A Clearer Picture of the Iraqi Resistance
The propaganda of the Bush Administration [and most of the U.S. news media] describes the Iraqi insurgents as 'madmen,' criminals' 'profoundly inept' and 'immeasurably cruel.' So why has the most powerful army in the world not been able, in almost three years, 'to finish such a puny enemy?' According to this article from Mexico's La Jornada, by looking outside of America's media bubble, a clearer picture emerges.
By Pedro Miguel
Original Article (Spanish)
Translated by Richard Hauenstein
December 8, 2005
The Big Picture: The armed opposition to the American occupation of Iraq is made up of a small group of madmen and criminals, blind followers of Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. Those individuals are profoundly inept, because they have not been able to impede the invaders from setting up permanently in Iraq, nor have they won elections there or formed a government; they are immeasurably cruel, because they blow up children, women, and innocent old people. They are Sunni Arabs who murder Kurds and Shiites out of pure hatred, and besides are so stupid that they have turned hundreds of Iraqis into murderers, provided that they kill someone from the United States or England.
Such is the description put out every day by the Washington propaganda apparatus (disgracefully, one must also include in this apparatus the majority of the news media in that country), a description that, to be sure, requires one to ask: Why has the most powerful army in the world not been able, in almost three years, to finish such a puny enemy?
Personally, and though I have never agreed with this reductionist caricature of the Iraqi resistance, I have been asking myself about the political motivations of the groups who, with rifles in hand and with obvious organizational, financial, and technological disadvantages, confront the Marines, the Apache helicopters, the Abrams tanks, and the Predator drones. It's quite clear that it cannot be demanded of the persecuted, slandered, and expendable insurgents that they assemble a public relations apparatus, but at least they can from time to time produce some document or other, instead of those videos of chilling executions, briefly displayed on Arabic Web sites which disappear in the blink of an eye, and happily described in daily newspapers and TV newscasts in the United States.
Photo From www.iraqivictims.com
My curiosity brought me to search, and I found a few sites that use the Latin alphabet (I suppose they also have some in Cyrillic) on which is information about the universe of the Iraqi resistance. In accordance with the results of my search, the reality of the insurgency seems to be more complicated than the caricature. For example, the web page www.Albasrah.net denies the fracture recited to us by the Western media between the Sunnis and the Shiites. On this site it is recorded that "the resistance to the occupying armies began in Basra," where, some weeks after the overthrow of the Sunni dictator Saddam, the Mahdi Army, the militia of the Shiite religious leader Muktada al Sadr, were the main elements in a bloody rebellion against the invaders. www.Albasrah.net began operating in April of 2003, during the most terrible days of the invasion, and claimed in principle "to present the history, the culture, the traditions and the arts of Basra," but "due to the criminal war and the occupation that followed, this site has needed to change course to tackle the current situation, in an effort to offer to our visitors the actions and reports of the imperialist terror in Iraq, in Arabic as well as English, and with multimedia content."
Photo From www.marchforjustice.com
In addition to articles, letters, and other documents which allow one to gain a clearer idea about the Iraqi resistance, www.Albasrah.net presents numerous compressed photos and videos – some well-known, others less so, and some few that have never appeared anywhere in the Western media – about the effects of the United States' violent incursion into that unfortunate Arab nation. One item that caught my attention on the site was a video in which the "Islamic Iraqi Army" documents the discovery of a common grave in Ramadi "which contains the remains of American soldiers that were buried by their superiors with the clear intent to diminish the number of their casualties in Iraq …These bodies will remain in the custody of the Islamic Iraqi Army until such time as it becomes possible to return them to their families … Therefore, it is recommended to any family that have a son or daughter missing in Iraq that they get in touch with institutions that are not part of the American military, like the Red Cross, to learn the circumstances and the condition of their relative." I don't know if I believe this video's claims or not, but there are so many lies and so many cover-ups by the Bush Administration that perhaps it could be true.
