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Re:[casi] Memorable quotes: 'the white hope'

Dear Bert and List,

Bert, my first 'sorry' was to Hassan Zeini. In my original
post I had made some egregious mistakes about Iraq's
history. And Hassan had tactfully put things right
without embarrassing me. So you probably didn't notice.

To wit: I had referred to Qassim as 'Iraq's president';
I said he had 'nationalized the oil industry in 1958' -
both statements are totally wrong. I also said Qassim's
government wasn't communist, which is at best only
technically true, as Hassan explains by giving examples.

So for these goofs alone, I must hang my head in shame.

I had also said that [in 1963] Washington had been the
'patron saints of the Ba'ath Party', which is at best an
exaggeration but in fact not true. Hassan says this is
a 'complicated issue', but he explains some of the
complexities. For example, the competing affinities within
Iraq's political spectrum, such as nationalists vs Nasserites.
Hassan also points out that the Britain and the US were
competing for Iraq. So many Iraqis believe that the
pro-British Monarchy was toppled by pro-US elements.

And lastly, I had said that the coup was arranged by the
US. Hassan says 'supported' yes - arranged no. And again
he points out the affinity split in the coup leadership:
America's men vs Britain's men.

So Hassan gives a lot of information. And we can take it
from there. But lacking the cultural insight, our perspective
will 'outsider'. Anyway, I read up on the guiding philosophy
of the Ba'th Party. Hassan had explained that it was started
by the Syrian Michel Aflaq. I found a fairly good explanation
by Bassam Tibi, a German political scientist - of Syrian
origin. Knowing Arabic, he quotes Aflaq verbatim.

And as a note to John Smith:

Hassan Zeini is Iraqi and he has witnessed that part
of Iraqi history.

True, it's hard to let go of the idea that the CIA _arranged_
this coup, given, e.g., the Critchfield quote. But that
quote doesn't contradict what Hassan says: "The CIA
used the 1963 coup to get rid of communists". And: "There
is no doubt that the US supported its men within the
leadership of the coup, but it was not arranged by the CIA."

In fact, I went over my sources and found that all the
'evidence' is anecdotal or hearsay, including Cockburn's
and Aburish's. No primary evidence. Geoff Simons cites
L'Express (February 21, 1963): "The Iraqi coup was inspired
by the CIA." But Simons himself concludes cautiously that
[Qassim had been toppled] "probably with the assistance of
the West".

So I hope this explains why Hassan said what he did.
Mea culpa... and some.

And, Bert, the half-hearted apology at the end I threw
in - just in case I sounded too emotional.

Best regards,

P.S. Not 'Atlas', if possible I would want to be Enki right
now - the one who ruled destiny and organized life on earth.

-------------Original Message-------------
>From Mon Mar 17 23:29:33 2003
Date: Tue, 18 Mar 2003 00:39:28 +0000
From: Bert Gedin <>
Subject: Re:[casi] Memorable quotes: 'the white hope'

Dear Elga & List,

You make some very good points of debate, in your recent e-letter. But why
be so apologetic, and so sorry? You remind me of a female Atlas,
who is carrying a burden of guilt upon her, perhaps on behalf of the
world. And yet, despite "not in our name!", maybe that is a quality we
should have more of, which may even lead to some hope?

Greetings,  Bert.

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