Iraq - the war continues; Shannon - the refuelling continues

June 18 2003


George Bush may have declared major combat operations over in Iraq on May 1st but resistance to the US occupation forces goes on. The killing today of one more US soldier at a petrol station in Baghdad means 42 have been killed in combat since that date, almost one per day. And every week US soldiers coming to and from Iraq continue to fly through Shannon airport.

The US occupation forces have been busy killing and interning Iraqis. Not just those who resist the occupation with arms but also those who take part in protests against their regime. Today two more Iraqis were killed while protesting outside the Republican Palace. This was Saddam Hussein's former presidential compound and is now the headquarters of the U.S.-led occupation administration. A case of 'meet the new boss, same as the old boss'.

A soldier opened fire on a crowd who were banging their shoes off a convoy trying to enter the palace. A couple of month's back banging your shoe off the image of the old regime guaranteed prime time coverage around the world. Today it results in a bloody death, relegated to the inside pages of the 'quality' press.

Demonstrations against the occupation have become a regular occurrence in Iraq. So too has US soldiers firing into such demonstrations. Paul Bremer, head of the occupation administration trying to impose US rule in Iraq, told a news conference it was now illegal for Iraqis to incite violence. He said the move was not a violation of the freedom of the Iraqi people!

Internment of those who oppose the US regime has also become part of the day to day life in Iraq. On Sunday U.S. forces launched the latest round of internment raids, Operation Desert Scorpion. By late Monday, 156 people had been arrested in Baghdad and another 215 in Kirkuk and Tikrit. The previous week 'Operation Peninsula Strike' which involved "jet fighters, tank-buster aircraft and patrol boats" resulted in another 397 internments and the deaths of "10 to 15" Iraqis (it appears the US military in not even bothering to keep an exact count of the number it is killings). One resident of a town raided, Qahtun Abdoun, said U.S. soldiers shot and killed 15 year old Hashem Mohamed Ani, after he had picked up a gun and tried to shoot the intruders.

In Ireland it is hard to miss the parallels with the opening years of 'the troubles'. In the space of a few months the US has telescoped numerous bloody Sundays, internment and Section 31 together.

The US troops carrying out these raids continue to pass through Shannon airport as they are rotated into and out of Iraq. This Saturday 21st of June three protests will take place against the continued military use of that airport. Raise your voice against the US occupation of Iraq and the continuing role of the Irish government in making that occupation possible.

Andrew

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[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement member, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written]

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