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Re: [casi] He was betrayed

Dear "Blue Pilgrim' and list

Thanks for the response to my mail.

With regard to Saddam Hussein and 'crisis managment' (meaning managing by
creating crises) it seems to me that he took two major crisis-creating
initiatives of his own free will: the war on Iran and the war on Kuwait.

In both cases - whatever his motivation - he would have had reason to think
he could gain a quick'n'easy victory. Iran was in a state of turmoil. In
particular, its army must have been in a state of turmoil. And by invading
it he was doing the US a favour. In the case of Kuwait, there was clearly no
military problem and he had reason to think it had been cleared with the US.

So although you're probably right to say that he used sanctions to his own
advantage, I still think that the crimes he may be charged with have to be
placed in the context of imminent destruction of the state, and that this
context was imposed on him - albeit as a result of catastrophic errors of
judgment - not willingly created by him.

But the main thrust of your mail is to do with the present resistance to
occupation and the extent to which the violence contributes towards
justifying and therefore  prolonging the occupation.

One wonderful thing that has been achieved by the invasion is that now 'the
Iraqi people' has emerged as a major player on the stage. And being people
they are multifarious. And having among them large numbers who are
passionately committed to conflicting political and religious ideals the
question arises if some sort of civil war might not be inevitable.

I for one am immensely impresseed. I had assumed that after suffering so
much for so long, 'the Iraqi people' would accept the new US imposed 'order'
and try to make the best of it. Thus Iraq would be converted into a US army
base and become (what it wasn't under Saddam Hussein in the 1990s) a 'threat
to its neighbours'. This was also, of course, the calculation of the
American Neo-Conservatives.

Instead, under the form of the largely Sunni resistance on the one hand and,
on the other, of the largely Shi'i refusal to give the occupation any moral
credibility, the Iraqis are showing themselves to be a people, or peoples of
spirit (I don't think one can reasonably count the Kurd separatists as
'Iraqis - though the Kurds who supported the Ba'ath government may be
another matter. It would be nice to know more about them and how they are
faring at the present time)

You suggest that the violent resistance would give the US an excuse to
prolong their occupation, but at present the Bush administration seems to be
showing the spirit they denounced in Clinton's abandonment of Somalia. When
they arrived in Iraq they were talking about a ten year period of hegemony
but now its an accelerated timetable for withdrawal. And though they will
presumably still leave bases those bases will probably be as problematical
for them as the ones they have abandoned in Saudi Arabia. It is far from
obvious that Iraq could be used as a launching pad for an invasion of Syria
and/or Iran. Even the IGC could only approve this if its only remotely
representative element - SCIRI (I'm again not counting the Kurds, not for
any want of respect but just because they are a separate problem) - was

We obviously can have no influence on how Iraqi politics evolves, including
the great question whether the resistance should be violent or non-violent.
It isn't in our hands and as a citizen of one of the two most aggressive
states in the world (I am British) I'm not in a position to indulge in a
purely moral condemnation. What seems to me quite remarkable is that,
although the armed resistance has killed many Iraqis, including many
bystanders, and is largely responsible for the oil shortages with all their
consequences, popular anger (including Shi'i anger) is still largely
directed against the occupation. The recent demonstrations against terrorism
were on a much smaller scale than the half million claimed by Yasser. They
seem to have been mainly the work of parties represented in the IGC, notably
the Communist Party and SCIRI, and they certainly didn't express solidarity
with the forces of order in their non-Iraqi guise.

I think the main thrust of our political activity here in the West should be
elections based on universal suffrage and the establishment of a government
with the moral authority to take control of the economy and of security
policy. This is obviously a demand on which people who suported the invasion
(on anti-Saddam rather than pro US imperialism grounds) and people who
oposed it can agree. Everyone indeed claims to want it. The differences turn
on questions of the timetable (as soon a possible, I say) and of the rights
accorded to any interim government (as little as possible, I say).

CASI, with its wide diversity of opinion, is a good forum in which such
matters can be discussed, with the analysis list as the best place for it,
focussing on immediate practical questions and the welfare of the Iraqis
(its getting off to a good start). There is, however, still room for a wider
political/historical and even, I would suggest, theological discussion (the
question of the role of Shari'a for example). And the continuing discussion
list wuld be the best place for that.

Best wishes


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