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Statement on the London Conference on Iraq We the undersigned, Iraqi opponents of the dictatorial regime ruling our country, dissociate ourselves from the conference held in the Metropole Hotel, London on 13-15 December 2002. The conference was held under the threat of an illegal and immoral war, and it was not an expression of free Iraqi will. United States patronage was the main fact of this conference and US officials were the final arbiters in its deliberations. It is not legitimate to acquiesce in the destruction of our homeland because of a belief that war is inevitable. The planned war would result in unimaginable human consequences, occupation, US control of oil, crushing of the Kurdish autonomy, and regional repercussions that favour brutal Israeli aggression, and we resolutely condemn the war plans. A conference that is concerned with the people of Iraq should have proclaimed its opposition to war and to the brutal sanctions, and it should have pledged not to facilitate US war efforts. The fact that it did nothing of the above is appalling. The United States and British governments supported and armed the dictatorship of Saddam Hussain while Iraqis were fighting against this regime, being tortured and executed in their thousands. Instead of apologising to the Iraqi people, these two governments waged war against Iraq?s civilian infrastructure and the people?s livelihoods. Likewise, some of those inside the Metropole conference hall served in the dictator?s political, security and media apparatus until the US turned against its former ally. They have not expressed remorse, nor asked the people for forgiveness. An end to dictatorship and a transformation of the lives of Iraqis must be achieved by empowering the people inside Iraq. Responsible opposition must have faith in the Iraqi people, in it?s history of struggle for independence and democracy, and its resilience in reconstruction. It must engage with humanitarian and peace-loving forces all over the world including the growing courageous anti-war movement in the United States. Iraq?s physical and institutional structures have been devastated by 12 years of sanctions as much as by the regime. These structures must be rebuilt by the effort of the Iraqi people, with international support and avoiding the massive destruction and perilous strife of the planned US war. This conference was not about confronting Saddam?s regime, nor was it about responsible contingency planning. It was organised in an attempt to legitimise the plans for a US war on Iraq. Many of the individuals and groups who participated in the conference had earlier expressed opposition to US war plans, but the conference took an acquiescent position towards these plans. We believe that pragmatism and jostling for political positions do not absolve anyone from responsibility for the consequences of war. Without war, the Metropole Hotel gathering will have achieved nothing; in the case of war, it is a minor detail. Mundher Al-Adhami < email@example.com> Kamil Mahdi < K.A.Mahdi@exeter.ac.uk> Haifa Zangana <firstname.lastname@example.org> And 20 other signatories 17 December 2002 Dr Kamil Mahdi University of Exeter _______________________________________________ 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 email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk