Mission to Investigate Political Transition Postpones Trip to Baghdad; Urges Support for Iraqis’ Demand for a Genuine End to Occupation
At the strong urging of the Baghdad-based support ream, we have decided to postpone the International Mission to Investigate the Political Transition in Iraq. The Baghdad team's consensus recommendation, made two hours ago (2:15 pm, Friday, April 9, Baghdad time), was based on the following considerations:
1. Fighting has spread around Baghdad, making the situation extremely volatile.
2. The individuals and organizations we were going to interview can no longer meet us under such conditions.
3. The security situation has plummeted in the last 24 hours, with the risks for foreigners rising significantly.
4. Foreign NGO's and volunteers who were part of the Baghdad support team are themselves in the process of evacuating Baghdad and thus are no longer in a position to provide logistical help.
5. The road from Amman to Baghdad and the Baghdad International Airport have been closed by the Americans.
Given these conditions, we regret to announce our decision to postpone the mission — something which is not easy for a variety of reasons, including the fact that several mission members are already on their way to Amman, Jordan, the jump-off site for the trip to Baghdad. Members of the mission that we have been able to contact, however, are in full agreement with the Baghdad team's recommendation to postpone. They also agree that one priority at this point is to provide full support for the orderly and safe evacuation from Baghdad of foreign members of the mission support team.
We are, however, determined to carry out the Mission as soon as the situation stabilizes. It is the sense in Baghdad that it will take some time for the situation to clarify, making it impossible to set new dates at this point. But we shall try to do so as soon as feasible.
We thank friends, colleagues, and comrades both inside and outside Iraq who have devoted tremendous time and effort to making this mission a reality. We affirm our solidarity with the Iraqi people in their hour of testing. We call on all people, organizations, and governments that value justice, peace, and national sovereignty to redouble their efforts, in the next few days, to counter the escalating efforts on the part of Coalition forces to destroy the Iraqi people.
Additionally, we want to register our concern at the recent kidnapping on the Amman-Baghdad road of members of a Japanese peace and join with others in demanding their release by their captors. It is tragic and ironic that anti-war activists might have to pay with their lives for the unconscionable support given by the Japanese government for the illegal occupation led by the United States.
It is now clear to one and all that Washington and its allies are regarded as hated occupation forces. It is time for them to leave and let the Iraqi people determine their own destiny.
Head, Mission to Investigate Political Transition in Iraq
Updated list of members of the mission:
a. Walden Bello, last year's winner of the Right Livelihood Award or the “Alternative Nobel,” Philippines
b. Luisa Morgantini, Member of European Parliament
c. Pietro Folena, Member of Italian Parliament
d. Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, Great Britain
e. Kerry Nettle, Senator from Australia
f. William Robinson, professor at University of California at Santa Barbara and an expert on US political interventions
g. Alejandro Bendana, former Sandinista Government Representative to the UN from Nicaragua
h. Blanca Chancoso, Ecuadoran Indigenous Leader
i. Fabio Alberti, representative of Bridge to Baghdad, Italy
j. Nahla Chahal, CCIPPP, International Campaign for the Protection of the Palestinian People, Lebanon
k. Achin Vanaik, journalist, India
l. Park Won Soon, Korea
m. Leo Gabriel, Austria
n. Pissias Evangelos, Greece
o. Karalis Sotirios, Greece