Arab National Liberation and the communist movement
By Andy Brooks
The Arab national liberation movement is a vital area of study because a major part of our solidarity work focuses on the war in Iraq and the Palestinian problem. Some may argue that the issues are so obvious to communists that there is little need for us, thousands of miles away, to go beyond declaring our support for the forces for liberation. But no effective solidarity with a national liberation movement can be built without some understanding of the problems it seeks to resolve.
Some British Trotskyites still cling to Leon Trotsky’s teachings and argue:
This leads them to dismiss national liberation as simply a movement led by the national bourgeoisie that can never lead to socialism even if it is allied or even dependent on mass support from the workers and peasants. “Socialist orientation”, they argued, can never lead to socialism – only a parody of the USSR which they dismissed as a “deformed workers” or “state capitalist” regime. This is why some of them opposed the Palestinian liberation movement and its demands for a Palestinian Arab state alongside Israel in favour of an idealist Jewish-Arab Palestinian state based on the unity of Jewish and Arab workers. They then take this to its logical conclusion by trying to substitute support for the Palestinian national movement with support for tiny Trotskyite groups in Israel and the Arab world that they argue are the vanguard of the working class in the region.
On the other hand some British communists still adhere to the revisionist thinking of Krushchov and Brezhnev that argues that the solution to the problem can be found simply by following the line of the particular communist party in the field. In essence what this used to mean was blind support for whatever the Soviet Union did. It led to unthinking support for Krushchov’s line against the Communist Party of China and against Stalin. It led to the elevation of peace above revolution and it ultimately led to Gorbachovism and the final liquidation of the old Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB).
This thinking lingers on. It lies behind the elevation of pacifist resistance in opposition to armed struggle and ignores Lenin’s dictum that communists must always distinguish between the violence of the oppressor and the violence of the oppressed. It lies behind the attempt to qualify support for national liberation movements based on the tactics they use that equates the violence of the oppressor with that of it’s victim and ultimately endorse the imperialist view that armed struggle is always “terrorist” unless it is hopelessly ineffective.
This thinking lay behind the refusal of the old CPGB to support Sinn Féin and the renewed Irish struggle that began in 1969. It lies behind to the position amongst some of the revisionists of full support for the current Iraqi Communist Party despite its open collaboration with the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq.
The Arab nation
Now when we look at the Arab world we first of all have to ask ourselves what is an Arab? While this seems an easy question we have to remember that the American imperialists avoid using the word altogether these days. In Iraq the occupation authorities are trying to divide the masses along sectarian lines. Though the population in 80 per cent Arab, the other 20 per cent coming from the Kurdish minority and some other small ethnic groups, the imperialists would have us believe, and want the Iraqis to believe, that the country consists of Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims and Kurds. They only use this rule when it suits them because all Arab volunteers in the Iraqi resistance who have come from other Arab states are called “foreign fighters” even if they are Saudi fundamentalists who by this rule should be called “foreign Sunni fighters”. That’s why the imperialists prefer the simple pejorative term – terrorist.
Nor do the imperialists and their hired academics and Middle East “experts” stick to this rule when it comes to their chief stooge in the region, the Zionist state of Israel. Zionism maintains that Jews throughout the world constitute a nation and that anti-semitism is incurable and eternal.
That Jews on a world scale, lacking a common territory, language, culture or economic life, do not constitute a nation in any generally recognised sense of the term is obvious. Zionism, however, would have Jews and non-Jews believe that all members of the Jewish faith are in some way the literal descendants of the Jews of Biblical days. In fact it is nothing more than a reactionary bourgeois-nationalist ideology of the big Jewish capitalists in the imperialist world. It tells Jewish workers that their interests are served by Jewish exploiters and it seeks to colonise Palestine in the same as the imperialist powers it allies itself with have done in the past. It was with good reason that Lenin maintained that “this Zionist idea is absolutely false and essentially reactionary”.
The national question was resolved in the USSR through the study of Stalin, notably his 1913 paper that defined a nation as possessing four major characteristics; common language; common territory; common economic life and common culture. The Arab nationalists, who include the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party (Baath), argue that an Arab is anyone who speaks Arabic. Sati al Husri, one of the leading Arab nationalist writers of the 1930s and 40s said: “The ‘lands of the Arabs’ are not restricted to the Arabian peninsula alone, as has been claimed; every country where Arabic is the language of the inhabitants forms part of these lands…whoever has links with an Arab country, and speaks Arabic, whatever the official name of the state of which he is a citizen, whatever his religion, or doctrine, or descent or family history…is an Arab…Arabism is not restricted to the inhabitants of the Arabian peninsula, nor is it specific to Muslims”.
Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leader of Egypt’s Free Officer Revolution, embraced the call for Arab unity and argued that anyone was an Arab who spoke Arabic and chose to call himself or herself an Arab. That proviso is introduced to cover the Arabic speaking Jewish communities that until recently lived in Iraq and Yemen who did not consider themselves to be Arabs and were not considered to be Arabs and people like the Maltese who speak a form of Arabic but certainly do not consider themselves to be Arabs.
Of course when we look at a map of the Arab League we can also see that the member states, whose frontiers were all defined by British and French imperialism during colonial days, do not include all the Arabs – there is a significant Arab minority in Iran. They also include significant ethnic minorities within their borders like the tribes of southern Sudan, the Berbers of Morocco and Algeria and the Kurds of northern Iraq.
We cannot simply accept language on its own as a definition of nationality. English, for instance is the common language of Ireland, Scotland, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and large parts of Canada and the Philippines but no-one would suggest that the people of those countries are all part of the same nation.
But historically the vast areas covered by the Arab League conform basically with Stalin’s formula. With the exception of Morocco, Somalia and southern Sudan they all were part of one economic, cultural and territorial entity – the Ottoman Empire – until the middle of the 19th century.
Whether the Arabs are a nation with “one glorious destiny” as the Baath maintain or a “nation in the making” as some of the Arab communists once defined it is another question.
The fight for freedom
The borders of all the Arab states were defined by British and French imperialism who began the carve up of the Turkish Ottoman Empire in the 19th century. The collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War completed the process that left only Arabia itself under the House of Saud and Yemen beyond the direct control of Britain and France and Libya which had been an Italian colony since 1912.
Though the original motive was simple colonial robbery through land-grabbing, the discovery of vast oil reserves in the Middle East gave a new impetus to the imperialist desire to control and exploit the region.
There had been resistance from the old feudal elements in the 19th century but Abdel Kader in Algeria, Colonel Arabi in Egypt and the Mahdi of the Sudan were all ultimately defeated by superior imperialist fire-power. The modern anti-colonial movement, that rapidly embraced all apart from the most venal colonial collaborators in Arab society, was clearly inspired by the 1917 October Revolution.
Zionists and other apologists for imperialism claim that Arab and “Islamic” society are backward because the Arab world was not affected by the bourgeois democratic ideas of Rousseau and the French Revolution. What they ignore is the impact of the Russian Revolution in the 1920s that went far beyond the ranks of the Arab working class, then a very small section of Arab society.
Only a tiny section within Arab society ever benefited from colonial rule – the feudal kings and princes whose thrones relied on the “protection” of imperialist guns; the big landowners and those comprador businessmen who served the needs of the colonial armies and the demands of imperial trade.
The vast majority, and this included the small educated and vocal national bourgeoisie, wanted an end to colonial rule. Futile attempts to appeal to imperialism’s better nature at the Versailles Peace Conference of 1919 made them realise that independence could only be won by mobilising the Arab workers and peasants – in mass struggle against imperialism. The Russian Revolution that swept away the Czar and his oligarchy showed them the way.
The new Soviet government’s Declaration of Rights of the Peoples of Russia and the appeal To All the Working Muslims of Russia and the East had been drafted under Lenin’s supervision and regarded as Lenin’s letter to the Arabs. They heard the Bolshevik call: “Moslems of the East! Persians and Turks, Arabs and Hindus – all of those whose person and property, freedom and motherland have been bought and sold for centuries by the greedy European predators, all those whose countries the plunderers that have started the war now want to divide!
“Overthrow these predators and the oppressors of your countries!...You have the right to do so, for you hold the future in your own hands.”
Arabs struggling against French colonialism in Syria saw the Soviet Union as their friend. The Patriotic Committee of Arab Unity in December 1920 declared that:
“The Arabs regard the government of Lenin and his friends, and the Great Revolution they have launched to liberate the East from the European tyrants as a great force capable of ensuring their well-being and happiness.
