Monday, May 24, 2004

Being pro-American.

There’s been more reaction than needed in my opinion in response to the Chalabi case even before the accusations of conspiring with the Iranians. Honestly I didn’t understand why the world was and still so much interested in this case.

The way I see it is that Chalabi is just a man who had some chance to play a role in the future of Iraq and blew it away. There are too many allegations on either part of what caused this change in the nature of relation between Chalabi and the CPA. Some people say it's just an American conspiracy to polish Chalabi's face and show him as a real patriot, since a 'real patriot' must show at least some anti-American attitude especially in this critical period that demands full cooperation between Iraqis and Americans!

Others say that Chalabi has actually changed his attitude from being very pro-American into showing more and more disapproval of the USA's policy in Iraq to gain some sympathy from the She'at prior to the handover of sovereignty and the elections that will follow. Anyway this is just insignificant to go on with, as far as I see it, and I’ll try to focus on one issue, that is what does it mean to be pro-American, and I will not talk about my personal feelings here.

Mr. Chalabi has seriously diminished if not ended his political career by opposing the US in public and using a threatening and defying tone when speaking about the American strategy in Iraq. I don’t know who fooled this man and told him that by doing so, he would get more support from Iraqis since-in their minds- Iraqis hate Americans.

The only real support that this man has (or better say had) was the result his pro-American stance. People who believed that the interests of Iraq lied in parallel with those of the US in addition to some opportunistic who want to be in the circle of power supported Chalabi because they thought he was USA's man in Iraq. I personally didn’t like the man, but the fact that I believe my country’s interests lie in strong and long alliance with the USA made me accept him, especially if I had to choose between him and a cleric or an Arab nationalist.

By showing hostility to the US, Chalabi lost most of his supporters and gained almost none in return, as anti-American Iraqis are either Arab nationalists or Islamists in general or fools who believe whatever the media has to say, and since the media showed the man as a thief and a traitor, there’s a very little chance that those people would believe otherwise.

Some would say that Chalabi had a role to do, did that and now the Americans are getting rid of him since he’s not useful anymore. These are the people who used to say that the US had put Saddam in power and supported his regime in the past. What I want to say here is that no one can put anyone to power this simple. Saddam and the Ba'athists made their way to power through a long way that was paved with terror, torture and the blood of millions of Iraqis.

It’s the choice of any man to serve a foreign power to get more power inside his country which makes him disposable when he has nothing to offer, or to serve his country by forming an alliance with a super power- as no small nation can survive and make real progress independently- thus gaining the trust of the people and he, himself becomes a part of the strong relations that would connect his country to that super power.

Should we blame the USA for supporting people like the Shah of Iran and then leaving him to face his destiny alone? Not at all. If I was one of the people in charge of my country’s policy and a foreigner came to me in difficult situations offering help and asking for support in return, I think I would accept that if it served my country, and if that man lost his power or changed to become a danger to my country, should I continue to support him? Or do I have to feel shame from fighting a man I have shacked hands with in the past in order to serve my country. Should the allies apologize for supporting Stalin in WW2 for example?! I guess that in few years from now regimes like Ghadafi's will collapse and this will most likely happen through the help of the USA and the UK in particular, and I can see the major media showing the picture of Tony Blair shaking hands with Ghadafi saying, “you supported this dictator. Why remove him now!?"

There are 2 types of pro-Americans in Iraq, those who support America’s efforts in Iraq and believe in a long term strong and good relations with the USA and those who support America because they want a piece of the cake, and in my opinion America is free and expected to help and get help from both, only she can stop dealing with the latter or even get rid of them if they started to be more harmful than beneficial. On the other hand, America cannot, and will not, ignore the men and women who really represent their people and believe in a strategic friendship between Iraq and America. There are many Iraqi politicians who fall in this category and we are certainly not in desperate need for Chalabi’s services.

Chalabi was not really pro-American because he was not pro-Iraqi in the first place. He was just pro-Chalabi. Of course we knew that from the beginning but as the man showed his will to support democracy in the face of ex-Ba'athists and religious fanatics, there was nor reasonable cause to refuse dealing with him. Now that it seems he had changed his course, there's no reason we should support him anymore.

Being pro-American means for *me* being pro-freedom, anti-terrorists, pro-democracy and above all pro-Iraqi.

-By Ali.


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