1 August 2014
Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,
Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin. With pleasure we bring you the latest updates relating to the campaign.
In this edition:
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US House of Reps votes for checks on Obama's Iraq war powers
The Huffington Post reports:
“The House of Representatives sent a bipartisan message to President Barack Obama Friday, warning the commander-in-chief that lawmakers do not want him to escalate war in Iraq without first going to Congress for permission.
"Passed by a large 370 to 40 majority, the resolution declares: "The President shall not deploy or maintain United States Armed Forces in a sustained combat role in Iraq without specific statutory authorization for such use enacted after the date of the adoption of this concurrent resolution."
"[...] "The time to debate our re-engagement in Iraq, should it come to that, is before we're caught in the heat of the moment, not when the first body bags come home, not when the first bombs start to fall, not when the worst-case scenario is playing out on our TV screens," said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), who sponsored the resolution with Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). "The time to debate Iraq is when we can weigh the pros and cons of action, the pros and cons of supporting the violent and sectarian policies of the Maliki government, or whatever government is cobbled together should Maliki be forced to step down."
"[...] "If they did decide to take more action in Iraq, members on both side of the aisle would be deeply split," Royce said. "[...]But where I think all members can agree is that if the president of the United States ordered U.S. armed forces into sustained combat in Iraq, then he should be coming to Congress to seek an explicit statutory authorization and backing.""
See also: White House wants repeal of Iraq War authorization
Iraq chooses new President to confront militant threat
The New York Times reports:
"Trying to piece together a new government to confront a Sunni militant offensive and growing internal strains, Iraqi leaders on Thursday selected a well-regarded Kurdish politician to be the country’s new president.
"Though the post is largely ceremonial, Iraqi officials said the choice was a vital step to try to ease the growing distrust between the country’s northern Kurdish population and the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad and present a more united front against the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS.
"[...] The Parliament voted to approve Fouad Massoum, 76, a Kurdish politician and former guerrilla fighter against Saddam Hussein’s regime, as the country’s new president. He replaces Jalal Talabani, a Kurd who had been president since 2005 and was seen as a rare unifying figure among Iraq’s many factions but has been largely absent from the political scene since suffering a stroke in late 2012."
Australian churches warn of mass religious cleansing in Iraq
"Last week ISIS militants imposed Shariah law on the nearly two thousand year old city of Mosul, home to a large proportion of the country's Christian believers and biblical sites, and dates back to the Apostolic times. ISIS militants gave people 24 hours to leave Mosul or convert to Islam, pay a tax or face death.
When Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003, there were more than 1.2 million Christians in Iraq. Church officials estimate there are now around 450,000 but the number could drop as low as 50,000.
"The Syrian Orthodox Bishop of Mosul, Daoud Nikdomios, also fled to Irbil. He told SBS that ISIS is committing genocide in Mosul and urged the United Nations to pay more attention to the plight of Iraqi Christians, "People care more about helping cats, frogs and pandas than our people. We are better than cats, frogs and pandas. There are more than one thousand families who are victims of genocide."
"[...]The National Council of Churches in Australia wants the government to use its position on the UN Security Council to get the international community to pay attention to the suffering of Iraqi Christians."
Blair and Straw to get warning letters ahead of 2003 Iraq invasion report publishing
The Independent reports:
"Sir John Chilcot, chair of the public inquiry into the 2003 invasion of Iraq, is poised to send formal letters to those whose conduct he criticises in his final report.
"The then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, are among those expected to be sent what are known as "Salmon" or "Maxwellisation" letters in the coming weeks. Anyone criticised in public inquiries is entitled to see and challenge extracts related to them before publication.[...]
"[...] The limits on what can be published led to criticism that the inquiry could end up being a "whitewash" of a war that divided the nation and tarnished Mr Blair's 10-year premiership. However, Sir John and the Cabinet Office now appear to be close to agreement, as the Salmon letters could not be sent out until the "quotes and gists" have been finalised.
In a select committee hearing last week, Sir Jeremy said that he wanted the inquiry to publish "the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US [and] without revealing secrets that don't need to be revealed"."
See also: Bush-Blair communications not so secret after all
Documentary: The Iraq War - Regime Change
On ABC iview:
The first episode of a three part documentary is now available to watch on ABC iview. In 'Regime Change', top CIA officials and Saddam's foreign minister describe just how the US and Britain got it so wrong about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction before the invasion.
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The views expressed in this bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry (Inc). Readers should note that the Campaign for an Iraq war Inquiry (Inc) seeks a diversity of views and opinions in order to identify common ground.