PM Abbott follows Obama sending in “Special Forces” to “guard our Embassy”.
Peace groups say no new military intervention into Iraq. Statement issued by IPAN – Independent and Peaceful Australia Network June 24, 2014
Anti-war and peace groups from across the nation are uniting to urge the Australian government not to involve itself in any further military action in Iraq.
The groups insist that Australia should resist any pressure it might be under to follow the US’s lead – in the way that it did in 2003.
Chomsky on a brief history of US foreign policy http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175863/
Nick Deane, acting as spokesperson for the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network said:
“The invasion of Iraq by the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ in 2003 was, at best, a terrible mistake and quite possibly a war crime. The US, Britain and Australia colluded in the lie that Saddam Hussein possessed and was about to use ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Iraq posed no threat to the invaders.”
The invasion and the years of occupation that followed destabilised the country and exacerbated existing sectarian divisions. It was the prime cause of the sectarian violence that we see in Iraq today.
Iraqis have been paying with their lives ever since the invasion. In addition to the current violence, a generation has been born with an unacceptably high percentage of severe birth defects for which no-one has been held to account.
No effort has been made to clean up the pollution and lethal waste left behind by military operations. Other consequences include the deaths and displacement of millions of civilians; the privatization of the country’s resources and the installation of a puppet government.
As political leaders at the time, Tony Blair, George Bush and John Howard have yet to be brought to account. Meanwhile Blair, at least, is again calling for Western intervention.
We must not allow our nation to repeat the mistakes of 2003. We have no business interfering. If we were to intervene or join others in intervening, we would only be making a bad situation even worse.”
Peace groups in Australia agree with the statement from US war veterans which said in part:
“When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the formerly secular country was destabilized. The United States and the Department of Defense intentionally created and agitated sectarian divisions that would not have otherwise existed. The result of this is what we see today, and Iraqi civilians are paying for it.”
Nick Deane continued:
“Far from installing democracy, the invasion in 2003 simply replaced one brutal and repressive regime with another one, more conciliatory to the West.
“The peoples of Iraq must be allowed to settle their disputes free of outside, military intervention. Self-determination is absolutely necessary for, and fundamental to, any lasting solutions.
“The events of 2003, and their horrific consequences for the people of Iraq, also illustrate the need for an independent Australian foreign policy, which would not support military intervention. Instead, it could send engineers and others to assist in the physical re-construction of the country. Australia would best contribute to peace in the world by first asserting itself as truly independent.”
Also from Stop War Coalition
From Medical Association for the Prevention of War. There is growing concern from MAPW members and the community that Australia may commit defence personnel to what may become a third invasion of Iraq. MAPW, in partnership with the Public Health Association Australia, has issued a statement on the situation and is calling on the government to support the provision of humanitarian aid to Iraq and not to follow the USA blindly, but to act in the best interests of finding a peaceful solution to the current situation. If you could write a letter to the Editor of your newspaper of choice, to the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and the Minister for the Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop and your local Member of Parliament, outlining how you feel about the situation, it would be a great help. It is so important that our political representatives know how we feel about the situation in Iraq.
Today MAPW President, Dr Jenny Grounds and Michael Moore, CEO of Public Health Association of Australia, released a media statement outlining their concerns regarding the worsening security situation in Iraq. The statement calls on the government of Australia to pursue a peaceful solution to the current conflict in Iraq and not to commit Australia troops to fight before a full and proper debate of parliament has taken place. Read the full statement below.
Statement on the worsening security situation in Iraq by, Dr Jenny Grounds, President, MAPW & Mr. Michael Moore, CEO, PHAA
The current situation in Iraq is critical. Already at least half a million people have fled their homes in the current push by ISIS to take over the major cities of Iraq’s North. We can anticipate worsening of the humanitarian crisis in the region, including spread of disease, mental health issues and physical trauma on a scale which will totally overwhelm UN and other aid organisations.
The destabilization in Iraq which is rapidly unfolding should not come as a surprise. Even before 2003, there were warnings of just such an eventuality as a result of the illegal invasion in that year by the British-U.S.-Australia coalition, an invasion that was opposed by millions of people in those countries. The U.S. imposed a top-down democratic process, and installed Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has proved to be an ineffective leader.
Since that time, there have been calls for an inquiry in Australia into the decision-making process that led to Australia’s involvement in that catastrophic war.
Many groups and individuals, including former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser, have also expressed great concern about our increasing fusion with the United States military including and specifically the Asia Pacific Pivot
Now Prime Minister Abbott is repeating the mistake made by Prime Minister Howard in 2003 by promising our forces to support the United States in whatever action they decide to take in response to the Iraq crisis. Our government clearly has not learned from Australia’s past mistakes.
Many key questions remain unanswered, such as: How can “the enemy” be attacked without intensifying the risks to civilians? How would further military action help bring peace and stability to Iraq and the region, when it has thus far merely intensified hatreds? What form would Australian involvement take and how would “success” be defined? What would be the likely humanitarian impact and what plans does Australia have to alleviate the suffering? What impact would Australian involvement have on our own security? What plan does Australia have for reconstruction in Iraq? Would military action be legal?
