Viewpoints of BRussells Tribunal members: 

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* Selected writings of some members of the Advisory committee of the BRussells Tribunal

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The French are Iraqis


Given mutually shared understandings, the people of France ought naturally to support the popular resistance in Iraq, writes Hana Al Bayaty


Past and present has proven that the French and Iraqis have an acute sense of history when popular conscience is at stake. To be sure, their historical experience diverges to a point of polarity: France was and is an imperial power, Iraq a country subject to waves of colonialism in the last century and ours. Nonetheless, they share at a core level a range of values and principles, including nation, citizenship, secularism and resistance to foreign occupation. The destruction of international law through the illegal pre-emptive war waged on Iraq threatens to break the fragile equilibrium developed by humanity for the peaceful coexistence among peoples. That the French have as tradition opposed blind power when the foundations of human civilisation are in danger was proven again in 2003 when France opposed the illegal invasion of the Iraqi sovereign state. Yet their current silence is deafening. Iraqis are at present facing this power alone, and resisting with a level of endurance that is breathtaking. It is increasingly urgent, in light of shared values and the general chaos brought down by the occupation on the Iraqi people, that a solidarity movement with the Iraqi resistance is born in France.


The first common value the French and Iraqis share is the way they conceive themselves as nations. There are two dominant schools of thought that developed the concept of nation. The first, the Germanic school, took the concept of common nation to derive from genetics, blood, biology, race, common language and culture. The second, developed in the French tradition — especially in Ernest Renan’s speech at La Sorbonne in 1882 — conceives the idea of nation as a kind of “social contract” in which its members, not necessarily sharing the same genetic origin, agree collectively to bear together past, present and future experiences in a common language and culture, for better or for worse. The right of soil in France is a good example of this tradition: nationality follows from the land on which you are born. Like France, Iraq shares this concept of nation.


Iraqis also share with French a concept of citizenship, where the French concept defines the relation between individual and state in favour of citizens. The state exists to defend the common and national interest, defined as the will of a community of citizens. Categorically secular, the citizen is a subject of defendable rights while embraced in equality within the community as a whole. In Iraq, the Abbassid era of the 13th century planted the seeds of the idea of “the state of citizens” rather than a state of sects and parties by confining religion to the interpretation of legislation. They declared the state founded not upon Islam as such, but equal recognition to all Muslims. Different confessions and ethnicities were afforded equal rights of access within all existing national institutions. In its contemporary history, Iraq has been secular since 1920.


The common principles shared between Iraqis and French can be summed up in one word: sovereignty. In France, the expression of sovereignty is popular consciousness, the welfare state, protest culture, resistance to uniformity and cultural exceptionality. In Iraq, it is the same — added to which a determined defence of the patrimony of national resources. Both the French and the Iraqis are revolutionary in this regard, both in spirit and in deed. In France, parties keep an ear to the street, which is the ultimate source of French sovereignty. In Iraq, self-determination was a driving force of pan-Arab independence and anti-imperialism, attested in the popular uprisings of 1920, 1958, its resistance to the 13 years of genocidal economic sanctions, and 2003 to this day.


For the past 4000 years, Iraq has been a geopolitical, social and economic entity composed of a variety of communities — including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmans and Caldo Assyrians, among others — who agreed to bear the burden of past, present and future, even at the risk of annihilation. Iraq has never experienced ethnic strife throughout these 4000 years. Cleavages inside Iraqi society are mainly political, with three main currents: nationalists, Islamists and leftists. All three are inherently anti-imperialist.


It is in this context that the current dominant media discourse of sectarianism must be appraised as an arm of imperial and colonial power. Indeed, in the tradition of empires expanding on the principle of divide and rule, the US has consistently promoted sectarian forces in Iraq. It organised the so-called political process for this purpose, including imposing a sectarian based Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), staging elections for an Interim National Assembly, and drafting a constitution that enshrined “permanently” a federal structure on a previously unitary nation. This policy was deepened with the most recent legislative elections.


The political forces championed by the occupation agree only on one point: the partition of Iraq along sectarian lines. They do not share the same understanding of federalism. The Kurdish movement hopes to constitutionally annex the oil rich city of Kirkuk and declare Kurdish independence in the future. Shia parties — Al-Dawa of Prime Minister Ibrahim Al-Jaafari, and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) of Abdul Aziz Al-Hakim — aim towards the de facto control of the central government and imposing a religious state similar to and allied with Iran. Recently they’ve defended the “right” and possibility of declaring an autonomous Shia region. As the Kurdish movement is secular, bitter disputes are tearing these sectarian forces apart.


The Iraqi resistance, which is mainly supported by the “Sunni” community, fights against sectarianism and refuses to be labelled as Sunni. It does not recognise the self-appointed “Sunni” representatives emerging from December’s elections. This anti-occupation movement insists there is such a thing as Iraq and an Iraqi people. It is struggling against sectarianism, globalisation and imperialism by military means. Its agenda is simple: that Iraqis remain sovereign over Iraq’s resources, territory and future.


In the name of breaking Iraq, the crimes and atrocities of the US-led occupation are an affront to conscience and constitute — legally defined — crimes against humanity. Since 2003 Iraq’s identity, society, state and nation have been systematically destroyed, its resources plundered, its holy sites desecrated, its cultural riches looted and its people brutally repressed. Occupation supported death squads are terrorising the population. In the past five months, the US intensified its massive bombing campaign directed against cities and villages. Thousands of sorties are sent out every month. It has used chemical agents, including white phosphorous — a weapon derived from napalm — on civilian populations, in particular in Fallujah and Tel Afar. Several cities have been levelled, including Fallujah, Al-Qaim, Tel Afar and Haditha, among others. Some estimate the civilian death toll to be more than 160,000 while the US military and its puppet regime holds around 82,000 prisoners, the majority detained without charge.


This catalogue of destruction is not a consequence of war but a stated and developed rationality emerging from the American far right. The Project for a New American Century (PNAC) has one thing to its credit: the breathtaking candour by which it announces US imperial plans for the Middle East and the world. Founded in spring of 1997 by neo-conservatives Robert Kagan and William Kristol, signatories to its mission statement include Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush (George W’s brother), Francis Fukuyama and Paul Wolfowitz, “architect” of the war on Iraq. Many of its members have direct ties with the military and oil industry as well as Zionist lobby groups. While the PNAC describes itself as “a non-profit educational organisation,” its “Statement of Principles” is unequivocal: “The history of the 20th century should have taught us that it is important to shape circumstances before crises emerge, and to meet threats before they become dire.” It is upon this philosophy that the pre-emptive doctrine of attack is founded.


With audacity that undermines over half a century of international multilateral cooperation, the PNAC drew up a four-point agenda to achieve its mission: (1) “We need to increase defence spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernise our armed forces for the future;” (2) “We need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;” (3) “We need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;” (4) “We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.” In other words, military force will now be used to extend US imperial interests worldwide, and to put down and destroy all those who defend alternative values. The radicalism of the PNAC cannot be understated. It overturns the entire Westphalian tradition of sovereignty established in 1648.


In September 2000, the PNAC published a crucial report entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century”, wherein was established the mechanisms for American supremacy and the rationality for attacking Iraq: “The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” The report argued for a large-scale upgrade of the US army, estimating that a yearly budget increase of $15 to $20 billion would be required to transform it into an “imperial super-force” taking the lead in “the revolution in military affairs”. The PNAC was aware, however, that this agenda would meet resistance: “The process of transformation is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalysing event — like a new Pearl Harbor.” The events of 11 September 2001 provided convenient cover.


The BRussells Tribunal ( was formed to interrogate and expose the rationality, virulent arrogance and moral bankruptcy of the PNAC. Originally a hearing committee composed of academics, intellectuals and artists in the tradition of the Russell Tribunal set up in 1967 to investigate war crimes committed during the Vietnam War, The BRussells Tribunal hearing took place on 14-17 April 2004 at The Beursschouwburg and Les Halles in Brussels. Its formation originated in a petition launched by philosophy professor Lieven De Cauter, signed by over 500 artists, writers, intellectuals and academics. This petition called for moral — and legal, if possible — action against the PNAC and those responsible for the war on Iraq. After it became clear that legal action was unlikely to succeed — despite the illegality of the pre-emptive war — the idea of a “moral court” or “people’s tribunal”, to condemn US government policy as well as the think tanks behind it, followed. This idea developed and spread into the organisation of a series of hearings worldwide, culminating in a final session in Istanbul in June 2005. The BRussells Tribunal was one of these commissions of inquiry; indeed, was the opening session of the World Tribunal On Iraq ( ).


The BRussells Tribunal is a network, not a formally structured organisation, and works on a zero budget. It has one goal: the end of the occupation of Iraq. The backbone of its Advisory Committee is composed of patriotic Iraqis, both from inside Iraq and from the Diaspora. The lead is taken from the Iraqis — in this alone The BRussells Tribunal stands in defence of Iraqi sovereignty. What The BRussells Tribunal aims to be is a bridge between the Iraqi and Western anti-war movement. As to the Iraqi resistance, it is not the duty of The BRussells Tribunal, or our right, to judge this resistance. Rather, The BRussells Tribunal acts in solidarity with all currents of the real resistance, in accordance with the conclusions of the culminating session of the World Tribunal On Iraq in Istanbul that stated clearly the legal right, under international law, of Iraqis to resist occupation. Resistance is resistance against rapacious power “by all means possible”.


Most recently, on advice of Iraqis, The BRussells Tribunal launched a campaign on the assassination of Iraqi academics. Academics, doctors and scientists are being killed on a daily basis. Dubbed “a war on learning” by Robert Fisk in The Independent, according to an article in The Times Higher Education Supplement, “there is a widespread feeling among the Iraqi academics that they are witnessing a deliberate attempt to destroy intellectual life in Iraq.” According to Dr Sinawi — a geologist formerly employed at Baghdad University — dismissals of academics and the accelerating covert campaign of assassinations will bring a “disruption of higher education in Iraq for years to come. This will dramatically affect the standard of teaching and research for generations.” Until now, The BRussells Tribunal has compiled a list of over 160 assassinated academics. Thousands more have disappeared or been forced into exile.


The poverty of discourse of the mainstream media has routinely concealed the “Salvador Option” currently being conducted in Iraq. More than $3 billion of the $87 billion Pentagon budget for 2004 was allocated to create militias and support covert operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one hears that all factions of the resistance openly condemn the majority of barbarous acts committed daily against civilians. Only three per cent of victims of this occupation are killed by suicide bombs. And how would the resistance sustain the massive support it has in Iraq if it targeted civilians? Iraq’s occupiers use the same arguments the British did in the 1920s: “if we leave, there will be civil war.” Most Iraqis and specialists on Iraq — like Denis Halliday or Robert Fisk — state clearly that there will be no civil war if US troops leave. On the contrary, if they stay, there will be civil war, because all the illegal laws that the occupiers have issued — including the recent constitution — are meant to divide the country along sectarian lines. Thus far Iraqi popular resistance to these imperial plans has remained rigid. But the forces bearing down on the Iraqi population are immense, and everyday US-backed agents in Iraq’s media and government poison the minds of Iraqis. How long could any people endure?


The invasion of Iraq was and is illegal. There is no concept of pre-emptive war in international law. Further, under the provisions of the 1907 Hague IV Convention, occupying powers are forbidden from changing the laws of occupied countries. All agreements, laws and contracts forged under the occupation are null and void, including the constitution. Elections were a farce. The so-called government is nothing but a puppet of the US occupation. There was no “transfer of sovereignty” in June 2004. Occupying powers have no right — indeed, are expressly prohibited under international humanitarian law — from ceding sovereignty to any body established under occupation. Until US troops and all foreign forces get out of Iraq, the sovereignty of Iraq lies — legally and morally — with the popular resistance. The right to self-determination is one enshrined at the heart of numerous instruments of international law. The right of the Iraqi people to resist, by any means at its disposal, foreign occupation is afforded by the UN Charter. Iraq never capitulated; its army did not sign an armistice.


Continuing to read the Iraqi situation through a sectarian lens prevents us from understanding what is really at stake; who is involved and why are the Iraqis resisting so fiercely. Behind the smokescreen of media ideology, the truth is simple. Iraqis, like the resistance to the Vichy government in France, are fighting for their country. They have been doing so since the sanctions regime was imposed in the 1990s. Prior to the Persian Gulf War, thanks to petrodollars and a social policy of redistribution, Iraq developed a large and educated middle class able to manage the country’s revenue and benefit the general interest. Iraq had the best health and educational system of the Middle East. This middle class knows it is not in Iraq’s national interest to allow full-scale privatisation of Iraq’s economy. Foreign corporations and local corrupted bourgeoisies are the only ones who would benefit. It is this class and its youth that is the backbone of the resistance. As such, the global struggle against neo-fascist globalisation is being fought face-to-face in Iraq.


The Iraqi resistance understands that occupation is the highest form of dictatorship. This occupation, in philosophy and deed, tries to impose its ideology by military means. After 13 years of genocidal economic sanctions and the recent destruction of the Iraqi nation and its institutions — the usurpation of its land, and levelling of its cities and villages — the youth has taken destiny into its own hands in French tradition, to push the occupiers out, save Iraq from being consumed by profit-thirsty corporations, and to establish the only condition which will guarantee democracy: Iraqi sovereignty and self-determination. In fighting this resistance, US-led occupation forces seek to divide the organic nation and promote local corrupted bourgeoisies and warlords who cannot — indeed refuse to — create a state of citizens. The brutal repression of the Iraqi people is but the means by which the conditions will be secured for the daylight rape of the Iraqi nation and the patrimony of Iraqi citizens.


The destruction of Iraq is not a matter for coffee-table chitchat. It is an element of the determined destruction on the part of reactionary neo-fascist forces of the very foundations of international society, legality and the possibility of a social contract between nations. The radicalism of this destruction is such that it is no longer enough to simply “protest” the effects of war on its primary front, Iraq. Artists and students and all those who believe in the fundaments of human creation should oppose the destruction wrought by American plans to impose a “state of emergency” on the whole world and the concomitant undermining of over 500 years of popular revolutionary struggle. Iraqis are fighting not only for Iraq but also for the heritage of half a millennium of popular struggles. All must recognise and support the popular resistance in Iraq while demanding the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces and supporting the claim of Iraqis to just compensation for the wholesale and intended destruction of Iraq. When you hear of the resistance in Western media you should know that it fights with its existence on behalf of all, against the global if not planetary agenda of the American Empire.


How French!


The writer is a member of the Executive Committee of The BRussells Tribunal (

 Bring the troops home.

Testimony of Dr. Dahlia Wasfi at Iraq Forum held by Congress members in D.C. 02/05/2006

I speak to you today on behalf of relatives on my mother’s side—Ashkenazi Jews who fled their homeland of Austria during Hitler’s Anschluss.  It is for them that we say “Never again.”  I speak to you today on behalf of relatives on my father’s side, who are not living, but dying, under the occupation of this administration’s deadly foray in Iraq.  From the lack of security to the lack of basic supplies, to the lack of electricity to the lack of potable water to the lack of jobs to the lack of reconstruction to the lack of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, they are much worse off now than before we invaded.  “Never again” should apply to them, too.

On my first day in Basrah, December 25th, 2005, my family’s house lost electricity.  On the second day, we lost water.  On the third day, we lost telephone service.  One cousin said, “I think tomorrow, we won’t have air.”  He was joking, but with the hundreds to thousands of tons of depleted uranium that continue to fall on Iraq as I speak, every breath is tainted.  Depleted uranium is the most likely etiology for the 600% increase in Iraq’s infant mortality rate and 300% increase in pediatric leukemias and lymphomas after 1991.  It is also the most likely cause of Gulf War Syndrome.

During the forty-two days of the 1991 Gulf War, electricity power stations, telecommunications centers and sewage treatment plants were destroyed.  Their repair or replacement was impeded by economic sanctions.  To this day, fifteen years later, water from the tap is contaminated, as I accidentally proved during my stay.  Families have to buy their water from special “R.O.” stations.  For families who can afford it, bottled water is better for drinking, which provides economic gain to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Between my visits in 2004 and 2006, there has been no reconstruction in Basrah.  Bombed buildings remain a constant reminder of our aerial campaigns.  One cousin taught at a primary school that was bombed during “Shock and Awe.”  To this day, the structure is damaged and unusable.  Streets are filled with garbage and sewage—un-drivable because of bombing damage and general disrepair.  New traffic lights were installed while I was there, but due to limited electricity, they are not functional.

Hospitals throughout Iraq were crippled by sanctions as well and have been unable to recover.  Epidural anesthesia for child labor or disc disease is simply not available.  One of the main hospitals in Basrah could not do operations for a week because they had no gauze.  That hospital was still standing, however, unlike in Fallujah. 

And the segments of the population who suffer most whenever there is no law and order, are women and children.  They are the most susceptible to the traumas of violence and kidnapping.  Before the invasion, my cousin at age 18 traveled around Basrah independently.  Today, it is unsafe for her to go out without being accompanied by a man.  As scores of Iraqis die EVERY day, it does not matter if you call it “civil war,” “sectarian strife,” or “democracy;” it is—by design—an American killing field, a smokescreen for stealing oil. 

It is families—Iraqi and American—who are paying the highest price for the disaster of U.S. foreign policy.  This Congress has appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars for our illegal occupation, but the money isn’t being spent on armoring military vehicles, and it’s not going towards helping returning veterans, whose healthcare budget came up one billion dollars short in 2005.  Under Paul Bremer’s regime in Iraq, nine billion dollars went missing.  Nine billion.  Could we have used that money here at home?  We should ask the citizens of New Orleans—a city that was 70% black—now scattered across the country.   

And while Louisiana and Mississippi were gasping for air, 6800 members of their National Guard were in Iraq, as part of a military force inflicting the same death and destruction as Katrina on the civilian population there. 

In September 2001—with the exception of Barbara Lee—Congress gave a blank check for war to “The Decider,” who had access to chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons.  We are the ones using white phosphorus.  We are the ones using napalm and its derivatives.  We are the ones using depleted uranium.  This is not a war on terror; this is a war of terror. 

Your obligation to the people of Iraq, to the people of America, and to the rest of the world, is the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American troops and mercenaries from Iraq. 

In the words of Hassan Juma’a Awad, president of the Basrah Oil Workers’ Union: 

“We as a union call for the withdrawal of foreign occupation forces and their military bases.  We don’t want a timetable—this is a stalling tactic.  We will solve our own problems.  We are Iraqis, we know our country, and we can take care of ourselves.  We have the means, the skills, and resources to rebuild and create our own democratic society.” 

Bring the troops home.  Make it your number one priority, as if lives depended on it.  Because they do. 

Bring them home NOW.

Dahlia Wasfi (

(the author is member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory committee)

Disaster and Catastrophe

Albayaty Abdul Ilah (15 June 2006) member Advisory Committee BRussells Tribunal

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq is a military, economic, moral and cultural disaster for Iraqis, Americans, and the world.

The Bush adminstration is continuing on its destructive course, changing tactics but not strategy.

U.S. military failure has been demonstrated by the inability of the most well-funded, sophisticated armed force in the world to defeat the resistance of a small country and its poor people. Technology can level entire neighborhoods, but it cannot break the human dignity of the Iraqi people. Americans can develop their presence in Iraq, but they cannot destroy the belief of Iraqis that they have the right to live as any other people in the world. They will not bow to Americans, even if they stay for centuries. In this regard, we should remember that Iraqi Christians have defended their ancestral culture for more than 4000 thousand years, and that the Palestinian people have defended their land since the 100 year.

Occupying Iraq is an economic disaster, because the costs of the war for the US have increased beyond any economic gain it would have from controlling Iraqi oil. Whatever the motive for invasion, and whatever control the U.S. may exert on Iraq's resources now, it is only temporary. This is because no Iraqi [EXCEPT SOME INDIVIDUAL PROFITERS! :)] can accept oil plans imposed on them by military force. Our fathers struggled for the nationalization of our oil.

When this was accomplished, Iraq proved capable of directing oil production and sale and using the profits to develop and advance Iraq. Why would Iraqis accept the handover of contracts and profits to U.S. oil companies while they suffer in poverty? Why would Iraqis allow foreign oil companies to control the quantity, price, and profits of their oil? The US is running after a mirage.

The occupation is a political disaster because noone in the world can argue that the US is playing a progressive [?liberating] role. The Iraq war proved that the US isn't working for peace, development and progress. What the U.S. administration wants is an empire, which it has no right--nor ability--to impose on the world. We see now the hesitation of other governments to support the U.S. occupation.

There is mounting resistance to U.S. policies from the national and progressive movements around the world--especially the youth movement--and the rising struggle in the Arab and Muslim world.

The occupation is a moral and cultural disaster for the US as well. Following the huge human suffering of World War II, the world-- Americans included--established international laws and human rights declarations that set the standards for civilized societies.

However, the adventurist U.S. neo-conservatives and imperialists are trying to destroy this civilization and replace it with the rules of the jungle.

How can the world--Americans included--be identified with such brutal and savage enterprise like the war and occupation of Iraq? The U.S. administration has succeeded in nothing but destruction, bloodshed, and lies. The occupation is a disaster for the United States, but for Iraqi society, it is an utter catastrophe. With the aid of its allies, the US has destroyed all that Iraqis built in modern times.

We will need 15-20 years after the end of the occupation to restore what Iraq achieved since the first world war. It should come as no surprise that Iraqis will continue struggling against the occupation in order to restore their society. Resistance is the only road to true liberty, democracy, dignity and achieving their interests, both as individuals and as a people.

Albayaty Abdul Ilah

member Advisory Committee BRussells Tribunal

About Maliki's reconciliation plan

Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty - political analyst - member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee (27 June 2006)

There is no doubt that the Maliki's project of 'national reconciliation' is a political manoeuvre planned by the Pentagon and the State Department's circles in order to pretend, before the American congressionnal elections taking place in November, that there is some progress taking place in the so-called Iraqi "political process ", whose aim is to implement the US project for Iraq.

The essence of this initiative is to give the impression that the danger overshadowing Iraq is Iran and the death squads controlled by it directly or indirectly. And, as a consequence, that the Arab resistance should cooperate with the US and the occupation's government to stand against this danger.

No patriotic sane and conscious individual can fall into this trap, whether he is involved in the armed national resistance or outside it. All are aware that the "political process", whatever disguise they might apply to it, can be resumed as follows : Power to collaborators and Oil to the US.

Changing collaborators doesn't alter the plan.

It is true that Iran and those who are allied with it, believed that they could, by imposing their hegemony on power, play as the best steady servants of US' plans and policies in the region, while at the same time fullfill their own interests. But the US, as every big power, doesn't put all its eggs in one basket, especially when there are plenty available who compete to offer the same services: The Iraqi Sunni Islamist parties, the Kurds' leaderships and even some secular parties.

We know that all these groups neither serve the Iraqi people's interests nor its will to be free from foreign hegemony over its life, land and resources. On the other hand, we, Arabs of Iraq, do not consider the Iranian people as enemy, although we strongly refuse the Iranian intervention in our national interior affairs. We call upon the people of Iran to stand side by side with the Iraqi people in its sufferings by forcing its government to stop supporting the occupation's government. And, we hope that once Iraq has successfully been liberated and stands independent, we will be able to achieve the common Iraqi/Iranian interests, by establishing dialogue and cooperation in a peaceful and civilized manner.

