The following is a statement from an international meeting about the consequences of the long U.S. imperialist occupation of Iraq. Workers World considers it an excellent contribution to the continuing struggle to free Iraq from foreign domination. As Sara Flounders of the International Action Center told us recently, “Even after the U.S. was forced by the resistance of the people of Iraq to withdraw its combat troops, tens of thousands of advisors, contract employees and security personnel remain throughout the country to ensure the goals of the occupation.”
Members of the International Anti-Occupation Network, coming from Portugal, Algeria, Belgium, France, Iraq, Jordan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK, and representing many international nongovernmental organizations, met in Lisbon from Oct. 11 to 13 to discuss developments in Iraq and its future.
Even after the U.S. was forced by the resistance of the people of Iraq to withdraw its combat troops, tens of thousands of advisors, contract employees and security personnel remain throughout the country to ensure the goals of the occupation. Foreign and regional powers continue to vie for influence and domination over Iraq, even to the extent of intervening with militias and committing crimes against the Iraqi people. Outside forces have not given up their attempt to control the economic resources of the country and to deny basic services to the population.
The root cause of the increased terrorist violence is the sectarian Bremer constitution imposed on the Iraqi people during the first years of the occupation. This has been recognized by growing numbers of demonstrators in the popular uprising against the al-Maliki regime that have spread throughout Iraq since December 2012. The people of Iraq are clearly determined to remove all remnants of the occupation.
The political process and the regime imposed upon Iraq are an integral part and continuation of the U.S. strategy to divide and conquer its resistance to imperialism and neoliberalism. The policy of the current regime is dependent on revenge and sectarian division and encourages acts of terror against the civilian population to prevent Iraq from regaining its sovereignty after decades of sanctions, war and occupation.
The IAON reiterates its position from the Le Feyt [France] Declaration of 2008. “Iraq cannot recover lasting stability, unity and territorial integrity until its sovereignty is guaranteed. … All of Iraq´s neighbors should recognize that stability in Iraq serves their own interests and commit to not interfering in its internal affairs.” The people of Iraq reject sectarianism and division.
We continue to support and call for solidarity with the efforts and struggle of the Iraqi people to regain full independence. The truth about the war must be told and the consequences of the occupation recognized. The U.S. and its allies who are responsible for the destruction and crimes committed against Iraq must be held accountable.
The world has a legal and moral responsibility to help the Iraqi people to regain their legitimate rights after all the suffering they have been subjected to. But the destiny of Iraq lies in the hands of its people. We are confident that the people of Iraq are capable of rebuilding their nation and deciding the course of their future. The IAON calls on all solidarity, anti-war and anti-imperialist movements and all peace loving people to stand with the people of Iraq in this stage of resistance.
Plan of Action
Our main goals in the coming period are:
• to mobilize international awareness about and support for abolishing the political remnants of the occupation;
• to intensify international demands for Accountability and Justice for Iraq;
• to increase cooperation between solidarity forces and the Iraqi people to alleviate the suffering of the victims of war and occupation.
Among the efforts the IAON supports and will concentrate on in the coming period are:
• the continued spreading and exchange of information about the popular resistance to sectarianism and continued violations of human rights in Iraq;
• the coordination of efforts to lobby national and EU parliaments to encourage governments and U.N. bodies to forcibly oppose the continued systematic and widespread violations of human rights by the Iraqi authorities, especially the use of the death penalty, and to support the important recommendations in the report issued by the U.N. Human Rights Council, including the reinstatement of a special U.N. rapporteur for Iraq to closely monitor respect for human rights;
• the work to map out a legal strategy to hold those legally responsible for their crimes in Iraq and to demand compensation for their victims;
• the work to bring about independent international investigations about the use of different kinds of weapons in Iraq and the increasing number of congenital birth defects in Fallujah, Basra and other places and about the use of Iraq territory as a dumping ground for dangerous chemical and radioactive substances;
• projects of cooperation between different national groups and Iraqi organizations to aid those worst affected by the conflict.
The IAON strongly encourages all peace forces to join us in these efforts.
Lisbon, October 13, 2013