We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Most of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
Features
latest news
best of news
syndication
commentary


KILLRADIO

VozMob

ABCF LA

A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List

LAAMN List




IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Pax Americana/Bushs Folly

by via Parmenides Sunday, Sep. 28, 2003 at 5:28 AM

From UK Guardian: Iraqi resistance to foreign occupation enjoys great popular support

Patriots and invaders

Sami Ramadani
Saturday September 27, 2003
The Guardian

It was my first and brutally abrupt realisation that Baghdad, the city of my childhood, is now occupied territory. It was also my first encounter with a potent symbol of Iraqi hostility to the occupation forces. Sitting in the front seat of the taxi that brought us from Amman, I suddenly realised that a heavy machine gun was pointing at us from only a few metres away. It was an American soldier aboard an armoured vehicle in front of us, stuck in a traffic jam on the outskirts of Baghdad. He gestured disapprovingly towards our driver for approaching with some speed, then looked to his left and angrily stuck out a middle finger. I followed his gaze and there was a child of no more than eight or nine sitting in a chair in front of the open gates leading to the garden of his house. He was shouting angrily, with a clenched fist of defiance, cutting the air with swift and furious right hooks.
Two weeks later, and after talking to scores of people and touring much of Baghdad, it dawned on me that that child's rebellious, free spirit was a moving and powerful symbol of how most people in Baghdad felt towards the occupation forces. It is precisely this indomitable spirit which survived the decades of Saddam's brutal regime, the numerous wars and the murderous 13 years of sanctions. And it is precisely this spirit that Bush and Blair did not take on board when they decided to invade and occupy Iraq. They chose instead to listen to the echo of their own voices bouncing back at them from some of the Iraqi opposition groups, nurtured, financed and trained by the Pentagon and the CIA. Some of these Iraqi voices are now members of the US-appointed Iraqi governing council.

A recent report in the Washington Post backs up the rumours I heard in Baghdad that the Iraqi resistance to occupation is so strong that the authorities are now actively recruiting some of the brutal officers of the security and armed forces that Saddam himself used to suppress the people. If true, the US administration, in the name of fighting the so-called remnants of Saddam's regime, is now busy trying to rebuild the shattered edifice of Saddam's tyrannical state - a tyranny which they had backed and armed with WMD for many years. One of the popular sayings I repeatedly heard in Baghdad, describing the relations between the US and Saddam's regime, is "Rah el sani', ija el ussta" - "gone is the apprentice, in comes the master."

The governing council is not so much hated as ridiculed, and attacked for having its members chosen along sectarian lines. Most of the people I talked to think that it is a powerless body: it has no army, no police, and no national budget, but boasts nine rotating presidents. One of the jokes circulating in Baghdad was that no sooner had you brought down Saddam's picture than you were being asked to pin up nine new ones.

Support for the council is largely confined to some activists of the organisations that belong to it. Indeed, it could be argued that most supporters of the more credible organisations belonging to the council are opposed to membership of the US-appointed body. The leaders of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri), for example, are finding it increasingly hard to convince these supporters that cooperation with the invaders is still a possible route to independence and democracy. The same goes for another smaller but equally credible party, the Islamic Da'wa, which experienced a split and serious haemorrhaging of membership following its decision to join the council.

The now small organisation that enjoyed majority support in Iraq in the late 50s, the Iraqi Communist party (ICP), was opposed to the invasion and the council, but decided to join it at the eleventh hour. Most of its supporters opposed the move. One, a poor truck driver, described it as being even worse than the 1972 ICP leadership decision to join Saddam's government. That policy collapsed in a pool of blood when Saddam turned on the party's members, killing, jailing and forcing into exile thousands of them. The truck driver described the council as "the devil's lump of iron": a saying which refers to the superstitious practice of keeping a small piece of metal in the house to ward off the devil.

The gulf between popular sentiment and membership of the council was clear after the murder of the leader of Sciri, Ayatolla Mohammed Baqir Al Hakim. The slogans chanted by the hundreds of thousands who marched in the three-day funeral processions in Baghdad and Najaf - "Death to America, Death to Saddam" and "There is no god but Allah; America is the enemy of Allah; Saddam is the enemy of Allah" - were very much in tune with what I witnessed in Baghdad. They revealed the strength of anti-US feeling in Baghdad and the south.

