Monday, February 11, 2008


On the flight back to Boston today I noticed in my backpack a book that I read last summer: What Is Happening in Iraq? by Munaf Yassiri. I pulled it out and read that last couple of chapters, which discuss Wahhabism and suicide bombing, among other things. The author is brutally honest and puts blame where it belongs, including with the Americans and British. He discusses the history of Iraq, Gertrude Bell and the Shia resistance against British colonialism after World War I. The Shia rebels called themselves the 1920 Revolution Brigades, the same name taken by the Sunni insurgent group that fought US forces until recently. Yassiri says that the Shia rebellion of 1920 is why the British gave the Sunni Arabs control over Iraq.

Many parts of the book, which was published in 2006, are now outdated because a lot has changed in the last year, but much of the book is important nevertheless, and it is well worth a read (only 113 pages) if you can handle blunt criticism of the US and Britain. I transcribed a few paragraphs I read today and will post them because they are relevant to the discussion that's been taking place in the comments section.

This is on the back cover: "Since the American-British invasion on March 20, 2003, Iraq has been in turmoil. The Iraqi people's suffering under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein has now been extended by the remnants of his regime. The Saddam Baathists have currently embraced openly the al-Qaeda Wahhabi terrorists ostensibly to fight the occupation forces, but, for the most part, they have in fact joined forces to intimidate and terrorize the Shiite population who constitute the majority of Iraqis. They are trying by all brutal means to prevent the establishment of a true democracy reflecting the will of the majority of the population."

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