By Steven Argue, The Revolutionary Tendency
fact & opinion
Anti-Imperialists Coming In First And Second in Iraq’s Election
Iraqi Communist Party & Moqtada al-Sadr Coalition Projected Winner
Iranian Backed Hadi al-Amiri Coming in Second
Celebrators have poured out into the streets of Iraq in response to announcements of preliminary unexpected results. With 95% of votes counted, preliminary results of the Iraqi elections indicate that the secular anti-establishment and anti-imperialist coalition of the Iraqi Communist Party and Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has come in first in the Iraqi elections. The Iranian backed slate of Shia leader Hadi al-Amiri is coming in second. Hadi al-Amiri literally fought on the side of Iran during Saddam Hussein’s U.S. backed war against Iran. Both defeated the sectarian Shia U.S.puppet regime of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi whose bloc is coming in third. Earlier security and commissions sources had earlier said al-Abadi was the winner.
I attach an article I wrote and put out the day before the election which, I’m happy to say, got high recommendations from Iraqis themselves.
May 12 Elections in Iraq
Communists in Coalition With Shia Cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
By Steven Argue
This protest is part of a coalition movement led by Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the Iraqi Communist Party demanding better public services, opposed to corruption, and opposed to sectarianism. At the protest Moqtada al-Sadr declared, “This demonstration is the voice of the displaced people and the oppressed Sunnis. We disown any corrupt party or personality.” He went on to blame the sectarian and corrupt U.S. imposed puppet government of Nouri al-Maliki for the fall of Mosul to ISIS.]
On Saturday, May 12, Iraq will hold national elections. Running as part of a secular coalition that includes the Iraqi Communist Party is Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr against the U.S. imposed puppet regime of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. The communists and the forces of Moqtada al-Sadr have been in an alliance since 2015 that has been protesting in the streets demanding anti-sectarian reforms, better public services, and an end to corruption. These protests are a major movement that included a protest of nearly a million people held in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square February 26, 2016.
This is a protest movement and election campaign against the U.S. imposed puppet regime of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and the corrupt sectarian system the United States has imposed on Iraq. This spells an important secular nationalist challenge to the system the U.S. set-up after the invasion, one that promotes external control and manipulation through narrow sectarian division and corrupt patronage-only politics.
Moqtada al-Sadr’s earlier Shia centered parliamentary movement called the Ahrar bloc has 33 elected MPs in Iraq’s parliament. Al-Sadr has urged them not to stand in this May 12th election in order to make way for the current joint secular list running.
In a 2003 CBS interview, soon after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr said, “The little serpent has left, and the great serpent [the United States] has come.” Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army resisted the U.S. occupation of Iraq earning him (under U.S. corporate media standards) being named the most dangerous man of the year on the cover of Newsweek in 2006.
In the fight against the Sunni supremacist fascists of ISIS, Moqtada al-Sadr’s Peace Companies participated in offensive operations that included the liberation of Jurf Al Nasr in October 2014 and Tikrit in March 2015. At the same time, Moqtada al-Sadr opposed all U.S. troop participation in the campaign against ISIS, declaring their continued status as legitimate military targets for attack in resistance to the U.S. occupation and opposed to all U.S. intervention, including U.S. bombing.
Moqtada al-Sadr’s Peace Companies were part of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) of about 100,000 fighters that played a central role in defeating ISIS in Iraq. There are 70 different ideological militia groupings within the PMU, many of which get Iranian backing. They are Iraqis, yet U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laughably declared it time for them to leave Iraq after they defeated ISIS. While the PMU did get essential Iranian backing in the fight to defeat ISIS, reality is, the foreign troops that don’t belong in Iraq are the U.S. troops.
Fact is, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) became necessary because Iraqi military crumbled in the face of a relatively few ISIS soldiers. This is because they are a U.S. puppet without heart, working for a pay check. The most powerful militias of the PMU all fought against the troops of the U.S. occupation and, at times, the Iraqi military. These were the Peace Brigades, the Badr Organization, al-Nujaba, Asaib Ahl al-Haq, and Kitaeb Hezbollah. The official Iraqi military lacks popular support both for its attacks on these militias and its sectarian crimes against Sunnis. That is not to say independent Shia militias haven’t carried out sectarian crimes as well, but the idea of the U.S. imposed Iraqi military being a less sectarian moderating influence over the anti-imperialist militias is pure nonsense.
The Iraqi Communist Party opposed the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Their resistance to the U.S. occupation, however, was not consistent. In 2014, the Iraqi Communist Party organized in the Red Army in response to the threat of inhalation at the hands of the Sunni supremacist fascists of ISIS after they spilled over from the U.S. sponsored counterrevolutionary war in Syria. Red Army fighters have been credited with a battle victory with dozens of ISIS casualties in a fight near Baghdad. The Iraqi Communist Party also presently has an elected representative in Iraq’s national parliament.
The Iraqi Communist Party was a major force in Iraqi politics in the 1950’s and 60’s. With CIA assistance, it was mostly wiped out through the execution of thousands in the 1960’s after the Baathist Party and Saddam Hussein were brought to power, also with U.S. backing. Much of the secular, pro-woman, and socialist nature of the regime of Saddam Hussein can be credited to the socialist government the Baathists smashed and the communists they murdered.
Later, as capitalist counterrevolution swept much of the world, Saddam Hussein’s counterrevolutionary efforts on behalf of U.S. imperialism like invading Iran, murdering Kurds, and killing communists simply were not enough. In their way of looking at things, he was cutting in to imperialist profits. His continuation of a good number of socialist policies, including nationalized oil paying for healthcare and education, needed to be ended. This type of socialist spending on human needs is unacceptable to the U.S. imperial capitalists, as it cuts into their profits.
In addition to the U.S. imperialist desire to destroy all remnants of socialism, they also needed an enemy to justify military expenditures. The wealthy capitalists of the U.S. who benefit greatly in profits from the bloated U.S. arms industry, paid for at taxpayer expense, no longer had the Soviet Union as enemy and excuse. Russia’s government of Boris Yeltsin was still compliant to U.S. looting of the economy through privatization in a capitalist counterrevolution that left Russians without jobs and basic services, killing 6 million Russians (registered demographically as a drop in life expectancy of 10 years.) So they turned their once ally, Saddam Hussein, into an enemy.
The U.S. war against Iraq, starting in 1991, has murdered millions of Iraqis, destroyed its economy through privatization and military destruction, created wide scale brutal sectarian chaos, looted Iraqi oil, littered Iraq with deadly depleted uranium, cost U.S. taxpayers trillions of dollars, and cost working class families the lives of many sons and daughters, all while lining the pockets of the arms and oil industries.
In addition to many other problems, the U.S. invasion of Iraq made the country safe for Sunni supremacist terrorists. After the U.S. invasion, Iraq was to suffer from the CIA’s Frankenstein monster of al-Qaeda, created through CIA intervention in Afghanistan. Despite Bush’s lies, Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and al-Qaeda had never operated in Iraq under Saddam Hussein’s rule. Unfortunately, after the U.S. invasion, al-Qaeda led a section of the insurrection against the U.S. occupation. Their tactics centered on successfully triggering the chaos of a sectarian civil war. As their terrorist attacks committed mass murder against Shi’ite Muslims, and this helped trigger an all sided civil war of fascistic mass murder.
Al-Qaeda moved into Iraq as a result of the U.S. invasion. Al-Qaeda was created in Afghanistan through massive U.S. arms, training, and financing to the counterrevolutionary mujahideen fighting against the pro-woman communist PDPA government. The PDPA rightfully had Soviet backing against the U.S. proxy intervention carried out by fascistic and misogynistic anti-communist religious fanatics of the mujahideen whose counterrevolution gave birth to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
As the surge defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq, they moved into Syria where they renamed themselves Jabhat al-Nusra and fought alongside the Muslim Brotherhood led Free Syrian Army and the Wahhabist Islamic Front against the Syrian government. They got, and still get, massive U,S, arms, training, and financing that enabled them to take large swaths of Syria. As in Iraq, al-Qaeda together with other U.S. backed forces carried out genocide against Christians, Alawites, Shi’ites, Kurds, and other religious and national minorities while enslaving women. They also established Islamic governments to replace that of Bashar al-Assad’s secular, religiously diverse, pro-woman, anti-imperialist, anti-Zionist, semi-socialist government.
An important split from Jabhat al-Nusra and parts of the “Free Syrian Army” was, of course, ISIS, which also once again brought major terror and chaos to Iraq as well as Syria. The only difference between ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra was the fact that those who formed ISIS wanted to take the war back into Iraq to fight against the U.S. puppet government there, and those who remained with al-Qaeda wanted to continue to receive CIA funding. Al-Qaeda still controls and terrorizes important swaths of Syria with U.S. backing, as they are the main force of the U.S. backed “Opposition”. In Syrian Idlib, witnesses to al-Qaeda’s brutal reign of terror like mass executions of Christians and forced conversions have also pointed out that large numbers of the al-Qaeda fighters aren’t even Syrian and barely speak Arabic. Turkish troops on the ground are now also defending U.S. sponsored al-Qaeda rule in Idlib. ISIS got the bad publicity for doing the same things U.S. backed al-Qaeda still does, only because they broke CIA rules by threatening the U.S. puppet government in Iraq.
Despite extremely strange accusations from the U.S. government at that time blaming Bashar al-Assad for ISIS, that ISIS invasion from Syria was from territories held by U.S. trained, armed, and financed counterrevolutionaries in Syria. The routing of the corrupt and unmotivated U.S. trained, armed, and financed Iraqi Army at that time, with ISIS near the outskirts of Baghdad, precipitated the rise of the PMU. Iranian aid to the PMU was critical to winning the war against ISIS in Iraq.