In reality, after these three catastrophic years of American occupation through which the US has tried to impose its plans for Iraq by military force, it has been proved to Iraqis, Americans and the World, that what they call the "political process" is a complete and flagrant failure:

It is true that there is a parliament, a constitution, a government and an army. But,

- The Parliament isn't a parliament designed to serve Iraq and the people of Iraq; it only serves the interests of its members and their families.

- The constitution is a 'jaljalutia'(1), and a war declaration to the unity of Iraq and to the idea of a modern state, which is normally based on the concept of citizenship rather than sectarian, religious and ethnic virtual affiliations.

- The government is only a government with no state and the ministers are ministers with no effective apparatus.

- The army is simply constituted of party militias controlled by US-Iraqi operationnal teams and the secret intelligence services' agents.

But, in addition, these three years have proved that the Iraqi islamist parties participating with the US in this so-called process, be they Sunni or Shia, might be useful for something but surely not to direct a government or a state.They corrupted and brought chaos to every institution or village they've entered.They politically failed and failed forever. Not only because they cooperated with the occupation but also because they created extreme difficultlies and problems for ordinary people and for Iraq which need to be resolved, while they didn't solve any problem Iraq faced and is facing. They only spent their time and efforts trying to crush the culture and terrorizing men and women of the military and civil, technical, scientific and management cadres which iraq posseded. Those very ones who could face the difficult situation Iraq is going through, thanks to sience and knowledge. as they have proved their ability and efficiency many times before.

In fact, the US found itself with a client state, governed by ignorance, backwardness, and religious and ethnic fascism.

If this government, Maliki's government, as a result of US pressure, decides to liberate prisoners or to stop military attacks against towns and suburbs, or to comply to other demands that our people has formulated consistently for the past three years, we will rejoice. But, we will not consider these moves but as the proof that these are normal and legitimate rights of our innocent citizens, and, we thank our national Resistance for forcing the occupation to respect our people and its will.

Furthermore, the US policy of: "I show you death so you will accept the fever" will not work with us, we will neither be cheated by propaganda which declares good intentions in order to practice the opposite, nor are we fooled by the policy of halting minor crimes to commit bigger ones. And, it will not escape from our knowlege that if the US intends to lower the number of Marines on the roads it is in fact to increase the use of US airforce instead.

Our insistance on complete and unconditionnal withdrawal of US troops and its allies is unshakable. Our insistance on real Independence and Democracy is unshakable. And the insistance of our people on these principles has been proved by its struggle throughout these bloody full of sufferings years.

If the Americans want to get rid of these Iraqi islamist parties, or their militias, initially promoted and imposed by them, it is their business. We, in the anti-occupation movement will not be a US instrument in doing so. We not only want to get rid of these militias, we want, in addition, to get rid of the occupation and achieve independence and democracy.

Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty - political analyst - member of the BRussells Tribunal Advisory Committee

edited by Hana Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty - member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee

(1) an Iraqi Baghdadi expression for a long piece of declaration, which is confusing, which doesn't bring the reader to any kind of understanding, maybe because of its length or its content.

The new Arab world 

The Arab nation has passed a threshold, a culture of resistance rising in unity, writes Hana Abdul Ilah Al Bayaty 

The project for a new Middle East was stillborn and is now buried. There is a democratic renaissance sweeping the Arab world that calls for independence, an Arab Palestine, unity, justice and democracy. It cannot be stopped. The political map of the region is being redrawn, but not by the Americans, nor the Israelis. The success of this renaissance is a gift for us all, pointing as it does towards a renewal of the international order along the lines of justice and the defence of human values. The page has been turned on 50 years of US-Israeli foreign policy. It is a new era. The tide has turned. Only how much destruction the bloodthirsty US-Israeli war machine will be able to inflict before it admits defeat remains to be seen and depends on our ability to resist globally. Arab victory is certain. 

The project for a new Middle East was based upon three myths and lies. All were intertwined and originate from the discriminatory assertion at the heart of Occidental imperialism that Arabs are naturally backward. According to the first lie, Arabs are unable to develop democratic movements and naturally support dictatorial, extremist regimes (the definition of which always lies in the mind of Western powers). The “free” world should therefore, like charity, bring democracy to the region. The second lie follows that due to their backwardness, the Arabs cannot defeat Israel and must accept the dispossession its inception forced upon them as a fait accompli. Following successive humiliating Arab defeats (1948, 1967, 1973) while trying to bring an end to the alien Zionist occupation of Palestinian land, the US and its local client regimes tried to force upon the Arab people the belief that Israel is invincible, underlining the logic of normalisation and the second class status of Arabs. The third virulent lie is that nothing unites the Arabs, their backwardness and tribalism leads them to sectarian and feudal forms of organisation. 

American empire is exceptional in that contrary to all previous empires it does not herald the promise of universalist values but instead brazenly declares its goal as the propagation of its own interests. The implementation of its strategy serves only the welfare of local, feudal, corrupted warlords, denying even the right to life to local populations. In the space of three years, US occupation and its stooges have attempted — and still attempt — to destroy Iraq both as a state and a nation. In the long tradition of divide to rule, they tried to deprive the Iraqi people of their unifying Arabo-Muslim identity by promoting sectarian forces. It resulted in the rape of the Iraqi nation, the plunder and theft of its resources, and the cold-blooded killing of its citizens. Meanwhile, democratically elected Palestinian representatives are abducted by Israel; the population starved as stated policy, continually subject to military attack. The latest criminal assault on Lebanon exposed the faultlines once and for all. US refusals to call for a ceasefire — to stop the criminal slaughter of Lebanese civilians and the destruction of their infrastructure which lasted four weeks — outraged all Arab people and millions worldwide. We knew it, but now no one can doubt it: US-Israeli plans for the region are the enemy of our people. 

