Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Yours anxiously...

'Yours anxiously', one correspondent signed themselves in a letter expressing concerns about the apparent drift by the US towards military action against Iran. A number of journalist and commentators seem to share that anxiety...

In The Guardian today. Simon Tisdall writes:
"US officials in Baghdad and Washington are expected to unveil a secret intelligence "dossier" this week detailing evidence of Iran's alleged complicity in attacks on American troops in Iraq. The move, uncomfortably echoing Downing Street's dossier debacle in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is one more sign that the Bush administration is building a case for war."

and on the same Guardian website, Ian Traynor and Jonathan Steele report a growing rift between Europe and the US on the issue:
"... diplomats in Brussels and those dealing with the dispute in Vienna say a fissure has opened up between the US and western Europe on three crucial aspects - the military option; how and how quickly to hit Iran with economic sanctions already decreed by the UN security council; and how to deal with Russian opposition to action against Iran through the security council.

"There's anxiety everywhere you turn," said a diplomat familiar with the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. "The Europeans are very concerned the shit could hit the fan."

What to do?

Kathy Kelly, writing on Common Dreams ...:
Now another engagement looms. The Bush administration may try to wed U.S. people to yet another war, this time against Iran. If so, that would be joyful news for the controlling interests of large corporations that benefit from U.S. warfare and U.S. dominance over oil resources in this part of the world. We who claim the right to free speech, far beyond the imprisoning borders of Iraq, should join our strengths and wills to visit every congressional and senate office over the coming weeks, exercising nonviolent civil disobedience to cut funding for the wasteful, cruel, illegal and immoral U.S. addiction to war. (See to learn more about joining such a campaign.)

and Joe Volk, writing for the US Friends Committee on National Legislation:
"Peace is possible, if we work for it. Fortunately, we may have help. Some Members of Congress from both major political parties have begun to speak out against the Bush administration´s new march to war. At last count, FCNL has located four pieces of legislation introduced in the last few weeks that would require the president to obtain congressional approval before using force against Iran. (We hope but cannot assume that Congress would not vote for the use of force against Iran.) Passage of such a measure would be an important step toward preventing an expansion of the war. A second important step would be for the president to authorize direct diplomatic contacts between the U.S. and Iran and name a special envoy capable of the task.
As the bipartisan Iraq Study Group report noted, Iran could play an important role in the stabilization and rebuilding of Iraq.
...Intensive diplomacy and smart politics, not threats of war and war, are the tools to repair the damaged relations between Iran and the U.S. Peaceful prevention of a war with Iran could advance U.S. national interests and global security."

From the UK perspective, a CND briefing [pdf file] includes the following:
"CND calls for all of the nuclear weapons states to immediately undertake tangible steps towards eliminating their nuclear arsenals, as agreed by the signatories of the NPT. Such a confidence-building measure would demonstrate to Iran that the demands of the international community are not one-sided and that all countries are dedicated to the total elimination of nuclear weapons.
The international community and the IAEA must act even-handedly. It is not enough to sound the alarm on so-called rogue states while existing nuclear states defy NPT requirements and are not taken to task.
Attack or threat of attack can only increase the likelihood of nuclear proliferation, as states that feel under threat may come to the conclusion that they have a ‘deterrent’ need for nuclear weapons."


Let's hope another way can yet be found, otherwise we may be writing and watching anxiously for some time to come.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Sad loss

News from the Ekklesia website:
Noted Iraqi scholar and peacemaker assassinated

The Church World Service has expressed its sadness at the apparently targeted killing of noted Iraqi peace and reconciliation advocate and trauma-healing specialist Dr. Alharith Abdulhameed Hassan.
Colleagues at humanitarian agency Church World Service called his death a 'tragic loss'.
Dr. Alharith, a 56-year-old Iraqi Muslim and professor of psychiatry at the University of Baghdad, was shot while travelling to work.
..... Alharith's widow wrote: "Please, my friends remember Alharith in your prayers as a man of love, who continuously called for "love, peace, forgiveness and the power of knowledge."

Thursday, 25 January 2007

Global Peace march - coming soon and open to all

News from

... "Hundreds of thousands of Americans will march to their capital city Washington DC on Saturday 27 January. It could be the rebirth of the US peace movement. People round the world - let’s join the march with our own global internet protest! Last week, our ad told decision-makers in Congress how strong world opposition is to Bush’s escalation in Iraq."
This Saturday, Avaaz supporters at the US march will carry banners and country placards announcing how many of us from each nation are joining the marching. Every signature will be counted on the banners! Let’s raise a global voice for a real plan to end this war. Let’s make those numbers big. Time is short. Join the global peace march and tell your friends today!"

... consider yourselves told!

Web site updates and conference information

I've been spending a bit of time during the week trying to tidy up our main website, and in particular the calendar, news and action and links pages. Hope these are helpful - we seem to get plenty of visits still.

Also added a page advertising the conference we're putting on in March on Tackling Racism: Building Peace. This should be a very stimulating event - please register if you're planning to attend and pass the information onto others.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Matrix of peace building

Just come across information about a collaborative competition being co-ordinated by 'Changemakers', who say of themselves:

Changemakers is an initiative of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public that focuses on the rapidly growing world of social innovation. It provides solutions and resources needed to help everyone become a changemaker and presents compelling stories that explore the fundamental principles of successful social innovation around the world.

The competition is entitled : Entrepreneuring Peace On-the-ground innovations for managing conflict

A matrix of peace building has been set up as the entries (158 to date) have been coming in and voting for three prize winners will be possible online from 31 January to 14 February. The matrix itself makes interesting reading, with much food for thought about how peace can be built.