Washington’s dismal failure to impose a so-called Status of Forces Agreement governing the U.S. troop presence in Iraq, after more than five-and-a-half years of war and occupation, proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that what is decisive is not military might, but the will of a people to resist foreign subjugation.
The agreement appears doomed after eight months of “negotiations” between Washington and the puppet regime that the U.S. installed in Baghdad. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from every political and religious stripe–including Iraqi military leaders and personnel–have recently taken to the streets to denounce the accord. This agreement calls for U.S. troop withdrawal by the end of 2011, dozens of permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq, and Western–mostly U.S.–control over the greater part of Iraqi oil reserves.
Not even Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki can publicly support the agreement, which consigns Iraq to permanent colonial status under U.S. hegemony. An Iraqi member of parliament from Moqtada al-Sadr’s group, Nasser al-Rubaie, put it clearly: “This is an agreement which takes Iraq out of direct occupation and puts it under colonialism with the help of the government of Iraq. It only serves the occupier.” (London Sunday Times, Oct. 26) A recent unofficial poll of members of parliament indicated the agreement will not have majority support.
The Iraqi people know too well what U.S. domination has meant for their country: a million Iraqis have been killed, hundreds of thousands more are wounded and maimed, and five million are refugees both inside Iraq and in neighboring Jordan and Syria. Abject poverty, 60 to 70 percent unemployment, widespread disease, lack of potable water and medical treatment, destroyed infrastructure and sectarian fighting–these have been Washington’s “gift of liberation” to the Iraqi people.
Without the Status of Forces Agreement, the 154,000 U.S. troops will have no “legal basis” for remaining in Iraq past Dec. 31 when the United Nations war “mandate” expires. U.S. imperialism’s inability to get its puppet regime in Iraq to sign on to this agreement shows that Washington’s war policy is as bankrupt as its economic policy.
Nearly 4,200 U.S. soldiers have died in this war, tens of thousands more have been horribly maimed, and nearly a trillion dollars—money that is sorely needed by the people right here at home for jobs, social services, education, health care and housing—have been burned up by this bloody imperialist adventure.
The Iraqi people’s heroic resistance to the most powerful military in world history should encourage the U.S. anti-war movement to take further action. It’s time for all progressive forces here to redouble their efforts to demand an immediate end to the U.S. war and occupation, bring the troops home now, and affirm self-determination for the people of Iraq.
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