Refugees surge from Iraq
The US military “surge” in Iraq has fuelled a further rise in the number of refugees and of civilians detained by occupation forces.
The Iraqi Red Crescent Organisation reports that the number of internally displaced Iraqis has more than doubled, to 1.1 million from 499,000, since the military build-up started in February.
The United Nations migration office confirms the scale of the internal refugee problem describing it as the worst human displacement in Iraq’s modern history.
US authorities report that the number of detainees held without trial by US forces in Iraq has swelled by 50 percent since the commencement of George Bush’s surge.
The number of detainees has grown to 24,500 today from 16,000 in February. Some 800 of those in detention are aged between 11 and 17.
Brown says troops to stay
Gordon Brown has reiterated his commitment to keeping troops in Iraq, stating withdrawal would “not suit our national interests”, and adding that “we continue to have clear obligations to discharge”.
His remarks come in response to a letter from Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell arguing British troops should be pulled out of Iraq to reinforce the military occupation of Afghanistan.
Brown pledged to George Bush that Britain would not pull its troops out prior to an agreement with the White House.
Meanwhile the head of the British army, Sir Richard Dannatt, predicts “a generation of conflict” against a “strident Islamic shadow” in what he describes as “a region perched precariously above a large proportion of the world’s remaining supply of oil”.
Anti-war events coming up
Delegations from Iraq, Palestine, Venezuela and Pakistan will attend the Stop the War Coalition’s international “World Against War” conference taking place in London on 1 December. They will join trade unionists, peace activists and students from across Britain.
Stop the War has also called a lobby of the opening of parliament on 8 October to demand Gordon Brown pulls British troops out of Iraq.
In Scotland, school students will come together in Edinburgh’s East Market Street on Saturday 8 September for Shout It Out! – an anti-war street fair with films, workshops and discussions as well as live music and food throughout the day. Go to» www.shoutitoutevent.com