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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Dear fellow anti-war activists, Please find below: [A] a list of events and activities at the European Social Forum and surrounding Autonomous Spaces of particular interest to anti-war / Iraq activists; [B] a list of other upcoming Iraq-related events and activities; and [C] Voices latest briefing: 'Global terrorism, human rights and democracy: Tony Blair's latest lies about the war in Iraq.' THE ESF AND AUTONOMOUS EVENTS Voices is involved with two of the ESF workshops ('Ending the Occupation and liberating Iraq: where do we go now?', Friday, 4-6pm, Alexandra Palace; and 'Oil corporations in Iraq', Friday, 7-9pm, Bloomsbury Venue) and will be having stalls at the ESF (Friday & Saturday) and the SchNews Direct Action Conference (Saturday) so hopefully we'll get to meet some of you there! Please note that Jo Wilding, Ewa Jasiewicz and Mark Curtis (author of 'Web of Deceit') will all be speaking at the SchNews conference. HELP WANTED THIS SUNDAY! If anyone wants to help give out Voices materials at Sunday's national anti-war demo we'll be meeting up at the statue of Gandhi in Tavistock Square (just north of Russell Square, where the march begins) at 12.30pm. MASSIVE POST-ELECTION ASSAULT LOOMS Even as US attacks on Fallujah, Ramadi, Bacqouba and elsewhere continue, all the signs are that a massive assault on Iraq's cities - including Fallujah and Ramadi - is likely after the US Presidential election on 2nd November - whoever wins. On 11 Oct the Los Angeles Times reported that, according to US officials, the 'Bush administration plans to delay major assaults on rebel-held cities in Iraq until after U.S. elections in November ... mindful that large-scale military offensives could affect the U.S. presidential race.' "When this election's over, you'll see us move very vigorously," a senior official involved in strategic planning told the paper. "Once you're past the election, it changes the political ramifications [of a large-scale offensive]. We're not on hold right now. We're just not as aggressive." Yesterday the US-appointed Prime Minister of Iraq (and former CIA asset) Iyad Allawi 'threatened a military assault on Fallujah if the rebel bastion does not surrender ... Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi' (AFP, 13 Oct) - a man who, according to some recent press reports, may not even be in the city. MOMENT OF TRUTH According to the Guardian's Jonathan Steele the post-2 Nov onslaught could 'cause more civilian casualties than last year’s invasion’ (Guardian, 9 October). This is a moment of truth for the UK anti-war movement: will we be able to mount an effective response to this much-heralded escalation or will little happen, as was the case during the assault on Fallujah in April and the siege of Najaf in August? Voices is urging groups and individuals around the country to organise NOW to resist these attacks and, when appropriate, to let us know about their plans so that we can help spread the word. As a tiny contribution of our own we have called an emergency meeting to discuss contingency plans for action. This will take place at 7pm on Tuesday 26th October at 5 Caledonian Road, N1 (nearest tube Kings Cross). Best wishes, Gabriel voices uk www.voicesuk.org ************************************* [A] EVENTS OF PARTICULAR INTEREST TO ANTI-WAR/IRAQ ACTIVISTS AT AND DURING THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM The following events may be of particular interest (note that ESF registration requires payment but AUT events are free): - ESF: Iraq - Faultline in British Politics, 15 Oct, 1-3pm, Bloomsbury Venue, Friends Meeting House. www.stopwar.org.uk - ESF: Youth, Students and the Anti-War movement, 15 Oct, 4-6pm, Alexandra Palace Venue, Cochabamba. - ESF: Ending the Occupation and liberating Iraq: where do we go now? 15 Oct, 4-6pm, Alexandra Palace. Seminar