U.S. Siege of Najaf

August 24, 2004

As "The Worker" goes to press, U.S. military forces in Iraq are continuing to wage a brutal attack against the people of Najaf.

Five thousand U.S. troops, supported by nearly 2,000 Iraqi puppet troops, are being used to cordon off the city. U.S. attack helicopters and jet fighters have bombed residential neighborhoods around the Imam Ali mosque, killing and wounding hundreds of people. At night, U.S. AC-130 gunships have been circling overhead and pounding the area around the mosque with gunfire. Tanks and armored vehicles have sealed off the city, while U.S. troops and special forces have pushed into the center of the city after engaging in fierce combat with Iraqi people on every street. U.S. generals, as well as members of the U.S. controlled "Iraqi government," have issued ultimatums to the people of Najaf "to disarm and surrender, or face an all-out U.S. offensive." Press reports indicate that electricity and water have been cut off.

During the past week, tens of thousands of people in Najaf, and in many major cities throughout Iraq, have taken to the streets to show their support for the resistance fighters and to condemn the brutality of the U.S. occupation forces. Thousands protested in Baghdad on August 13, breaking down U.S. barriers and razor-wire cordons erected to prevent them from marching. "The situation in Najaf is a war crime carried out by the United States," said Jamal Seyyed Ali, a demonstrator from the northern town of Sulaimaniyah who came to Baghdad. "The big, arrogant United States feels it must kill women and children. I want all the Americans to leave Iraq, along with the Iraqi agents they brought from the West." Outside Iraq, similar protests erupted against the U.S. siege of Najaf, including largescale demonstrations in Syria and Iran.

The on-going resistance to the U.S. occupation and war, in Najaf and elsewhere, shows that the U.S. military campaign in Iraq cannot win.

U. S. troops, tanks, and warplanes are unable to break the back of the Iraqi resistance precisely because no amount of military force can crush a people's desire to be free from foreign occupation. The siege of Najaf is only one more instance of a desperate U.S. policy of attempting to bring "stability" through terror and wholesale murder.