The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
News, 02-10/1/03 (supp) * Full text: The Prime Minister's address to British ambassadors in London * The EU should spearhead the drive for world peace * Political statement of the Iraqi Opposition Conference in London, 14-16 December 2002 * The Iraqi people do not trust American policy http://politics.guardian.co.uk/foreignaffairs/story/0,11538,870312,00.html * FULL TEXT: THE PRIME MINISTER'S ADDRESS TO BRITISH AMBASSADORS IN LONDON The Guardian, 8th January A country always has to know its place in the world. For Britain this is of special importance. At the end of the 19th century we were an imperial power. A century later the empire was gone. Naturally, and despite the pride of our victory in world war two, our definition seemed less certain. Our change in circumstances affected our confidence and self belief. Yet today I have no doubt what our place is and how we should use it. What are our strengths? Part of the EU; and G8; permanent members of the UN security council; the closest ally of the US; our brilliant armed forces; membership of Nato; the reach given by our past; the Commonwealth; the links with Japan, China, Russia and ties of history with virtually every nation in Asia and Latin America; our diplomacy - I do believe our foreign service is the best there is; our language. What is the nature of the world in which these strengths can be deployed? The world has never been more interdependent. Economic and security shocks spread like contagion. I learnt this graphically in the 1998 financial crisis; everyone knows it after September 11. Nations recognise more than ever before that the challenges have to be met in part, at least, collectively. Also culture and communication driven by technological revolution are deepening the sense of a global community. Look at the FCO [Foreign Office] strategic goals you set out in your paper. Each of them has a direct domestic impact. Yet each of them - whether free trade through the WTO [world trade organisation], combating climate change or the threats to our security - can only be overcome by collaboration across national frontiers. Fundamentalist political ideology now seems an aberration of the 20th century. But religious extremism through the misinterpretation of Islam is a danger all over the world, not because it is supported by large numbers of ordinary people but because it can be manipulated by small numbers of fanatics to distort the lives of ordinary people. As the FCO point out in another paper, wars between nations seem less likely - at least outside of the continent of Africa - but flashpoints remain and in any event, the crucial thing is that no conflict we can contemplate can possibly remain localised. What does all this mean? It means that the world today has one overriding common interest: to make progress with order; to ensure that change is accompanied by stability. The common threat is chaos. That threat can come from terrorism, producing a train of events that pits nations against each other. It can come through irresponsible and repressive states gaining access to WMD [weapons of mass destruction]. It can come through the world splitting into rival poles of power; the US in one corner; anti-US forces in another. It can come from pent up feelings of injustice and alienation, from the divisions between the world's richer and its poorer nations. The threat is not change. The world and many countries in it need to change. It is change through disorder, because then the consequences of change cannot be managed. This has been understood, at least inchoately, ever since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Then the call was for a new world order. But a new order presumes a new consensus. It presumes a shared agenda and a global partnership to do it. Here's where Britain's place lies. We can only play a part in helping this - to suggest more would be grandiose and absurd - but it is an important part. Our very strengths, our history equip us to play a role as a unifier around a consensus for achieving both our goals and those of the wider world. Stating our aims is relatively easy and they would be shared by many other countries: security from terrorism and WMD; elimination of regional conflicts that can afflict us; a stable world economy; free trade; action against climate change; aid and development. Jack set them out clearly yesterday. The question is: how as a matter of diplomacy do we achieve them? What are the principles of foreign policy that should guide us? First, we should remain the closest ally of the US, and as allies influence them to continue broadening their agenda. We are the ally of the US not because they are powerful, but because we share their values. I am not surprised by anti-Americanism; but it is a foolish indulgence. For all their faults and all nations have them, the US are a force for good; they have liberal and democratic traditions of which any nation can be proud. I sometimes think it is a good rule of thumb to ask of a country: are people trying to get into it or out of it? It's not a bad guide to what sort of country it is. Quite apart from that, it is massively in our self-interest to remain close allies. Bluntly there are not many countries who wouldn't wish for the same relationship as we have with the US and that includes most of the ones most critical of it in public. But we should use this alliance to good effect. The problem people have with the US - not the rabid anti-Americans but the average middle ground - is not that, for example, they oppose them on WMD or international terrorism. People listen to the US on these issues and may well agree with them; but they want the US to listen back. So for the international community, the MEPP is also important; global poverty is important; global warming is important; the UN is important. The US choice to go through the UN over Iraq was a vital step, in itself and as a symbol of the desire to work with others. A broader agenda is not inimical to the US; on the contrary. For example the US decision to back a new relationship between Nato and Russia has made both missile defence and Nato enlargement easier and less divisive. The price of British influence is not, as some would have it, that we have, obediently, to do what the US asks. I would never commit British troops to a war I thought was wrong or unnecessary. Where we disagree, as over Kyoto, we disagree. But the price of influence is that we do not leave the US to face the tricky issues alone. By tricky, I mean the ones which people wish weren't there, don't want to deal with, and, if I can put it a little pejoratively, know the US should confront, but want the luxury of criticising them for it. So if the US act alone, they are unilateralist; but if they want allies, people shuffle to the back. International terrorism is one such issue. The fanatics have to be confronted and defeated - in ideas as well as militarily as I shall say later. WMD is another. I want to make it clear. In February 2001, at my first meeting with President Bush I said this was the key issue facing the world community. I believe that even more today. The latest revelations about North Korea are a manifest wake-up call to the world. This shouldn't divert us from tackling Iraq and WMD. There will be different ways of dealing with different countries. But no one can doubt the salience of WMD as an issue and the importance of countering it. North Korea's weapons programme and export of it, the growing number of unstable or dictatorial states trying to acquire nuclear capability, the