‘The bloody price of occupation’

‘The bloody price of occupation’ by Tariq Ali for The Guardian, February 14, 2004

How far will the US go to maintain its illegitimate primacy in Iraq?

The whole world knows that Bush and Blair lied to justify the war, but do they know the price being paid on the ground in Iraq? First, the blood price—paid by civilians and others this week as every week. More than 50 people died on Tuesday when a car bomb ripped through Iraqis queuing to join the police force. The US military blamed al-Qaida loyalists and foreign militants for this and other suicide bombings. But occupations are usually ugly. How then can resistance be pretty?

Second, the price of internal conflict. Religion is the politics of the unarmed opposition to the occupation. What we are witnessing on the streets of Baghdad and Basra is a struggle for power within the Shia community. What should be the character of the new Iraqi state? And, as the UN continues to dither over the timing of elections, when will this come about?

Third, and related to this most pressing question of elections, is the price of confusion. An intricate web of pacts and pay-offs is being constructed between the American occupiers and their assorted interest groups, but how long this will last is an open question. read more

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