programme (WFP) report released on 23 September estimated the number of Iraqis living below the poverty line had increased since the war to 55 percent of the population, or more than 14 million people.

War and Resistance: Summer of Discontent

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Anne Ashford charts the resistance to the occupation of Iraq.

'Is the price, in blood and money, too high?' asked the Economist recently. With the occupation costing $1 billion a week, the UN suffering a devastating attack and 'postwar' casualty figures rising rapidly, some US officials may privately agree. In public, however, Iraqi resistance is the work of 'remnants' of the Ba'ath Party.

Paul Bremer, the US-appointed administrator of Iraq, told reporters that in addition to Ba'ath loyalists, supporters of Osama Bin Laden are the main forces resisting the occupation.

Palestine: No Sign of Justice Yet

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Has US victory in Iraq set the scene for a revival of the misnamed Middle East 'peace process'? Although both Israeli and Palestinian governments have agreed to abide by the 'road map' peace plan, the chances of this latest round of negotiations producing lasting peace are very slim.

Many of the reasons lie in the 'road map' itself. The document sets out a three-phase plan for achieving 'a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict'. May 2003 was the target date for the completion of the first stage, which envisaged sweeping reforms of the Palestinian authority, including the appointment of a Palestinian prime minister for the first time, the dismantlement of all Israeli settlement outposts erected since May 2001, and an 'end to violence and terrorism'.

Imperialism - Remaking the Middle East

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The history of British and French rule in the Middle East makes uncomfortable reading for Iraq's new conquerors.

'I'll never engage in creating kings again: it's too great a strain.' As they struggle to impose a compliant government on Iraq, Pentagon officials may well reflect on the words that Gertrude Bell wrote in 1921. Bell, an adviser to the British High Commissioner in Baghdad, played an important role in creating a new colonial order for the Middle East. Out of the debris of the Ottoman Empire, the imperialists of an earlier generation fashioned a network of client kingdoms under British and French tutelage.

World Erupts Against the US

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From Egypt to the Lebanon, from Damascus to Palestine, the war in Iraq is leading to a revolt in the Middle East not seen for years.

'Where are the protesters?' As anti-war demonstrations shook the globe in February, CNN's correspondent in Amman wondered why the streets of the Middle East were still quiet. Robert Fisk made the same point in the 'Independent': 'One million people demonstrate in London, while the Arabs, faced with disaster, are like mice.'

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