WHILE THE US and British governments relentlessly prepare to attack Iraq as part of their ’war on terrorism’, a suspected al-Qa’ida cell blew up a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, packed with Israeli tourists. Most of the fatalities were from a Kenyan dance troupe.

The Mombasa attack follows the Bali bombing outrage where nearly 200 people, including many foreign tourists, were killed.

Israel’s hardline prime minister Ariel Sharon has vowed to avenge the three dead Israelis. As the terrorist cell used a flag of convenience - calling itself the Army of Palestine - Palestinians in the occupied territories will be bracing themselves for another deadly assault by Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

As if on cue, the IDF narrowly failed to assassinate an Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza last Sunday. Earlier, troops backed by tanks, destroyed the homes of three Palestinian militants wanted by Israel for alleged attacks stretching back over six years. In the process many unrelated Palestinians saw their homes destroyed.

While Western governments were quick to use the Mombasa attack to justify curtailing democratic rights in order to fight domestic ’terrorism’, none of them will concede that it’s their imperialist policies, by oppressing the world’s poor, which have created the conditions in which terrorist groups can find a ready source of recruits.

Imperialist aims

The US-led war in Afghanistan, fought supposedly to "root out" terrorism, failed in that task but at a cost of killing thousands of innocent civilians and wrecking hospitals and homes. Post-Taliban Afghanistan is awash with ruthless warlords terrorising the poverty stricken population. Atop of this mess sits the US-backed stooge regime of Hamid Karzai

George Bush and Tony Blair also gave tacit approval for Russia’s Vladimir Putin to wreak terror in the former breakaway republic of Chechnya - creating a new generation of Western hating terrorists.

This led directly to the Moscow hostage crisis when scores of theatre goers were killed when Russian special forces used lethal gas to ’subdue’ Chechen terrorists.

Now the US and British governments are determined to wage war against the Iraqi dictatorship led by their former ally, Saddam Hussein. Not, however, to restore human rights nor democracy to Iraqis but to secure their regional strategic aims of political domination and control of oil reserves.

George Bush and Tony Blair regularly justify their war aims with talk of combating Iraqi ’terrorism’. Yet secular Iraq is loathed by the Islamist terrorist groups responsible for 11 September and the Bali and Mombasa attacks. Moreover, a recently leaked letter from the US spy agency, the CIA, concedes that a sanctions-weakened and NATO-bombed Iraq poses little threat to its neighbours or the wider world.

Not to be left out of the Bush/Blair ’war against terrorism’, Australia’s Prime Minister, John Howard, has warned of adopting a pre-emptive ’first strike’ military action against ’terrorist’ targets in neighbouring Asian countries.

Far from making the world a safer place Bush and Co. with their capitalist policies are oppressing millions of people, deepening their poverty and widening inequality, thereby driving many into becoming volunteers for terrorist acts.

Only workers’ governments by removing these injustices can rid the world of war and terror. That means fighting to change the capitalist system and replace it with a democratic socialist society.

Committee for a workers' International publications

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