Mosul and other cities in Iraq are experiencing dramatic, dangerous, and fateful changes.
The media, especially that which is allied with the Iraqi government and western states, has been focusing on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Syria (ISIS) and its control over several Iraqi cities, provoking its audiences against the militant group. Indeed, ISIS terrorist groupings do exist among armed groups there and its influence in the recent events is clear. However, it is also true that Iraqis generally reject ISIS, whether in the central or southern regions of Iraq or in parts of the country that are no longer under government control: the so-called "Sunni" areas or the "Sunni Triangle," a term that intelligence services, particularly the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), devised as part of a plan to engineer sectarianism in Iraq. At the same time, Iraqis generally reject Maliki`s regime and its policies, built as they are on an ethno-sectarian basis. This is especially the case in urban areas where sectarian discrimination is most concentrated, wherein the government treats ordinary people as political enemies.
The fall of several Iraqi cities in the hands of armed groups does not represent the dreams of the people who live there. Their demands to be rid of sectarianism are clear and direct. They expressed them through nonviolent sit-ins, but armed terrorist groups took advantage of this environment to take power. The people`s demands against discrimination and sectarianism are just and fair, whereas Maliki`s policies are reactionary and discriminatory, and are therefore rejected. In the meantime, ISIS` control of cities and people poses a serious threat to everyday life and to society.
Popular demands have morphed into a tool for reactionary forces to divide up the political pie, from the terrorists of al-Qa’ida, the Ba`th Party, and tribal leaders to the Shi`a religious leadership that has called for open warfare and the Kurdish nationalist forces that have achieved military and political gains. This all comes at a moment when Iraq has clearly become divided according to the wills of dominant political forces, whereas the will of the Iraqi people remains ignored.
Regional forces that benefit from Iraq`s disintegration—especially Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—operate in their own way to achieve political gains. All the while the US government—the prime cause of these problems to begin with—prepares to intervene however it chooses. President Obama has so far expressed his concern over Iraqi oil twice when talking about recent events. He has not shown any regard or concern for the fate of two million people now under the control of ISIS, or for the women who have started committing suicide in Mosul as a result of ISIS gangs. The working class in Iraq is the common force that exists across the county, from the north of Kurdistan to the furthest points south. It is this force whose very existence and survival depends on the eradication of discrimination and the unification of the Iraqi people. This is the only force that can end fragmentation and division.
We reject US intervention and protest President Obama`s inappropriate speech in which he expressed concern over oil and not over people. We also stand firmly against the brazen meddling of Iran.
We stand against the intervention of Gulf regimes and their funding of armed groups, especially Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
We reject Nouri al-Maliki`s sectarian and reactionary policies.
We also reject armed terrorist gangs and militias` control of Mosul and other cities. We agree with and support the demands of people in these cities against discrimination and sectarianism.
Finally, we reject the interference of the religious institution and its call for indiscriminate warfare.
We aim to stand with those who represent the interests of the people and to empower them in the face of this dangerous and reactionary attack. We call for a clear international position to curb the deteriorating situation as well as regional interference, and to support the people of Iraq.
Federation of Workers’ Councils and Unions in Iraq
13 June 2014
[This statement originally appeared on Jadaliyya in Arabic and Ali Issa translated it into English.]