so-called respectable companies and people trading in it: this is a real, active threat to our security and I warn people: it is only a matter of time before terrorists get hold of it. So when as with Iraq, the international community through the UN makes a demand on a regime to disarm itself of WMD and that regime refuses, that regime threatens us. It may be uncomfortable, there will be the usual plethora of conspiracy theories about it; but unless the world takes a stand on this issue of WMD and sends out a clear signal, we will rue the consequences of our weakness. America should not be forced to take this issue on alone. We should all be part of it. Of course, it should go through the UN - that was our wish and what the US did. But if the will of the UN is breached then the will should be enforced. Jack Straw has today set out for parliament in more detail our policy objectives on Iraq. So when the US confront these issues, we should be with them; and we should, in return, expect these issues to be confronted with the international community, proportionately, sensibly and in a way that delivers a better prospect of long-term peace, security and justice. Second, Britain must be at the centre of Europe. By 2004, the EU will consist of 25 nations. In time others including Turkey will join. It will be the largest market in the world. It will be the most integrated political union between nations. It will only grow in power. To separate ourselves from it would be madness. If we are in, we should be in whole-heartedly. That must include, provided the economic conditions are right, membership of the single currency. For 50 years we have hesitated over Europe. It has never profited us. And there is no greater error in international politics than to believe that strong in Europe means weaker with the US. The roles reinforce each other. What is more there can be no international consensus unless Europe and the US stand together. Whenever they are divided, the forces of progress, the values of liberty and democracy, the requirements of security and peace, suffer. We can indeed help to be a bridge between the US and Europe and such understanding is always needed. Europe should partner the US not be its rival. Thirdly, we should engage with the countries, who by dint of land size and population are bound to be ever greater economic and political powers, in order to seek common ground. Russia, China and India are all countries in a process of transition. Their power will be enormous. How they develop will affect crucially our own security and prosperity. With the US and within Europe as well as on our own account we should be helping in their path of change, whether in the WTO, on issues of peace and security or in the UN security council itself. With Japan, we should ensure we remain its principal partner within Europe, yet another reason for being influential in Europe ourselves. Fourthly, our history is a strength, provided we lose any lingering traces of imperial arrogance and recognise countries will only work with us as equals. But that said, working with us is what many want and probably more than any other former colonial power, our empire left much affection as well as deep problems to be overcome. For many of those countries, our relations today are being transformed, with DfID [Department for International Development] helping to give us a relationship of equality, trust and partnership. We should deepen it at every turn. Not just through commerce and conventional diplomacy but through the British Council, the World Service, through encouraging students from abroad to study here, through political dialogue. Fifth, there can be no new consensus, no new order, no stability, without tackling the appalling poverty that afflicts nearly a half of the world's population. Action to deal with this - possible with the right vision and imagination - is the best investment in its own future the developed world could make. For the developing world, Britain should be their champions. For example in opening up markets through the WTO; and working with Africa, to make their Nepad a reality. Sixth, we need to construct a better framework within which the international institutions, like the IMF and World Bank help countries deal with their difficulties and make progress. The problem here is often that what the IMF and World Bank say - indeed what the world says - is intellectually correct; but the political pain can be unbearable or the political system too fragile to take the medicine. I started to reflect on this as a result of the European enlargement process. If you had said five years ago, all 10 countries would join and in 2004, people would have thought it wildly utopian. But EU and Nato membership has been a remarkable magnet for reform. And look at Turkey now. We ask countries in Latin America, in the Middle East, in Asia and Africa to undertake vast change. Yet it isn't often placed within a broader political context where there is some specified and obvious gain, some goal to aim for. This is where the international community needs to develop mechanisms for encouraging the developed nations to put more vision, energy and creativity into fashioning the right pull factors so that countries are able to mobilise their people in favour of reform. It might be on a regional basis. It might be in terms of trade or security or help with governance. But without it, too many politicians in developing countries will know what is the right thing to do, but struggle to do it. Britain has the political and intellectual capacity to help create this framework. Latin America is the place to start. Seventh, we must reach out to the Muslim world. This is about three things. It is about even-handedness. The reason there is opposition over our stance on Iraq has less to do with any love of Saddam, but over a sense of double standards. The Middle East peace process remains essential to any understanding with the Muslim and Arab world. The terrorism inflicted upon innocent Israeli citizens is wicked and murderous and undoubtedly will bring strong action from the Israeli government. No democratic government could do otherwise. That is not the point. The point is that unless there is real energy put into crafting a process that can lead to lasting peace, neither the carnage of innocent Israelis nor the appalling suffering of the Palestinians will cease. At the moment the future of the innocent is held hostage by the terrorists. But reaching out to the Muslim world also means engaging with how those countries move towards greater democratic stability, liberty and human rights. It means building pathways of understanding between Islam and other religious faiths. This seems an odd thing for a politician to say - but then I am used to clerics offering me advice. But we need to engage with mainstream Islam at a theological as well as political level. Inter-faith dialogue is one important part of greater understanding. The fanatics who abuse true Islam have to be challenged by ideas and values as much as by security and arms. They will recruit new volunteers as fast or faster as we imprison or destroy the old ones, unless we are helping those within the faith of Islam who are speaking out in favour of moderation, tolerance and sense. Again Britain, with its understanding of the Arab world and its tradition of religious tolerance can help. In the end, all these things come back to one basic theme. The values we stand for: freedom, human rights, the rule of law, democracy, are all universal values. Given a chance, the world over, people want them. But they