By Simin Royanian, Jan. 10, 2005.
I am commenting on "Whose War Is It Now?" by Mustafa Malik.
The United States overthrew Saddam Hussein only to be overwhelmed by a Sunni Arab insurgency.
It is not an "insurgency". It is a war of resistance against the illegal US war on the people of Iraq, a war the US carries on in violation of international law. According to Webster, insurgency is a revolt against a government by its citizens. The Iraqi people are fighting against the US army. The use of this word to refer to the Iraqi resistance constitutes a political assertion that the war of the US in Iraq has ended in victory, that a democratic, indigenous Iraqi government is ruling the country, and then, that there is an insurgency by a portion of the citizens against their own government. As usual with the Conservatives, this is a lie. The fact is that there is a war in Iraq (in fact the US government agrees that a war is going on) and since there is no Iraqi government or army, the people's resistance is carrying on the war of resistance against their occupiers.
Quoting Malik further:
But Sunni Arabs, being a minority, can't come to power through the Jan. 30 elections. This is why most of them are boycotting the vote.
Mr. Malik continues in total denial of reality. The current resistance of the Iraqi people did not begin as a response to the announcement of the elections. It is the continuation of the resistance to the occupation. This resistance began very early and has been waged continuously against the US army and its co-conspirators and spies within Iraq. In the USA, the fashion is to forget history even as recent as 2003. When the resistance against the war started, the US government and its pundits and its media declared that the resistance was spearheaded by the Shia leaders who had taken refuge in Iran during the Hussein rule. They reported that the Shia Badr army, trained in Iran, was coming to Iraq to fight the US. Ever since the beginning of this war, the resistance has moved across the country, involving a cross section of the people. We read of Sadr and his poor working-class supporters in Sadr City; we read of the uprising in Najaf, one of the bloodiest massacre of the Iraqi people, Najaf being the holiest city of Shias. This is a guerrilla war, an underground resistance, which smolders among masses of supporters, showing itself as opportunities arise, in the tradition of all guerrilla wars.
The attributes of Sunni or Shia do not define or explain the resistance, since the resistance is not by Sunnis against Shias or vice versa. All the attacks of the resistance, whether happening in a city with majority Sunni or majority Shia population, are against the occupation forces.
On the one hand, the US government and its ideologues characterize the liberation movements of the people of the Middle East in terms of Islam against the "Judeochristian, Western civilization", but now they tell us that in Iraq it is a war of one section of Moslems against the others.
The differences of opinions among the individuals who are Shia or Sunni are like the differences among various Protestant sects in the US, at best. Saddam Hussein created political division among the ruling class of the Shia and the Sunnis, by oppressing the majority Shia, especially in the interest of his alliance against Iran and its Islamic government, which is of Shia belief. Then when Hussein became the US enemy in 1991, the US tried to bolster the grievances of the Shia majority against Hussein's government to fight Hussein. If it is true that the Sunnis' and Shias' differences are the determining factors in the wars of the US against the Middle East people, how come these issues were not in existence prior to the establishment of the Islamic government in Iran. The notion of a strong hostility between the Sunni and Shia people is an invention of the CIA, Pentagon and neocon ideologues.
A pro-Iranian electoral alliance of the Shi'ite majority is predicted to win a majority of parliamentary seats and form the government. The Iranians are helping the alliance with money and volunteers, . . .
Where are the documents, pictures, films, and independent journalist reports of this? It is amazing how the standard of journalism has evaporated in the USA. It is interesting that the Washington Post reported that the King of Jordan has reported that up to a million Iranians have crossed the border with Iraq to influence the elections. One should wonder who has better knowledge of border crossings from Iran to Iraq? The CIA and the American special forces or the King of Jordan?
When I mentioned this to a 78-year-old Iranian woman visiting here, she said "How can so many Iranians cross the border without anyone noticing? Who is feeding them? Where are they staying?"
Even if the number were much smaller, it would be conspicuous for a bunch of non-Arab, non-Arabic-speaking persons, or at best speaking Arabic with a Persian accent, trying to influence the vote of the people of Iraq. The same Post article was saying that the King claimed these Iranians were going to vote. What kind of a reliable election can this be if a bunch of foreigners can vote and not be prevented from voting due to lack of identification as Iraqi citizens?
. . . ignoring President Bush's warnings against "meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq."
While those of us who believe in the rule of international law believe that the government of one country must not interfere in the internal affairs of another, Bush, who has occupied a whole country, is the last source for reminding others of international law. If there were a legitimate government in Iraq, and it had documented interference by the government of Iran, then they could give a warning to the government of Iran. The Iranian Government does not have to listen to warnings by Bush, who has violated international law by attacking and occupying Iraq, violating the Geneva convention and the Convention against Torture, in addition to a long list of other violations. If Mr. Malik believes that one government should not interfere with the internal affairs of another, why does he not oppose the interference of the US in Iraq?
The war to overthrow Saddam [Hussein], a bitter enemy of Israel, was masterminded by a group of neoconservatives, and Patrick Buchanan and others accused them of dragging America into "Israel's war."
No. This is not Israel's war. This the American Imperialist war against the people of the Middle East. Does it serve the interest of the right wing government of Israel and the interest of Zionism? Yes. But the people of Israel, along with the rest of the people of Middle East, are paying for the interest of global capital in the oil and gas of the middle East.
