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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-07-05 01:03 AM
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A fiction as powerful as WMD
It is not withdrawal that threatens Iraq with civil war, but occupation

Most people in Britain want troops withdrawn from Iraq - and so do most Iraqis, according to opinion polls. Trade unions are calling for early withdrawal, as are some Labour MPs and the Liberal Democrats. But many well-intentioned people argue that the US-led occupation must end only when the country is stable. A swift withdrawal, they fear, would plunge the country into civil war.

In one sense this position is the same as that of Bush and Blair, who consistently say troops will not stay in Iraq "a moment longer than necessary" and will withdraw when asked to do so by a democratically chosen government. In reality, with over 200,000 foreign troops and auxiliaries in control of Iraq, even an elected government will owe its survival to the occupation.

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Some pro-war commentators warned early on that the country would be blighted by sectarian violence: oppressed Shias would take revenge on Sunnis; Kurds would avenge Saddam's rule by killing Arabs; and the Christian community would be liquidated.

What actually happened confounded such expectations. Within two weeks of the fall of Baghdad, millions converged on Karbala chanting "La Amreeka, la Saddam" (No to America, no to Saddam). For months, Baghdad, Basra and Najaf were awash with united anti-occupation marches whose main slogan was "La Sunna, la Shia; hatha al-watan menbi'a" (no Sunni, no Shia, this homeland we shall not sell).

Guardian UK
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