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George Bush's "decisive moment"

Source: Stop the War Coalition

George Bush declared the recent attack by the puppet Iraqi government - supported by waves of US and British bombers - on Iraq's second city Basra as a "defining moment" in his "surge" strategy. He had no idea how within days the truth of his words would return to haunt him, as the attack stalled almost immediately before determined resistance and the refusal of many government soldiers and police to fight against their fellow Iraqis, with a number defecting to the resistance.

As hundreds of thousands of Iraqis came onto the streets in towns and cities across the country to call for the occupiers to leave, it was clear that the Iraqi government had suffered a humiliating defeat, at which point the attack was no longer a "defining moment" for Bush and his administration. These protests showed that, despite the US policy to foment communal tensions, the main division in Iraqi society is between pro- and anti-occupation forces. The widely popular cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has now called for a million strong demonstration this week against the occupation.

While this was clearly a defeat for the US client government in Iraq, and exposed the reality behind the supposed "success" of Bush's surge, it is in such moments that an imperial power can become most dangerous. The intensifying claims by Bush and his military leaders that Iran is behind the resistance to the US-British occupation - without producing a shred of evidence - may well turn into an attack on Iran, with incalculable consequences for the region and world stability.

The announcement by the British government that it will not be reducing the number of its troops in Iraq, as previously announced, could in part be due to plans for such an attack on Iran. The recent events in Basra show that Tony Blair's insistence last year that the British army withdrew from the city because its mission was a "success" and "complete" could not be further from the truth.