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RE: [casi] The big issue for CASI not yet addressed directly

Dear Eric & List,

When I started posting on CASI, I did so because I
believed it is the best forum through which we could
effect a change in peoples’ minds regarding the
horrible effects of sanctions and the crimes committed
in their names against the people of Iraq.
I had some reservations regarding CASI and some of its
public objectives, and sometimes openly expressed my
opinions. But that didn’t stop me from posting, even
when some of us were subjected to attacks and personal
insults from some on the List.

Eric’s analysis is incomplete, to put it mildly. I
believe that people on the List were united against
sanctions specifically because sanctions were a tool
of mass punishment, violating international law and
every human rights agreement. There was no division
over the reasons for opposing sanctions: we all
believed they were hurting the Iraqi people and should
be lifted. Yet there were some on the List who
believed that these Sanctions were justified, and they
too were allowed to state their case.

CASI’s unity over sanctions has not disappeared
because there is a division over the occupation, but
because many believe CASI’s reason for staying as a
sanctions opposing forum lost its meaning with the
official lifting of sanctions by the UN. Many have
left the list or stopped posting on it for that

I believe Dr. Herring’s analysis of the division
within CASI is faulty and lacks a clear vision of

1. I don’t know of anyone on the List who opposes the
occupation merely to give imperialism a bloody nose at
any cost. That would be immoral, childish and naive. I
have not seen any post that as much as indicates such
I believe the majority on the List oppose the
occupation because it is an illegal occupation that
violates international law and because it was carried
out with massive damage to Iraq’s infrastructure and a
huge loss of civilian life. I believe that the right
of resistance is a right of nations against an outside
occupation, guaranteed by international law. Those who
condoned the use of force against Iraq for invading
Kuwait in 1991, should apply the same measures to the
US/UK occupation of Iraq in 2003. If the international
community is unable (for lack of morals) to force the
US and UK out of Iraq, then Iraqis should be extended
help to get rid of the occupation, including through
the use of force.

2. There are those who supported the sanctions and the
war even if it cost Iraqis a great deal. They believed
that the ends (overthrowing Saddam) justified the
means (attacking and destroying Iraq at any cost).
Those people now support the occupation and oppose any
resistance to it of any sort. They consider the
occupation of Iraq “liberation”, and are ready to
“cooperate” and “collaborate” with the occupiers. I
would put Dr. Herring in this category!

3. There are those who opposed the sanctions and the
war, but who have now decided to accept the occupation
as a fact, and believe that is in the best interest of
the Iraqi people. Dr. Herring likes to put himself in
this category. The morality of such a stand is
questionable in my opinion. Should Europe have
accepted the Nazi occupation and ceased any resistance
to it, because some thought it was in the best
interests of the people?
However, that is not what Dr. Herring said in his
article 'Anti-war protesters and the fall of Saddam'
in the Bristol Evening Post on 8 April 2003. Then Dr.
Herring wrote:

“In the short-term, war is the only way Saddam would
be removed.”
Was that in the spirit of CASI, supporting the use of
force to overthrow a regime, knowing the human cost?
Dr. Herring writes “The spirit of CASI lay in
nonviolent support for the people of Iraq”, yet he
supported a violent method to effect change in Iraq,
while asserting that armed resistance to the
occupation should not be supported. Contradictory?

In another article 'How popular campaigning saves
Iraqi lives' in the same newspaper published on 7
April 2003, Dr. Herring wrote:

“The British and US armed forces are going to great
lengths to avoid killing Iraqi civilians directly.”
Needless to say, that assertion was totally mistaken,
as the latest studies put the figure of civilians
killed in the tens of thousands. How about the
indiscriminate shooting of people, the bombing of
towns and cities, and the terrorizing of people? Does
that show “that an Iraqi life is worth at least
something” in the minds of the US and UK soldiers like
Dr. Herring wrote in the same article?

4. In Iraq and the Arab and Muslim world, there are of
course those who want the occupation to fail to give
US imperialism a bloody nose. We still don’t know if
those see the attacks on the US, UN, ICRC etc as
legitimate efforts at liberation, because we don’t
have proof that these attacks were carried out by
those opposing the occupation. What we do know is that
in both cases of the UN and ICRC, those two
organizations had criticized the occupation forces and
called for an immediate end to it and its tactics.
Soon after, those two organizations were attacked. Too
good to be mere coincidences would you say?
Who was behind the assassination of Sayyid Baqir
al-Hakim? How did a car, loaded with explosives,
manage to enter into the area next to the mosque
housing the Holiest of Holies for the Shi’a around the
world, amid all the security and warnings of an
attack, without it being discovered, and park next to
that of Sayyid al-Hakim, unless it was an inside job?

It is illogical and counterproductive for the Iraqi
resistance to attack any civilian Iraqi target,
because it will turn Iraqis against the resistance;
unless the attacks are exactly planned to cause that!
And of course, the more such attacks occur, the more
the occupation forces will have excuse to stay.
Attacks on the UN, ICRC and civilian targets only
serve the US and its men on the IGC. It does not serve
the objectives of the resistance and I don’t believe
they are carried out by them.

One more thing. I do not understand why Eric Herring
chose me of all people to send a personal copy of his
post. If Eric had wanted to discuss with me, he could
have done that personally, without involving the List.
If the point was intended for the whole List, he
didn’t have to send me a copy. However, I didn’t make
an issue of it and left at that.
Then came a reply from Muhamed Ali, who has decided
finally that he wants to join those “peace-loving”
people. Gone is the support for war and the death of
Iraqis. Gone is the support for sanctions and the
death of almost two millions. Again, Muhamed Ali sends
me a copy of his message. Now, why was that, and how
did he know Eric Herring had sent me a copy of his

The most surprising (and insulting) thing is that Eric
Herring replied to Muhamed Ali with a message, a copy
of which was also sent to me, which reads as follows:
“Thanks for your email. I agree that those in the
first category should go elsewhere, as what they do is
not in the spirit of CASI. I also do not think that it
is in the interests of the people of Iraq.”

Thanks Eric Herring for the fatherly advice. But I
don’t belong in your first category and I am not going

Eric Herring may be an expert on Politics and may
believe in his analysis (though they have been proven
wrong), but nothing gives him the right to decide or
even “suggest” who should stay on the List and who
should leave it. He does not decide what the spirit of
CASI is, and he certainly does not decide what is best
for the people of Iraq. The people of Iraq decide what
is best for them, and if it doesn’t suit Dr. Herring
or those who support him, then that is too bad. I am,
after all, an Iraqi and he isn’t. How does he know
what is best for my people? Should I lecture him on
what is best for the Scottish people?

Iraq’s problems, and indeed those of the Arab world,
have been caused exactly by such decisions by
outsiders; intellectuals who believe they have the
right to decide what is good for those people, and the
results are evident in Palestine and Iraq….

The sanctions on Iraq were a crime against humanity,
and the war and the occupation that followed it are
worse crimes that should not be tolerated. If we
accept them, then we betray our humanity and we stand
naked without any morals.

Is that what Eric Herring wants to do??


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