From the February 1991 issue of the Socialist Standard
Last year we received, via the Iraq Embassy in London, the following circular letter signed "Comrade Latif Nasayyif Jassim, Member of the Regional Leadership of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party. Baghdad. Iraq". Jassim is also the Iraqi Minister of Information.
The Foreign Relations Bureau of the Regional Leadership of the Arab Ba'th Socialist Party is pleased and honoured to extend its warmest greetings of friendship and solidarity, reaffirm its keenness to maintain our relations with you on the basis of our common principles, and present to you herewith a copy of the documented historical and legal paper recently published on the question of the relationship between Kuwait and Iraq.
The paper also offers a political review of the conspiratorial role played by the former Sheiks of Kuwait, in collaboration with the United States of America, in order to destroy the economy of Iraq, undermine its national security and impoverish its people to the benefit of imperialist and zionist interests.
We are confident that these facts will help you to understand the background of the events taking place in the Arab Gulf region and to follow their developments. We stress our categorical rejection of the USNATO invasion of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, along with our conviction of the ability of the Arab Nation to settle Arab problems without foreign intervention and on the basis of the initiative of H.E. President Saddam Hussein announced on 12 August 1990. We also reiterate our resolve to resist the military alliances with which Washington plans to fetter the Arab Nation in order to ensure its absolute hegemony over our oil and free will.
Comrades and Friends,
We call upon you to denounce the inhuman economic boycott and blockade aiming at starving our people, depriving us of our medical needs and our children of their milk.
We also call upon you to expose war mongers and aggressors, and to uphold the peace option as a means to resolve all problems in the Middle East on basis of uniform criteria and principles.
We are fully prepared to denounce all war-mongers in the area: Bush. Mitterrand, the unlamented Thatcher—and His Excellency President Saddam Hussein. As the Gulf Crisis reaches its flashpoint, we of the Socialist Party of Great Britain and our companion parties overseas, constituting the Movement for World Socialism, reaffirm our unequivocal opposition to all the belligerents, be they major powers defending the interests of their capitalists or despotic oil-producing states anxious to extend or maintain their arbitrarily-established frontiers and to raise the price of their oil on the world market.
We wish to make it absolutely clear that we have no “common principles” with the so-called Arab Ba’th “Socialist" Party find that they are no “comrades and friends" of ours. We have never had any relations with them and never will have. No doubt they have mistakenly assumed that we form part of the rag-bag of trotskyist and maoist organisations like the SWP. RCP, WRP. etc, etc which have taken up a pro-Iraq position in the Gulf conflict.
The Arab Ba’th “Socialist” Party is no more socialist than was Hitler's “National Socialist German Workers Party” in whose tradition of aggressive and totalitarian nationalism it is to be placed. As the governing party in Iraq and, under a rival faction, in Syria its record in both countries has been one of oppression, torture, assassination and mass murder. And its doctrine that all Arabs form a single nation with a common interest is mistaken and divisive. Like all cultural and language groups, the Arabs are divided into two classes with antagonistic interests: workers and their exploiters and rulers. Those who are workers form part of the world working class, not of some mythical “Arab Nation".
Regrettably, the notion of a unified Arab nation-state, however illusory, still holds great sway throughout much of the Arab world. It is to this public that Baathist propaganda is addressed, in the hope that they will see Iraq’s tyrant in a Napoleonic role challenging the no longer divine rights of the billionaire oil sheiks to rule and benefit from their statelets set up and protected by the Western powers.
Naturally, as Socialists, we have no sympathy whatsoever for the oil sheiks but, equally, we hold that national entities, actual or envisaged, offer no solution to the problems of the working class majority anywhere in the world.
While the horrors of war are about to be unleashed yet again, we re-iterate even more urgently our call for the World Working Class to take conscious democratic action for the creation of a world without markets, frontiers or classes in which the oil of the Middle East will belong, together with all other productive resources, not to this or that “nation" but to all the people of the world in common—a world free, at last, from the wars that result from the competitive struggle for profits that is built-in to the capitalist system.