GEORGE BUSH'S war plans against Iraq are now well advanced. US arms manufacturers are working round the clock to build up stocks of deadly cruise missiles; oil reserves are being boosted; merchant shipping is being commissioned to transport troops and equipment.
Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is hoping that by opening discussions with the United Nations (UN) on readmitting arms inspectors this will delay Bush's war drive by dividing the US president's allies.
But, US secretary of state Colin Powell has reiterated that the American administration's objective remains "regime change".
A US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq to effect Saddam's removal could involve as many as 275,000 US and British troops and result in the death of thousands of Iraqi civilians.
Iraqis already suffer the effects of punitive UN trade sanctions on their country on top of a monstrous dictatorship.
This war has nothing to do with bringing about a democratic Iraq. It's about US imperialism asserting its economic and military dominance in the oil-rich Middle East by removing the rogue dictator and former Western ally, Saddam Hussein.
You only have to look at nearby Afghanistan to see what the West has in mind for Iraq. Post-Taliban Afghanistan is headed by a pro-US regime in the capital Kabul which is dependent on Allied troops for its survival.
Outside Kabul ethnic-based warlords fight for control of the regions. Millions of Afghans remain 'displaced', unemployed and dependent on aid for their daily survival.
But if George Bush and his 'poodle' Tony Blair think that this war will create a politically stable region compliant to US demands then these Western leaders have badly miscalculated.
The rotten pro-Western, semi-feudal regimes in the Middle East are already teetering as their impoverished and oppressed masses look to bring about 'regime changes' of their own.
The masses in these countries see their oil-rich repressive rulers collaborating with imperialism - the system that arms and finances Ariel Sharon's Israeli government which is oppressing the Palestinians.
A US-led war could ignite a conflagration of social upheaval in the region with massive counter-productive consequences for Western capitalism.
And it is this system of capitalist exploitation, not only the rotten ruling regimes, that must be changed. That means building mass workers' organisations and parties that can unite the region's impoverished masses to fight for a socialist alternative to the horrors of war, poverty and oppression.
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