I recieved another article from Dr. Ghougassian, and although he had it posted in another blog, he wanted to post it in our blog too. I read the article and I see that it's worth sharing with our readers as it comes from a man who served in Iraq for a long time and had certainly observed many things by viewing events from an angle other than ours.
Here's the article:
"FALLUJAH, KOFI ANNAN, AND ELECTIONS IN IRAQ"
From May 1, 2003 to August 31, 2004 I worked as a high ranking US official on the reconstruction efforts in Iraq. My last assignment was in the rebuilding of Iraq higher education, comprised of 20 universities and 48 technical institutes and colleges. I restarted the Fulbright Program in Iraq that brought the first 25 scholars to American Universities in February 2004 after a 14 years hiatus. I traveled extensively throughout Iraq visiting the campuses, meeting with administrators, faculty and students.
I lived in Saddam Palace with more than 3000 military and civilian personnel where the Coalition Provisional Authority had set up its offices.
In my trips to the various cities of Iraq, I did not encounter any significant antagonism towards the US people, US forces or US Government. Majority of Iraqis were supportive of our liberation policy and were grateful for the sacrifices our men and women in uniforms and civilians were doing to improve their new freedom, civil liberties, quality of life, economic prosperity, and educational opportunities.
Their complaints were centered around basic necessities such as uninterrupted electricity, instant availability of gasoline, job opportunities and above all their personal safety from criminal elements and organized crimes.
Of all the 18 provinces, Anbar was problematic from the start; and of all the Iraqi cities, Fallujah had remained a bastion of Saddam’s loyalists. Since April 2003 Fallujah has been the floodgate for foreign mercenaries, terrorists, and Baathists insurgents to come and go. It was the favored escape route for the enemies of Iraq and Iraqis leading to Syria.
It has always been my belief and perception that Fallujah mirrored the heart and mind of Saddam. While Saddam, the person, is physically incarcerated, his persona, anima, mind, and heart reverberates till today in Fallujah.
Last April right after the savaged killing and desecration of the bodies of the 5 Americans, I recommended to the Pentagon to lay siege of Fallujah and fight the insurgents until the city turned in those who killed the Americans, turned in all their weapons, and submitted to the rule of law.
For a short while we conducted mopping operations in Fallujah. We were quite successful in our battle against the insurgents and terrorists. Regretfully, the UN, French, Germans, Iranians, Russians, Chinese and the Arab opinion labeled our activities a massacre of innocents. We caved in to their opinion and stopped our military marches to clean Fallujah of the criminals. Then came Zarkawi and his band of beheaders.
They escalated the attacks on the Iraqis, Americans and foreign workers. Their evil actions threatened the national security of Iraq and hampered the US national interests in Iraq.
On November 8, 2004, the Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi rightfully realizing that there could be no political or diplomatic solution with the insurgents in Fallujah, he ordered the Iraqi armed forces to storm Fallujah and he called upon the coalition forces to assist.
Allawi and the majority of Iraqis, including a great number of Fallujan citizens know that the Zarkawis and the Iraqi insurgents must be eliminated in order to pave the way for a successful and democratic election process in January 2005.
Under no circumstances should the January national election be postponed. Not only will this be the first ever transparent election in the history of Modern Iraq, but also, in the Middle East. The Iraqis, the US, Britain, Italy, Poland, and the other members of the coalition have invested a lot and sacrificed a lot to make this election a historic reality that might revolutionize the Middle East at its core.
In the week leading to the American election, the Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan remarked that Fallujah should not be resolved through military action but through a political process. Diplomacy is not a magic wand; it has its limitations. The communication language of diplomacy is dialogue. What we have seen in Fallujah since April 2003, is the language of monologue. The Iraqis and the good citizens of Fallujah have paid and are paying now dearly for having held false hopes that the insurgents and terrorists could carry a dialogue.
Once again, Kofi Annan is on the wrong side of the Iraqis. The Iraqi-American military operation must continue to the bitter end of ridding Fallujah of the extremists and enemies of Iraq, and thereby sleuth once and for all the anima of Saddam.
Dr. Joseph Ghougassian was US Ambassador to Qatar and Advisor in CPA/DoD. His email is Zena92029@yahoo.com