APA STATEMENT ON IRAQ
We, the Asian Peace Alliance, strongly denounce the US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq. This invasion is a blatant act of conquest of a sovereign nation through the heinous use of weapons of mass destruction, the massacre of defenseless civilians, and destruction of a society, that have been carried out in arrogant defiance of the overwhelming people’s protests all over the world. We condemn it as a grave war crime and crime against humanity committed in scornful violation of the United Nations Charter and international law.
Under the shifting pretexts of “disarming” Saddam Hussein, “regime change”, and finally “liberation”, the US has failed to conclusively show to the world any acceptable rationale for its war.
Occupation is not liberation. George W. Bush’s claims of bringing “freedom” to the Iraqi people are not only deeply racist, they cannot possibly be true, given US and UK’s role as former allies of Saddam Hussein’s regime during some of its most brutal periods. Their history, of active support of the dictatorship, followed by over 12 years of bombardment, and sanctions which UN officials have described as “genocidal”, nullify the US and UK governments’ sudden “concern” for the welfare of Iraqi people.
The military occupation of the country by the invading forces and the planned imposition of a US military administration or a puppet government lack any legitimacy whatsoever. They must therefore be rejected, seen as a grave and imminent threat to international peace.
We demand that all US-British occupation forces withdraw from Iraq and the region immediately. This is a necessary precursor to a peaceful solution for West Asia.
We also oppose foreign companies’ entry into Iraq to pillage its resources and make the country fit for the entry of the transnational corporations and banks. We believe that any international effort in Iraq right now must be one that is aimed at healing the wounds of war, making food, medicine and basic necessities available to all the people, and making sure that Iraq is run by the Iraqi people alone.
We support the calls from many peace-loving Iraqi people and organizations for the convening of an international conference on the current crisis, under UN auspices. The broad participation of representatives of Iraqi democratic and peace-loving forces at such a conference could begin the process of addressing current problems of transition, and paving the way towards genuine democratic change and social transformation in the country.
We urge the international community not to succumb to the threat and pressure that the United States is exercising in an effort to get the world to accept what has been done as fait accompli.
Instead, the international community must come back to the United Nations Charter and international law. We urge governments around the world to promptly take steps to condemn the illegitimacy of this war and prevent the US from waging any further acts of aggression by passing a UN Security Council resolution against the US.
As an alliance of Asian peace organizations, we particularly urge the governments in Asia who have supported US aggression in Iraq– notably Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines– to fundamentally reconsider their positions, and to join forces with other governments to restore the accepted laws and norms of the international community.
We believe that failure to reject or deny any modicum of legitimacy to the US invasion of Iraq would open the way for the US claim to the right of attacking any country in its disfavour and to effectively rule the world as it pleases. This would usher in an ominous era of constant wars, violence, conquests, and bloodshed. We need only look at the continuing war cries from Washington, and the naming of Syria, Iran, and North Korea as potential targets to sense an extremely worrying future for world peace.
We express our profound grief and sympathy over the thousands of Iraqi people, children, women and men who were killed or hurt in the course of this aggression and colonial occupation. We demand that the injured, ailing, sick be provided immediate medical attention and care that is mandatory under the Geneva Convention.
The situation in Iraq today is one of chaos and lawlessness, where, under the noses of the Allied forces who are present there in the hundreds of thousands, old scores are being settled, ethnic conflicts are coming to the fore, and looting is rife. This anarchy itself is in gross violation of the Geneva Convention and the US-British Governments should be held accountable for continuous violation of international law.
Also continuous in its disregard for international law is Israel, the US’s ally in the region. We believe that the occupation of Iraq by the US and the colonization of Palestinian territories by Israel are fundamentally linked. Both are central to the consolidation of US power and hegemony in West Asia and the world.
We are convinced that if the international community stays silent about the US-British colonial occupation, and also Israel’s continuing assaults on the Palestinian people, the only service will be to the strengthening US hegemony over Asia, and the world. A worldwide heightening of insecurity and terrorism, increased militarization and nuclear proliferation, and increase poverty and the marginalization of people will be the inevitable results.
We urge the countries and peoples that stood against this illegal war and occupation to mount their resistance and opposition to these imperial plans. To this end we have been encouraged by the sustained efforts of anti-war/anti-occupation campaigns in many parts of the world, and inspired by the growth of peace movements all over Asia which seek to assert people’s voices and aspirations.
We call for continued action and cooperation among all groups, individuals, networks and movements desiring genuine peace and social justice in the world. In these critical times, our strength lies in a people-based solidarity that will enable us to chart out a shared vision of peace that links us together across borders and boundaries.
ASIAN PEACE ALLIANCE © COPYRIGHT
The date posted here is due to our website rebuild, it does not reflect the original date this article was posted. This article was originally posted in Yonip on April 20, 2003