The massacre of Falluja to clear Iraq for the US-sponsored elections


Prospective of the resistance and the tasks of the Anti-imperialists

The massacre of Falluja perpetrated by the US occupation in November 2004 acquires a quality of crime against humanity. An unknown number of residents, at least some tens of thousand civilians were cut off from water and food supply and deprived of medical treatment in the besieged town. They were bombed by planes, helicopters and heavy artillery razing about 50,000 buildings to the ground often with the inhabitants still inside. Exploiting the total disparity of military means, the US marines cowardly tried to avoid any street battles. Where they met resistance they withdrew calling in anew air support. The US did not even refrain from using Phosphor and Napalm. Falluja was thus turned into a high-tech slaughter house, a site of industrial mass destruction of human beings inevitably remaining of Hiroshima. It is not by accidents that even weeks after the carnage entire parts of the city remained sealed off keeping away possible witnesses.

The aim of this outright genocide was not only the annihilation of the popular armed resistance movement which by defeating the US in last April turned Falluja into an appealing symbol for the entire Iraqi people. The onslaught should serve as an unequivocal signal to the Iraqi people and the entire Arab-Islamic people that resistance will be matched by simple extinction.

However, the unabated strikes of the guerrilla in other places like Mosul and the sporadically continuing heroic resistance of some pockets of fighters in Falluja prove that the resistance was not defeated militarily, let alone politically. On the other hand, the massacre triggered a nearly total boycott of the US-sponsored elections scheduled for January 30, 2005, at least in the Sunni milieu – something which was nothing but clear at the beginning.

After the failed attempts to give the US puppet regime in Baghdad some popular backing for example by the ridiculous "power transfer" the ballot is the last and most important asset of the occupation. They have set all of their hope on it, so the stakes are high.

Actually there is a strong agreement between the occupants and the Shia clerics, first of all Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, on the holding of the elections. However, the politico-social base of the collaboration are the Shiite middle classes which have been severely weakened both in socio-economic as well as political terms.

It was the movement of the popular classes led by Muqtada al-Sadr which not only channelled the will of the poorest layers to fight the occupation but has also drawn in important sections of the middle classes even transcending the cultural borders of Shia und Sunni communities as we have seen during the popular uprising of April 2004.

Nevertheless the role played by Muqtada has been ambiguous from the very beginning. First he refused the armed resistance as Baathist. Then the direct attack of the US on his movement and on himself forced him to react with the uprising of last April. Although militarily week and incomparable to the capabilities of the resistance emerging around the former armed forces the political momentum of the uprising made him to the uncontested leader of the lower classes – mainly Shia but not exclusively. The attack of the US on Najaf in August was despite the overwhelming military inferiority a half political victory which he subsequently transformed into a half capitulation. He called for disarmament and promised the participation in the political process that is to say in the US-sponsored elections. Faced with the massacre of Falluja he obviously condemned it but different to April he did not induce a general solidarity movement rendering the political costs of the butchery too high for the occupants. Although he threatened to abstain from elections he kept a low profile and there are rumours of tacit negotiations with al-Sistani over a possible participation at the elections.

In the final instance Muqtada in between the interests of the popular masses, the clerics of which he is a part and Iran always oscillating according to the political conjuncture. Whether his movement will take part in the elections or not will decide much. It is now in his hands to lend or revoke legitimacy for the elections.

In any case there are already voices also within the Shiite environment which will boycott the elections as the cleric Jawad al-Khalisi who leads the multi-confessional "Iraqi National Foundation Congress" setting pressure on the Sadrist movement. As the relationship of the lower classes to the cleric leadership is not organic an ambiguous stance of Maqtada could lead to the emerging of new, more radical forces within the spectrum of Islamism mingling up with remaining leftist and communist elements.

It remains to be seen whether the election will really be able to stabilise the situation for the occupation. In the immediate aftermath it could be possible that an integration of the Shiite middle classes could somewhat isolate the Sunni resistance forces moving the political resistance front temporarily out of sight and pushing the guerrilla movement towards a militarist approach widening further the gap. This tends towards the scenario of confessional civil war included as one variant in the US plans. However, the Shia middle class does not have any tradition of leading the state while bourgeois elements emerging from that milieu have migrated and remain alien to the environment like Chalabi and now Alawi. They have no organic following and their power risks to remain rachitic even having scored some votes in an election. These are al aspects working against a stabilisation. Furthermore the economic prospects of these middle classes remain dire as the resistance is sure to continue. Their force to coalesce, hegemonize or at least neutralize the lower classes is likely to decrease already a few months after the elections. This could lead towards a much clearer and more decided return of the Shia popular masses towards the anti-imperialist resistance combined with a social revolutionary momentum.

Our tasks:

1) A campaign against the election farce denouncing its colonial character on the example of the case of Abduljabbar al-Kubaysi as a desaparecido. Activities like parliamentary interrogations, pressure on AI and the Red Cross should possibly culminate in a prominent delegation to Iraq to investigate on the case.

2) The European conference in support of the Iraqi resistance and in combination an international day of action. Thus the movement of the Committees Free Iraq must be driven ahead.

3) Building links with the most anti-imperialist and revolutionary part of the Shiite Islamist movement of Iraq.

Political Committee of the Anti-imperialist Camp
December 5, 2004