Stop the aggression against Iraq, withdraw US troos from the Middle East

PRD – March 20, 2003
PRD hanging protest banner on parliament building (Detik)
PRD hanging protest banner on parliament building (Detik)

[The following is a statement issued by the Central Leadership Committee of the People’s Democratic Party (KPP-PRD).]

The imperialist attack by the US and its allies was launched today. Starting at around 4am today, as the people of Iraq slept in fear, bombs and hundreds of heavy weapons rained down on Baghdad.

Today, President George Bush stated that this is an effort by the US to preserve world peace and save the Iraqi people from the regime of the dictator Saddam Hussein. We know that the real motivation of the US military aggression against Iraq is not because of America and it’s allies concern over the Iraqi people. The war represents the aims of imperialism. The real reason is to restore economic domination in Iraq by the US and its allies and to defeat the US’s economic competition from capitalist countries in Europe.

After President Bush announced that March 17 would be the dead-line for Bush’s diplomatic efforts, the crowds of United Nations inspection teams and other UN representatives, embassy workers, were pulled out of Iraq to return to their individual countries. However, as the initiators of this war left Iraq, this was precisely when the Asian peace movement, established by the leaders of mass movements and a representation of parliamentary members in Asia, joined together in the Asian Peace Mission, arrived in Iraq in the last moments prior to the attack. This indicated the consistency of their political position in rejecting this imperialist war. Among the members of the Asia Peace Mission was Dita Indah Sari, the chairperson of the Indonesian National Front for Labour Struggles, Hussin Amin, a member of the Philippines parliament, Walden Bello, the director of Focus on the Global South from Thailand, Zulfikar Gondal, a member of the Pakistan parliament, Laxminarayan Ramdas, former commander of the Indian navy, Loretta Rosales, a member of the Philippines Human Rights Commission and Jaran Ditapichai from the Thailand Human Rights Commission.

The Asian Peace Mission carried out a number of humanitarian and political activities in Iraq. They joined with the mass movement in Iraq and carried out demonstrations against the war. The Asian Peace Mission also held a dialog with a representative of the Iraq minister of foreign affairs, members of the UN and other peace groups.

This group sent a message of solidarity to the Iraqi people who are yet to recover from the injuries of the US attack in the 1991 Gulf War. The children of Iraq who are suffering from leukemia because of uranium shell casings, a left over of the US military attack during the Gulf War. There is little hope for them to survive because of the trade and export blockade which makes it difficult to obtain medicines needed for radio-therapy. Since the Gulf War, one in eight Iraqi children die before they reach nine years old and one in five Iraqi children die before reaching five years (UNICEF).

In Iraq the streets are full of sand bags and all of the windows are tightly boarded up to resist shooting by the US and its allies, and prices have jumped sharply since the Iraqi people began queuing to purchase goods for their underground shelters.

Those Iraqi people who are economically better off have fled to the villages or their neighboring countries. While those are unable to do so stay in Baghdad.

There are many reasons to reject this attack on Iraq. Firstly because the war is not a war to save the Iraqi nation but represents the aims of US state imperialism. The war is to save the capitalist system from its bankruptcy.

Liberation from the dictator Saddam Hussein will not be won through US military aggression but must be through a mass struggle to achieve democracy by the Iraqi people.

The war will also kill hundreds of civilians who have committed no sin.

The war will worsen the world economic crisis. The war will trigger inflation in a number of parts of the world, which will also further destroy the purchasing power of the mass of ordinary people.

The military aggression by the US and its allies violates international law because this war has not been sanction by the UN. However war cannot be justified with or without UN agreement. Because the UN must safeguard world peace.

The imperialist attack will also impact on Indonesia, in a different way. As we watch imperialism attacking Iraq in this vulgar manner, that is with military force, in Indonesia this has been though the economic and political domination of the puppet imperialist government of President Megawati Sukarnoputri and Vice-president Hamzah Haz. The Mega-Hamzah regime’s position has been unclear on this US military aggression, and along with other political policies which have been proven to bring suffering to the Indonesian people, it is clear evidence of who they are siding with.

The dependency of Third World countries on US economic and military aid (in this case the South-East Asia region) have forced them into giving permission for US troops to enter the territorial waters of the South-East Asia region. On February 16, the Kitty Hawk Attack Group which is based on the mother ship USS Kitty Hawk, scores of war ships and submarines, eight squadrons of fighter planes and other military passed through the Straits of Malacca without any kind of action or protest from the Indonesian or Malaysian governments. Previously, on December 7, the Attack Group Constellation which is of a smaller strength left Singapore for the Persian Gulf though the Straits of Malacca. Later, the Nimitz Attack Group will also pass though the Straits of Malacca.

The bravery and clear stand by Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad in rejecting plans for an American attack have further provided popular legitimacy to his government. In a number of cases, we can say that the Iraqi conflict and American’s war on terrorism, has been manipulated by a number of local bourguise governments to further strengthen their position which bases itself on the strength of arms to suppress domestic pro-democracy forces. The strenghening of the American military bases in the Philippines has already been manipulated by the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to suppress and repress the national liberation movement in the Mindanao region, along with other people’s forces. In the case of Indonesia they have reopened American military aid to the Indonesian armed forces (TNI), the birth of the laws on Anti-Terrorism and the TNI have allready been manipulated by the Megawati-Hamzah government to suppress and repress pro-democracy groups which over time have increasingly criticised Megawati’s authority. Moreover, just recently the Australian government, one of the agressors, has offered financial aid for the war against terrorism.

Because of this we explicitly call for:

1. An end to US military aggression against Iraq, the withdrawal of troops and military equipment of the US and its allies from Iraq and the Middle East.
2. The rejection of the use of Indonesian territory to mobilise the forces and military equipment of the US and its allies, the government must backup its statements by stopping US war ships passing though the Straits of Malacca.
3. The Mega-Hamzah government to break off all joint agreements or military aid which is being conducted by with th eUS, Britain or Australia. The government must also apply pressure by deporting military diplomats/attaches of countries involved in the aggression.

Because of this we call of the people of the world to:

1. Join in the mass movement against the war.
2. Charge George W. Bush and Tony Blair for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Jakarta, March 20, 2003

[Translated by James Balowski.]