Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Great Hypocrisy of the Arab ‘Resistance’ and the Civil War in Iraq

Before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, one of my cousins told me that he was afraid that the Baathi regime of Saddam Hussein would burn the country and poison the rivers if they were overthrown. It seems that he was right, although they have yet to poison the rivers, maybe because the rivers run through many Sunni Arab towns. Hopefully they don’t read this and come up with crazy ideas. After the invasion, non-Iraqi Arab and Muslim insurgents poured into Iraq to become part of the ‘resistance’ that has ostensibly fought US troops there. Unfortunately, insurgents have also attacked Iraqi civilians. Despite the fact that ‘about 80% of insurgent attacks are targeted against coalition forces, the Iraqi population suffers about 80% of all casualties, according to US officials in late 2005.’

Insurgent attacks against the Iraqi government and the civilian Shia majority of Iraq, no doubt carried out by the surviving hardcore Baathists who ruled Iraq for 35 years, have not been entirely surprising to me. Iraqis have always feared that the regime of Saddam Hussein would destroy Iraq before giving up power. What has surprised me most has been the non-Iraqi Arab fighters who have flocked to Iraq, many of them willing to die while killing Iraqi security forces, members of the Iraqi government, and ordinary civilian Iraqi Shia, who are considered by many Wahabis to be infidels. These backward aberrations of the Islamic faith, these fools who travel hundreds of miles to murder Iraqis who work for and with Americans, come from countries like Saudi Arabia, a US ally where thousands of Arabs work for American companies like ARAMCO*. They come from Jordan and Egypt, whose governments have collaborated with the Israeli and American governments for decades. Yet the ‘resistance’ fighters in those countries have not fought their respective governments like the ‘resistance’ has fought the new Iraqi government. The ‘resistance’ in Iraq has been praised by the Arab street and most of the Arab media for fighting the American occupiers for the last three and a half years, yet the illegal occupation of the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, coupled with continued Israeli annexation of Palestinian land and killing of Palestinian civilians, will enter its 40th year in 2007 without much resistance from these ‘brave’ Arab fighters.

Until 2005, the Iraqi Shia for the most part did not retaliate against Sunni civilians, partly due to Sistani’s efforts to call for calm despite the mass murder of Shia and the numerous attacks on Shia mosques. In 2005 the Shia militias, evidently supported by the Interior Ministry, started rounding up ordinary Sunni men in Baghdad and jailing them without trial and often torturing them to death. Earlier this year, after the attack on the Askariya mosque in Samarra, Shia militias sharply escalated their attacks on Sunni civilians, and the sectarian violence has turned into a full blown civil war. Even Sistani is apparently no longer able to influence the Shia militias and politicians. The escalation of random sectarian violence by Shia militias has obviously aggravated the already tense situation in Iraq and has tainted the image of the Iraqi government. I hope to see Prime Minister Maliki fire Minister of the Interior Bayan Jabr**, who spent many years in Iran and has undoubtedly been influenced by the Iranian regime, like so many prominent members of the Iraqi government have. Maliki must crack down on all militias that target innocent Sunni civilians for the sake of Iraq, for the sake of justice. Maliki and his government should not be influenced by the Iranian regime, who may only want revenge against Sunni Arabs who worked for and supported Saddam’s regime. Most Sunni Arabs in Iraq are good people after all, and they do not deserve to be jailed or killed just because they are Sunni. Even among the Baathists there were many decent people who did not necessarily support the unjust policies of Saddam, and those decent ex-Baathists who spent many years working diligently for Saddam while silently denouncing his mayhem are still capable of participating in governing Iraq. The Prime Minister must pull those good Iraqis into the current government, and he must rid the government of people whose only interest is revenge.

Corrections and Revisions

*(11/21/06): My father has informed me that ARAMCO is now fully Saudi owned and has been for years - thanks dad. Americans and other westerners still work in Saudi Arabia, and many other American companies do business with the Saudis. If you haven't already, watch "Fahrenheit 9/11" to learn more about Saudi-US relations.

**PM Maliki appointed Jawad al Boloni as the new Interior Minister in June 2006. To his credit, Bolani has charged 57 employees of the Interior Ministry with human rights crimes against Sunni Arabs.

Revised 1/4/10: Replaced "led by" with "carried out".

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