Monday, September 03, 2007


My friends may be disappointed with me for these long periods of silence, but this silence really is a result of discouragement and discontent. In a private letter to one of my friends I have frankly stated some of my misgivings concerning some of the aspects of the Iraqi situation at the present time. I think it is rather important that I make some paragraphs of that letter public and here they are:

"The situation in Iraq is rather complicated at the moment, and I fear that the mechanics of American political life is probably adding to the problems rather than the opposite. For example, the verbal attacks against the Maliki government are having the effect of making the very tasks required of this government more difficult. I don't know if people realize that the withdrawals and walkouts of Sunnis (not really representing all the Sunnis) and the Allawi factions have a direct link to the feeling of these factions that the Americans are turning against Al Maliki and his government. In fact, they only joined originally because of American backing of this government and assertions that it is the only acceptable democratically elected authority.

But the real problem is this - What is the alternative to the Maliki government? If you think hard about this you will find the answer quite difficult. President Bush, who has very acute strategic sense, realizes this, but few others do.

I was trying to find time to write about this in my blog, because I am not very comfortable with the direction that American politics is beginning to take. I fear that another big strategic blunder might be in the making, when in fact the military strategy of the surge and also the uprising of the Sunni tribes against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, has clearly produced tangible results.
It is not a question of taking sides. Clearly the Americans should not take sides in the sectarian strife, but it is rather a question of creating a homogeneous and legitimate front of all parties opposing the terrorists and Al-Qaeda. I was thinking of writing a blog post entitled "Unite and Rule", as opposed to the well known old slogan of Divide and Rule.
One of the American generals put it right in a recent statement: "the crucial matter is to bring this opposition to Al-Qaeda within the legitimate framework of the state". This general has got it right.
I was one of the first to point out the importance of the movement that started in the Anbar: the Anbar Salvation Council. Many were skeptical. However as the real accomplishments of this movement in a short time and with very modest resources, became an undeniable reality, there was a kind of excitement that went too far and lost the necessary caution. The objective is to create a legitimate front against terrorism but not new militias.

Your politicians seem to commit the error of underestimating the real strength of the coalition behind Al-Maliki. This was underlined by the recent meeting and pact between the main Kurdish parties and the main Shiite movements. These still represent a powerful majority. Also the obsession with Iranian influence is complicating things further. I have said in my blog before, that combating Iranian influence is not helped by alienating the Shiaa and Kurdish majorities and making them feel threatened and abandoned. This has precisely the opposite effect of driving them in the wrong direction. Also, alienating and weakening the "moderate" Shiaa factions only helps to strengthen further the influence of the extremists within the Shiites, such as the Sadrist movement."

The basic premises upon which the moral position of the American action in Iraq is founded are the following:
1-The Interests of Western national security by eliminating a dangerous regime.
2-The liberation of the majority of the Iraqi people from the oppression of a despotic regime -
that of the Baath party under Saddam Hussain.
3-The establishment of Democracy and democratic institutions and the protection of this new democracy to allow it to take roots and survive.
Regarding the 2nd and 3rd points above we are hearing strange noises and curious arguments all around.

The National Reconciliation, that some are trying to bring about aims at restoring power to old Baathists and elements closely linked to the terrorists. Some of the political figures supposed to represent the Sunnis only came to the forefront as a result of a period when the insurgency had the upper hand in most Sunni areas and really represent extremists and terrorists. Let someone just ask the real founders of the Anbar Salvation Council what they really think of Adnan Al-Dulaimi, the Islamic Party or the National Accordance Front generally. National Reconciliation is necessary and important, but you could easily find clean and honorable representatives of the Sunnis other that those proposed by the present supposed representatives of that group. One must not have the slightest illusion that the Iraqi people could accept the restoration of the regime that the Americans themselves have ousted. Some of the old baathists can only be rehabilitated and allowed to participate in political life if confidence is established “beyond reasonable doubt”, that they have sincerely changed and reformed. Meanwhile, in the euphoria following the successes of decent Sunnis against the terrorists, the real leaders of this movement must not be forgotten and every "Tom, Dick and Harry" to use English Jargon or "Zaid and Amr" in Arabic, taken aboard with open arms, supplied with weapons, and have their pockets lined with new crisp dollars.
And what is this loud talk about changing the government by some kind of a coup and installing a new government presumable by extra-parliamentary methods, to put it politely? It has got so far that Mr. Allawi is employing a public relations firm to lobby in Washington towards this end. I wonder where Mr. Allawi gets all the money for his lavish campaigns from. Recently the exiled Baath party under the ostensible leadership of Izzat Al-Douri (Saddam's erstwhile deputy), issued a statement from Jordan endorsing Mr. Allawi and expressing public support for him. Well, well, well, if that is the kind of alternative to the present elected government to be brought about by some kind of a coup, what remains of the third moral premise of the American position that we have referred to above.

Is it then difficult to understand my discomfiture and silence as I observe things from far here in North America, but with all the profound understanding and knowledge of someone who was in the middle of the fire?

Regards to all.