Iraq occupation

Fighting the long war

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The political landscape is starting to change around the anti-war movement. The departure of Tony Blair from office much earlier than he would have preferred - itself the result of the catastrophe in Iraq and the consistent campaigning of the movement - creates a new situation.

The British government is already committed to a gradual military withdrawal from Iraq, where the troops now seem to be serving no conceivable purpose even in the government's own terms. Gordon Brown may decide to accelerate this process. Likewise, he may announce a clear intention to set up an inquiry into the circumstances under which the country went to war in 2003.

Brown In, Troops Out?

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Will Gordon Brown pull the troops out of Iraq? He'd be a fool if he didn't try.

After all, the most recent election results demonstrate a high degree of hostility †“ still - to his predecessor's most disastrous policy. It is widely assumed that the victory of the Scottish National Party in Scotland was in a large part down to an anti-war vote.

The war remains unpopular everywhere, opposition to it is embedded deep into popular consciousness and its escalating costs are counterposed to government parsimony in nearly every other area of government spending.

Defeat: Why Bush Cannot Win the War in Iraq

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For George Bush "staying the course" remains the order of the day but for most people the war is already lost. Anne Ashford spoke to award winning Iraq correspondent, Patrick Cockburn, and Iraqi exile Sami Ramadani about the resistance, the roots of sectarian violence and about "exit strategies" for the occupiers.

On Christmas Day 2006 around 1,000 British troops reduced the Al-Jamiat police station in Basra to rubble. Their intended targets, members of the city's Serious Crime Unit, had already fled but the soldiers of the 19 Light Brigade blew up the building anyway. According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) verbose press release, the police station "erupted in a tower of debris and dust, removing a powerful symbol of oppression and corruption from the Basra skyline". The Serious Crime Unit, British commanders claimed, ran death squads and kidnapping gangs.

Either Way, They Lose

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By sending thousands more troops to Baghdad, Bush and the neocons have shown their inability to accept defeat but, argues Chris Nineham, the move will expand tensions at home.

Just when it seemed things couldn't get any worse for the US establishment, George Bush's antics have taken panic and division in Washington to new levels. His rejection of the Iraq Study Group report has put Bush on collision course with a cross section of the elder statesmen of the US ruling class including James Baker, the man responsible for ensuring that Bush's dubious election was upheld at the end of 2000.

Why Opposing Imperialism Means Supporting Resistance

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Sometimes there are strange coincidences in history. One occurred last month. George Bush made an official visit to Vietnam just as leading figures in his own Republican Party were saying that the Iraq war had indeed turned into the new Vietnam. The US was in danger of a repeat of the ignominious defeat it suffered 31 years ago, and had to find a way of getting out of the morass.

In both cases US imperialism overstretched itself, stirred massive opposition both in the occupied country and throughout the world, and faced the prospect of defeat as a hammer blow to its capacity to get its way globally.

Blaming the Victims

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What does a politician do when a war they started goes badly wrong? Pick a fight with those who have opposed it, of course.

George Bush tells us he's disappointed with progress in Iraq. How does he think the rest of us feel? The occupiers have now admitted they cannot control Baghdad or Basra. No wonder generals, former warmongers and even the politicians are now discussing withdrawal from Iraq. This is about much more than the US midterm elections, where Bush looks like he'll get a pasting. It is about a complete failure of strategy in the region, and the sudden realisation that things can only get worse.

Iraq: 'The British army is just another militia'

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Kamil Mahdi interviewed

Daily the media tells us about clashes between "insurgents" and Western troops in Iraq. We hear less about the unarmed resistance which is fighting the occupation with strikes and workplace walkouts. The General Union of Oil Employees in Basra (GUOE), or Basra Oil Union as it is commonly referred to, is in many respects leading in that struggle - continuously opposing international corporations that want to take over the national oil industry.

Iraq and the Costs of Conflict

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Debates about the Iraq conflict have focused on political, military, moral and legal arguments to the neglect of economic aspects. But wars are costly and the Iraq conflict is no exception.

The relevance of economics

Conflict and the subsequent peacekeeping require scarce resources which could be used for alternatives such as education and health. But military costs are only one component of the total costs of conflict. Typically, there are sizeable hidden costs which cannot be ignored. Historically, conflict was the preserve of political scientists, but increasingly, defence economists are applying their economic tools to the analysis of conflict (Sandler and Hartley, 2003).

The economics of conflict

Iraq: Filmmaking under occupation

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Maysoon Pachachi interview with Anne Ashford

Iraq is constantly in the news, but the coverage which dominates our televisions is one-dimensional. For Maysoon Pachachi, an Iraqi filmmaker, it silences the voices which matter most-those of ordinary Iraqis: "I was very struck during the first Gulf War, when I was watching hours and hours of media coverage. You never saw one ordinary Iraqi person expressing an opinion. And there are so many stories in Iraq, and so many years of being silenced."

Iraq: Standing Firm in Face of the Occupation

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It is a big step to describe what is currently going on in Iraq as a "civil war", but I think we can say that we are witnessing the beginnings of such a conflict.

The proof is that there are sectarian attacks targeting holy sites and mosques, and we are seeing incidents of ethnic cleansing - Shia families are having to leave Sunni areas.

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