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From glparramatta@greenleft.org.au Tue Oct 24 21:03:58 2000
Date: Mon, 23 Oct 2000 22:14:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: Green Left Parramatta <glparramatta@greenleft.org.au>
Subject: GLW: Iraqi communists look forward
Article: 107529
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Iraqi communists look forward

By Shane Bentley, Green Left Weekly 23 October 2000

SYDNEY—Although Saddam Hussein's Iraqi regime seems to be improving its relations with the rest of the world, Iraqi communists should continue to fight both the United Nations sanctions on the country and Hussein's Ba'ath regime in Baghdad, an October 15-16 conference of the Worker-Communist Party of Iraq's Australian organisation was told.

Inside Australia, the WCPI will seek greater cooperation with the Australian left and involve itself in campaigns addressing the plight of Iraqi people in their homeland and in Australia.

The conference, held at the Parramatta Migrant Resource Centre, heard a political report via phone hook-up from Iraq by Saman Kerim, secretary of the WCPI's organisation abroad. The report analysed the political situation in Iraq and the Middle East, and the role of US imperialism.

Kerim noted that relations between Hussein's regime and the rest of the world seem to be normalising and that the UN sanctions are weaker. There has also been an exchange of oppositionists between Iraq and Iran.

A decade after the imposition of a UN no-fly zone over Iraqi Kurdistan, the two Kurdish nationalist parties, the Kurdish Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, have not grown stronger, Kerim said. Despite a UN power-sharing agreement between the two parties, infighting has continued.

Kerim argued that the reason for these parties inability to consolidate their support base lies in their support for Kurdish autonomy within a federal Iraq, rather than for independence. The WCPI believes that the Hussein regime will try to recapture Iraqi Kurdistan when it gets the chance.

The US is willing to accept a change of leadership within the Iraqi regime, but not a fundamental change in the regime, according to Kerim. This is partly because the US now has little confidence in the official Iraqi opposition.

Kerim explained that the WCPI in Iraqi Kurdistan will concentrate on trying to end the UN sanctions and on preventing the Ba'ath regime from returning to the area.

The Australian group decided on three main campaigns: against the UN sanctions, for a referendum on independence for Kurdistan, and for Iraqi women's rights, through the Committee in Defence of Iraqi Women.

The party is also planning to target the condition of refugees in Australia's detention centres, through work in the International Federation of Iraqi Refugees and the Sydney-based Refugee Action Collective. Party members argued, however, that the RAC has placed too much emphasis on trying to involve religious figures and various ethnic community groups (many of whom receive government funding) and too little emphasis on involving trade unionists.

The WCPI also urged the active involvement of its members in International Women's Day and May Day events.

Greetings were heard from Julian Gormly and Cyrus Sarang from the RAC and Shane Bentley from the Democratic Socialist Party.

For further information, check out the WCPI web site at <http://www.wpiraq.org>.