The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq (CASI).
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [CASI Homepage]
[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] It is very important for anyone addressing an important matter to use the right terminology and to get acquainted with the issue at hand. Unsurprisingly, the IPO “analysis” lacks both the historic depth and right terminology. The UN has indeed been a “Trojan Horse”, most effectively used by the US and UK to impose their will on the Iraqi people and the world as a whole. Through the UN, the US spied on Iraq, imposed sanctions that killed almost two million Iraqis, decided what Iraq can buy with its own money and what it can not, prevented all attempts at lifting the sanctions, and when it could not use it anymore, it decided the UN was useless, and went ahead to destroy Iraq again. Now, there are mounting calls to involve the UN, because of the failure of the US and its diminishing “coalition of the willing” to deliver what they promised. Peace, democracy and prosperity are but empty words that have no meaning for the people of Iraq, who see more death and more starvation and more suffering. Even people like Hans Blix, a strong critic of Saddam’s rule, says that Iraq is worse off now. It would be understandable if a westerner were to make a mistake when dealing with the history of Iraq. But when someone claiming to be an Iraqi writes “Following the end of World War I the British established Iraq as a country”, one wonders if that person actually knows anything about Iraq, let alone be born in it. Iraq existed as IRAQ centuries before there even was BRITAIN… We know for certain that when the Muslims entered Iraq, it was already called Iraq. As Shi’i Muslims, people at the IPO should also know that Imam Ali appointed a ruler for IRAQ and he himself lived in IRAQ and died there, as did most of his descendants. The name IRAQ is believed to have come from the old Semitic name of the Akkadian capital city Uruk. Scientists agree that the first settlers in the area were the Semites, who came from the Arabian Peninsula, where they had lived for millennia. The first inhabitants of what is Iraq were the Akkadians at Uruk, followed by the Sumerians (whose origin is not yet known) who inhabited the same area and together established the oldest known civilization. The Semitic Arabs have a habit of calling the whole with the name of the most important part of the land; thus Egypt is called “Misr” after the name of Cairo, and Syria is called “Sham” after the name of Damascus. Iraq follows the same rule. We believe the name of the Akkadian city was called URUK, because Western scientists have thus deciphered the cuneiform writing. For all we know, the name might have been pronounced differently. We are told that the most known Akkadian King was called Sargon, but his name in the Akkadian language was pronounced “Shrugin”. Hebrew offers us another very good example. Modern Hebrew is pronounced differently from the Semitic Hebrew, because those coming from Europe were not able to pronounce the Semitic guttural sounds, so the language was modified to accommodate their shortcoming. Thus the name “Menachem” is pronounced by Arabs “Menahem” with the deep “Haa”. The civilizations and empires established in Iraq ruled not only the land where they lived, but the whole area of what is now called the Middle East. With the advent of Islam in the 7th century, Iraq was recognized as being composed of the Arabic Iraq and non-Arabic Iraq; a reference to the north where Kurds had settled millennia after the Semitic Arabs. The Muslims did not invent a new name for the land, nor has any story told us that the people were forced to learn Arabic; probably because the language was theirs too! Iraq, in the Arabic language, also means the river bank, a most fitting name for the land of the two great rivers. The Muslim rule of Iraq continued through the Umayyad and Abbasid rule; through the different invasions and dynasties, until the establishment of the Muslim Ottoman Empire. With people of different ethnic backgrounds also moving into the land, Iraq nevertheless maintained its name and its dominant Arab character. What the British did after World War I was not “establish” Iraq as a country, but actually “divide” the existing country of Iraq (and the whole area) into states and protectorates. According to Ottoman documents from 1914, Iraq was divided into three provinces (Wilaya): Mosul, Baghdad and Basra. Baghdad had authority over the two other Wilayat. Basra included not only Kuwait, but extended down the east shore of the Arabian (Persian) Gulf until the borders of Oman, including areas of today’s Saudi Arabia, and the whole of Bahrain, Qatar, and the UAE! The British drew the map of the area as it suited their interests, regardless of the structure of the area or its history. Claims that the British “established” or “created” Iraq after WWI started after the 1991 destruction of Iraq. The British began calling Iraq “Mesopotamia”; a term invented by the Greek historian Herodotus about 440 BC, but never used by the inhabitants of the land or the area. The campaign of lies was spread through the British “independent” newspapers and the “neutral” BBC too. The aim was to threaten Iraq that if Iraq wanted Kuwait back, the British would give Mosul “back” to Turkey. What the British forgot was that Mosul was never part of Turkey, nor was Iraq for that matter. Iraq was part of the Muslim Empire whose capital was Istanbul, just like Anatolia was itself sometime under the rule of the Akkadians, Assyrians and Babylonians, or Spain under the rule of the Muslim Ummayyads… In reality, southern Turkey of today was inhabited by Arabs and Kurds. The IPO seems here to be blindly repeating these lies of the British establishment… The claim that Iraq was ruled by Sunni Arabs since the British occupation of 1917 is also incorrect. It is true that the King who was appointed by the British was a Sunni Arab from Hijaz, but the Prime Ministers, who were the real holders of power, were Sunni Arabs, Shi’i Arabs and Sunni Kurds/Turks. These included Saleh Jabr, Sayyed Muhammad Hassan as-Sadr, Fadhil al-Jamali, Noori as-Said, Ja’far al-Askary, and others. They came from all ethnic and sectarian groups. The appointment of Faisal ibn al-Hussein as King of Iraq was reported to have the support of 95% of Iraqis, both Shi’i and Sunni, because he was a Sunni who was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. The Shi’i leaders issued declarations welcoming the appointment of the son of Sharif Hussein as a King of Iraq. One reason for the weak participation of Shi’is in the political system was the Shi’is themselves. During the Ottoman rule, the Shi’is evaded serving the Ottomans by claiming allegiance to Iran (Persia); something Saddam used against them in the late 1970s and deported tens of thousands to Iran. In 1921, Sheikh Mahdi al-Khalisi, a prominent Shi’i leader, issued an edict (Fatwa) prohibiting the acceptance of any position in the Iraqi government and considering any such acceptance an act of cooperation with the unbelievers… As a result, Shi’is did not join the army or the different ministries, allowing these positions to be taken over completely by Sunnis. The balance was perhaps never restored.. There is no doubt that there was discrimination against the Shi’is in Iraq in the past 80 something years, as there was during the Ottoman rule too, and as there was discrimination against Kurds, Turkomens, and other groups. The reasons were political rather than ethnic or sectarian, especially when one notes that the rule was in the hand of representatives of all those ethnic and sectarian groups. Saddam did not rise to power because of the domination of the minority over the majority. That is a misconception and is a distortion of the history and the facts. One has to live these times to comprehend them. Saddam rose to power through the Ba’th party, a secular party, the majority of whose members were Shi’is. In reality, the Ba’th party was formed in Iraq in the late 1940s by Shi’is, like Sa’doon Hammadi, Fouad ar-Rikabi and others. In 1963, the Regional leader of the Ba’th party in Iraq was Ali Saleh as-Sa’di, a Fuwaili Shi’i. The regional command of the Ba’th party in Iraq which took power in 1963 was composed of 5 Shi’is and 3 Sunnis !!! The majority of the Iraqi army and police are Shi’is, reflecting the structure of the Iraqi society. The majority of the staff of the intelligence agencies and security apparatus of Saddam come from as-Sadr city (formerly Saddam city and before that ath-Thawra city), a Shi’i district in the east of Baghdad. The army which fought Iran from 1980 until 1988 was majority Shi’i. So when “proconsul” Paul Bremer “decreed” to disband the Iraqi army, this was an illegal act violating international law, leading to chaos and confusion and more bloodshed in Iraq. He may have “put an end to the legacy of minority rule in Iraq” as the writer would like to believe, but in reality he brought more unemployment and misery and poverty to hundreds of thousands of Shi’is in the army.. Those unemployed Shi’is form the heart of the Mahdi Army which Muqtada as-Sadr established last year, and which opposes the occupation of Iraq. The formation of the Governing Council by Bremer was indeed historic, because it brought to mind something which happened also on July, but 63 years earlier, when on 10 July 1940, the French parliament in joint session dissolved the Republican regime and installed Marshal Henri Philippe Pétain as head of the French state with full governing powers. The government established its seat at Vichy, in the southern part of the country. The Vichy regime replaced the principles of the French Revolution—Liberté, égalité, fraternité—with new principles: Travail (work), Famille (family), and Patrie (fatherland). The Vichy regime, bolstered by nationalists who demanded a policy of “returning France to the French,” began systematically to circumscribe “aliens” influence. The IGC bears incredible similarity to the Vichy Government. While the Vichy adopted a policy of courting Nazi Germany in order to extract more tolerable arrangements from the German authorities, the IGC is fully under the control of Bremer, who has the right to veto any of their decisions. This Bremer is the same person who said when he appointed the IGC: “We dominate the scene and we will continue to impose our will on this country.” The fact remains that the Shi’is in Iraq refused to take part in the rule of Iraq in the 1920s, and have refused to establish a state controlled by Shi’is, at a time when they had the chance. The reason was (and should remain) that Iraq was NEVER structured along ethnic or sectarian lines. The Iraqi Communist Party, which was Iraq’s largest political party until the late 1970s, was mainly Shi’i in its composition. Politics in Iraq were not based on sectarian or ethnic lines, just like today opposition to the occupation comes from all sectors of the Iraqi society. To restructure Iraq along ethnic or sectarian lines is very dangerous and is a betrayal of Iraq’s heritage and history. It is above all a crime against the people of Iraq. Self-deception has led some to believe that the IGC is a body “that fairly represented Iraq's ethnic makeup”. Those who talk about the democratization of Iraq fail to explain to us how democracy and tribal thought can work together. Who elected Barzani or Talabani to represent the Kurds? Who elected Adnan Pachachi, Samir as-Sumeida’i or al-Yawir to represent Sunnis? Who elected Ibrahim asl-Ushayqer (al-Ja’fari) or Abdul Aziz al-Hakim to represent the Shi’is?? Why should the Kurds, Chalabi, Allawi have militias, but as-Sadr’s militia is considered illegal and criminal? The new attack on the UN was originated by some in Iraq’s GC who realize now that the US is prepared to dump them if that serves its interests. People’s trust in the IGC is almost non-existent, and all realize that they were brought in to serve a purpose, and their use is over. They are, so to say, disposable…The US seeks a way out of its crisis in Iraq, and the only way it could get international support for its plans would be through a new UN resolution. But unless the UN is fully involved, no such resolution would be coming. And without such a resolution, the coming Iraqi government would not be recognized, and it can not therefore sign agreements as a sovereign state with the US to grant it bases or the control of its army and economy. The US is not known to have morals when it comes to foreign policy. Lakhdar Brahimi is useful because he is an Arab (so Arabs won’t object), and a Muslim (so Muslims won’t object), and he is prepared to do the dirty work for the US. That is a repetition of what Butros Ghali did in the 1990s at the UN… For such an “historic achievement”, the inability to decide what sort of transitional government will guide Iraq to elections in January 2005 is quite amazing. Do the Americans know or don’t they? And why did the US and the IGC refuse direct elections which Ayatullah Sistani called for? Aren’t elections (that would include some 80% of Iraqis) better than the non-democratic appointing by the occupiers of members to a government?? Brahimi wants to scrap the IGC seemingly because there is a realization among the Americans and Iraqis that the IGC has failed in carrying out its work. Bremer makes his decisions without even informing them; he appoints and dismisses ministers at will, in a manner similar to what Saddam did. The Americans are killing both Shi’is and Sunnis without the IGC being able even to condemn such killings, let alone participate in attempts to find a solution. And Iraqis now openly demonstrate against the IGC. Yesterday people in Basra accused the British of being behind the explosions that left 70 people dead and hundreds wounded.. I believe that a caretaker government appointed by the UN, and a national conference to choose a consultative assembly is a much more democratic and representative method of solving the issue. I am not a supporter of the UN plan nor have any respect for that organization. My views regarding the UN’s role in the genocide of Iraqis has been publicly voiced. However, those who oppose the UN plan do so because they know that they will not win the proposed elections. Otherwise, if the majority of Iraqis support those members of the IGC, as is claimed, the IGC should support Brahimi’s plan fully not oppose it.. What is more destabilizing for Iraq: appointing a government by the occupiers or appointing a government by the UN to choose a consultative assembly?? The IPO analysis has seemingly failed to see that Brahimi is only reflecting the US views on Iraq. The US administration in Iraq is going to end the de-Ba'athification process, and will be hiring back all those Ba’thists dismissed. It is already relying on members of Saddam’s intelligence apparatus. Iraqi opposition to UN involvement was not fuelled by Brahimi's “lack of impartiality”, but by the realization that the UN, which was used to destroy Iraq in the 1990s, does not enjoy the trust of the Iraqi people. Iraqis don’t forget what the UN did to them since 1990… Ayatullah Sistani has made it clear that he will not receive Brahimi, because Sistani still insists on elections, which the CPA (and consequently Brahimi) and the IGC oppose… Why would the Shi’i majority feel cheated out of power, if the UN appointed government would be a care-taker government for six months only, after which the Shi’i majority will elect their representatives?? How would such a plan cause democratization to be stalled? Rejection of elections, support for the war and for the occupation by the IPO does not surprise me. What surprises me is that those people who supported the UN sanctions against Iraq, supported the destruction of Iraq, and supported the UN’s disarmament of Iraq for 13 years, are suddenly opposing the UN. When the UN was party to the murder of Iraqis, people like the IPO group supported it and its criminal involvement. No one criticized it of being a Trojan Horse then. Why the change of attitude? Because Ibrahim al-Ja’fari said so, or because al-Hakim so wants? Or perhaps because being British means you support the policies of your government and serve your Queen?? Calls for UN involvement comes from Europe and from within the US. The lies and fabrications upon which the attacks and occupation of Iraq have been based are fully exposed. Bush, Blair and Aznar have been exposed for the petty liars they are, and history will judge them, like it has judged murderers and criminals before them. If Iraq is to be a successful democracy, occupation should end and so should interference of foreign forces and states in its affairs. Only an Iraq free of ethnic and sectarian agendas, free of biases and strange loyalties, and built on equality and respect for all, will be able to achieve democracy and would lead the people of the area, once again, into success and prosperity. HZ __________________________________ Do you Yahoo!? Yahoo! Photos: High-quality 4x6 digital prints for 25¢ http://photos.yahoo.com/ph/print_splash _______________________________________ 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