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The following message is in two parts - a) Statement and b) Notes to Appendices. Tony Maturin, Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee. STATEMENT FROM WELLINGTON QUAKERS PEACE AND PUBLIC QUESTIONS COMMITTEE REGARDING THE SENDING OF NZ ARMY ENGINEERS TO IRAQ July 26, 2003. _________________________________________________ SUMMARY Saying Yes and Saying No. If we wish to affirm our upholding of the United Nations, we have to say a firm ‘No’ to all that does not accord with the United Nations Charter. This paper gives reasons for NOT sending army engineers to Iraq. Or, if they MUST be sent …………. 1. Army engineers would be acting under “The Authority”, which is widely resented in Iraq and against which there is rising organized armed resistance. 2. NZ army personnel would be perceived as helping a United States Administration which is under increasing suspicion of having used false pretences to justify an invasion of Iraq, and also widely seen as side-lining the United Nations in favour of unilateral action in pursuit of its own world agenda. We do not want this to happen. 3. The Iraqi people have a strong sense of national and cultural identity and are extremely wary of foreign control. They have all the expertise needed to repair the water and electricity reticulation systems. 4. However, we could, given the urgency of the situation and the shortage of materials make a useful contribution and follow Germany’s example in sending a team of civilian experts to assist the Iraqi people if they are willing to accept that (see notes to Appendices 7). 5. The statement below gives reasons why we should send a civilian group, with NZ Iraqi involvement. 6. The best good work NZ can do is to see that genuine sovereignty is returned to Iraq as soon as possible and that oil revenue stays in Iraqi hands. _______________________________________ STATEMENT Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee calls on the government to consider very carefully the following points before deploying Army personnel to Iraq. To our minds, to say that New Zealand, in sending a detachment of Army engineers to Iraq, is responding to United Nations resolution 1483 is not by itself sufficient justification for military personnel going to Iraq at this time. Our reading of United Nations Resolution 1483 seems to make it quite clear that any state contributing personnel, equipment or other resources to work in Iraq does so under the "Authority". Essential points for consideration: A. The pressure brought to bear on members of the Security Council in order to achieve Resolution 1483 has compromised its validity in the eyes of many. B. Account must be taken of the degree of resentment expressed by the Iraqi people against the invaders, and their determination to free Iraq from occupation, particularly occupation by US forces (see notes to Appendices 1 and 2). This resentment is fuelled not only by the injustice of the invasion/occupation itself, (see note to Appendix 3) and the concomitant destruction and deaths and mutilation of thousands of innocent people, but by years of sanctions and the manipulation of those sanctions by the US, (see note to Appendix 4) following the destruction during the 1991 bombardments. All of which has left a legacy of death, great suffering and grief and anger (see note to Appendices 5 and 6). C. The deeply felt national and cultural pride of the Iraqi people, and their determination not to be dominated by any invader has to be given due prominence in any planned aid. D. In the eyes of many, both within the U S and outside, the present US Administration has no business to be in Iraq; therefore, any country seen to be acting alongside the Authority’s forces could be seen as supporting an illegal and invasive regime. E. Not only that, but the fact that within the US itself there are moves afoot to have the president impeached highlights the need for caution before seeking closer involvement with the present Administration. F. It is most important to look back to the US Defense Policy Guidance Draft of 1992, and not to put it aside as some kind of “conspiracy theory” (see notes to Appendix 7). If New Zealanders going to Iraq are seen by the Iraqi people as in any way supporting, or connected to the US and UK occupying powers, they will inevitably be seen as the enemy, and as validating US intention to control Iraq's oil. As such they will lay themselves open to armed attack by the organized Iraqi militant groups who seek to oust the invaders. Especially in Europe and amongst the millions throughout the world who protested the US/UK invasion, our country's reputation as a justice-seeking nation flies out of the window. ___________________________ If, however, the army engineers are still sent …………. 1. Early contact should be made with Arab media and influential Iraqi people, so that the work can be done under some kind of civilian mandate and publicly informed understanding of their non- aligned purpose. 