The one area where America has had relative success is Iraqi Kurdistan. The political situation in this region is complex. Most Kurds believed that the no-fly zone during Saddam's reign protected them from his chemical weapons, and it is evident that the sanctions did not hurt Kurdistan as much as it did the rest of Iraq. In the lead-up to the war, most Kurds accepted the tactical notion of being protected against Saddam and the hated Turkish forces. But despite this, it is likely that American plans in Kurdistan will face popular opposition once the realities of US interests and the regional contradictions reassert themselves. Meanwhile, the historic political unity between Arabs and Kurds in Iraq is unlikely to be broken.

What of the armed resistance? And why is it much more evident in some parts of Iraq than others? There is no doubt that armed resistance directed against the US forces enjoys wide popular support and is mostly carried out by politically diverse, locally based organisations. However, I also met many in Baghdad who, though supportive of the "patriots" who resist the "invaders", believe that such actions are "premature". One should, they argue, first exhaust all peaceful means, mobilising the people in mass organisations before confronting the occupation forces in armed struggle. Popular sentiment can be gleaned from the conspiracy theories circulating in Baghdad. People routinely blame the US or Israel or Kuwait for attacks on civilian rather than military targets.

But you do not need to be a conspiracy theorist to suspect that the main reason for the high intensity of armed conflict in areas of central Iraq and Mosul is that the US itself decided to make these areas the arena for a showdown that they thought they could win more easily, thereby establishing a bridgehead from which they could subdue Baghdad and the south. They provoked conflict by killing civilians in cold blood in Falluja, Mosul, Ramadi and elsewhere long before any armed resistance in those areas.

The occupying forces quickly discovered that the slightest provocation in the labyrinthine working-class districts of Baghdad, and most cities of the south, was being met by massive shows of popular strength on the streets. The US military command are surely aware that Iraqis in these areas are heavily armed, well-trained and better organised.

The US authority's nonsense about a "Sunni triangle" and "Shi'ite Baghdad and south" is a smokescreen which has so far failed to divide the Iraqi people or drive them into internecine conflict. The only people who now believe that the US will back a democratic path in Iraq are the few who have still not fully grasped America's role in Iraq's modern history, the strategic significance of Iraq, or the nature of US foreign policy today.

Leaving the city on the road back to Amman, when our car passed by the house of that precocious child, I realised why my love for Baghdad remained undiminished despite 34 years in exile.

· Sami Ramadani was a political refugee from Saddam's regime and is a senior lecturer in sociology at London Metropolitan University
Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments


Local News

Change Links September 2018 posted S02 10:22PM

More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre A30 11:09PM

Site Outage Friday A30 3:49PM

Change Links August 2018 A14 1:56AM

Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land A12 11:09PM

More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke J29 10:40PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 8:27PM

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 7:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 7:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 11:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J11 6:58AM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M31 5:20AM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 7:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 8:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 9:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 10:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 9:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 8:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 8:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 11:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 8:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A27 5:37AM

GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE A13 12:39AM

lausd whistle blower A11 6:58AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

test O06 10:01AM

test O06 9:59AM

test O06 9:59AM

100 Ways GOP Have Stolen Elections Since 1876 O06 12:03AM

Proximospective de l'univocité réifiée O05 6:27AM

“Kava-no!!!” O04 6:42PM

Trump & Palestine vs. Genesis, Rashi & The Land of Israel O03 6:29PM

The Criminality of the Elites O03 11:35AM

Business de l'inhumanitaire O03 7:51AM

Marriage Rape/Date Rape Highest Rapes O02 2:59PM

Women I Know Get Raped - Too Many Times To Count! O02 2:55PM

Women In USA Have Stockholm Syndrom O02 2:50PM

Shooting Drill's Are Political Actual Shootings O02 2:47PM

Dr. Ford's Father Works With CIA O02 2:44PM

Weaponizing Frequencies O02 2:41PM

Google Abuses: Worldwide Spying, Censorship, War Promotion, Spying On Children, Etc O02 11:08AM

Paraphysique de l'administration O02 8:34AM

Paraphysique O02 8:31AM

Affordable Rents? A State of Emergency Intensifies O01 11:36AM

A Few Of Many Impeachable Acts by Trump Sessions And Others O01 4:41AM

Désengrammation, l'éloge de la suite S30 7:01AM

someone Should Work In Hollywood - Good Acting! S28 2:55PM

Ford Gives Psych Drugs To Lower Class To Shut Them Up? S28 2:51PM

Hilllary Calls Ford Trailer Trash? S28 2:47PM

Most Rapes Are In Marriages S28 2:43PM

Nice Boys Dirty Deeds S28 2:41PM

Minnesota 2nd Largest Rape State S28 2:39PM

Paraphysique de la plus-value S28 7:18AM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy