Saturday, May 22, 2004

Real Iraqis.

I really laughed at a scene that was not supposed to be funny at all. I was watching the news and they showed a report about a huge demonstration organized in Lebanon by Hizbullah. The estimates said that there were about 500 thousands of She’at Muslim protesting against the “violations” of the American army in the holy cities of Najaf and Kerballa.

Hassan Nasr-Allah was making a speech in the traditional screaming manner of most of the Muslim clerics. He was threatening America not to "cross the lines”. He was promising “help to the oppressed Iraqis”.

That scene took me for a while away from the reality where I stand. It took me a moment to ‘glance’ back to where I am, to Iraq. Despite some alleged "Fatwas" and few speeches about “red lines”, most of the political AND religious leaders were calling for withdrawal of *all* armed forces and militias from the holy cities. No one called for jihad, and no one blamed the Americans, except for Sadr followers. There were almost no anti-American demonstrations regarding this issue, at least not any significant ones.

If one is to believe the media and the Arab leaders and Muslim clerics, the only conclusions that can be drawn from such a situation, is that there are no Iraqis in Iraq. The only Iraqis who seem to exist and “care about the Iraqi people” live outside Iraq! I can name in this respect, in addition to the above; the western media, the French, German and Russian governments and the “pacifists”. Otherwise why aren’t the Iraqis going out to the streets in hundreds of thousands to protest against their "oppressors"!?

I guess there are only few answers to this question. It’s either that the majority of Iraqis don’t feel there’s such huge violation that needs to be protested against, or that they are more interested in their daily lives; their jobs and the future of their children than whining about buildings that as holy as they are to them, can not match their care about their jobs and children’s future.

This may give the impression that Iraqis are apathetic to what’s happening in their country, which could be true for some of them as a result of decades of oppression and hopelessness, but when one remembers that Iraqis did demonstrate a lot in the last year, such presumptions indeed seems to fit only a minority.

The only difference here is that most of the demonstrations the Iraqis made were not demanding ending the occupations. They were about improving life conditions and security; in other words things that really matter to them. Still there were political demonstrations, but the largest of these were, one demanding immediate elections and one condemning terrorism!!

There still one possibility that might explain why the rest of the world “care” more about Iraqis than the Iraqis themselves. It’s that we are all traitors who accepted to deal, and sometimes cooperate fully with the occupiers. This was what I heard from most Arabs describing the IP, the new Iraqi army, the GC, the ministers and most of the government employees. It seems that we have a new breed of traitors multiplying in Iraq and these seem to have forgot according to the rest of the world that they are Iraqis (Hey, I don’t belong into this category. I’m a CIA agent, please remember that!). Iraqis indeed need lessons from Hassan Nasr Allah and Al-Jazeerah of how to be…Iraqis. I'm not claiming that most Iraqis love America, although a good percentage certainly do. I'm only suggesting that more Iraqis are becoming day by day, at least, less anti-American and more realistic.

We all know that the goal of the American army in this operation is to arrest Sadr and there’s no need or cause to harm the holy shrines and I’m sure that the highly trained soldiers and bright leaders in the US army will manage to do that with the minimal damage if ever.

Some people might fear the undesirable reactions of the She’at Muslims outside Iraq in response to any attempt to arrest Sadr at this period. Let me say that there are no easy options here, but if we believe in that theme and surrender to our fears, we’ll be falling to the same trap that many European governments fell in. we’ll be appeasing the extremists instead of facing them. Besides what could Hizbullah or the Iranian clerics do?! Send more fighters?? They are already doing this and they need no excuse for that!

The only way we can stop that is by continuing the building of democracy in Iraq. Once those outsiders lose any sympathy inside Iraq, and once the neighboring countries feel that it’s impossible to stop the process, they’ll give up and try to find other alternatives that might help them keep their decayed regimes alive, at least for few more years. It’s not that easy, but it’s that simple. This is a battle of wills above all.

By Ali.

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