We call on those states responsible for the invasion and occupation of Iraq to terminate their illegal and immoral war, and express our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their struggle for peace, justice and self-determination.

In particular, we demand:

  1. An immediate end to the US and UK-led occupation of Iraq;
  2. Urgent action to fully address the current humanitarian crises facing Iraq’s people, including help for the more than three million refugees and displaced persons;
  3. An end to all foreign interference in Iraq's affairs, including its oil industry, so that Iraqis can exercise their right to self-determination;
  4. Compensation and reparations from those countries responsible for war and sanctions on Iraq;
  5. Prosecution of all those responsible for war crimes, human rights abuses, and the theft of Iraq's resources.

We demand justice for Iraq.

This statement was adopted by the Justice for Iraq conference in London on 19th July 2008. We plan to publish this more widely in future. If you would like to add your name to the list of supporters please contact us.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Appeal from Amnesty

15 men at imminent risk of execution

AI reports (June 21st): Fifteen men, alleged to be members of armed groups, were sentenced to death on 16 June, only days after “confessions” by several of them were broadcast on Iraqi television. They may not have received a fair trial and are at imminent risk of execution. 

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Oil again

From the New York Times:

In Rebuilding Iraq’s Oil Industry, U.S. Subcontractors Hold Sway

NY Times reports (June 16th): When Iraq auctioned rights to rebuild and expand its oil industry two years ago, the Russian company Lukoil won a hefty portion — a field holding about 10 percent of Iraq’s known oil reserves.


The auction’s outcome helped defuse criticism in the Arab world that the United States had invaded Iraq for its oil. “No one, even the United States, can steal the oil,” the Iraqi government spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, said at the time.
But American companies can, apparently, drill for the oil.
In fact, American drilling companies stand to make tens of billions of dollars from the new petroleum activity in Iraq long before any of the oil producers start seeing any returns on their investments.
Lukoil and many of the other international oil companies that won fields in the auction are now subcontracting mostly with the four largely American oil services companies that are global leaders in their field: Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Weatherford International and Schlumberger.


Saturday, 18 June 2011

Two new stories on birth defects following US bombing

Children pay ultimate price of Iraq's poisonous wartime legacy

Irish Times reports (June 13th): The effects of depleted uranium can be seen among the young in the city’s hospitals, where staff are convinced of its link to cancer and deformities.
“We are blind,” says Dr Ahmed Jafer, a paediatric specialist. “Ours is the only neo-natal unit in this region but we cannot quickly diagnose what exactly we are dealing with. Our children are dying from malnutrition, diarrhoea, TB, meningitis, leishmaniasis, chronic liver disease, pneumonia, anaemia and congenital heart disease, all of which are easily preventable outside of Iraq.”
Add to this the high incidence of miscarriages, up to 40 abortions every week, child leukaemia rates that more than doubled here from 1993 to 2007 and the weekly number of tumours and congenital deformities – missing eyes or limbs for example – that children are born with and you only begin to get a sense of the scale of the horror that has been visited on Basra’s children; indeed, on many more across Iraq – since UN sanctions against Saddam Hussein began during the first Gulf War in 1991.
In Falluja, "monster babies" raise  questions over US weapons used in 2004

Cancer & Birth Defects Foundation reports (June 13th): "Did the American army use nuclear weapons in Iraq?" This is the surprising question raised by France Info. In partnership with Paris-Match, Angélique Férat, radio correspondent for the area, returned to the city of Fallujah, about fifty kilometers from Baghdad. The city was attacked and partially destroyed by American forces in April 2004 and again in November the same year. Since then the city has seen a very high number of birth defects - so much so that, according to Angélique Férat, "almost every family has its own 'monster baby'". The Iraqi authorities refuse to consider the subject and there are no official statistics.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Government supporters attack protestors

Anti-government protest blocked in Iraq

Washington Post reports (June 10th): An anti-government protest scheduled for Friday in Iraq’s capital was quashed after several participants reported being beaten with sticks and clubs to make way for a counter-demonstration.
Following the end of a 100-day cooling-off period requested by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, students and activists had been expected to flock to Baghdad’s Tahrir Square to press for reforms and more government services.
Instead, several thousand Maliki supporters showed up at the square early Friday demanding the execution of a Sunni man suspected of killing nearly 70 Shiites at a wedding in 2006.
Despite being greatly outnumbered, several hundred anti-government demonstrators attempted to hold their protest in a different part of Tahrir Square. But within minutes, they said, groups of men carrying sticks and clubs demanded that they leave.
“They dragged me from the fence and beat me,” said Wafa Sheba, a women’s rights activist. “We went to the security forces and tried to complain, but security forces said they were not going to interfere.”

