Iraq war

Debriefing the President

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A book by an ex-CIA “leadership analyst” who admires George Bush senior and constantly seeks the best ways to defend American interests might not be the normal fare of Socialist Review.

However, this account of agent John Nixon’s meetings with the recently imprisoned Saddam Hussein has caused some minor ripples in the stagnant ponds of the bourgeois press for what it exposes of the American state and security services, and the way it clearly demolishes any lingering justifications of the US and Britain attacking Iraq.

West charges into Iraqi quagmire

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Syria in rubble

The new rush to war in Iraq and Syria by the West is a dangerous foray back into the quagmire created by its 2003 invasion of Iraq.

US President Barack Obama announced that he has assembled a 50-country coalition to destroy the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and in Syria — IS is also known as Isis and Isil.

This new “coalition of the willing” includes Western allies in the Arab world — Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain and the UAE — as well as France, which refused to join in the 2003 invasion. Britain is also on board.

Iraq: torn apart by imperialism

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The dramatic military advance by Isis militants in the Sunni Muslim areas of Iraq in the early part of the summer pushed the country back towards civil war. The US war and occupation sowed the roots of sectarian division in Iraqi society.

The declaration of the formation of an Islamic Caliphate by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) and its lightening offensive in both countries has sent shockwaves around the world.

The Caliphate (known as the Islamic State) stretches from the Syrian city of Aleppo to the Iraqi suburbs of Baghdad. By effectively abolishing the Iraqi-Syria border, Isis has in one move trumped the rhetoric of every Arab ruler since the 1917 Anglo-French Sykes– Picot agreement drew the modern map of the Middle East.

Once again, Fallujah

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The western Iraqi city of Fallujah has come to symbolise US defeat in Iraq. Now it has once again become the centre of rebellion.

The city, along with Ramadi, is the focus of growing discontent, this time against the Iraqi government.

On Friday 25 January Iraqi troops opened fire on the unarmed demonstration in the city, killing at least five people. Their funerals drew tens of thousands of mourners, and revenge attacks on Iraq regime troops.

The Fallujah protests are part of the "Iraqi Spring", a growing popular rebellion against the government of Nouri al-Maliki. This movement has been marked by mass peaceful demonstrations and street occupations that have cut the main route west to Jordan.

No victory

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The US exit from Iraq was a humiliation for the world's biggest superpower. Barack Obama wanted to fulfil his commitment to pull out of Iraq by 31 December 2011, but he also wanted to leave some troops in place. He didn't get his way. The Iraqi authorities refused to extend an agreement of immunity from prosecution for US troops beyond 2011 - so Obama had to pull them all out.

Obama once described Iraq as the "dumb war", yet in his speech to soldiers in the US marking the pull out he called it "an extraordinary achievement".

No wretched apology from Tony Blair

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From one whitewash to another. The Iraq Inquiry heard more evidence from Tony Blair.

The Wikileaks cables have already told us that Britain reduced the scale and scope of the inquiry so as not to embarrass the US. We now know that Blair privately told George W Bush that he could "count on us" for support for the invasion, and that Britain should be "gung-ho" about doing so.

He then expressed some sort of regret for the small fact that the invasion and occupation left over a million dead, but qualified this by saying that Britain should abandon its "wretched policy of apology" over the war.

Iraq's occupation goes on, but with new cloaks

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Some in the media apologised for the uncritical way they peddled official policy and lies on Iraq, designed to justify the invasion and occupation of the country. In marginalising the news about the true state of affairs in Iraq today their role is no less damaging.


Photo: DVIDS

Tony's trials

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The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq War reached a stage few may have foreseen as Socialist Review went to press, with Tony Blair poised to appear following damaging testimony from civil servants, lawyers and even the odd minister.

An inquiry that appeared as toothless as the establishment figures that comprise it nonetheless threatens to propel the architect of New Labour into the realms of the 2007 Channel 4 drama The Trial of Tony Blair, in which the war crimes of the ex-prime minister catch up with him.

Of course, we are a long way from seeing Blair on trial at the Hague. We are even quite a way from seeing any conclusions from the inquiry, which goes on hold ahead of the general election once - and if - Gordon Brown appears.

There remains little reason to expect anything more than a whitewash.

Warmongers, disloyal mandarins and WMD

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The Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war opened amid widespread scepticism in Britain and internationally.

There is concern that the investigation - the fifth of its kind since 2003 - will be another whitewash. Critics argue that the British government will try to prevent the truth from coming out, fearing the serious political and legal repercussions that might follow.

Anti-war campaigners also cite the remit and composition of the inquiry team as pointers for a probable cover-up. Four knights and a baroness investigating a war crime to learn lessons for the future!

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