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[casi] Haifa Zangana, "A War with No End in Sight"

Here is an article about the situation in Iraq by
three Iraqi activists living in Britain

Haifa Zangana, you will remember, is the writer
of Kurd/Arab background who opposed the invasion.
She also predicted quite accurately the outcome.

Ms. Zangana was a political prisoner for about a
year (?) before she left Iraq. Yet in February 2003
she wrote that she was on the of the dictatorship
that tortured her - for the sake of Iraq. And she
was against the Blair/Bush team determined to
"'liberate'" her country.

Here she cites an instance where 50 engineers went
to the occupiers and offered to fix the electricity.
But the US commanders turned them away: "'We do not
need your help'", they said, "'because we are waiting
for a consultant company arriving from the US to
take over repairing the electricity.'"

That's it: occupied Iraqis must suffer so 'free'
Americans can rake in the profits.

(Often power is on only for 2 hours a day. Recently
it was cut off for three days. And people have
noticed that the power never fails in the area where
the Americans are housed.)

---Elga Sutter

[1] Socialist Review

A War with No End in Sight

Feature Article by Haifa Zangana, Noori Bashir,
Hani Lazim

June 2003

We interview three Iraqi activists about the current
situation there.

'There have been demonstrations against the US and
British on an almost daily basis'

Security is the main concern in Iraq. For some it is
even more important than the lack of water, food or
medical help. Many people fear for their lives, and they
don't know what to do about it. There is a curfew from
10pm in Baghdad, but at six o'clock it is almost like a
ghost city. The people of this city are suffering more
than any other because it is the centre of the previous
government and where the US forces are based. My
brother, for example, lives close to a very poor area in
Baghdad and there is a lot of looting going on. Many
people are scared to leave their houses. Some of the
schools are open but half of the pupils don't go because
of the security situation. Also, you hardly see women in
the streets. There are rumours of women being abducted,
being raped and attacked. So the security situation is
very serious.

Many Iraqi people have a clear idea about the role of
the occupying forces. Now many lawyers and academics are
raising the demand that if they are occupiers then they
have obligations under international law to establish
law and order. But it is not clear exactly what is going
to happen - some people say that if the US and Britain
really are liberators then this has now been achieved,
thank you very much - you should now leave. Other people
believe they should stay and repair the damage that they
did - the destruction, devastation, looting and so on.
Others just want the problem of security sorted out so
they can live ordinary lives. But it's true that the
vast majority of people see them as occupying forces.

There have been demonstrations against the US and
British on an almost daily basis. Yesterday for example
was one of the biggest demonstrations. Arab satellite
television was saying it was one of the biggest
demonstrations, up to 1 million people, the BBC said it
was over 10,000 and another news channel said over
100,000 - whoever is correct, it is very significant.
This demonstration started from the Sunni area of
Baghdad and then moved to the Shia area, and so they
combined forces. The leaders of the demonstration were
working hand in hand with each other. The main banner
that led the march and the main slogan was 'No to

People are making demands, but the US forces are not
listening. It reminds me of the demonstrations and
protests we had in this country when we demanded no to
war, yet Tony Blair went to war. So we have a situation
where democracy is not working in Iraq either. People
want to practice their rights - after all, this is what
the US and British say they came for. Yet little has
changed. For example, a few days ago there was the first
election since the war at the official university in
Baghdad to elect some academic authority. This was done
under the supervision of the Americans. At the election
the US troops were inside the hall where the voting took
place - some 1,700 academics were eligible to vote. Yet
many of them were not able to get there because there is
no transport in Baghdad. For those who did get inside
the hall to vote, they were subject to inspection by the
American troops, so many refused to enter because they
saw this as humiliation - we have already been
humiliated so much. For the professors and lecturers who
decided to take part in the election they were further
humiliated, because the US supervisors forced those
standing to take an oath on the Koran swearing that they
were not a member of the previous Saddam regime. Many
left the hall because they saw this as yet another
humiliation. So the election was a compete farce.

Another example - last week some 50 engineers went to
see the US commander and volunteered their services.
They pointed out that parts of Baghdad are still without
electricity and they could sort this out. They pointed
out that they were able to repair the electricity
supplies during the sanctions years, so they have loads
of experience. Yet the US commanders turned them away.
They said, 'We do not need your help because we are
waiting for a consultant company arriving from the US to
take over repairing the electricity.'

The result is that many Iraqis are working like a
grassroots unit. Electricians, engineers and doctors are
all saying we shall work as volunteers - but the
important thing is we need equipment and we need petrol.
The US is rationing the delivery of only one tanker a
day to the whole city of Baghdad. One of the main
refineries in Baghdad is working, but there is one
problem - we do not have the crude oil from Basra,
because the Americans are not letting the tankers in.

If the US installs a government in Iraq, the Iraqi
people will not accept it - they will be very angry.
They see the people who are being proposed by the US and
British at the moment as being a puppet government. The
general attitude is that people are buying time - they
don't want to start fighting again at the moment. They
don't want to start another struggle as they have just
come out of a horrendous war, but they are certainly not
happy about what is going on at the moment.

