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, 25 September 2011

Some everyday stories from Iraq

Iraq’s southern province – an environmental nightmare

Azzaman reports (September 23rd): The southern Iraqi Province of Missan sits on five million landmines and remnants of unspecified quantities of depleted uranium, the head of the province’s Health Department Dr. Maythan Lafta said.

In an interview with the newspaper, Lafta said the province was facing “an environmental catastrophe.”

In postwar Iraq, housing is scarce and pricey


Washington Post reports (September 23rd): As Iraq’s economy rattles awake after years of war, the country is experiencing a real-estate boom, with choice properties in Baghdad or in towns such as Karbala or Irbil selling for $500,000 to more than $1 million.
Years of violence, sectarian tensions and international sanctions have left the country with an acute housing shortage that is driving up prices, experts say. The growing country of 30 million needs about 2 million housing units, according to a United Nations estimate.

Iraqi Christians find safety in north, but no jobs

Reuters report (September 21st):  Menas Saad Youssef no longer fears being blown up while praying in a church. But she and many other traumatised Christians who fled Iraq's capital for safer areas have a new crisis -- no jobs.
Almost a year since a deadly church siege in Baghdad that killed dozens of people and prompted her family to seek refuge in the prosperous northern Kurdish region, Youssef sits at home, frustrated about her future.
The 28-year-old academic, who is still haunted by images of her friends lying in pools of blood at the cathedral where she prayed every Sunday, misses her job as an architecture professor in Baghdad.

As an Iraqi, I am very pessimistic

Peter Kandela writes for The Guardian (September 18th): For the Iraqi people, life has deteriorated dreadfully. Security remains a major problem. Kidnapping, corruption, suicide bombing and general lawlessness all continue, major religious groupings mainly live in closed neighbourhood and minorities like the Christians have largely been forced out of the country. Reluctantly, all my close relatives, except one sister, have fled abroad in fear of their lives.

Then there is the more insidious form of fear, which accompanies poverty and lawlessness. A recent feature on the Iraqi website Aljeeranshowed the very large numbers of women and children forced to beg on the streets, and highlighted their sexual vulnerability. This is an entirely new phenomenon in Iraq.

The right to security is paramount, but what about the right to clean water and power? Most people have given up on the expectation of a regular electricity supply. 

Antiwar.com reports (September 18th): It is common sense that the massive death toll over the eight years of occupation in Iraq would create more widows. But a new study by the humanitarian aid organization Relief International has found the problem far greater than anyone likely imagined.

The study found that some 10 percent of the women in Iraq are widows, about 1.5 million of them. Of these, 59 percent lost their husbands during the period since the US occupation began in 2003.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

New cables

Antriwar.com reports (September 12th): Iraqi detainees were severely tortured, beaten, and raped in an Iraqi National Police detention complex in 2006, according to a confidential State Department cable released by WikiLeaks. Discovery by US officials of the abuse did not lead to criminal investigations of the perpetrators and much of the mistreatment was permitted to continue.
On May 30, 2006, “a joint US-Iraqi inspection” of an Iraqi detention facility “discovered more than 1,400 detainees in squalid, cramped conditions,” many of whom were illegally detained. Prisoners “displayed bruising, broken bones, and lash-marks, many claimed to have been hung by handcuffs from a hook in the ceiling and beaten on the soles of their feet and their buttocks.”

Massive U.S. Embassy In Iraq Will Expand Further As Soldiers Leave

Huffington Post reports (September 16th): American combat troops in Iraq may be heading to the exits -- or not -- but the U.S. government's enormously expensive intervention there is hardly coming to an end.
In a telling sign of how dangerous and chaotic Iraq remains more than eight years after President George W. Bush launched the war against Saddam Hussein, U.S. diplomats, military advisers and other officials are planning to fall back to the gargantuan embassy in Baghdad -- a heavily fortified, self-contained compound the size of Vatican City.
The embassy compound is by far the largest the world has ever seen, at one and a half square miles, big enough for 94 football fields. It cost three quarters of a billion dollars to build (coming in about $150 million over budget). Inside its high walls, guard towers and machine-gun emplacements lie not just the embassy itself, but more than 20 other buildings.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

New protests

Iraqis mourn slain journalist amid protests

Al-Jazeera reports (September 9th): Hundreds of people turned out to mourn Hadi al-Mehdi, an Iraqi radio personality who was shot dead in Baghdad on the eve of a major anti-government protest.

Mourners marched with a symbolic coffin draped in an Iraqi flag from al-Mehdi's home in Karrada in central Baghdad to the city's Tahrir Square, where thousands of people had gathered for a rally calling for improved public services, a cause that al-Mehdi had supported.
Al-Mehdi was one of the leading public critics of the Iraqi authorities' corruption and incompetence, said Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf, reporting from Baghdad.

About 750 people also demonstrated in Hilla in central Iraq, chanting slogans including "These jobless people are against the failed regime".
And about 100 people protested in the central shrine city of Najaf, chanting slogans including "No, no to corruption!"
Human Rights Watch condemned Mehdi's killing in a statement: "Iraqi authorities should conduct an immediate, full and transparent investigation into the September 8, 2011, killing of Hadi al-Mehdi ... and prosecute those responsible".
Amnesty International also condemned the murder, saying authorities are not doing enough to protect journalists.

Robert Fisk: It's not the brutality that is 'systematic'. It's the lying about it

It was Baha Mousa's dad I will always remember. On an oppressively scorching day in Basra, Daoud Mousa first spoke of his son's death, telling me how the boy's wife had died of cancer just six months earlier, how Baha's children were now orphans, how – not long after the British Army had arrested Baha Mousa and beaten him to death, for that is what happened – a British officer had come to his home and stared at the floor and offered cash by way of saying sorry.
"What do you think I should do?" Daoud asked me. Get a lawyer, I said. Tell Amnesty and Human Rights Watch. Let me write about it. When I called at the British base at Basra airport, one officer laughed at me. "Call the Ministry of Defence," he said dismissively. He didn't care.

I had spent years in Belfast, listening to the same kind of arrogant, vicious, indifferent reaction to the Army's brutality. It was always the same. Terrorists. Terrorist propaganda. The extraordinary discipline of British squaddies under enormous pressure, etc, etc, etc. Then – when the game was up and the evidence too fresh and too overwhelming – I used to get what we would today call the "Abu Ghraib response". A "few bad apples". Always a "few bad apples".

See also:

Army suspends Baha Mousa soldiers as more prosecutions are considered

The Guardian reports (September 9th): The army has suspended a number of soldiers after the publication of a damning report into the "violent and cowardly abuse" by servicemen that led to the death of an Iraqi detainee in British military custody.
There have been widespread calls for further prosecutions and the defence secretary, Liam Fox, disclosed that Ministry of Defence inquiries "are revealing evidence of some concern" in other Iraqi abuse cases.

Baha Mousa inquiry criticises the British troops' 'lack of moral courage'

The Guardian reports (September 8th): British soldiers indulged in an "appalling episode of serious, gratuitous violence" on a number of Iraqi civilian detainees leading to the death of the 26-year-old Basra hotel worker, Baha Mousa, and the abuse of nine others.
Mousa, the father of two children, was "subjected to violent and cowardly abuse and assaults by British servicemen whose job it was to guard him and treat him humanely".
Sir William Gage, a retired appeal court judge who presided over the two-year inquiry, paints a devastating picture of military culture in general and in particular a group of soldiers of 1st Battalion Queen's Lancashire Regiment.