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Re: [casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #47 - 2 msgs

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Dear List,

Our friend Muhamed Ali gave us “a different view from
Baghdad”, as he called it. Muhamed of course left out
the fact that Hiwa Osman is like him a Kurd, who had
spent most of his life outside Iraq, and whose views
reflect those of the Kurdish leaders but not the rest
of Iraq. As to the validity of Muhamed’s “prognosis”,
then I leave that to the list members to judge for
themselves. Of course the war is not over, so it wrong
to talk of “post-war outcome” yet.

The shallowness with which the issue was addressed by
Mr. Osman is astounding, and makes one wonder if that
is the result of the training given by the Institute
for War & Peace Reporting, or is he writing on behalf
of the CPA?  No wonder his articles are published by
Dong Moon Joo’s paper!!!

Mr. Osman starts his article by ridiculing the people
who demonstrated in the world, and calls them “people
supposedly acting on behalf of the Iraqi people”. We
are therefore to assume that these demonstrators are
selfish beings, and he alone is acting on behalf of
the Iraqi people. We are eternally grateful!

He refers to the lack of demonstrations in Iraq to
prove that people accepted the occupation. I don’t
know where Mr. Osman lives (if he really is in
Baghdad), but neither did any demonstrations take
place anywhere in Iraq supporting the war or
celebrating its anniversary... What does that tell Mr.

I don’t know what or who gave Mr. Osman the right or
authorization to talk in the name of the Iraqi people,
but anyone who follows discussions on satellite
channels by Iraqis and on Iraqi web sites and
newspapers (in Arabic!), will realize that Mr. Osman’s
views represent that of a very small group in Iraq;
those of some of the 25 members of the US appointed
IGC and their families and close supporters.

Outsiders, as Mr. Osman calls us, were NOT ignorant of
the reality inside the country, because most of us
went there and saw with our eyes what the situation
was and lived the suffering of Iraqis. The only
outsider who did not know what was going on was Mr.
Osman himself and the majority of the IGC members..

It is insulting to accuse those antiwar demonstrators
of not being motivated by any real concern for the
Iraqi people. The usage of words like “knee-jerk
reaction” is exactly the kind of rhetorical expression
that the Americans use to dismiss any criticism.
Mr. Osman seemingly refers to Spain, Poland and
Holland who have lately joined the rest of the world
in condemning the illegal war based on lies and
fabrications when he says “It has become obvious to
the people of Iraq that this continuing antiwar effort
is purely to score cheap domestic points.” It does not
matter to Osman (who seemingly hasn’t lost any
relative to the US bullets and missiles) that tens of
thousands of Iraqis died in the war. To him the
illegality of the war is irrelevant. Of course, the
illegality of Saddam’s actions are very relevant to
him, and we have to remember them all the time. A bit
like the Holocaust !

As far as Iraqis are concerned, the war was one of
aggression, greed and hegemony. If he can’t understand
what the people are saying in Iraq, perhaps he doesn’t
belong there.

It is ridiculous to repeat the same talk of the
Americans and their stooges, that opposing war means
yes to Saddam. These are NOT alternatives. First we
were told that sanctions will solve the issue. After
12 years of suffering of the Iraqis and the death of
almost 2 million, the same people came back to tell
us: well, sanctions didn’t work, so now we have to go
and attack Iraq. And Mr. Osman wants us to believe
that that was a good solution. To hell with legality.
The ends justify the means.. So how different is that
from Saddam’s actions?

Even members of the IGC (including Barzani and
Talbani) are demanding the end of the occupation. But
Mr. Osman seems to think that the foreign occupiers
should remain in Iraq to protect it from “anarchy and
chaos”. This anarchy, chaos and global terrorists only
came AFTER the occupation of Iraq and a result of it.
Mr. Osman should know better that anyone else that it
was the two Kurdish clans (mistakenly called parties)
that were responsible for the interventions of
neighboring states; the cooperation of Barzani and
Talbani with Iran, Turkey, Syria and Israel against
the successive Iraqi governments is no secret anymore.
Their latest cooperation with the American occupiers
will be remembered by other Iraqis for a very long
time. The crimes committed by Kurds against other
Kurds and their support for the oppression and killing
of Kurds of Turkey and Iran is a black spot in their
history and is a clear example of opportunism and
political prostitution.