MAPW calls on the Australian government to:
· provide maximal humanitarian aid to support the increasing numbers of refugees who are seeking to escape the violence
· Refrain from committing Australian forces to further military action against Iraq without the most rigorous examination and debate in parliament, and without the approval of parliament
· encourage and allow the United Nations to perform its proper role in this crisis,
· initiate a Royal Commission into the processes that led to and our involvement in the 2003 Iraq invasion, and
· support the passage of a new War Powers Bill to ensure proper parliamentary debate and approval before any current or future decision to send the Australian Defence Forces to war.
Parliament should decide if we go to war, not Tony Abbott says Adam Bandt MP
Green Party Federal MP, Adam Bandt, is proposing to put a Bill in front of parliament to change current “War Powers” legislation to ensure that a debate and vote in Parliament takes place prior to any troops being deployed by Australia. MAPW has no political affiliations and does not actively support any political parties. MAPW does however support a change to the current situation where the Prime Minister alone can make such an important decision. MAPW and the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (CIWI) have been campaigning for such a change to legislation.
Paul Barratt sets out the case for an inquiry in to the Iraq War
Paul Barratt is a former Secretary of the Department of Defence and former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs And Trade. Paul discusses his involvement in a the campaign calling for an enquiry into Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war, how the Australian government should approach the current situation in Iraq and whether the ISIS atrocities are a consequence of the 2003 invasion.
Andrew Wilkie calls for a Royal Commission in to the Iraq war, not more troops
In Federal Parliament this week Independent MP Andrew Wilkie, called on the government to instigate a Royal Commission into the Iraq War and not to send troops to Iraq in response to the current and worsening security situation. To watch Mr Wilkie’s speech to parliament click here
Iraq crisis – created by Bush and Blair and bankrolled by Saudi Arabia says Robert Fisk
Long time Middle East correspondent and author, Robert Fisk, has written a number of articles in the last few weeks. Fisk highlights the role of Saudi Arabia in Iraq and the rise of ISIS.
Neo-cons naive dream to liberate Iraq explodes into nightmare
Journalist and former presenter of Media Watch Jonathon Holmes writes,”It’s easy to see clearly in hindsight. But sometimes it’s worth looking back at what people foresaw. The current crisis in Iraq displays more starkly than ever the wilful blindness of the architects of America’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003”.
Crikey says: Tony Blair’s deluded Middle East manifesto (Crikey editorial in full below)
One can only be impressed at the scale of the man’s delusion: on the weekend, Tony Blair issued a manifesto nearly 3000 words long calling not merely for a new intervention in Iraq but for intervention in Syria — and indeed more widely in the Middle East.
Blair insists we need “a plan for the Middle East and for dealing with the extremism world-wide that comes out of it”. His one-time press secretary, Alastair Campbell, even tweeted the link, bringing an enjoyably 2002 feel to things — can a sexed-up intelligence dossier be far away?
The essay is part desperate attempt to salvage Blair’s own shattered reputation and part rallying cry for neoconservatives to revive the project of Western intervention in the Middle East.
Blair asserts that the collapse of Iraq is nothing to do with the illegal war that he and George W. Bush orchestrated — at best he will allow that the invasion exacerbated ethnic tensions in that country, something neither the British nor the Americans evidently considered before using confected claims about weapons of mass destruction to remove Saddam Hussein.
This call for a repetition of the Iraq debacle coincides with increasing pressure in the UK for the long-delayed release of the Chilcott Inquiry report into the circumstances that led the UK into Iraq under Blair. The British, at least, have undertaken a serious process of examining the disaster that was the Iraq War and why the UK participated. It is a process that Australia has never undertaken — despite Labor’s commendable and public opposition to our participation.
Thus we find ourselves once again debating intervention in Iraq, when Australians haven’t even been told the truth about why we joined that intervention a decade ago. Ends
Former British MP and current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has referred to Tony Blair as “mad” after reading Blair’s open letter. Boris Johnson also refers to the Iraq war as a “tragic mistake”.
The propaganda war in Iraq
Writing for the UK Independent, Patrick Cockburn shines a light on the propaganda war taking place in Iraq, especially in Baghdad. A timely reminder of how the media influences how war is interpreted by the community. To read Patrick’s article please click
Please support the union campaign for peace not war.
NO Iraq War Replay
Adopted by USLAW US Labor Against War Steering Committee, June 25, 2014
A majority of working people opposed the Iraq War and participated in the eight year struggle to end it. We felt great relief when the last troops departed Iraq in 2011.
U.S. Labor Against the War opposes any U.S. military intervention in Iraq, whether that be with weapons, drones, missiles, bombs or troops, including Special Forces “advisors”. At the same time, we abhor the sectarian violence that is wracking the country, and are appalled at the humanitarian crisis that deepens by the day in Iraq.
Can sectarian divisions in Iraq be overcome? One need look no further than the Iraqi labor movement, which has operated since the demise of the Hussein regime on the basis of non-sectarian solidarity and mutual respect. Unions in Iraq welcome all workers as members without regard to their religious, ethnic and cultural identity or national origin. When unions and other civil society organizations are allowed to operate free of government interference and repression, the wounds of sectarian division can begin to heal.
