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International Conference against the War on Iraq in Cairo

2. January 2003

Call for demonstrations around january 18

The Anti-imperialist Camp declares its support for the international call of action against the war on Iraq and in solidarity with the resistence of the people in Palestina and Irak against agression issued by the international conference of Cairo.
We will organize local and natioanl demonstrations in all countries where our organisations are present and call to all fraternal antiimperialist and revolutionary organisations to organise anti-war protests around the 18th of january.

Anti-imperialist Camp, 1st of January 2003

Report about the Cairo Conference

An international conference of over 400 representatives of popular organizations from 20 countries met in Cairo, Egypt, from Dec. 18-19 and resolved to take action in solidarity with the people of Iraq against threatened U.S. aggression and in solidarity with the Palestinian movement for self-determination.

The conference called the International Campaign Against U.S. Aggression on Iraq (ICAA) created a steering committee whose first order of business will be to mobilize worldwide for mass demonstrations, first on January 18, 2003, against U.S. war plans. This is simultaneous with national anti-war demonstrations already underway in the United States in Washington and San Francisco and with many other actions already scheduled internationally. The committee will also promote actions for February 15, 2003, a day chosen for demonstrations in Europe.

The continuations committee of the Conference undertook the challenge of mobilizing in Egypt on January 18. Its first action was immediately following the conference on December 20, when it mobilized 1,000 people for a public protest of U.S. war plans despite the presence of hundreds of Cairo police.

Until the last minute the Egyptian government tried to stop the conference from taking place. After a mobilization by political forces it backtracked and permitted the assembly. Then the Sheridan Hotel, a U.S. owned hotel chain canceled contracted space at two of its hotels in an effort to sabotage the conference. The conference was finally moved to the Conrad Hotel. The general feeling was that the U.S. State Department was behind the efforts to stop this international anti-war gathering.

The challenge of calling the conference and confronting the efforts to halt it was undertaken by the Egyptian Popular Campaign to Confront U.S. Aggression. Key organizers of the effort included Mohammed Oudah, Amin Eskander, Maher Maklouf, Member of Parliament Hamdeen Sabahy, Professors Soheir Morsy and Ashraf El-Bayoumi and political analyst Samir Amin.

Among the prestigious world figures attending the conference were Ahmed Ben Bella, leader of Algeria`s struggle for independence from France and first president of Algeria in 1962, Saad K. Hammoundy, Iraq`s ambassador to the Arab League, Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Denis Halliday, (Ireland) was the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General heading the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq up through 1998, UN director of the Oil-for-Food program, Dr. Hans Von Sponeck, and George Galloway, Labor member of Parliament in the UK. The 86-year-old Ben Bella presided over the conference.

Coordinators of anti-war groups in the different countries attending included John Rees of the Stop the War Coalition in Britain, Christof Agiton of Attac in France along with delegates from Cuba, Canada, Russia, Germany, Italy and more than fifty distinguished guests from most Arab countries. Sara Flounders of International Action Center, Elias Mashmawi and Fadia Rafeedi of the Free Palestine Alliance, also representing the ANSWER Coalition, Peter Phillips from Project Censored and Gary Leupp were part of the U.S. delegation.


President Ben Bella gave direction to the conference, noting that the U.S. attack on Iraq, should it take place, would be only the first of a succession of wars by the U.S against Arab and other lands of the Middle East. He was firm in wanting to mobilize the people of all Arab lands to hold mass demonstrations against U.S. plans to dominate the world, calling for a demonstration of 2 million.
Ben Bella also said it was up to the people of the United States to fight against those policies and that the struggle within the U.S. was vital.

Ramsey Clark, who was attorney general in the Johnson administration from 1967-1969, has been the only former high-ranking federal official to publicly oppose U.S. military adventures all over the world and has been strong in his solidarity with the Iraqi people.
Clark said that “an attack on Iraq is obviously unlawful, it is criminal. Through years of sanctions, the U.S. is already committing genocide against Iraq.” Another strike now by the U.S. “builds toward world domination and it has to be stopped. It is an urgent issue because it can happen in the next three months,” because the Pentagon will want to move before the summer heat sets in.

