Only days before the 5th anniversary of the Western invasion of Iraq, the media seem to have suddenly remembered that there is a war going on there. Indeed, since the beginning of this year, more space was devoted to the Rambo games of play-boy Harry in Afghanistan, than to the plight of the Iraqi people. Little wonder! The last thing this government and its masters in the City want to hear about is the catastrophe they have helped to create in Iraq.
Nor is Brown keen to be reminded of his promises to stage a "drawdown" of British troops, which would have seen their numbers reduced to 2,500 by this month. Not only has this "drawdown" been quietly postponed, but the MoD's own figures show that 6,800 army personnel remain in Iraq. Among them, 5,500 soldiers are barracked in a 35sq kilometres base around Basra's former international airport. And far from being dismantled, this base is being developed, with rocket-proof dining halls being built as well as a security wall made of 13 feet high concrete blocks.
Clearly, despite its claims, this government has no plan to leave the Iraqi population in control of their lives. Quite the contrary: Brown has just appointed the CEO of Britain's largest accounting firm, KPMG, to head a "Basra Development Commission", whose job will be to organise the looting of the huge oil resources located around Basra by western oil companies. And since the Iraqi people are unlikely to agree to this plundering of their country, the job of British soldiers will be to protect the interests of western profiteers against the legitimate anger of the population.
Once again the real reason for the war against Iraq appears for what it is - to satisfy the greed of a small number of very rich companies which are determined to tighten their stranglehold over the resources and markets of the Middle East. And to ensure that they do, London, as well as Washington, intend to keep the Iraqi population under the permanent threat of their guns and bombs, just like the RAF did until it was forced out of its air bases by the overthrow of the British-backed Iraqi monarchy, back in 1958.
As for us workers of this country, we have no interest in allowing our exploiters and their agents in government to turn the screw on the Iraqi population and deprive them of the natural resources which might help them, at least, to escape from the dire poverty that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has imposed on them. It is the responsibility of the British working class movement to stop the plundering of Iraq by British capital and force Brown and this Labour government to bring the troops out now!