What future for Iraq?
18-20 March 2009
Organized by the BRussells Tribunal, in cooperation with Vrede, 11.11.11, INTAL, the Halles de Schaerbeek, and the Beursschouwburg
European Parliament - Belgian Parliament - Les Halles de Schaerbeek - Beursschouwburg
Over 100,000 US troops still occupy Iraq though the people — in Iraq and across the world — want them out. In Iraq, untold destruction is mirrored in five million Iraqis made refugees and over one million killed since 2003. While the new US administration has committed to end the war, it is for all who can act to ensure that it ends. Peace in Iraq depends on a sovereign Iraq, and that starts when the occupation ends.
Public opposition to the US-led war on Iraq has faded while the scale of the suffering of the Iraqi people is staggering, and politicians go on debating the pros and cons of ending the illegal US invasion. While the dependence of peace on the withdrawal of foreign troops is easy to articulate, what future exists for Iraq now is less easy to discern.
On the sad occasion of the 6th anniversary of the invasion, the BRussells Tribunal and its partners will bring this question to the fore in a series of events organized during three days: a hearing in the European Parliament, an informal discussion at the Belgian Federal Parliament, and two roundtable evenings at Les Halles de Schaerbeek and the Beursschouwburg.
“Occupation Year 7: What future for Iraq?” will address crucial themes: from the plight of Iraqi refugees to the future of Iraqi oil; from the humanitarian emergency caused by the war to the steps necessary to realize a democratic and peaceful Iraq. With Iraqi experts across a number of fields, panel discussions will cut through the slogans and expose the core issues.
The occupation of Iraq is intolerable. As the occupation enters its seventh year, the time is now to set a different agenda.
Organized by The BRussells Tribunal, in cooperation with Vrede, Intal, 11.11.11, the Halles de Schaerbeek and the Beursschouwburg
The BRussells Tribunal are intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce the logic of permanent war promoted by the American government and its allies, affecting for the time being particularly one region in the world: the Middle East. It started with a people's court against the PNAC and its role in the illegal invasion of Iraq, but continued ever since. It tries to be a bridge between the intellectual resistance in the Arab World and the Western peace movements.
EVENTS PROGRAM: 18-20 March 2009
Conference on Iraq, EU Parliament, Room PHS 7C50.
Hosted by Vice-president of the European Parliament Luisa Morgantini
14.00: Iraq — a humanitarian disaster
Speakers: Omar Al-Kubaisy and Shannon Meehan
15.00 - The question of oil
Speakers: Faleh Al-Khayat and Tareq Al-Duleimi
16.30 - What future for Iraq?
Speakers: Abdul Ilah Albayaty, Omar Al-Kubaisy and Faleh Al-Khayat
12.00: Informal discussion with Belgian parliamentarians organized by MP Dirk Van Der Maelen
LES HALLES DE SCHAERBEEK
20.30: “Apaches”, roundtable: “Iraq – the humanitarian disaster and the campaign of assassination of academics and intellectuals”
Speakers: Omar Al-Kubaisy, Abdul Ilah Albayaty, and Shannon Meehan
Moderated by Lieven De Cauter and Hana al Bayaty
18.00: Action on the steps of the Beurs / La Bourse, in solidarity with the Iraqi people and for the end of the occupation of Iraq,
20.00: Roundtable on Iraq — About oil and occupation
Speakers: Faleh Al-Khayat, Tareq Al-Duleimi, and Abdul Ilah Albayaty
All events moderated by Hana Al Bayaty
Coordination and press contact: Hana Al Bayaty, [email protected] , +32 (0)488871408
For more information: www.brusselstribunal.org
For attendance at the EU Parliament registration is compulsory
Non-parliamentary registration: Please send name and date of birth to [email protected], before March 10th 2009.
60, rue Wiertz / Wiertzstraat 60
B 1047 Brussels
Room PHS 7C50
Halles de Schaerbeek
Rue Royale Ste Marie 22b
A. Ortsstraat 20 - 28
BIOGRAPHIES OF THE SPEAKERS
Dr Omar Al Kubaysi
A Baghdad Medical College graduate, Kubayci’s first post-graduate diploma was in tropical medicine and hygiene from Liverpool University. He then obtained three scholarships for specialization and training in the UK. He became one of the most senior Iraqi cardiologist and surgeon. He was head of the Cardiac Department of Ibn Al Bitar Hospital and chief consultant physician in cardiology in Baghdad until he received threats to his life and left the country in 2005. He is now a visiting cardiologist at Al-Essra Cardiac Centre in Al-Essra Hospital, Amman, Jordan, specialized in treating Iraqi patients residing in Amman or coming from Iraq. He has published numerous medical articles and is — among others — a member of international cardiothoracic associations and of the Iraqi Medical Association since 1969, the Iraqi Cardiothoracic Society since 1978, as well as co-editor of the bulletin of the Iraqi Society for Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery.
International Rescue Committee director for advocacy, Meehan has spent more than 17 years working in conflict zones around the world. She is a graduate of the University of Oregon in 1998 with a BSc in History and Economics. As a consultant for Refugees International and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, she conducted missions in Senegal, Guinea, Liberia, Cote D’Ivoire, Sudan, the DRC, Rwanda and in the Middle East (Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq). She is an expert on the humanitarian and protection needs of displaced populations and refugees.
Dr Faleh Al Khayat
A UK graduated engineer with an MSc and PhD in management, Khayat spent 37 years service in the Iraqi oil industry, the last 13 of which was as director general in the Ministry of Oil. He has resided in Jordan since July 2006 and is currently working as an international private energy consultant. He has written numerous articles and authored many knowledgeable reports about current issues the Iraqi oil industry is facing.
Tareq S. Kadhem Al Dulaimi
Engaged in politics since 1956, he was a militant in most of the national Iraqi and Arab movements. He was subjected to arrest and imprisonment under all successive Iraqi regimes. An active partisan in several important fields, such as in student unions and the labor movement, he worked for two years with the peasant movement in the south of Iraq, mostly in the Arab marshes. He was a progressive leader in the socialist movement within Iraq and outside and active with the national Arab movement in South Yemen and over Palestine. He is now involved in political and journalistic work, and continues to work with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the latter’s political and media centers. He has been for the past 40 years writing in a variety of Arab journals especially in As-Safir, the Lebanese daily. He has published numerous political essays and studies about Iraq.
Abdul Ilah Albayaty
Iraqi political analyst based in France since 1975. He began his political activity more than 50 years ago. Prominent among those who built the Iraqi Baath Party, in 1961 he led a leftist split and current within the party that insisted that the Arab revolution should be national, democratic and socialist, and that only the Arab laboring masses, not the Arab regimes, had an interest in this revolution. His position has always been that whenever there is a force or regime that is against imperialism and Zionism it should be supported, although independence from it should be protected so that the masses accomplish their own tasks in independence, democracy, Arab unity and socialism. He is an independent analyst and activist since 1962. His analysis and writings on Iraq and the Arab situation more broadly has reflected and informed a renaissance in Arab popular resistance. Abdul Ilah Albayaty is a member of the BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee.
Muntadher Al Zaidi’s brother (expected):
Brother of the journalist who got fame by throwing his shoes at US President Bush on his last visit to Iraq before the end of his term. Muntadher has been detained on the spot and is reported of being subjected to degrading treatment and lack of proper legal representation while in custody. His brother is visiting Belgium to raise awareness about his plight, the human rights violations that Muntadher suffered and the appalling conditions of detainees more generally. We are very proud to host him.
Hana Al Bayaty
A French/Iraqi analyst and activist born in France in 1979, she is currently based in Egypt. First studied political science and international relations at South Bank University in London and later completed a DESS in political documentary film making in France. She directed two documentary films, "Dar Al Salam", on the Palestinian question, and "On Democracy in Iraq", an archive of a meeting of the Iraqi opposition that rejected and condemned, in February 2003 in London, the illegal US invasion of Iraq and anticipated the failure of the US occupation. One of the organizers of The BRussells Tribunal hearing on the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) in April 2004, she is now a member of its Advisory Committee. She was a member of the World Tribunal on Iraq Jury of Conscience in June 2005 in Istanbul. She has written several opinion pieces exposing US genocidal policies in Iraq for Al-Ahram Weekly newspaper and is coordinator of the Iraqi International Initiative on Refugees (www.3iii.org).
20 March 2009
Occupation Year 7
What future for Iraq?
The BRussells Tribunal in the European Parliament and Belgian Parliament
On March 18 and March 19, 2009, six years after the illegal US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, The BRussells Tribunal and its partners entered the European Parliament and the Belgian Parliament to bring the forgotten catastrophe in Iraq back to the fore.
The BRussells Tribunal, composed of intellectuals, artists and activists who denounce the logic of permanent war promoted by US governments and their allies, holds firm that all that derives from the US invasion and occupation of Iraq remains illegal and illegitimate and cannot gain legitimacy.
Panels composed of prominent Iraqi experts exposed the reality about Iraq under occupation as opposed to agenda driven propaganda.
In the European Parliament, Vice-President Luisa Morgantini hosted a BRussells Tribunal information session. In the Belgian Parliament, parliamentary Vice-President Dirk Van Der Maelen hosted an informal discussion session attended by other parliamentary members.
Panel speakers were: Abdul Ilah Albayaty, geopolitical analyst and expert on Arab national movements; Dr Omar Al-Kubaisy, Iraq’s most renowned cardiologist and expert on the breakdown on public health in Iraq under occupation; Dr Falah Al-Khayat, former director general of the Iraqi Oil Ministry prior to the US invasion and an expert on the issue of the Iraqi oil industry; Dr Hassan Aydinli, EU Turkmen representative and expert on the fate of minorities under the sectarian governments promoted by the US occupation; and Shannon Meehan, International Rescue Committee director of advocacy and expert in refugee protection. Hana Al Bayaty, coordinator of the Iraqi International Initiative on Refugees and member of The BRussells Tribunal, moderated the sessions.
The main points asserted and concluded were:
• By its geopolitical position and its rich resources, the stability of Iraq is not only in the interest of its people, but also of its neighbours and the world.
• The US project of division in and of Iraq has failed. In number, by culture and by interest, the Iraqi people overwhelmingly reject the US occupation. By terror it created the largest refugee crisis in the world today, displacing a fifth of the population.
• The sectarian political process of the occupation created chaos, a failed state characterized by the complete collapse of all public services, and systematic violations of all aspects of human rights, including the right to life. It cannot be reformed.
• The humanitarian tragedy particularly affects women and children, exposed to all forms of violence and exploitation.
• The occupation intentionally forced the Iraqi educated and professional class to flee, resulting in the inability to build a functioning state, and in regional destabilization.
• Displaced Iraqis have the individual right to return, but as long as stability and security is absent, the conditions for return are absent.
• The occupation and its apparatus is the perpetrator of violence. Security can only be achieved by the unconditional withdrawal of all foreign occupying forces from Iraq.
• Only a state of its equal citizens after the departure of all foreign forces can ensure peace, stability and democracy for Iraq and its people.
• A sovereign Iraq would not only refuse to surrender its main source of wealth — oil — to foreign companies, but is entitled to claim reparations for all losses endured since 2003.
• The Iraqi resistance in all its expression is the only force capable, both objectively and legitimately, to secure a path towards peace, stability, wellbeing and democracy in Iraq.
On the eve of Occupation Year 7, The BRussells Tribunal felt it imperative to assert these truths in official forums. Rejection of the US occupation and all that derived from it must become an official position.
These institutional events are being followed by public sessions in key cultural institutions in Brussels: LES HALLES DE SCHAERBEEK and BEURSSCHOUWBURG.
The occupation of Iraq is intolerable. As the occupation enters its seventh year, the time is now to set a different agenda.
The BRussells Tribunal
For the programme of events:
For press interviews contact:
Hana Al Bayaty, [email protected], +32 (0)488871408
Event speakers can give interviews in Arabic and English. Abdul Ilah Albayaty and Hassan Aydinli also speak French.
The sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a sad occasion for the balance sheet: during six years of occupation 1.2 million citizens were killed, 2,000 doctors killed, and 5,500 academics and intellectuals assassinated or imprisoned. There are 4.7 million refugees: 2.7 million inside the country and two million have fled to neighbouring countries, among which are 20,000 medical doctors. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans: two million widows as a consequence of war, embargo, war again and occupation, and five million orphans, many of whom are homeless (estimated at 500,000). Almost a third of Iraq’s children suffer from malnutrition. Some 70 per cent of Iraqi girls no longer go to school. Medical services, not so long ago the best in the region, have totally collapsed: 75 per cent of medical staff have left their jobs, half of them have fled the country, and after six years of “reconstruction” health services in Iraq still do not meet minimum standards.
