Anyone who has spent some time looking into the British Government’s archives would find that even before the end of WWI and the birth of modern political Iraq, the Imperialist British were weary of the potential of a united Iraq threatening their future interest.
It would not be surprising that when Iraq did indeed become a potential economic, military and political entity it was time to attack it and put it a century or so back. It was in the light of this reality that the war in 1991 and the invasion and occupation of 2003 should be seen. For the sceptics I would like to pose the following question: In view of the fact that over 100 innocent people are killed or injured in Iraq every day, why are Western politicians and media totally silent when they were very concerned about the death of a few ducks in Southern Iraq in the 1990s?
In 1990 Iraq was a model of a secular state. It was indeed a one-party dictatorship. But which Third World State is not a dictatorship one way or another. Iraqis who did not plan to overthrow the regime or take up arms to fight the State, were not interfered with and left to live their lives as they pleased. But the most important feature of the Ba’ath rule is that it managed to secure the rights and freedoms of all ethnic and religious sectors of the diverse Iraqi society. It suffices to ask any average Christian in Iraq today about which times are better for her: pre-invasion or post-invasion. I rest my case with her answer.
The real objective of the 2003 invasion has been to dismantle the Iraqi State, which was achieved with great success. The Imperialist Invaders declared that their unlawful aggression on a sovereign State was being carried out in the name of ‘humanitarian intervention’, (although such intervention has no place under international law) in order to liberate Iraq from tyranny and bring democracy. However, in order to do that, you do not dismantle a state by dissolving all its existing entities and replace it with nothing more than an agreement between individuals who have been chosen on ethnic and sectarian bases and have nothing in common other than the insatiable desire to share in power. The Imperialists created a failed state in Iraq modelled on the failed state of Lebanon with the difference of the Lebanese being slightly more civilized in handling their disputes than the Iraqis. The post invasion Iraq was based on a constitution that was itself drafted by the imperialist in such a way that it ensured the division of Iraq and the impossibility of amending its constitution. The constitution could only be amended by the agreement between the ethnic and sectarian groups, but their agreement to amend would mean that some would have to give up their share in power, which would not be forthcoming.
The Imperialist have always known that Iraq is unique among Muslim Sates in that both Sunni and Shia’ believe it to be their base and origin of its jurisprudence. This is an historic reality and nothing could be done about it.. It is for this reason that when one sector believes that the other has usurped power and eliminated it, it would fight back to redress the injustice. That was the weapon which they used to alienate the masses of Shi’a population of Iraq and neutralize them in the war against the Ba’ath, although I do not believe that the Ba’ath rule was sectarian. It might have been insensitive to some issues seen by the Shia’ as important, but it could not be fairly accused of having been sectarian. But in history, what matters is what people believe to have happened not what really happened.
The rule of Iraq, post 2003, moved from the hands of predominantly Sunni elite to the hands of a predominantly Shi’a elite. Needless to say such a sudden change meant that so many powerful people in Iraq lost their positions, wealth and influence overnight and a new generation of poor, unknown and rural people took over. It is not difficult to see how this new political reality was manipulated by different groups, with different agendas, to further alienate the Sunnis of Iraq. The sectarian blood baths of 2006-2007 were one such example of how that divide was exploited.
The practices of the incompetent Government in Baghdad contributed significantly to the entrenchment of this divide. The rulers were so immersed in corruption that they were either oblivious to what went on around them or they did not care one way or another.
The US Imperialists were not concerned about the failed Iraqi State because all political parties in Iraq were in the US pocket and whoever comes to power will rely on the US for his survival.
The alienation of the Sunni population in Iraq played into the hands of the Salafis in general and the Wahhabis in particular. Although the remnants of the old Ba’ath Party tried to regroup and launch resistance to the occupation and its supporter from among the Shi’a and Kurdish groups, they were sidestepped by the fundamentalist Sunni groups who argued successfully that the Ba’ath had thirty five years of rule and failed.
Some of my friends have tried unsuccessfully to argue that the problem in Iraq is not sectarian, but the truth of the matter today is that it is sectarian and everyone has contributed to it. Why else would there be such a bloody confrontation in Iraq over such a long period when innocent people get killed or injured everyday on totally random bases, considering that not one single political group has come up with a political programme seeking a free, independent, fair and just Iraq?
It would be quite a futile attempt to portray ISIS activities in Iraq as being acts of terrorist groups that are invading Iraq from outside. The truth of the matter is that most of those fighting in ISIS and their allies are indigenous Iraqis; and this fact has to be acknowledged if there is a serious attempt to understand what is happening. The success of ISIS in the province of Anbar and the slow advance in their control of Mousil which was fully achieved in the last few days, go to show one fundamental fact: these groups have a strong public support among the masses of Sunni Iraqis in these provinces which provides them with men, money, food, logistic support and sympathy.
The activities of ISIS in Iraq are inseparable of their activities in Syria. This has created a dilemma for the Imperialists. When the Syrian Government complained about the existence of the ISIS and other Salafi armed groups in Syria, the US, the UK, France, Turkey and their allies were dismissive and silent at best. The response has been that what is happening in Syria is a revolution by a nation against the tyranny of Bashar Al-Asad! Does this sound familiar? When they were challenged about arming the Muslim fundamentalists in Syria, they responded that they were arming only the moderates among them! Who in the US, Europe, and the insignificant Gulf States knows in whose hands an anti-aircraft gun would end up once it reaches Syria? All the opponents of the Syrian Ba’ath rule are fighting to replace secular Syria by a failed fundamentalist State just as happened in Iraq.
Yesterday UN Secretary General expressed his concern about ISIS taking over Mousil. But Mr. Secretary: a year ago the same fundamentalist occupied Raqqah in Syria and have since imposed Shari’ah law on its population. How come we never heard one sentence of concern?
Are ISIS allies in Syria, but enemies in Iraq?
I think the less you speak, Mr. Secretary, the better this world would be!
One final important note needs to be added. The Shi’a religious hierarchy “Marja’iyah” needs to be careful about how it handles the situation because the deeper it gets involved the deeper it entrenches the world-wide divide between Shia and Sunni. Nothing will be gained by further alienating the Sunnis in the world, by being politically involved at will and claiming to be apolitical when it chooses. Ali Sistani has been reported to have called on Iraqi soldiers to be steadfast and fight the aggressors in Mousil. That is a political stand. But where was Sistani when the US and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003?
11 June 2014