ASIAN PEACE ALLIANCE
Against US Plans to Attack Iraq
The Asian Peace Alliance welcomes Saddam Hussein’s acceptance of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. While this development might have generated a sigh of relief elsewhere, we stand on the conviction that the threat of the United States waging a war against Iraq has merely been postponed.
We condemn the US Government’s intentions to start a war against Iraq and its attempt to use the Security Council to provide a cover for this war.
The US has been forced to return to the UN Security Council and get its mandate before taking any step towards disarming Iraq. While this has signalled a desire on the part of the world community to bring in some rule of law in international relations, the Security Council resolution on Iraq-indeed trumpeted in the US press as the ‘voice of the world community’-unfortunately caves in to Washington’s war plans. This is a resolution adopted under duress.
The US intends to attack Iraq anyway to pursue its economic and military interests in the Middle East, with or without a Security Council resolution. George W. Bush and his emissaries, armed with a congressional endorsement, have repeatedly issued threats of a military attack, before and after the resolution’s adoption, before and after Hussein’s acceptance of the resolution. The US is merely playing along in an effort to obtain legitimacy for its war plan.
We denounce the Bush administration’s declared intention to invade Iraq because it is calculated to be the major step towards forcing the global community to accept and legitimise the US claim to its right to preemptively attack any country it labels “evil,” or “enemies of civilisation,” and thus to dictate its terms on the rest of the world.
The so-called Bush Doctrine (the national security strategy of the United States of America) announced in September laid bare this outrageous claim to US imperial rights that violate and repudiate the United Nations’ charter as well as all established norms of international law, justifying this act in the name of “a distinctly American internationalism that reflects the union of our (US) values and our (US) national interests.” (Bush Doctrine) On the eve of the imminent massive American invasion of Iraq, we are faced with a crucial choice-whether to succumb to this imperial regime or to reject it. We, as Asian people, reject it.
We believe there is no case for a war on Iraq.
Iraq has not threatened the US or Europe. The secular Baathist regime has no connection to Al Qaeda and has never been indicted for attempting any terrorist attack. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that looked into Iraq’s nuclear facilities after the Gulf War reported to the Security Council in October 1997 that there was no evidence of Iraq being able to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD). A report from some of the weapons inspectors confirmed this. Iraq has never used WMD against any state; only the US has.
Resolution 1441 is a drastic statement. It does not include the important aspects of Security Council Resolution 687, adopted at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, which laid out elements of a political resolution in the region-an independent weapons inspectorate, an end to the threat of war, a clear timetable to lifting economic sanctions, and the creation of WMD-free zone in the Middle East. This pointed to the need to de-nuclearise Israel. But Resolution 1441 places the entire onus on Iraq and faults it for violating earlier resolutions. It demands an enhanced inspection regime and disarmament reminiscent of the Versailles treaty model. No nation can follow and no inspection regime can be a success. Though the resolution states that the Security Council will convene to consider the situation after the report of the UN weapons inspectors, it hides a military clause by stating that ‘serious consequences’ will follow if Iraq was deemed to have violated the resolution.
The US is hypocritical in its charge of Iraq violating previous Security Council resolutions and throwing out the weapons inspectors. The US has given moral, financial and political support to Israel in its defiance of 29 UN resolutions that relate to Palestine and another 27 that that the US has vetoed on Israel’s behalf. The weapons inspectors left Iraq in 1998 without seeking permission from the Security Council, just before a bombing raid of Iraq by the US-British combine. The US has violated every aspect of Resolution 687. They have imposed the harshest possible sanctions against Iraq that has affected primarily the civilian population, led to the unnatural death of thousands of Iraqi children and caused inhuman misery to the Iraqi people.
The need for regime change in Iraq-for removing Saddam Hussein-has been blatantly used by the US as a justification for attacking Iraq. The US has no right to arrogate upon itself the role of removing or installing governments outside its own territory for its own purposes.
