Common declaration of opposition forces
Regarding the participation of Austrian troops in the EU troops' military mission in Chad we want to point out the following clearly:
1) Despite governmental declarations and the media coverage we cannot assume that the EUFOR deployment is actually meant to supply humanitarian aid for refugees in the eastern regions of Chad. However, there is every reason to assume that safeguarding the economic and political interests of the EU, especially France, is the real motive for the deployment of the EU troops.
2) France does not only provide the largest contingent of the EUFOR troops, but French troops have already been deployed in Chad for decades and France has been pursuing its own interests and power politics in its former African colonies, as in Chad. The French government has openly declared its support for the Deby regime, a cruel dictatorship. In the past French troops have repeatedly taken part in fighting between Chadian troops and forces of the opposition in support of the government forces. By simply taking this aspect into consideration, the deployment of the EUFOR troops cannot be seen as a politically neutral mission but must be seen as what it is - a military involvement in the internal matters of a sovereign state.
3) Furthermore, it can be assumed that there is a connection between the EUFOR deployment and EU interests in Sudan. It is undoubtedly necessary to prevent the humanitarian catastrophe which threatens the civilian population in the Sudan region of Darfur, yet the international community's discourse concerning a humanitarian intervention is hiding strong political and economic interests. These are on the one hand related to the fact that Sudan is labelled a "rogue state" by the USA as the Sudanese government does not comply with Western politics, in particular its politics in the Middle East, and on the other hand the EU as well as the USA are interested in the oil resources of the region. In any case, the protection of the civilian population in Darfur does not seem to be of prior concern to EU politics in the region.
It is assumed that the opposition forces in Darfur, which are supported by the West, are also supported by the Chadian government whereas the Sudanese government supports the Chadian opposition forces, so the fighting and military activities in both African countries are tightly interrelated. In this context the deployment of EU troops turns out to be a useful instrument to pursue the respective interests in the region.
4) The participation of an Austrian contingent in the EUFOR troops is unacceptable. As outlined above, it means involvement in the internal matters of a sovereign state, a fact which is legally incompatible with Austria's state of neutrality and which is politically a form of neo-colonialism considering the colonial past of some EU countries in the region.
5) Taking the extreme poverty in Chad and in Sudan as well as the widespread racist attitudes in Austria and other EU countries into consideration, the cynical role of the Austrian media must be condemned categorically from an ethical view. There have been no efforts whatsoever to inform the public about the background of the EU mission or about the background of the conflict in Chad. Media coverage has exclusively been concerned with the question whether the participation of Austrian troops could entail physical dangers for the Austrian soldiers. While it used to be common knowledge in the past that physical risks are part of a soldier's professional risks, the present media debates' focus is the well-being of the Austrian soldiers, thus revealing cynical and inhumane racism: Physical dangers such as hunger, displacement and violent death in war zones are of no concern to the Austrian public opinion - those are African matters left to the Africans.
Taking all these facts into account, the undersigned organisations and persons demand the immediate stop of the Austrian troops' deployment in Chad as well as the immediate withdrawal of the EUFOR troops. We are determined to organise suitable actions of protest in the streets together with any like-minded organisations or people. We appeal to all those who are against such a war on the grounds of their basic convictions - ranging from progressive organisations who participated in protests against the US wars and against Bush's visit in Austria to the trade unions - to raise their voices again.
We declare our intention to coordinate actions of protest against the EU military intervention on a European level in cooperation with other progressive initiatives.
Antiimperialistische Koordination (AIK)
Atilim, Sozialistische Zeitung
Arabischer Palästina-Klub (APC)
ATIGF, Föderation der Arbeiter und Studenten aus der Türkei in Österreich
Hermann Dworczak, Aktivist des Sozialforums
HÖC, Front für Rechte und Freiheiten
KSÅ Å D, Klub der slowenischen StudentInnen in Wien
Leo Gabriel, Institut für interkulturelle Forschung und Zusammenarbeit
Liga für die Sozialistische Revolution (LSR vormals Ast)
Kommunistische Initiative (KI)
Palästinensische Gemeinde Österreich
Initiative f.d. Aufbau einer Revolutionär Kommunsitischen Partei (IA-RKP )