Class-struggle dispatches from Iraq

Submitted by AWL on 16 February, 2012 - 12:02

1,200 workers in a cement factory in Karbala held a strike calling for increased benefits. The factory is operated by the French company Lafarge, and bosses want to massively increase production to about 60,000 tonnes per month. This is a huge amount for an old factory and the capability is not really there to meet these targets. According to the contract between Lafarge and the Iraqi government, the furnace must be upgraded before the increase in production can take place, but the upgrade hasn’t been made The furnace has receive routine repairs only.

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Les États-Unis se retirent d'Irak

Submitted by martin on 22 December, 2011 - 1:02

A la fin du mois de décembre, les dernières troupes américaines se retireront d'Irak, huit ans et huit mois après l'invasion de mars 2003.

Bâclant jusqu’à la fin, les États-Unis ont envoyé le vice-président Joe Biden pour visiter l'Irak en déclarant l'opération comme un succès, et il dissertait à un public perplexe sur les grandes choses que les États-Unis ont fait à Bakou. Bakou est en Azerbaïdjan et non pas en Irak.

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US withdraws from Iraq

Submitted by Matthew on 14 December, 2011 - 9:27

By Martin Thomas

At the end of December, the last US troops will withdraw from Iraq, eight years and eight months after the invasion of March 2003.

Bungling to the last, the USA sent vice-president Joe Biden to tour Iraq declaring the operation a success, and he held forth to a puzzled audience on the great things the USA has done in Baku. Baku is in Azerbaijan, not Iraq.

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Submitted by martin on Fri, 16/12/2011 - 12:17

"Turkey, Iran, China, South Korea, Italy, and Arab states" are "far outpacing the US and UK" in winning contracts in Iraq.

French capitalists are doing well, too. "As well as investing in telecoms and building two car plants, [the French firm] Lafarge produces 60% of the cement sold in Iraq" (Financial Times, 16 December).

Shell and Exxon have won some oil contracts. But in the big Iraqi government auction in 2009: "Two of the most lucrative of the multi-billion-dollar oil contracts went to two countries which bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion — Russia and China — while even Total Oil of France, which led the charge to deny international approval for the war at the U.N. Security Council in 2003, won a bigger stake than the Americans in the most recent auction" (Time magazine, 19/12/09).

Norway's DNO International, Turkey's Genel Enerji, and the Chinese state-owned Sinopec, as well as US-based Exxon, have big oil contracts in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.

Further, "the Iraqis are pursuing economic relations with countries such as Iran, which had been their enemies but are now close trading partners" (FT).

Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly bemoans the lack of American companies with contracts in Iraq, but the best guess must be that Maliki (who, when in exile from Saddam, chose to live in Syria, Iran's close ally, rather than in Britain or the USA) is saying it for show.

The USA has been unable to control their outcome. The misdeeds of the US armed forces have made it harder for US companies to win contracts, and the US companies themselves more cautious about even attempting to come in.

Martin Thomas

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Campaigning for women's rights in Iraq

Submitted by Matthew on 24 November, 2011 - 5:41

Emily Muna gives an account of an interview with Houzan Mahmoud of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq.

When you meet an extraordinary person, it can be in the most mundane of places.

Our interview with Houzan Mahmoud, of the Organisation of Women’s Freedom in Iraq (OWFI), a socialist-feminist activist, was carried out in a softly-lit, sleek little café, not far from Hampstead station.

Houzan was born in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1973; she is a socialist and campaigner for women’s rights in Kurdistan, Iraq and the Middle East.

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US troops to quit Iraq

Submitted by Matthew on 26 October, 2011 - 11:54

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