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Iraqi youth demand to be heard

IPO members
IPO members at their campaign launch

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- The Iraqi Prospect Organisation has launched its campaign to "Save the people of Iraq." The London-based group is a network of several thousand professional and young Iraqis living in the West, aiming to help the people of Iraq in the current crisis. CNN's Rida Said spoke to some of those involved.

The Iraqi Prospect Organisation are young Iraqi exiles working, they say, for the good of the Iraqi people.

They plan to present a petition to the U.N. Security Council hoping "to try to convince the U.N. Security Council members to forget about their personal interests, their economic gains," and to focus on what they see as the source of Iraq's problem -- President Saddam Hussein.

They see him as a threat, not to people outside Iraq, but to those in Iraq.

Many of the young and politically inexperienced have been made pessimistic by decades of indecision and squabbling among elder Iraqi opposition movements.

Ahmed Shames, of the Iraqi Prospect Organisation said: "We think that the young Iraqi generation hasn't got the political complexities that the older generation still holds."

Many Iraqi youths living in exile see the opposition leaders held back by old grudges and power struggles from their days in Iraq.

This, they believe, has been one of the factors hindering efforts towards achieving an organised and united Iraqi opposition.

Young exiled Iraqi's see one of the largest problems the double standards of America, the Iraqi regime and Iraqi exiles themselves.

One member of the IPO whose parents were deported from Baghdad soon after she was born said it was the West who initially gave their support to Saddam Hussein, and not the Iraqis.

Abtehale Al-Husseini
Abtehale Al-Husseini: If you leave Saddam in his place ... millions of people will die

"Saddam was supported by the West to come into power and that's always been a negative factor in the Iraqi opposition."

It seems many young Iraqis don't know who to trust. For them, co-operating and trusting the Americans means putting their faith in same people who they believe put them in the state they are in now.

So who can they look for their support? They are looking to the Security Council, now perhaps their only hope.

On the question of military action against Baghdad, this opposition group says "yes."

Baghdad-born Abtehale Al-Husseini said: "Realistically, we know the only way to eliminate the threat of Saddam is through external intervention... and although intervention may pose the risk of several thousand casualties - if you leave Saddam in his place there is a guarantee of millions of people will die."

These young Iraqis don't believe the U.S. administration is really concerned with the Iraqi people, and they also don't think America's first concern is oil.

"America is not doing this for the Iraqi people... there are agendas and interests -- a lot of people postulate oil -- I don't think oil is the main factor.

"After 9/11 the equation in the Middle East had to change -- they realised that dictatorships were a threat to the West, mainly to America.

"They needed to change the situation to a more democratic one -- now they feel they can co-operate more with a democratic country more than they can co-operate with a puppet or a dictatorship."

Their voices may never penetrate the inner circles of power either in the West or among current opposition parties, but the IPO believes that the younger generation -- the youth and women of Iraq -- deserve "a larger say in Iraq's policy making".

This they feel will enable them to achieve a consensus much more easily.

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