IRAQI WOMEN CONDEMN OPERATION SWARMER

March 17th, 2006

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 17, 2006
CONTACT: Andrea Buffa 510-325-3653 and Medea Benjamin 415-235-6517

Iraqi Women Condemn Operation Swarmer and Join Nationwide Day of Protest to Mark the Three Year Anniversary of the Iraq War

As more than 500 cities and towns hold events to call for an end to the Iraq war, women visiting from Iraq will call for the US troops to leave their country.

As the US military engages in a massive offensive dubbed Operation Swarmer, US anti-war activists are gearing up for a weekend of nationwide protests to mark the third anniversary of the war. Iraqi women who are traveling throughout the US on a speaking tour organized by CODEPINK and Global Exchange are outraged by the present attack on Samarra and will join anti-war protests in San Diego, Seattle, Fayetteville, NC, and Palm Beach, FL.

“This attack against Samarra is a kind of collective punishment that leaves thousands of widows, orphans and handicapped. We have seen it before in Iraqi cities such as Fallujah, Qaim and Talafar. It creates misery and anger, leading to more terrorist attacks and fueling the cycle of violence,” said Eman Ahmad Khamas, who will be speaking at an anti-war rally in Seattle on Saturday, March 18. “The bombing must stop immediately, the injured must get treatment, the families of the dead must be compensated, and the US troops must leave our country.”

The majority of people in the United States and in Iraq oppose the war, which has thus far cost the lives of more than 2,300 U.S. troops and tens of thousands of Iraqis (estimates range from 33,489 to 100,000). As the three-year anniversary of the invasion of Iraq approaches, the country is wracked by violence and threatened with the prospect of civil war, Iraqi civilians are suffering from a lack of basic services, including electricity and clean water, and women's rights are being eroded.

"The U.S. occupation has destroyed our country, made it into a prison. Schools are bombed, hospitals are bombed," said Entisar Mohammad Ariabi of Baghdad, who will be speaking at an anti-war rally on Saturday in Palm Beach. "We thank you, Mr. Bush, for liberating our country from Saddam. But now, go out! Please go out!"

To mark the three-year anniversary of the war, more than 500 events are planned throughout the United States between March 15 and Mark 22. The events include protests outside Congressional offices, peace marches and rallies, candlelight vigils, die ins, and civil disobedience. From Juneau, Alaska to Cedar Falls, Iowa to Pensacola, Florida to Buffalo, New York, communities will be urging an immediate change of course in Iraq. For a full list of events, see .

Below is information about the women who are visiting the US from Iraq and where they will be speaking out for peace on Saturday, March 18th:

Faiza Al-Araji, March 18, San Diego Peace Rally and Festival
Faiza Al-Araji is a civil engineer, blogger (afamilyinbaghdad.blogspot.com), religious Shia with a Sunni husband, and mother of three. After one son was recently held as a political prisoner by the Ministry of the Interior, the family fled to Jordan. CONTACT: John Falchi (619) 414-4590

Eman Ahmad Khamas, March 18, Seattle Stop the War Rally
Eman Ahmad Khamas is a human rights advocate who has documented abuses by the US military in Iraq. She is a member of Women's Will, and is married with two daughters. CONTACT: Sasha Crow (206) 419-7957

Dr Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, March 18, Palm Beach, FL Peace Rally
Dr Entisar Mohammad Ariabi, a pharmacist at the Yarmook Teaching Hospital in Baghdad, has documented the deteriorating health system. She is married with five children. CONTACT: Rae Abileah (415) 994-1723

Dr. Rashad Zidan, March 18, Fayetteville, NC Peace Rally
Dr. Rashad Zidan, a pharmacist, works in Baghdad and Fallujah with the Women and Knowledge Society to aid victims of war, especially orphans. CONTACT: Andrew Pearson, 919-360-2028