Support for IFC on world's agenda for progress
At the January 28-29 International Conference and Rally for Solidarity with Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), calling for immediate withdrawal of all occupation forces and democratic reconstruction of Iraq, IFC President Samir Adil said, "This is the first international conference that shows the flag for solidarity with the human movement of IFC," highlighting the significance of the meetings.
Since US President George Bush went ahead with the war of aggression on Iraq in 2003, anti-war forces of the world have been holding a number of international conferences aimed at the end of occupation, including 2003 and 2004 Cairo Conferences, Assemblies of Social Movements at World Social Forum (WSF) in 2004 and 2005, June 2005 World Tribunal on Iraq and December 2005 International Peace Conference in London.
Each conference denounced the occupation of Iraq and sent an appeal for international actions to demand withdrawal of occupation forces. However, none have criticized indiscriminate bombings by armed insurgents despite their killings of Iraqi people on a daily basis, asserting, "We should not interfere with movements inside Iraq," and "It is part of Iraqi's self-determination." It never became an issue at those conferences to make it clear what movement in Iraq we should support in order to achieve the withdrawal of occupation forces.
However, without criticizing and overcoming nondiscriminatory terrorism by political Islam, and without solidarity with the movement for a secular and democratic society, how can we achieve complete withdrawal of occupation forces and democratic reconstruction of Iraqi society?
With five representatives from Iraq and other 14 from the US, Europe and Asia in attendance, including one from the United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ, the greatest US anti-war coalition), the January 28 conference clearly denounced nondiscriminatory terrorism by political Islam just as much as military violence of occupation forces, and adopted resolutions that appeal to the world to join March 18-19 joint actions and to extend international support for IFC. Thus, it rendered itself as a historic stage from which a call for solidarity with IFC was sent to anti-war movements around the world.
In Japan as one of nations occupying Iraq
"Demanding immediate withdrawal of occupation forces" "for the reconstruction of democratic Iraq" - This resolution at the international conference also presents a major challenge for Japan's movement against the Iraq War.
The number of nations, sending troops as part of occupation forces, is now 25, down from 39 at the peak time. While even the US has started partial troops pullout, Prime Minister KOIZUMI Junichiro has not yet officially announced its intention to withdraw Self-Defense Forces (SDF) troops. Moreover, the administration is ready to expand the scope of military operations of the Air SDF, responding to enhanced air strikes by US Air Force. Despite Article 9 of the Constitution of Japan, with greed for oil-related interests, Japan is now acting as a vital power bailing out the failed occupation. Furthermore, Koizumi has stepped forward to replace the Constitution with a completely new one that will enable total re-making of the national framework into a system faithful to global capitalism, finishing up the war policy line.
The responsibility of Japanese citizens as those living in an occupying nation is to gather voices for immediate withdrawal of all SDF troops from Iraq and to stand up against the scheme for a new constitution that allows war and encourages privatization.
Struggle for social change
A perspective of our struggle in Japan also lies in solidarity with IFC.
In its struggle for withdrawal of occupation forces, IFC is containing terrorism of political Islam and protecting women's rights as well as children's rights. It is succeeding in creating a model of autonomy like Al-Tadhamun (Solidarity) neighborhood while helping local communities recover security and social services. It resonates with our movement for creation of pro-peace, non-defended (non-aggressive) localities, that is, military-free communities, through execution of residents' right of autonomy in conjunction while demanding withdrawal of SDF troops from Iraq. In nature, their struggle is the equivalent to ours as both reject war and violence, advancing toward democratic social transformation.
Spread support for the campaign for establishment of a satellite TV station，and enhance assistance for the Children Protection Center since "the progress of Iraq Freedom Congress is the hope of all the people of the world who are against wars and want to create lasting peace," as the January 28 resolution says. (January 30)