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[casi] The big issue for CASI not yet addressed directly

Dear all

The issue is not really about being on topic or off topic. It seems to
me that the big issue for CASI not yet addressed directly is what
outcome people on the list want to see.

During the sanctions, people on the list were divided over the reasons
they were opposed to the sanctions, but they were still united in
opposition to them. CASI's broad unity in opposing the sanctions has
now gone, because there is a division between
1. those who want the occupation to fail to give US imperialism a
bloody nose, either even if it costs Iraqis a great deal or because
they think that it will be best for Iraqis in the long run. They see
the attacks on the US, UN, ICRC etc as legitimate efforts at
liberation, and see damage to humanitarian efforts as a necessary part
of that struggle.
2. those who do not like the occupation but hope that the violence
of both sides will end as soon as possible and want reconstruction
efforts to work and to be shaped as far as possible in the interests of
the Iraqi people.

I put myself in the second category. Of course, there are other ways of
constructing the divide, and mine is certainly not neutral. But a
profound divide of some sort like this is there. I wonder if CASI can
really keep going with this divide. I have to say I doubt it. The
feedback I have had from outside people (academic, international
organisation and government) who lurk is that the list has gone way
downhill since the war. Maybe that should count for nothing or even
should be welcomed, but I do not think so.

The spirit of CASI lay in nonviolent support for the people of Iraq,
not easy ground to hold with the prospect of a war which at
the very least many Iraqis now welcome as a war of liberation, but CASI
was right to hold it. CASI needs to be about continuing to help shape
nonviolent support for the people of Iraq. Still not easy ground to
hold - on the one side, there are real arguments to made about the
right to resist with force an illegal occupation which uses often
indiscriminate force and disappearances, on the other real arguments to
be made about how force might be used effectively against those who
organise attacks on the UN, Red Cross and Iraqi civilians.


Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Office tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Mobile tel. +44-(0)7771-966608
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

Network of Activist Scholars
of Politics and International Relations (NASPIR)

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