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by C/O Diogenes Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 8:33 AM

After all, if the Americans under the leadership of George Washington rose against British occupation, why does anyone think the Iraqis will be different?


By Abdel Bari Atwan, Editor of UK-based Arabic paper al-Quds

WHILE most viewers in America and the UK celebrated the fall of Baghdad – and of the statues of Saddam Hussein – in Arab homes it was greeted with frustration and anger.

Frustration because Baghdad fell without a fight. Anger because Iraq is now effectively under US and British occupation.

The Americans and their British allies have now come face to face with the Iraqi people, with all their complexities and racial, sectarian and religious mosaic.

Certainly, those who danced in the streets in front of the cameras are few, perhaps 1,000 persons.

They do not represent the overwhelming majority of Iraqis.

The same may be said of those robbing and looting before the eyes of the US Marines in Baghdad and the British in Basra.

Iraq is now passing through a transitional stage and still living through a state of shock and imbalance.

They lived under the sway of the Ba’ath regime and Saddam Hussein for more than 30 years during which they had known nothing else.

They will require a long period to adapt to, and accept, the new reality – to sense a likely future.

The shift from transitional to permanent may not be smooth.

After all, if the Americans under the leadership of George Washington rose against British occupation, why does anyone think the Iraqis will be different?

WARNING: Arab expert Abdel Bari Atwan

Saddam Hussein divided the Iraqis. His downfall may bring them together, or unite the overwhelming majority of them, but this time by confronting the US.

Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda only emerged because of the presence of US troops on Saudi soil; a presence the Muslims perceive as humiliating for them and desecrating for Islamic shrines. Disagreements have begun to show in the opposition factions. What is certain is the Sunnis, who are counted as supporters of

Saddam’s regime, will turn into an opposition because they are secularists who mostly believe in Arab nationalism.

But perhaps the most serious development is the transformation of the Shi’ites, who are supposed to be most hostile to Saddam, into a resistance movement that employs suicide operations as weapons against the coalition.

Lebanese Shi’ite sources close to Hizbollah have confirmed to me an Iraqi Hizbollah is being founded.

Elements of this group, who are trained to carry out resistance in South Lebanon, have been infiltrating Iraq and will begin their operations against the US and British troops.

The intrusion of the US troops into Najaf and Karbala, the two most sacred cities for 60million Shi’ites in Iran, is considered a humiliation.

The Iraqi borders with Iran are more than 1,000km long and so are those with Syria.

Don’t be surprised to see weapons smuggling and recruits volunteering to fight, especially in the wake of threats by US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld against both countries.

Officials in Syria and Iran firmly believe they are next in line.

Iraq is proceeding rapidly not in the direction of a democratic model, but one of anarchy and confusion, just as in Somalia, Afghanistan and the Balkans.

It is now the most fertile soil for radicalism, and it will attract radicals and extremists from all sides.

They will all embrace the call for jihad against the occupation.

The American and British honeymoon in Iraq may be a short one. But if it drags on it is only likely to be bloody.

Hence, it is rather premature to celebrate the fall of Baghdad despite the end of Saddam Hussein.
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Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
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How many more... Diogenes Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 8:34 AM
Oh sure... daveman Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 8:44 AM
As much as ... Diogenes Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 8:52 AM
Simple Simple Simon Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 9:22 AM
idiot supreme=sodaguy cuzin it Saturday, Apr. 12, 2003 at 1:53 PM
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