US plots "regime change" in Iraq

It is clear that the US bourgeoisie is bent on carrying war and death to every corner of the globe. As the forces of US imperialism plant their eagle on territories newly carved out for the penetration of US capital, other imperialist powers are hard pressed to resist as they watch US capitalism take everything from them. This position of strength gained by the US in the wake of the September 11 attacks is the answer of US imperialism to a world that is slipping out of its grasp like sand through a sieve. If US capital had the economic muscle it had during the post-WWII carve up of the world it would not be so startled at a terrorist 'ant' like Al Qaeda that it would have to target 60 or more nations. In the Persian Gulf the main obstacle now to US ambitions is Iraq. For a time it suited the needs of US imperialism to arm and support the regime in Baghdad. After the Persian Gulf War it suited the needs of the US bourgeoisie to contain the regime in Baghdad. Today the US bourgeoisie needs to eliminate the Ba'ath Party regime and replace it with a US controlled military protectorate. If the US does not eliminate the Ba'ath Party government in Iraq, US capital will never have enough freedom of movement in the Persian Gulf region. Ultimately there must be an invasion of Iraq.

When the US bourgeoisie decides on the final pretext for this war it will likely involve UN weapons inspectors. Currently the Ba'ath regime would have to accept US run weapons inspection teams to have total freedom of movement in all of Iraq. In the unlikely event that Iraq does allow the weapons inspectors back into its country the US inspection teams will act in such a way as to actively seek out ways of provoking the Iraqi government so that the US can charge Iraq with obstruction and thus leave the way open for the US to make war. If Iraq refuses to allow weapons inspectors back in, the US have a suitable pretext for war. A similar tactic, the forcing of a set of alternatives that the enemy can neither accept nor reject, works well for the bourgeoisie as was seen in the Rambouillet agreement which functioned to provide the pretext for crushing the Yugoslav rump state of Serbia.

Not only has the overthrow of Iraq been decided, but the US bourgeoisie is also choosing who will lead the government once they install it. This government in waiting will include the so-called "group of four", drawing together the Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the main Shiite opposition group along with the so-called Iraqi National Accord and the organization of military officers formerly of the Ba'ath regime itself (and CIA favorites). US support for this "group of four" represents a shift in US policy from the US created and financed Iraqi National Congress which is not enough of a vehicle to suit US needs currently. The shift of support from a loose coalition of opposition political parties to four groups of armed thugs once again marks a clear shift from the policy of containment to a more aggressive military policy. Ironically the very groups the US will use to run Iraq, after this next phase of the "war on terror" are all smugglers, gangsters and terrorists.

The US efforts at keeping Iraq isolated have not worked. The cracks within the US sanctions regime have widened over the years as US allies and rivals alike have all acted to erode the US instituted sanctions on Iraq. The newly reconstituted sanctions regime attempts to place all Iraq's oil earnings under UN control while allowing more in the way of consumer goods to enter Iraq. The new rules should allow a power like Russia access to some $750 million in deals now unblocked by the US. Iraq is in debt to Russia by some $8 billion. Estimates of the value of Iraq's economic ties to Russia stand at around $40 billion. Russian oil companies like LUKoil and Zarubezhneft, and the French firm TotalFinaElf all have major interests in Iraq. Currently Iraq has been working on reopening its oil pipeline to the port of Ceyhan in Turkey as well as building a new oil pipeline to Jordan and a new oil pipeline through Syria to Lebanon. Other countries such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam all have interests in Iraq. Today Iraq is known to have the world's second largest proven oil reserves, though it has potentially twice that amount in unproven oil reserves because the last two decades of war and hardship have effectively halted all oil exploration.

The strategic position of Iraq in relation to the Persian Gulf and its close proximity to potential outlets for Central Asian oil and gas makes it a place of prime importance to US imperialism. The overhaul of the old sanctions regime has only strengthened calls in the US government for the overthrow of the Iraq regime. Even within the bourgeoisie in the US there is division over how soon the planned "regime change" in Iraq will take place. In May the Joint Chiefs of Staff urged the administration not to mount a war against Iraq. General Tommy Franks was reported saying in the Washington Post that any invasion would require at least 200,000 troops and that there would likely be heavy casualties. The administration then set the timetable for the war to start next year instead of this August as they had hoped.

