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Yesterday, a group of 4 Iraqis in exile launched an open statement opposing the Iraqi regime, the continuing economic sanctions and the threat of war. A copy of this statement is appended below, and can also be found on the CASI website, at: http://www.casi.org.uk/info/exile020812.html Iraqis in exile who wish to co-sign this statement should contact the organisers of the petition directly. Their contact details are at the end of the statement. CASI does not take a position on this statement. ---- Iraqis in Exile Against War - Open Statement of August 2002 Not in our name We are told a war on Iraq is needed to pre-empt a threat to the region and to free the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussain's tyranny. We as Iraqis already free from that tyranny, living outside Iraq and in the western democracies, say that both these claims are false. As professionals, writers, teachers and other responsible and concerned citizens, many of whom have personally experienced the persecution of the dictatorship in Iraq, we say: "no to war; not in our name, not in the name of the suffering Iraqi people". Generations of Iraqis have endured a succession of tyrannical regimes, two devastating wars, and twelve years of "the most pervasive sanctions ever imposed on a nation in the history of mankind" (US National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, 14 November 1997). On the arms issue, Iraq underwent seven and a half years of intrusive inspection and its proscribed production facilities were controlled or destroyed, while the most threatening power in the region, Israel, refuses inspection of its nuclear, chemical and biological facilities. In Iraq, the regime of Saddam Hussain has nothing left but bombast. Hence it tries to exploit the genuine explosive rise of anger in the whole Middle East at the unbelievable suffering of the Palestinian people. It is the inhumanity of the civilised world in letting Sharon's atrocities continue in defiance of scores of UN resolutions that leaves the Iraqi regime with any credibility at all. In the meantime, the sanctions have been catastrophic for the welfare of the people of Iraq. They have made the lives of Iraqis dependent on the state machine rather than on free production and distribution. The fabric of society is barely holding out under the brutality of UN siege, manipulation by the regime and unscrupulous regional intrigues. Sectarian and ethnic politics has displaced modern civil political activity, and intellectual and cultural life is in accelerated decline with the flight of creative talents and technically qualified people. Another war will crush a vulnerable society and may mean civil war, with unpredictable spillovers all the Middle East and potential destabilisation to Europe and the world at large. Already, Iraqis form a large proportion of those risking their lives while seeking asylum in the west. Our aspirations for Iraq and indeed the whole of the Middle East is for nations that respect human rights, guarantee the national rights of the Kurdish people, universally apply international law and are free of WMD. We believe that Saddam Hussain's regime is responsible for leading Iraq from a situation of great promise into one of unmitigated catastrophe, and this regime must be held to account for its abject failure and for the crimes it committed against Iraqi people, Arabs and Kurds, of all beliefs and persuasions. But the remedy must not cause greater damage to the innocent and to society at large. Real change can only be brought about by the Iraqi people themselves within an environment of peace and justice for all the peoples of the Middle East. A change of this kind, combining truth and reconciliation with legal processes of punishing offenders is being espoused all over the world. Why shouldn't that be the case for Iraq? We call on the UN to put together a timetable for the lifting of the economic sanctions and do all it can to halt the drive for war that will only plunge the region into the abyss. We also call on everyone to challenge the dangerous and irresponsible war plans of the US administration. 12 August 2002 Those who wish to sign should send the following information to the statement organisers. Name Occupation Institution / Country of residence Launched by: Mundher Al-Adhami Researcher Kings College London email@example.com Kamil Mahdi Lecturer Exeter university K.A.Mahdi@exeter.ac.uk Tahrir Numan Teacher Orpington London firstname.lastname@example.org Haifa Zangana Novelist London email@example.com Postal address: 6 Ridgeway Crescent Gardens, Orpington, Kent BR6 9QH, UK _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email firstname.lastname@example.org All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk