18 July 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:
CIWI president Paul Barratt has written a thorough and to-the-point letter to Senator the Hon. George Brandis after receiving some brief correspondence from his Chief of Staff a few weeks ago. If you are interested in reading, Paul's letter is posted on the CIWI blog here.
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Senator Ludlam: The Australian parliament must have the power to decide if we go to war
The Guardian reports:
"On the basis of fabricated and wilfully misinterpreted intelligence, in 2003 then-prime minister John Howard followed the United States and United Kingdom into an illegal and open-ended war in Iraq.
"Our parliament, and by extension the voting public of Australia, were cut out of the decision, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of people around the world organised and campaigned against the decision to go to war.
"[...] It is no longer tenable that the decision to deploy into conflict zones should be left to the executive alone. Our current Defence Act does not allow for any level of transparent decision making, scrutiny and debate. This is an artefact of legislation, not the natural order of things.
"Today I reintroduced the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2014 to ensure that the decision to deploy members of the Australian Defence Force be made not by the executive alone but by parliament as a whole. This means debate in both houses, followed by a vote."
UK deal reached for maximum transparency on sensitive Iraq war files
Financial Times reports:
"Agreement has been reached on the release of sensitive documents as part of the much-delayed Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.
“Sir Jeremy Heywood, cabinet secretary, told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that Sir John Chilcot had written to him recently to say “he will be able to publish everything he wants to publish”.
“[...] Sir Jeremy told the Commons political and constitutional reform committee: “My starting point for this is I would like to publish everything that the Chilcot inquiry would like to publish. I start from a presumption of maximum transparency.”
"He acknowledged this approach conflicted with “longstanding conventions about the publication of documents”, including Cabinet minutes and details of conversations between the then-prime minister Tony Blair and US president George Bush “that one would not normally dream of . . . becoming public for a variety of very strong reasons”.
"[...] Sir Jeremy added that he wanted to publish “the maximum possible without destroying our relationship with the US [and] without revealing secrets that don’t need to be revealed”."
Iraq parliament has a new speaker amidst leadership doubts
"Iraq's parliament has elected Salim al-Jabouri as speaker, breaking weeks of political deadlock amid a jihadist-led Sunni rebellion in the north and west. [...] Despite the progress, it is not clear that politicians will be able to move speedily to the next steps of selecting a president and a prime minister.
"[... Prime Minister Nouri Maliki] has faced calls from his Sunni, Kurdish and Shia opponents to step down because of his handling of the security crisis, as well as what they say are the sectarian and authoritarian policies he pursued during his previous two terms in office.
"Last week, Mr Maliki angered the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by accusing it of sheltering jihadists and supporters of Saddam's outlawed Baath Party. Kurdish politicians have suspended participation in the outgoing government in protest.
"[...]It is in the interest of all of the Iraqi peoples for Prime Minister Maliki to step down. The Iraqi government has failed to provide security. It has failed to provide services. It has failed to provide a good system of governance," [KRG's Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir] told the BBC."
Sydney leaders fear ISIS conflict could spark local violence
ABC news reports:
"About 80 members of Sydney's Iraqi community met on Wednesday night in Mount Pritchard, south-west Sydney, to discuss the local consequences of the extremist insurgency in Iraq.
"It was the first meeting of its kind in Sydney since parts of Iraq were captured by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist Sunni Islamist militant group that is considered so violent it has been disavowed by its original sponsor, Al Qaeda.
"One of the organisers, Husam Shkara from the Australian Iraqi Forum, said there were concerns of violence and tensions within the local community."
Analysis: ISIS and what it means to be modern
BBC news reports:
"Though al-Baghdadi constantly invokes the early history of Islam, the society he envisions has no precedent in history. It's much more like the impossible state of utopian harmony that western revolutionaries have projected into the future. Some of the thinkers who developed radical Islamist ideas are known to have been influenced by European anarchism and communism, especially by the idea that society can be reshaped by a merciless revolutionary vanguard using systematic violence.
"[...] it's not just ideas and methods that Isis has taken from the West. Western military intervention gave Isis its chance of power.
"[...] toppling Saddam was bound to unravel this secular state and the Iraqi state itself. Even if the American-led occupiers hadn't made the mistake of disbanding the army and dissolving the ruling party, the country would eventually have broken up. Iraq was constructed from provinces of the former Ottoman Empire by the British in the 1920s, with the Sunni minority being the ruling group. The Sunnis had ruled since 1638, when the Ottomans took Baghdad from the Persians. The Kurds, who were included in the new state because the British prized the oil resources in the north of the country, were sure to take any opportunity to seize independence. Whatever the failings of the Maliki government, the idea that a stable federal system could develop in these circumstances has always been far-fetched."
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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.