Iraqi People Reject U.S. Occupation

April 29, 2003

The people of Iraq are taking to the streets everyday to protest the U.S. occupation of their country.

On April 23, for example, in the city of Karbala, over 1 million people marched in protest, demanding that U.S. troops leave their country. In slogans, banners, and speeches, the people declared "No to the U.S. government, and No to a military authority." "We refuse occupation, we want an elected government that represents the people," many speakers repeatedly demanded.

In Baghdad, protests against the occupation continue to break out everyday all across the city. In downtown street gatherings next to the U.S. military blockades, in front of the hotels and palaces where U.S. troops are garrisoned, and in scores of mosques throughout the capital, tens of thousands of Baghdad residents are calling for U.S. troops to leave the country immediately.

On April 15, at least 20,000 Iraqis marched in Nasiriya, under banners reading: "No to America, No to Saddam." The rally was organized to coincide with and oppose a meeting organized by U.S. occupationist forces as part of the attempt to rig up a puppet administration.

Similar actions have been organized in many other cities throughout Iraq.

U.S. Military Dictatorship

Far from leaving, however, the U.S. is declaring not only that its troops will stay for months and possibly years, but also that U.S. authorities alone will rule the country. On April 20, for example, U.S. Lieutenant-General David McKiernan issued a military proclamation declaring "the coalition and the coalition alone retains absolute authority within Iraq." This was followed up quickly with a warning that any Iraqi leaders "who challenge the edict will be viewed as criminals and subject to arrest."

On April 15, U.S. troops opened fire on a political rally in the northern city of Mosul, killing 15 Iraqis and wounding hundreds. In Baghdad and other cities, U.S. troops are also imposing a reign of terror, systematically beating, arresting and threatening opponents of the occupation. For example, on April 21, Ayatollah Mohamed al Fartusi, a well-known religious leader, was arrested by U.S. troops while traveling on a pilgrimage to the city of Karbala. Al Fartusi and five of his companions were held prisoner for over 24 hours with their hands tied behind their backs. Upon release the next day, the cleric revealed that U.S. troops beat him and the others repeatedly.

On April 25, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also announced that any new government in Iraq would be subject to U.S. approval, and that any "Iranian-style" of government would not be permitted.

At the same time, the Pentagon is flying in hundreds of Iraqi exiles in an attempt to lend legitimacy to its colonial administration. These exiles have been handpicked by Rumsfeld and U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz.

The U.S. occupation of Iraq, like the occupation of Afghanistan, is nothing more than a return to the open colonialism of the 19th century.

It is the duty of the American people to wholeheartedly support the Iraqi people's struggle to end U.S. occupation and regain their sacred national right to self-determination.