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[casi-analysis] resistance [was: will there be elections in January?]

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Dear list,

Some interesting points are being raised here, but I'm also aware that we
are at risk of descending into personal arguments. So let me try to
highlight some of the substantive issues:

1) what level of support is there within iraq for military anti-occupation
movements? Peter argues that "if the resistance could unite politically it
could emerge in the manner of the Algerian FLN as a body capable of
establishing government" - is that realistic?

2) Are armed resistance movements inherently discredited by taking
hostages and conducting suicide bombings? To put it another way, is a
certain level of collatoral damage a price worth paying for removing
foreign occupation?

The moral issue here is fairly clear: to approve of armed resistance, we
would have to believe EITHER that it will result in an improved
social/political/humanitarian situation OR that resistance is justified on
moral grounds, even if it leads to a worse outcome in quantitative terms.

The second view, although crucially important, is essentially
philosophical, and I don't think we have much hope of resolving it here.
The first is essentially practical, and perhaps we could have a productive
exchange on it. A relevant factual question is what outcomes we should
expect in the presence or absence of armed resistance:

  - does increased resistance hasten the removal of foreign troops, or just
worsen conditions in the interim?

  - what would be the result of 'victory' for the resistance. Yasser thinks
this would lead to the seizure of power by the most ruthless group, and a
return to dictatorship. Does anyone have an alternative vision of a
'successful' outcome from armed resistance?

3) In making moral judgements on the resistance, should we try to
distinguish different strands? Can we discern, and perhaps accept, groups
making attacks on US or British troops, while condemning groups which take
hostages or kill religious men? I'd break this down further, into a
factual question (how heterogenous is the armed resistance, in terms of
the tactics they use), and the moral question (what forms of violence do
we consider justifiable under the circumstances), which is nearly
identical to question (2) above.

3) Are the threatened election boycotts merely a tactic to cover a lack of
popular support for groups such as the Sunni board of clerics (as Yasser,
I think, suggests). Or is this an appropriate reaction to an electoral
process which many consider to be at least partially flawed?

I hope the above helps us channel our discussions onto the specifics,
rather than general - and perhaps unresolvable - moral issues!


PS: apologies for the double posting just now - entirely my fault

Daniel O'Huiginn
07745 192426
24, Priory Road, Cambridge

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