by our Arab Affairs correspondent
The Sunni Muslim deputy president has fled to the north and the protection of the militias that run the Kurdish autonomous region, following claims that he had ordered sectarian bombings and an attempt on the life of the Shia Muslim premier. A new round of sectarian bombings in Baghdad and across the country has begun and the Sunni and Shia militias have resumed the battle for control of Iraq.
The Shia clergy and the politicians under their wing have long looked to the Islamic Republic of Iran for assistance and protection while the sectarian Sunni militias have the support of the Saudis and the reactionary Muslim Brotherhoods.
And behind them all stand the Americans who hope their divide and rule policy will ensure the continuation of a weak and pliant government in Baghdad that will enable the big oil corporations to continue to plunder Iraq’s immense oil riches for many years to come.
During the height of the partisan struggle the US army of occupation was 170,000 strong. The last five 5,000 combat troops left last week. But that still leaves a number of US military advisers and instructors and a private army of military “contractors” — a mercenary force of around 20,000 men — who come under the direction of the US embassy in the heavily fortified former “Green Zone” of Baghdad. The underground Baathist resistance, founded by ousted president Saddam Hussein and now led by his deputy General al Douri, led the nationalist and non-sectarian resistance bloc from the start in 2003 when Iraq was invaded by US-led imperialist forces. And they say the fight goes on.
In a statement issued in November the former ruling party said that US withdrawal was a result of the defeat of the US army by the resistance forces and not the outcome of negotiations between the Americans and the puppet government. But the struggle must continue until all the Americans and their mercenaries leave the country.
The Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath) will work with any Iraqi party or movement opposed to the US occupation but it will not take part in any of the puppet government’s structures because that would only legitimise the US occupation and its continuing hold over Iraq.
The Baath says it has retained its mass membership throughout Iraq and across all the sectarian and ethnic divides that the imperialists have encouraged over the past eight years.
It concludes: “The mass arrests of Baathists in Iraq clearly shows that the traitor government of Maliki fears the Baath. It is the Baath with its wide appeal and mass membership of Iraqis from the south of Iraq to the north that is clearly the most potent of forces in Iraq.
These measures are meant to pre-empt a move by the Baath in the aftermath of the declaration of US withdrawal from Iraq. Clearly the Baath is feared by the Maliki government and rightly so. The Baath is very popular in Iraq and has wide membership amongst the Iraqis and the fall of the traitor Maliki government is imminent.”