IRAQI RESISTANCE VIDEO: Dead U.S. Troops Hidden By U.S. Military, 00:02:12
Another site that gives information about the resistance is that of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance – Voice of the Resistance (www.Iraq-ipa.com), on which are presented various documents about the opposition to the invaders. One illuminating article is the interview, done in June, by reporters of A Verdade of Brazil with Sami Alaa, international spokesman for the Patriotic Alliance, who took part in the Social Forum in Porto Alegre at the beginning of the year. A transcription:
The Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA) "is an organization of separate political groups, composed of a segment of the Baath Party, Pan-Arab parties, the Communist Patriotic Movement, Kurd and Ottoman nationalist groups, and two small nationalist organizations of Christians and Muslims. The principal feature of the alliance is that it is anti-imperialist. We constituted the alliance in 1992. The unification took place before the imperialist aggression of 1991. At that time, we tried to unify several exile groups in order to defend our nation from external aggression. Before the current war, in 2003, we issued a call for Iraqi unity, to defend ourselves and to resist invasion and occupation. After the war, we have exhorted all Iraqis to resist the occupation, and we are working to support the resistance." During the last days of Saddam's government, "we called on all Iraqis for national reconciliation, but we were always very critical about the form of government in the country, and we pointed out that political openness and the adoption of democratic measures were necessary to unify the various political forces. Six months before the war, we sent a delegation to Iraq to negotiate with Saddam's government, to initiate discussions on a new constitution and on the need for more political openness.
In the real Iraq, "the leadership of the resistance has always succeeded in mobilizing the people. The armed resistance is very strong today, and includes Pan-Arabs, Patriotic Communists, a segment of Baath, and religious groups. But the political resistance is not unified. In consequence, we should work to unify it, in order to show support to the armed resistance," which is divided into three groups: the first is known as the Patriots, and is composed of the members of the Baath Party, the Patriotic Communists, and the Pan-Arabs. The second is made up of soldiers and officers of the formal Iraqi Army. The third consists of small Sunni and Christian religious groups. Regarding the first group, one has to make a distinction between members of the Baath party and the party itself, which has been officially permanently dissolved. That means that its members, as well as the Patriotic Communists, don't see themselves as members of a political party, but as contemporaries with ideological identities. Of those three groups, the religious one is the smallest: it controls approximately 10% of the Iraqi resistance. It is important that it be known that we are not fighting for a belief or for an ideological current, but for Iraq, and for the State."
I am intrigued by the expression "soldiers and officers of the formal Iraqi Army," because it suggests that Alaa is not referring to the disbanded armed forces of Saddam, but of the currently active soldiers, organized and trained by the Pentagon. I thought that there had been a transcription error in my copy (someone had typed it poorly, and put "the formal Iraqi army" in place of "the former Iraqi army"), but I found the text on another Web site, and there is no disagreement. I assume, then, that the interviewer confirmed the participation in the resistance of an unknown number of soldiers and policemen who ought, in theory, to be loyal to the occupying authorities. In fact, some high-ranking American military officers have complained that the actual Iraqi security forces are infiltrated to an alarming degree with the very insurgents that they are supposed to be combating.
OTHER SITES WITH information about the war:
The Iraqi resistance is not quite as stupid as the White House would have us believe. Officially, the United States has suffered 2,132 fatal casualties since March of 2003. But yesterday, the venerable Al-Jazeera (the Arabic news service based in Qatar) offered a more realistic count, which includes not only the dead, but the wounded as well, by which count the total of American casualties is almost 23,000: OK, 22,934 as of the 26th of November, to be exact.
VIDEO FROM THE UAE: INTERVIEWS WITH IRAQI INSURGENTS
Al-Arabiya TV, UAE: Iraqi and Arab Mujahideen Speak to Al-Arabiya TV, November 24, 00:06:00, MEMRI
"Tell me what terrorism looks like. Is it green? Is it red? What does Bush want from us, what have we done to him?"
Meet the 'Enemy'