have to be pursued alongside another value: justice, the belief in opportunity for all. Without justice, the values I describe can be portrayed as "Western values"; globalisation becomes a battering ram for Western commerce and culture; the order we want is seen by much of the world as "their" order not "ours". The consensus can only be achieved if pursued with a sense of fairness, of equality, of partnership. Our role is to use all the strengths of our history, unique in their breadth for a country our size, to unify nations around that consensus. One last thing we, Britain, need: confidence in ourselves. This is not a time for British caution or even British reserve, still less for a retreat into isolation on the basis of some misguided view of patriotism. This is a time for us to be out in front; engaged; open; creative; willing to take bold decisions. All it needs is courage and confidence. You, like the British people, have plenty of both. When you put your minds to it, there is no-one better. I saw it in Kosovo and Afghanistan. I've seen it in countless European Councils; I've seen it in the passion and commitment of DfID; in the recent negotiations in the UN. I see it every time I meet the most junior of your staffs in any Embassy in the world who have only one motivation: an enthusiasm to do the best for Britain in a noble cause. Now is the moment to make our future as exciting in impact, if different in character, as our history. http://www.guardian.co.uk/nuclear/article/0,2763,870717,00.html * THE EU SHOULD SPEARHEAD THE DRIVE FOR WORLD PEACE by Dan Plesch The Guardian, 8th January Europe should lead the world in weapons management and elimination. Tony Blair and George Bush have named weapons of mass destruction as the greatest threat to our societies, and yet neither proposes any plan for eliminating the threat. While the US military budget alone is now $380bn, the nations of the world cannot even find one thousandth of that to sustain the $330m budget that the International Atomic Energy Agency needs to check up on nuclear materials. Its representative spoke at the UN in the aftermath of September 11 and complained, in the restrained style of international bureaucracy, that: "This review of some of the IAEA's activities makes it clear that the scope of our work continues to expand. In the environment of zero real growth budgets, to which the agency has been subjected for over a decade, some of these priorities cannot be accommodated. "The compromises achieved to date to resolve near-term budget issues should not be mistaken for long-term solutions. If the agency is to fulfil its mandate while maintaining the required balance among its priority activities, we must find better ways to ensure adequate and predictable funding. We must also have the foresight, when planning our activities, to invest in preventive measures rather than simply responding to crises - when it is often too late and much more costly." Looking ahead into the middle of the century, where do current trends with weapons of mass destruction take us? A number of possible futures present themselves. One is where US hegemony presides over a relatively stable state of armaments and where potential adversaries have been either cajoled or bombed into acquiescence. Another is one where there is sporadic use of weapons of mass destruction in western cities and between third world nations and nations seek succour in missiles and anti-missile systems. Japan and the European Union develop their own nuclear weapons. We learn to live with it. Then again, there may yet be global holocaust. The fear of attacking for fear of retaliation - the so-called deterrence theory - has always been risky and in this scenario fails, given a less and less rational and predictable world. A major world war breaks out in which hundreds of millions are killed while the follow-on economic and environmental impact threatens the survival of humanity itself. Nuclear arms, genetically engineered biological weapons and weapons yet to be thought of combine to produce world war, with consequences that defy the imagination. It is easy to forget that in 1914 there had been no war in Europe between the great powers since 1870 and many people thought it impossible. In all of these scenarios, the global village takes a beating. Whole blocks are burned out. With no police and no gun control, village life as we know it becomes a thing of the past. There is a brighter, less defeatist vision, in which every effort is made to eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction and to limit all other forms of armaments. War becomes as unthinkable as it is today between Germany, France and Britain. Civil wars are much reduced. At this time of serious destabilisation of international security, it is necessary to create a different and positive dynamic. Governments and pressure groups alike should adopt as comprehensive an approach to weapons management and elimination as that used for military planning. The approach should aim to build on coalitions of like-minded states and draw in the US, Russia, China and other major powers, through the UN system when possible. The European Union should become a world leader in weapons management and elimination. This would be a more useful means of countering the negative aspects of US policy than trying to compete militarily. There needs to be a combination of short- and long-term measures, with preliminary work begun immediately to enable the larger longer-term objectives to reach fruition. Recommended measures: The following programme should provide the political context for weapons of mass destruction in South Asia and other areas of regional proliferation. The UK and like-minded states should implement the provisions of the biological weapons verification protocol. This would make it harder for guerrilla groups to gain access to these materials and enable future detection efforts to "eliminate potential suspects from their inquiries", so saving time and increasing confidence, experience and political momentum. Increase funding for the nuclear inspectorate of the International Atomic Energy Agency. Implement the agreement made in 2000 at the Non Proliferation Treaty review conference on a 13-point programme. The House of Commons should initiate a joint defence and foreign affairs committee investigation of this programme. The short-term British contribution should be to remove the warheads from Trident and put them in storage. The Trident submarines would still be exercised at sea. This measure was turned down in the Strategic Defence Review in 1997 because sending the submarines to sea would send too strong a signal. This is a strange argument, as normally deterrence is described as being all about signals. NPT implementation should involve the timed and phased elimination of nuclear weapons by 2020. A combined verification and enforcement regime for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons should be developed. Initiate a programme to control and eliminate conventional weapons, building on the provisions of the INF and CFE treaties and covering naval vessels, with the objective of a verified halt to the production and trade in such weapons by 2010 and the elimination of most major weapon systems by 2020. No new major military production contracts should be made after 2010. The UK and other European states should not participate in the US missile "defence" programmes and should base their opposition on the offensive nature of these systems. At a minimum, support should be linked to full implementation of the NPT and other arms control regimes by all states, including the USA. Dan Plesch is a senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies. This is the text of a speech he delivered to the Guardian / RUSI conference in London http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1219 * POLITICAL STATEMENT OF THE IRAQI OPPOSITION CONFERENCE IN LONDON, 14-16 DECEMBER 2002 KurdishMedia.com, 8th January The Iraqi opposition conference, which was held in London on 14-16 December 2002, under the slogan: "For the sake of the liberation of Iraq and achieving democracy", accepted and approved the following resolutions and recommendations.  Political Statement of the Iraqi Opposition Conference in London Due to the imposed rule of the sectarian racist regime, its repressive and terrorist actions and the internal and external wars of that regime, Iraq has experienced thirty years of its contemporary history in the worst state. During all these years the Iraqi people continued to struggle and make a series of bold attempts to end the abnormal conditions imposed on our people by the repressive regime. A broad section of the honourable people, including the armed forces and political and national forces of all the nations, religions and faiths participated in this legitimate attempt in every possible way, including armed struggle which reached its climax in the blessed uprising of March 1991. Millions of Iraqi people: civilians, members of armed forces, Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians, Sunni and Shiši, took part in the uprising which was very close to deal the regime with the fate it deserves. A lot of blood and sacrifices were offered to achieve this aim, but conditions beyond the control of our steadfast people prevented this common aim of the Iraqis from being achieved and from getting the opportunity to rebuild our country on the basis of democracy, justice and peace. Today, again there is an opportunity for our people and we can take advantage of the elements of the international situation to bring down this fascist regime and initiate positive developments in Iraq. There is a new common prospect open to us and we must remain committed to the inevitability of achieving this patriotic mission, and encourage the process of change in Iraq for the benefit of our people taking into consideration the interests of neighboring, regional, Arab and Islamic countries and the international community. To achieve this aim, the Iraqi opposition conference, which embraces the majority of forces, groups and prominent figures in the Iraqi opposition, which was held in London on 14-16 December 2002, under the slogan: "For the sake of the liberation of Iraq and achieving democracy", reaffirms the main principles and criteria of the previous conferences and meetings of the Iraqi opposition, especially the Salah-al-Din conference in 1992 and the political discourse of the opposition delegation in Washington in August 2002. Starting from these criteria, the conference accepted and approved the following resolutions and recommendations: 1. The role of Iraqi opposition in the process of change Members of the conference view the role of the national opposition, with all its diverse groups and organizations supported by the masses of our people, as a principal and essential role in the process of change. The conference considers the role of the opposition as a vital and crucial role in all the stages of the anticipated change in a way that corresponds with its abilities and practical conditions. 2. The future of Iraq and democracy Iraq will be a democratic parliamentary, pluralist, federal (for all Iraq) state and will accordingly enact a humane and civilized concept of citizenship based on equality and elimination of discrimination against all peoples, religions, races and sects. The conference reaffirms that a permanent constitution for the country should be drafted in which the national composition of Iraq and the separation of legislative and executive powers and the judiciary are enshrined. It must also stress commitment to the supreme power of law, protection of human rights and public and private freedoms, and respect for the institutions of civil society. 3. Islam is the religion of the state Islamic religion is one of the foundations of Iraqi state and the rules of Islamic shariah are a principal source of the sources of legislation. The conference stresses that guidance should be sought from the Islamic sacred values and principles of good and tolerance and take its methods and instructions into consideration for school syllabuses and education with due respect to all other heavenly religions and faiths. 4. The state of law The conference expresses unanimous agreement that chaos, blind revenge and any other form of lawlessness which may tend to prevail in the future environment of Iraq under whatever pretext, must not be allowed. All cases should be brought to judicial authorities and internal and international courts through the law and justice. All cases of violations of civil rights; such as confiscation of property, violation of rights and all criminal offences and political crimes including the crimes of ethnic genocide, ethnic cleansing, massacres and war crimes, supported by evidence, shall be brought to court. 5. Political decision-making The conference resolves that all the constituent elements of the Iraqi people; Arabs, Kurds, Turkomans, Assyrians, Chaldeans and others, and Muslims and Christians, Sunnis, Shišis and Yezidis, and other believers in heavenly religions, should participate in the political decision-making. 6. Rejection of all attempts to trample upon the will of the Iraqi people to achieve change The conference asks the international community to support the Iraqi people to become liberated from the dictatorial regime. At the same time, the conference rejects all forms such as occupation, internal or external military rule, external mandate and regional interference and stresses the need to respect the sovereignty of Iraq, the independence of neighboring countries and the principles of good neighborliness, regional cooperation, non interference in other countriesš affairs; and commitment to all the pledges, statements and agreements which have been approved by the international community. Above all the UN Charter, the international charter for human rights and all the international conventions and agreements relating to them, as well as commitment to the Arab League and the Conference of the Islamic organization. 