Brussels, Belgium -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/17/2014 -- On June 11, during a press conference in Brussels chaired by Struan Stevenson, President of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, the formation of a new NGO, the European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) was announced.
At this meeting Sid Ahmed Ghozali – former Prime Minister of Algeria, Alejo Vidal-Quadras – Vice President of the European Parliament ( 1999 – 2014), Stephen Hughes, Vice-President of the Socialists-Democrats group and former MEP Paulo Casaca, an expert on Iraq, participated and spoke, focusing on the following points:
1- The Conference strongly condemned the human rights violations in Iraq, the unprecedented number of executions and massacre of Iranian refugees in Camps Ashraf and Liberty, and stressed that the monopoly of power in Maliki’s hands in the past 8 years and the unprecedented infiltration of Iran and its terrorist Qods Force in Iraq has been the main cause of the problems. After the withdrawal of U.S. forces, the Iranian regime filled the power vacuum in Iraq. The Conference described the support of Western governments, particularly the United States, for Maliki, as shameful and said they must share responsibility for the murder and massacre of the Iraqi people, and called for an end to US and Russian arms being supplied to Maliki to help him suppress the popular uprising, which Maliki falsely claims is being led by ISIS and Al Qaeda.
2- Developments in Iraq have dramatically affected the entire region. If a national government, not-dominated by Iran, was in place in Iraq, Bashar Assad would have fallen long ago. The life of the Iranian regime depends on Assad and Maliki, and the fall of any one of them, brings Iran closer to its edge. So the regime is in full force killing people in both countries.
3- Representatives of various Iraqi factions reiterated that recent elections were neither free nor fair and all of them have been defrauded by Maliki and the Iranian regime. While most of the Iraqi political factions oppose Maliki, with the support of Iran and using intimidation and threats, he is desperately trying to buy or bribe his way to becoming Prime Minister for a third consecutive term.
4- Residents of 6 Sunni provinces have staged sit-ins since December 2012 protesting widespread repression and executions. These peaceful protests were confronted by suppression and lethal attacks by the Iraqi military under orders from Maliki and people and tribes in these provinces, especially al-Anbar, have been forced to defend themselves. Maliki has resorted to the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians by barrel bombs and missile strikes and repeated air attacks in these areas. These operations are carried on under the command and monitoring of the Iranian regime's terrorist Quds Force. There is no doubt that these attacks constitute war crimes and the international community should strongly condemn them. In the meantime there are strong rumours that Maliki has evacuated his family to the UK and may even be preparing to flee the country himself.
5- Reacting to the on-going attacks and oppression, the Iraqi people and tribes have taken control of Nineveh province and Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, driving out the Iraqi military and releasing hundreds of political prisoners. Iraqi military forces have been routed in Nineveh and more than half of Salahadin Province, with fighting now within 30 kilometres of Baghdad. Maliki misleadingly pretends that the terrorists and ISIS have taken control of Nineveh province in order to pave the way for bombings and missile attacks as well as to find an excuse for the U.S. and the Iranian regime’s military intervention in Iraq. He also arrogantly asked Iraq’s neighbouring countries to help him to suppress the terrorists in these areas, basically sending an open invitation to Iran's IRGC and Qods force to intervene.
6 -Western countries, especially the U.S. and the U.K. and some other countries that had played a key role in toppling the former government in Iraq and empowering Maliki, bear serious responsibility for the current situation. For the past eight years the U.S. has provided unilateral support for Maliki and has maintained silence about his atrocities against Iraqi citizens, particularly the Sunni population and other religious and ethnic minorities as well as foreign refugees. The US has also turned a blind eye to the increasing domination of the Iranian regime in Iraq, which has played a major role in creating the current situation.
7-The conference stressed the fact that the crisis of Iraq can only be resolved by an urgent change of leadership and the ousting of Maliki, combined with the complete eviction of the Iranian regime from Iraq, through the creation of a national and democratic government that rejects sectarian tendencies and represents all parts of Iraqi society. The conference asked western countries, in particular the U.S. and the EU to stand with the Iraqi people in order to realize this goal and to avoid providing any further support for Maliki.
8- The European Iraqi Freedom Association (EIFA) as an NGO has been formed to be a voice for the people of Iraq, who deserve a better future. Many distinguished politicians and notable leaders who share these objectives have joined in this task. The Board of EIFA includes John Bruton – former Prime Minister of Ireland, Geir Haarde – former Prime Minister of Iceland, Alejo Vidal-Quadras – Vice President of the European Parliament from 1999 to 2014, Giulio Terzi – former Foreign Minister of Italy, Lord Carlile – former National Security Advisor to the UK Government and Paulo Casaca (MEP from 1999 to 2009).
Struan Stevenson, MEP
President, European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq