LFIQ delegation meets Iraqi PM in Baghdad

A Labour Friends of Iraq delegation visited Baghdad from 8-10 May where we had discussions with the Iraqi Prime Minister and others. We placed a strong emphasis on efforts to encourage overturning the restrictions on the new and independent trade union movement. We met Adnan Al Saffar of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers and Jasim Al Lami of the Iraqi Teachers’ Union before meeting Prime Minister Maliki. We stressed in that meeting and in a meeting with the Islamic Dawa Party that LFIQ and the wider international labour movement are supportive of the Iraqi unions, which are hampered by … Continue reading LFIQ delegation meets Iraqi PM in Baghdad

Mesopotamian optimism

The BBC reports optimism in Iraq: more than 50% of Iraqis think their lives are good, more than at any time in the last three years, a survey says. The poll for the BBC, ABC, ARD and NHK of more than 2,000 people also suggests that a majority believe that security in their area has improved since 2007. And while most Iraqis still believe US troops are making things worse, the number who want the Americans to pull out immediately has fallen.

Iraqi Kurds deserve better neighbours

New Statesman column by Gary Kent Published 28 February 2008 There is obvious fellow feeling between Kurds in Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Syria, but PKK actions do the Kurds no favours “The PKK is the result of and not the reason for Turkish actions,” was the curt message from the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), Masoud Barzani, when a British parliamentary delegation visited him shortly before Turkish troops crossed into Iraq late on Thursday 21 February. For decades, Turkish governments have denied the rights of the country’s Kurds. This more than anything has fuelled the Kurdistan Workers’ Party … Continue reading Iraqi Kurds deserve better neighbours

IPO Iraq News Analysis

By Yasser Alaskary Jan 30, 2008 Changing Politics Politicians and analysts interested in Iraq saw the passing of the Accountability and Justice Act, which largely reversed the more extreme elements of de-Baathification, as a sign of some positive progress, but most have failed to recognise the sea-change occuring in Iraq’s political landscape. Since the handover of power in 2004, Iraq’s political arena has been divided across sectarian lines, with the Shia coalition at its centre, and a Kurdish and a Sunni coalitions. With the sustained improvement in security over the last few months, these divisions have largely melted away. Fed … Continue reading IPO Iraq News Analysis

Troops out how?

Harry Barnes examines how it might be done, starting with this useful quote from Mother Jones … its not just the administration that has its head in the sand; to varying degrees, we all do. For those of us who argued against invading, it is tempting to simply demand an end to “Bush’s War” and wash our hands of it. But as General Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told us, “Your conscience is not clean just because you’re a peace demonstrator.” In other words, just because you weren’t in favor of going in doesn’t … Continue reading Troops out how?

LFIQ replies to Seumas Milne

From our work with Iraqi trade unionists over the last few years, including a top-level meeting with their leadership in Iraq, we agree with Seumas Milne (Those who talk democracy should listen to Iraqs people, 9 January) that the withdrawal of foreign troops is vital to national reconciliation in Iraq. This is a far cry from previous calls for immediate withdrawal of those troops before the elected Iraqi government has established its own security capacity to avoid a devastatingly dangerous security vacuum. As we have often heard from our Iraqi comrades, their intervention wasn’t negotiated but their withdrawal must be. … Continue reading LFIQ replies to Seumas Milne

UN to beef up Baghdad mission

Michael Howard in Baghdad reports that the UN is to renews mission to bring peace to Iraq He writes that the United Nations is ready to help Iraq solve its most intractable political problems, including the future status of the contested northern city of Kirkuk, its top official in the country said yesterday. Staffan de Mistura, Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for Iraq, told the Guardian that the UN was now beefing up its engagement with the country, four years after the bombing of the organisation’s compound in Baghdad that killed 22 UN staff. De Mistura’s predecessor Sergio Vieira de Mello … Continue reading UN to beef up Baghdad mission

Australian Labor and Iraq

LFIQ Joint President Dave Anderson has tabled a Commons motion congratulating the Australian Labor Party on its victory and urging increased support for the Iraqi labour movement. Former Labour Party Chair Ian McCartney and SDLP Deputy Leader Alasdair McDonnell are amongst the initial supporters. Gary Kent AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY AND THE IRAQI LABOUR MOVEMENT 26.11.2007 That this House warmly congratulates the Australian Labor Party and its leader Kevin Rudd on a stunning election victory; wishes the Labor Party the very best in its goals of social justice; and hopes for its support in seeking to provide moral assistance and solidarity … Continue reading Australian Labor and Iraq

Packed classes hint at peace in battered Iraq

See this Observer report which begins thus: It begins and ends with the children. They stayed away from the al- Gazaly school in southern Baghdad when the streets were murderous – their parents moved out and their PE teacher was shot dead during the mundane act of having a haircut. Now, one by one, cautiously, determinedly, noisily, they are returning to their desks, bringing the school back from the brink. Their hopeful faces reflect, perhaps, the new and fragile optimism dawning in Iraq.