2. They will need to be accompanied by interpreters at all times. Tragic atrocities have been committed by occupation troops because this essential detail was neglected 3. Clothing will play a significant role. The New Zealanders' clothes should both reflect the non-fighting nature of the work they are going to do, and firmly separate them in people's minds from the occupying powers. We suggest either non-military uniform, or, better still, mufti. 4. They should be un-armed. 5. They will need to be billeted either under the United Nations umbrella or in their own, entirely separate quarters. 6. We recommend that Iraqi New Zealand citizens be invited to participate, as interpreters and for their expertise in other areas, e.g. medicine, agriculture, engineering etc.. 7. Advice regarding cultural differences should be sought from Iraqis living in New Zealand. Many of them see this kind of bridge- building as part of their cultural responsibility, and they could save New Zealand getting trapped in impossible circumstances through misunderstandings and insensitivity to Iraqi culture. New Zealanders are generally respected and liked in Iraq. But that in itself is not enough. It must be remembered that Iraq had not only constructed a modern infrastructure of hospitals, education, communications, water, sewerage and electricity reticulation etc., but has also developed great expertise in living and running their country under the severe restrictions of the sanctions. As one woman editor of an English language newspaper in Baghdad put it, "oil is not Iraq's only resource you know". The US "Authority", in its zeal not to allow members of the Ba'ath party roles in the re-building of Iraq, did not take into account the fact that much of the expertise in administering the country was in the hands of men and women who were involuntary members of the party. Even though that expertise is still there, albeit needing security and resources, we think that because of the dire straights Iraq is in, NZ could very well make a useful contribution. New Zealand already has a place in playing both a mediatory and a justice-seeking role in world affairs, and careful, and above all, independent work in Iraq could be a useful part of that. The US and UK contingents in Iraq now should be there making amends for damage done, as in restorative justice principles. And while being part of the international effort to get the country back on its feet is a very good thing to be doing, the basic principles must be carefully examined. Probably the best good work NZ can do is to see that genuine sovereignty is returned to Iraq as soon as possible and that oil revenue stays in Iraqi hands. We call on the government to consider very carefully the above points before deploying Army personnel to Iraq. Tony Maturin, For Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee. 4 Hoggard St., Vogeltown, Wellington 6002. Ph. 389-4715. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org ____________________________________________________ Notes From Appendices – the full text of each is available on request. Armed resistance: 1. Baghdad: Quds Press: “A Nasserist political organization in Iraq has declared that it has decided to form a military wing to participate in the resistance to the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq. The Command Council of the Nasserist Organization in Iraq said in a statement that, in accordance with resolutions of the extraordinary meeting of the Regional Command, and in confirmation of the need for Nasserist forces in Iraq to participate in the operations of the resistance to the hated Anglo-American occupation, a Special Military Council had been formed with the name Liberation Group which will follow the political direction of the Nasserist organization and which will constitute one of the armed popular resistance organizations acting against the invaders”. 2. MARSH ARABS THREATEN TO RESIST 'ARMY OF OCCUPATION' by Patrick Cockburn in Majar al-Kabir The Independent, 27th June “On the edge of the Iraqi marshlands, guerrillas who fought Saddam Hussein's regime for years say they fear that Britain and the United States want to take away their weapons so that they can occupy Iraq for many years. “Al Sayyid Kadum al-Hashimi is a leader in the town of Majar al- Kabir, south of Amara, where six British soldiers were killed on Tuesday. He said yesterday: "It is the belief of people here, and it is believed by all other Iraqis, that the British want to disarm us so they can stay for a long time." “Guerrillas who resisted the Iraqi army for almost two decades, hiding out in the great reed beds of the Iraqi marshes, which Saddam tried to dry up by cutting drainage canals, say they are also prepared to fight against a permanent occupation by the US and Britain.” The Occupation 3. "And now, they're laying there and I have to help them, I have a responsibility to ensure my men help them." Cpl Richardson said: "S***, I didn't help any of them. I wouldn't help the f******. There were some you let die. And there were some you double-tapped." “Cpl Richardson added: "That day nothing went with the training. There were females fighting; there were some that, when they saw you f****** coming, they'd just drop their s*** and try to give up; and some guys were shot and they'd play dead, and when you'd go by they'd reach for their weapons. That day it was just f****** everything. When we face women or injured that try to grab their weapons, we just finish them off. You've gotta, no choice”” (By Bob Graham, Evening Standard, in Baghdad 19 June 2003).” Manipulation of sanctions 4.”In early 2001, the United States had placed holds on $280 million in medical supplies, including vaccines to treat infant hepatitis, tetanus, and diphtheria, as well as incubators and cardiac equipment... “.........the United States announced that it would lift holds on $800 million of contracts, of which $200 million involved business with key Security Council members. A few weeks later, the United States lifted holds on $80 million of Chinese contracts with Iraq, including some for radio equipment and other goods that had been blocked because dual-use concerns. “In the end, China and France agreed to support the U.S. proposal. But Russia did not, and immediately after Russia vetoed it, the United States placed holds on nearly every contract that Iraq had with Russian Companies (Joy Gordon, Fairfield University).” The Invasion – cluster bombs 5. “An independent research organisation has published detailed evidence of at least 200 civilians killed by coalition cluster bombs since the start of the Iraq War. The research team has updated its estimates on a daily basis by adding to a constantly growing on- line data-base which now reports over 100 separate incidents involving up to 2700 civilian deaths in total. “Among these incidents are included reliable reports of at least 200 civilian deaths due to cluster bombs, with up to a further 172 deaths which were probably caused by cluster bombs. Of these 372 deaths, 147 have been caused by detonation of unexploded or "dud" munitions, with around half this number being children. “Many of the press reports from which the data have been extracted contain graphic eyewitness details of injuries and mutilations confirmed by doctors as being typical of cluster bombs, including dismemberment and decapitation, and the riddling of the body with deep shrapnel wounds (On Iraq Body Count Letterhead).” Baghdad now 6. “After a week in a private home, I’m beginning to understand the frustration of Iraqi life: managing without electricity for twelve hours a day, as temperatures soar into the 100s; going without water because an electrical power surge fried the water pump; or purchasing perishables one day, only to throw them out the next for lack of refrigeration. Candles are romantic until you’re forced to depend on them for light. With no telephone service, there is no communication with neighbors, friends, or family. “Our neighbors, like people throughout the area, are taking additional precautions. Several days ago, a stone wall was erected at the end of our street. When I asked a neighbor about it, he simply stated that it keeps us more secure. Looking tired, he added, “I can finally sleep.” “At 2 a.m., coalition soldiers were out in the street, cursing and pointing their M-16s at the heads of two men prone on the ground. The men, highly regarded, have lived across the street with neighboring families for eight years, working as “registered” night watchmen. Their responsibilities include the (mandated) guarding of a UN employees’ home. When neighbors came out of their homes to investigate, the soldiers screamed at them to stay indoors. This is also life under occupation (AFSC report).” 7. “The German government will support reconstruction in Iraq with civilian assistance,” Interior Minister Otto Schilly said in a statement. “The quick elimination of the shortages that unfortunately still exist in water and electricity supplies is of great significance to ensure the internal stabilization and internal rebuilding of Iraq,” he said (Berlin AP).” US Defense Planning Guidelines 8. “Defense Planning Guidance for the 2004-2009 Fiscal Years, Office of the Secretary of Defense, 2002. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful. “The Plan is disturbing in many ways, and ultimately unworkable. Yet it is being sold now as an answer to the "new realities" of the post-September 11 world, even as it was sold previously as the answer to the new realities of the post-Cold War world. “It was essential to create "the sense that the world order is ultimately backed by the U.S." and essential that America position itself "to act independently when collective action cannot be orchestrated" or in crisis situations requiring immediate action. "While the U.S. cannot become the world's `policeman,'" the document said, "we will retain the preeminent responsibility for addressing selectively those wrongs which threaten not only our interests, but those of our allies or friends." Among the interests the draft indicated the United States would defend in this manner were "access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism” (David Armstrong, Harpers Magazine Oct 2002). “ _______________________________________________ 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