The following statement by the Board of Iraq Solidarity of Sweden was issued March 3 on the occasion of the upcoming 16th anniversary of the criminal U.S.-British invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003, and the subsequent involvement of NATO in the occupation of Iraq. (Facebook: Iraksolidaritet)
1. We recall that 16 years have now passed since the U.S. and Great Britain illegally and in violation of international law invaded and occupied Iraq. The invasion resulted in millions of people being killed, wounded or driven from their homes and from their country and in the destruction of Iraq’s infrastructure.
A political structure was imposed on Iraq which fanned division, sectarian violence and terrorism. Despite the conclusion of the occupation, the U.S. continues to consolidate its control and its military presence in the country and throughout the Middle East.
2. A pretext for the invasion was the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. This claim was already shown to be false when the UN team led by Hans Blix inspected the installations in the country. Their findings were later confirmed. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. And even if that had been the case, it would not have legitimized the invasion and the occupation.
3. Iraq Solidarity has previously protested that the superpower USA has used chemical weapons and other weapons with long-term devastating consequences for the civilian population in a war of aggression against Iraq without the support of the United Nations. The Iraqi people are living in a poisoned country.
The U.S. has used uranium weapons and white phosphorus and burned masses of chemicals in open pits outside hundreds of bases in Iraq. This has seriously affected the civilian population. Weapons with depleted uranium had already been used in 1991 during the Gulf War. The city of Basra was in particular seriously affected.
In 2004 the U.S. carried out two big attacks on the city of Fallujah. Since then many of the children at the Fallujah General Hospital were born with severe deformations. In Fallujah, Basra, Najaf, Baghdad, Hawija and other cities children suffer a very high rate of deformations, cancer and other illnesses. Even American Iraq veterans have become seriously ill as a result of the use of these weapons.
4. The question of nuclear weapons has been actualized by the Swedish government in its commissioned ”Study of the Consequences of a Swedish Ratification on the Convention against Nuclear Weapons.” Iraq Solidarity wishes to bring to memory that the 2004 UN atomic energy organ, the IAEA, called for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. This proposal was later discussed in the UN and in other forums.
The Convention on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons now being discussed is a step in the right direction. Sweden has been a driving force in its adoption, but it has changed its view after pressure from the U.S. Our view is that Sweden should support and ratify this convention. The actions of the U.S. in this question do not further peace either in Iraq or in Sweden.
As part of Iraq Solidarity Month and the Campaign Against US/NATO bases, the Swedish group Iraq Solidarity is arranging a public seminar in Stockholm on March 20. In the United States on March 30, the United National Antiwar Coalition has called a demonstration in Washington, D.C., to protest the April 4 NATO 70th anniversary ceremonies there and the continued use of NATO as a tool of imperialist aggression, including against Iraq and now against Venezuela. (unacpeace.org)