A report from Cairo

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 23 19:00:00 MST 2002


CounterPunch

December 23, 2002

A Report from Cairo on the International Campaign Against US Aggression on Iraq
by PETER PHILIPS

Cairo. Bid-Meellah-E Rahman-E Al Rahim, In the name of God, the Merciful,
the Compassionate, was the prayer by President Ahmad Ben Bella of Algeria
introducing the start of the International Campaign Against Aggression on
Iraq. The Conrad Hotel on the Nile River in Cairo served as the gathering
place for over 400 people from some twenties countries on December 18-19,
2002. We assembled to launch an international effort to prevent United
States military aggression and in the hope of stimulating worldwide protest
against the pending war on the people of Iraq. There was a shared belief
among the participants that a unified "Cairo Declaration" from the center
of the Arab world would contribute to the growing millions of people
worldwide who have protested and marched against what is now being
described as Bush's War.

President Ben Bella, hero of the Algerian revolution, expressed what were
to become common themes at the conference: that Regime change in Iraq would
only be the first Arab country to be attacked, and that Iran, Syria, and
even Egypt would follow. "Oil is Islam," declared Ben Bella, the United
States is part of a long line of colonial powers. Each in turn has been
destroyed and nothing else is possible for the United States. Arab peoples
will not be subject to colonial rule; continued struggle will emerge to
defeat the invaders. Arab civilization is the "museum of humanity' and will
not be the subject of a "New World Order" or a final crusade.

In private Ben Bella was less than optimistic about the chances of avoiding
war. At 85 years of age, he is a striking six feet four inches tall with a
firm handshake. When finding out I was an American he said through a
translator, tell the American people that "they are the only ones who can
stop this war." I told him of our anti-war protests and marches but he said
we must try harder.

For two days speakers from Europe, the Arab world and the Americas
expressed solidarity with the people of Iraq and outrage at U.S. unilateralism.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark spoke of the "great urgency"
facing the world. He described the huge U.S. Military build-up taking place
in the Gulf and how if the U.S. attacks we will become the "enemy of humanity."

John Rees from the Stop the War Coalition, in Great Britain, said that over
two thirds of the British oppose the war, and that over half a million
marched in London already, and by February 15th millions will march in
every city in Europe.

Mr. Saad K. Hammoundy, Iraq's ambassador the Arab League, sees U.S.
aggression as militarily inter-linked with the globalization of capital
investments. American capital penetration requires a military presence to
insure its security. The quest for the control of oil lead the U.S. to
steal Iraq's weapons declaration from the United Nations in order to change
it and find an excuse for an invasion. The U.S. cooked the Iraq report he
claimed. Hummoundy went on to say that the U.S. can teach nothing about
Democracy to a country that first had a parliament 3000 years ago and
continues to have deep democratic traditions.

Denis Halliday, (Ireland) was the United Nations Assistant
Secretary-General heading the Oil-for-Food program in Iraq up through 1998.
He resigned in protest of the genocide the embargoes were having on Iraq.
Halliday described how the UN Security Council is afraid to stand up to the
United States ambitions for a global empire.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/phillips1223.html

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org


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