Freedom is not free, first report from LFIQ trip to Iraq

Freedom is not free is the inscription on a major statue here in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan. This part of Iraq surely knows the cost of war and repression. It’s often not mentioned much but Saddams genocidal Anfal campaign murdered nearly 200,000 Kurds and razed hundreds of villages before the uprising and what everyone here calls the liberation in 2003. Yesterday we also visited the Red House in Sulamani which was the secret police headquarters under Saddam and where hundreds of people were tortured and murdered. It’s grim but not the worst one can find. It’s being maintained … Continue reading Freedom is not free, first report from LFIQ trip to Iraq

Civil war or Civil Society?

With recent reports concentrating on whether there is/will be/ is not a civil war in Iraq the more obvious benefits of reconstruction tend to be ignored. Here is news about over 600 Community Action Groups throughout Iraq and here is how the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific research is attempting to bridge the gap in science and technology, which previously separated Saddam’s Iraq from the rest of the world, by sending over 1,000 students to the most prestigious overseas universities to complete their Doctorates. (David Spector)

Nick Cohen on Kember

Nick Cohen examines the Kember affair and concludes the following – Yet at least Kember and his colleagues made a commitment to Iraq. They may have done no good, they may have put better and braver men in danger, yet they strike me as preferable to the majority of European liberals who have sat out the conflict. Civilians are massacred at random: silence. Al-Qaeda hits as many Shia mosques as it can in the hope of provoking a civil war: silence again. No condemnations of barbarism are offered for fear of giving the smallest support to George W Bush and … Continue reading Nick Cohen on Kember

Three Years On…(Continued)

The third anniversary continues to focus pro and anti-invasion views. Here is a review of Iraqi problems and possible solutions, from both sides of the argument. Dlawer Ala’Alduen at openDemocracy argues that Iraq will only become stabilised once Iran and Syria stop attempting to influence the political and military situation. Senator Edward Kennedy argues that President Bush should immediately convene a summit of Iraqi groups and leaders to support the creation of a broad-based national unity government and encourage the leaders to give the highest priorities to the compromises essential to avoid civil war. The Arab League should be encouraged … Continue reading Three Years On…(Continued)

Johann Hari and his critics

Johann Hari of The Independent says that he was terribly wrong to have supported the war in the first place. He tells us that he had a colossal response to this article and cites as a typical response one from Abdulkhaliq Hussein which says Your article in the Independent today, 20/3/2006, was really disappointing to all of your admirers. You let them down. You changed your mind and switched from pro-war to join the anti-war campaigners, means that you gave in bowed to the aggressors. So instead of blaming the terrorists for this mass killing in Iraq at the hand … Continue reading Johann Hari and his critics

Views on and from within the anti-war movement

Many people have used the third anniversary of the Iraq invasion to impart their opinion on the Stop The War coalition. Tim Hames argues that they may have succeeded and that no more totalitarian dictators will be removed from office and that there may be no more openings for civil and religious liberty. And Harrys Place publishes leaked e mails which show some tension within the Stop the War leadership over its orientation towards sectarian forces. (David Spector)

Progress debate lessons for Labour from Iraq

To mark the third anniversary of the Iraq war, Progress will be hosting a debate on the lessons of the conflict for Labour. The next issue of Progress magazine will also feature a special report on the subject. Three years on: the lessons for Labour from Iraq, will take place on Tuesday 21 March in Committee Room 16 in the House of Commons between 6 and 7.30pm. The panel will comprise of Sadiq Khan MP; Gisela Stuart MP; Gary Kent, director, Labour Friends of Iraq; and Oliver Kamm, author of Anti-Totalitarianism: The Left-wing Case for a Neoconservative Foreign Policy. Stephen … Continue reading Progress debate lessons for Labour from Iraq

Senior US figures discuss drawing down troops

President Jimmy Carter rejects a pre-emptive withdrawal of US troops but urges the Bush administration to drawdown its forces in Iraq. The US ambassador to Iraq compares the toppling of Saddam Hussein to opening a Pandoras Box. It might be argued that, as Zalmay Khalized makes so few public statements, and even fewer as frank as this one, there is a significant debate at the highest level of American government regarding the timing of any troop withdrawal. (David Spector)

Remember the Marsh Arabs, says Cherie Booth

Cherie Booth told a recent conference that the destruction of the Iraqi marshlands during the 1980s and 1990s was symptomatic of the wider destruction of Iraq. It involved not just the destruction of land, but also of the people whose land it was. In the case of the Iraqi marshlands, most of its people were forcibly displaced not once but many times, leaving behind their possessions.The reconstruction of a nation cannot be achieved without involving the people of that nation in the reconstruction process.