Iraq: oil union leaders threatened with arrest

From the Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), Sept. 20:

The Iraqi minister of oil (Shehristani) has requested the Iraqi Prime Minister Almaliki to arrest the leaders of the Anti-oil Law Front (Subhi Albadri; chairperson. Hassan Juma; president of GUOE and Front member. Falih Abood Imara; secretary of GUOE and Front memberand many more) few days ago. The spokesperson of the ministry of interior stated that they are waiting for the government to decide whether arresting those leaders or let them stage their intended strike on September 22, 2007 that is aimed to topple the draft oil law. The Iraqi parliament member (Mahmood Uthman) said “I am against any protest or civil disobedience before the debating the draft law and declaring any protest before this debate means that there political motivations behind it.”

At this point in time we need your solidarity and support more then ever. Please circulate this letter to whoever you know, send solidarity messages to those leaders to strengthen their moral at this critical time. Encourage whoever you know to send condemnation messages to the Iraqi and US embassy everywhere in the world. Send this message to the congress and let them know of the US democracy in Iraq.

The arrest of the leaders is imminent if we stay silent. Do not forget; it is you who can make difference.

Amjad Al-Jawhary

Iraq Freedom Congress

See our last post on Iraq, our last statement from Iraq’s civil resistance, and our last report on the struggle for the oil.

  1. Bush: “Iraq’s Mandelas” dead
    What outrageous chutzpah—especially given that Bush is continuing the work of Saddam Hussein in eliminating progressive Iraqis who support co-existence. However, despite the best of his efforts, they are not all dead yet (as the above item demonstrates). From AFP, Sept. 20:

    US President George W. Bush on Thursday declared there were no more “Mandelas” left to help aid reconciliation in Iraq because former dictator Saddam Hussein had killed them all.

    There could be no “instant democracy in Iraq” because “people are still recovering from Saddam Hussein’s brutal rule,” Bush told reporters.

    Referring to former South African president Nelson Mandela, who led the fight against apartheid to become a symbol of reconciliation and hope, Bush said of Iraq: “I heard somebody say, ‘Now where’s Mandela?'”

    “Well, Mandela is dead. Because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas.”

    We can expect such cynicism from Bush. What is more mysterious is what explains the American left’s disinterest in Iraq’s legitimate civil resistance.

  2. Statement from Iraq’s Anti-Oil Law Front
    From the IFC, Sept. 20:

    An Appeal To The Masses, Forces That Reject The Oil Law

    The occupation forces and monopolistic corporations who are in rush to steal our wealth, are running out of patience. And passing the infamous oil Law by the Iraqi parliament has become imminent; however our ranks are still weak and dispersed to this day, which wrongly send the government and parliament a message stating that the majority of Iraqis are accepting this law.

    Today we are at a crossroads where we have no choice but to take our anger to the street and tell those who are in the green zone and their masters that we strongly condemn and disapprove this suspicious law, this law that aims to disempowering the people and spread more chaos among the masses.

    The Front had conducted several activities against this law, and has decided that it will stage a sit-in in the center of Baghdad on Sept. 22 to be an important step toward the abolishment of the proposed oil law.

    We need your support to send a strong message to the occupation and its agents in order to topple the law.

    Support our protests in Baghdad

    Join the anti-oil law Front

    Subhi al-Badri

    Chairman of the Anti-Oil Law Front

  3. Iraq: US kills another oil union leader
    From the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU), Sept. 20:

    US Occupation Forces Kill Oil Engineer Talib Naji Abboud
    The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions (IFOU) has announced that US occupation forces carried out an unprovoked attack against a crew of workers in the Rumaila oilfields in Basra on the morning of Monday 18 September. As a result of this cowardly and criminal act, Chief Engineer Talib Naji Abboud was wounded and taken to hospital where he died in the evening of Tuesday 19 September.

    This comes one day after the massacre perpetrated by the Blackwater mercenary gang in Baghdad’s Mansour district on Monday, in which Iraqi officials say 11 people were killed, but unofficial reports speak of up to 50 deaths, all innocent victims of all ages and both genders. Instead of curbing and punishing the Blackwater mercenary gangs, the occupation is escalating unprovoked attacks on Iraqi citizens.

    The IFOU has called on the Iraqi Government to take action to protect the lives of Iraqi citizens, and the Federation held a protest rally at the Southern Oil Company headquarters in Basra today at 10am local time to condemn this premeditated murder and the continuing occupation of Iraq.

    In the meantime, the Minister of Oil Hussain Al-Shahristani has remained silent about the latest criminal attack directed at workers who are under his direct remit and who were ambushed while going about their normal business of running this vital industry. Indeed, the latest attack seems to be designed to show that the occupation forces will act with impunity, and that there is going to be little distinction between mercenaries and regular US troops.

    The attack in the oilfields seems also to be designed to push the Iraqi Government to take further harsh and repressive measures against the oil workers at a time when they are resisting the privatization of the industry. The murder of Chief Engineer Talib Naji Abboud should also be laid at the door of the oil corporations that are trying to force their way into Iraq and to control its resources at any cost.

    We call upon the Trade Union and anti-war movements in Britain to condemn this heinous crime and send letters of protest to the Foreign Office and the US embassy.

  4. Baghdad sit-in against oil law
    From the Iraq Freedom Congress (IFC), Sept. 22:

    Mass sit-in against Petroleum law in al-Tahrir square, Baghdad
    In continuation of the protests against the so-called Iraq petroleum law which the puppet government of Noori Almalki is trying to pass and impose on the masses of Iraq that triggered daily protests by labour unions in Iraq, hundreds of people gathered today, September 22 in Altahrir squar in Baghdad in front of the Freedom Statue for a sit-in. This sit-in came in response to an appeal by the Anti-oil Law Front, Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq and other unions and labour organizations including the General Union of the Iraqi Decks, the Joined Coordination Labour Bureau in Basra, Iraq Freedom Congress and many other forces opposed to this law.

    A large information tent was erected in the square where thousands of people gathered asking about the demonstration and the essence of the so-called Iraq petroleum law aimed at plundering the Iraqi public wealth. This tent quickly become a platform where the leaders of the Anti-Oil Law Front told people about the danger of this law on the Iraqi society and why it represents recklessness toward the livelihood and the future of generations to come. Many banners and placards were raised in condemnation of this law.

    A large number of Arabic and international media outlets attended and covered the sit-in. Al-sharqia and Al-Arabia TV satellites conducted interviews with Sobhi Albadri, the chairperson of the Anti-Oil Law Front and the head of the Executive Committee of the Iraq Freedom Congress, the leader of the demonstration. Subhi Albadri gave a speech at the gathering which was received with ovation and enthusiastic cheers. He mentioned that workers in Algeria stand in solidarity with workers in Iraq and that they sent a letter to Albadi in his capacity as the head of the Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq and the chairperson of the Anti-Oil Law Front telling him that the 22nd of September will be the day where demonstrations will be held in many Algerian cities in solidarity with the Iraqi workers.

    Many Left parties in Turkey sent letters of support for the struggle of the Anti-Oil Law Front.