Drafting of Iraqi constitution at standstill
On July 27, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Baghdad to give a strict order to the "Transitional Government" headed by "Prime Minister" Ibrahim al-Jaafari to meet the deadline for drafting the constitution. Complete drafting the constitution by August 15, conduct a national referendum on the draft constitution by October 15, carry out national elections under the "new constitution" by December 15 and establish a "full-fledged administration" within this year - the action of the Secretary of Defense was aimed at securing this scenario.
Despite Rumsfeld's booster shot, the representative of the constitutional committee has raised a proposal to postpone the deadline along with emerging arguments postponing solution of conflicts, giving no guarantee of the smooth implementation of the above scenario. One of the causes of this deadlock is a failure to adjust conflicting interests being pursued in the name of some religious/ethnic groups among power-hungry participants of the puppet "Iraqi Transitional Government," all in support of the occupation.
A more essential cause however is the surge of criticism in Iraq and elsewhere that Islamism is being imposed upon the draft and the expected contents of the draft constitution that denies civil rights and freedoms to the Iraqi people, represented in their efforts to dishonor women as second-class citizens. What is described as the work of drafting the constitution totally lacks agreement or support of the people; it is a deed so remote from the people.
Rise of calls for troop withdrawal in the US and UK
In the US and UK, the core of the occupation forces, public opinions are rising for the withdrawal of troops.
In the UK, in the wake of the indiscriminate bombing attacks in London, increasing numbers of voices are calling Prime Minister Tony Blair to account for his hard-handed decision to participate in the Iraq war. An opinion poll indicates that two out of three Britons hold Blair responsible for inviting terrorists' bombing because he led the nation into the war. In the current political climate, partial withdrawal is inevitable by this autumn.
The US Department of Defense is also considering a major reduction of US military forces in Iraq, to about one third of today's strength, by the end of 2006. US General George Casey, commander of Multinational Forces in Iraq, has been pressed to say, "substantial troop reductions could begin as early as spring or summer." In the background, there is a striking reality; the percentage of US citizens demanding troop withdrawal has reached a majority of 59% at home, fresh recruits are decreasing, and units stationed in Iraq are suffering a collapse in morale.
On July 26, with those growing calls for US troop withdrawal in the background, the AFL-CIO adopted for the first time a resolution demanding the government "to bring them (soldiers) home rapidly." Including exchanges with USLAW (U.S. Labor Against the War) and Iraqi labor unions, the active approach of the Iraqi Civil Resistance front has been effectively creating a significant change in the US political scene.
Activate international solidarity with IFC
While ongoing "sweeping operations" and massacres by occupation forces are aggravating the anger of the Iraqi people, the political Islam continues to wage indiscriminate attacks under the pretext of an anti-occupation fight, claiming numerous victims among the civilian population every day. We must end this catastrophic situation.
The key to exiting is enhanced international solidarity with the IFC (Iraq Freedom Congress). Not by armed struggles, but through political and social movements, the IFC aims to end the occupation and build a democratic Iraq under secular political systems. Thus, no party except the IFC can play the key role to make way for the future of Iraq.
Already, UFPJ (United for Peace and Justice) and ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) have issued appeals for September 24 - 26 demonstrations and other actions to end the occupation of Iraq. Let us join to make this campaign a success as international joint actions. Let us denounce the extremely daring stance of Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro that indicates extended troop dispatches in the face of nations around the world poised to pull troops out of Iraq. Let us demand the immediate withdrawal of troops of Japan Self-Defense Forces. Get involved in actions right now to extend solidarity with the IFC out to the world. (August 1)