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Brown Ordered to prioritise Iraq

Tom Mellen, The Morning Star | 20.05.2007 18:09 | Iraq | Repression | Workers' Movements

Peace campaigners have called on Chancellor Gordon Brown to see sense and make ending the British occupation of Iraq “the first task of his premiership.”

Activists renewed their demand as an establishment think tank warned that “Iraq is on the brink of collapse.” The latest Chatham House report on that country points out that the surge in US troop levels has failed to stem the violence, which seems likely to “continue and intensify.”

It recommends a shift in US - British policies, including reaching out to resistance groups. Dr. Gareth Stanfield’s report, entitled Accepting Realities in Iraq, described the government of Nouri Al-Maliki as “largely irrelevant.”

Responding to to the report, Stop the War coalition spokesperson Andrew Burgin said: “the utter failure of the Blair’s Iraq policy makes a rapid withdrawal of occupation troops the first task of Browns premiership.”

“These reports must be crossing Brown’s desk. Does he have the courage to act on them?” But the report falls short of calling for a swift withdrawal, asserting that “Iraqi forces would not be able to cope.”

Mr. Burgin responded that “it is impossible for the situation to degenerate further. Even the head of the army, Sir. Richard Dannatt, has admitted that the British military presence is inflaming the situation.”

RESPECT MP George Galloway agreed, saying: “The suggestion that the situation will get worse after a pull-out is contradicted by everything else that this and countless other reports have found.”

“What is the alternative - to send all of the Queens soldiers, minus Prince Harry, into the maw?” Mr. Galloway asked.

Iraq Solidarity Campaign activist Hussein Al-alak called on Britain “to engage in a dialogue with the broad-based, popular strands of the resistance such as the Iraqi Foundation Congress and the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, which bring together socialists, Ba’athists, nationalist Islamists, Communists and thousands of Trade Unionists.”

“The best way to ensure that Iraq does not indeed become a “failed state” is for the occupiers to withdraw and for Iraqis to regain their national sovereignty by tearing up the contracts that were signed after 2003 and renationalising key strategic industries,” Mr. Al-alak declared, adding:“No strings aid from the British government would be the best way to get Iraq back on its feet, not more bloody occupation.”

Tom Mellen, The Morning Star
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