Iraq after three years of criminal lunacy: Questions and Answers - By Dr Kamal Mirawdeli

Part: I: Retrospection

I have not been writing about American policy and what happens in Iraq for a long time. There were two reasons: I had nothing new to say. All my predictions and assessments have been unfortunately realised. The reader can go back to my articles published and available at this website. I have published a selection of them as a book entitled: America in Iraq: Dialectics of Liberation and Occupation which also can be purchased online via major online book sellers. So if I write anything I have only to remind readers of what I wrote. I ask the reader especially the Americans to read these articles and then think of what has happened since:

American policy in Iraq: the dialectics of occupation and liberation – I-2-3, July, 2003, click for Article

Will Paul Bremer be allowed to turn Bush’s liberation mission in the Middle East into a sick joke? February 22, 2004, click for Article

Paul Bremer: A man living in a cloud-cuckoo-land, April 27, 2004, click for Article

The second reason is my visit to Kurdistan in 2005. Since then I have not recovered from the shock. So the priority for me reluctantly has been to draw attention to the situation of chaos and criminality that has been created by the two dominant tribal totalitarian parties in Kurdistan which has undermined the very fabric of Kurdish society and destroyed every opportunity our nation has had in the last few years.

But now after three years of the liberation of Iraq I try again to voice my views and assessment of the current situation. To simplify the complicated issues and make them easy to digest I will present my views as questions and answers. But even this is not new. I used the same method of questions and answers exactly two years ago. So because nothing new has happened I have no choice but to start my updated analysis by reproducing some of my views presented as questions and answers two years ago in an article published on this website entitled: The two state solution: Divide and democratise!, published on 23 April 2004. The whole article is reproduced below to show how little has been changed apart from the predictions being totally or partially realised:

“This time I will present my analysis of the situation in Iraq in terms of questions and answers. This, I hope, will help to simplify the complexity of the situation and provide some answers to difficult questions, that is as far as I can.

What is happening in Iraq?

Well. It seems that the dialectics of occuliberation is tilting towards occupation and this creates resistance.

Is there resistance to occupation?

Now, yes. But not because it is occupation. Rather because it failed to fulfil its promise of liberation and democracy. The very continuation of instability and lack of any real perspective of peace and democracy mean that people are getting fed up. They lose hope. They lose trust. Then they return to their old habitual patterns.

What do you mean?

I mean liberation was not just the toppling of Saddam. Even Saddam himself is alive and kicking. He has been treated as a prisoner of war. So the embodiment of tyranny is there. He has been visited by the Red Cross. None of his co-murderers have been punished either. At the same time both mass graves and mass killings continue to demarcate Iraq. Saddam must be the happiest Iraqi person now wherever he may be. His legacy goes on.

Why is it so?

Liberation means making people free. And people themselves should decide how they can be free. I know it is not such a simple matter but with some understanding this process could have been simplified. People or rather the peoples of so-called Iraq should have been given opportunity of self-determination. You cannot liberate while insisting on keeping structures of coercion and oppression on the one hand and impose a Governing Council which has already become an example of cronyism, nepotism and corruption. The only thing that distances them from despotism is impotence and lack of power.

So you agree with Sistani that there should be, or have been, free elections to establish legitimate authority?

Yes, I agree with elections but not with what Sistani aims to achieve from elections. He wants to achieve freedom and power for his people, the Shias, who did suffer from Saddam’s oppression, but he wants also freedom to deprive others of their freedom. He wants to replace Saddam, impose an Islamic state and ultimately practise oppression and genocide against those who disagree with Shi’te world vision. Muqtada Sadr wants to do all this right away with the power of sword not word.

In this case, how can elections be held to decide what people want or to achieve freedom as you describe it? First: elections will lead to the Shia’s victory as they are the majority? Second, Iraq has not been ready for elections for security reasons?

True and wrong. True if we look at Iraq as one united whole and insist on keeping it as such. This is I think the essence of the failure of the coalition’s policy in Iraq. But this approach is wrong. A lot could have been achieved if Paul Bremer had not stubbornly insisted on his illusion of one unified democratic Iraq. This is a contradiction in terms. Iraq can never be democratic as a one whole which can only be made possible through coercion or deception.