The majority of the PMU are Shias who had huge motivation to fight in the fact that the Wahhabist ISIS fascists were committing genocide against them. The PMU was established by the Shia leadership, but was clear from its beginnings it did not intend to remain only Shia. The PMU also contains Christian, Turkman, Kurd, and Yazidi forces. Other important forces fought as well outside of the PMU. These included Kurdish Peshmerga forces and Kurdish PKK forces. Also fighting against ISIS in Iraq were the Red Army, formed by the Iraqi Communist Party and the internationalist communists of the MLKP.
Trump falsely claims U.S. credit for the defeat of ISIS. He escalated the indiscriminate bombing of major cities when he came into office, killing a lot of civilians, but it was mostly Russia, Syria, Iran, the Kurdish YPG / YPJ, Hezbollah, and the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), with Iranian backing, that defeated ISIS. Among these was Russia who ended the massive convoys of oil that ISIS was looting from Iraq and Syria and refining with the help of U.S. ally Turkey, the destination of the oil convoys. Obama didn’t touch those convoys and didn’t try to get Turkey to stop accepting it. Russia, as an early major act of their entry into the war, bombed the oil convoys and cut off an important part of the capitalist financing of ISIS.
There is no problem in the world that U.S. imperialist intervention won’t make worse. Whatever any country’s problems are, as today western imperialist propaganda both lies and greatly exaggerates what they are in Syria, Iran, and North Korea, but whatever those problems are, all of history proves that U.S. imperialist invasions and U.S. backed capitalist counterrevolutions are far worse. From the U.S. making Libya safe for slavery again to the mass murder and chaos the U.S. caused in Iraq, the lesson is clear, nations may well need weapons of mass destruction to defend themselves from the United States. This is part of why communists defend the right of Iran to a nuclear energy program, whether or not its intent was to build nuclear weapons, and we support North Korea’s right to an armed nuclear self-defense.
Iraq was invaded partly because Iraq didn’t have better weapons, as Iraq gave in to U.S. starvation blockade demands of disarmament made as Clinton’s blockade murdered over half a million Iraqi children. Following that, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has killed well over a million Iraqis, all dead as a result of the U.S. invasion, bombing, the imposition of a sectarian government, failure to protect from the Sunni supremacist fascists of al-Qaeda, and the civil war all of this ignited. Free trade, privatization, and war have devastated Iraq’s economy, and corruption allows the massive looting of oil fields on the black market for the profit of imperialist oil firms.
The secular coalition the Iraqi Communist Party has formed with Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr may well offer radical solutions to Iraq’s problems imposed by U.S. imperialism. Strong campaigns are being waged against this coalition by the U.S. imposed puppet establishment. The more successful they are, the more likely they will come under more imperialist attack as well. In such events, it will be important for anti-imperialists, peace activists, Arab nationalists, supporters of secularism, trade unionists, communists, and socialists of all other stripes around the world to defend Iraq’s right to their own representation and their own government as part of regaining Iraq’s self-determination
For Socialism! For Secularism! Against Sectarianism!
U.S. Imperialists Out Of The Middle East!
U.S. Troops And Mercenaries Out Of Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan!
End The Colonial Occupation Of The Green Zone!
Down With The Corrupt Sectarian Shia Government Of U.S. Imperialism In Iraq!
End The Uninvited U.S., Turkish, and Israeli Military Occupations Of Syria!
End U.S. Military Aid To The Sunni Supremacist Fascists Fighting To Overthrow Secular Government of Bashar al-Assad!
End The U.S. Led Economic Blockades Of Iran, Syria, Gaza, Qatar, and Yemen!
-Steven Argue for the Revolutionary Tendency
The Revolutionary Tendency
Also check out my 2003 article:
What Is Socialism, and Why We Oppose The Invasion of Iraq
by Steve Argue
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
Parting shot—a word from the editors
The Best Definition of Donald Trump We Have Found
In his zeal to prove to his antagonists in the War Party that he is as bloodthirsty as their champion, Hillary Clinton, and more manly than Barack Obama, Trump seems to have gone “play-crazy” — acting like an unpredictable maniac in order to terrorize the Russians into forcing some kind of dramatic concessions from their Syrian allies, or risk Armageddon.However, the “play-crazy” gambit can only work when the leader is, in real life, a disciplined and intelligent actor, who knows precisely what actual boundaries must not be crossed. That ain’t Donald Trump — a pitifully shallow and ill-disciplined man, emotionally handicapped by obscene privilege and cognitively crippled by white American chauvinism. By pushing Trump into a corner and demanding that he display his most bellicose self, or be ceaselessly mocked as a “puppet” and minion of Russia, a lesser power, the War Party and its media and clandestine services have created a perfect storm of mayhem that may consume us all.— Glen Ford, Editor in Chief, Black Agenda Report