The myth of Israel’s invincibility also collapsed along with the justifications of servile Arab regimes for the continued repression of their own people. While entire Arab armies have in the past been defeated within days, Hizbullah proved not only its endurance but also its swift ability to change military tactics in tune with events while retaining its composure and humility in defending Arabs everywhere. The dignity alone that Hizbullah’s triumph has afforded to Arabs is a signal of, and is essential to, the defeat of Zionism. For 30 years Arabs have been assigned to second-class status. In just over 30 days they have thrown off this worthless mantle as though it were nothing. The blow is not just to Zionism. Hizbullah’s military maturity and communications prowess has exposed the cowardliness and impotence of all Arab regimes who pretend to be nationalist but who advocate for, and repress in the name of, normalisation with Zionism. Hizbullah, within days, did more for democracy in the Arab world than Arab regimes achieved in years, the latter forced to retract their recriminations against the former in the face of popular pressure. 

In Lebanon the third enduring myth about Arabs being unable to think except along sectarian lines collapsed magnificently. Perhaps the US-Israeli strategists thought it would be easier, following 15 years of civil war for Lebanon to rapidly fall into civil strife. They don’t learn, but struggling people do. Lebanese unity behind Hizbullah — as much as 87 per cent according to polls — destroyed the myth that Arabs can never unite. Likewise after three years of relentless attempts to create civil strife in Iraq by any means, the US occupation has not managed to pitch Iraqis against each other. Never in 4000 years have Iraqis been sectarian. That occupation-linked sectarian militias are fighting each other and killing thousands of civilians is not a sign of sectarianism in Iraq. It is a US-imposed tactic of bringing chaos to decimate the inherent unity of Iraqi and Arabo-Muslim identity. Along with Zionism’s ill-fated misadventure in Lebanon, it failed before the invasion. Rather, there is a growing movement across the region that believes in the skills, maturity, will and ability of the united Arabs to liberate themselves from post-colonial agendas. Never will this movement accept the existence of a state created on their land to serve foreign capitalist interests.  

Across generations and regardless of the ideology embraced or the leader embodying the movement, rising Arab struggles adopted the same slogans: independence, unity, Arab Palestine — with people of different faiths living as equal citizens and in peace — and an efficient state. Today, the youth of the nation is eager for real justice and democracy and adopts the same slogans. The servile Arab regimes, already deeply isolated from and fearful of their own people, failed to understand this growing movement of resistance and further alienated themselves — as proven by ignominious statements absolving Zionist aggression. Their fate, along with the US-Israeli project, is cast. Israel’s systematic destruction of Lebanese national infrastructure, which passed without comment from Washington, exposed unequivocally that the US-Zionist project cares nothing for Arab advancement. The War on terror is a war on all forms of resistance to US-styled globalisation and its imposition by military power.  

Since the very day the occupation forces came to Iraq and the Iraqi state collapsed, there has been an uprising by all Iraqi movements and organisations; including those defending women, or unemployed youth, human rights organisations, trade unions, professional syndicates, agencies defending environmental issues and the rights of prisoners, and all other cultural and political organisations, side-by-side with provincial and tribal communities and peaceful and armed resistance groups. They have all risen following an unwritten political agenda that symbolises the whole society and derives its legitimacy from the deep sense of belonging to Arab and Islamic tenets. Likewise, the Lebanese civil resistance swift organisation to defend their land and sovereignty, as proven by the south Lebanese’s refugees’ insistence to return despite the presence of unexploded cluster bombs, and the Lebanese peoples’ unequivocal support for Hizbullah regardless of their respective political background, proves the same tendency. The interest of the lower and middle class have merged and will result in a never ending social and if necessary armed struggle to achieve independence, justice and democracy. The youth of the nation, which believes and trusts in the richness of its culture and civilisation will not accept selling short the rights of the country and the nation. It is confident of carrying the technical and intellectual skills to administer its own resources for the benefit of all, without foreign interference in their internal affairs. 

Attempts to choke Arab development cannot but fail. The three main currents developed by Arab societies — nationalists, Islamists and leftists — are intrinsically anti-imperialist and therefore opposed to US-Israeli regional designs. For nationalists, retaining control of national resources to serve the general interest is sacrosanct. For leftists, opposing the international chains of imperialism and globalisation is a baseline. For Islamists, resistance to foreign occupation — as written in the Quran — is a duty. Their interest lays currently in achieving unity in the struggle. They are united by their Arabo-Muslim identity. They share common principles and values as follows: the natural resources, material heritage, and the riches of culture and civilisation are the property of the totality of the people. The totality of citizens constitutes the people. The people are the sole source of sovereignty and of constitutional, political and judicial legitimacy. Government is responsible and accountable to all the citizens. Solidarity between citizens — between generations, the able and ill, the elderly and young, the orphan and every human being who finds himself in a state of weakness — should form the basis of any government’s social policy. The general interest is the justification and basis for the operation of the state, with every citizen, free of all forms of discrimination, sharing in the fruits of national wealth and social development. In struggling against military-imperial powers, the Arabs fight in defence of values around which a majority in the world gathers in consensus.  

What US-Israeli neo-imperialists have to offer is not only contrary to the interests of the Arab people, it is immoral. Never in history has a single political agenda — US-Zionist imperial dominion — been opposed by so many, in all countries, and across all continents. The Arab liberation struggle stands at the forefront of this global rejection and is the centre of an historic battle not between civilisations but for civilisation. Thus it is Israel, not the Arab nation, which stands in violation of rafts of UN resolutions, daily committing new atrocities in Gaza or the West Bank at the same time as it bombs residential areas in Beirut in violation of international humanitarian law — the baseline of civil protection against state terrorism. It is the United States that presides over a situation in Baghdad whereby government-supported death squads sweep and terrorise whole neighbourhoods and in the month of July alone more than 1800 corpses appeared strewn around the city, hundreds marked with signs of sadistic torture. To prevail in this context marks not only a victory for all Arabs, but all peoples in the human struggle towards freedom and justice. When in the centre of the storm Arabs fight with their lives for a better world they challenge the same neoliberal and neoconservative elite classes that waves of anti-globalisation activists, civil society movements, and democracy and human rights advocates worldwide oppose.  

