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Withdrawal: between announcement and reality

17. April 2006

First reaction of the Free Iraq Committees after the Italian elections

The elections have passed with a quite different result then expected. But on Iraq, on the withdrawal of the occupation troops, the electoral campaign said close to nothing. We are faced with a bi-partite silence which corresponds to an identical policy of both the left as well as the right. The line which has unified the two poles is to withdraw the Italian contingent within 2006 but by reconfirming the servile alliance with the U.S. This means a new presence in Iraq painted in civil colours.

For the new centre left government with it’s extremely weak majority one of the most important and awaited decisions will be the one on Iraq.

A month ago Piero Fassino, the secretary of the Democratic Left, has given the line: withdrawal within 2006 (which is the same position as the one of Berlusconi) alongside a strong package consisting of support on the economic, political and security field. An example of this will be to deploy a significant police force to help the Iraqi puppet regime.

In an interview conceded to Le Monde on April 12 Prodi said without specifying a date: “We will withdraw our troops in accordance first of all with the legitimate government in Baghdad and we will deploy a civil contingent in order to contribute to the reconstruction of the Iraqi infrastructure.” What this exactly means is explained by the mouthpiece of the new government, La Repubblica: The current Italian military forces in Iraq will be withdrawn within 2006 but in order to secure the alliance with the U.S. and to serve the interests of the Italian ENI with regard to the oil deposits in the province of Dhi Quar a fifth of the soldiers (some 600 troops) will remain in Iraq as armed escort of a civil contingent both under the American command.

So in no way an immediate withdrawal as Bertinotti, the leader of Rifondazione Comunista, wrongly claims. We are faced with a partial withdrawal well embedded in the American strategy towards a “normalised” Iraq with huge military bases with some 50.000 troops.

Fortunately the Iraqi situation is far from being stabilised: the resistance remains strong and the civil war instigated by the U.S. does not yield the intended results.

Thus Italy remains servile towards Washington. Under the mask of humanitarianism of “reconstruction” we can see the well-known colonial appetite. Not content with having occupied and destroyed a country, the want to predate it.

The forces of the so-called “alternative left” did not open their mouth yet: will they continue to shut up when this deceit will be baptised as the official choice of the Prodi government of which they shape an organic part?

Italian Free Iraq Committee
April 16, 2006