We salute the efforts of Iraqi people in their resistances-only they have the right to determine their own future.
Clearly, the control of and access to Iraqi Oil is a major interest of this US war. Regime change and the installation of a pro-US regime in Iraq as in Afghanistan will ensure control of US oil companies. OPEC control over oil prices will pass to US hands. Further, the US would be able to maintain its control and hegemony over the entire region, effect regime changes and restructure other countries in the region, beginning with Iran and extending to Saudi Arabia.
It is for this that the Bush regime has a doctrine of preemptive strikes in place and an authorisation from the US Congress to go for war unilaterally if necessary. The massive US-British deployment of troops in the region reveals the single-minded militarism of this combine. Other countries are supporting this war with an eye to the post-war settlements. This will again be a war under the globalising regime.
We condemn the US Congress for authorising their president to strike Iraq, as much as we condemn the threats from the US president to wage the war even if not allowed by the UN Security Council.
The APA holds no brief for Saddam Hussein. But this Bush-led war would harm primarily civilians and urban settlements, de-stabilise the entire Middle East for decades to come, and set back any resolution to the urgent cause of Palestine. It will establish a unilateral world order that the US alone will use to violate and undo all principles of international law that have been worked out in the last 50 years.
We note with alert that under the US-organised war situation, the processes of destabilisation engendering a vicious cycle of violence are rapidly engulfing Asia.
The tension over the Korean peninsula is dangerously heightening over the near collapse of the agreed framework with North Korea. The war is being extended into Southeast Asia using the Bali incident and designation of a major armed opposition in the Philippines as a “terrorist organisation.”
It is clear that responding to major systematic state violence by violence, let alone indiscriminate exercise of violence against civilians, would only strengthen Bush’s hands and facilitate the worst nexus between the US politico-military machinery and the most repressive local and state elites, bringing about further erosion of democracy and suppression of people’s rights and freedoms. We witness this already occurring in Indonesia and the Philippines.
WE APPEAL TO ALL PEOPLE IN ASIA TO OPPOSE THIS WAR.
We appeal to the international community to oppose US efforts to engage in this war and pass a Security Council Resolution against US war efforts.
We call on all peace-loving Asian people and peoples to come together to generate a powerful Asian voice to bring an end to the vicious cycle of violence, create and protect democracy and freedom by non-violent resistance, and build people-to-people relationships based on justice.
We call on all members of the ASIAN PEACE ALLIANCE to urge their governments to oppose US plans to attack Iraq, and to engage in Asia-wide actions that will demonstrate opposition to this plan by all peace-loving forces in Asia, in solidarity with peace movements in other regions of the world.
ASIAN PEACE ALLIANCE
November 15, 2002
Endorsement from APA Founding Members:
Asian Regional Exchange for New Alternatives
ASR Resource Centre (Pakistan)
Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samithi (India)
Committee for Peace Not War (Hong Kong)
Focus on the Global South
Focus on the Global South-Philippine Programme
Gathering for Peace (Philippines)
Initiatives for International Dialogue
KALAYAAN (Katipunan para sa Pagpapalaya ng Sambayanan, Philippines)
Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition
Pakistan Peace Coalition
Partai Rakyat Demokratik (People’s Democratic Party, Indonesia)
Peace Camp (Philippines)
People’s Plan Study Group (Japan)
Philippine Coalition for the International Criminal Court
Women Making Peace (Korea)
APA members (individual capacity):
Selvy Thiruchandran (Sri Lanka) Director, Women’s Education and Resource Centre [APA founding member]
Sumanta Banerjee (India) Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace & Democracy [APA founding member]
Nighat Said Khan [APA Steering Committee member] (Coordinator, South Asian Women for Peace) (Coordinator, People’s Peace Alliance)
Kamal Mitra Chenoy [APA founding member] (Vice-President, All India Peace and Solidarity Council)
Malaysian Social Reform Movement (ALIRAN)
Joy Balazo Uniting Church, Australia
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 in 2002