“Peace and happiness throughout the world depends on an alliance between the Arabs and the Bolsheviks. To attain their great goal, the Bolsheviks have made many sacrifices and they want the Arabs to take up arms against the exploiters. To do so the Arabs are asking the Bolsheviks to supply them with arms and military equipment…
“Long live Lenin, his comrades and Soviet power!
Long live the alliance between the whole of Islam and the Bolsheviks!”
The October Revolution also inspired Arab socialists to form communist parties. The Palestinian Communist Party was formed in 1921. In 1922 the Egyptian Socialist Party joined the Communist International and renamed itself communist. Syrian and Lebanese communist movements were established in 1924 during the struggle against French colonialism and the Iraqi communist party was founded ten years later.
The national bourgeois element recognised the masses’ demand for social justice and they embraced socialist slogans but not always for progressive ends. The Arab bourgeois and landlord class, fighting for their own freedom, appealed to the traditional religious feelings of the peasants and other working people in order to win them to their side in the fight against imperialism and to disguise class antagonisms with religious-nationalist ideas.
The existing patriarchal character of Arab society, combined with hatred of their colonial oppressors, and petty bourgeois peasant illusions combined to create fertile soil for utopian socialism dressed up in nationalist or Islamic costume.
Lenin’s concrete approach to the nationalism of the oppressed was expressed when he said: “The bourgeois nationalism of any oppressed nation has a general democratic content that is directed against oppression and it is this content that we unconditionally support”.
At the same time Lenin pointed out that there was a reactionary content present in any nationalism, and that in Marxists “all chauvinism and nationalism will find an implacable enemy…”
Israel, essentially a colonial settler state, had always been intended as a buffer to contain Arab nationalism. Between the world wars British imperialism encouraged Zionist settlements to play the Jews off against the Palestinian Arabs, though they never originally intended to grant either community any real independence.
The old European colonial order was fatally shaken by the Second World War. Though Britain and France were ultimately victorious this was largely due to the efforts of the Soviet Union and to a lesser degree, the United States. American imperialism, already entrenched commercially in Saudi Arabia, wanted to break the old Anglo-French hold on the rest of the Middle East and it did this by encouraging the establishment of the State of Israel and supporting full independence for Egypt, Syria and Iraq under the corrupt but weak leadership of feudal and big bourgeois Arab politicians who played the national card to win mass support.
The first Arab-Israeli war of 1948 to 1949 exposed the corruption of these newly independent Arab states who so singularly failed militarily to defeat the fledgling Zionist state. This led to a resurgence of Arab nationalism that focused not just on Israel but also on its own corrupt rulers.
It was at this time that the major Arab national movements were born. The Arab Baath (Renaissance) Party was founded in Damascus in 1947 and rapidly grew after it united in 1953 with the mass-based Syrian Socialist Party to form the Arab Socialist Renaissance Party.
Baathist slogans and its pan-Arab slogans were adopted by Nasser’s Free Officers who had seized power in 1952 in a bloodless coup that deposed King Farouk. These are:
Freedom, Unity, Socialism!
One Arab Nation, One Glorious Destiny!
Freedom from colonialism was the first stage and Arab unity was seen as the precursor of socialism throughout the Arab world.
Nasser went on to build a mass movement around the Arab Socialist Union, that relied almost entirely on his own personality and his immense popularity with the masses. The Egyptian Revolution did, of course, bring in major reforms like the break up of the vast estates that benefited poor peasants and the socialist laws that brought in free education, created a national health service and established “safety net” social legislation like the minimum wage. These were far in advance of many other Third World countries and were regarded by many Egyptian communists who joined the ASU as “socialist orientation”.
The struggle against colonialism and feudalism led to a number of democratic revolutions throughout the Arab world whose leaders embraced “Arab socialism” in one form or another. Though they relied on the masses for support the leadership was largely drawn from middle strata army officers and university graduates.
The leadership of the Arab national democratic movement ultimately reflected the interests of the national bourgeois and petty bourgeois elements. In oil-rich countries like Iraq or Libya social problems were resolved by throwing money at them and workers’ living standards soared.
In the poorer ones like Algeria, Egypt and the Sudan this option wasn’t possible. National health and education services were set up for the benefit of all strata. Social reform and public ownership were taken up but not to the extent of threatening the existence of the national bourgeois elements within their ranks or the interests of the large middle strata of teachers, doctors, civil servants, army officers and small traders. Independent working class political activity was frowned on at best and often banned in the name of national unity.
The Arab national democratic movement adopted the one party system, like much of Africa at the time, which was an advance as it swept away the pseudo-democratic neo-colonial structures that imperialism uses to retain its control. But these movements were often simply a popular rallying point for the leadership and they did not have the organised democratic strength to preserve the gains of the revolution if that leadership changed nor were they organised on class lines.
“Democratic socialists believe, on the other hand, that communist methods on occasion distort agreed socialist ideals to the extent even of negating some of the principles which Marx himself preached” Egyptian Arab Socialist theorist Abdel Moghny Said declared. “ ‘Equality’ can open the way for a rigid economic and political hierarchy ruling in the name of the dictatorship of the proletariat. The principle of humanity can be regarded as expendable in the interests of some future millennium. The scientific objective approach to economics and politics can bend before the demands of dogma and short-term expediency.”
Similarly the Baath constitution says that: “The Arab Baath Party is a socialist party. It holds that the economic wealth of the country belongs to the nation” but then goes on to say that “property and inheritance are two natural rights. They are protected within the limits of the national interests”.
It was, of course, “socialism” that reflected the class demands of the revolutionary democrats and not the scientific socialism of Marxism-Leninism. Nasser could say: “’Arab socialism’ is an invention of the Egyptian newspapers. In my speeches and in the Charter I have never used the term. There are no socialisms. There is only universal, scientific socialism,” even though his own movement was called the Arab Socialist Union and the Egyptian National Charter that Nasser referred to states clearly that the “Arab revolutionary experiment…cannot afford to copy what others have achieved…socialism does not mean observing rigid theories which have not arisen out of the nature of national experience.”
But because the Arab national democratic movement was borne from an anti-colonial struggle that developed into a struggle against the imperialist forces that continued to subjugate the Arab world it developed into a revolutionary democratic force. In government their policies were those of socialist orientation. Arab big bourgeois and feudal elements could not offer any solution to the problems of the Arab masses except in the oil-rich feudal princedoms where they bought off the tiny domestic population with a fraction of their oil bounty and imported cheap immigrant labour on master and servant terms to meet the demands of the petrochemical industries. At the same time the organised weakness of the Arab working class prevented the revolutionary workers’ movements from directly influencing the Arab revolutionary democratic movements that developed in Algeria, Egypt, Syria and Iraq.
The social base of the Algerian FLN, the Baath and Egypt’s Arab Socialist Union was the peasant masses, the petty bourgeois and semi-proletarianised urban population and the radical elements of the nationalist intelligentsia who coalesced into a social bloc in the fight against colonialism, Zionism and imperialism through these parties. Socialist planning was regarded as an essential part of the struggle to achieve economic independence once formal independence was won.
“So the very nationalism of these elements makes them gravitate towards accepting socialism,” the veteran Syrian communist leader Khaled Bakdash pointed out in 1964, adding, “no matter how paradoxical this fact may seem, for it contradicts all our previous criteria, it is a fact wrought by the dialectical development of our time, the time of transition from capitalism to socialism.”
Similar movements took the same path in Africa and Asia though the most successful was Fidel Castro’s 26th July Movement that eventually united with the Cuban Communist Party to build a people’s democracy in Cuba.
The 1975 meeting of Arab communist parties noted that: “One of the most important phenomena in the Arab national liberation movement is the emergence of parties, forces and elements, which, in class terms, belong to the petty bourgeoisie, but have raised themselves to the position of revolutionary democracy”.
The Syrian and Iraqi Baath leaderships always recognised the strength of the working class movement in their countries. They acknowledged the need for alliances with other forces including the communists, in establishing progressive National Patriotic Fronts in the 1970s, which continue in Syria to this day and only broke down in Iraq in the late 1970s.
In Palestine and amongst the vast Palestinian diaspora the endless wars led to the development of a Marxist wing within the resistance movement, originally led by George Habbash, and a broader Arab movement that inspired the National Liberation Front of South Yemen that drove British imperialism out in 1967. This eventually established the first Arab socialist state, the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, under the leadership of the avowedly Marxist Yemen Socialist Party.
A united Arab world with its immense oil resources would resolve all the problems of Arab workers and peasants and that is why the imperialists are determined to ensure that it remains divided and fragmented. Nasser’s United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria continued in name until 1971 but it essentially ended when Syria ended its short-lived union in 1961. The exception is the PDR Yemen and the northern Yemen Arab Republic who united in 1991, the only successful modern experiment in Arab unity.
In the 1950s some Arab nationalists imagined that the Arabs would unite following a successful war against Israel in much the same way as Germany united immediately after the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. But Israel has not been defeated and there is no Arab Prussia.
Anglo-American imperialism has always sought to pit Arab against Arab to maintain their hegemony over the Arab world and its vast oil riches. Imperialism has always opposed Arab unity in any form unless it can be diverted for its own strategic purposes like the abortive anti-Soviet “Baghdad Pact” that sought to bring the Middle East into the Nato alliance in the 1950s.
Likewise imperialism has always tried to exploit Islamic fundamentalist movements for its own purposes. In the past these movements were almost always reactionary in content. The charitable and social nature of Muslim movements gave them a mass base amongst the urban and rural poor but the leadership reflected the demands of conservative elements within the middle strata that the modern Arab nationalist movements were competing with. Though they condemned the imperialism and materialism of the West, the “godless” socialists and communists were often their first targets.
The Saudi royal family created a united kingdom in Arabia in the 1920s with the support of the militant and puritanical Wahhabi (Unitarian) movement that started in central Arabia in the 18th century. The oil-rich Saudi kings use the Wahhabis to prop up their feudal rule and they have pumped millions into their coffers in return to fund pro-Saudi religious institutions throughout the Arab and Islamic world. The Saudis provided the “Islamic” cover and much of the money to fund the American sponsored counter-revolutionaries who overthrew the progressive Afghan government in 1992 and later backed the Taliban (Muslim students) movement that followed.
Even the Wahhabis are not immune from social pressure and in recent years sects outraged at the profligate and corrupt life-styles of the Saudi princes have waged a violent campaign against the crown. Others, like Osama bin Laden’s Al Qaeda, were enraged at the stationing of American troops on Saudi soil after the first Gulf War and began a deadly campaign against US imperialism that has now spread throughout the world.
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood goes back to the 1920s when it was founded as an Islamic youth movement initially modelled on the YMCA. It rapidly became a political force in the fight against the corrupt Egyptian monarchy and the struggle to drive British imperialism out of Egypt altogether. The Brotherhood set up branches throughout the Middle East and many members volunteered to defend Palestine during the first Arab-Israeli war. Though the Brotherhood initially supported Egypt’s Free Officer revolution, it broke with Nasser when they realised that his government was not going to restore traditional Islamic law. In 1954 one of their followers tried to kill Nasser – a move that led to their complete suppression.
Their essentially reactionary demand for a unified Islamic world put the Brothers at loggerheads with the modern Arab national movement that strove to create modern independent republics with semi-secular constitutions that took account of the needs of the non-Muslim Arab minorities within their ranks. In Syria an attempt on the life of President al Assad in 1980 led to a bloody crack-down that cumulated in the storming of their strongholds.
But the Muslim Brotherhood is not a monolithic organisation. In Egypt they were legalised by Nasser’s right-wing successor, Anwar Sadat. Some sections welcomed the end of “Nasserism” and Sadat’s opening up of the Egyptian economy to imperialism. Others were enraged at Sadat’s treacherous separate peace with Israel and he died under a hail of bullets in 1981. In 1987 the Brotherhood agreed a joint slate with some post-Nasserist social-democrats called the Labour Islamic Alliance which won 60 seats in the national assembly. But they boycotted the elections in 1990 because they were so obviously being rigged.
In Palestine Hamas was originally tolerated by the Israeli occupiers who saw it as a counter to Yasser Arafat’s nationalist Fateh movement. That soon ended when Hamas took up the mass demand to end the Zionist occupation and now Hamas and the other Palestinian Islamic movements play a leading role in the popular resistance that includes communists and progressives.
The quest for unity
Arab unity remains as elusive as ever but that does not mean it is not desirable or attainable. Speaking on behalf of the Arab communist delegates at the Comintern congress of 1935 the Syrian communist leader presented a programme for an Arab popular anti-imperialist front based on Arab unity.
Khaled Bakdash speaking for the Arab communists under the movement name of “Comrade Ramzi” said: “We must unite the anti-imperialist struggle in all Arab countries…” and referring to the division of the Arab world by British, French and Italian imperialism, he stated that: “It is true that this division will always help different imperialist oppressors to fight the insurrections and uprisings of the Arab masses in these different countries. For example, the insurrections in Syria (1925), Palestine (1929), Iraq (1935) Morocco (1924) and so on. But it is no less true that the Arab peoples have often shown an active reciprocal national solidarity and have always expressed their hatred of the division of their countries. We must oppose this existing division, and unite in struggle and solidarity the entire Arab people, against the oppressor imperialism, for the complete liberation of all Arab countries, for the union of independent popular democratic republics.”
Bakdash repeated this call in a different way in 1964. Moving the party’s national charter he said: “The second part…deals with the problem of co-operation between Arabs, what one might call the problem of Arab unity. It is clear that all the Arab peoples are close to one another, be it geographically, linguistically, economically or historically. Co-operation between them this becomes a vital and practical aspect of a great many of the issues which concern our respective countries.
“In our opinion, the most important aspect of Arab co-operation concerns the solidarity of the Arab peoples in their struggle for independence and national liberation. The various Arab countries are, of course, at different stages in terms of this issue; there are countries still struggling for the most elementary right to independence, for instance Palestine, which still lies under foreign mandate and is embroiled in the Zionist calamity. Others, such as Syria and Lebanon, have won some of their rights and have taken important steps towards national independence. Finally, there are countries such as Iraq and Egypt, which are completing the final stages of their progress towards total independence and national sovereignty.
“Under such conditions, what other foundations can there be to Arab co-operation than the need for solidarity between Arabs of all countries in the effort to attain the independence and national liberation of each individual country? It is not enough for governments to evince this solidarity; the people themselves must be committed to the idea. Economic, cultural and commercial co-operation is possible to a degree, but it cannot be brought to fruition as long as the great Arab goal – the independence and liberation of each Arab country – has not been achieved.”
It is fundamentally a matter for the Arabs themselves. Lenin’s first foreign minister, G V Chicherin, the People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs made this clear in 1924 in a discussion with a representative of the Hashemite kingdom of Hejaz that was soon to fall under the domination of the House of Saud. Chicherin said: “We greatly sympathise with the Arab people’s desire for unification but we cannot interfere in the matter of whether such unification takes the form of a confederation under Russian leadership or any other form, for that is the Arab people’s own business.”
Today’s fight against imperialism
We often argue that “my enemy’s enemy is my friend”. This easy formula often produces the right solution as the enemy of British imperialism is almost always a progressive force provided that we identify who our “enemy” is at any given time.
When the Second World War transformed from an inter-imperialist war into a war against the Soviet Union, the bourgeoisie of the United States and Britain became temporarily the allies of the most progressive force in the world. It was clearly incorrect for some Indian revolutionaries like Chandra Bose to campaign and actively assist in the Axis war effort in the grounds that it would hasten the demise of the British occupation. It was also clearly incorrect for some elements within the IRA to seek the assistance of the Third Reich during the war and the same could be said for those Arab nationalists who sought the support of the Axis and used the same argument.
The primary contradiction in the world today is between United States imperialism and the peoples of the world. American imperialism, headed by George W Bush and an administration drawn from the most reactionary and aggressive elements of the US ruling class is seeking world domination, which they call “globalisation” and the “new world order”. They seek to consolidate US power across the globe and extract the maximum advantage from US imperialism’s present strength and dominant position over the entire non-socialist world. The most reactionary, venal and warlike sections of the British ruling class, ably served by the Blair leadership, are backing the Americans to the hilt in the hope of securing part of the plunder for themselves.
By establishing direct control of the Iraqi oil-fields, Anglo-American imperialism hopes to control the price and production of the global oil industry. This was what the war was all about. The issue is clear. This was an illegal an unjust war. British troops should never have been sent there in the first place. They must be brought home immediately. The Iraqi people’s legitimate rights to independence and the control of their resources must be upheld. The Iraqis have taken up the gun in a new fight for independence. Their resistance must be supported.
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