4 July 2014
Dear members, supporters, readers and well-wishers,
Welcome to the Campaign for an Iraq War Inquiry bulletin. What an interesting few weeks it has been! With pleasure we bring you the latest updates relating to the campaign.
In this edition:
In addition, we recently received a letter response from the Attorney General, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC. If you would like to read it, we have posted it on the CIWI blog.
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Iraq's Kurdish President proposes independence referendum
The Guardian reports:
“Massoud Barzani, the president of the autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, appears to have moved the country closer to partition after asking MPs to form a committee to organise an independence referendum.
"[...]In his interview with the BBC, Barzani said the lightning advance of Sunni militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) through the west of the country with the Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, left in control of Baghdad and the south, had reaffirmed the Kurdish goal of full independence.
“ […]Across nearly all of northern Iraq, the national flag is no longer flying. The Kurds have raised their own banner above all former central government buildings in Kirkuk, which their forces took as the Iraqi army fled from Isis two weeks ago. In Iraq's west, and some of its centre, Isis has commandeered all government buildings and at least three cities."
Minister: Chilcot inquiry should not publish in general election runup
The Guardian reports:
"The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war should not report in the three months before the general election, a government minister has said, raising fears its publication could now have to wait until the next parliament.
"Lord Wallace, a Cabinet Office spokesman in the Lords, said it would be "highly undesirable" for the report to come out after the end of January until the election in May, amid fears it could "get too caught up in the pre-election atmosphere".
"[...]In the event that it is not published this year, "it would be better, after we have waited all this time, to wait until after the general election", [former foreign secretary Lord] Owen said. He also called for a parliamentary inquiry by the Commons administration committee into the "intolerable delays" and the role of Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, in deciding what government documents are released."
Western invasion paved way for Iraq's terror crisis
The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
"Iraq was a theatre of domination and triumph – of missions accomplished. We scarcely noticed it was in fact a complicated society with significance to people well beyond its borders. By the time we discovered Sunnis and Shiites it was all a bit late. We had on our hands a full-scale, international insurgency.
"[...]Indeed the invasion has unleashed forces we simply cannot pretend to have under control. Mosul, after all, isn’t Fallujah or Baghdad with a reputation for fearsome violence. This is a city once held up as a model of Iraqi success: “a model for what Iraq would be like if they could emulate in Baghdad the progress we have made here”, in the words of one commanding officer in 2007 after the famous troop “surge” that was meant to have pacified the city.
"But even so, it’s impossible to understand this turnaround in Mosul without looking just over the border, in Syria, where a ruler every bit as brutal as Saddam Hussein, is presently in the process of enacting mass violence against his own people.
"[...] Bashar al-Assad had free reign to unleash brutal force, thereby radicalising the environment and laying down a magnet for Sunni terrorist groups. And we now know that those groups are enmeshed with those in Iraq. ISIS doesn’t see the border between the countries. It sees instead an area to be unified under its own rule. Mosul is in terrorist hands because we blew the lid off Iraq, then refused to help put it back on Syria. They are quickly becoming indistinct: the same crisis.
Also: Major General John Cantwell shares insights on the history of the current Iraq crisis (ABC Radio)
Andrew Wilkie pushes for a parliamentary debate on Iraq
The Guardian reports:
"The independent MP Andrew Wilkie has failed in a bid to force a parliamentary debate on Australia’s involvement in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and to secure a commitment against the deployment of troops for the current crisis.
"[...]It also called on the government “to instigate a royal commission into Australia’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq and subsequent 11 years of war, and in particular the conduct of the main Australian protagonists for this unmitigated foreign policy, security and humanitarian disaster, including then prime minister John Howard and then foreign minister Alexander Downer”."
Also: Wilkie says Australian troops should not be sent back to Iraq (ABC Radio)
More Americans say Iraq war wasn't worth the costs
New York Times/ CBS News poll:
"Just 18 percent of Americans think the result of the war in Iraq was worth the loss of American lives and other costs of attacking Iraq, the lowest percentage ever recorded in CBS News Polls. Seventy-five percent do not think the Iraq War was worth it, up eight percentage points since 2011 (just before all U.S. troops were removed), and up 30 points since August 2003.
"[...] Broadly speaking, most Americans (58 percent - including most Republicans, Democrats, and independents) do not think the U.S. should take the leading role among all other countries in the world in trying to solve international conflicts."
Published: The case for an Iraq war inquiry in Australia
Global Change, Peace and Security journal article:
Paul Barratt – former Deputy Secretary of DFAT and former Secretary of the Department of Defence – provides an interesting in-depth examination to the 2003 Iraq invasion, compiling evidence from current available sources on the decision making process. For those interested, the article can be accessed online for free.
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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.