with Haifa Zangana, Nahla Chahal, Eric Toussaint, Mike Marqusee, and Gabriel Carlyle. Organised by IOF, Voices and others. - AUT: Rebel Clowning Workshop, 15th Oct, 4-6pm, The Marquee, Middlesex University. Learn more about the art of rebel clowning and the contemporary practice of civil disobedience. Organised by The Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army (CIRCA): www.clownarmy.org - ESF: Oil corporations in Iraq. 15 Oct, 7-9pm, Bloomsbury Venue, NATFHE Grunwick. Organised by Platform, voices & Rising Tide. - ESF: End the occupation of Iraq, 15 Oct, 7-9pm, Alexandra Palace Venue. Organised by the ESF - ESF: The impact of war and occupation on women in Iraq. 16 Oct, 9-11 am, Bloomsbury Venue, ULU 3A. Organised by Act Together (www.acttogether.org). - ESF: Nonviolent Campaign Against War Profiteers, 16 Oct, 9-11 am, Bloomsbury Venue, ULU Rm 2B. http://wri-irg.org - ESF: The lies of war - exposing propaganda and fighting censorship. 16 Oct, 9-11am, Alexandra Palace Venue, Seattle. Organised by Media Workers Against the War. - ESF: Disarming State Terrorism, 16 Oct, 2-4pm, Bloomsbury Venue, ULU 3b. www.b52two.org.uk - ESF: Stopping the next war: an action strategy for the peace movement, 16 Oct, 4.30-6.30pm, Bloomsbury Venue, ULU 3b. - ESF: Iraq - Occupation and Resistance, 16 Oct, 4.30-6.30pm, Alexandra Palace Venue, Porto Alegre. www.stopwar.org.uk - AUT: SchNews 10th Birthday Direct Action Conference. 16 Oct, 2-7pm, the Camden Centre, Bidborough Street (nr. King’s Cross) WC1. Includes 4pm session on the war with Mark Curtis (Web of Deceit), Jo Wilding and Ewa Jasiewicz. www.schnews.org.uk. - ESF: Building Peace, Opposing War: Women's Activism, 17 Oct, 9am-12 noon, Alexandra Palace Venue, Woomera. www.ukwilpf.gn.apc.org *************************** [B] OTHER UPCOMING IRAQ-RELATED EVENTS FREE TRAINING WORKSHOPS FOR ACTIVISTS. A series of free day-long workshop for activists who want to share their skills and knowledge with others - be it building compost loos or road blockading. The next training will take place in Edinburgh in mid-November. To find out more – or to request a training in your area - see www.skillsharing.org.uk or tel. 0845 330 758 UNTIL 5 NOVEMBER, LONDON: PROTEST PHOTO EXHBITION. Photo exhibition from anti-war demo. During Bush’s visit to the UK last year. 12noon onwards, The Bellevue, Clapham. Contact 0207 498 9473. 14-17 OCTOBER, LONDON: EUROPEAN SOCIAL FORUM & AUTONOMOUS SPACES. See [A] above for Iraq-related events and www.fse-esf.org and www.altspaces.net for complete listings 14-15 OCTOBER, LONDON: FAIRFORD COACH ACTION APPEAL AT THE HIGH COURT. Appeal against the February 2004 Judicial Review decision that the police were right to turn a coach-load of activists away from a demo. at USAF Fairford during the invasion of Iraq. www.fairfordcoachaction.org.uk 15 OCTOBER, LONDON: COMEDY BENEFIT FOR BASRA UNEMPLOYED WORKERS CENTRE. With Mark Thomas and Simon Munnery. 7.30pm, Conway Hall, Red Lion Sq, Holborn, London. Min. entrance £5. Organised by No Sweat (www.nosweat.org.uk) 17 OCTOBER, LONDON: STOP BUSH & BLAIR'S WAR END THE OCCUPATION OF IRAQ. National demo. called by Stop the War Coalition, CND and the Muslim Association of Britain.Assemble: Russell Square, 1pm. March to Trafalgar Square for a rally at 3:30pm, with music from Asian Dub Foundation at 5pm. See www.stopwar.org.uk. 17 OCTOBER, WREXHAM: BENEFIT GIG FOR WREXHAM PEACE AND JUSTICE FORUM. 17 Oct, 7.30pm – midnight, Centenary Club, Crispin Lane. With Attila the Stockbroker. £5. tel. 0845 330 4505. 24 OCTOBER, AROUND THE COUNTRY: TRAFFIC LIGHT PROTEST. Protest Bush and Blair's actions over Iraq with a one minute silence at the lights, followed by the tying of ribbons around the traffic light post to symbolise 'Stop war, change to green planet.' Organised by Traffic Lights 4 Peace: email@example.com 26 OCTOBER, LONDON: RESIST THE ASSAULT ON IRAQ’S CITIES. Emergency meeting to discuss contingency plans for action. 7pm, Caledonian Road, N1 (nearest tube Kings Cross). Called by voices. 28 OCTOBER, LONDON: SCREENING OF ‘ABOUT BAGHDAD.’ 9pm, The Other Cinema. With the filmmakers. Organised by Film Makers Against War (www.filmmakersagainstwar.org) 29 OCT – 4 NOV: SCREENING OF ‘UNCOVERED: THE WAR ON IRAQ.’ Institute of Contemporary Arts. www.ica.org.uk or 0207 930 3647. 30 OCTOBER, NORWICH: EAPEACE 2ND CONFERENCE. Organised by the East Anglian Peace Network. Friends Meeting House, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or tel. 01603 613 798. 1-7 NOVEMBER, AROUND THE COUNTRY: SEVEN DAYS FOR IRAQ. Week of Fundraising Events to fund and equip a rehabilitation centre for children in Falluja. Organised by Stop the War in conjunction with CND and Child Victims of War. Contact 020 7278 6694 or email@example.com. 1 NOVEMBER, LONDON: CONCERT IN AID OF CHILD VICTIMS OF WAR. With: Medici Quartet, Moscow Piano Trio, Olivier Pons and Annika Palm. 7.30pm, Hackney Empire, Hackney, London. 2 NOVEMBER, LONDON AND AROUND THE COUNTRY: NAMING THE DEAD. Readings of the names of those who lost their lives in Iraq since the US and UK led invasion on the night of the US election (2nd November). Called by STWC. Events will be taking place in: Brockenhurst (Waters Green, 5pm); Edinburgh (US Consulate, Regent Terrace, 6pm); Leeds (City Art Gallery, 4pm); Milton Keynes (Elder Gate, opposite train station, 5pm); London (Trafalgar Square, 5pm); Birmingham (Victoria Square, 5pm); Bristol (St Augustine’s Parade, 5.30pm); Coventry (The Godiva Canopy, Broadgate, 9am); Tavistock (Bedford Square, 5.30pm); Salisbury (Central Library, Market Place, 5pm); Rugby (Clock Tower, 5pm). See www.stopwar.org.uk/ntd.asp 12 NOVEMBER, MANCHESTER: BENEFIT GIG FOR CADU (Campaign Against Depleted Uranium). 8pm – 1am. Star and Garter, Fairfield Street Manchester. £5/£4 Flier. Contact 0161 273 6726. All proceeds to CADU: www.cadu.org.uk 13-21 NOVEMBER, AROUND THE COUNTRY: JUSTICE FOR IRAQ'S DETAINEES. Speaking Tour by Peggy Gish, co-ordinator of the Christian Peacemaker Teams’ Iraq Project, organised by Voices (www.voicesuk.org) 13 NOV: HAVERHILL, 7.30pm at the Methodist Church Hall, Camps Road. Organised by Haverhill and District Peace Group. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org 14 NOV: COLCHESTER, 2pm, Colchester Friends Meeting House, Church Street, (near Colchester Arts Centre). Organised by Colchester Peace Campaign Contact: email@example.com; SOUTHEND, 7.30pm, Friends Meeting House, 18 Dundonald Drive, Lee-on-Sea. Contact 01702 345 860. 15 NOV: BRISTOL. Time and venue tba. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday 16th: Dorset, 8pm, Methodist United Reformed Church Hall, Cheap Street, Sherborne. Contact: 01300 345 109. 17 NOV: SLOUGH, 7.30pm, Slough Friends Meeting House (Quakers) 74 Ragstone Road. With Milan Rai. Contact 07970 007 123 18 NOV: LONDON, 7.30pm, Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road. With Jo Wilding and Philip Pritchard (B52two). Org. by CPT-UK, Quaker Peace and Social Witness and voices. 19 NOV: BRADFORD, 1-3pm, Peace Studies Department Dept, University of Bradford. Contact 01274 235 171; LEEDS, 7pm, All Hallows Church, 24 Regent Terrace, Leeds LS6 1NP. Contact 0113 242 2205 (Ray Gaston). 20 NOV: MANCHESTER. Time and venue tba. Contact 0161 232 8685. 21 NOV: NORTHAMPTON, 12 – 2pm, Friends Meeting House, Wellington St; Reading, 7pm, Friends Meeting House, 2 Church Street. Contact 0118 967 1362 23-24 NOVEMBER: PUT THE PRIVATISATION OF IRAQ ON TRIAL. Trial of two anti-war activists charged with 'aggravated trespass' at the Shell-sponsored business conference 'Iraq Procurement 2004: meet the buyers'. Postponed from July. 10am, Highbury Magistrates Court. Supporters welcome. Contact email@example.com. 27 NOVEMBER, MANCHESTER: CURRENT CONFLICTS: PEACE MOVEMENT RESPONSES. Conference organized by the Network for Peace. 10am – 5.30pm, Cross Street Unitarian Chapel. £5/£3. www.networkforpeace.org.uk. 4 DECEMBER, CENTRAL LONDON: INTERNATIONAL TEACH-IN ON IRAQ. Organised by Iraq Occupation Focus. Speakers include Ewa Jasiewicz, Mike Marquesee, Christian Parenti, Milan Rai, Haifa Zangana and members of US Military Families Speak Out and Iraq Veterans Against the War, plus speakers from Iraq. Workshops on educational and campaigning themes. See www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk 4-5 DECEMBER, LONDON. NO SWEAT CONFERENCE. University of London Union, Malet Street, WC1. Includes session on building solidarity with Iraqi unions. Direct action, street theatre, cyber campaigning and prop making workshops on the Sunday. www.nosweat.org.uk 6-9 DECEMBER, VARIOUS. MILITARY FAMILIES SPEAK OUT / IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR SPEAKING TOUR. Leeds Civic Hall (6 Dec), Glasgow (7 Dec), Manchester (8 Dec); Colchester (9 Oct). Organised by Iraq Occupation Focus: www.iraqoccupationfocus.org.uk 19 MARCH – 15 APRIL 2005: COUNTER TERROR, BUILD JUSTICE. International month of anti-war action. Sponsored by voices (uk and us), Hands Up for Peace, Edinburgh People and Planet amongst others. See www.j-n-v.org BLOCK THE BUILDERS: Campaign to nonviolently prevent the building of a new laser facility at AWE Aldermaston - the first step in the building of the next generation of nuclear weapons. Info. pack available. See www.blockthebuilders.org.uk. ************************** [C] LATEST VOICES BRIEFING. GLOBAL TERRORISM,HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY: Tony Blair’s latest lies about the war in Iraq A Voices in the Wilderness UK briefing 12 October 2004 As the British Government have discarded one set of lies about Iraq, used to justify the invasion, they have replaced them with a new set - this time aimed at justifying the ongoing military occupation. Thus, at press conference with the US-appointed Iraqi Prime Minister (and former CIA asset) Ayad Allawi on 19 Sept, Tony Blair declared that we are now fighting a “new Iraqi conflict” which he identified as “the crucible in which the future of … global terrorism will be determined.” According to Mr Blair, this “new conflict” pits an Iraqi government that is “trying to create … [a] democratic [Iraq] … [that] respects human rights” against “former regime elements and … outside terrorists.” Given the source it should come as no surprise to learn that every one of these statements is false. BIG LIE #1: ‘OUTSIDE TERRORISTS’ Blair’s emphasis on the role of “outside terrorists” – and his conflation of the ongoing war in Iraq with “global terrorism” – ‘runs counter to the US military’s own assessment that the Iraqi insurgency remains primarily a home-grown problem’ (LA Times, 28 September). Indeed, ‘US military officials said Iraqi officials [who have spoken of foreign insurgents “flooding” into the country] tended to exaggerate the number of foreign fighters in Iraq to obscure the fact that large numbers of their foreign countrymen have taken up arms against US troops and the American-backed interim Iraqi government.’ “They say these guys are flowing across [the border] and fomenting all this violence. We don’t think so,” a senior military official in Baghdad explained. “What’s the main threat? It’s internal.” 30% OR 2%? In one recent interview, the US-appointed Iraqi PM Ayad Allawi claimed that foreign fighters constituted 30% of insurgent forces. In reality they probably form less than 2% - maybe much less. Indeed, in a Sept. 26 TV interview, the head of US Central Command, Gen. John Abizaid, ‘estimated that the number of foreign fighters in Iraq was below 1000’ , while the former deputy commander of coalition forces puts the number of insurgents at around 50,000 (Independent on Sunday, 3 Oct). Furthermore, much of the resistance appears to be actively hostile to Zarqawi and his followers . BA'ATHISTS? At the same time as debunked the one myth, however, Abizaid appeared to be replacing it with another, claiming that, “the primary problem we’re dealing with is former regime elements of the ex-Baath Party.” While it is certainly true that there are former Ba’athists among the insurgents, it is unclear how large a role they actually play . For obvious reasons the US and British governments like to present the insurgents as either ‘Saddam loyalists’ or ‘foreign fighters’. However, since their assault on the vehemently anti-Saddam Sadrist movement in April, they’ve been forced to admit a third category: Sadrist ‘militiamen.’ Nonetheless, there appear to be plenty of insurgents who fall into none of these categories. “WE HAD TO ACT” One such individual was recently profiled by Jason Burke in the Observer (12 Sept). ‘Abu Mujahed’ was ‘pro-American before the invasion,’ Burke writes, but ‘his faith in the US was shaken when, via a friend’s illicitly imported satellite TV system, he saw ‘barbaric, savage’ pictures of civilian casualties of the fighting and bombing. The next blow came in the conflict’s immediate aftermath, as looters ran unchecked through Baghdad.’ “When I saw the American soldiers watching and doing nothing as people took everything, I began to suspect the US was not here to help us but to destroy us,” he explained. “I thought it might be just the chaos of war but it got worse, not better.” He quickly found that many in his neighbourhood shared his anger and concluded that ‘the time had come … “we had to act”.’ ‘Nothing had been planned in advance … and the others in his group were not working to any plan. Everything they did was improvised. And each of the seven-man group had a different motive: “One man was fighting for his nation, another for a principle, another for his faith.”’ According to Burke, ‘His justification for the struggle was an inconsistent mix of political and economic grievances and wounded pride: “We are under occupation. They bomb the mosques, they kill a huge number of people. There is no greater shame than to see your country being occupied.”’ BIG LIE #2: ‘DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS’ Turning to Blair’s claim that the US-appointed Iraqi Government is “trying to create … [a] democratic [Iraq] … [that] respects human rights,” once again, the reality is very different. Thus Jason Burke notes that ‘the lineaments of a new nation are emerging. Ironically, much of it looks like Saddam's Iraq, though without the systematic repression … The new police see their job as maintaining order - in a brutal, often lethal fashion - not protecting citizens against crime. The government has responded harshly to media criticism … [and] Allawi has even created a secret intelligence service and talked of ‘emergency powers’ to counter violence. All of this confirms a pre-war memorandum to Tony Blair from senior UK government advisers … pointing out there was no certainty that any ‘replacement regime’ in Iraq ‘will be any better’ [than Saddam's]’ (Observer, 19 Sept) . In July a reporter for Knight Ridder Newspapers was invited by ‘an Iraqi lieutenant Colonel, an intelligence officer under Saddam Hussein’s regime … to observe an afternoon of his interrogations. What followed was a scene that would probably have sparked a scandal had American forces been involved,’ she noted (19 July). Prisoners, blindfolded with scraps of cloth and bound by plastic ties were subjected to ‘interrogations that included blows to the head and threats against their families.’ “Don’t talk to me about human rights,” one interrogator told her. “When security settles down, we’ll talk about human rights. Right now, I need confessions.’ ‘LEAVE ... [OR] BE SHOT’ Iraq’s democratic and human rights credentials were also on display in Najaf during the three-week-long siege of the Imam Ali shrine. Journalists who protested police orders to leave the city were told: “You have been warned. You have two hours. If you don’t leave you will be shot.”’ (Independent, 16 August). The police then ‘followed up [these] earlier threats by arresting one journalist, Ahmed al-Saleh, who [wa]s working with al-Arabiya TV network and firing warning shots at the Sea of Najaf hotel, where nearly all foreign and Arab journalists are staying’ (Independent, 17 August). Journalists at the hotel were then told by a police lieutenant: “We are going to open fire on this hotel. We are going to smash it up. I will kill you all. You did this all to yourselves”, claiming that ‘four snipers would be positioned on the roof of the police station to fire at any journalist who left the hotel. ’ Nonetheless, ‘Downing Street warned against journalists in Najaf making claims that there was a clampdown on the media. “I think we should not be too hasty to turn this into a debate about free speech,” a No 10 spokesman said, responding to news of the death threats. “There is quite a lively media in Iraq for the first time in years … We are sure that any action taken by [the Iraqi authorities] is consistent with the security situation,” he explained (Independent, 17 August). On 7 Aug, at the start of the assault on Najaf, the Iraqi Government closed the offices of the Arab television station al-Jazeera and banned it for 30 days (AP, 7 Aug) - the ban was later extended indefinitely (Guardian, 6 Sept) ‘UNUSUAL COMPROMISES’ On 24 Aug 2003, the Washington Post reported that the US had ‘begun a covert campaign to recruit and train agents [from] the once-dreaded [Iraqi] intelligence service to help identify resistance to American forces.’ Whilst these officials ‘acknowledge[d] the sensitivity of cooperating with a force that embodies the ruthlessness’ of Hussein’s regime and the ‘pitfalls in relying on an instrument loathed by most Iraqis and renowned across the Arab world for its casual use of torture, fear, intimidation, rape and imprisonment’ they claimed that ‘an urgent need…ha[d] forced unusual compromises.’ According to Iraqi security sources, ‘about two-thirds of the new [Iraqi National Intelligence Service] [i]s made up of former members of the Mukhabarat and other intelligence groups that worked under the old regime’ (Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug); a strange way to set about creating an Iraq that ‘respects human rights.’ ‘PUTTING DEMOCRACY ON HOLD’ But what about Blair’s claim that there is currently a process “to get Iraq towards democracy”? Is this the saving grace? Well, elections are scheduled to take place by the end of January 2005 but, as the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn notes, ‘[i]n present circumstances it will be impossible to hold elections which have any meaning in Iraq. Iraqis will not recognise as fair an election in which the ballot box is strapped to the back of a US tank’ (18 Sept). Over the past 18 months, the US has consistently stalled on one-person-one-vote elections in Iraq, seeking instead to ‘put democracy on hold until it can be safely managed’ (Salim Lone, director of communications for the UN in Iraq until Autumn 2003, Guardian, 13 April). More recently it has made a number of moves to control the forthcoming electoral process . Furthermore, according to Newsweek (7 June), ‘No one is better equipped [to use official powers to influence the planned elections] than [Iraq’s US-appointed Prime Minister Ayad] Allawi.’ On 27 Sept. Time reported the existence of ‘a secret “finding” … proposing a covert CIA operation to aid candidates favored by Washington.’ Meanwhile the Economist (18 Sept) reports that the opposition groups that sided with the US before the war are discussing a so-called “monster consensus list” of candidates – an idea which ‘could create an essentially a one-party election … look[ing] uncomfortably like the plebiscites choreographed to produce 98 percent majorities under Saddam Hussein’ (New York Times leader, 26 Sept, see the 37th voices newsletter for more info). “WE SHOULDN'T BE HERE” To summarise: all the signs are that occupied Iraq is not headed for democracy but for some sort of authoritarian regime. Furthermore the simple truth is that US and British troops are currently fighting a war against Iraqis resisting the military occupation of their country by forces that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians and have no right to be there. “I don’t begrudge them,” a Marine officer told the New York Times, about a mortar attack on a US base. “We’d do the same thing if some foreign dudes rolled into San Diego and set up shop” (2 May). As one Marine infantryman explained to AP: “We shouldn’t be here. There was no reason for invading this country in the first place. We just came here and (angered people) and killed a lot of innocent people. I don’t enjoy killing women and children, it’s not my thing.” (AP, 22 Sept). FOOTNOTES  According to US military intelligence agents in Iraq, the role of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – the man allegedly responsible for scores of suicide bombings inside Iraq – has been ‘exaggerated by flawed intelligence and the Bush administration’s desire to find “a villain” for the post-invasion mayhem’ (Telegraph, 4 Oct). According to one agent: “The overwhelming sense from the information we are now getting is that the number of foreign fighters does not exceed several hundred and is perhaps as low as 200. From the information we have gathered, we have to conclude that Zarqawi is more myth than man.” Recent reports for an Arab intelligence service concur, judging that Zarqawi’s own group has fewer than 100 members inside Iraq (Newsday.com, 4 Oct).  This goes without saying for the (Shi’ite) Sadrist movement since Zarqawi reportedly regards Shi’ism as an “infidel ideology” and is suspected of being behind an August 2003 attack on a Shi’a mosque in Najaf (Guardian, 23 Sept). The Kuwaiti daily al-Rai al-Aam recently reported that several of the Sunni resistance groups, commanding a total of “7,000 fighters across Iraq”,‘plan to unite under one umbrella and rein in sectarian attacks by [Zarqawi’s followers]’ (AFP, 4 Oct) “If Zarqawi does not abandon his plans to instigate a sectarian rift, the groups will force him to do so even if that requires taking up arms against him,” the paper quoted one of its sources as saying.  Back in April Robert Fisk reported the findings of an Iraqi academic who lives in Fallujah, who had reported to a conference on Iraq held by the Centre for Arab Unity Studies in Beirut that ‘80 per cent of all rebels killed were Iraqi Islamist activists. Only 13 per cent of the dead men were primarily nationalists and only 2 per cent had been Baathists’ (Independent, 10 April, the figures presumably refer to the cases that he had examined).  Note, however, that there is nothing ‘ironic’ about any of this eg. prior to the invasion, Milan Rai noted that the evidence suggested ‘that the men leading us to war are intent on … maintaining the structures of power and ways of operating much as they are’ (War Plan Iraq, Verso, p. 133).  Earlier this year the US passed laws banning the Sadrist movement - which, it has been estimated, would get about a third of the Shiite vote in a free election - from taking part in elections; and granting a US-created electoral commission wide-ranging powers to ban candidates. See voices briefing ‘So Long as You Win’ for background and sources. Voices in the Wilderness UK has been campaigning on UK policy towards Iraq, in solidarity with the Iraqi people, since February 1998. For more information see www.voicesuk.org. --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.773 / Virus Database: 520 - Release Date: 05/10/2004 --- Outgoing mail is certified Virus Free. Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com). Version: 6.0.773 / Virus Database: 520 - Release Date: 05/10/2004 _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk