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 ] While every analysis and comment on the Iraqi problem should be welcomed, this analysis unfortunately suffers from major defects and misunderstandings. Its basic argument is faulty. What is happening in Iraq is not a “Muqtada Crisis” as has been stated, but a de facto uprising against an illegal occupation abhorred by the absolute majority of Iraqis. Claims that the resistance to the occupation is the work of “Saddam’s supporters” or “remnants of the regime” or “foreign elements” have proven to be false, when the resistance is now one hundred percent Iraqi; Shi’a and Sunni. It would be too much asking those who spread the lies to admit having done so.. When the analysis states “the US-led coalition has the opportunity to transform the situation into a defining moment that demonstrates to Iraqis their willingness to hand over sovereignty”, it shows a lack of comprehension of what the US has publicly stated. By July 1, the US would hand over “power” to Iraqis, but not “sovereignty”, and there is a great difference between the two. Supporters of the IGC, who are the same supporters of the war, want us to believe that by July 1, Iraq would be free of occupation and a sovereign state. That is not going to happen, unfortunately. What the US intends to do by that date is to hand over power to a group of “selected” Iraqis, seemingly the same people making up the occupation-appointed IGC, who would then arrange elections in Iraq to choose a national assembly and consequently an elected government. That would be a front, while the real power would still be in the hands of the US, which would control Iraq’s economy and retain a strong military presence (about 100 000 soldiers) in the bases it is building all over Iraq. The new Iraqi army would be under an American commander. The US is saying it will stay in Iraq until “democracy” is restored, which could be forever... Now that is not the definition of a sovereign state. No sovereign state signs a constitution drafted by a foreign occupation power, in which it undertakes to sign binding agreements with that power that can not be cancelled later on, including giving up its army to that power!! How is Iraq going to regain its sovereignty, if the occupier decides whom the contracts go to, which political parties are allowed to participate in the “democratic process”, and what can be published and what can not? How is sovereignty achieved if the US will continue to decide Iraq’s future from the largest US embassy, in Baghdad? Some would argue that there are US forces in many Arab states, as well as in Germany, Japan and Korea, without those countries loosing their sovereignty. That may be true, but in those countries the US has not appointed a Governing Council, nor are the armies under US command. Furthermore, Governing Councils in those countries are not composed of people who have pledged allegiance to the flag of the US or the Queen of Great Britain, like the majority of Iraq’s Governing Council’s members have… A very good example of the level of (dis)respect the US has for the IGC and the Ministers, is the arrest warrant issued for Muqtada as-Sadr. The CPA has announced that it was issued by an Iraqi judge, yet the Iraqi Minister of Justice, Hashim as-Shibli, announced that he doesn’t know of such a warrant and threatened to resign because a warrant was issued without his knowledge and behind his back. The analysis states “..the coalition agreeing to one of the demands of Al-Sadr's people, which was to leave Shuala”, without stating that the US bombed part of that district from Apache helicopters and tanks, killing five civilians, before withdrawing. That is not a very honest way of explaining things. As-Sadr’s background is mostly correct, except for some omissions. In the late 1990s, Muqtada's father, Mohammed Sadiq as-Sadr, started a new tradition rejected by the main stream Shi’a clerics, that of conducting the Friday prayers. Shi’a clerics oppose that on the grounds that they should be performed only by the Imam himself, in this case Imam al-Mahdi. As-Sadr’s move faced opposition and criticism from Shi’a clerics, and his supporters accused Baqir al-Hakim of being behind his assassination with two of his sons in 1999. The assassination remains a mystery, though the majority believe that Saddam Hussein feared as-Sadr’s increased power and had him gunned down. However, when Baqir al-Hakim went to Qum to pay his condolences on the death of as-Sadr, he was attacked by his followers and he had to escape! It should be pointed out that as-Sadr family is the only Arab family among the clerics at Najaf; the rest being of Persian origins, like Sistani, al-Hakim etc.. This may explain some of the animosity and lack of trust between clerics. The analysis goes on to imply that as-Sadr’s support comes only from the uneducated, not the intellectuals! Yet, it was in the name of those “uneducated” and poor masses of the Shi’a that both main Shia’a parties claimed to speak and whose interests they were protecting… It was those same people who rose against Saddam’s regime in 1991.. It was those same people who allowed the US tanks to march to Baghdad through the streets of ath-Thawra city, later as-Sadr city.. Suddenly we are made to understand that they are worthless people, lacking in intellectual