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Re: [casi] Killing of Ayatollah Is Start of Iraqi Civil War

Dear List,

I was shocked by the amount of mistakes in the

Mr. Beeman’s knowledge of Iraq is less than shallow;
it shows an incredible amount of ignorance..

<Present-day Iraq was three provinces of the Ottoman
Empire before World War I. It was cobbled together by
the British for their own convenience after that

Iraq existed as IRAQ for at least 1400 years before
the British colonialists came. It was part of the
Ottoman Empire ONLY because it represented the
continuation of the Muslim Empire, otherwise it was
the seat of the Abbasid Empire. IRAQ as an entity
precedes the coming of the Ottomans to the area by
centuries. The way Mr. Beeman (and most scholars in
the West) presents the case, one is led to believe
that Iraq came into existence through the Good Will of
the British, and not before that!!

<The British installed a king, the Saudi Arabian son
of the chief religious official of Mecca (Faisal, of
Lawrence of Arabia Fame) and glued the whole mess
together with the resident British Army.>

Faisal was from Hijaz and NOT from Saudi Arabia. Saudi
Arabia came into existence as an entity in 1934, after
Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud conquered all of the Arabian
Peninsula (with help from the British), destroyed his
opponents and established a Kingdom; the only Kingdom
in the world which carries the name of its founder.
In reality, the IRAQIS rejected the British appointed
King Faisal (even though he was a Heshemite), and
suggested their own nominee, Talib Al Naqib from
Basra. The British refused of course.. That shows that
those people believed they belonged to one country,
and throws into the garbage bin Beeman’s theory of the
British gluing three regions that were “incompatible
in ethnicity, religious confession and interests.” In
1920, all of Iraq rose against the British; the North,
Centre and South, with one unified voice. Their
unified interest was a free IRAQ, that can determine
its own affairs..

The British wanted the Sunni Arabs to be dominant,
because their policy has always been based on the
concept of divide and rule. They never wanted to allow
the majority Shi’a in Iraq to rule. But that doesn’t
mean that they didn’t have loyalists among the Shi’a
of Iraq.

<They wanted this both to reward Saudi Arabians for
helping them fight the Ottomans, and because they had
existing clients in the sheikhs who ruled the Arab
states of the Gulf.>

First of all, the house of Saud had not come into
power in Arabia by then. Second, the house of Saud
hated the Hashemites to whom Faisal belongs. Third,
there wasn’t a single state among the Sheikhdoms in
the Gulf... In fact, until 1923, the whole East Coast
of the Arabian Peninsula, down to Oman, belonged to
the Wilayat (Province) of Basra. The British drew the
artificial borders, creating artificial states that
never existed, and cutting Iraq from the Gulf; an
issue that was a major cause behind the 1990 invasion
of Kuwait..

<When the British were finally expelled, and their
Saudi ruling family deposed in Iraq in a 1958
nationalist coup, the new Ba'athist Iraqi nationalist
rulers had a supremely unruly nation on their hand.>

Once again, the Hashemite family was NOT Saudi.. And
the rulers after 1958 were not the Ba’athists...

<It is still not known who set off the explosion that
killed him at the shrine of Ali, grandson of the
Prophet Mohammad.>

Imam Ali is NOT the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad,
but his cousin and son in law..

<It could have been Sunni Arab factions who fear the
rise of Shi'a dominance in Iraq, or it could have been
his own Shi'a supporters, disappointed with him for
cooperating with American policies in Iraq. Or it
could have been someone else.>

Or it could have been the Americans.. Beeman does not
mention here what he later states: Washington opposed
the rise of Shi'a power in Iraq, and it is within its
interests that chaos continues, because that is the
only way it would justify its stay in Iraq. Ayatollah
Al-Hakim opposed the occupation and, though he
rejected the use of armed resistance now, he did not
rule it out if the US continued in its occupation.
Such threats are not tolerated..

<Shi'a fury will be directed at the Sunnis to the

Or perhaps at the Sunnis in the south: Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait. Fingers are already pointing at al-Qaeda
and it supporters in those states, and Iraqis accuse
Kuwaitis of being part of the looting of Iraq and the
destruction of its infrastructure. The Kuwaitis are
also accused of stealing Iraqi oil and cattle, and
their cars have been attacked, and yesterday two
Kuwaiti businessmen were killed in southern Iraq..

<Could the United States have done anything to have
prevented this tragedy?>

Of course. It could have NOT attacked Iraq in the
first place. It could have not imposed sanctions and
killed hundreds of thousands. It could have... It
could have..

< When the factional shooting starts, where does the
U.S. army,
caught in the crossfire, aim its own guns?>

Good question. Why doesn’t Beeman provide the answer??

< William O. Beeman, Director of Middle East Studies
at Brown University. He is author of the forthcoming
book, Iraq: State in Search of a Nation.>

If a scholar, who is supposed to be an expert on the
subject, makes these kind of mistakes, no wonder Dubya
and his gang continue their blunders in Iraq and

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