Pro-government demonstrators attack protesters in Baghdad

LA Times adds (June 11th): Government-sponsored demonstrators, some armed with clubs, attacked pro-democracy protesters Friday in Tahrir Square and paraded pictures of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's chief rival, Iyad Allawi, with a red X slashed across his face.

Groups of rowdy young men, some said by Western sources to have been bused in by Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party, roamed the streets armed with sticks and other weapons. At least four men were badly beaten and several women were assaulted, said pro-democracy activists who have held weekly rallies at the downtown square since February, inspired by the populist movements that first swept Tunisia and Egypt.

Yet more signs that the US is reconsidering its withdrawal options

1,000 Al-Qaeda fighters still in Iraq: Panetta

AFP reports (June 9th): CIA chief Leon Panetta told lawmakers that 1,000 Al-Qaeda fighters are still operating in Iraq and said US troops may stay beyond their year's end withdrawal date if asked by Baghdad.

 Iraq says it may revise US pull-out plan

Al Jazeera reports (June 10th): The Iraqi government have said that it will hold a summit in a week's time to decide whether to ask US troops to stay on longer than planned.

Iraq not ready to stand on own, lawmakers say


The Hill reports (June 6th): A war-weary Congress and American public must realize the U.S. mission in Iraq will stretch years beyond a December troop-withdrawal goal, two prominent House members said.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

From Stop the War Coalition

June 11 Day Conference: Afghanistan and the war on terror ten years on


Ten years ago the events of 9/11 triggered a series of events which changed the world profoundly. The war in Afghanistan marked the start of a decade of war which has resulted in death, injury and displacement for millions of people across south Asia and the Middle East. The latest of these wars has now been launched on Libya, while the first one that in Afghanistan is taking a growing human and economic toll in one of the poorest countries in the world.
Stop the War is holding an important conference on Afghanistan and the war on terror which aims to analyse and explain the war and its legacies. It will bring together different elements of the broad movement including journalists, activists, former soldiers and military families. The conference is important as an exchange of information and ideas. But it is also a means of organising future campaigns. Ten years on, we still have to build a mass movement to force the US and British governments to withdraw the troops and to stop future interventions.
Speakers include: Tariq Ali • author Pankaj Mishra • US anti war Campaigner David SwansonYasmin Khan War on Want • Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition • Tony BennJemima Khan human rights activist • George GallowayGreg Muttit, author of Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq • artists Peter Kennard, Cat Phillips and David Gentleman • Faithless guitarist Dave Randall • poet Sanasino • Iraqi commentator Sami Ramadani • former soldier Joe Glenton who was jailed for refusing to fight in Afghanistan • Joan Humphries from Military Families against the War • Jeremy Corbyn MP


9.30am: Registration

10.30am - 12 noon
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the War on Terror
Shadia Edwards-Dashti (Student Stop the
War), Pankaj Mishra (author of Temptations
of the West), Joan Humphries (Military Families
Against the War), Jane Shallice (Stop the War)
Tariq Ali, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Jemima Khan
Yasmin Khan (War on Want)

12.15 - 13.30pm
a) The Uprisings in the Middle East
John Rees (author of Imperialism
and Resistance), Fiona Edwards (Student
Broad Left) and others

b) Women and War
Joan Humphries, Judith Orr (Stop the War)
Sanum Ghafoor (video maker)

c) Campaigning around Parliament
Carol Turner (Stop the War)
Jeremy Corbyn MP
2.30 - 3.45pm

a) Iraq: the aftermath
Greg Muttit (author of Fuel on the Fire)
Sami Ramadani (Iraqi Democrats Against
the Occupation)

b) Imperialism in the 21st Century:
David Swanson (US writer and campaigner)
Steve Bell (Stop the War), Joe Glenton
(Soldier who refused to fight in Afghanistan)

c) Art against War:
Peter Kennard and Cat Phillips (artists)
Dave Randall (writer and producer of New
Single Freedom for Palestine)
David Gentleman (artist)

4.00 - 5.30pm
The Anti War Movement: Ten Years On
Tony Benn, Lindsey German (Stop the War)
David Swanson, Sanasino Al-Yemen (poet)
George Galloway, Mohammed Kozbar
(British Muslim Initiative)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

What does a 21st century resource war look like?

