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 September 2010

Some stories in the media this week

US Businessman: Blackwater Paid Me to Buy Steroids and Weapons on Black Market

The Nation reports (September 23rd): A Texas businessman who has worked extensively in Iraq claims that Blackwater paid him to purchase steroids and other drugs for its operatives in Baghdad, as well as more than 100 AK47s and massive amounts of ammunition on Baghdad's black market. Howard Lowry, who worked in Iraq from 2003-2009, also claims that he personally attended Blackwater parties where company personnel had large amounts of cocaine and blocks of hashish and would run around naked. At some of these parties, Lowry alleges, Blackwater operatives would randomly fire automatic weapons from their balconies into buildings full of Iraqi civilians. Lowry described the events as a "frat party gone wild" where "drug use was rampant."

Lowry made his statements in a deposition on September 10 as part of a whistleblower lawsuit brought by two former Blackwater employees. The suit was filed in 2008 by former employees Brad and Melan Davis. They allege that Blackwater tried to bill the US government for a prostitute for its men in Afghanistan and for strippers in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.


Abuse and torture rife in Iraqi prisons

The Guardian reports (September 23rd): Up to 30,000 prisoners, including many veterans of the US detention system, remain detained without rights in Iraq and are frequently tortured, or abused, according to a report by Amnesty International.

The study has found that the human rights situation remains dire in Iraq, with arbitrary arrests and secret detention common, as well as a lack of accountability throughout the security forces.

The abuses are systemic, the report claims, with alleged victims having little redress or access to trial — in many cases for longer than two years.

The allegations were released on Monday in a report titled New Order, Same Abuses; Unlawful Detentions and Torture in Iraq.


Iraqi journalists face daily threat

The National reports (September 25th): After the Iraqi journalist Riyad Assariyeh was assassinated this month, his family advised other reporters to stay away from the traditional three-day funeral wake, fearing the gathering would present an easy target for militants.

It is a sign of just how vulnerable Iraqi journalists now feel that many of them took the advice, paying respect to their fallen colleague on the first day of mourning and not returning.

Assariyeh’s murder in Baghdad on September 7, and the killing one day later in Mosul of another reporter are part of an increasingly dangerous battle for control over information, that has seen insurgents and government institutions working to suppress the media, journalists and analysts say.


Saturday 18 September 2010

So much for the drawdown

Two stories that underline that the much-heralded US pull-out was largely smoke and mirrors...
Three day of mourning declared in Fallujah
Azzaman reports (September 16th): The Iraqi city of Fallujah has declared three-day long mourning after a joint U.S.-Iraqi attack on the city killed at least 10 civilians and injured many others.
The raid has raised tensions and angered the city’s inhabitants as well as the nearly two million Muslim Sunnis who live in the Province of Anbar, west of Baghdad.
The Muslim Scholars Association, a group of powerful Muslim Sunni clerics in Iraq, described the raid as “a massacre in which two children were killed.”
U.S. and Iraqi officials claim that the raid killed a former Iraqi officer linked to al-Qaeda group in the country.
But the claim could not be substantiated and eyewitnesses and officials in the city said all the dead and injured were civilians.
Iraqi forces struggling, forcing U.S. troops to fight

McClatchy reports (September 17th): In the two weeks since President Barack Obama declared the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, a series of bloody skirmishes has sharpened the questions about the Iraqi security forces' ability to protect the country.
In three incidents in different parts of Iraq, American forces stepped in with ground troops and air support when their Iraqi counterparts were threatened by suicide attackers or well-armed gunmen, according to U.S. and Iraqi military accounts.
The incidents suggest that the 50,000 U.S. soldiers who remain in Iraq, far from merely "advising and assisting" Iraqi forces, as the Obama administration has described their new role, are still needed on the battlefields as insurgents try to exploit the diminished American military presence and the six-month political stalemate that's failed to produce a new Iraqi government since the country's March 7 elections.

Saturday 11 September 2010

Edited extract from Foreign Policy

What America Left Behind in Iraq

Foreign Policy reports (September 7th): Hundreds of cars waiting in the heat to slowly pass through one of the dozens of checkpoints and searches they must endure every day. The constant roar of generators. The smell of fuel, of sewage. Automatic weapons pointed at your head out of military vehicles, out of SUVs with tinted windows. Mountains of garbage. Rumors of the latest assassination or explosion. Welcome to the new Iraq, same as the old Iraq -- even if Barack Obama has declared George W. Bush's Operation Iraqi

Since the Americans have declared the end of combat operations, U.S. Stryker and MRAP vehicles can be seen conducting patrols without Iraqi escorts in parts of the country and the Americans continue to conduct unilateral military operations in Mosul and elsewhere, even if under the guise of "force protection" or "countering improvised explosive devices." American military officers in Iraq told me they were irate with the politically driven announcement from the White House that combat troops had withdrawn. Those remaining still consider themselves combat troops, and commanders say there is little change in their rules of engagement -- they will still respond to threats pre-emptively.

Iraq is still being held back from full independence -- and not merely by the presence of 50,000 U.S. soldiers. The Status of Forces Agreement, which stipulates that U.S. forces will be totally out by 2011, deprives Iraq of full sovereignty. The U.N.'s Chapter 7 sanctions force Iraq to pay 5 percent of its oil revenues in reparations, mostly to the Kuwaitis. Saudi and Iranian interference, both political and financial, has also limited Iraq's scope for democracy and sovereignty. Throughout the occupation, major decisions concerning the shape of Iraq have been made by the Americans with no input or say by the Iraqis: the economic system, the political regime, the army and its loyalties, the control over airspace, and the formation of all kinds of militias and tribal military groups. The effects will linger for decades, regardless of any future milestones the United States might want to announce.


Sunday 5 September 2010

Interesting analysis in The Hindu

How real is the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq?

Atul Aneja reports in The Hindu (September 4th): There are three significant markers that the Iraqi occupation is not ending and is being merely repackaged. First, the suggestion that the U.S. combat operations are ending is just not true. The nomenclature, however, has changed significantly. Instead of being called “combat operations,” the act of chasing militants, joint raids by U.S. Special Forces and their Iraqi counterparts on militant strongholds, and other offensive military tasks will henceforth be called “stability operations.”

In fact, the U.S. military officials in Iraq have surprisingly acknowledged that nothing on the ground, in terms of tactics, will change. Speaking recently to TheNew York Times, Maj. Gen. Stephen Lanza, chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said: “In practical terms, nothing will change. We are already doing stability operations.”

Secondly, decision-makers in Washington have decided to keep 50,000 military personnel in Iraq till the end of next year. However, their withdrawal is not a certainty. This was acknowledged by Gen. Ray Odierno, top U.S. commander in Iraq, during an interview with CBS television: “If they [Iraqis] ask us that they might want us to stay longer, we certainly would consider that.”

Even if the Americans pull out the remaining 50,000 troops at the end of 2011, the presence of security contractors, comprising a core element of mercenaries, is being beefed up and superimposed to safeguard U.S. interests. In other words, the process of privatising the U.S. occupation in Iraq through a mercenary “surge” is set to acquire momentum in the coming days and months.