|Year 2008 No. 15, February 6, 2008||ARCHIVE||HOME||JBBOOKS||SUBSCRIBE|
Condoleezza Rice in Britain:
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Condoleezza Rice in Britain:
Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, is expected in London today ahead of her meeting with the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. Their talks are expected to focus mainly on the situation in Afghanistan, as well Iraq, Iran and Kosovo, and are being held ahead of a meeting of NATO defence ministers in next weekend in Vilnius, Lithuania, and a scheduled NATO summit meeting in Bucharest in April.
It is widely reported that the aim of Rices visit is to pull Britain into line in closer support of the illegal US-led occupation of Afghanistan. The US has recently been forced to deploy even more troops in that country, a sign that the resistance of the Afghan people is becoming stronger and more successful. As a consequence, the US imperialists have been demanding that other NATO members should also increase troop numbers and re-deploy existing troops according to the US diktat, a demand that has been rejected by France and Germany in particular. The US has even publicly criticised some NATO members and admitted that there is no guarantee that the continued occupation of Afghanistan can be maintained in the face of growing Afghan resistance, while the Canadian government, a staunch ally of the US threatened to withdraw its troops if other NATO members did not send reinforcements. There are at present over 42,000 NATO troops occupying Afghanistan, the vast majority from the US but nearly 8,000 from Britain, while NATO commanders are demanding an increase of at least 7,500.
As the main ally of the US, the government has voiced similar concerns and has also announced increases in troop numbers over recent months. Last December in a statement to Parliament, Gordon Brown argued that "there must be greater burden sharing by all partners and allies" and stressed the need for increasing "Afghan ownership" of the state apparatus, tacit recognition that the Afghan people have not, and will not, tolerate continued foreign occupation. Since then other government ministers have made similar demands.
The Anglo-American alliance has also suffered another setback with the recent rejection by the government of President Hamid Karzai of their chosen envoy Lord Ashdown. Ashdown had been officially proposed as the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to Afghanistan, but apparently without any consultation with the allegedly sovereign government of that country. It is therefore expected that the talks meeting between Rice, Brown and Miliband will also discuss the question of his replacement, for what is seen as a significant role that might involve overtures to the Afghan resistance forces. This rejection came at the same time that President Karzai was criticising the deployment of British troops in the southern Helmand Province, suggesting that they had in fact made matters worse.
Such opposition from the main ally of the Anglo-American alliance in Afghanistan has added to the problems facing the US, Britain and the other big powers, who openly acknowledge that they cannot agree amongst themselves, and are facing growing demands at home for an end to the illegal occupation of the country. Recently the US Defence Secretary was even criticising the performance of its main allies in the south of Afghanistan, the troops of Britain, Canada and Holland It is also being more openly accepted that Karzais government has limited credibility or jurisdiction in Afghanistan.
The visit of Condoleezza Rice to Britain is therefore taking place as the Anglo-American alliance faces something of a crisis in Afghanistan in the face of the growing resistance to occupation, but also at a time when the Labour government has already signalled its willingness to continue to act as the main ally of the US in its criminal warmongering activities. The meeting of Rice, Brown and Miliband is aimed to aimed to strengthen the hand of the occupation forces and to launch further criminal attacks on the peoples of Afghanistan and the entire region and must be opposed.
The stand of the working class must be to condemn this visit of the representative of US imperialism to Britain; to condemn the continued occupation of Afghanistan and to redouble its efforts to fight for an anti-war government.
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