So it is a political failure which is in danger of being turned into a military one. One would think that the British who laid the bloody foundations of this violently-sustained Iraq would have become wiser and would initiate realistic achievable plans for restructuring Iraq. But it seems that Arab-influenced old thinking has prevailed so far. What I want to say is:

Yes, it was possible to have had elections in Iraq by now, after a year of occuliberation, and instead of this spread of violence, it was possible to have had in place institutions and structures of freedom and democratically-oriented processes.

But I do not mean Iraq-wide elections as Mr Bremer has wrongly planned and insisted upon!

From the start both Kurdistan and Shia areas were calm and supportive of liberation. The US and Britain should have recognised the simple fact that it would be impossible to bring these three entities with a bloody history of conflict together within one centralised state. Sistani should have been told "yes you can have elections in all Shia’ areas to elect a regional assembly."

The Kurds would do the same in Kurdistan including Kirkuk and Mosul.

This would have reduced the problems the coalition suffer from by 75% and would have isolated the pro-Ba’ath Sunnis forcing them eventually to give up violence or otherwise be defeated or neutralised paving the way for elections in Sunni areas too allowing them to elect their own assembly too.

In this way democracy could be established through decentralisation and neither Shia’s nor Sunnis would be allowed to control others. The right framework for the emergence of civil society institutions would have been established. By now the coalition could show the world 90% success with money flowing in from everywhere for reconstruction and regional powers would be too embarrassed or frightened to be able to interfere. But without political solution even economic reconstruction would be impossible.

Why did this not happen?

This has not happened yet because of ignorance and arrogance, because of political failure, because of lack of courage and imagination, because truth was replaced by lies for political purposes. Because everyone lied to Americans and Americans lied to themselves as they seemed to be interested only in ensuring the flow and export of oil and keeping Kurdistan as an Arab colony.

Ahmad Chalabi lied to the Americans, exaggerated his non-existing support and the reliability of information his imaginary spies collecting for Americans. He gathered around himself a gang of opportunists attracted by CIA money who argued wrongly that Iraq can become a democracy within days after the fall of Saddam! Alawi and Hakim did the same.

The Kurdish leaders lied to Americans and betrayed their own people and martyrs when they dishonestly, opportunistically or treacherously alleged that the only hope for democracy in Iraq is to keep it united and put forward this disgusting far-fetched argument that their own great model of democracy in Kurdistan! could be copied in Baghdad and the rest of Iraq. I translated a speech by Jalal Talabani last year in which he almost described the Kurds as savages wondering why Kurdish savages could establish this fantastic democracy in the north and not the civilised Baghdad and Arabs would be able to establish even a more fantastic democracy than his in the centre and south of Iraq!!

Instead of offering themselves as the saviours of Iraq! and champions of an illusionary Iraqi unity achieved at the expense of Kurdish blood and skulls, the Kurdish leaders should have been the first to join or even initiate the growing thrust of political opinion in the US that Iraq cannot be put back together as a unitary state and its division is inevitable to ensure peace and any opportunity for real democracy in the area. For Kurds anafl should have made it even degrading and dishonourable to describe Kurds as Iraqis.

Even now everyone turns a blind eye to these facts. The UN envoy closes his eyes and mind to the real clear divisions in Iraq which would make it impossible to have any Iraq-wide elections in foreseeable future or to transfer authority to any credible and able government.

So what is happening now?

Now everything is in a mess. I do not want to compare the situation to Vietnam though it has been ignorantly developed to a similar situation. Even the external dimension is there. From the first day there have been secret or overt interventions by Iran and Syria. Now the Iranian role is dangerously increasing through support to Muqtada al-Sadr militants. Even Turkey is supporting them through their alliance with the Turkoman Front. Money flows from Arab countries. Anti-American al Qaida and other Islamic fundamentalists with terrorist training and fighting experience have been attracted to Iraq and their passage has been facilitated by Syria and Iran. And Iraqi is still awash with oceans of arms and well-trained Saddam’s Fedayeen, which did include thousands of Shias.

