Progress of the Baghdad security plan

Hameed Moussa, head of the Iraqi Communist Party, also described the plan as positive, and called comforting the initial indications. It will succeed despite of challenges and difficulties, he added.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Saturday had praised the results of a newly implemented security strategy, in which he claimed that Iraqi and coalition forces have killed 400 terrorists and detained more than 400 others.
‘Baghdad will not be a sanctuary for the outlaws,’ said al-Maliki during a press conference on Saturday. He added: ‘The results (of the new plan) are positive, several terrorist cells were dismantled.’ Al-Maliki also said that politicians are not allowed to interfere in the security issues.

Iraqi heroes

LFIQ Vice-President Harry Barnes reports on the meeting with the delegation of Iraqi teachers.
He writes that the Iraqi Teachers pointed out just how catastrophic education had been under Saddam. For dictatorship rests upon manipulative and superficial forms of what passes for education. Saddam’s educational programme has impacted upon generations of school children and when political change came, it did not come from the Iraqi people themselves but via invasion.
The formation of the new Government had, however, impacted upon the entire nation and had given the new Teachers’ Union the opportunity to press for many changes in educational practices, including an end to the culture of violence.

Message from Prime Minister

Tony Blair sent the following message of support to the Iraqi Teachers Union who were guests of Labour Friends of Iraq and Executive Member Baroness Royall at a meeting in the Lords on 19th February.
I regret that I cannot be with you.
I am delighted that the delegation from the Iraqi Teachers’ Union is here in the UK. I commend the efforts of the NASUWT and others in providing your new and free union with training and support so that it can better stand on its own two feet and contribute to the building of civil society and democracy in Iraq.
It’s an honour to recognise your bravery and to pass on my best wishes for the future.
The Higher Education Minister Bill Rammell also attended giving a message of support from himself and Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Education.

LFIQ President tables Commons motion in support of solidarity with Iraqi Teachers

That this House congratulates the Trades Union Congress and the National Association of Schoolmasters/Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) on their decision to host a fact-finding visit by 10 representatives of the new Iraqi Teachers’ Union, in co-operation with the General Federation of Iraqi Workers, during which they were based in Birmingham and London, observed the work of the NASUWT and received intensive training, visited workplaces and met members of other trade unions including Community, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the National Union of Teachers, as well as parliamentarians; notes the comments of Mahdi Ali Lefta, the head of the delegation that `These people who attack education, attack schools and teachers have nothing in their heart but hate and violence and they want the destruction of Iraq…They have no sense of humanity’; further notes the inspiring comments of Ali Ahmed Sindal, aged 63, a school inspector, who spent four years on death row under Saddam Hussein that `We are optimistic that all these things will be ended within one year, two years, three years…Then we are expecting a new life, a better life’; commends unions such as the NASUWT for providing vital training and support to the new and free trade union movement in Iraq so that it can stand on its own two feet and contribute to building civil society and democracy in Iraq; and hopes that more such visits can be arranged.

TUC Iraq Bulletin

The latest TUC Iraq Bulletin carries news of Iraqi union protests over the draft hydrocarbons which give US oil companies too much profit for too long from Iraqi oil. The Bulletin also reports that the GFIW has held talks with Iraq’s Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih about the state of Iraqi labour law, and he will be ensuring that the Prime Minister meets trade unions to discuss developments. Barham Salih was a member of the Labour Party in Cardiff when he was in exile in the 1980s, and the meeting with the GFIW was brokered by Ann Clwyd MP when the TUC told her of the Iraqi union movement’s problems. (Gary Kent)

Teachers are the quiet heroes of Baghdad

The Observer carries a moving report of the delegation from the Iraqi Teachers Union which is currently in the UK as guests of the NASUWT. One says: We have no choice. We have to carry on living, we have to go out. These extremists want to stop life and the best thing to them is to stop us going to school and teaching the children. But if they stop that then everything will collapse. Teacher Mohamed Seed Hatem said the situation today ‘was still better than it was. A bloody dictatorship has gone.’

TUC condemns anti-union terrorism in Iraq

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber has condemned three examples of barbarous terrorism against the trade union movement in Iraq.
Writing personally to the General Secretary of the Iraqi GFIW, Rasem Al-Awady, he said:
Trade unionism is founded on the principle that an injury to one is an injury to all, and I have no doubt that, contrary to their intentions, the actions of these terrorists will only redouble the commitment of Iraqi trade unionists, and the solidarity of trade unionists around the world for your struggles.’
The TUC, which is part of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and is running a TUC Aid for Iraq Appeal to deliver assistance to the Iraqi trade union movement, spoke out in response to three terrorist attacks on the trade union movement on Wednesday 31 January.
Brother Khalil Ibrahim Al-Mashhadani, Vice-President of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW) as well as General Secretary of the Arab Federation of Building and Wood Workers, was injured in a bomb attack. He has been hospitalised and is said to be stable.
Dr. Adnan Al-Abed , legal counsellor to the GFIW and Professor of Law at Al-Nahrain University was found murdered together with two of his colleagues, three days after the three professors were kidnapped by armed militants in front of the faculty of law. Doctor Al-Abed was known as one of the most prominent experts on labour matters in Iraq, and a principal supporter of the Iraqi labour movement. His last work was a revision of the ILO-sponsored draft labour law for Iraq.
A car bomb targeted the building of the GFIW’s branch in the Nineveh governorate on the same morning, resulting in the injury of many workers and trade unionists.
The GFIW’s Executive Bureau issued a declaration which concluded with the following resilient statement (translated into English by the ITUC Amman Office from the Arabic):
‘The terrorist acts, the annihilation of trade unionists, the destruction and occupation of trade union offices, the freezing of the trade union movement’s assets and the putting of obstacles in our way will only increase our resolve to build an independent, democratic trade union movement that is free of government and party hegemony.’
The TUC is concerned that terrorists in Iraq are increasingly targeting trade unionists, both officials and ordinary members, in their attempt to crush a secular, non-sectarian and democratic force in Iraq.

How do Iraqi Communists view the upsurge of violence in Iraq?

Salam Ali is interviewed on the Iraqi Communist view of the current situation. He says, for instance, the following on the presence of foreign troops: A national consensus is emerging in Iraq, among the major political forces, that there should be a clearly defined objective timetable for a speedy withdrawal of the occupying forces, linked to rebuilding the Iraqi armed forces. Up to now, Bush has adamantly refused to be committed to such a timetable, obviously preferring an open-ended military presence and occupation. While an immediate withdrawal is widely seen by Iraqis as not feasible, it is increasingly not acceptable to have an open-ended foreign military presence, especially with the evident responsibility of the Americans for certain aspects of the deteriorating security situation.