The third anniversary of the start of the US-UK war of aggression against Iraq is approaching. Diverse actions for ending the occupation of Iraq, among other things, are under preparation around the world, including March 8 International Women's Day immediately before the anniversary and worldwide antiwar actions on March 18 and 19. In an appeal for these actions, the resolutions of the January Tokyo International Conference called for actions with clear representation of support for the democratic reconstruction of Iraq and solidarity with IFC (Iraq Freedom Congress). The significance of this call is becoming even greater now.
No Shiite, no Sunni
On February 22, the Askariya shrine in Samarra, middle Iraq, was destroyed in a bombing. Bombings and other forms of violence triggered by this incident have killed more than 200 people, and the catastrophic situation is reaching its peak. The convocation of the "national assembly" slated in February 25 has been postponed, blasting the scenario for the establishment of a new government.
The mass media is depicting the whole picture as "conflicts" and "revenges" between Shia and Sunni Muslims. Those are, however, a result of intentional creation and fanning of "sectarian conflicts" and "rows" by the puppet governments and political Islam under the occupation rule, far from what Iraqi people wish.
In fact, the Askariya shrine has been a holy place not only for Shia Muslims but also for Sunni Muslims. IFC President Samir Adil says, "We (Iraqi people) have lived together for centuries, sharing happiness and sadness, helping each other and taking joy in our children playing together. ... We have never worried about our sectarian identities." He continues, "No Shiite …No Sunni … we believe in human identity."
The hope of the Iraqis is this IFC committed to the secular and democratic reconstruction of the Iraqi society; IFC says "No" to nondiscriminatory terrorism of armed insurgents in the name of an anti-occupation struggle just as decisively as to state terrorism by occupation forces and the puppet government. Support for and solidarity with IFC is critically needed in order to win the immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces from Iraq without tolerating justification of the occupation with the pretext of a "fear of civil war."
Widening rift in the occupation rule
Day by day, the debacle of the US-UK occupation rule is becoming obvious.
Against UK troops' abuse of unarmed Iraqi teenagers, the Basra and Maysan provincial councils adopted a resolution of protest. The Basra provincial council stiffened its attitude as hard as to declare, "The province would dismiss council personnel affiliated with the UK military." Also in the US, at February 7 Senate Armed Service Committee Hearing, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace stated that the number of US National Guard and Army Reserve troops among US troops in Iraq would be greatly reduced by March of next year. Nationwide movements spreading among local councils that demand return of all National Guard troops to respective states are driving President Bush into a corner. In a domino effect of US allies to pull out troops from Iraq, the Japanese government is also forced to put on the agenda the withdrawal of SDF (Self-Defense Force) troops from Samawah at least.
With solidarity of Iraqi and world movements established, it is possible to make 2006 the year of the withdrawal of all occupation troops from Iraq.
Get united in world actions
March is going to see antiwar actions broadly spreading around the world. The "Women Say No to War" signature campaign driven by Code Pink, a US women's antiwar organization, has collected more than 40,000 signatures, with which the organization will concurrently wage protest actions at US embassies around the world on March 8. Besides US and UK antiwar organizations calling for international actions, the World Social Forum 2006 (Caracas, Venezuela) has also adopted a similar appeal "March 18th: International day of mobilisation against the occupation of Iraq." In order to leverage these actions to end the occupation and support creation of a free and equal Iraqi society, let calls for "solidarity with IFC" ring as the voice of the world. (February 26)