"Worst and most incompetent occupier"
Massacres in Iraq are raging even more severely. US air raids increased as the December 15 "national assembly elections" neared, recording 120 times or more in November alone, a sharp rise from the previous figure of around 35 times per month.
The formation of a puppet government by occupation forces triggered turmoil among religious and ethnic groups, and the continuing occupation rule has been fuelling armed conflicts. According to the Iraqi "Interior Department," 5,721 Iraqis were killed last year in indiscriminate armed attacks including suicide bombings. This January 5 saw as many as 130 victims killed in a day, a record-high number since the start of the occupation.
After the elections for a National Assembly, closed-door negotiations have been going on among the US military, religious sects and ethnic groups over interest distribution as they try to establish a new administration in January. None of them are sensitive enough toward people's sacrifices to be able to prevent destruction of people's living.
A US Nobel prize-awarded professor has estimated that the war in Iraq has cost $2 trillion, predicting that the burden will continue to squeeze the US society and economy over a long period. Former Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul Bremer has confessed in his memoirs that the US is the worst and most incompetent occupier of all. By all standards, the occupation of Iraq is a total failure.
Outstanding struggle of Iraqi people
Under the difficult circumstances, Iraqi people are staging creative struggles in all aspects of social life for the withdrawal of occupation forces and for reconstruction of civil life as well as recovery of public security.
Efforts to ensure children's and women's rights and welfare are essential elements in any genuine initiatives for rebuilding a nation. Based on this conviction, Iraqi citizens' grass-root activities have led to the creation of children protection centers and women's shelters. In the City of Kirkuk, Al-Tadhamun (Solidarity) neighborhood has established an autonomous council beyond ethnic differences among residents with the Kurdish, Arab or Turkmen backgrounds. Their movement has driven away elements of occupation forces and armed political Islam, and now is advancing toward recovery of a secure community and social services. Elementary schools and clinics are being built and the population in Al-Tadhamun neighborhood is increasing in number. In the City of Sulaimaniya, residents have formed a civil life protection commission to lead talks with the mayor, as they demand freedom of speech and demonstrations, punishment of corrupt officials, housing and commodities price control.
Demonstrations are occurring across the country against the quadruple increase of oil prices or for jobs. Despite sacrifices in firings by occupation forces and police units, people's movements never cease.
The leader of the movements above is Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC). Their struggle to remove military violence from local communities and to reconstruct neighborhoods based on residents' autonomy is the essential power to end the occupation and the chain of violence.
Dismantle the war machine
In Iraq under occupation, IFC is committed to creation of peace and democratic transformation of local communities. Also in Japan, struggles are going on to change communities into army-free areas - without the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) units or bases - that can resist jungle law. Enhanced international solidarity of IFC and world peace forces will stop global capitalism's war machine. The January 28-29 International Conference and Assembly will establish international joint action plans in solidarity with IFC.
The Japanese government has extended Air SDF's activity bases from 13 airports in Iraq to 24 locations, aiming to achieve long-term deployment of SDF forces in Iraq. Also the Ground SDF is now plotting a scheme to continue its presence in Iraq under the name of Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in an effort to secure capitalists' greed and interests. Japanese citizens' movements demanding immediate withdrawal of SDF troops are to play a significant role as the SDF would never leave on their own.
On January 29, join the International Solidarity Assembly with IFC. (January 16)