4 April 2023Resource

Hans von Sponeck talks about the reform challenges that lie ahead on the basis of the lessons learnt from 13 years of Iraq sanctions and the illegal invasion that followed.

During this period, the UN security council, and the UN secretary-general, faced choices between succumbing to geopolitical pressures and breaking international law or managing UN Iraq sanctions in the interest of the Iraqi people and in accordance with the UN Charter. Hans von Sponeck is a former UN assistant…

2 April 2023Feature

Photo from Mondalawy

Tahrir Square in Baghdad was the centre of Iraq’s massive, nonviolent Tishreen uprising in October 2019. Protesters occupied a deserted 14-storey building (next to Tahrir Square) which people call ‘the Turkish restaurant’ – because there used to be a Turkish restaurant in it.


This is an aerial view of the Turkish restaurant and of some of the…

1 April 2023Feature

PN marked the 20th anniversary of the invasion by talking to two Iraqi activists about the last 20 years, including the massive, nonviolent Tishreen uprising of 2019  

‘In 2003, I and my family were displaced from Baghdad, we went to Diyala [about 50 miles south-east of Baghdad]. I saw on TV the statue of Saddam Hussein collapsing and falling apart and I felt happy because we got rid of this dictatorship. But, on the second day, when I went back home, I found the sight of US tanks and military troops rather painful. Even though I was only 17 years old at the time, I had these very intense negative emotions that almost overwhelmed me. I wished that change…

19 March 2023Resource

Britain’s best-known peace researcher, Paul Rogers, has kept a careful eye on Iraq since the summer of 2002, when he predicted a US-led war against the Saddam Hussein regime.

In the years since, he has documented the brutal air wars, the harshness of occupation, and the rise of the ‘Islamic State’ terror network.

Paul Rogers is emeritus professor of Peace Studies in the Department of Peace Studies and International Relations at Bradford University. His books include: Irregular…

17 March 2023Resource

The US-UK invasion of Iraq in 2003 was seen in much of the world as the crime of the century, following another huge crime, over 12 years of economic sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children. Twenty years on from the devastating invasion, and the start of the occupation, Iraq continues to experience high levels of violence, corruption and political instability.

Two co-founders of 'Act Together: Women's Action for Iraq', which initially campaigned against sanctions…

16 March 2023Resource

Years before Russia issued nuclear threats against Ukraine, Britain and the US engaged in nuclear bullying of another non-nuclear weapon state, Iraq.

20 years ago, defence secretary Geoff Hoon insisted publicly the British government ‘reserved the right’ to use nuclear weapons if British troops were threatened by chemical or biological weapons.

This talk by author and activist Milan Rai examines the nuclear threats made in the run-up to the US-UK invasion in 2003, showing how…

16 March 2023Resource

The British anti-war movement needs to realise how close it came to detaching Britain from the 2003 invasion of Iraq. UN weapons inspectors were about to throw a wrench into US war plans – we came close to giving them the time they needed.

On 11 March, ‘Wobbly Tuesday’, the MoD was reportedly ‘frantically preparing contingency plans to “disconnect” British troops entirely from the military invasion of Iraq’.

Peace News editor Milan Rai is the author of War Plan Iraq: 10 Reasons…

10 March 2023Blog

Those who have an insatiable appetite for war seldom heed the wreckage they have left behind, says longtime US peace activist Kathy Kelly, reflecting on her experiences in Iraq during wartime.

Twenty years ago, in Baghdad, I shared quarters with Iraqis and internationals in a small hotel, the Al-Fanar, which had been home base for numerous Voices in the Wilderness delegations acting in open defiance of the economic sanctions against Iraq. US government officials charged us as criminals for delivering medicines to Iraqi hospitals. In response, we told them we understood the penalties they threatened us with (12 years in prison and a $1mn fine), but we couldn’t be governed by unjust…

1 February 2023Feature

What Stop the War and the direct actionists missed in 2003

Could the anti-war movement have prevented the US-UK invasion of Iraq in March 2003? I think there was a real possibility, slim though it was.

In my view, the British anti-war movement came very close to halting British participation in the invasion – and derailing the war entirely.

Well, that’s not only my view. Just days before the war began, the British government told the US government that it might be forced to pull out of the invasion force. Britain’s ministry of defence…

1 February 2023Feature

Nuclear bullying of non-nuclear states is a core part of Britain's nuclear doctrine

Sometimes, Western nuclear threats against non-nuclear weapon states have been covert operations, signalled secretly by mobilising strategic nuclear weapon systems (like the British V-bombers sent out to Singapore during the Malaysian Confrontation – see PN 2659).

Sometimes, Western nuclear threats have been very, very public.

Such was the case in the run-up to the March 2003 US-UK assault on Iraq.

It was a very long run-up to war, for reasons discussed…

1 August 2022News in Brief

On 10 June, ex-prime minister Tony Blair, who invaded Iraq in 2003, was given the highest possible rank of knighthood by the queen.

Over a million people signed a petition on asking for Blair to be stripped of this honour. The petition said: ‘He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicemen in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.’

Outside a Windsor castle ceremony for…

8 December 2020Feature

Another 3 January victim: Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis

In the past few weeks, there has been much outrage in the British media at Iranian ‘meddling’ in Iraq over the past 17 years. Iran’s interference in Iraq was directed for most of that time by Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, probably the most powerful non-Iraqi in Iraq until he was assassinated in Baghdad by the US on 3 January.

There has not been much attention paid to the fact that Iran could only intervene because of the disintegration of Iraq because of the US-UK invasion of 2003…

1 December 2019News

Corruption, unemployment and opposition to Iranian interference three key factors behind unarmed protests

Large-scale unarmed anti-government protests in Iraq have been met with lethal force from the security forces, leaving over 330 people dead since the beginning of October.

While the main focus of popular anger has been corruption, unemployment, poverty and the lack of public services, there have also been a number of protests at symbols of Iranian interference, including Iranian consulates.

On 26 October, to take another example, protesters set fire to dozens of offices…

1 April 2019Feature

Chelsea Manning reimprisoned

Photo: Manolo Luna [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Chelsea Manning, who bravely exposed atrocities committed by the US military, is again imprisoned in a US jail. On International Women’s Day, 8 March, she was incarcerated in the Alexandria, Virginia, federal detention centre for refusing to testify in front of a secretive grand jury. [In the US system of law, grand juries decide (in secret)…

31 March 2018Blog

Iraq is the forgotten war that continues to destroy lives, writes a long-time visitor to Iraq, US peace activist Cathy Breen.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet and professor of Creative Writing at Texas State. Her father was Palestinian and a refugee journalist. In one of her poems after 9/11, entitled 'Blood,' she writes:

I call my father, we talk around the news.
It is too much for him,
neither of his two languages can reach it.
I drive into the country to find sheep, cows,
to plead with the air:
Who calls anyone civilised?
Where can the crying heart…