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]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #73 - 2 msgs

[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ]

This is an automated compilation of submissions to

Articles for inclusion in this daily news mailing should be sent to 
Please include a full reference to the source of the article.

Today's Topics:

   1. BBC TRANSCRIPTAnalysis: Iran's influence in Iraq (ppg)
   2. Iraq: The Moon is Down, Again! (Hassan)


Message: 1
From: "ppg" <>
To: <>
Subject: BBC TRANSCRIPTAnalysis: Iran's influence in Iraq
Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 14:06:38 -0400

Analysis: Iran's influence in Iraq

An official Iranian delegation is in Baghdad at Washington's request to hel=
resolve the impasse between the US occupation authorities and Shia cleric
Moqtada Sadr. Middle East analyst Dilip Hiro says this underlies the
influence that the predominantly Shia Iran has on the neighbouring Iraqi

The Iranian influence is exercised through different channels - a phenomeno=
helped by the fact that there is no single, centralised authority in Iran.

The different centres of power include the offices of the Supreme Leader an=
the President; the Majlis (parliament) and the judiciary; the Expediency
Council; and offices of the Grand Ayatollahs in the holy city of Qom, and
their social welfare networks throughout the Shia world.

It was the decision of Grand Ayatollah Kadhim Husseini al-Hairi - an Iraqi
cleric who had gone to Qom for further theological studies 30 years ago,
never to return - to appoint Moqtada Sadr as his deputy in Iraq in April
2003 that raised the young cleric's religious standing.

The more senior Ayatollah Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, a member of the US-appointed
Iraqi Governing Council (IGC), is even more beholden to Iran. He is the
leader of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), which
was established in 1982 in Tehran by the Iranian government. He returned to
Iraq after spending 22 years in Iran.

Shia militia

Sciri's 10,000-strong militia, called the Badr Brigades, has been trained
and equipped by Iran.

Ayatollah Hakim underscored his continued closeness to Iran on 11 February,
the 25th anniversary of Iran's Islamic revolution. Opening a book fair in
Baghdad, sponsored by the Iranian embassy, he praised the Vilayat-e Faqih
(ie Rule of Religious Jurisprudent) doctrine on which the Iranian
constitution is founded.

Sooner or later, the Americans will be obliged to leave Iraq in shame and

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei

Then there is Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, the most senior Shia cleric, who
is now being routinely described by the Coalition Provisional Authority
(CPA) as a moderate, even pro-Western, even though he refuses to meet eithe=
the CPA chief Paul Bremer or any of his envoys, limiting his contacts
strictly to IGC members.
Ayatollah Sistani was born and brought up in the Iranian city of Mashhad,
and despite his 53 years in Iraq, speaks Arabic with a Persian accent.

Most of his nine charitable ventures, primarily providing housing for
pilgrims and theology students, are in Iran. So too are the four religious
foundations sponsored by him.

Increasing influence

Outside official circles, there are signs of growing Iranian influence amon=
Iraqi Shias.

The religious foundations run by pre-eminent clerics in Iran are funding
partially the social welfare services being provided to Iraqi Shias by thei=
mosques at a time when unemployment is running at 60%.

Iran's present co-operation with Washington is a tactical move. They want t=
help stabilise the situation in Iraq to facilitate elections there so the
Shia majority can assume power through the ballot box, and hasten the
departure of the Anglo-American occupiers

If there is any day-to-day Iranian involvement in the workings of the Sadr
network in Iraq, it is in the sphere of social welfare.

There is no need for Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard to train the
militiamen of Sadr's Mehdi Army since all Iraq males have received three
years of military training under the Baathist regime and the country is
awash with small arms and ammunition.

Also, Iranian Shias are pouring into Iraq, which has six holy Shia sites,
across the unguarded border at the rate of 10,000 a day.

They are thus bolstering the Iraqi economy to the tune of about $2bn a year=
equivalent to two-fifths of Iraq's oil revenue in 2003.

Covert activities

Then there are covert activities purportedly sponsored by Iran.

Soon after Saddam's downfall, some 100 "security specialists" of the
Lebanese Hezbollah arrived in Basra, at the behest of the Iranian
intelligence agency, according to the Anglo-American sources.

Since then two groups of Iraqi Shias calling themselves Hezbollah have
emerged, one of them allegedly sponsored by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary
Guard, with its headquarters in Amara and branches in other cities.

This is widely seen as a move to establish an Iranian intelligence
infrastructure in Iraq. However, such a network can hardly compete with its
Anglo-American rival.

Until a few days ago, conceding any role to the Islamic Republic of Iran ha=
been anathema to the George Bush administration.

It is hell bent on seeing that the Iraqi politicians refrain from declaring
Iraq an Islamic republic. Paul Bremer publicly announced that if those
writing the transitional constitution made any such move, he would veto the

But present signs are that a large majority of Shias, led by Ayatollah
Sistani, favour an Islamic entity of some sort for Iraq. About half of
Iraq's Sunnis are also believed to support this.

Tactical co-operation

Iran's top officials are aware of this. They are aware too of what the US
occupation authorities have done in Iraq.

Their present co-operation with Washington is a tactical move. They want to
help stabilise the situation in Iraq to facilitate elections there so the
Shia majority can assume power through the ballot box, and hasten the
departure of the Anglo-American occupiers.

"America accuses other countries of intervening in Iraq and provoking the
Iraqis, but it clear that the crimes committed by the occupying forces and
their insulting behaviour toward Iraqi youth and women are the cause of the
Iraqi reaction, whether Sunni or Shia," Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Al=
Khamanei said in a speech delivered recently on state radio.

"Sooner or later, the Americans will be obliged to leave Iraq in shame and

Dilip Hiro is the author of Iraq: A report from the inside . His latest boo=
is Secrets and Lies: Operation "Iraqi Freedom" and after .

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2004/04/15 16:55:51 GMT



Message: 2
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 08:59:48 -0700 (PDT)
From: Hassan <>
Subject: Iraq: The Moon is Down, Again!
To: CASI newsclippings <>

April 23, 2004
Iraq: The Moon is Down, Again!
By William Marina*

Art, films and literature often offer insights that
help to explain human situations perhaps better than
does history. My favorite book on the integral
interaction between occupiers and those being
occupied, is John Steinbeck=92s The Moon is Down (1942),
shortly thereafter made into a film starring Cedric
Hardwicke, Lee J. Cobb and Henry Travers. I first saw
the film in the 1950s, but it is not shown these days.

It is a story about the German invasion of a small
town in Norway in 1940 and the developing reactions of
the inhabitants as the Nazis seek to insure that the
mines nearby continue to send coal to the Third
Reich=92s war machine. Readers this year may be tempted
to replace the term =93Norway=94 with =93Iraq,=94 =93coal=94 with
=93oil,=94 and =93Germany=94 with the phrase =93Coalition.=94 The
story even has a =93fifth column=94 Ahmed Chalabi-like
character, who sets up the town for an easy
occupation, imagining he will be dearly beloved by the

The central confrontation of the book, however, is
between Mayor Orden and the German officer in command,
Col. Lanser, a Wehrmacht veteran of occupied Belgium
over two decades earlier. Lanser urges cooperation
rather than violence, which will lead, he warns,
inevitably to more violence on the part of the

Woven through the plot are the increasingly violent
acts of =93the people.=94 Early on, Lanser=92s mind wanders
back to a friendly, old , gray-haired Belgian lady who
killed 12 Germans with a 12 inch hat pin before she
was caught and shot. He still retains the hat pin at

Of course, the violence begins at once, and the
Germans retaliate on a much larger scale on the
Norwegian people. At the same time, many of the German
troops, yearning to go home and for some
companionship, begin to develop various symptoms of
psychological stress.

The Germans, like imperial conquerors back to the
Romans and beyond, sought to legitimatize their
occupation in the eyes of the people. They understood
that quislings wouldn=92t work in the long run. John
Lukacs devoted a large part of his book, The Last
European War: September, 1939-December, 1941, (1976)
to demonstrating how they failed in a attempt to
establish legitimacy over the nations of occupied

=93Legitimacy,=94 to paraphrase, Franklin D. Roosevelt,
=93Ah, there=92s the rub!=94 Incidentally, the movie version
of the book opens with a quote from Roosevelt using
the resistance of Norway to explain the meaning of

At the end, the quisling, having obtained authority
from the Nazi command in Oslo, orders Col. Lanser to
execute the old Mayor and the town doctor if the
people begin to use the dynamite, dropped by parachute
by British airplanes, to destroy the mine. As the
explosions begin, the two are executed as the Mayor
repeats an old speech he used many years before - the
last words of Socrates to the Athenian people. It is
clear the occupiers, despised by the people, are in
for a long and bloody time ahead.

In a New York Times op-ed piece (4/11/04), =93Nasty,
Brutish and Short,=94 Thomas Friedman, mentions the word
=93legitimacy=94 four times and flip-flops on whether it
can be bought with cash or compelled with force before
finally concluding that the U.S. cannot do so. He adds
that with all of the retaliatory killing, =93we have a
staggering legitimacy deficit.=94 I wonder if legitimacy
is something you can have in gradations as he
suggests. Either one is an occupier, or one is not!

As reported in The London Telegraph, (4/11/2004) among
our major partners in the so-called =93coalition,=94 the
British senior officers, speaking anonymously, have
already expressed a growing sense of =93unease and
frustration,=94 about American tactics in the
occupation. Part of the problem, a British officer
said, is that Americans tend to see the Iraqis as
=93untermenschen,=94 the term for =93sub-humans.=94

He continued: =93The US troops view things in very
simplistic terms. It seems hard for them to reconcile
subtleties between who supports what and who doesn=92t
in Iraq. It=92s easier for their soldiers to group all
Iraqis as the bad guys. As far as they are concerned
Iraq is bandit country and everybody is out to kill

British rules of warfare allow troops to open fire
only when attacked and to use the minimum force
necessary and at identified targets-not a massive use
of firepower in urban areas, as do the Israelis on the
Palestinians and now American troops on the Iraqis.
In short, The Moon is Down again.
*William Marina is Research Fellow at the Center on
Peace & Liberty at The Independent Institute in
Oakland, Calif., and Professor Emeritus in History and
International Business at Florida Atlantic University.

For further articles and studies, see

Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Photos: High-quality 4x6 digital prints for 25=A2

End of casi-news Digest

Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list
To unsubscribe, visit
All postings are archived on CASI's website at

[Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]