Resistance is a matter of situation. Not all should or can carry arms. Tel Aviv and Washington are desperate. The edifice of their military superiority and moral authority is shattered. Not even chemical weapons, which Israel uses freely in Gaza and Lebanon as the US used in Tel Afar, Ramadi and Fallujah, can bring the Arab people and its ever-widening culture of resistance to its knees. Empire is already buried. Short of annihilating every Arab to the last woman, child and man, US-Israeli plans are already defeated. But there is no room for complacency. Now is the time for the people of this world to endorse and support the Arab struggle globally.  

Every advocate of an alternative world should play a part in supporting the transformation that the renaissance of Arab struggles heralds. Whereas brute force has too often decided history, in the new world there will be no peace without justice, and no justice without the right of return for every displaced Palestinian; the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the occupation from Iraq, along with the cancellation of all laws, treaties and agreements passed since the illegal invasion of the country; respect of Lebanese sovereignty and the condemnation and prosecution of Israel for the numerous war crimes and crimes against humanity it has perpetrated in Lebanon and in Gaza; that all Arab states and people which have been aggressed should receive fair reparations and compensations for the human and material loses they’ve endured; that all political prisoners should be set free immediately. Until these requirements are met, global civil disobedience is not only justified, it is a moral duty. 

The writer is a member of the Executive Committee of The BRussells Tribunal (

Objective Arab realities 

Multiple phenomenon across the Arab world and within Arab states point the way to a new future of Arab unity, determination and dignity, writes Hana Abdul Ilah Albayaty (09 September 2006) 

When I said that a new Arab world was born during Israel’s aggression on Lebanon, some doubted or decided to doubt. Since the US declared it would attack Iraq, working with the BRussells Tribunal on Iraq, I have observed the struggle of the Arab people for peace, justice and democracy. There is an up swell in mass struggle in the Arab world, in each country and in the region as a whole. What are the realities of this struggle that heralds a new Arab world? 

No one can deny that Arab unity was well portrayed by massive movements of opinion and action throughout the region in support of Hizbullah’s resistance to the Zionist state. Demonstrations gathered hundreds of thousands across the region, regardless of their political background, or their ethnic and religious identity. Pan-Arab political currents, Pan-Arab professional trade unions and workers organisations issued statements unequivocally supporting the resistance while calls for civil resistance emanated from all sorts of civil society organisations. Cultural events were organised in solidarity with the Lebanese civil and armed resistance. Even the position expressed by the Arab Diaspora in Latin America and Europe was uncompromising. It is not Hizbullah that created this expression of unity, although it contributed to creating it by its non-sectarian stand and policy. This unity is a result of a phenomenon that developed in the Arab world through the struggle of the Iraqi and Palestinian resistances against US-Israeli destructive, imperialist plans. 

This unity of the Arab world behind Hizbullah has definitively buried US-Israeli plans as it destroyed the myths upon which they rested (the canard that Arabs cannot develop democratic movements, that Israel is invincible, and that nothing unites Arabs), exposing their imperial nature. Arabs are more and more aware — despite attempts to divide the Arab nation — that the people of this region are unified by their Arabo-Muslim identity and interests. Their interest lies in their unity. Only through a unified, common and integrated market in a democratic socio-cultural space can they develop economically, politically and culturally, and be able to live in dignity and participate in and contribute to the enhancement of world civilisation. 

In reality, US-Israeli plans based on divisions between Arabs in one country, or between countries, failed. If we take Iraq as an example, we witness the following developments. First, the policy of charming some groups of the Iraqi resistance or their supporters in order to divide them and isolate the resistance has failed completely. Despite repeated declarations made by Jalal Talabani, resistance groups are united in their position. Second, the policy of dividing Iraqi movements into Shia, Sunni and Kurd, is cracking: large movements of opinion insist on the unity of Iraq. More and more groups in the south enter the struggle against the occupation and its government. When dealing with the subject of the future of Iraq, they increasingly appear as Iraqi rather than Shia or Sunni or Kurd, etc. Examples include the unity of Turkomen, Assyrians and Arabs on the fate of Kirkuk; the deepening of tribal solidarity; spreading demands for a large political national front; demonstrations in the north, ever unifying positions towards the occupation, Iraq’s oil wealth, etc.  

We can observe the same phenomenon in Lebanon where secular forces such as the Lebanese Communist Party supported Hizbullah, civil society organisations declared the country opened for civil resistance in solidarity with Hizbullah and the South, sectarian voices were shut down throughout the assault. Christians organised masses to pray for Hizbullah’s victory, and Sunnis declared the distinction between Shia and Sunni irrelevant. This kind of unity didn’t become manifest since 1956 and heralds a new era in regional politics. At the start of the latest crisis, some Arab governments doubted or criticised Hizbullah but quickly changed their positions when the Arab street expressed forceful solidarity with Lebanon. Regardless of whether these governments changed their tune because they were convinced otherwise or because they were afraid of their peoples’ reaction, the u-turn proves the failure of US-Israeli plans even with regard to their closest allies. 

Moreover, international civil society witnessed the blatant contempt of the Zionist state for human lives; it saw Israel bomb to rubble an entire country’s infrastructure, killing scores of civilians. The unity of the Arab world helped international public opinion and the American and European left understand that the forces developed by Arab societies resisting aggression, regardless of their respective ideologies, are anti-imperialist. The left understood that these forces had an interest in uniting against US-Israel colonial-imperial plans as nationalists defend sovereign control over natural resources, it is a duty for Islamists to fight foreign occupation, and leftists are ideologically opposed to unbridled neoliberal globalisation. This understanding was expressed by the rapid mobilisation in several Western cities, including London, Washington, Paris, and Berlin, condemning Israeli aggression. The adoption by 71 communist parties of a statement condemning the Zionist state shows the same pattern. Calls for cultural and economic boycotts of Israel echoed around the world. And leading moral authorities, public figures and intellectuals, including Eduard Galeano, Harold Pinter and Ken Loach among others, took rapid, clear and principled positions in solidarity with the Lebanese people. The voice of the anti-war movement radicalised. Whereas until now leftists across the world have not expressed unequivocal support for the Iraqi resistance, they felt confident in supporting Hizbullah despite its religious character. 

