Statement of Iraq Solidarity
We, representatives of various organizations in the Philippines, have formed ourselves into a solidarity alliance called “Iraq Solidarity” in support of the Iraqi people’s intensifying struggle against the illegal occupation of their land and to demand the withdrawal of US, British and other allied troops from Iraq. From our own government, we demand the immediate pullout of Philippine troops in Iraq.
We raise these demands as the body count to this illegal war and occupation continue to pile up. In the first three weeks of April alone, more than 1,000 Iraqis, most of them civilians, and at least 110 U.S. soldiers have been killed.
Support the Iraqi Peoples’ Resistance
Over the past few weeks, we have seen the conflict in Iraq intensify as the resistance to the illegal US-led occupation continues to gather strength and unity.
March 20 marked one-year after the invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein has been captured and is now a prisoner of the United States government. And yet, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. Today, the illegal occupation of Iraq has led to an uprising of the Iraqi people mobilized, organized and armed, united around a single unmistakable demand: an end to US-led occupation.
The US government has called the uprising a handiwork of a small group of “thugs, goons” and mainly “foreign fighters” and has even tried to link it to Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida network. But news reports, even from journalists who were “embedded” with the occupation army and supported the invasion, describe an armed uprising backed by millions of Iraqis: workers, students, shopkeepers, women, children and especially, the youth.
Journalists describe children as young as ten and thirteen, as well as women, who have taken up arms against the occupation.
Several cities in Iraq are now no-go zones for occupation troops and are under the control of a people armed. News reports are streaming through of the occupation forces losing control of Fallujah, Najaf, Kufa, Kerbala:
names of cities previously unknown to many of us, but are now known around the world as battlegrounds of the continuing resistance
The US-led coalition is determined to crush the uprising at any cost. This is crucial to the US imperialist agenda: a) because they have huge economic interests at stake as they attempt to control one of the largest source of oil in the world, Iraq, in a region, the Middle East, strategically crucial to US and other imperialist interests; b) to deepen and expand US political and military control over the Middle East; and c) to gain market access and control over Iraq’s economy as part of its neoliberal globalization project..
The US army, the most powerful military force on earth, is responding with brutal force against the Iraqi people resisting occupation with whatever means they possess. In a chilling declaration of their intent to crush the people’s uprising, the Bush administration has named its military operation in Iraq “Operation Resolute Sword”.
Fallujah is a symbol of the people’s resistance. In one week the US-led occupation forces killed over 600 Iraqis, including hundreds of women and children, as they tried to retake control of the city. Some 60,000 refugees, one-third of the cities population, have fled the city to Baghdad. There are eyewitness reports of US B52 bombers being used to attack people as they fled.
The US government announced a much publicized eight-hour “cease fire” to negotiate with the resistance. But even during this declared break in the fighting, US snipers were taking shots at people’s heads, killing several, including many women.
News reports also state that the resistance has united the two main Muslim communities in Iraq. The erstwhile divided Shia and the Sunnis, have united and are now fighting together as one.. In Fallujah, a Sunni city, thousands of Shia across the country are donating blood in a dramatic show of solidarity, for their Sunni brothers and sisters fighting in Fallujah.
RP troops, out of Iraq now!
Amidst all this, there are Filipino forces, sent by the government of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, serving on the side of the US occupiers against a people fighting to liberate their country, from those former colonial powers that Filipinos fought against in their quest for genuine national liberation
Our government claims that the Filipino forces are non-combat troops and that they are in Iraq for “humanitarian” reasons. There is no middle ground in occupation and uprising. In Iraq you are either with the occupation or against it. It is also clear to everyone that the GMA government sent the Filipino forces in Iraq in line with its all-out support to George Bush’s “War on terror”. In Iraq, our troops are viewed as mercenaries, fighting a war for money and profit.
The action of the GMA government is not only shamefully illegal, it is also dangerous! It is because of this regime’s support for the US “war on terror”
(which has also been described as the Bush administration’s “War of Terror”), which is a code for colonial-style occupation to advance imperialist interests, that the Philippines is under threat of retaliatory Madrid-style terrorist bombings. The Madrid bombings have, in fact, led to the electoral collapse of the Spanish ruling party and the newly elected Zapatero government’s decision to pullout Spanish troops from Iraq.
The Bush administration has threatened economic sanctions against the Philippines if Philippine troops are pulled out of Iraq. This is tantamount to blackmail and a gross violation of national sovereignty. A genuinely sovereign nation must have the right to decide its own foreign policy without being dictated to by any foreign power.
We call on the Arroyo administration to immediately withdraw support to the US-led “war on terror” and to pull out the Philippine troops from Iraq now.We also demand from the GMA government that it ensures the safety of Filipino workers whose lives are in danger in Iraq and secure safe passage for those who want to leave the country.
We call on everyone to join us in solidarity actions to show our support for the Iraqi people and their resistance against the occupation so that they can achieve genuine national sovereignty and freedom.
April 23, 2004
Signatories: as of April 26
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Association of Major Religious Superiors
in the Philippines (JPICC-AMRSP)
Focus on the Global South (Philippines)
Young Moro Professionals Network
Gathering for Peace
Institute for Popular Democracy (IPD)
Bukluran ng Maggagawang Pilipino (BMP)
Anti-Globalization Movement (AGM)
Kilusan para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KPD)
Samahang Demokratiko ng Kabataaan (SDK)
Youth for Nationalism and Democracy (YND)
Center for People’s Development (RCPD)
Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC)
Gazton Z. Ortigas Peace Institute
Manggagawa para sa Kalayaan ng Bayan (MAKABAYAN)
Partido ng Manggagawa (PM).
Center for Agrarian Reform Empowerment and Transformation (CARET)
Pambansang Katipunan ng Makabayang Magbubukid (PKMM)
League of Urban Poor for Action (LUPA)
Pagkakaisa ng Kababaihan (KAISA KA)
Nuclear Free Philippines Coalition (NFPC)
Teatrong Bayan Progresibong Alyansa ng Mangigngisda (PANGISDA)
Confederation for Freedom and Democracy (CONFREEDEM)
Women’s Education, Development and Productivity, Research and Advocacy
People’s Task Force for Bases Clean Up Philippines
Pambansang Katipunan ng Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (PKMP)
(The Iraq Solidarity Campaign was founded last April 19, 2004 as a network of Filipinos committed to
– calling for the end of the US occupation of Iraq
– advocating the withdrawal of the Philippine government’s support for the occupation
– supporting the Iraqi people’s resistance
To help achieve its aims, the campaign has established an e-mail list-serve for discussions on plans and strategies, debates on political issues, and sharing of information on Iraq.
If you wish to be a member of the network and/or the list-serve, please contact Corazon Fabros at email@example.com.