Mr. Bush claims that rumors of plans to attack Iran are 'baseless gossip.'
So why am I still worried? Five years ago we established Artists United
to Win Without War because of concern about the veracity of Mr. Bush's
claims about Iraq. We were alarmed at the hawkish tirades from Washington
portending a clear intention to launch an unprovoked attack against a
nation that had done us no harm. And we were appalled at the bellicose
ranting of the mainstream media that acted as Bush's megaphone, drowning
out the few lonely voices trying to add a touch of reason to the mix.
So we released a call for restraint, signed by celebrities, military officers,
diplomats and foreign service professionals, asking him to honor our country's
historic opposition to a "first strike" and to support the UN
inspection teams checking to see if Saddam was actually hiding WMD...
... So I'm worried because the same media that turned Saddam into Hitler
despite the fact that he had no meaningful army and no weapons of mass
destruction, now confers the title on the hapless tool Ahmadinejad, who
has no power over Iran's military and little political standing in his
own country, except that rejuvenated by the blundering president of Columbia
PAKISTAN: Unravelling US Involvement in the Emergency
CODEPINK Delegation to Pakistan:
Read about Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry's visit to Pakistan in support
of the country's jailed lawyers. Their blogs and photos describe the wonderful
welcome they received by Pakistan civil society activists. Their actions
shed light on Musharraf's tactics to jail and harass the country's intelligentsia,
lawyers and human rights activists. Instead of respecting and protecting
these activists as the leaders of the country who can help Pakistan recover
from the grip of terrorism and religious fanaticism, Musharraf has become
"Busharraf," by playing on the politics of fear, and clamping
down on the media and dissidents, for his own selfish grab for power.
So effective were Medea and Tighe in organizing protests against Musharraf,
that Pakistan's intelligence services felt it necessary to arrest them
at gunpoint and force them to leave the country on December 5, 2007 (see
press releases here). We must do all we can to help our Pakistani
activist friends. More...
Just as a flicker of hope emerged to bring back elected civilian rule
to Pakistan, the ideological warriors of neoconservatism are up in arms
to douse it. Having supported Pervez Musharraf as the stalwart general
in America's "war on terror," U.S. neoconservatives are panic-stricken
at the prospect of his political demise. No sooner did he decide to relinquish
his army post to become a civilian president than fear of Pakistan's collapse
and of loose nuclear weapons gripped Musharraf's backers in the United
States. Neoconservative analysts are hatching plans to raid the country
and nick the nukes before it sinks into chaos. Others, less inclined to
use the military option just now, have come up with puerile analyses of
how a "Westernized core" of the military and Pakistani civil
society can be used to thwart the worst-case scenario of Islamists taking
over the country and, with it, the dreaded weapons. More...
Based in New York City, USA, Johnathan Schell is a renowned anti-nuclear
activist, prolific journalist, lecturer and best-selling author. He is
a frequent contributor to The Nation, The New Yorker, Harper's and Atlantic
Monthly. He is also the author of The Fate of the Earth, nominated for
the Pulitzer Prize.
Aijaz Ahmad: The U.S. needs Pakistan's military and will support their
rule, with or without Musharraf
Based in New Delhi, Aijaz Ahmad is The Real News Network Senior News Analyst
and Senior Editorial Consultant and political commentator for the Indian
newsmagazine, Frontline. He has taught Political Science and written widely
on South Asia and the Middle East.
The Geneva Conventions stipulate that, "A
force occupying territory has a duty to supply the population with food
and medicine "to the fullest extent of the means available to it"
(G4, art. 55). If any part of the population of an occupied territory
is inadequately supplied, the occupying power shall facilitate relief
by humanitarian agencies (G4, art. 59). However, the provision of assistance
by humanitarian agencies does not relieve the occupying force of its responsibilities
to meet the needs of the population." (Excerpt from Human
Although it was predicted and became true that the US invasion would
provoke a humanitarian crisis in Iraq, no one prepared for what has become
the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world. Today, 8 million Iraqis
live in poverty and more than 15% of the population have fled their homes.
More than 2 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries and an
estimated 2.3 million are internally displaced. Despite urging from many
different quarters that economic development and reconstruction are key
to stabilizing Iraq, Iraqis are left with inadequate support from the
Iraqi Government, the UN, the US or other international donors. According
to the Testimony of Bill Frelick before the Congressional Human Rights
"The Bush Administration has boosted its 2008
emergency request to fund the Iraq and Afghan wars to $196.4 billion,
bringing the total price tag to more than $800 billion. Less than one-fifth
of 1 percent of that request, $240 million-less than the amount the U.S.
spends each day to wage the war-is slated for emergency relief, basic
health services and education for the 4.4 million Iraqis who have been
forced from their homes. While the Administration's war spending could
be characterized as profligate, it has been pinching pennies when it comes
to meeting the war's human costs. Its humanitarian response has not only
been stingy, but prosaic. Providing basic relief, while necessary, is
Jordan, Syria and even provinces within Iraq have closed their doors
to Iraqi refugees because of the lack of international assistance to help
provide for the massive influx of Iraqis fleeing from their homes. Recent
reports from the Iraqi Government, UN agencies and international NGOs
all warn of the threat to Iraq's orphaned and vulnerable children.
Below are links to recent reports, statistics, articles, etc providing
information on the current humanitarian crisis in Iraq, with special emphasis
on the growing refugee crisis.
Human Cost of War: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis
Testimony of Bill Frelick before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus
Bill Frelick delivered testimony at the November 15, 2007, member briefing
of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. The briefing updated Caucus
members on the situation of the estimated 4.4 million Iraqi refugees
and internally displaced persons in the region.
Policy Forum: Iraq's Humanitarian Crisis: The international
relief system has not been able to respond to the growing humanitarian
challenges. International agencies have themselves faced serious problems
in reaching Iraqis at risk. Iraq's humanitarian emergency has reached
a crisis level that compares with some of the world's most urgent calamities.
(This site also contains an excellent archive of recent reports and
Refugees: A Lot of Talk, Little Action
Contacts: Kristele Younes and Jake Kurtzer
The situation for Iraqi refugees in the Middle East continues to deteriorate,
while the scale of the crisis continues to dwarf the international response.
As the number of displaced Iraqis has reached an unprecedented level
- more than 4.5 million - Iraq's neighbors have increased restrictions
on the refugees. These restrictions are at least partially a response
to the lack of support received from the United States and other donor
governments, as well as the government of Iraq itself, to lessen the
tremendous burden that the host countries are assuming.
closing on Iraqi displaced
BBC - October 10, 2007
A growing number of Iraqi provinces are refusing entry to displaced
people, the UN refugee agency has said. The head of the UNHCR Iraq Support
Unit told the BBC up to 11 governors were restricting access because
they lacked resources to look after the refugees.
Reports Growing Humanitarian Crisis in Iraq
By DAMIEN CAVE
Published: July 31, 2007
AMMAN, Jordan, July 30 - Poverty, hunger and public health continue
to worsen in Iraq, according to a report released Monday by Oxfam International,
which says that more aid is needed from abroad and calls on the Iraqi
government to decentralize the distribution of food and medical supplies.
Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: A Deepening Humanitarian
Congressional Research Service for the People
October 03, 2007
Summary: The humanitarian crisis many feared would take place in March
2003 as a result of the war in Iraq continues to unfold as a result
of post-war insurgency and sectarian violence. It is estimated that
in total (including those displaced prior to the war) there may be as
many as 2 million Iraqi refugees who have fled to Jordan, Syria, and
other neighboring states, and approximately 2.2 million Iraqis who have
been displaced within Iraq itself. The violence and insecurity resulting
from the ongoing sectarian strife, terrorism, and insurgency in Iraq
has had a marked impact on civilian displacement in different parts
of the country. Many of Iraq's neighbors fear that they are being overwhelmed
by refugees fleeing over Iraq's borders. There are now heightened concerns
about the absorptive capacity of neighboring countries, whether they
can provide adequately for the populations moving across borders, and
the impact of refugee flows on stability in general. Some experts think
that the Iraq situation could well begin to outpace other refugee crises
worldwide. This report provides an analysis of the current crisis, including
the conditions for those displaced in Iraq and the refugee situations
in Syria, Jordan, and elsewhere. It also provides information on the
U.S. and international response and examines refugee resettlement options
in the United States. Aspects of this crisis that may be of particular
interest to the 110th Congress include a focus on an immediate response
(providing humanitarian relief funding), examining resettlement policies,
and developing a strategy to manage the displaced, particularly within
warns of growing humanitarian crisis in occupied Iraq
World Socialist Website
Iraqi government withholds civilian death count
By Kate Randall
26 April 2007
A new United Nations report on human rights in Iraq paints a devastating
portrait of the conditions of life facing the civilian population as
the US occupation enters its fifth year. The report from the UN Assistance
Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) covers the period from January 1 to March 31,
2007, which includes the beginning of the Bush administration's Baghdad
"surge," Operation Law and Order.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Center
30 March 2007
More than 727,000 people are estimated to have been internally displaced
due to sectarian and generalised violence in Iraq between February 2006
and March 2007. Together with tens of thousands more displaced by ongoing
military operations, and more than one million by the abuses of the
former regime of Saddam Hussein, this leads to a total of nearly 1.9
million people currently estimated to be displaced within Iraq. In addition,
some 2 million Iraqis fled to neighbouring countries as of March 2007.
CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end U.S. funded wars and occupations, to challenge militarism globally, and to redirect our resources into health care, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities. The name CODEPINK satirized the Bush Administration's color-coded, fear-mongering "security" alert system that has since been phased out. CODEPINK is a lively call for the people of the world to "wage peace." More...