Compass and Iraq

Saturday June 17, 2006 The Guardian Walter Wolfgang (Letters, June 16) dismisses the Compass conference because it includes some “too closely associated with the Blairite New Labour project” who “in no sense can be deemed to have sufficiently repudiated it”. The left needs pluralism rather than talking to the converted and heckling those thought to be renegades. But I agree that Iraq should be discussed at the Compass conference so that its new non-sectarian Labour movement can be supported. Gary Kent Director, Labour Friends of Iraq

Global day of solidarity with Iraqi journalists

June 15th is Iraqs National Day of the Press during which there will be demonstrations to highlight the unspeakable suffering of media in a country where the freedom to publish is close to extinction due to ruthless extremists and the targeting of journalists by warring factions. At least 129 media staff have been killed, and hundreds more injured or disabled, during the present conflict. (David Spector)

ICFTU annual survey shows continued interference in union affairs

The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions has criticised the Iraqi government reaction to the rapid unionisation within Iraq. A new labour code has yet to be implemented, which has allowed Saddam era legislation to remain in place. Decree 8750, which allows the government to take control of all monies belonging to the trade unions and prevent them from dispensing any such monies is also attacked.(David Spector)

Iraqi Government backs down over union rights

Following representations from David Cockcroft (the ITF General Secretary) to the Iraqi Minister for Transport, the Port Workers Union have won a victory following the ministers attempts at suppressing the union. (David Spector)

Support protest at Iraqi Embassy on 15th June

The picket is scheduled to start at 12.30pm outside the embassy at 9 Holland Villas Road, W14 and will last one hour during which Jeremy Dear and NUJ national officers will hand in a letter to the ambassador for the Iraqi PM. This is part of a worldwide effort to draw the attention to the horrendous carnage of journalists in Iraq. Over 130 journalists have been killed since the invasion, most of them Iraqis. June 15th is significant for Iraqi journalists as it is their press freedom day and the (International Federation of Journalists) IFJ unions are responding to a … Continue reading Support protest at Iraqi Embassy on 15th June

Football, Women, Iran and Solidarity

Harry Barnes regrets that Iraq is not taking part in the World Cup but asks us to look at the plight of female football fans in Iran Some will feel that the national fervour that arises when the World Cup takes place has its downside. But in terms of building up feelings of national solidarity, it is a great pity that Iraq isn’t currently playing in Germany. In the absence of Iraq we can direct our attention to what is happening just over the Shatt al’ Arab river in Iran. Women are banned from attending male football matches. In June … Continue reading Football, Women, Iran and Solidarity

Arab world does not endorse fanatics

Hussein Ibish, the executive director of the Foundation for Arab-American Leadership writes much sense in the Chicago Tribune. He opposed the invasion of Iraq and writes convincingly that the battle against this form of (jihadist) extremism must be and increasingly is being fought by mainstream Arab and Muslim societies, although received wisdom in the United States has yet to recognize this. He notes that some activists are so focused on opposing U.S. interventions that they seem unable to grasp the profound menace this so-called jihadist movement poses to Arab and Muslim societies, two thoughts at the same time apparently being … Continue reading Arab world does not endorse fanatics

Assessing the strength of jihadism

Jason Burke The Observer Europe Editor and author of The Road to Kandahar examines why bin Laden is losing his war of terror. He concludes: But, even if it is impossible to say that we have won the war on terror, it is equally the case that the terrorists are not doing too well. Bin Laden’s strategy has not succeeded. The ‘awakening’ has not started – at least not yet. And that is not because of 500lb bombs dropped on militants in Baquba, useful in the short term though they might be, but because of the millions of ordinary men … Continue reading Assessing the strength of jihadism