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[casi] NZ army engineers to Iraq

The following message is in two parts - a) Statement and b) Notes
to Appendices.

Tony Maturin,
Wellington Quakers Peace and Public Questions Committee.




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

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

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.


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

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.,
Wellington 6002.
Ph. 389-4715.


Notes From Appendices – the full text of each is available on

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”.

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

“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). “

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