LFIQ meeting with representatives of the Iraqi Dawa Party

Joint President Dave Anderson MP and Director Gary Kent met a delegation from the Dawa party at the House of Commons on 18th October, at the request of the Dawa party.
The Dawa party was represented by MP Haider Al-Abadi, Chairman of the Iraqi Council of Representatives’s Economic Reconstruction Committee with his colleagues Munther Abadai and Montathar Najem.
Abdullah Muhsin, international representative of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers was unable to attend the meeting due to transport delays and sent his apologies.
The discussion initially centred around the continuing restrictions on Iraqi trade unions and the freezing of assets by the Iraqi government in 2005. Haider said that his personal view was that the freezing of assets had been a mistake but argued that it was understandable, due to concerns about the revival of Baathism, which necessitate laws on such organisations and that a new Labour code was at its First Reading stage but might take some time. He supports a free trade union movement but didn’t think there should just be one centre.
Dave and Gary replied that the Iraqi trade union movement best speak for itself but that the unions were committed to helping develop a federal and democratic Iraq and should be seen as enemies of Baathism and friends of the political process.
The UK has one centre, the TUC whilst, for example, France has several. Whether there is one or more is a political choice but the law should not lay down whether there is one or more but simply regulate the functioning of whatever union set-up is agreed by the unions themselves.
Haider emphasised the strategic importance of the oil industry to ensuring social benefits are delivered and improved and stressed the need for an oil law that would regulate foreign investment and internal distribution of oil revenues.
There was a discussion about the position of foreign troops in Iraq and the common view was that the precipitate withdrawal of such forces would create a dangerous vacuum.
Haider also emphasised the impact of Saudi interference in Iraq, including the fact that most suicide bombers have been Saudi nationals.
Dave argued that however we were in this position it was in the self-interest of the Iraqis and the British and other governments that the process of building Iraqi democracy succeeds and referred to discussions between LFIQ and Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells on the importance of economic reconstruction in the British area of operations in the South of Iraq. Gary stressed that too many on the left talked about Iraq but failed to listen to Iraqis themselves.
Haider agreed with this and outlined his party’s aim of defeating extremism. The two organisations agreed to continue discussions including possible collaboration with other Iraqi organisations and groups.