A further obstacle to the US attempt at overthrowing the Ba'ath regime is the reluctance of US "allies" like France and Germany. Recent diplomatic tours by Bush II through the centers of European power had as one of their aims the limiting of European opposition to US plans. Even the British government has expressed reluctance to aid the US in fighting yet another military conflict. Meanwhile the Russian bourgeoisie, though prostrate before US power in almost every respect, still officially opposes any US military strike against Iraq. So far the diplomatic offensives that have been launched by the US government have not met with the success that the US wished for on Iraq. European capital benefits from its ties to Iraq and the Iraqi oil trade directly. With the other imperialist powers of the world all telling the US state that it must resolve this crisis through the UN they are in essence telling US imperialism not to invade Iraq at all since the US will almost certainly not get a vote in its favor from the whole United Nations Security Council. Since November of 2000 Iraq has chosen payments for its oil sales in Euros rather than dollars. Reuters news agency then reported Iraqi trade minister Mohammed Mehdi Saleh as saying, "...basically it will be cheaper for us to trade in Euros."

Meanwhile, air attacks against Iraq by the US and its British ally continue. In essence the US has been engaged in acts of war against Iraq for some time. From December 17, 1998 to May 18, 2002 warplanes flying from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey have flown 38,504 missions, with 12,410 flown from Kuwait according to spokesmen of the Iraqi government. Over the years the US has acted to systematically destroy the infrastructure of this country. The so-called "no-fly zones" over northern and southern Iraq have allowed room for maneuver for its proxy soldiers to operate. In northern Iraq the no-fly zones have allowed the two Kurdish guerrilla armies control of the territories in which they operate.

Within the US, the government has moved quickly to establish a more open dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. The US government will not have to bother with evidence or trials or legal defense if it does not wish to. Now the US state can basically declare any of its non-citizens and citizens within its borders as "enemy combatants" and have them permanently disappeared into civilian or military prisons. The recent arrest of the US born Abdullah al-Muhajir (José Padilla) for supposedly plotting to make and use a radioactive "dirty bomb" has shown that the US bourgeoisie can toss aside its democratic mask any time it wishes. To date the government has not shown any evidence that he is indeed guilty of that or any other crime. At first the US government only targeted non-citizens, now they show that they can target anyone, this is real-existing democracy.

With Bush's "axis of evil" speech the US government dredged up all the musty old propaganda of the cold war and combined it with the worn out echoes of the propaganda of WWII. The National Security Agency recently launched a campaign that harkens back to the WWII propaganda "loose lips sink ships" campaign. The current campaign uses the slogan "information security begins with you". This campaign comes at a time when US soldiers are starting to come home saying that they were ordered to murder Afghani civilians as well as combatants. All restrictions on domestic surveillance and spying have been lifted while abroad the US has set up an international hit squad. A vast new bureauracy is going to be created in the form of a Department for Homeland Security, ostensibly centralizing all aspects of surveillance, law enforcement and public safety, placing them under a single umbrella bureaucracy.

According to official US government figures foreign investment into the US plunged by 60%, from $335.6 billion in 2000 to $132.9 billion in 2001. This is indicative of a real crisis of confidence in the US economy itself as foreign capital seeks out higher returns elsewhere. It represents the steepest decline in over a decade of investment into the US. The advantage offered the US by the speculative bubble in the tech and energy trading sectors proved not to be the harbinger of an eternally blossoming expansion but rather a temporary advantage followed by renewed economic crisis.

US imperialism must keep capital flowing into the US and it must keep control over the worldwide flow of capitalism's most important commodity - oil. The only option open for imperialism is war. With the "war on terror" the bourgeoisie of the US has declared permanent war on the world. In the end it is not a war that the US can win. Until workers can shed themselves of the numbing influences of nationalism and pacifism and start to actively oppose the imperialist war in every one of it repressive manifestations the black bereted foot soldiers of US imperialism, or the vicious little gangsters of some other imperialist power will continue to maim, murder and kill wherever the capitalist class orders them to do so. Workers, whose class-consciousness has been drained out of them with every historic defeat they have suffered, need to start taking the first steps to their own emancipation. It is possible for workers to overthrow the rule of capital and this is the one thing the capitalists want them to forget.