Mr. Malik is again turning facts on their head. It is not Israel which has the biggest army in human history. It is not Israel sending its soldiers all over the world fighting any native people who dare to want to be free, from Colombia to Timor, from Indonesia to North Korea, From North Africa to South and West Africa to East.
The enemy of the people of the Middle East and the people everywhere, including North America, is the global capital class headed by the US and its war machine.
Now Arab commentators are saying that America is fighting "Iran's war."
Which Arab commentators? And what does that mean? Which Iran War? Iran does not have a war. Iran was involved in an 8 year war with the government of Hussein, to defend itself, while Hussein had the support of the US politically, economically and militarily. Hussein militarily attacked Iran just as he attacked Kuwait. Since Iran is a bigger and stronger nation, the war lasted for 8 years.
Iran has never been an aggressor, has not initiated any war. Iran does not have a war.
The people of Iran are brothers and sisters with the people of Iraq. Their sons and daughters are married to each other. During the war with Iraq many family relations were severed and people lost touch with their family members. After the end of the war and the attack of the US on Iraq in 1991, many Iraqis took refuge in Iran. The Iranian people accepted them and they are now part of Iran, which adds more to the family connections among the people of the two countries. Now, people are moving back and forth and locating their families.
Also, Iraq houses the most important Shia religious schools and shrines of the religion. The people of Iran are interested in peace in Iraq and preservation of the religious places.
The US invasion has, besides facilitating the creation of a pro-Iranian government in Baghdad . . .
This government is not created yet. If the US is successful in establishing a "government" in Iraq, just like the Karzai "government" in Afghanistan, under the supervision of American military, it will be a pro-American "Government", just as Pinochet was a "pro-American Government". In fact these are not pro-American but they are American viceroys in occupied land, with faces and accents of the natives. If the majority happens to have a Shia religion, it does not necessarily mean that they are politically supporters of Iran. Even if they feel some affinity towards Iran, it is not the fault of Iran, and why shouldn't the governments of two neighboring nations be friends and in peace?
. . . Iraq stays in one piece, the Iranians are likely to exert influence on its politics and policies through its Shi'ite majority.
Iran isn't the only "fox" making hay from the fall of Saddam.
Why is Iran the Fox? If inadvertently, a Shia majority comes to power, and according to the Americans, it is democratic, which means it will not oppress the Sunnis, but it will represent the composition of the people of Iraq, and as a result of the fact that the Shias in Iran and Iraq have a long history of familial, religious, and cultural interaction, they will influence each other, it will make Iran a fox? Also, this assumes that the people of Iraq are necessarily more influenced by their religious beliefs that their national beliefs and other secular ideologies.
It is true that due to the Christian and anti-Islamic rhetoric of the neocons, the movements of the Middle Eastern people may tend to ally themselves with Islamic politics, and it is the US policies which have undermined the possibilities of strong secular democratic movements and governments. After all the strongest allies of the US in the Middle East are two governments based on exclusive religious ideology, Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The war has mobilized anti-American and anti regime forces in the region to an unprecedented level. Muslim guerrillas from neighboring countries have joined the Iraqi insurgency. Islamist activists have ratcheted up their campaign against Jordanian and Saudi Arabian monarchies, citing these regimes' tacit support for the US invasion of Iraq.
What is wrong with opposing the dictatorial, anti-people monarchies in these countries? Does the commentator support the rule of Saudis? In fact the only reason they exist is because the English colonialists established them and the American imperialists support them. They have no right to rule the people of those countries.
An Arab-American friend who has returned from a tour of the region tells me that in Jordan's cafes and college campuses King Abdullah II is being "openly denounced" as America's "lackey" "collaborator."
What is wrong with that? This shows that the people of Jordan are intelligent, knowledgeable, and brave and use their right to free expression of ideas to tell the truth.
My friend had not seen Jordanians criticize the monarchy so harshly and publicly before.
Why should your friend be surprised? Of course the criticism of the American lackeys has intensified after the occupation of Iraq and especially after the exposure of the tortures in Abu Ghraib. And this is a good sign from the point of view of resistance to US intervention in the Middle East.
Unprecedented, too, was the recent attempt to stage antigovernment demonstrations in Saudi Arabia. The London-based Movement for Islamic Reforms, which US intelligence sources suspect is linked to Osama bin Laden, . . .
Linked by whom? What is the evidence? Today, anyone who opposes the crimes of the USA, is said to be "linked" to Bin Laden.
Why do we not discuss whether a protest against the dictatorial, criminal, anti-human rights rule of the Saudi family is a right thing to do or not? Yes it is good news that the resistance to the rule of the Saudi Family (who for sure are linked to Bin Laden), is a good thing for the people of Saudi Arabia.
. . . called for the protest. Hundreds of activists were preparing to pour into the streets of Riyadh and Jeddah when police dispersed them.
So do you stand with the police who prevent people from expressing, in a demonstration, their opinion about their government? Is this not a democratic right?
Maybe America is fighting bin Laden's war, too.
As far as I remember Bin Laden was employed by the US to fight the US fight in Afghanistan? So as far as the people of the Middle East are concerned, Bin Laden is embedded with the US. They are fighting their war on the land of the people of the Middle East.