Haifa Zangana, Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation

- - - - -

'The US plans to control the world as the sole

After the fall of the Ba'athist regime, and the control
of Iraqi cities by US and British forces, the Iraqi
people find themselves in a dark scenario. They have
lost public services, there is a lack of basic services
such as electricity and water supply, there is
increasing unemployment, starvation, lack of security
and fear of killings, and the collapse of the civil and
economic infrastructure. Yet out of this comes the word

There is a lack of government and the rule of law, so
the future for people could be in the hands of different
groups and parties who are nationalist, tribal and very
religious in their beliefs. These dark realities are
holding people in fear, so people are not happy - they
are very disappointed at such a disastrous situation
that the US and its allies have caused for ordinary
Iraqi people.

Iraqi people are opposing the presence of these forces.
They are not happy about their presence because of what
these forces and their governments have caused for the
people in Iraq throughout the last 12 years of sanctions
and Gulf wars, which have caused destruction and the
loss of thousands of innocent civilian lives. At this
moment the presence of US and British forces has created
a political vacuum and a lack of security. This
strengthens the reactionary Islamic groups who want to
exploit the situation and create problems for people.

People, in particular the working class and the toilers
in Iraq, are protesting against the coalition forces in
cities such as Baghdad, Mosul, Basra and Nasiriyah
because of the lack of security, food, and other basic
needs. Through this they express their demand that the
US and British forces should go.

The US and its new world order plan to control the world
as a sole superpower, starting from Iraq and the Middle
East. The success of the US in this policy will affect
the world and will be an attack on all radical, working
class, and freedom loving movements, and all civilised

Noori Bashir Worker's Communist Party of Iraq

- - - - -

'Many people are still looking for thousands of
relatives and loved

The situation for ordinary Iraqis is one of misery and
fear. There is also a lack of any policing. There are
many examples - US soldiers were standing near a bakery
when a man pulled up in his car to buy some bread. Three
armed men burst in and demanded the keys from the owner.
When he resisted they shot him. People alerted the
troops, but the reply was, 'We are not police - we are
here to defend ourselves.'

People do not go out after sunset. For food they used to
depend on the rations the previous regime distributed to
them - now the occupation forces distribute none.
Because rations do not operate, the price of food has
gone up three to four fold.

Petrol (as fuel for transport) in the land of oil is
almost non-existent. Electricity cut-offs are common.
And then there is the menace of cluster bombs. Children
and adults alike are being brought into hospital daily
because many cluster bombs still lie in the tall grass.
Depleted uranium is another hazard causing sickness in
many parts of the country (over 2,000 tons were dropped
by the invading forces). Cooking fuel for most families
is a daily struggle. In summary, many Iraqis are hungry,
thirsty, sick and are in extreme danger, and there is a
lack of medicines and security.

The oil refineries were not damaged during the war, and
when the workers and engineers wanted to start them US
forces prevented them. Then things started to
disappear - like computers and other equipment. Then the
invaders start to complain about the lack of equipment
and so offered the running of the oil to a US company (a
subsidiary of Halliburton). The burning of ministries
and other buildings was also seen as a way to offer
Bechtel the contract to rebuild.

The US is trying to impose an authority with some Iraqis
acting as advisers, but no credible organisation has
dared to collaborate except the INC (the Chalabi group)
and the two Kurdish parties (Barzani-led KDP and
Talabani-led PUK, nicknamed Tarazani). Islamist forces
are the biggest in the streets, but they are not well
organised. The progressive forces are small, but they
are finding their feet and are beginning to organise.
Many people, however, are still looking for thousands of
missing relatives and loved ones. Many comrades have
disappeared in Iraq. Their number runs into over 100,000
in unmarked graves, and many have also been killed in
the recent war or are unaccounted for. Just to give you
an example of what it is like at the moment, my brother
had his grandchild injured, and so he took him to
hospital, which had neither electricity nor running
water. He said that there were many dead bodies in the
corridors that were starting to decompose. The response
was for ordinary people like him to take a shovel and
bury them in the hospital garden without names or any

Public transport workers decided to appoint their own
manager and so did the biggest bakery in Baghdad, and
the medical doctors. This was against the wishes of the
occupiers, who had their own nominees. So people are
beginning to organise. On top of this, demonstrations
against occupation are a daily occurrence in Baghdad and
other cities.

It is important for all progressive, revolutionary and
peace movements to keep the pressure on the occupying
forces, to stop their greed and get them out. We want to
avoid more tragedies and suffering, and end their
illegal occupation. The support for the Iraqi people is
needed now more urgently than ever before. The protests
at the moment are peaceful, but they could turn violent
if the present course is not changed. The US
administration is still in two minds between the
Pentagon and the State Department about what to do - the
British are simply second fiddle and have no say in the

The US plans for the region look shaky - the intifada is
not waning and the Iraqi resistance is continuing.
Afghanistan is not stable after one and a half years of
occupation. The international situation is certainly not
rosy for them.

Hani Lazim, Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation


All those interviewed are currently living in Britain.
Interviews conducted by Peter Morgan.

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