|SocialismToday Socialist Party magazine|
IT WAS A symbolic event. Two days early (28 June), the US-controlled Coalition Provisional Authority formally handed over to the ‘sovereign’ interim government headed by prime minister Iyad Allawi. "The Iraqi people have their own country back", proclaimed Bush (in Istanbul for the NATO summit).
But the brief handover ceremony took place within the ‘green zone’, the US security bunker. There were no celebrations on the streets. On the contrary, attacks on the occupying forces and their Iraqi auxiliaries intensified. The ‘sovereign’ authority of Allawi’s government rests entirely on the 145,000 US and other imperialist forces. These forces will remain under the exclusive control of the US and its allies. According to general Myers, US chief-of-staff, they will be there for at least another five years.
‘It’s time to draw a line and move on’, said Tony Blair in January, as the Hutton report into the death of WMD expert David Kelly was published. But he can’t, as the June elections demonstrate. CLIVE HEEMSKERK assesses this biggest test of public opinion since the 2001 general election.
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