Mike Phipps spoke to Greg Muttitt about his new book, Fuel on the Fire: Oil and Politics in Occupied Iraq, published by The Bodley Head, price £14.99 pbk.


LB: Why did you write this book?

GM: In early 2003, Tony Blair said the idea that the Iraq war was about oil was “absurd”. Yet government papers I obtained from the same time said: “The future shape of the Iraqi oil industry will affect the functioning of oil markets and OPEC in which we have a vital interest.” Other documents I’m releasing with the book show that Britain, far from being a moderating influence on the US, during certain periods actually pushed harder for oil privatisation.

My aim was to look at what a modern resources war might look like – all the more relevant in the context of the current intervention in Libya. In the early 2000s, the widening gap between demand and supply was driving up the price of oil. To expand supply, Western powers found it necessary to increase investment in the world’s mega-oil reserves, which are mostly in the Middle East, and Iraq was the easiest place to do this. This aim was actually much more important than simply getting contracts for their own oil companies.

One interesting feature of the war was how language was used to shape people’s perceptions. The resistance was called an “insurgency” – essentially delegitimising that resistance while legitimising the Occupation-appointed government. Iraqi fighters in Fallujah were even called “anti-Iraqi forces” by US marines. Likewise, Western officials who wrote and shaped Iraqi oil policies were innocuous-sounding “advisors” although their advice was backed up by 150,000 troops.

The Iraqis I met were a real source of hope. This became clear in the fight against the oil law, which was drafted in 2006 and designed to denationalise Iraq’s oil, while removing the legal requirement for parliamentary approval of major contracts. As information about the draft law leaked out, many Iraqis were outraged. By summer 2007, as the result of a grassroots campaign led by Iraq’s trade unions, a majority in the Iraqi parliament opposed the law. Think about the circumstances of this campaign – people were receiving death threats and getting killed, yet they were successful in stopping the world’s sole superpower, which occupied their country!

LB: Why do you think the Occupation sought to sectarianise Iraqi politics?

GM: There are three elements. Firstly, the occupiers had a strategic interest in dividing and ruling Iraqis. When the US attacked both Najaf and Fallujah at the same time in 2004, that had the effect of uniting Iraqis against the occupation – the US commanding general admitted publicly at that time that he wanted to prevent such unity spreading. Secondly, there was a kind of cheap racism, that was incapable of seeing Iraqis except as Sunnis or Shias. Thirdly, a lack of understanding – the Occupation needed some simple model to understand how Iraqi society worked, and sectarianism was what they came up with.

Iraqis reject this sectarian divide. Every Iraqi I know has a spouse, relative or friend from the other sect. From 2007 on, as US power in Iraq declined, the influence of sectarianism on Iraqi politics also declined.

LB: How has the invasion affected oil production?

GM: Oil production now is about what it was before the war began. It will increase: in 2009-10, contracts were awarded covering two-thirds of Iraq’s reserves. But these contracts are not as generous as the companies wanted. They wanted production-sharing agreements, but got only service contracts, without the extra windfall profits. More importantly, existing Iraqi law says that these contracts still require parliamentary approval, which the Iraqi government has refused to seek. So if they are not legal, a future government might be able to overturn them – and this makes the oil companies nervous.

LB: What light does Iraq shed on the current protests across the Arab world?

GM: From Iraq, we learn that when the West looks at the Middle East, it looks at it through the prism of oil, and in my book I’ve tried to trace how the oil interests played out during the course of the occupation.

We also learn something about democracy. We can see how over the last eight years the US and UK have sought to install a government that will serve their interests. These protests have also affected Iraq. Despite elections last year, most Iraqis don’t see their government as legitimate. It took eight months to form this government – a world record! Meanwhile most Iraqis get electricity for one to four hours a day and this makes life intolerable when temperatures regularly reach 50 degrees centigrade in the summer.

