Wednesday, April 28, 2004

A tough decision.

Today I was reading Al-Sabah newspaper and one title caught my attention “a local armed group confronts Al-Sadr militia” I must admit that I felt relieved at first. At last, some Iraqi civilians took it upon themselves to fight the terrorists. But after a minute of thinking, this question came to my mind; is this what we want to see, Iraqi civilians carry arms to fight the thugs?
The armed group in question distributed a leaflet in which they threaten all those outlaws and terrorists who bring instability and disturb the safety of the city, saying that they will be eliminated.
And on the ground, there were some clashes between this group and Al-Sadr militia in which some men from "Mahdi army" were killed and some others wounded. This clarifies some important points which are-as written in the leaflet-“enough is enough, we should stand up for the challenge”.
Let us first try to take a closer look at what these news mean. When local people (definitely Sheát) rise against what was considered to be a powerful, somewhat holy and a 'largely' supported extremist, this proves that all the crap said about a revolution being in the air has no base at all. it means that either the people of Najaf are not fascinated with the idea of revolting against the coalition and are ready to cooperate with them, or that the people of Najaf saw that what Sadr militia was doing is not a true revolt against the Americans, but rather it was terrorizing Iraqis, looting and releasing their brother criminals from prisons to help them gain control over the huge amounts of money that comes to the holy mosque (we are talking about REAL money here), all with the Iranian clerics acting behind the scene. That's why the people of Najaf couldn't stand their atrocities anymore and decided to face them with all the risk such a decision carries.
The situations have been dealt with by limited military operations and giving time for negotiations and this is understandable when it comes to a holy city for a large section of the Iraqi people, in which some members of the GC played devil's advocate especially the SCIRI and the Iraqi Islamic party (in case of Fallujah), but there still remains the problem that those people don’t understand the meaning of peace talks and negotiations and take these as signs of weakness, and also led to a situation where the people in Najaf lost hope in the coalition and couldn’t tolerate the thugs anymore and started to try solving the problem by their hands. So, is this what we want?
In the 'best' scenario is that this new militia will defeat the Mahdi army but after that this group or maybe other groups will probably claim that they have the right to remain in power and run the city. What logic can we use then to convince them otherwise? How can you tell a man who risked his life and lost a family member to achieve his freedom that he should drop his arms and obey the authorities that left him to deal with the threats alone? Can we assure him that what happened will not take place again?
I know that making the decision to fight the terrorists (inside Najaf) by the coalition and the new Iraqi army carries considerable risks (not as serious as some people try to make it look though) in the time being, but by leaving the issue as it is to be solved by civilians through violence or going back to negotiations (the way these thugs negotiate remind me of the way Saddam used in negotiating with the international community) can only make the losses in the future much more worse.
I hope that the fools who were asking us to carry Ak-47 and fight the terrorists are happy now. Some Iraqis have done that, and if nothing serious is done, others will sure join them.
Not carrying weapons by my people should be a victory for peace and humanity. Our real enemies, and I mean the Arab and Muslim dictators and clerics and not their tools, want to see us carry our arms again and I’m sad to see some Iraqis being forced to do this because this is what the enemies of life and freedom want. The task of disarming the militia is-beyond any doubt- the responsibility of the coalition and they are doing a good job in that, but still the extremists control large sectors of Fallujah and Najaf and terrorize people even in Baghdad (they have spread the word that anyone who criticize Al-Sadr will be executed without a trial by the Mahdi army!!)
My refusal to carry the weapons is my contribution to the process and is the way that Iraqis should use to show their support to the coalition. This is the best we can do and we’ll continue to show that we refuse the existence of armed militias (whatever their ideologies were) and stress on the necessity of building a modern, strong police and a new army that respects the constitution and obeys the law that protects the sons of this country and makes their land safer than ever.

By Ali.

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