7. Sectarian problem and eradication of its effects Throughout the past history of Iraq and especially under the current regime, we in Iraq, as other sections of Iraqi community, have been subjected to oppression; violence; repression; discrimination; and denial of civil, political, national, cultural and social rights. This has destroyed the social balance in the country and greatly jeopardized national unity and the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness, and has led to the predominance of repression, special institutions and the use of deception and falsehood to impose power on the Iraqi society with all its peoples and colors, and its Shiši majority. As a result, the Iraqi people have lost one of the most important elements of their unity, thus paving the way for dictatorial, racial and sectarian policies which harm all the Iraqi people. Therefore, the conference believes that all the policies of sectarian discrimination must be prohibited as soon as possible, and respect accorded to the legitimate rights of the Shiši which have been denied so far. The conference condemns the policy of aggression against the religious seminary authorities of Shiši (Hawza Ilmiya) and interference in their affairs, their containment and compulsory appointment and imposition [of their religious guides]. It also condemns the murder of their grand religious guides and their families and religious sources of emulation, and the imprisonment and torture of thousands of others whom we do not have the opportunity to list here. The conference also condemns the policies of aggression against Shiši religious seminary institutions of Al-Najaf al-Ashraf and other holy cities, the destruction of mosques and husayniyas, Islamic centers, libraries and the banning of books, censorship and banning of Shiši religious processions and the destruction of Shiši-populated towns and villages and homes, the draining of their areas, their deportation and bringing other citizens and settling them in their places, expressing skepticism regarding their Arab and Iraqi belonging, the deportation of non-Arab Shišis and denying them their Iraqi citizenship and withdrawing their Iraqi passports, taking away their children and confiscating their property. The conference believes that the new constitution of Iraq must guarantee that these violations shall not be repeated and that all the constituent elements of the Iraqi people shall be protected without discrimination. 8. About the genocide attacks of Halabjah and Anfal The conference condemns all the racial injustice, oppression and ethnic cleansing which the Iraqi regime has carried out premeditatively on the people of Iraqi Kurdistan, particularly genocide and Anfal operations which affected 180,000 people, 8,000 Barzanis, 5,000 Faylis and 5,000 people of Halabjah, and the destruction of thousands of towns and villages, all of which moved the conscience of people all over the world. While the conference demands putting an end to this heinous policy, it stresses the need to find out about the fate of the victims, honor them, compensate their families, rebuild the destroyed villages and towns and prosecute those who committed these crimes in international courts. 9. About deportations, ethnic cleansing and change of national identity The conference condemns all forms of deportations, ethnic cleansing, the use of chemical weapons and forced change of national identity, especially the changing of the national character of the areas of Kirkuk, Makhmur, Khanaqin, Sinjar, Shekhan, Zimar and Mandali, and so on. The conference demands that all the effects of this policy be eradicated once for all in the following way: a. The return of the deportees to their homes and areas, the return of all their property and possessions, and compensating them for loss and damages. b. The return of those people brought by the regime to be settled and replace the deportees to their previous areas and homes. c. The return of the Fayli Kurds and all the Iraqis whom the regime deported outside Iraq under the pretext that they were of Iranian origin, and unjustly took away their citizenship rights from them, and securing their Iraqi citizenship for them, the return of their property and possessions, and uncovering the fate of the Faylis who have disappeared since 1980 and compensating them. d. Abolishing all the administrative changes implemented by the regime since 1968 with the purpose of changing the demographic reality of Iraqi Kurdistan. 10. Federalism and the resolution of Kurdish question Upon examining the Kurdish question and the ways of settling it, the conference stressed again the plurality and diversity of the Iraqi society as regards to ethnicity, sect, and political organization, and also stressed the consolidation of national unity and to achieve this through complete equality among all the citizens. By considering the resolutions and recommendations of Salah-al-Din conference, the subsequent meetings of the opposition in Washington in August 2002 and the adoption of the National Assembly of Iraqi Kurdistan of a complete federalism bill in its session on 7 October 2002, the conference expressed its respect for the people of Kurdistan and the free will of people of Kurdistan to choose proper and appropriate methods for their partnership with the people of one country. The conference debated the experiences of federal systems and concluded that it is an appropriate system of government for Iraq, which must be taken cognizance of as a basis for the resolution of the Kurdish problem within the framework of Iraqi constitutional institutions after the end of the dictatorial Saddam regime and anticipated changes in Iraq. In this respect the conference reiterated the unity of Iraqi land and coexistence among its peoples on the basis of voluntary union. The conference also reaffirms the just and legitimate demands of the people of Kurdistan for uprooting all forms of oppression and repression on the basis of international law which affords them the right of self determination and affirms fraternity, unity and partnership in one country. 11. The rights of Turkomans The conference debated the racism and ethnic cleansing carried out against the Turkomans and stresses the importance of guaranteeing their equality with others and agrees to grant them their ethnic, cultural and administrative rights within a defined legal framework and to protect these rights constitutionally. 12. The rights of Assyrians The conference debated the injustice and national oppression exercised against the Assyrians and stresses the importance of guaranteeing their equality with others and agrees to grant them their ethnic, cultural and administrative rights within a defined legal framework, and to protect these rights constitutionally. 13. The marshlands (Ahwar) catastrophe Ahwar areas have suffered a great humanitarian and environmental disaster which has caused the drying up of a large area of the marshlands, the destruction of the topography and cutting off the source of livelihood of the population, the viability of life in these areas and the deportation tens of thousands of the population. The new government of Iraq must pay a special attention to these areas to ensure the return of their population, compensating them and supporting them for the revival of the area and fulfilling the requirement of a happy life for them. 14. About the unjust laws and decisions The conference demands the suspension and abolition of all the racist laws and decrees which the regime has decreed against the Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians, and its sectarian decrees against the Shišis. 15. About the experience in the Iraqi Kurdistan region The conference highly appreciates the experience in Iraqi Kurdistan in areas of freedom, democracy and reconstruction. This is an evidence of that proven reality that the Iraqis can be creative and constructive if they are free from dictatorship. The conference believes that it is possible to benefit from this experience as an advanced step on the path of the anticipated democratic transformation in Iraq and for the resolution of differences through fraternal dialogue and the uprooting of the use of violence in political action. The conference calls for supporting and protecting this experience and dealing with its legally-elected institutions until a new federal constitution is prepared for the country, including the Kurdistan region, and the forces of peshmerga [Kurdish militia] shall be integrated within the Iraqi army. 16. Security apparatuses The conference blames the regime for the mass killing of thousands of Iraqis and physical liquidation of thousands of citizens, political and scientific cadres and army officers. The conference again stresses the need for uncovering the truth about every crime and prosecuting those responsible in a legal way. The conference deems it imperative that all the repressive apparatuses which the regime has created for the intimidation and repression of Iraqi citizens be dismantled and a new security body be established in a way that will protect rights of citizenship, human rights and the security of the country in accordance with the law. 17. Army and armed forces The participants reaffirmed the importance of rebuilding the military institutions and armed forces in a proper professional and patriotic way away from internal conflict, militarization of society and sectarian and racist policies; elimination of the weapons of mass destruction projects and of every weapon banned internationally, putting an end to the use of the army for internal repression and external aggression and confining the role of the army to the defence and reconstruction of the country. 18. Economic conditions and eradicating the effects of destructive wars The conference holds the present regime responsible for the economic collapse, the deterioration of the living standards and social security experienced in Iraq today as a result of its destructive wars and forcing millions of people to leave their country. The conference urges the countries which host Iraqi exiles and refugees to take care of them and offer them refuge and facilities. The conference also holds the present regime responsible historically, morally and legally for starting two wars against two neighbors of Iraq - Iran and Kuwait. It calls for cooperation by both countries for the freeing of the prisoners of war and detainees, eliminating the accumulated effects of that abnormal period and preventing the use of Iraqi territory for hostility against other countries. The conference also calls on the international community, fraternal and friendly countries and international institutions and organizations to support Iraq during its transitional period within the framework of a comprehensive project to erase the effects of this tragic period. To achieve this. the conference stresses the need for these planned arrangements: - collection of a substantial Iraqi, regional and international income. - Allowing Iraq to reach its maximum capacity for the export of oil - negotiation with countries which have large debts to Iraq to settle the debt problem and the accumulated interest. - Asking the international community, particularly the friendly countries, to free Iraqšs frozen assets abroad and help us to uncover the wealth of Saddam and those involved with him and confiscate their companies and accounts in all countries as the public property of the Iraqi people. - The conference calls upon the new government to review all the oil, commercial and economic agreements which Iraq has signed since 1991 with foreign companies and countries as regards of legal status and the extent of consideration for Iraqi interests in these agreements. - The conference calls upon the new government to cooperate particularly with Iran and Kuwait for the freeing of the prisoners of war and detainees from both sides and ending all the negative effects. 19. The oil-for-food program The conference believes that it is necessary to protect the oil-for-food program which ensures food, medicine and rebuilding economic life for the Iraqi people and to endeavor to address the negative aspects of the program until such a time when the resolutions of the Security Council are reviewed and a new appropriate plan is devised by the new government to ensure a dignified life for the people, especially the poor classes and those with low and limited income. Also, development plans and equitable allocation of revenue to all the regions throughout Iraq must be carefully considered. 20. A new nationality law The participants resolve that a new humane contemporary law must be created for granting nationality which will abolish all types of classification of Iraqi citizens that aim at depriving them of their nationality rights. Efforts should be made after the end of the current regime for all Iraqi exiles to return to Iraq and deal with the accumulated negative effects of this inhumane policy. 21. Facilitating the return of Iraqi migrants, deportees and refugees The participants resolve that the authorities of the transitional period should provide immediate facilities for the millions of Iraqi emigrants and refuges in exile and prepare necessary facilities for them to return to their country to participate in its reconstruction, and to return their property and possessions to them and compensate them for the loss they have suffered. 22. The role of scientific and academic talents The participants called upon academic groups, and Iraqi experts and scientists and all those who have a high degree of scientific competence to offer their skills, expertise and services for current and future revival and development plans until the end of the current regime. The conference salutes the Iraqi martyrs of freedom and expresses its support for tens of thousands of political prisoners and their families who have been spending many years of their lives within the prison walls of the regime. The conference also salutes all our families in any part and piece of Iraq and expresses its pride in their struggle and steadfastness. Alliance Internationale pour la Justice Tel: +33.1.48.00.03.20 Fax: +33.1.48.00.03.30 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web : http://www.i-a-j.org The International Alliance for Justice (AIJ) coordinates a network of 275 international NGOšs from more than 120 countries calling for the establishment of an International Ad Hoc Tribunal for the Iraqi leadershipšs crimes against humanity, crimes of war and genocide. http://www.kurdmedia.com/reports.asp?id=1220 * THE IRAQI PEOPLE DO NOT TRUST AMERICAN POLICY Speech by Dr Mahmoud Osman to the Iraqi Opposition Conference (London 14-16 December 2002) KurdishMedia.com, 9th January Ladies and gentlemen, Firstly, I would like to thank the preparatory committee for inviting me to this conference and for giving me the chance to speak. I appreciate your efforts to stage this meeting despite the difficulties that were encountered as a result of the initial non-expansion of the committee and its restriction to the group of six who visited Washington last summer. There were also disagreements among some parties over their share of the number of delegates, which led on more than one occasion to the interference of outside players, mainly US officials, to try to resolve the situation. These problems led to the increase in the number of delegates at the expense of quality and also to the non-participation of some qualified people because they are not linked to one of the groups running the conference. For this reason, we should not expect that key issues will be adequately discussed nor fundamental problems solved in the two days of this gathering. We do however hope that this event will be a successful one and we will work for that success-to find common ground and achieve results that help the struggle to end dictatorship and realize democracy in a future Iraq. The Kurds came here united, in order to play a full role in the success of the conference but also to explain their case-their demands and just aspirations in a future Iraq-and to work for their entrenchment in the conference documents. We have heard many speeches today from Iraqis and from guests. I do not want to repeat what was said before me or speak in a theoretical