Labor - Iraq

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Iraq's Oil Law: Backsliding on Benchmarks

Spencer Ackerman, TPM, June 18, 2007 For months, sectarian acrimony in the Iraqi parliament has stalled passage of an oil law - a crucial "benchmark" for national unity. That's been especially distressing to US officials, who frequently invoke the oil law's potential for fostering national unity. One of its chief proponents, former US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, wrote in a valedictory March op-ed that the measure represents "the first time since 2003 that all major Iraqi communities have come together on a defining piece of legislation." But UPI energy correspondent Ben Lando, perhaps the most diligent and thorough reporter focusing on the oil law, points out that the actual text of the legislation doesn't represent anything of the sort. ... Iraq

Union voices from Iraq will share vision here

Dominique Paul Noth, Milwaukee Labor Press, June 15, 2007 He was detained and roughed up by Saddam Hussein’s regime for supporting co-workers. She still faces assassination threats from insurgents against herself and her small son. Both are leaders of trades unions. Their militancy against all sides – occupation forces, foreign contractors, government corruption and incompetence, insurgents who view anyone who works as an enemy of their push toward chaos – makes US labor leaders look like, well, puppies. This June they will bring their courage to America as well as their belief in their own citizenry. On a nationwide tour, including Milwaukee at 7 PM Thursday, June 21, in Yatchak Hall, they will speak, mingle and humanize the horrifying circumstances and unbending convictions of the Iraqi union worker. ... Union

Iraqi labor leaders to visit Milwaukee

Business Journal of Milwaukee, June 15, 2007 Two top Iraqi labor leaders, including the first woman to lead a major union in Iraq, will visit Milwaukee June 21 as part of a 12-city US tour. Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union, and Faleh Abood Umara, general secretary of the Federation of Oil Unions, will visit the Milwaukee County Labor Council in a public event at 7 PM next Thursday. The labor leaders will discuss the impact of US troop deployment in Iraq on that country's labor movement and the daily lives of Iraqi people. ... Iraqi

On US tour, Iraqi unionists reject oil grab

Labor leaders call for end to occupation. Marilyn Bechtel, People's Weekly World, June 14, 2007 San Francisco - To judge by most US media, the daily slaughter of Iraqis and the ever-climbing death toll among US occupation forces sum up reality in Iraq. We rarely hear that a powerful labor movement is defending workers’ rights, campaigning for an end to the US-led occupation and for better daily living conditions for ordinary people, and upholding the Iraqi people’s right to keep control of their country’s great oil resources. This month, people across the US are getting a glimpse of that other reality, as they hear from two Iraqi trade union leaders, Faleh Abood Umara, general secretary of the Oil Workers Union, and Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union and the first woman to head a national union in Iraq. ... On

US ignorant on Iraq oil law

Ben Lando, United Press International, June 14, 2007 Washington - A military leader fresh from Iraq is the latest US government official to push a common but false claim that the controversial draft oil law will lead to a just division of the proceeds from oil sales and pave the way for reconciliation in the war-torn nation. Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey, former commander of the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq, forwarded claims made by the Bush administration and Congress that if Iraq passes an oil law, the fighting factions there will come together because revenue from oil sales will be distributed to all. The oil law (also known as the hydrocarbons law), however, does no such thing. A separate revenue-sharing law would decide how the oil revenue is spread around the country. It is currently being negotiated, though far behind the hydrocarbons law in the Iraqi legislative process. ... US

Bush Pushes Iraq Oil Law for ExxonMobil

Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, June 13, 2007 With Iraq going to hell, and the al-Maliki government failing to meet one benchmark after another, Bush is getting desperate. On Sunday, he sent Admiral Fallon, the chief US commander in the Mideast, to lean on Prime Minister al-Maliki. On Tuesday, John Negroponte, former US ambassador to Iraq and the UN, flew to Baghdad to lean on al-Maliki. And what were they leaning on him for, above all? Passage of the new oil bill, which would turn over Iraqi’s liquid treasure to foreign corporations like ExxonMobil. This is the paramount concern of the Bush Administration. It is being sold to the American people as a way to equalize revenues to various segments of Iraqi society. But the true reason for it is to line the pockets of US oil executives. ... Bush

Iraq Occupation Coming to a Head Over Oil

The Oil Workers' Strike Threatens Maliki Government. Kevin Zeese, International Movement For A Just World, June 12, 2007 The situation in Iraq is coming to a head. Oil workers have been on strike for three days and are being threatened by the Iraqi government and surrounded by the Iraqi military. The Parliament passed a resolution urging an end to the US occupation and has refused to act on the oil law the US is demanding. Both the Democrats in Congress and the Bush Administration have united around the passage of the oil law as the top benchmark for the Iraqi government. If these trends continue it will become evident to the world what this war was about all along - oil. Even the US media will have to publish an honest analysis of the Iraq oil law and why Iraqis are resisting it. ... Iraq

Iraqi labor leaders speak out in San Jose

Call for control of oil reserves, End to US occupation. Joshua Molina, San Jose Mercury News, June 11, 2007 Two Iraqi labor leaders, speaking in San Jose on Sunday, called on the United States to immediately pull out of their war-ravaged country and halt any plans to sell off the nation's oil to private companies. Faleh Abood Umara, general secretary of the Federation of Oil Unions, and Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union, spoke to a crowd of about 125 people at Laborers Hall in San Jose. Umara and Hussein delivered their remarks as part of a 10-city tour of the country in an attempt to raise awareness about the challenges faced by union workers in Iraq. The event was sponsored by the national US Labor Against War, the South Bay Labor Council and dozens of other local labor-affiliated organizations. ... Iraqi

Iraqi oil workers resist corporate control

Press Associates, Inc., June 10, 2007 Washington - A new law privatizing Iraq’s oil reserves, gives multi-national oil firms the overwhelming majority of Iraq’s present and future oil production, a top Iraqi union leader says. The law, written behind closed doors in Washington last year, hurts Iraq’s oil workers, she adds. Speaking to protesters convened by US Labor Against The War, Iraqi Electrical Union Workers President Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein added the law must be dumped and called upon US voters to pressure US lawmakers to achieve that. The protesters, who included members from USLAW, the Department for Professional Employees, and several anti-war groups, chanted “No blood for oil!” and other anti-war phrases on their mile-long march June 5 to the US Capitol. ... Iraqi

Iraq's Workers Strike to Keep Their Oil

David Bacon, t r u t h o u t, June 9, 2007 The Bush administration has no love for unions anywhere, but in Iraq it has a special reason for hating them. They are the main opposition to the occupation's economic agenda, and the biggest obstacle to that agenda's centerpiece - the privatization of Iraq's oil. At the same time, unions have become the only force in Iraq trying to maintain at least a survival living standard for the millions of Iraqis who still have to go to work every day, in the middle of the war. This week, Iraqi anger over starvation incomes and oil ripoffs boiled over. On Monday, June 4, the biggest and strongest of the Iraqi unions, the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions, launched a limited strike to underline its call for keeping oil in public hands, and to force the government to live up to its economic promises. ... Iraq

Woolsey blasts threats to Iraq oil workers

Ben Lando, United Press International, June 6, 2007 Washington - Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., said Iraqi threats to its striking oil workers are undemocratic during a briefing with a visiting Iraqi unionist. "If they're working for a true democracy, working rights have to be front and center," Woolsey said during the briefing with Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, president of the Electrical Utility Workers Union. Woolsey was responding to questions about the ongoing strike in Basra, in southern Iraq, where workers began striking Monday over frustrations that demands for better working conditions and inclusion in the negotiations over the draft oil law have not been met. ... Woolsey

Better Than Calling Congress

David Swanson,, June 6, 2007 Americans should keep lobbying Congress to end the occupation of Iraq, but should also try lobbying the Iraqi government, which appears more open to listening. Iraqi Electrical Utility Workers Union President Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein (through interpreter Aseel Al-Banna) met with a number of US Congress Members on Wednesday in Washington, DC, and spoke at an event in the US Capitol together with a number of Congress Members. She even endured a lecture on the history of her country from one of the more ignorant members of our government. At Wednesday's event, I asked Hussein the following question ... Better

Iraqi Unionists in Washington to Protest US Oil Drain from Iraq

James Parks, AFL-CIO, June 6, 2007 The US-backed government has proposed a new law in Iraq that would permit what the oil industry calls “production-sharing agreements” that could put 70 percent of the profits from oil sales in the hands of rich oil companies and leave the Iraqi people with little to run their country. The plan, which was supported by the US State Department as early as 2003, also has the backing of the International Monetary Fund and some powerful Iraqi political leaders. In fact, the rapid opening up of Iraqi oil for “private investment” is one of the benchmarks in the Iraq funding bill, which Congress passed and President Bush signed recently. ... Iraqi

Iraqi Trade Unionist Denounces US Occupation of Iraq

Interview with Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, Iraqi Electrical Utility Workers Union President, Washington, DC. David Swanson,, June 5, 2007 In the United States they tell us a lot of strange stories. They told us about weapons of mass destruction, they told us about the attacks of September 11 in the United States in 2001 which Iraq had nothing to do with. Then they told us a lot about the Iraqi people and that we are there for the Iraqi people and their democracy. But recently we don’t hear that so much. Recently we hear that we must occupy Iraq for the US troops, for the US soldiers. To benefit them we must occupy Iraq. When you hear Congress members say why they have to vote for more money, for longer occupation, they say, “This is for the troops.” So it’s not for weapons of mass destruction ... Iraqi

Congressman Kucinich to Receive Statement by Oil Workers Union on US Government's Role in Privatizing Iraqi Oil

Office of Congressman Dennis Kucinich, June 5, 2007 Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), a staunch opponent of the Iraqi Hydrocarbon Act, will receive a statement by the Oil Workers Union to BearingPoint tomorrow afternoon. BearingPoint is a consulting firm that received a US government contract to assist the Iraqi government in drafting its oil law, which would privatize control of Iraqi oil. Two top leaders in Iraq's labor movement, Hashmeya Muhsin Hussein, President of the Electrical Utility Workers Union and Faleh Abood Umara, General Secretary of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, will begin a 12-city US tour, which concludes in Atlanta on June 29. They will describe the likely consequences if the occupation continues, what might occur if it ends and prospects for a stable, democratic, non-sectarian future for Iraq. ... Congressman

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