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[casi] Statement on the London Conference

Statement on the London Conference on Iraq

We the undersigned, Iraqi opponents of the dictatorial regime ruling our
country, dissociate ourselves from the conference held in the Metropole Hotel,
London on 13-15 December 2002.
The conference was held under the threat of an illegal and immoral war, and it
was not an expression of free Iraqi will.  United States patronage was the
main fact of this conference and US officials were the final arbiters in its
deliberations.  It is not legitimate to acquiesce in the destruction of our
homeland because of a belief that war is inevitable.
The planned war would result in unimaginable human consequences, occupation,
US control of oil, crushing of the Kurdish autonomy, and regional
repercussions that favour brutal Israeli aggression, and we resolutely condemn
the war plans.  A conference that is concerned with the people of Iraq should
have proclaimed its opposition to war and to the brutal sanctions, and it
should have pledged not to facilitate US war efforts.  The fact that it did
nothing of the above is appalling.
The United States and British governments supported and armed the dictatorship
of Saddam Hussain while Iraqis were fighting against this regime, being
tortured and executed in their thousands.  Instead of apologising to the Iraqi
people, these two governments waged war against Iraq?s civilian infrastructure
and the people?s livelihoods.  Likewise, some of those inside the Metropole
conference hall served in the dictator?s political, security and media
apparatus until the US turned against its former ally.  They have not
expressed remorse, nor asked the people for forgiveness.
An end to dictatorship and a transformation of the lives of Iraqis must be
achieved by empowering the people inside Iraq.  Responsible opposition must
have faith in the Iraqi people, in it?s history of struggle for independence
and democracy, and its resilience in reconstruction. It must engage with
humanitarian and peace-loving forces all over the world including the growing
courageous anti-war movement in the United States.
Iraq?s physical and institutional structures have been devastated by 12 years
of sanctions as much as by the regime.  These structures must be rebuilt by
the effort of the Iraqi people, with international support and avoiding the
massive destruction and perilous strife of the planned US war.
This conference was not about confronting Saddam?s regime, nor was it about
responsible contingency planning.  It was organised in an attempt to
legitimise the plans for a US war on Iraq.  Many of the individuals and groups
who participated in the conference had earlier expressed opposition to US war
plans, but the conference took an acquiescent position towards these plans.
We believe that pragmatism and jostling for political positions do not absolve
anyone from responsibility for the consequences of war. Without war, the
Metropole Hotel gathering will have achieved nothing; in the case of war, it
is a minor detail.

Mundher Al-Adhami <>
Kamil Mahdi <>
Haifa Zangana <>
And 20 other signatories

17 December 2002

Dr Kamil Mahdi
University of Exeter

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