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Iraq: A Tangled Web Of Conflicts

The Political Information Bureau congratulates the editors of the People’s March magazine for the re-launching of their publication as an on-line journal. The first edition of this new series (Vol. 13, No. 1, dated June 2014) can be downloaded here. For years, People’s March has been published in India as a revolutionary magazine. As explained in the editorial of the current issue:

“Under severe attack from the Indian state, including ban, arrest, and even murder of its editorial contributors, the People’s March was forced to suspend publication for the past few years. But the voice of revolution cannot, must not, be silenced. With this issue, we begin publication of the e-People’s March. We will continue in our mission of contributing a Maoist perspective on contemporary issues and events, taking the views and news of the Indian revolution to a wider audience.”

We are proud to re-post here this article on the current situation in Iraq, where US imperialism is again conspiring for keeping their grip on this country and the whole region.

Let’s support and widely circulate the People’s March magazine!

– The Political Information Bureau

Just two months back the media was full of Syria. Then it was Ukraine. And now it’s the turn of Iraq. Though different in origins and nature all of them are interrelated. They have their immediate impulses in the contention between various imperialist powers and the resistance to oppression.

The US occupation of Iraq had stirred up a cauldron of sectarian strife. Its toppling of the Saddam regime opened space for the Shia compradors to come to power. Yet, when it came to pacifying the resistance, the US had to rely on Sunni tribal chieftains while putting down Shia militancy. Somehow showing a semblance of ‘return to normalcy’ it beat a hasty retreat. But the evil outcome of its deals soon came forth. The raging civil war in Iraq, with the Sunni Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) pitted against the Shia dominated puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki, is a continuation of this. ISIS is an offshoot of the Al-Qaeda. It emerged strong through the Syrian civil war, with Saudi Arabian backing. That war was another of the US’s diabolic interventions, seeking to replace the Assad regime with a more pliant one. Assad hung on with Russian support. Interestingly, recent reports say that the ISIS raised its war fund substantially by selling oil it now controls in Syria to the Syrian government! To make this tangle even more complicated we see Iran, predominantly Shia, jumping into the Iraqi civil war, supporting the Maliki government. It has even declared willingness to collaborate with the US to fight against the ISIS. In Syria both are on opposing sides! But Iran’s involvement, or any deal with it, is unpalatable to the Saudi regime, at present the most important pillar of US domination in the Arab world.

As the US desperately tries to control the situation in Iraq, without getting drawn back in, Russia is silent for the moment, apparently. An intensification of conflict in Iraq is to its benefit. That would keep the US heavily engaged. One fall out of the Iraq development can be seen in the sudden reversal of the Ukrainian regime’s declaration of an all-out offensive against the Russian rebels in its Eastern border regions. Evidently, it did not get the support offered earlier by Western imperialist powers, mainly the US. The ISIS advance has upset many plans. No matter the immediate outcome, it is going to be an important component on the international scene, impacting far beyond West Asia.

There are several contradictions and layers in these conflicts—Syria, Ukraine and Iraq. Unlike the people’s upsurges seen in numerous countries, they are directly related to the contention—global and regional—between imperialist powers and reactionary comprador regimes. Yet it would be simplistic and wrong to reduce them to mere manifestations of such contentions. That would leave out the underlying internal contradictions, which provide the material ground. They need not be explicitly expressed in class terms. Yet all of them are rooted in oppressive and exploitative relations sustained by the imperialist system. Recognising this is extremely important, as a vantage point for revolutionary intervention.

The civil war in Iraq has taken its toll for India in the form of citizens trapped there or kidnapped. This reveals the Indian presence in strife torn regions of the world. Much of the manual work of the US military camps in these places is done by low paid workers from India and other countries. Such recruitment is done with the knowledge of the Indian government, only interested in the dollars they sent home. Modi has said that he will do everything possible to bring back Indian citizens. He may do that. But what needs to be fundamentally addressed is the basic reasons that drive Indians to desperately seek employment in danger zones, despite knowing the risks involved.

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