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[casi] AFSC Work in Iraq

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Friends -

                A recent distribution asked about organizations doing work in
Iraq which might qualify for CASI funds.  You may want to consider the
American Friends Service Committee.  A recent report from them on their current work
in Iraq is pasted below.

Fred Dettmer

Campaign of Conscience for the Iraqi People
Campaign Update

In This Issue:

- Stay Tuned to the Big Picture
- Aftermath: The Human Face of War
- Help Remove the Debt
- Report: The Unproven Case for War
- AFSC Examines Conditions in Iraq
- AFSC Health Kits

Stay Tuned to the Big Picture
Many people in the international community, the media, and the U.S.
Congress are challenging the pretexts for  war against Iraq. Iraq's
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is now seen as an exaggerated
threat. We have not seen adequate concern for the people of Iraq and
their safety.

On May 22, 2003, the UN Security Council legalized the occupation of
Iraq by approving Resolution 1483. The United States and United
Kingdom, referred to as the "Authority," were given control over
Iraq’s resources and a mandate to govern Iraq until a new government
is established.

Most Iraqis are grateful to the United States for deposing the
regime and understand the necessity of the U.S. military presence.
However, as U.S. tanks and Humvees step up patrols on Saddoun and
Karata streets, some Iraqis ask: "When will we have the promised
security? What comes next?” The occupying powers have shown little
commitment to a broadly democratic process that uses Iraqi voices.

In this newsletter and at the AFSC website (see below), watch for
reports from our staff in Iraq, providing eyewitness accounts and
analysis of on-the-ground realities.

The AFSC's humanitarian relief focuses on water projects and
delivery of emergency medicines: We link these efforts to advocacy
campaigns to change U.S. policy. One component will be grassroots
education to encourage participation in the 2004 election.

To do this, we need your support.

Go to AFSC website

Aftermath: The Human Face of War
The Human Face of War is an alternative information web site,
created and updated by the AFSC. It focuses on the humanitarian
crisis caused by the war on Iraq. Although President Bush has
declared that “major combat” has ended in Iraq, the war continues.
Check these pages for updates on AFSC relief efforts in Iraq,
political commentary, and eyewitness accounts from our staff.

Some issues we will track: Will the U.S. military occupation remove
the measures that damaged Iraq’s economy under sanctions? What
initiatives will be employed to address Iraqis’ fears of occupation
and mistrust from years of sanctions?

See our latest report

Help Remove the Debt
The people of Iraq face a crushing debt, estimated to be $65 billion
to $120 billion. In addition, the United Nations-controlled
sanctions compensation fund could demand an additional $50 billion
to pay for damage Iraq caused during the 1991 war.

To address this, Working for Change has launched a letter-writing
campaign on behalf of Jubilee USA.  It calls for eliminating the
debt incurred by the government of Saddam Hussein. 

“This will go a long way towards rebuilding a nation broken by
decades of sanctions and war. Debt cancellation for Germany was a
significant part of the Marshall Plan, which helped them [Germany]
to become a strong and prosperous democracy post-WWII and can aid
Iraq as well. If Iraq is ever truly to be a peaceful and prosperous
democracy, its citizens must be allowed to start anew. . . ."

Send a letter to Treasury Secretary Snow

Report: The Unproven Case for War
A report from a project of the Fourth Freedom Forum and the Joan B.
Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of
Notre Dame describes the controversy sparked by failure of U.S. and
British forces in Iraq to find evidence of weapons of mass
destruction: "Two contending explanations have been offered for why
the Bush administration made apparently questionable claims about
weapons of mass destruction. The first alleges an intelligence
failure. The best analysts in the CIA simply had no foolproof way of
discerning what Saddam had. They gave the administration a
wide-ranging set of estimates, from benign to worst-case, and,.. the
president’s advisors adopted the worst-case scenario. The second
claim, more odious in form and substance, is that the administration
inflated and manipulated uncertain data to make the case for war to
the American people and the world community.”

The Fourth Freedom Forum is a useful source of information about

See the full report

AFSC Examines Conditions in Iraq
Last month three staff members traveled in Iraq to assess needs and
recommend next steps. They found dire conditions, with urgent need
for a coordinated international response. They also saw cause for
hope in actions of individual Iraqis and religious groups, and in
the emergence of civil society. Sadly, the enormity of need
threatens to overwhelm positive developments before they can take
root and grow.

This summary of findings and recommendations builds on observations
of Tareq el Bakri, Middle East regional AFSC coordinator in Amman,
Jordan, and Rick McDowell and Mary Trotochaud, Iraq country
representatives, who will be establishing an AFSC presence in
Baghdad. Beginning this month, AFSC will have two Quaker
International Affairs Representatives (QIARs) based in Amman, Jason
Erb and Noha Bakr.

See AFSC Trip Assessment Report

AFSC Health Kits
Thank you to everybody.

The collection of health kits -– destined for Iraqis affected by the
war -- is a tangible people-to-people campaign. The number of people
touched by this effort is represented not only in kits collected but
the ripple effect of collective action. A letter from Amherst
College highlights this: "424 Amhurst College students did not eat
at the dining hall on April 16th, contributing their fees to the
Iraq Relief Kit Fund.”

A Girl Scout troop in Nashville, Tennessee, gathered kits to satisfy
service requirements of the club. Faith communities held
fundraisers, and a great number of schools' classroom projects
featured kits collection.

I am happy to report that almost 20,000 kits were collected and sent
to Iraq.

See delivery report of emergency medicines

Campaign Updates are edited by Peter Lems and Melissa Elliott
AFSC Iraq Peace Building Program
1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102
phone: 215-241-7170; fax: 215-241-7177
Join the Campaign of Conscience on the web.

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