The following two comments are in response to messages from New York City Labor Against the War (NYCLAW) that point out the pro-occupation position taken by the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), one of whose representatives is currently speaking on a tour sponsored by U.S. Labor Against the War (USLAW), United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). Those prior NYCLAW messages are posted at:
June 8, 2007 FROM: John Braxton, Co-President, AFT 2026 and representative to the USLAW Steering Committee from Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO
Please read the attached excerpt from an interview with Hashmeya Hussein that explains her position on withdrawal of US troops. If you truly want to have a dialogue on this issue, I assume that you will post this excerpt on your next e-mail announcement to your NYCLAW list. I assume that you will welcome her statement: “I wish the occupation would leave in the fastest way possible” and that you will want everyone on your NYCLAW list to have this information.
In the interest of building a strong and united peace movement, I look forward to your next NYCLAW posting.
Swanson: Yes. And do the Iraqi people want the US soldiers to stay in Iraq or to leave?
Hussein: We suffered from dictatorship for 35 years. We all wanted a change. But we did not choose war or occupation. We were hoping that the change would be from inside and that the Iraqi people would be supported in doing so. All along the Iraqis, we have not been able to do so.
I believe the uprisings that took place after invasion of Kuwait in ’91, there was people uprising but there was no leadership to plan and implement. And who participated in pressing this uprising is America, is the American administration because it gave permission to the Iraqi government at the time which was to fly their airplanes even when there was a no-fly zone.
Hussein: And they gave them specifics of where these uprisings were taking place and then the government . . .
And I believe the whole world got to witness the abuse that took place and the atrocity that took place at the time. And just as I am coming on my flight a couple of days ago, on the plane I was watching, there was a program, and I don’t know what it was, but I was watching, Chemical Hassan was kicking with his foot the people that were doing the uprising. So I am sure people throughout the world got to witness that also.
And the war took place and afterwards it became a reality. So we are now in the new invasion, in the invasion and many people heard about this
As an example, the resistance that took place in one town the people resisted for two weeks continuously, but it is a small population against a big army. The people cannot resist for such a big army.
In the beginning, after the fall of the regime, people were optimistic because they were hoping for something better. They had been oppressed for 35 years. They Iraqi people they have not received anything other than pain, become backwards in everything, no services, no electricity, no health care. The most we are using until today are Saddam Hussein’s laws. Everything has gotten worse.
We wish that the occupation would leave in the fastest possible way. Withdraw all their troops out of Iraq. We feel and we see that this is the only solution for the Iraqi people.
Swanson: And do most Iraqis agree with that?
Hussein: We are in the union organization as a union force. We believe that. And we have taken our efforts and discussions to the Parliament and to the government and so this moment we demand the withdrawal of the occupation.
June 9, 2007
From: hana abdul ilah al bayaty, BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee
Several issues are at stake here:
1. Where can we find the declaration from the delegates of GFIW of their endorsement of an immediate withdrawal?
2. Are we talking about an immediate AND complete (including military basis and the 120 000 private “security contractors” which work as mercenaries in this corporate war) AND unconditional withdrawal?
3. Do we agree that according to international law, the pre-emptive war against the sovereign state of Iraq, one of the founding members of the UN, was and remains illegal, therefore all that derives from it is illegal and null and void, including the entire political process, its fake elections, so called constitution, agreements, treaties and contracts?
The GFIW being affiliated to several political parties directly participating to this criminal political process of plunder and massacre, I doubt that it agrees that as stated by international law, the resistance of the Iraqi people to this ferocious occupation is legal and legitimate and can resort to any means including armed struggle. As the occupation dismantled what was the sovereign state of Iraq and imposed an illegal political process, the people who resisted and still resist this dismantlement are the sole representative of the Iraqi people.
No legitimacy can be afforded to a parliament which sat for sectarian and personal reasons making millions while overseeing the biggest humanitarian tragedy since WWII, resulting in the death of a million of its own citizens and forcing minimum 4 millions to flee, while organizing the biggest theft of contemporary history. No legitimacy can be given to any US appointed entity pretending to represent the Iraqi people. The Iraqi resistance is the sole legal and legitimate representative of the Iraqi people. Unless GFIW states this clearly that the political process is illegal, then it cannot be considered anti occupation.
I went to see what “sister” Hussein has to say and advocate for. It seems blur to me. She mentions “terrorist attacks” but makes no mention of the state sponsored terrorism of the occupation and their sectarian stooges.
It is not surprising however that GFIW opposes this law. No Iraqi politician including our worse collaborators can sign the US sponsored oil draft. All know that it is a red line that cannot be crossed. It simply means political suicide. It is important to differentiate between patriotic Iraqi forces and mere opportunistic stands if we are to work in solidarity to end this tragedy.
yours in struggle,
hana abdul ilah al bayaty BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee