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Global resistance to the Coalition of the Killing

This article is over 18 years, 9 months old
Even in the pro-war states most people are against Bush and Blair's slaughter in Iraq
Issue 1843a

GEORGE BUSH’S spokesperson Ari Fleischer says the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ the US has mobilised represents 1.2 billion people from countries with a combined national output of $21.7 trillion a year.

But most of those 1.2 billion in 30 countries are against the war. Their governments, as in Britain, are defying the democratic will of their people. Some of Bush’s coalition of the killing are dictatorships. The list begins with Afghanistan and Azerbaijan and ends with Uzbekistan.

The US imposed the Karzai government on Afghanistan at the end of 2001. It is reliant on US support and is effectively a fiefdom in Kabul with the rest of the country under the control of rival war lords.

Azerbaijan is ruled by Heydar Aleyev, who served as a member of Leonid Brezhnev’s politburo under the old USSR. Aleyev behaves like a dynastic ruler. He allowed the US to use his state as a base for war on Afghanistan. The Uzbekistan dictator Islom Karimov was also on Brezhnev’s politburo. Repression in Uzbekistan is easily on a par with that in Baghdad.

Human Rights Watch reports thousands of political prisoners and systematic torture and execution. The last rigged referendum in Uzbekistan returned a 97 percent vote for Karimov.

The US’s Latin American supporters include the governments of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama and Colombia. John Negroponte, the US’s ambassador to the United Nations, organised right wing death squads in El Salvador and Nicaragua when he was the ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s.

The US is spending $1.3 billion backing the Colombian government’s war against left wing guerrillas. The Philippines is conducting its own war on terror, supported by the US, against Islamic groups.

A number of eastern European states – Albania, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Romania and Slovakia – are part of the coalition. All of these states are desperate for some sort of political, financial or military backing.

In all of these states, where an opinion poll has been taken, it has shown the majority of people are opposed to war on Iraq. Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, says, ‘The coalition in this activity is even larger than the coalition that existed during the Gulf War in 1991.’

This is another lie. Over 100 states backed that war and 34 sent military forces. Just the US, Britain and Australia have sent forces now. The vast majority of the world’s population is against the war. This real international community of people is protesting against Bush whether their government supports his war or not.

Egypt: cracks appear in the monolith

THURSDAY’S protests were something not seen in Cairo for decades. Maybe not since the 1976 bread riots. A hole has appeared in the dreadful wall of dictatorship. As soon as people went to work and to the universities demonstrations began. Thousands gathered in Cairo University, Ain Shams University, Helwan (an industrial area) and Alsyeda Zainab (a poor inner city area).

At 1pm the demonstration of the Committee Against US Aggression began in Tahrir Square. Security forces failed to stop ordinary people from joining the activists. In an hour the square was filled by people shouting slogans against the US, Blair and Egyptian president Mubarak.

Tens of thousands joined and the square was totally freed and occupied by the growing crowds. From the Nile to the people’s assembly in Kasr al Aini people practised political freedom for the first time in years. You could feel the joy, the anger and feeling powerful by being together.

Americans from the American University in Cairo joined and were taken to the front of the demonstration. Fights with the riot police erupted every time people tried to reach the US embassy. Some 150 people were injured. We were attacked by water cannon, gas, sticks, electric sticks and dogs.

But the demo continued and turned into a real carnival, lasting until 11.30pm. Then the crowds left to meet again on Friday at Al Azhar University. We think this is the beginning of a huge development in Egyptian politics. The government moves during the last weeks to contain the movement failed. They allowed two anti-war rallies, but that has whetted the appetite of the poor for more.
Mohamed Ahmed, Cairo

OVER 500 lawyers in Jordan staged a sit-in in the capital Amman’s main courthouse after police blocked their march. Students also battled with police at the university. In Syria police prevented 700 protesters reaching the US embassy.

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