USLAW agrees with Falah Alwan, president of the Federation of Iraqi Workers and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI), who recently said:
“The working class in Iraq is the common force that exists across the county, from the north of Kurdistan to the furthest points south. It is this force whose very existence and survival depends on the eradication of discrimination and the unification of the Iraqi people. This is the only force that can end fragmentation and division.
“We reject US intervention and … also stand firmly against the brazen meddling of Iran.
“We stand against the intervention of Gulf regimes and their funding of armed groups, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
“We reject Nouri al-Maliki’s sectarian and reactionary policies.
“We also reject armed terrorist gangs and militias’ control of Mosul and other cities. We agree with and support the demands of people in these cities against discrimination and sectarianism.
“Finally, we reject the interference of the religious institution and its call for indiscriminate warfare.”*
USLAW recommits itself to defend and act in solidarity with the Iraqi working class and labor movement in its quest for a non-sectarian, tolerant, egalitarian, democratic and prosperous Iraq that is at peace with its neighbors and at peace with itself.
There can be no military resolution to the conflict in Iraq and intervention of the U.S. will only add to the suffering while prolonging the hostilities. The conflict will end when Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and Christians negotiate a durable just power-sharing arrangement that promotes mutual respect and tolerance rather than sectarian division and enmity. There is no role for the U.S. in those negotiations. U.S. involvement should be limited to providing generous humanitarian aid and reparations for the destruction wrought by U.S. military operations.
The roots of the present crisis in Iraq can be traced to the U.S. occupation. While the neocons dominated the U.S. foreign policy establishment, an overwhelming bipartisan Congressional majority voted to authorize the Iraq War. The neocons now seek to deflect responsibility for the consequences of their policies by pointing to “age old religious sectarian schisms,” but there had been no violent conflict between Shiites and Sunnis until the U.S. occupied Iraq. George Bush sent Paul Bremer to Iraq to set up the occupation authority. He pursued a ‘divide and rule’ policy that pitted Shia against Sunni against Kurds to create and exploit social, economic, tribal, cultural and religious differences. The present crisis is the bitter fruit of that near-decade long military intervention. The crisis in Iraq has a “made in America” stamp all over it.
The very same figures who took us into the Iraq War are today calling for U.S. military intervention again in light of growing sectarian violence that threatens to plunge Iraq into civil war.
They blame militant jihadists and depict the unfolding conflict as a “takeover” by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) bent on establishing a caliphate in which their extreme interpretation of Sharia law will prevail across what are now Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine.
But ISIS’s military success has been possible only because it enjoys the support of disaffected Sunnis, former members of the Ba’ath Party and others who have been marginalized and ruthlessly repressed by the autocratic corrupt U.S.-installed al Maliki regime.
U.S. missiles, bombs, drones and Special Forces ‘advisors’ will do nothing to resolve the conflict in Iraq but will rekindle Iraqi hatred of the U.S. and entangle the U.S. once again in the internal affairs of Iraq. It will put American troops in harm’s way and inevitably lead to more U.S. casualties. Three hundred U.S. advisors can not accomplish what 165,000 U.S. troops could not.
We call on USLAW affiliates, the American labor movement and its social allies to demand NO U.S. military intervention in Iraq. Build America, don’t destroy Iraq. Create jobs here not refugees and casualties there. Respect Iraqi sovereignty and the right of Iraqi people to self-determination.
Campaign to pressure Abbott to back off buying the F35s. Education, health and housing before war.
John Howard as Prime Minister signed Australia up to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter development program in a secret deal with the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin in a Washington hotel ten years ago. This was a pre-production, undeveloped, “off the plans” purchase. More than 10 years later the F35 is still in a development stage. (Source, ABC’s ‘Four Corners’ program (4Cnrs) Mon 18th Feb 2013)
The cost of each aircraft has quadrupled since initial estimates and is currently about $160million. However the purchase deal includes a servicing factor of at least twice that amount over the lifetime of the aircraft. The total cost of the 100 aircraft Australia intends to buy would be in the order of $48billion – and could be even higher.
The F35 Joint Strike Fighter is the biggest weapons purchase in our history.
Other countries (Canada, Netherlands) that had agreed to purchase it are now re-considering. Italy has already cut its order.
The concept of the F35 is unparalleled in complexity and performance ambition – which has led to major, expensive post-production corrections. Costs have escalated and the situation is compounded by the threat of buyer dropouts. Delivery date is unknown.
The F35 appears to be unsuitable for Australia’s defence. However, it definitely ties us in very closely with the US’s military/armaments system. This close relationship with the US military makes us more likely to become involved with US-led adventures and wars.
The costs of the F35 are open ended upwards. Meanwhile, funding for social capital, such as education, hospitals, transport infrastructure etc. is threatened in a downward spiral. Australia needs to support domestic growth and development instead of being drawn into the black hole of the uncontrollable defence hardware spending represented by the intended purchase.
The whole matter puts Australia in an unwinnable situation.