maturity, and therefore their support for Muqtada is because of this immaturity and lack of education.. What hypocrisy and how shameful.. Muqtada, we are told, “lacked his father's religious authority, political understanding, and foresight”, but the same statement was NOT made when Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim took over the “party” after his brother’s assassination! He took lacked (and lacks) religious authority, political understanding, and foresight.. The analysis uses language suitable for school kids, when it states that Muqtada “behaved himself very well” before the appointment of the IGC. Muqtada was not a naughty boy first… We are also led to believe that Muqtada’s attitude changed “when he was not included in the 25-member Governing Council.” That is completely untrue. Before Paul Bremer appointed the IGC, he chose an advisory council from among Iraqis to advise him on issues, and the council included Muqtada as-Sadr, but Muqtada refused to join it and cooperate with the occupation. Muqtada is pictured as a contradictory person not knowing what to do or how. Those who have followed Muqtada’s statements and actions will certainly remember that very early on he declared his opposition to the occupation and the IGC and established al-Mahdi militia. He only bowed to pressure from Shi’a clerics to refrain from action, against promises that the situation would be better. Those who have lived outside and not gone through what Muqtada has gone through have no right to criticize him or undermine his abilities or his intentions. If anyone is to be accused of contradicting themselves, it should be the two main Shi’a parties, who openly stated their opposition to war, while they were secretly cooperating with the US in its scheme. At least the analysis was honest in one things, when it stated that the ill-timed and ill-thought out decisions have turned the situation from bad to worse. The situation was therefore bad, and the US made it worse.. So much for the rosy future Iraqis were promised.. The analysis suggests a way out from the deadlock, by bringing in a third party to mediate. The idea is not bad, but the proposed third party is not suitable. Transferring control of the situation to the Iraqi Governing Council and giving them far-reaching powers to resolve the Muqtada issue “once and for all” is an interesting way of laying out the solution. What does resolving the Muqtada issue “once and for all” mean? And how can a tool of the occupation, which Muqtada opposes, be an honest mediator?? Under which law would Muqtada be tried, when Paul Bremer has suspended Iraqi laws?? What the analysis refuses or fails to see is that the problem is not Muqtada but the occupation. Iraq was destroyed, all its infrastructure turned to rubble, and a year later the people suffer from unseen poverty and unemployment, lack of basic services, and lack of security. Murders, thefts and rape crimes are daily happenings. Iraqis are afraid of going out, and Iraq has become a state without law or order. And we have to thank the US and its supporters for that. But when Muqtada’s newspaper writes about what is happening, the newspaper is shut and Muqtada is called “troublesome”!! That is the democracy and freedom of expression the Iraqis were promised. The Shia members of the Governing Council are NOT in any position to strike a deal with Muqtada, simply because they have no credibility among Iraqis. They have stood by watching as the US killed their fellow Shi’as (not to speak of other Iraqis) without uttering as much as a word of criticism. How can they solve the problems when they themselves are “governed”?? Muqtada will disband his al-Mahdi militia only after the Kurdish militia is disbanded and those of SCIRI and Allawi and Chalabi are. Otherwise, it would be dishonest to disarm one group and allow the other to remain. The solution proposed makes it look like giving a seat for one of Muqtada's representatives on an expanded Governing Council will solve the issue, and we should forget the deaths of some 200 Iraqis by US shelling and bombs in the last three days. That looks like a very simplistic conclusion, and I doubt that is what Muqtada or the rest of Iraqis want. This conclusion forgets that the occupation is rejected by the majority of Iraqis. It also forgets that Iraqis KNOW already that the transfer of sovereignty is a sham. Honesty demands that things are called by their proper names. I understand that it is difficult for a supporter of the war, and a preacher of its benefits, to admit a year later that he was mistaken and that the ordeal has been disappointing to say the least. But to call the crimes committed by the US and its allies a “heavy-handed approach” is less than honest. What this incident demonstrates is that the war, based on lies and fabrications, was wrong and was a crime against humanity. Marginalizing significant sections of European societies and disregarding their opposition to an illegal war has caused tremendous to Iraqis. It also highlights the fact that the Shi’a are beginning to realize that the bubble has burst and that they have been cheated. HZ __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Small Business $15K Web Design Giveaway http://promotions.yahoo.com/design_giveaway/ _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk