Communist & workers parties say: No war!

Over 60 communist and workers parties from around the world, including the CPUSA, have joined in signing an Appeal against the Aggressive War on Iraq, initiated by the Communist Party of Bohemia and Moravia.

The appeal, timed to coincide with this weekend’s worldwide anti-war demonstrations, takes note of the unprecedentedly broad mobilization of world opinion calling for a diplomatic, peaceful settlement. The statement urges “an even more massive mobilization of the people,” and an intensified anti-war campaign in the workplaces, the trade unions, the media and the legislative arena. It calls on other countries not to provide the Bush administration with military support or facilities to attack Iraq.

“The war will result in huge losses among the Iraqi people, who have already suffered severe hardships as a result of years of embargo, air strikes and Saddam Hussein’s regime,” the parties said. “Aggression against Iraq, which is based on the new U.S. doctrine of ‘preemptive’ strikes, threatens to destabilize the whole region and bring grave consequences for human civilization as a whole,” the appeal warns.

“It poses a huge threat to international peace and the system of international law and creates a precedent for other arbitrary acts of aggression,” the parties added.

Greece: Dozens of cities to hold anti-war rallies

Thousands of marchers are filling the streets of Athens today as anti war protesters march to the Greek parliament and the U.S. Embassy. The rally is organized by the Greek Committee for International Detente and Peace, with support of Action-Thessoloniki 2003, Youth Action for Peace, Balkan Anti-NATO Center, trade unions, students’ associations, women’s organizations and others.

At the same time, demonstrations will take place in dozens of cities across the country. Protesters will demand the Greek government withdraw its support for war against Iraq, and immediately stop providing any facilities or forces for such action.

The Piraeus branches of the peace organizations are planning to greet NATO’s Mediterranean naval force when it anchors at the port from Feb. 19-24. “When the NATO ships reach Piraeus … once again our people will demonstrate that murderers are not welcome in the country’s biggest port,” organizers said.

Germany: Rumsfeld’s relatives reject war stance

Donald Rumsfeld’s German relatives said this week they oppose the U.S. Defense Secretary’s drive to war against Iraq. The Rumsfelds of Bremen suburb, Weyhe-Sudweyhe, who had greeted their long-lost cousin warmly when he visited them a quarter-century ago while U.S. Ambassador to NATO, told the British newspaper The Telegraph their views have changed.

“We think it is dreadful that Donald Rumsfeld is out there pushing for a war against Iraq,” said Karin Cecere (nee Rumsfeld), 59. “We are embarrassed to be related to him.”
Her 85-year-old mother, Margrete Rumsfeld, added, “We don’t have much to do with him any more. Nowadays he’s just the American defense secretary to us, but for God’s sake, he’d better not start a war.”

Australia: Senate censures gov’t over troops

In a 33 to 31 vote last week, the Australian Senate last week censured the federal government for deploying troops to the Persian Gulf, declaring no confidence in Prime Minister John Howard.

The unprecedented Senate action – the first such move in over a century – included insistence that the UN be involved in disarming Iraq.

Greens Senator Bob Brown said the motion arose from the prime minister’s decision to send 2,000 defense personnel without backing from parliament or the Australian people, or a request from the UN. Said Australian Democrats leader Andrew Bartlett, “The Senate has backed our troops and the United Nations, while delivering a rebuke to the government.”

Lebanon: Union leader warns vs. war

Ibrahim Qweidar, director-general of the Arab Labor Organization, told Beirut’s al-Mustaqbal newspaper last week that a war on Iraq would have direct psychological, social and economic impact on the whole Arab region.

“The economic impact will be terrible and will not only affect Iraq’s neighbors but also will expand from Morocco to Bahrain,” Qweidar said. “The Gulf region will witness great economic problems and there will be stagnation in the oil sector as never seen before.”

Qweidar said economic development programs would be affected and tourism – the main revenue source for many Arab countries including Lebanon – will suffer great losses.

“If the war (on Iraq) lasts a month, it will undoubtedly negatively affect the whole Arab region for the 10 coming years,” he added.

International Notes are compiled by Marilyn Bechtel, international secretary of the Communist Party USA. She can be reached at