3rd Cairo Conference


Resolution and report

In the end of March 2005, the 3rd International Cairo Conference; with the resistance in Palestine and Iraq; against Globalisation, Imperialism and Zionism was organized in the premises of the Syndicate of Journalists in Cairo.

Despite the name, it was a very Egyptian conference; Egyptian questions were as much the focus as the Palestinian and Iraqi questions. Three main tendencies may be identified at the conference: 1) The Muslim Brotherhood; 2) Kifaya; 3) "Cairo Social Forum".

The Muslim Brotherhood probably represents one of the biggest mass movements in Egypt, and was using the conference as an arena for demonstrating strength. An example was the opening where they filled the meeting hall with student activists and arranged prayer in the registration area. They were obviously determined to dominate the opening. Another example is their student movement, Islamic Trend, couping the meeting "Students forum against Imperialism and political oppression" and making it a manifestation of their own organization. It also seems that they was behind large parts of the organization and funding of the conference.

The Brotherhood came to the conference with a program for reform of Egypt, which in its essence is a program for legalizing the Brotherhood and making political change through legal channels.

Kifaya is an alliance that gathers various legal opposition parties and other organizations, and includes Nasserites, parts of the left wing, liberals and Islamists. Also their agenda is political reform in Egypt, with a free ("normal" in sense of western democracies) presidential election this autumn as one of their main demands.

Hence, both the Muslim Brotherhood and Kifaya, the two biggest tendencies at the conference, are fighting for reform in Egypt and came to the conference with an Egyptian agenda, and this made it a mainly Egyptian conference.

The third main tendency we may call "Cairo Social Forum". It was represented by a number of organizations that seemingly aim at driving the conference in the direction of the social forums. This tendency was represented by the western anti-war movement and some Egyptian organizations like Center for Socialist Studies and Anti-Globalisation Egypt (AGEG).

It is worth noticing that some of the western participants like Lindsey German and John Reese from Stop the War Coalition gave speeches much more radical than what we see in Europe, for example what we saw at the ESF, with explicit support of the Iraqi resistance. On the other side, representatives from the western anti war movement used a meeting like the workshop "Supporting the resistance in Iraq" mostly to brag about their own work and the closing session to praising the conference and its final declaration. In this respect they cannot be said to contribute much to the support of the resistance.

The conference also had some resemblances with the social forums. Many of the meetings were general, academic and not very concrete. Even though lots of proposals were made, there was no room for discussing and deciding upon concrete coordination and action. The declaration of the conference was written by a closed group composed of representative from the main organizers; the Muslim Brotherhood, Kifaya, and probably Center for Socialist Studies. There was in practice no way of influencing the contents of the declaration. Even though it was informed that the organizing committee would include proposals from the committees, the workshops and the plenary and finalize the declaration after the conference, it seems unlikely that this happened.

The political contents of the declaration are good, possibly with the exception of some "two state solution"-formulation, and seen from Europe its quite radical. However, as the conference it´s general, and it contains no points of concrete and common action.

The way the three mentioned tendencies dominated the conference, and the form of the conference, the focus was somewhat directed away from the Palestinian and Iraqi questions. The suggestions and proposals from the Palestinian and Iraqi workshops and working committees did not make it to the conference´s declaration.

It´s clear that the left wing in Egypt is divided in their position on the conference. Some groups boycott the conference because of the large presence of Islamists and because the conference is moving towards the social forums, some participate in the conference but with a critical position, and some support the conference.

Mass Sodal Lund, Free Iraq Committee Norway


Third Cairo Declaration

Upon the invitation of the International Campaign against the Occupation of Palestine and Iraq, the Third Cairo Conference was organized in Cairo between the 24th and 27th of March, and attended by a large number of militants and activists struggling against the war and against colonialism.

The conference witnessed a large variety of activities organized by various political trends, Islamists, Arab nationalists and Socialists, who are opposed to colonialism, Zionism and political oppression.

Since the Second Cairo Conference in December 2002, several major events have taken place:

First: In Iraq
1. Escalation of the Iraqi resistance against the US occupation and its agents, despite the US massacres in Falluja, Najaf, Karbelaa and Mousel and other resisting Iraqi cities.
2. Failure of the US occupation to co-opt or defeat the Iraqi resistance through the theatrical elections, which failed to provide a facade of legitimacy to the US occupation
3. Failure of the US occupation to turn the heroic Iraqi resistance into a sectarian war between the Sunnies and Shiites. We have seen the solidarity between the resisting Shiite cities with the resisting Sunni cities during the siege of Fallujah and the siege of Najaf and Karbela
4. The continuous attempts of the US occupation and its allies to incite sectarian civil wars in Iraq, a matter which calls for a greater awareness against the US plan to divide Iraq
5. The complicity of Arab regimes with the US occupation and their shameful role in helping colonialism by providing legitimacy to the US appointed Iraqi government and the brutal oppression of all forms of popular support and solidarity of the Arab peoples with the resisting Iraqi people.

Second: In Palestine
1. Since the death of the Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, the efforts of Washington, Tel Aviv and complicit Arab capitals have joined to bury alive the heroic Palestinian Intifada and imposing total surrender on the new Palestinian authority
2. The Zionist occupation continues to build the apartheid wall, the expansion in building settlements in the West Bank and the besieging of Palestinian cities with the full support of the American administration and the silence and complicity of the Arab regimes
3. The persistence of the resisting Palestinian people in their choice of resistance and the Intifada as the tools for struggle for the realization of their demands including the right to return, Jerusalem and the refusal to give up one inch of the West Bank as evidenced by the overwhelming victory of Hamas in the recent local council elections.
4. Serious developments in the level of normalization between Arab regimes and the Zionist state as shown by the return of the Egyptian and Jordanian ambassadors to Tel Aviv, the QIZ agreement and the visit of Sharon the butcher to Egypt.

Third: In Lebanon and Syria
1. Escalation for US and European pressure on Syria and Lebanon for the dissolution of the heroic Lebanese resistance and the threat to use military intervention.
2. The victory of the Lebanese resistance, under the leadership of Hiszbollah over the US and Zionist plans and providing indisputable evidence, through the million person demonstration that the Lebanese people will not give up and will not accept the imposition for the Ukrainian model and will not surrender the weapons of resistance.

Fourth: In Egypt:
1. Escalation and growth of the movement against political oppression in Egypt through a series of conferences and demonstrations which call for real democratic change in Egypt.
2. Stressing the connection between the democratic struggle and the struggle against imperialism an Zionism, refusal of US attempts to impose decorative changes to save the regime from its crisis, firm refusal of the larger Middle East projects witch Washington wants to use to subordinate the whole region to its plans, including the imposition of neoliberal policies and deepening of the regimes` alliance with US colonialism.

Participants have discussed all those major developments which call for a strengthening of the solidarity with the Palestinian, Iraq and Lebanese resistance and the creation of the widest possible movement to challenge the US and Zionist projects for the region. In that context participants stress the following:
1. Unconditional support and solidarity with the Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese resistance the need to actively organize all forms of political, material and moral support of the resistance.
2. Uncompromising rejection of all US and Zionist plans for the region and the continuous struggle to challenge them and to expose the complicity of the Arab regimes with those plans.
3. Struggle on all attempts of the US and Zionist colonialisms to weaken the resistance by inciting sectarian dispute and war in Iraq and Lebanon and stressing the vital need for unity and solidarity.
4. Expansion and deepening of the international movement against war, colonialism and linking it with the international movement against globalisation in addition to strengthening coordination and solidarity between all Arab peoples in their struggle for liberation and democracy and the international movement.