Iraq war

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."

Double Standards and Decapitation

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The self-styled "defenders of the West" should look a little closer to home before decrying Islam.

Last September Subhaan Younis, a young Glaswegian, was discussing the Iraq war with Charlotte McCay in the shop of the city's Moathouse hotel. He asked if he could show her something that would give her nightmares. When she responded, "Aye, right," Younis held out his video phone and played her a clip he had downloaded of a hostage in Iraq being beheaded.

Blair's Crisis: Holed Beneath the Water

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Blair's government is in terminal decline. The war in Iraq is the prime cause, argues Alex Callinicos.

The decline and fall of Tony Blair's premiership doesn't quite have the majesty of a classical tragedy. But it is following an ineluctable logic. That the government should lose a crucial vote in the House of Commons was entirely predictable, given the nature of the situation. A government with a small parliamentary majority and an unpopular prime minister will always be highly vulnerable to backbench rebellions.

Iraq: A War Without End

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'Riverbend', the Baghdad blogger, describes the worsening conditions in Iraq as the occupation continues.

Friday 9 September 2005

It has been a long blog vacation I've taken. There have been several reasons behind it, but the main one has been that I simply have not felt like blogging.

Technically, it's the summer's end... But realistically, we have at least another month of stifling heat ahead of us. It's almost mid-September and the weather is still hot and dry in Baghdad. There are a few precious hours in the very early morning when the sun seems almost kind. If you wake early enough, you can catch a solid hour of light breezes and a certain summer coolness.

Going from Bad to Worse

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One of the great myths of the occupation of Iraq is that, despite the problems in the rest of the country, the situation in the south around Basra has been improving because it is under the so called 'softly-softly' approach of British forces.

This myth was blown apart recently when British troops launched an assault on a prison in Basra. The images in the press which saw British troops forced to flee burning tanks after they were set alight by protesters says much about the relationship between the British army and local Iraqis.

'The Thrashing Around of the Beast'

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American journalist and writer Mark Danner explains to Peter Morgan why support for the Bush administration is slipping.

You've recently written about the minutes of the meeting that took place between Tony Blair and his foreign policy and security advisers in the run-up to the war in Iraq, now known as the 'Downing Street memo'. How significant have these revelations been in the US?

The Downing Street memo has fit in with a general perception on the part of the US public that the war was begun on false pretences and the Bush administration was not honest about the reasons they were taking the country to war in Iraq. All of this results from the fact that the war is going badly.

'I Despise the Army Now'

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Soldiers and their families speak to Ian Taylor.

Ray is an army reservist. He fought in the first Gulf War, but has told the army he will not serve in Iraq this time:

'As long as it is an illegal war and occupation I don't want anything to do with it. The army said to me, "Deal with it. You're a reservist." I wrote to Geoff Hoon and he said, "Deal with it." But I don't want anything to do with it.

I'm in touch with a few serving soldiers. A friend is on his second tour in Iraq. He didn't want to go, but if he did what I've done he would lose his career and his pension.

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