George Galloway, Labor Member of Parliament in Britain mocked Washington`s charge that Iraq holds weapons of mass destruction. “Everyplace visited by the inspectors so far has been completely empty,” he said, calling Great Britain and the U.S. “imperial powers” who want to decide on “new kings, new countries, and new slave centers” in the oil-rich Middle East.

Denis Halliday, who resigned in 1998 to protest the effect of sanctions against Baghdad, said that Washington has accused Baghdad of “material breaches” of the new UN resolution because it “plans to undermine the work of inspections and the work of the Iraqi government. `The United States doesn`t want a peaceful solution. They want an excuse to go to war, to conquer Iraq and control its oil,” Halliday said.

Hans Von Sponeck, who also resigned his UN post in protest, called the 150-percent increase in infant mortality in Iraq since 1990 “genocide by the United Nations.”

Ashraf el-Bayoumi, an Egyptian professor and one of the conference organizers, said Washington was preparing to go about “launching an attack on Iraq, occupying Iraq, usurping its natural resources, oil and otherwise, in order to continue being the solo superpower in the world.”

Sara Flounders told of “Bush`s one big problem,” the growing opposition to the war inside the United States. She referred to the demonstrations of hundreds of thousands ANSWER called on October 26 and its plans for January 18, 2003. “The one power that the Pentagon today fears is the arousing anger of the millions of people, whose power is explosive when they are organized and mobilized. This is the one force that can stay the hand of the Pentagon.”

Elias Rashmawi, a Palestinian American, focused on the need for a strong anti-war mobilization from the U.S. He stressed that there is now the potential to build a movement that can effectively fight against U.S. war plans. “Our international coordination in mobilizing for January 18th will strengthen solidarity and will send a signal to the Bush Administration that the world is united against the continuation of conquest and war.”

John Rees referred to both the September 28 demonstration of 400,000 in London against the war, and the almost million people who gathered in Florence, Italy, to demonstrate on November 9 as part of the European Social
Forum`s anti-globalization actions.

Iraq`s Hammoundy connected U.S. military aggression with the drive to impose capitalist globalization on the world. With U.S. capital invested around the world, it requires its military to secure its profits. Hammoundy drew attention to the U.S. seizure of Iraq`s weapons declaration from the United Nations, saying Washington altered the declaration to create an excuse for an invasion.

Mohamed Asad Kanaana, Secretary General Abnaal El-Balad, People of the Homeland Movement within 1949 Palestine, described the period as one of the most critical periods facing the Arab nation in its modern history. The U.S. is repartitioning the world. Israel has decided that direct control – the return of colonialism – is the assured method to guard their interests. But the one polar world of U.S. imperialism is not the destiny of humanity. People`s movements will innovate new forms of struggle to confront imperialist arrogance.


The statement known as the Cairo Declaration coming out of the international meeting to launch an “International Campaign” starts:

“We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalization. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo.”
The statement goes on to “declare our total opposition to war on Iraq and our resolve to continue the struggle against U.S. policies of global domination. We strongly believe in the urgency of mobilizing against these policies.”
It condemns “U.S. military presence on Arab land” and calls for “pressuring the Arab governments that allow U.S military bases on their territory to close them down, and not to provide air, naval, or land facilities.”
As practical actions it proposed to “elect a Steering Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Cairo Declaration, and coordination among organizations which commit to its principles, and enhance awareness through appropriate actions ranging from the preparation of posters to organizing marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Iraq and Palestine.”

The first action was the Cairo demonstration on December 20. The steering committee will support a month of activities starting with the January 18 demonstrations internationally in concert with those in the United States and ending with actions February 15 in concert with those in Europe.