The Rise Of
By Ghali Hassan
29 April, 2009
many resistance movements, the Iraqi Resistance movement is an anti-occupation,
anti-colonial movement. The difference about the Iraqi Resistance to
US Occupation was that it was an immediate uprising by the Iraqi people.
The Iraqi people did not "welcome" the US invading forces.
It was a carefully staged lie. Iraqis are bitterly resent all occupation
forces, and resistance to an illegal Occupation is widespread today.
The Iraqi people
Resistance groups varied; some are former soldiers and unemployed, some
are professionals and workers and others are religious leaders with
local and family influence. They spread throughout the country and led
by prominent Iraqis. Although, these groups are not centrally
linked, almost all of them shared an enthusiastic devotion to Islam
and an enthusiastic rejection of the US Occupation of Iraq. One of the
most prominent of the leaders of the Iraqi people Resistance is Sayyid
Muqtada Al-Sadr, the son of the Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Sadiq Al-Sadr,
a prominent Iraqi religious leader who was assassinated in 1999 along
with two of his other sons. The family of Al-Sadr has a history of opposition
to oppression and dictatorship.
Unlike the expatriate
quislings, who have been promoted (by US forces) to high positions in
the "government" and often paraded on Western TV screens to
provide local legitimacy to US Occupation, Al-Sadr is an Iraqi national,
did not live in exile during the Saddam's regime and refuses to collaborate
with the Occupation forces. His courageous character of denouncing the
US Occupation made him the only recognised anti-Occupation voice in
Iraq, and raised his popularity. Al-Sadr was against the US invasion
and Occupation of Iraq. Al-Sadr announced that the 'Americans and their
allies must be expelled by force from Iraq'. He said publicly and rightly
that the Americans were in Iraq to stay, rob Iraq of its wealth and
oil resources, and advance US imperialist aims because the reasons for
this war of aggression were fabricated lies.
allegation that Al-Sadr is a "religious fanatic" and will
created an Iranian-style government in Iraq is misleading falsehood
designed to deny the Iraqi people national resistance voice. Al-Sadr
said on several occasions that he is not interested in government position,
and that he opposes Iran theocracy as a model for Iraq. Al-Sadr's main
aim is a sovereign united Iraq, free from foreign occupation and corruption.
The shameful propaganda
perpetuated against the Iraqi Resistance by Western media and pundits
is unfounded. The label of "insurgency" used by Western governments
and mainstream media to depict the Iraqi Resistance which is fighting
for a legitimate cause, as an 'organized rebellion fighting against
legitimate government' is an imperialist labelling to justify a "counterinsurgency"
by foreign forces. It is typical smear against those resisting Western
Right wing American
pundits, led by Michael Ignatieff, professor of Human Rights at Harvard
University, who supported the war of aggression but found themselves
on the wrong side of humanity, recently begun to rationalise and justify
the war as a "lesser evil" on the bases that there was a 'bigger
evil' than this murderous crime against the Iraqi people. An illegal
war of aggression justified as a "just war" with no moral
or ethical basis whatsoever.
of the truth is designed for domestic consumption by citizens of the
occupying forces and not for Iraqis. The propaganda has also contaminated
and affected the "anti-war" movement position. Opposing the
war before it started has been easy "feel good" activities
of the "anti-war"
movement, while support for the Iraqi people to liberate their country
from violent Occupation is seen 'unpatriotic' and not worthy of support.
Naomi Klein October
03, 2004 piece "The resistance and the Left", (The Nation),
is best analysed by its section on Al-Sadr's movement. Klein wrote;
"When I heard about the demo, I wanted to go, but there was a problem:
I had been visiting state factories all day, and I wasn't dressed appropriately
for a crowd of devout Shiites". Any one who has been in Iraq will
reject this naïve and untruthful claim. While she was at "the
demo" Klein added; "I was soon interrupted, however, by a
black-clad member of the Mahdi Army: He wanted to talk to my translator
about my fashion choices. A friend and I joked that we were going to
make up our own protest sign that said, Let Journalists Wear Their Pants.
