Iraqis fight for democracy

This video from the USA is called Longshore workers tell why they protested the Iraq war.

By David Bacon, Truthout, in the USA:

Iraqis Take to the Streets, Call for Real Democracy

Friday 25 March 2011

The war in Iraq is supposedly over. The US administration says the occupation, which began on March 20 eight years ago, is ending as well, with the withdrawal of US combat troops. But as the US, Great Britain and France begin another military intervention in North Africa, their respective administrations are silent about the price Iraqis are paying for the last one.

The Iraqis, however, are not remaining silent. Demonstrations have taken place in Baghdad, Basra and Kirkuk, among other cities, calling on the US in particular to stop its escalating military intervention in Libya. Iraqi unions have been especially vocal, linking the US invasion of Iraq with continued misery for its working people. According to one union representative, Abdullah Muhsin of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers (GFIW), “Eight years have ended since the fall of Saddam’s regime, yet the empty promises of the ‘liberators’ – the invaders and the occupiers who promised Iraqis heaven and earth – were simply lies, lies and lies.”

The GFIW, which supported the recent uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, says the US should “allow the people of Libya, Bahrain and other countries to determine their own destiny by themselves.” Falah Alwan, president of the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq, says violence directed against workers and unions is intended to keep a lid on protests against miserable living conditions. “We are still under occupation,” he charges. “The new Iraqi army, created by the US occupation, is doing the same job, protecting the corrupt government while we are suffering from the difficulties of daily life.”

“There’s no electricity most of the time and no drinking water – no services at all,” says Qasim Hadi, president of the Union of Unemployed of Iraq (UUI). Eight years after the start of the US military intervention, “there’s hardly even any repair of the war damage – there’s still rubble in the streets. People are going hungry.”

Despite often extreme levels of violence in the years of occupation, Iraqis have never stopped protesting these conditions. When demonstrations broke out in other countries of the Middle East and North Africa, people in Baghdad, Basra and Kirkuk had been taking to the streets for years. In large part, protests continued in Iraq because living conditions never changed, despite promises of what the fall of Saddam Hussein would bring.

“There has basically been no change in the unemployment situation since the occupation started,” Hadi charges. “There are more than 10 million unemployed people in Iraq – about 60-70% of the workforce.” According to the UUI, government unemployment statistics are artificially low because they don’t count many people. “Women aren’t counted,” Hadi says, citing just one example, “because the government says their husbands or fathers are responsible for supporting them.”

Iraq Feature: Protests Transform Kurdistan: here.

Many Iraqi Artists Struggle, Suffer In Silence: here.

Just breathing in Iraq can be hazardous. Poor air quality an added danger to [US] troops [and to Iraqis]: here.

Iraq’s announcement on March 14, 2011, that it will close the Camp Honor detention center after a parliamentary committee uncovered torture there is a positive move but only a first step, Human Rights Watch said today. A pressing need remains for an independent investigation into who was responsible for the abuse there, Human Rights Watch said: here.

Donald Trump: We should stay in Iraq and keep their oil: here.

Anti-government demonstrations broke out Friday throughout Syria: here. And here.

Two killed and 100 injured in clashes in Amman, Jordan: here.

Yemen Dictator Plays Extremist Card: here. See also here.

Women’s role in Yemen’s uprising: here.

Australia: Protest condemns Bahrain invasion: here.

The Egyptian cabinet’s announcement on March 24, 2011, of a new law banning strikes and demonstrations that impede the work of public institutions violates international law protections for free assembly and should be reversed immediately, Human Rights Watch said today: here.

Several thousand Moroccans demonstrated on March 20, in Rabat and Casablanca notably, to demand more democracy and social justice, despite the recent announcement of deep political reforms made by King Mohammed VI: here.

13 thoughts on “Iraqis fight for democracy

  1. Guerilla attack kills 2 US troops

    IRAQ: Guerillas launched rockets at a US military unit in southern Iraq today, killing two US soldiers.

    Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the 48,000-strong US force still stationed in the country, declined to name the victims or say where in southern Iraq the attacks had taken place until next-of-kin had been notified.

    The last attack to leave more than one US soldier dead was mounted on January 15 when an Iraqi soldier opened fire on US troops and killed two.


  2. Chinese firm wins Basra contract

    IRAQ: The government awarded a £125 million contract on Tuesday to a state-owned Chinese firm to build a 500-megawatt electrical power plant in Basra.

    China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation, which beat competition from Switzerland’s ABB, Turkey’s Enka and South Korea’s Hyundai, is to build four 125-megawatt units in the southern province, with the project due to be completed in 18 months.

    Iraqi citizens currently receive no more than six hours of electricity per day in winter, and less than four hours in summer.

    The few who can afford it get supplies from private generators.


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