Paul Bogdanor has brought to my attention an article published in the October 4, 1980 issue of Socialist Worker. He would not have wasted my time and I knew that his reference would be worthwhile checking. Hence, I went to the vaults and obtained the article. I copy an extract below:
Iraq – Britain’s artificial state
Alex Callinicos and Jon Bearman
Socialist Worker, October 4, 1980, p.10.
… President Saddam Hussein rules together with a small clique from the Takrit region, many of them related to one another, using methods of naked terror. Last year he called together Ba’ath party functionaries and instructed them to kill several members of the ruling Revolutionary Command Council to make them responsible for the purge….
The ‘socialist’ regime has used brutal methods to keep the Kurds down. 495 Kurdish villages were raised to the ground in June and July 1978 and some 300,000 Kurds were forced to move to government camps.
Iraq, once Moscow’s closest ally in the Middle East, broke with Russia in 1978. The CP [Communist Party] was purged and many of its members executed….
The rapid development of capitalism under the Ba’ath regime has meant that the industrial working class has grown from about 90,000 in 1958 to over 200,000 today….
Defeat, or a long and wearing war in Iran, could encourage this working class to overturn Hussein, adding him… to the long list of megalomaniacs destroyed by popular revolt.
So let us get this straight: in 1980 Socialist Worker was calling for Saddam Hussein, who they regarded as a mass murderer of leftists and others and someone who ruled by terror, to be destroyed and overthrown. Why, then, did the Socialist Workers Party complain so much when America, Britain and other members of the “Coalition of the Willing” did the job that the “working class” had not done? Why, also, did they get in bed with George Galloway, who famously said to this murderous dictator in1994, “Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, your indefatigability”?