So is it Vietnam?

It is not Vietnam as people do not have real reason to fight Americans who have liberated them. But as liberation has not been realised because of sticking to the bloody one-Iraq project, everything has been turned into a bloody mess. People have been disillusioned. Terrorists have opportunity to recruit people for resistance and create mayhem even in previously peaceful cities and areas. If this situation continues, yes it will become partly Vietnam if the analogy is basically the continuation of bloodshed and both American and Iraqi deaths. But more dangerously it could become partly Palestine. A lethal mixture of the two. Punish everyone for the guilt of the few: that is what will happen when the only solution envisaged is a military one and when politicians reach a cul de sac because the solutions they envisaged through brainstorms and facilitated group exercises in Washington and London are barren and irrelevant in the context of post-Saddam Iraq. They were based on ignorance, fancy and prejudice.

So now there will be serial escalation of killings, counter-killings, of revenges and counter-revenges until important sections of Shi’a are radicalised, the model of West bank and Gaza is transplanted and the moderate Shia including the useless members of the Governing Council would become too embarrassed or scared to continue their support for the US. It looks like a scenario of doom and gloom. But I am afraid this is the direction of the events. It does not make a difference whether Mr Rumsfield describes the Shia and Sunni fighters as thugs or as guerrillas. The other serious consequence will be the collapse of the current international coalition which is already been turned from the “coalition of the willing” to “the coalition of the wavering.”

So what is the solution? Can the US and Britain just cut and run?

No. Though this is not an impossible outcome but it will be a suicidal one for the US in particular. Iraq, as I have explained above, has attracted all anti-American terrorists. The axes of evil Iran and Syria are greatly involved. Both want to open another terrorist front against America to relieve the pressure they are under for stopping their intervention in Lebanon, support for Hamas and Hezbollah, stopping their attempt to obtain weapons of mass destruction and bringing about democratic reforms in their countries. However great the cost maybe, it will be suicidal for the US to cut and run. Iraq will actually become the centre of international Islamic terrorism and will destabilise the whole Gulf and Middle East region. Afghanistan and Pakistan will come under great pressure and will be next targets for defeating America. Even Turkey will be encouraged or obliged to upgrade its version of moderate Islam to a more radical anti-western one. Hamas and Hizbollah will be greatly strengthened and terrorist attacks in the West will multiply until first Israel is demolished and second Europe will accept all the demands of Islamists including universal hijab and semi-Islamic state!

So you suggest that America must send more forces?

No I say it is criminal to sacrifice so many American and Iraqi lives for political failure. This is not necessary if Iraq is allowed to be what it is and was: different nations. I say choose the only right, realistic and legitimate solution. Divide Iraq to democratise it. Don’t centralise it to Vietnamize it.

Let Kurdistan, including Kirkuk and Mosul, keep its freedom and hold elections immediately before the waves of terror and destruction reach Kurdistan as a result of the criminal anti-democratic anti-Kurdistan policies of the so-called Kurdish leaders who defy the will of Kurdistani people represented by the Referendum Movement which collected 1.7 million signatures for independence in just four weeks.

Let Kurdistan be independent and then it will be up to the Iraqi Arabs, both Shi’a and Sunni, whether they want to be together in one or two states. We as Kurds do not want to be part of a state which has been enslaving, oppressing and eliminating us for 80 years. If so-called Kurdish leaders describe us as Iraqis they are insulting us and our martyrs. They are liars and traitors. It will be total destabilisation of Kurdistan if it is forced to reintegrate into Arab Iraq after 30 June 2004.

I hope both Mr Bush and Mr Tony Blair will seriously consider and agree this sole solution for the sake of the stability in the Middle East. Give a real model of democracy and freedom to the peoples of Great Middle East! {End of the article} So this is what I wrote exactly two years ago. But neither Mr Bush nor Mr Blair did pay attention. They are of course used to pay millions for expert opinion from specialist advisers or to read strategic reports produced by international centres for strategic studies! However, what is happening and going to happen now? I will answer in the next articles.