The struggle for unity in the region will never end, as it is the social, economic and geopolitical interest of the people of this region. When characterising the identity of the people of this region as Arabo-Muslim it is neither ethnic nor religious but rather cultural, civilisational and geopolitical. It is a reality that cannot be altered. It is because the Lebanese defended their national rights rather than sectarian concepts that all the tendencies of the patriotic political movements present in the region supported it, including Islamists, Shia or Sunni, Nasserists, nationalists or Baathists of many shades, and communists or leftists. This unity destroyed the myth that there is a conflict of interest between people of different faiths: i.e., Christians versus Muslims; that secular forces and religious ones are opposed; that the different communities which constitute the region (Arab, Turkomen, Kurd, Assyrians, etc) do not share common interests and a common future, or that Sunnis and Shias cannot be allied. In fact, since 1991 US strategy has consisted in supporting minorities in given countries in order to control the whole. This strategy hit its mark in Afghanistan, in Iraq, and in Sudan. But while in Lebanon it worked in 1982, it didn’t this time. Lebanon’s Christians uncovered American methods. This is the new Arab world: national interests before sectarian affiliations.

No one in the Arab world can anymore defend the Pax Americana. By attacking Lebanon, Israel destroyed the idea of its possibility to live in peace with the Arab people and the possibility of a two-state option in Palestine. As Amr Moussa foresaw, the peace process is dead. When witnessing the bellicosity of the Zionist state, its readiness to bomb Lebanese civilian infrastructure, use unconventional weapons, kill scores of civilians, how could one advocate for an unarmed Palestinian entity existing side by side with a fully armed and aggressive Israel? The only defendable position is an Arab Palestine consisting in a secular, democratic state of the citizens of all of Palestine after the return of Palestinian refugees to their homes according to UN resolution 194. The repetition of Israeli aggression against Lebanon and the Palestinians, and its continued occupation of Arab lands, leaves no doubt that Israel will never accept or make possible the two-states solution in Palestine proposed since 1973 by the international community. 

The war on Lebanon demonstrated to Arabs that the only possibility for defending themselves and to build a democratic, advanced life is to unite behind the three resistances — Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese. 

The writer is a member of the Executive Committee of The BRussells Tribunal (

British and US children: unhappy, neglected and poorly educated - a comment (Dirk Adriaensens 21 Feb 2007)

You may have read the UNICEF report about the well-being of youngsters in the world’s wealthiest nations.  

British children are languishing at the bottom in the survey of 21 nations, which included Europe as well as the United States, Canada and Japan. The overall quality of life for children in the United States was judged only narrowly better than in the UK, finishing 20th in the table.


Comment in the Independent (14 Feb 2007):


“Despite living in the fifth richest country, the next generation of UK citizens experience some of the worst levels of poverty. The research found they regard themselves as less happy, and that they drank more alcohol, took more drugs, and had more underage sex than children overseas.

They were also more prone to failure at school, to experience violence and bullying while suffering a greater number of unhappy relationships with both their families and peers.

The Unicef report, which prompted outrage from children's charities and embarrassment for the Government which has lavished billions on child health and education, placed the UK last”


I saw many front page comments on this study in the UK, but (correct me if I’m wrong) I didn’t see this report as front page news in the US leading newspapers.


I wrote a letter to the Independent and the Guardian, but neither one published my comment. 


Dirk Adriaensens

Member BRussells Tribunal executive committee

Coordinator SOS Iraq

Dear editor, 

We shouldn't be surprised at all that British and US children are languishing at the bottom of an international league table examining the physical and emotional well-being of youngsters in the world's wealthiest nations.  

I read many explanations, but I didn’t read the obvious reasons for this state of affairs. 

Indeed, what the commentators don't mention and seem to forget is that the children in these countries are taught that democracy means killing and humiliating people, that "well-being" means spending trillions of dollars on the production of weapons that destroy whole countries and wipe out whole civilisations. If you educate your children with double standards, if you tell them that war is peace, that you should show your love to people by bombing the hell out of them, if lying is the norm of your government, if you can get away with almost any crime of murder and torture in the name of bringing "human rights", what do you expect from these kids? What values do they expect them to have? How do you want them to feel in this hypocrite society, where doublespeak is the norm. Youngsters are corrupted by their own governments.  

With the money that the US and UK is spending on the destruction of the planet, UNICEF could provide free education, free healthcare, clean water, vaccinations etc… to all the children in the Third World, end the poverty inside the US and the UK and improve the education. So why don't the educators of these children create havoc and denounce this logic of war, destruction and spilling of resources? Why don't they impeach their leaders, bring them to court and try them for war crimes? What kind of example do they give to their youth?  

What's more: the images of Abu Graib were a complete revelation. Why did no one point out that it was a female soldier at its very centre. Why did no one dare say that the notion of femininity might have gone through a serious metamorphosis, that we might confront here a newly devastating feminine role? The US and UK warmongers have given their children the image that women have now become torturers and angels of death instead of caring mothers, instead of creatures of sanity and humanity in the midst of a masculine flesh-mincing machine. American and UK societies are going through a severe process of moral and intellectual regression. Sexual humiliation of Iraqi detainees by women is just a single symptom.  

But of course the mainstream press won't tell you all this, because their journalists are at least co-responsible for this state of affairs. And it's happening under our eyes right now, with the build-up of an attack on Iran.  

If we want to restore the trust of our children in the society we live in, we'll have to change it. Children get their values through examples. If their fellow-citizens go around the world killing people with impunity, it's no surprise that a lot of the youngsters totally reject this society and end up dazed, confused, aggressive, drunk…….  

Best regards. 

Dirk Adriaensens.

Member executive committee

Coordinator www.SosIraq