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Defend Iraq, confront global US dictatorship

9. January 2003

Declaration of the Anti-imperialist Solidarity Delegation to Iraq

About forty anti-war activists from Italy, Austria, Germany, Turkey, Palestine, England, Switzerland, Japan and Sardinia travelled to Iraq in order to protest the impending attack and the ongoing embargo and to express their solidarity with the Iraqi people against the US aggression. In August of last year, about one hundred anti-imperialist organisations from around the world participating in the Anti-imperialist Camp in Assisi had decided to organise this solidarity delegation (oppure a solidarity delegation to face US escalating aggressive intentions against Iraq)

The activities of the delegation culminated in a demonstration of about two hundred activists in front of the UN head quarter in Baghdad. The demonstration, organised together with the “Spanish State Campaign for Lifting the Sanctions on Iraq”, was carried out under the unitary slogan “no war, no sanctions” and attracted the interest of the most important media. A petition was consigned calling on the UN not to provide a pretext or any justification for the aggression already scheduled.

In a country which only a little more than ten years ago could be proud of one of the highest social standards throughout the entire Middle East, we could observe the growing misery of its weaker classes particularly in Saddam City, one of the poor quarters of Baghdad counting 1.5 million inhabitants, in the centre of Basra, in the Shatt el Arab and also in the surroundings of Najaf. Despite the food rations delivered to the population by the Iraqi authorities, the social situation of urban and rural popular classes has become appalling.

Deeply harrowing the scenes we experienced in the hospitals of the country. Simple infection diseases lead to death because there are no drugs. Everywhere underfed children without the slightest chance for adequate treatment. Once again, the unprecedented UN sanction regime must be condemned as creeping genocide. Even according to Western sources about 1.5 millions have been fallen victim to it. The former director of the UN programme “Food for oil”, Hans von Sponeck, does not tire in pointing to the embargo as the major reason for the misery and to call for its lifting.

In Basra and in the south, congenital malformations of children and cancer have exponentially increased. Statistics provided by hospitals are indicating the increase in deseases caused by radioactivity. A correlation with the use of ammunition containing depleted uranium by the US forces seems evident. Although the gulf war syndrome has affected significant parts of the allied war veterans, thus providing another proof for the correlation, the UN did not until now approve an international inquiry.

Talking to the population we could feel a generalized anti-imperialist sentiment connecting misery with the US-imposed embargo and war. However because of the awareness of the enormous disproportion of forces there is also fatalism to be detected.

In meetings with representatives of various religious communities and in particular with the authorities of Najaf, the holiest Shi´a sanctuary, the secular character of the political system was displayed. Facing the turn towards religion which can be widely felt also in Iraq and which doubtlessly contains also a political moment, this laicism, however, must appear as hollow and even rough.

In his speech delivered to the delegation, foreign minister Naji Sabri pointed out how his country met all the unjust demands stipulated by the UN resolutions. “But the US have already taken the decision to attack and are now searching by all means for a pretext. Their real aim is to control the entire region and its oil reserves. Facing the impending aggression both Sabri and the vice Premier Tareq Aziz stressed the readiness of the country to defend itself and referred to the far reaching arming of the people.

Reflecting the totality of their impression the participants of the delegation discussed – often controversially – whether and to which extend the mistakes committed by Baathism such as the suppression of the political rights of the subaltern classes which historically used to be very active as well as the reactionary war against Iran, has damaged the hegemony of the government and weakened the combative character of the popular masses.

Regardless of their military superiority the US will hardly be able to establish a stable predominance over Iraq and the entire region by waging war. The proper interests of the US allies in and around Iraq appear as to be too contradictory to those of the US reflecting the strong opposition of the popular masses. On the other hand an open colonial occupation would fuel resistance and even overcharge the Anglo-american military machine.

The solidarity delegation concluded purposedly its activities in Jordan where we visited the biggest Palestinian refugee camp Baqaa. Symbolically for the entire Arab world we expressed our support to the democratic and anti-imperialist opposition against the pro-American puppet regimes.

The aggression against Iraq is directed against the aspirations for social, democratic and cultural rights of the popular masses of the entire Arab and Muslim world– and especially against the liberation struggle of the Palestinians. In line with their doctrine of permanent pre-emptive war the US thus tries to retain their more and more fragile global predominance – not hesitating to resort to the use of weapons of mass destruction and to genocide. All people fighting against imperialism for their liberation as well as the democratic, anti-capitalist and revolutionary forces in the imperialist countries themselves must stand steadfastly on the side of Iraq and its maltreated people.

We call upon the anti-globalisation movement to rectify their position of “neutrality” during the NATO aggression on Yugoslavia. It is not possible to confront the economic raids of the West named globalisation without fighting its military aspect. A consequent struggle against capitalist globalisation implies the struggle against imperialism as a whole – commonly with and on the side of the wretched of the world against the American aggressor.

Only the defeat of the Us, whose global dominance means misery, tyranny and terror for the vast majority of world population, can open the gate to social justice, national self-determination and democratic popular power.

Stop war and embargo!
Defend Iraq!

Anti-imperialist Camp
January 7, 2003