The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] 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. Osman? 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 Arbil!! 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 obvious.. 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. HZ __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! 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