Monday, March 20, 2006


Actually, it is not so much pessimism but rather realism that pushed me to write that last post. I think most people here, including the political elites realize that a civil war is something unthinkable that will tear the country apart. However, like in Yugoslavia, the sect or ethnic group that really caused the partitioning and break up of the country was non-other but that which most wanted to keep it one, namely the Serbs. By their brutality, cruelty and ethnic genocide, they destroyed any basis for coexistence between the various ethnic constituents of the old Yugoslavia. The Serbs desire for a united country stemmed mainly from their wish to remain the masters and lord it over all other groups. This situation is very similar to what is beginning to happen here. President Bush in his eloquent speech yesterday put it well. When asked who the enemy was, he defined him with precision, and he is the one who should know. For the American people, it is well to understand clearly what the President is saying.

However, amongst the Sunnis, there are some sober and decent ones; and all our hopes are pinned on these. As for the Shiaas, they should be handled with care like these notices you see on containers of glassware (and don’t turn them upside down); they have been brutalized and still are in the most savage way, and I think the whole world is becoming witness to that. It is true that some retaliation from their side is taking place at the moment but the main aggression is from the other side.

While it is right to try to build bridges and draw the Sunnis into the political process, this must not be done in a way that will jeopardize the fundamental base of support amongst those who were the real “liberated” from the Saddam regime. Some incautious and rash remarks will only benefit negative currents within the Shiaa movement. Indeed the so-called “Sadrist Current” of Muqtada has been one of the beneficiaries of this situation and has postured to appear as the real protector and defender of the Shiaa’s, making full use of the sectarian atmosphere as well as the rash remarks and attitudes by American Ambassador ( Zalmai Khalil Zad) and some other American officials. Admittedly, it would take more than just a diplomat to succeed in Iraq at the moment; he would have to be additionally an acrobat, ventriloquist, capable of tiptoeing on thin ice and a Houdini into the bargain.

Yesterday, as I was watching a program on “Al-Iraqia” T.V. dedicated to the anniversary of the start of the war on Saddam, one caller said something that is very revealing. How I wished then that the whole World could listen to this man. There was much discussion and many views expressed regarding the situation and the pros and cons; then this ordinary man of the people protested with passion and anguish in his voice, that he was a prisoner in Saddam jails for 16 years, that his father and two brothers were executed; then he started to recount some of the horrors that he had seen in jail (which I do not care to repeat); then he said this: “God has willed that Saddam commits the blunder of invading Kuwait, which brought upon him the punishment by President Bush to whom I am personally indebted and grateful, because had it not been for his heroic soldiers of liberation (these were the exact words used by this man of the people to describe the American troops), I would still be in jail today.

And yes, this summed it up. The ordinary people never forget. Never mind the fuss, never mind the fog, never mind the confusion; the psyche of a people is something fearfully profound. The American people too, should not forget the fundamentals of the situation. It was right, it was just and it was ordained by God; that a murderer and tyrant should be overthrown. The blood and sacrifices by the American soldiers and people will never be forgotten; the Iraqi people and history will always remember these “heroic soldiers of liberation” and honor their memory.

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