26 February 1998
For the moment at least it appears that military action against the people of Iraq has been averted following Kofi Annan's trip to Baghdad to negotiate an agreement with the Iraqi government. While this is extraordinarily good news, and a triumph for diplomacy, there are two serious concerns re the current situation :
1) if, as the British and the US governments are pushing for, the Security Council passes some kind of resolution re this agreement - then any perceived breaches of it by Iraq may result in bombing raids with very little notice. In some ways the situation is now more volatile because the armed forces are all there ready to go if they receive such orders. The US government is continuing to send troops to Kuwait, has said it will not be withdrawing them for at least four months, and has made it clear that it feels it has the right to make an attack decision alone if it feels so inclined;
2) the sanctions have not been lifted so the situation of the Iraqi people has not immediately been improved in any way.
From our own perspective here in Aotearoa / NZ, the government has still not made a decision to bring the NZ SAS troops and the planes back - having acted entirely without any UN authority to send them, they are now apparently awaiting word from the Security Council before they bring them back - very strange.
While the situation remains as it is now we will not be posting out any more alerts on Iraq, but if there is any escalation at all we will start them up again. Today's one has details of all the protests planned here over the next few days - as well as the ...'if the bombing starts' contingency plans. Watch out for follow up information in the next PMA Newsletter - which should be coming to you in the next couple of weeks. If you have any dates / events/ protests on anything at all you wish other like-minded people to know about please send them to PMA now so they can be included in the next Newsletter mailing !!
We also hope to bring you the finalised details in the next Newsletter of how you personally can help do a bit of sanctions busting - and contribute medical aid directly to the people of Iraq.
Peace and kia kaha, Edwina and the PMA people.
1) PROTESTS/EVENTS TAKING PLACE SOON :
*** CHRISTCHURCH - FRIDAY, 27 FEBRUARY - 6-30pm, Cathedral Square, loads of excellent speakers and launch of new petition. Contact NZNFPA, tel (03) 388 9816 or 03 388 9017.
*** CHRISTCHURCH - FRIDAY, 6 MARCH - 5-30pm, WEA (59 Gloucester St), meeting to set up a Gulf Crisis Peace Committee.
*** AUCKLAND - SATURDAY, 28 FEBRUARY - 12 noon, Aotea Square, contact Auckland Gulf Crisis Committee, tel (09) 638 8715 evening / (09) 377 1367 (day).
*** WELLINGTON - some Wellington peace people would like to
have a celebratory vigil next week because the immediate threat of bombing has been
averted, please phone Arthur Quinn (04) 567 0533 if you are interested
2) IF THE BOMBING STARTS - KEEP THIS !!
*** AUCKLAND - meet at 4-30pm outside the US consulate. Note - the weekly protest outside the consulate had over 100 people last week !
*** WELLINGTON - meet at 5pm by the Cenotaph.
*** TAKAKA - meet at 5pm at the Village Green.
*** CHRISTCHURCH - meet at 5-30pm, Cathedral Square.