Mr. Osman is either ignorant of the facts or else he
is tying to mislead us, when he writes that in 1991
the Iraqis in Kurdistan were left to fend for
themselves unassisted. That is exactly opposite to
what happened. They were assisted by the US and UK, in
addition to Turkey, Israel and over 30 NGOs. Money and
assistance was pouring in from all directions, and
even the UN granted the area special status vis a vis
the OFF program. They were NOT in complete isolation
of the rest of the world..

It is true that the weakness of democratic culture in
Kurdistan was a factor that contributed to the
four-year civil war, but the interference by the
neighboring countries was NOT. The tribal structure of
the Kurdish communities does not allow for the
development of democratic culture and thinking. A
major reason for the civil war, however, was fighting
over revenues from the goods coming to Iraq from
Turkey and for fuel leaving Iraq. In fact the war is
referred to as the “fuel war” or the “customs war”.
The war caused the death of thousands of Kurds; much
more than those of Halabja! When Barzani could not
push Talbani out of Arbil, he called on Saddam to
assist him, and he got that assistance and with it

To Iraqis, as their views are expressed publicly, this
"occupation" is the worst evil that has become them
and they demand its end. It is naïve to think that the
departure of the occupation forces will bring the old
regime back. Only the feeble minded would think like
that, or else someone who has no other explanation.
This "occupation" is NOT assisting the Iraqi people in
its move toward a democratic system. Rather it has
opposed all demands by Iraqis for democratic
elections, using different excuses and justification.
It has used censorship, dissolved all the ministries
and institutions, damaged the infrastructure, is still
unable or unwilling to repair the electricity and
water systems. Newspapers have been shut and their
premises attacked. People are arrested on suspicion
and spend months in prison without charges or trial.
Every day sees the shooting of scores of innocent
Iraqis. Iraq has become one big mass grave…

“Without the perseverance of L. Paul Bremer, it would
have taken us two more years to get the Transitional
Administrative Law signed," said a Governing Council
member who witnessed the painful birth of the document
earlier this month.” I don’t know who said that, but I
can guess. Anyway, Mr. Osman forgets the fact that 12
out of the 25 members openly criticized the TAL, and
Al-Sistani and his followers have opposed it
completely and refuse to cooperate with the UN if it
endorses it. The TAL is considered by the Shi’is as “a
recipe for the breakup of the country” and
“institutionalizing sectarianism
and ethnicity in the future political process of
Iraq”.  In fact, one would conclude, from reading the
Iraqi newspapers and political views, that the TAL is
rejected by the absolute majority of Iraqis; the only
ones who support it are the Kurds, and the reasons are

For Iraqis, the choice between the terrorists and the
occupation forces is a no-brainer. True. But so is the
choice between occupation and liberation; between
occupation and resistance; something Mr. Osman’s years
in Britain have not prepared him for. If resistance to
occupation is terrorism, then the Kurdish movement is
the biggest terrorist movement in the area...

It is not fair to say that Iraq was destroyed by the
former regime, no matter what we think of Saddam’s
regime. The war with Iran had a devastating effect and
it was not Saddam alone who is to blame. We should not
forget 1991 attack on Iraq, the 12 years of sanctions,
and the new aggression. We should not forget either
the destruction caused in Iraq by the different
Kurdish insurgencies since 1920 and the deaths and
losses it caused.

As a person who opposes war, I do not agree with Mr.
Osman’s call to put aside the “empty rhetoric of war
is bad". WAR IS BAD no matter what he thinks. If his
morals accept it, mine do not. I opposed the war
against Iran and the war against the Kurds. I am not
going to support this war simply because I oppose
Saddam. That is not a choice. Even though I had no
great views of Khomeini or Barzani or Talbani, I don’t
support war against them.

It is amazing that Mr. Osman believes that the
"imperialist power" was right this time. Right is its
lies about WMDs? Or right about the 45 minute threat?
Or right about relations with al-Qaeda? Or right about
bringing democracy?  Right in what?? It is too bad
that Mr. Osman does not recognize yet where the high
moral ground is..

This anniversary was indeed a reality check for all
Iraqis. They stayed at home remembering the empty
promises given to them. They stayed home mourning
their beloved ones, their lost jobs, their destroyed
country, their lack of security, the shortage of
electricity and services, the corruption and nepotism.
But most of all, mourning the occupation of their land
and their hurt pride and dignity.


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