As the G8 meeting once again descends into a farce, one story is not getting the international headlines: An increasingly bitter standoff in Iraq between the Unions and the authorities over Iraq’s controversial Oil Law.
On the third day of a strike protesting at the law, the Iraqi military has been called in. It currently surrounds the striking oil workers. The prime minister has also issued arrest warrants for the union leaders.
“This will not stop us because we are defending people’s rights,” said Hassan Jumaa Awad, president of IFOU. He said the “Iraqi Security Forces,” who were present at the strike scenes, told him of the warrants and said they would be making any arrests. The warrants accuse the union leaders of “sabotaging the economy.”
IFOU called a strike early last month but put it on hold twice after overtures from the government. “One person from the Ministry of Oil accompanied by an Iraqi military figure came to negotiate the demands. Instead it was all about threats, “Awad said. “It was all about trying to shut us up, to marginalize our actions. The actions we are taking now are continuing with the strike until our demands are taken in concentration.”