way. I would rather concentrate on the practical side and draw to your attention two main issues that are related to the current period of change, which I think should be discussed now before jumping to the post-Saddam era. Change and the situation in Iraq The Iraqi opposition has held many conferences since 1990 - in 1991, 1992, 1999 etc. In each one of these gatherings, the discussions concentrated on the approach to the overthrow of the Baghdad regime by Washington. But none of that happened and the policy of containment by the US continued. Today, this conference is being held in the post-September 11th era and the talk of Washingtonšs determination to end this regime has become serious. In fact, many people have a deep conviction that regime change has become inevitable; it is what many US officials have been saying openly and in private. It goes without saying that the people of Iraq support regime change, because of their incomparable suffering at the hands of the current authorities and also because there are no indications that the mentality and the policies of this regime will ever change. Such a change is very important for the Kurds specifically, because of their long suffering at the hands of this regime and also because of their long struggle to bring about democracy in Iraq. Their experience with this regime has taught them that there are no prospects for it to change. The people of Iraq know that all the tragedies that have befallen them as a result of repression and external and internal wars have been caused by this regimešs policies. The same could be said for the forthcoming war, if it takes place. Hence they are for regime change. Here, I would like to mention two points that are related to the US role and its campaign for regime change. A. The credibility of this act The Iraqi people have an extremely negative experience with US policy in Iraq. The US helped the current regime to come to power in July 1968 and strongly helped it in the Iraq Iran War (1980 -1988). The US also let the Iraqi people down in their popular uprising of 1991, which enabled the regime to crush the uprising and remain in power. In March 1995, Washington withdrew its support 48 hours before the start of the coup attempt in which the US was supposed to help the Iraqi National Congress and others. Its disinterest in the suffering of the Iraqi people and their tragedies can also be seen in its neglect of Security Council Resolution 688 and in its policy of dual containment. This put the Iraqi people in the same box as Saddam Husseinšs regime without paying any attention to what Saddam Hussein was doing to the Iraqi people inside the box, and also ignoring his grave violations of human rights. As a result of all of the above, the Iraqi people do not trust American policy and are not sure whether Washington will really end the regime this time - and if not, whether they will again be left in the middle. B. The way of change and the USšs justifications for the necessity of change. President Bush addressed the United Nations in September 2002 and spoke about 16 breaches by the Iraqi regime. Among these breaches were: UN Security Council Resolution 688; Human Rights; the use of chemical weapons; the massacres against the Kurds; the sectarian and ethnic repression in Iraq; the policy of ethnic cleansing in Iraqi Kurdistan; the regimešs possession of weapons of mass destruction; and also other aspects of the regimešs policy towards the people of Iraq. The speech was received positively by the Iraqi people. Nowadays, however, Washington only talks about the weapons of mass destruction and is waiting for the inspectors to discover them. They are silent about the other points. I will repeat here what I have said on many other occasions in the past. This regime, which has buried around 200,000 people alive during the Anfal campaign (to this day we do not know where their mass graves are), can easily hide chemical and biological weapons, especially given the fact that it has had a four-year period in which to do so. The inspectors wonšt find anything, unless they have concrete information on the weaponsš whereabouts. The mentality of this regime and its policies are the real weapons of mass destruction. The only solution is to get rid of it. Furthermore, the crimes of genocide that this regime has committed in Kurdistan, the marshes and other areas, and also its terrorism inside and outside the country, are enough to indict the leaders of this regime as war criminals. We have been calling for this for the past three decades. But the United States, the Soviet Union and later Russia, and the European countries didnšt listen to our demands because of their own interests and chose to ignore the suffering of the Iraqi people at the hands of this regime. An important question poses itself here. Will the Iraqi peoplešs right to self determination and their right to choose their representatives freely be guaranteed after the change? I think that one of the main duties of this conference and the committee that will emerge from it is to secure this right for the people of Iraq and to work to prevent the imposition of another dictatorship or dictator on them, either from inside or outside. Discussions should also concentrate on the transitional period that will immediately follow the change. All traces of the regimešs destructive policy over the past 34 years should be removed. The Kurdish, Turkoman and Assyrian victims of the governmentšs ethnic cleansing should return to their homes. Those who have been expelled should be repatriated. Furthermore, the more than three million Iraqi refugees who were forced to leave their country as a result of this regimešs policies should also be allowed to return to their country. This is in addition to promoting tolerance, national reconciliation, dialogue, the prohibition of vengeance and the removal of the effects of the regimešs dangerous policies on the economy, culture, education and other aspects of life for the people of Iraq. The international community should also be asked to lift the sanctions on Iraq because a future government should not be punished for the crimes of Saddam Husseinšs regime. Normalization is necessary at this stage in order set up a constitution and hold elections to build a democratic, federal and pluralistic Iraq where the rights and freedoms of its people are guaranteed. 2. The change and the Kurdish issue. The Kurds did not manage to build relations with Washington throughout their long history of struggle that dates back to the 1960s and until 1991. Between 1972 and 1975 some limited and secret relations were established but they were quickly ended by the Algiers accord. This agreement, which victimized the Kurds, was signed between Iran and Iraq on 5 March, 1975 with the blessing of the United States. Later, and until 1991, the US government supported Saddam Husseinšs regime, especially between 1980 and 1988 during the Iraq-Iran war when they and some European countries, the Soviet Union and some countries of the eastern bloc gave strong support to Saddam Hussein. At a time when Saddam Hussein was committing his crimes and using chemical weapons, he was enjoying the full support of Washington. While in Washington in 1989, I, as a representative of the Iraqi Kurdistan Front, tried for a whole month to meet anybody in the US administration to tell them about the crimes that were being committed against us in Kurdistan. But I was openly told that they did not want to see me because of their good relations with Baghdad. In 1991, the popular uprising of the people of Kurdistan was crushed