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Against US Hegemony and War on Iraq and in Solidarity with Palestine

by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

The international meeting organized by the Egyptian Popular Campaign to Confront U.S Aggression was convened in Cairo on December 18 and 19 to launch the International Campaign.

We, the participants reaffirm our resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation. Solidarity with Iraq and Palestine is integral to the internationalist struggle against neo-liberal globalization. The Cairo meeting is not an isolated event, but an extension of a protracted international struggle against imperialism, from Seattle and Genoa to Lisbon and Florence, to Cordoba and Cairo.

The U.S. provides unlimited support, and even justification, to the Zionist perpetrators of genocidal crimes against the Palestinian people. The suffering of the Iraqi people under a regime of genocidal sanctions lasting over a decade, and the aggressive militarism which they face today is but a logical outcome of the structures of power asymmetry of the existing world order:

The U.S. monopolizes political, economic and military power within the framework of capitalist globalization, to the detriment of the lives of the majority of the world’s people;
The U.S. imposes control through naked aggression and militarized globalization in pursuit of its rulers’ interests, all while reinstating the characteristic direct occupation of classical colonialism;
The U.S. global strategy, which was formulated prior to September 11 2001, aims to maintain the existing uni-polar world order, and to prevent the emergence of forces that would shift the balance of power towards multi-polarity. The U.S. administration has exploited the tragic events of September 11, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, to implement the pre-existing strategy.

Attention to this global context helps explain current world developments:

First: Capitalist Globalization and U.S. Hegemony

prioritize the interest of monopolistic capitalist circles above those of the people, including Europeans and U.S. citizens.
integrate the economies of different countries into a single global capitalist economic system under conditions which undermine social development and adversely affect the situation of women, child health, education, and social services for the elderly. In addition, unemployment and poverty increase.
generalize the culture of consumerism and individualism, to the detriment of a sense of collective responsibility, whether towards the thousands of infant and child deaths in Iraq resulting from polluted water, malnutrition and deficiencies in medical supplies, or towards the victims of AIDS, malnutrition and famines around the world. Among millions of people standards of living have deteriorated while unemployment and poverty have become widespread. Globalization has resulted in the marginalization of entire peoples who could no longer acquire the basic necessities to sustain life.

Second: In the absence of democracy, and with widespread corruption and oppression constituting significant obstacles along the path of the Arab peoples’ movement towards economic, social, and intellectual progress, adverse consequences are further aggravated within the framework of the existing world order of neo-liberal globalization.

Admission to restrictions on democratic development in Iraq in no way constitutes acceptance of U.S. justifications for continuation of sanctions, and now preparations for war. Without disregarding long-standing restrictions on democratic development in Iraqi society-, as is the case in all Arab societies- it is evident that the U.S.-imposed sanctions have had a devastating effect on Iraq’s development. Whereas Iraq had once enjoyed a relatively positive profile according to certain human development indicators, its people now suffer severely as a result of the sanctions regime. Iraq has witnessed a significant rise in child mortality rates, the spread of several diseases, reduction of opportunities in education, and a marked deterioration of the standard of living. As human suffering increases it generates a sense of defeatism.
The Palestinian people are suffering as a result of the loss of their land and continued Zionist aggression, which the U.S. supports militarily, economically, and politically, making its administration a de facto accomplice in the crimes committed against the Palestinian people. The U.S. protects Israel from condemnation in international forums under the pretext of combating terrorism, and it asserts additional false claims, such as when it equates the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people to resist occupation, liberate their land, and return to their homes, on the one hand, with terrorism that we all abhor, on the other.
The policies of Structural Adjustment associated with neo-liberal globalization have precipitated global crises manifest in a widening wealth gap, increase in poverty and unemployment, and general deterioration of standards of living.
U.S. military presence in the Arab region, and its dictates to governments of sovereign nations of the region has compounded the suffering of the Arab people. Interference in the internal affairs of these nations now extends to demands of educational reform, and insistence on “democratization”. Ironically this is occurring at a time when civil liberties in the U.S. are clearly under siege, especially with regard to Arab and Muslim Americans, along with other minorities. The U.S. administration also violates international law by its inhumane treatment of the POWs in Guantanamo. Also evident is the wealth gap in the U.S., which is the widest among the industrial nations of the world.
Far from secretly, the US intends to partition Arab countries into smaller entities on ethnic or religious basis. This would enable Israel to become the dominant regional power within the framework of the Middle East Project, to the peril of an Arab project of equitable development and regional unity.
The suffering of the Arab people and U.S. unwavering support of the system of apartheid imposed on the Palestinian people, will undoubtedly fuel conflict and lead to the escalation of violence in one of the most sensitive areas of the world. Such danger can easily extend to neighboring Europe, Asia and Africa. Continued preparation for war on Iraq in spite of its acceptance of a UN resolution of aggressive inspection of its armament, as well as civilian industries, signals a predetermined intent to control the Arab region, its oil and indeed the entire world supply of oil.

Third: For all these reasons we declare our total opposition to war on Iraq and our resolve to continue the struggle against U.S. policies of global domination. We strongly believe in the urgency of mobilizing against these policies. All democratic forces in the world that are for genuine Peace and Justice must join together within the framework of an international campaign against neo-liberal, US-centric globalization and promote an alternate globalism based on Equity and Justice. This would mean better utilization of the world’s resources and protection of the environment. Together the people of the world are quite able to combat aggression and all forms of injustice, prejudice and racism, and make a better world possible.

The Cairo conference against war on Iraq and in solidarity with Palestine represents the launching of an international popular movement that creates effective mechanisms for confronting policies of aggression. The participation of international activists who are prominent for their struggles for Human Dignity, Rights and Justice, as well as intellectuals, authors, unionists, human rights workers, journalists and artists- from Egypt and the rest of the Arab World, Africa, Asia, Latin America, Europe, and the United States- will no doubt accelerate this noble endeavor in spite of the numerous obstacles that we have to confront.

Fourth: It is important that this international popular initiative of solidarity with Iraq and Palestine proceed according to an Action Plan which includes clearly defined priorities:

1.Condemnation of U.S. military presence on Arab land along with pressuring the Arab governments that allow U.S military bases on their territory to close them down, and not to provide air, naval, or land facilities.

2. Develop cooperation among popular organizations of the South to reinforce solidarity in confronting the policies and practices of neo-liberal globalization and U.S. hegemony.

3. Work towards cooperation with the international anti-globalization movement of the North and South, and participation in activities and meetings organized by this movement

4. Promote the unity of democratic forces and popular organizations in different parts of the world, and form solidarity committees which oppose war on Iraq, and the genocidal crimes faced by Palestinians, supporting their right to resistance and struggle for liberation.

5. Under the banner Together against globalization and U.S Hegemony add Iraq and Palestine to the agendas of international progressive meetings, particularly the next Social Forum at Porte Allegre.

6.Invite Arab and international human rights organizations to evaluate humanitarian conditions in Iraq and disseminate their findings worldwide.

7. Prepare to send human shields to Iraq

8. Introduce the boycott of U.S. and Israeli commodities in solidarity campaigns in support of Iraq and Palestine, with emphasis on the right of return for Palestinians.

9. Elect a Steering Committee to follow up on the implementation of the Cairo Declaration, and coordination among organizations which commit to its principles, and enhance awareness through appropriate actions ranging from the preparation of posters to organizing marches and demonstrations in solidarity with Iraq and Palestine.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is Killing Trayvons: an Anthology of American Violence (with JoAnn Wypijewski and Kevin Alexander Gray). He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

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