3 November 2003

Resistance is the first step towards Iraqi independence

The Arab east is today the venue of a dual occupation: the US-Israeli occupation of Palestine and Iraq. If initially the Palestinians were demoralised by the fall of Baghdad, the emergence of a resistance movement has encouraged them. After Baghdad fell, the Israeli war leader, Ariel Sharon, told the Palestinians to 'come to your senses now that your protector has gone'. As if the Palestinian struggle was dependent on Saddam or any other individual. This old colonial notion that the Arabs are lost without a headman is being contested in Gaza and Baghdad. And were Saddam to drop dead tomorrow, the resistance would increase rather than die down.

Sooner or later, all foreign troops will have to leave Iraq. If they do not do so voluntarily, they will be driven out. Their continuing presence is a spur to violence. When Iraq's people regain control of their own destiny they will decide the internal structures and the external policies of their country. One can hope that this will combine democracy and social justice, a formula that has set Latin America alight but is greatly resented by the Empire. Meanwhile, Iraqis have one thing of which they can be proud and of which British and US citizens should be envious: an opposition.

That's an extreme view and one I do not completely agree with. The one question I would ask is what makes Iraq in 2003 different from Algeria in 1962 or India in 1947? Or the United States in 1776? Until the war party come up with an answer (and one that goes beyond mere US exceptionalism) the occupation is doomed to fail and should be ended.

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