Thursday, January 27, 2005

Socialist Worker #1936 Jan 29th 2005

This week Socialist Worker leads on 'The election result that we already know... U.S. will rule in 'free' Iraq'. An Iraqi exile Tahrir Swift is given the opportunity to explain why exiles shouldn't vote in less than democratic elections with the aim to 'legitimise the illegal occupation'. Tahrir makes a point about the four 'unsafe' provinces of Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala and Mosul containing more than 40% of the Iraqi population.

An academic from Exeter University Kamil Mahdi asks 'What are the real divisions in Iraq?' His answer that the occupation is disastrous and has led to disaster is well-taken, but Im not convinced there are no sectarian divisions and conflicts other than that stirred up by the occupation isn't very convincing.

Alex Callinicos' column wittily dissects Bush’s inauguration speech and his plans for a second term, finding hypocrisy and a hit-list, centred on Iran, but points out the problems the US would have in effecting 'regime change' there while so bogged down in Iraq. Alex suggests that the best way out for the US in Iraq might be by 'provoking a civil war' between Sunni and Sh'ia. Again evidence of a growing theme in SWP analyses, after rather downplaying the possibility earlier; but the onus is placed on the US. Well, 'divide and rule' strategies are nothing new, and covert operations, death squads, etc. have a place in the US repertoire, but I think there is a certain evasion of the role and activities of groups inside the 'resistance'. Alex finishes on the deep instabilities of the situation and he is surely right here. And - no quotes from the FT!

Arthur Molife (of of the Zimbabwe Community Campaign to Defend Asylum Seekers) condemns Blair's plan deport political activists back to Mugabe’s regime. There's also a piece by a Sierra Leonean women’s rights activist (Olayinka Coker) about the legacy of Blair’s "humanitarian intervention" in her country. And John Newsinger continues this strand about the horrors of British imperialism with a consideration of the brutality used to put down the Mau Mau rising in Kenyan’s record of torture back in 1950’s Kenya. The recent book by Caroline Elkins (Britain's Gulag, which has been widely reviewed elsewhere) gets a mention.

Henry Maitles contributes the centrepage spread on the Holocaust and Jim Wolfreys takes to pieces the recent claim by Le Pen that Vichy France was quite benign.

Michael Rosen critiques the recent statement by the chief inspector of schools (which was welcomed by the AWL) on faith schools.

There are also reports about the growing union moves on pensions, and a couple of short pieces about Respect doing quite well in a council by-election in Hackney and getting financial support from the Eastern region FBU. And finally, a back-page feature about the Scottish police training with weapons (machine guns) to protect the G8 in Glenagles. Reference is made (quoting Gill Hubbard) to G8 Alternatives - which I haven't come across before.


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