(September 2003) I won’t be adding further to this site. The availability of quality news and comment is  widespread. See ElectronicIraq. CommonDreams is also a useful source on fallout from the US perspective. See also Holger Szesnat.
(12 April 2003) The news that Saddam’s regime seems broken after three weeks is great, but the threat and chaos is very much around. The whole situation is deeply flawed and fractured. It would be pious to expect more, and foolish to think that we do not need to learn some tough lessons from this tragedy. This is a time for reconstruction, for humanitarian relief, for re-asserting politics in the wake of war,,, and perhaps (difficult thought it is to say) for a little silence in the midst of continuing propaganda on all sides. For the time being it seems that US neoconservatives and their ‘liberal imperialism’ are regnant and unstoppable. But reality has a habit of biting back at ideologues…
(20 March 2003) We are now in the midst of a war that has no official UN sanction, defies world opinion, and has short-circuited the weapons inspection procedure. One hopes for a speedy end to Saddam Hussein, but this is not the right way to go about it for the long term peace, justice and stability of the region – or indeed the world. You will have more than enough sources by  now. But I commend the new WCC Church leaders’ statement, the resignation speech by Robin Cook MP, and the MoveOn initiative. Keep an eye on Stop the War and Antiwar, naturally. The UK national demonstration is on Saturday 22 March.
(Jan-Feb 2003) The Radio 4 Today programme has uncovered intelligence reports that contradict the British Prime Minister’s claim that there is a significant link between Iraq and Al Qaida. The Comment page has regular updates. See also Open DemocracyOurWorldOurSay, MWAW, UNA, HumanShields and  Arrow. The sheer scale of the build up means that an attack on Iraq – with terrible consequences for international order, terrorism and the Iraqi people – is likely, but not inevitable. A large turn out at the demonstration in London on 15 February would be a significant signal.  Scroll down for more alt. news sources. See Mirror campaign here.
(12 December 2002) As the US administration makes it plain that it is unlikely to abide by the usual protocols of weapons inspection in Iraq, in the US a huge coalition (including the National Council of Churches) has been launched to mobilise to ‘Win Without War’. Importantly the appalling record of the Ba’athist regime is not being ignored. In Britain and Ireland the churches have re-issued their recent statements and representations through CTBI. Meanwhile, CND have launched a legal challenge to the Government on the use of existing UN resolutions as a justification for a Western attack on Iraq. [N.b. This failed]
(14 November 2002)
The new report on Iraq from Prof Paul Rogers can be linked here. Details on a London conference on 7 Dec, the recent European Social Forum and the 15 Feb 2003 anti-war demonstration here. There is now so much up on the web that I will am updating this portal less frequently. I’ve been in Washington DC talking to church leaders there. The NCC is doing a good deal of lobbying and action. See their Seasons of Peacemaking resources.
(13 October 2002). The demo in London on 28 Sep was around 300,000. Read Scott Ritter’s new book on War in Iraq. Search on Amazon.
(23 September 2002): Direct LOBBY list (more detailed info in red link above. Amnesty petition on international justice and law.
(19 September 2002): Up-to-date comment from around the world is on a new page created today. This appears in the bar above and will be updated regularly.The Archbishop of Canterbury’s envoy is flying to Iraq via Israel-Palestine today, as diplomatic activity around the threat of war heightens.
(11 September 2002): A conference on Faith and faiths after 11 September in Birmingham. Also prayer material for the occasion.
(9 September 2002): As Bush and Blair confer, noted British military historian Corelli Barnett has come out against the threatened war. Good selection of background articles on terrorism, war and the political alternatives in The Observer (Sunday 8 September 2002) and in Zmag’s watch section. The issue of information control is covered well by Project Censored. See also the leader in The Nation (US), historian Howard Zinn, material on sanctions against Iraq on CASI, and two examples of alternative US initiatives, Peace First and Peaceworks. Some recent Christian responses to terrorism (a mixed bag, for info only).
(5 September): Opposition to a pre-emptive strike continues as Blair promises to publish his incriminating dossier. The strategy is that the inexorable military build up will allow no time for sufficient analysis and debate. Response points: Recent statement from the World Council of Churches. Also from Nelson Mandela. Excellent Middle East history and politics site from regional expert Michael Marten. Post-11 Sept responses from churches. See also the work of regional Christian Peacemaker Teams. Lobby Tony Blair.  See alternative new sources (below).
(August 2002): In spite of widespread opposition in Europe and beyond, President Bush and the hawks in his adminisration seem determined to push ahead with a war on Iraq, with potentially disastrous global and regional consequences. There will be an anti-war protest in London on 28 September. See also this article from The Progressive magazine. There is a seminar on Christian responses to terrorism at the London Mennonite Centre on 28 September. On 11 September there is a day seminar on Faith After 11 September in Birmingham, organised by BIAMS. The church leaders’ statement against the war, organised by Pax Christi, is here. I am a signatory, and also a sponsor of the demonstration as in March. Please get involved. Further resources here. Petition against war.
(July 2002). Continuing talk of a US-led attack on Iraq. Public figure and church leaders (including Rowan Williams, soon to be announced as the new Archbishop of Canterbury) are beginning to put pressure on the PM to rein back on British support. Definitely a time for letter writing. See this review on the churches and peacemaking.
(April 2002) Large anti-war demo outside the White House in DC on Sat 20/4.
The US state department says that a quarter of the 22,000 bombs dropped on Afghanistan missed their target.
Tony Blair is supporting President Bush’s call for pre-emptive military action against Iraq, without further UN sanction: a development which could wreak further havoc in the region. Nearly 160 British MPs have signed an
Early Day Motion against a militaristic approach. There is a public petition here. Some 15,000 marched against war in Central London on 30 March. The authorities dismissed it as 3,000 — but I was there and know this not to be so. See this reportMedia Workers Against the War are monitoring coverage. Meanwhile Israel-Palestine is in flames. To get news on the ground: Alternative Information Center and Indymedia in Jerusalem (Israeli), Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle and Sabeel (Palestinian). Also Zmag, Alternet, (already listed below) Global Witness and the LMC resource page.
Mass graves have been discovered outside Kabul — up to 15,000 people may have been ‘ethnically cleansed’ under the cover of the US bombing. Meanwhile Western attempts to flush over 2000 al-Qaida fighters out of the mountains are struggling, and $100,000 has been offered for Western captives by opponents of the new Afghan government. There have been two coup attempts in the last month. Development organisations are worried about refugees and malnutrition.
(March 2002) Important new Human Rights Watch report on widespread global abuses of rights in the wake of the anti-terror campaign, which Bush is now threatening to widen. The next major London protest about the possibility of war on Iraq will be on 30 March 2002. According to most conventional wisdom, the war had virtually been won. The latest military adventures by Britain and the US tell a different tale, however  Unsurprisingly, the Taliban political and military system was unable to withstand the might of the US and its allies. But the cost of victory has barely been to be calculated (many thousands of lives, certainly – see civilian death estimates), the full toll of winter on refugees and the displaced has yet to be seen, and everyone agrees that the peace will be much harder to ‘win’ than the war. Questions of wider threatened US military action, the fate of Bin Laden, the response of Al Qaida in other parts of the world, the challenges to international law and justice of Western action, the vortex of destruction in Israel-Palestine, the longer-term impact on the Muslim world…. these and other issues are far from resolved. Challenges to religious communities and perspectives are also, of course, enormous. These are heady and dangerous times.
Meanwhile, here are some useful recent links. [See also Key alternative news sources three sections below]: First, Al Jazeera. A few weeks ago there was much noise about a new deal for women in Afghanistan and in the political settlement. Of course that turned out to be language of convenience to hold support for the war… but RAWA, the (actually moderate) Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan are still pressing the case for sisterhood in the midst of re-asserted patriarchy. Since the media is totally dominated by western viewpoints, it is important to look at the situation in Asia and the Middle East from a wider angle.Cursor and Middle East Wire are great sources, as is the Afghan Info Centre. See also the Jerusalem Media and Communication Centre, the Iranian Mission for the Establishment of Human Rights, the Arab-American Action NetworkChurches for Middle East Peace, Zmag, Media Workers Against the War, UK Islamic Network and Alternet. On human rights and terrorism questions see Statewatch and Liberty. And if you want info about terrorism which, ironically, the US actually supports, try School of the Americas Watch (SOA is now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). See also Noam Chomsky’s new book 9 / 11.

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