In an appeal issued last week, the Iraqi Communist Party (CP) warned of the terrible suffering a new war will bring to their country’s people, and called on anti-war movements around the world to develop peaceful alternatives to express solidarity with the Iraqi people’s aspirations for a democratic future.

“Among such alternatives, which deserve serious consideration by the United Nations to avert the course of war, is the proposal of convening an International Conference on the Iraqi issue,” the appeal said. A conference, the ICP said, would provide the opportunity to resolve the crisis based on international legitimacy, by dealing with issues such as weapons of mass destruction together with issues of human rights and democracy.

“This conference can discuss all issues, including humanitarian issues, but first and foremost the role of the UN in empowering the Iraqi people and allowing them to decide their political future with their own free will, through democratic elections supervised by the UN,” the ICP statement said.

The ICP emphasized that war will not bring democracy to Iraq and that the U.S. plan to occupy post-war Iraq is not in the interest of the Iraqi people.

“There is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people want to get rid of the bloody dictatorial rule of Saddam Hussein and his clique, and to bring about a genuine democratic change which allows them to exercise their right to decide their destiny with their own free and independent will,” the ICP said. “But war, invasion and foreign military occupation cannot be the means to achieve this legitimate desire for change … The path of war cannot lead to true democracy, and is fraught with grave consequences for the future of the Iraqi people.”

The terrible suffering of the Iraqi people as a result of two wars – the Iraq-Iran war of 1980-88, and the 1991 Gulf War – plus the devastation of over 12 years of economic sanctions, would not be relieved with a new war, the statement said.

The Appeal particularly cited UN Security Council Resolution 688 (April 1991), which called for an end to repression against the Iraqi people, as well as General Assembly resolutions regarding human rights in Iraq, as providing “a proper basis, in line with international law and legitimacy,” for organizing the conference. The ICP also urged lifting the economic sanctions which have had a devastating impact on ordinary people.