Act with Iraqis Standing Up to the US Military Presence in Their Country
Since February 25th Iraqis – fueled by the air of audacity sweeping the Arab world – have been organizing weekly Friday protests against government corruption and sectarianism, a shocking lack of public services, and for the release of Iraq’s thousands of arbitrarily imprisoned. This coming April 9th though, 8 Iraqi civil-society organizations are taking this a step further, and have planned to stage open-ended sit-ins in front of US military bases all over the country until ‘the occupier and its agents’ leave. They have called the 9th ‘The Day of Salvation.’ (For more info click here: http://iraqleft.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/occupying-the-bases-april-9th-and-iraqs-day-of-salvation/)
Among the organizers are Uday and Muntazer al-Zaidi (acclaimed journalist shoe-thrower) who head up an organization called ‘The Popular Movement to Save Iraq.’ They have been harassed, detained and abused over this past month of protests (the largest of which was in 17 cities where 16 people were killed and 130 wounded by Iraqi security forces. (More info see: http://txlaboragainstwar.org/2011/03/27/iraq-citizens-workers-take-to-the-streets-call-for-real-democracy/)
Defying Iraq’s police state, their communiqué announces: “the launch of a long-term sit-in in all Iraqi provinces to mark the eighth anniversary of the brutal American occupation of our precious Iraq on Saturday, 4/9/2011 [...] This sit-in will not last hours or days, but will continue night and day until the protesters demands are met [...] For our sit-ins we will set up tents in front of US military bases, which are located in every Iraqi province. We ask all patriotic individuals and forces that oppose the occupation to participate in this demonstration.” (Full text here: http://iraqleft.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/communiquc3a9-number-16-on-the-day-of-salvation-sit-in.pdf.)
The ‘Status of Forces Agreement’(SOFA), signed by former president Bush and the Iraqi government in late 2008, pushed for making 54 major US bases in Iraq permanent, while also announcing a full US 'combat forces' withdrawal by the end of 2011. As recently as January 31st of this year, John Kerry, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Relations, has opened the possibility of pressuring the Iraqi government to sign a new security agreement delaying US pullout (costing $25-30 billion over the next 5 years), while Vice-President Joe Biden has also recently implied that US troops may need to stay on to ‘help train Iraqis.’
Stand with Iraqis partaking in civil disobedience all over their country!Call President Obama and demand that he listen to Iraqi civil society: no to a new agreement, and no to any permanent US military presence in Iraq! The US must be held to the current timeline for withdrawal. Iraqis are putting their lives on the line to liberate their country.
What You Can Do
1) On April 9th - a national and global day of action - Call President Barrack Obama, who will have the final say on the SOFA, at the White House at 202-456-1111 on behalf of Iraqis and say no to prolonged US military presence in Iraq and no to violent crackdowns on Iraqi protests.
2) At rallies in the US on April 9th and 10th distribute this educational comic [accessable here--just print 2-sided and fold] and let people know what is happening to Iraqis and how they are organizing to fight back. In NYC, extra copies of the leaflet will be available at the WRL meet-up location at the Gandhi statue in Union Square at 15th St. and Union Square West.
3) Visit the Iraqi facebook page: "Support Iraqi Protesters in the Great Iraqi Revolution" at http://www.facebook.com/#!/Great.Iraqi.Revolution for updates and to write messages of support!
For more info on how you can support organizers in Iraq, contact WRL Field Organizer Ali Issa at ali [at] warresisters [dot] org or 212-228-0450 x 13.
For more information on the U.S. anti-war rallies on April 9th and 10th, contact WRL Organizing Coordinator Kimber Heinz at kimber [at] warresisters [dot] org or 212-228-0450 x 12.