Because of the use of depleted uranium in ammunition by the occupation, the number of cancer cases and miscarriages has drastically increased. According to a recent Oxfam report, the situation of women is most worrisome. The study states that in spite of optimistic bulletins in the press, the situation of women keeps deteriorating. The most elementary supplies are still not available. Access to drinkable water is for large parts of the population a problem and electricity is functioning only three to six hours a day, and this in a state that was once a nation of engineers. More than four in 10 Iraqis live under the poverty threshold and unemployment is immense (28.1 per cent of the active population). Besides 26 official prisons, there a some 600 secret prisons. According to the Iraqi Union of Political Prisoners, over 400,000 Iraqis have suffered detention since 2003, among which 6,500 minors and 10,000 women. Torture is practiced on a large scale, and some 87 per cent of detainees remain uncharged. Corruption is immense: according to Transparency International, Iraq, after Somalia and Myanmar, is the most corrupt country in the world. The American Foreign Affairs journal calls Iraq “a failed state”. This is symbolised by the fact that Iraq, a state that has the third largest oil reserves in the world, must import refined oil on a massive scale. Authorities are on the verge of giving oil concessions for 25 years to international (also European) oil companies, though they have no mandate or legal authority to do so. Instead of being paid reparations for the enormous destruction wrought on the infrastructure of the country, entailing billions in oil revenues lost, Iraq is again in line to be robbed. There is large scale ethnic cleansing going on against the Turkmen, the Christians, the Assyrians and the Shebak. Kirkuk is being “Kurdicised” by massive immigration and illegal settlements (of Israeli inspiration) and its history falsified.
This data, referenced in numerous reports, was presented during an information session in the European Parliament organised by the BRussells Tribunal on 18 March by a panel of Iraqi specialists. On 19 March, there was a session in the Belgian Parliament where a national representative after the statement of Dr Omar Al-Kubaissi, a renowned Iraqi cardiologist and expert on health, frankly admitted that he had no idea of the scale of the humanitarian disaster. Who can blame him? In the European press we hear little or nothing concerning this humanitarian disaster. In the newspapers there is talk of elections, of an occasional bomb attack, of the political process, of the positive results of the “surge”, etc, but concerning the suffering the Iraqi people … next to nothing. We have fallen asleep and we console ourselves: Obama plans the retreat American troops; therefore the issue of Iraq is off the agenda. The truth is that we want to forget this humanitarian disaster, because the West is responsible. Of course, in the first and last instance the administrations of Bush and Blair, but also the Netherlands, Denmark, Hungary, Poland and Italy were part of the coalition and hence accessory while Antwerp was a vital transit port for the invasion. Therefore also Europe bears a heavy responsibility. How is it possible that we can dissimulate the impact of the war, which initially stirred world public opinion, in spite of the flow of shocking reports? “Darfur” sounds a bell meanwhile (and correctly so) as a sort of African holocaust, but the crimes against the humanity of a near “genocidal” scale in Iraq are swept under the carpet. If the press does not do its job, how can public opinion be touched? Even activists and well meaning politicians are not on the level. This type of disinformation, and the indifference that comes with it, one could call a form of negationism, or at least a type of immoral ignorance. Wir haben es nicht gewusst, we will say. But the people of the Arab region will not forgive us. Let this be clear.
Lieven De Cauter
philosopher, initiator of the BRussells Tribunal
20 March 2009
* Let the numbers speak (Souad Al-Azzawi 26 March 2009)
* Dr. Omar Al Kubaisy: Speech in the European Parliament (Brussels 18 March 2009)
* Abdul Ilah Albayaty: Speech in the European Parliament (18 March 2009)
Related reports the mainstream media fail to focus on:
* Iraq - Women Will Association (Hana Ibrahim, Tahrir Swift)
* Iraq - women in war (ICRC 05 March 2009)
* Iraqi women talk about their greatest concerns and challenges (OXFAM 10 March 2009)
* Deterioration of Iraqi Women's Rights and Living Conditions Under Occupation [PDF] (Dr. Souad N. Al-Azzawi - 19 Dec 2007)
IRAQ IN FIGURES [PDF] (Ikraam Center For Human Rights)