with the agreement and help of the US government and the people of Kurdistan were forced to flee to the mountains. The mass exodus forced the Kurdish leadership to return to Baghdad for "negotiations" that reached a dead end. Although the establishment of the safe haven in 1991 was an important step by the United States and the United Kingdom and the continued protection is vital for the people of Kurdistan, the safe haven only includes two-thirds of Kurdistan. The other third is being subjected to a systematic policy of Arabization in full view of the US and other countries which are taking no measures to stop them. In 1995, the US let the Kurds and others down at the last minute and left them without any support. This led to the increase in their internal disputes and the US played no serious role in trying to solve them. This subsequently led to the direct intervention by Baghdad in 1996 and also to Iranian and Turkish interventions, again without the US doing anything to stop them. The Kurds, who came to this conference with all their weight, know that the Iraqi issue has been internationalized since 1991 and know that change is necessary. They also know that to bring about that change it needs outside support, especially that of the US and the UK. But they have legitimate fears of not receiving guarantees for their rights, their future, and their demands. These can be summarized as: taking an active part in government in Baghdad; an active participation in the Iraqi decision-making process; having a federal relationship between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan; effective protection from any reprisals by Saddam now and during the process of change; and protection against intervention by neighbouring countries especially Turkey. Here, I would like to mention three examples of our legitimate fears: 1. Who would guarantee that a secret agreement between the US and Turkey would not emerge from the forthcoming war at the expense of the Kurds? Taking into account the negative stance of Turkey towards our people, who would guarantee that a Turkish military intervention would not occur and would lead to an Iranian intervention, too? 2. The people of Kurdistan-Kurds, Turkomans and Assyrians-could face reprisals from Saddam Hussein using chemical weapons. We hear promises of protection against an attack, but we have not received any protective gear against chemical and biological weapons. All this at a time when countries like Israel, Kuwait and others which face the same threat are being supplied with the required protective equipment. We even heard a few days ago that protective gear has been provided for dogs and cats in Israel. 3. The policy of Arabization has been continuing for decades against the people of Kurdistan. While the international community waged a war in Yugoslavia to stop ethnic cleansing, it is doing nothing to stop this campaign in Iraqi Kurdistan. The people of Kurdistan are wondering whether there will be assurances to end this policy and reverse its effects and repatriate the internally displaced people. These points indicate that there are no real assurances for the people of Kurdistan and their political and economic stability in the future. Hence they fear the possibility of not finding a lasting democratic settlement to their issue, which has been outstanding since the establishment of the Iraqi state. An active Kurdish participation in Baghdad would provide an element of unity, strength, stability and moderation in Iraq. Furthermore, it would be an important factor in combating terrorism -taking into account the Kurdish movementšs history in so far as they have never resorted to terrorism to reach their objectives. Others should not be afraid of Kurdish participation. They, Iraqis and non-Iraqis, who are concerned for the future of Iraq, should in fact support Kurdish participation in power in Baghdad. The people of Kurdistan have been asking for federalism for the past decade. This was only for reasons of providing assurances on the Kurdish question, especially with the presence of non-constitutional and non-democratic governments in Iraq. The main reason for the change in the Kurdish demand from autonomy to federalism was to guarantee a legal formula for political, not administrative, decentralization and also to guarantee the rights of the people of Kurdistan within Iraq and the strengthening of the Iraqi national unity on a voluntary basis. Despite the fact that this federalism has an ethnic character, it is geographic because it will regulate the relationship between the region of Kurdistan and the centre and because Turkomans, Assyrians and Arabs do live in the Kurdistan region-and we would never accept achieving our objectives at their expense. They have rights that need to be respected in Kurdistan and in the rest of Iraq. We are being flexible and moderate in our demands. For example, on the most talked about issue of Kirkuk, and despite its location in the Kurdistan region according to many historical and geographical facts, we think that Kirkuk is a city of national fraternity between the Kurds, Arabs, Turkomans and Assyrians. It should have a joint administration. The oil revenues should go to the centre and the region should have a fair share of it. As far as deciding which group has the majority in Kirkuk and other areas, the Kurds believe that this would be decided in a free and fair census in Kirkuk and other areas after the removal of all traces of ethnic cleansing and the repatriation of those who were expelled from, and brought to, the Arabized areas. An important point to mention here is that Mr Zalmay Khalilzad, President Bushšs envoy, spoke in the afternoon session for 15 minutes. He failed to mention either the words "Kurd" or "Federalism" in his speech. This despite the fact that he had been sitting between the two Kurdish leaders Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani since the morning; and had been hearing the word "Federalism" dozens of times from the various other speeches. This can only suggest to us that the US does not support federalism and does not pay attention to the Kurdish issue, a factor that contributes to the growing Kurdish fears and anxiety. Despite this, we hope that the United States stands for what it promised and accepts the resolutions of this conference and takes them into account in their future plans for change in Iraq. Finally, I wish the conference success and hope that the spirit of democracy prevails in its work, especially in the discussion of the papers and in choosing the committees and other bodies. In taking our decisions, we should maintain our independence as much as we can and work to safeguard the interests of the people of Iraq, regardless of their ethnic, religious, and sectarian backgrounds. Here, we have to stress the need for dialogue and continuous contacts with the parties and groups that did not attend this conference in order to bring together all the opposition forces in the process of change. Had the opposition been united since 1990, it would have played the main role in changing the regime. During the last 12 important years, the opposition could not reach a united framework or platform. Currently and even if united, the opposition can only be a partner to the external powers in the process of change. If, however, we were not united, we would be completely marginalized and would have to accept any reality that might be created by the forthcoming events. Thank you for your attention. _______________________________________________ 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