The reason for the dysfunctional and unrepresentative government is that it is led by former exiles who arrived with the Occupation. Most had no serious political base in Iraq, so they depend on outside forces – the USA, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc – for their power. Many are corrupt and have stuffed their ministries with party loyalists, friends and family who are simply not competent, so the government cannot provide services. Back in 2003, the Americans were saying outsiders would have to govern Iraq because Iraqis who’d lived under the dictatorship wouldn’t understand democracy. In reality, the outsiders would serve US interests, and be forever weak so they could be controlled.

So the lessons for the Arab protests and revolutions? First, don’t believe the West is motivated by democracy – there are always interests involved. And second, let the people shape their own governments without interference.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

More military privatisation

U.S. Plans Private Guard Force for Iraq
WSJ reports (June 7th): The State Department is preparing to spend close to $3 billion to hire a security force to protect diplomats in Iraq after the U.S. pulls its last troops out of the country by year's end.

In testimony before the Commission on Wartime Contracting, Patrick Kennedy, undersecretary of state for management, said the department plans to hire a 5,100-strong force to protect diplomatic personnel, guard embassy buildings and operate a fleet of aircraft and armored vehicles.


Sunday, 5 June 2011

Government clamps down

as these stories show...

Deadline close for Iraqi ministers told to make changes or lose job

CNN reports (June 4th): Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's 100-day deadline is fast approaching for Cabinet ministers to make reforms or be fired, raising concerns of mass protests if the deadline passes without some sign of improvement.
But activists and a leading human rights group accused al-Maliki's government of a campaign of intimidation against protest organizers ahead of the deadline, even as an Iraqi government spokesman announced a news conference to showcase improvements.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered Friday in Baghdad's Tahrir Square to demand the release of four protest organizers -- Jihad Jalil, Ali al-Jaf, Mouyed Faisal and Ahmed Al-Baghdadi -- who were detained during a protest at the same location a week earlier.
Carrying banners that featured pictures of the four organizers, demonstrators chanted: "Oh Maliki, don't muzzle the voice of the people/oh Maliki, release the four immediately."

In Iraq, families of 4 jailed protesters seek answers

LA Times reports (June 3rd): Families of four young pro-democracy protesters jailed in Baghdad said that their loved ones continued to be denied access to lawyers or relatives despite repeated requests.

The four men, who had played a major role in recent weekly demonstrations for better governance, were detained last Friday as they gathered for their regular protest in central Baghdad's Tahrir Square. Three of the men were shoved at gunpoint into the back of an ambulance, a witness said. Authorities did not acknowledge the detentions for several days.
The day after the arrests, the army raided a meeting of activists who were discussing how to secure the men's release. Nine more people were detained and have since been held incommunicado.

"February Youths" movement considers suing Maliki's government in ICC 

Aswat al-Iraq reports (June 4th): The February Youths Movement is looking into suing Premier Nouri al-Maliki's government at the International Criminal Court in the Hague for violating human rights, freedom of expression, peaceful demonstrations and the Geneva Convention.

HRW reports (June 2nd): Iraqi authorities have detained, interrogated, and beaten several protest organizers in Baghdad in recent days, Human Rights Watch said. Iraqi authorities should stop the attacks and charge or release those being held, Human Rights Watch said.
In Iraqi Kurdistan, a protest organizer, Isma'il Abdullah, was abducted, stabbed, and beaten on May 27, 2011. The Kurdistan government should make sure its promised investigation of the episode is thorough, fair, and transparent, and leads to the prosecution of those responsible, Human Rights Watch said.
"Authorities in Baghdad and in Iraqi-Kurdistan are keeping their citizens from demonstrating peacefully," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. 

Iraqi authorities must stop clampdown on peaceful protest

AI report (June 1st): Amnesty International has called on the Iraqi authorities to end their clampdown on peaceful protests following the arrest of 15 pro-reform activists in Baghdad in recent days.

Four protesters were arrested by plain-clothed security forces during a peaceful demonstration in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square. They are still being held and are reported to be facing trial on charges of possessing  fake ID cards.  

Eleven other activists were arrested when security forces raided the Baghdad headquarters of 'Ayna Haqqi' (Where is my right), a local NGO.