But the situation quickly got serious: Another Mahdi soldier grabbed
my translator and shoved him against a concrete blast wall, badly injuring
his back. Meanwhile, an Iraqi friend called to say she was trapped inside
the 'Green Zone' and couldn't leave: She had forgotten to bring a headscarf
and was afraid of running into a Mahdi patrol".
Is this journalism?
Is it political analysis? No, it is racialist load of nonsense and inaccurate
understanding of the Iraqi society. Iraq has been a secularist state
for hundreds of years. Iraqi society is a mosaic society. Christian,
Jews and Muslims have lived together in harmony much longer than
'Canadians'. Iraqi women participation in society is not different from
any other advanced societies. Women rights are enshrined in Iraq's Constitution,
which was dissolved by the Occupation forces and replaced by a US-crafted
"Interim Constitution" that deprives Iraqi women of their
rights. This "colonial feminism" is consistent with Western
hypocritical treatment of Muslim women as useful political tool to denigrate
Islam and Islamic culture.
Naomi Klein should
follow an 'ethic of responsibility', and would do well to hold her own
government accountable not only for its share of the crimes against
the Iraqi people, but also against Arab Canadians and Muslim Canadians.
It is this Islamophobic trait of imperial North American culture
and its anti-Muslim racism that propels the abuse and torture of innocent
Iraqi men, women and children in US-controlled prisons in Iraq.
Many of the "anti-war"
movement leaders are now refusing not only to support the Iraqi Resistance
against the Occupation, but also hesitant to push for full withdrawal
of US forces from Iraq. It seems that those who are opposing full withdrawal
of US forces, are like those who support the war for the wrong reasons.
The anti-war rhetoric is now replaced by anti-troops withdrawal rhetoric.
It is an old insurance policy adopted very often by waverers activists
and pundits alike because of the absence of serious dissent and lack
of moral principles against the US agenda.
The rise up of the
Iraqi Resistance took the Western world by surprise, not only because
of its effectiveness against a militaristic 'superpower', but also because
of the West distorted and fabricated image of the Iraqi people.
The most obvious
reasons of course are: the anti-Arab nature of the West and the US in
particular, and the West misperception of Arabic and Islamic cultures.
This misunderstanding of societies, which suffered greatly under Western
colonialism, is embedded in the West ignorance and imagined
superiority. As Bertrand Russell wrote, "It is the nature of imperialism
that citizens of the imperial power are always among the last to know
and care about circumstances in the colonies" made easy with sufficient
propaganda at home.
As stated above,
like any resistance movement, the Iraqi Resistance is heterogeneous
people's movement. "I met Shia [sic] and Sunnis fighting together,
women and men, young and old. I met people from all economic, social,
and educational backgrounds", wrote Molly Bingham, a scholar at
Harvard University, who spent sometime with a group of Resistance fighters
in Iraq. She rightly added; "[I]n the absence of a solid government
or civil structure it is not surprising that a Muslim community [like
any other community] would revert to Koranic law, even if only temporary".
It is important to remember that the US Occupation forces dismantled
the Iraqi state, destroyed Iraq's infrastructure and encouraged criminal
anarchy. In other words, the country was deliberately made lawless by
"anti-war" movement decision to follow the US administration
false cliché and associates the Iraqi Resistance with violence
and terrorism - as if the 150,000 US forces and their mercenaries are
not by far the most violent terrorist groups in the country today -
is misguided and plays into the hands of the Bush administration and
proponents of the war. There is no gentler, kinder occupation. Occupation
is violence, occupation is oppression, occupation is anti-democratic
and occupation is theft. Throughout the history of people's struggle
against colonial occupation and aggression there has been no "pristine"
All resistance movements
have used armed struggle to force the occupiers to change course. Iraq
is not different. Violent resistance arises from violent military occupation.
However, Iraqi sources argue that most terrorist acts attributed to
the Iraqi Resistance movement were actually carried out by the US-created
militias, and secret US and Israeli agents in order to distort the image
of the Resistance and stir up sectarian divisions among the population.
Iraqi Resistance leaders and the Association of Muslim Scholars have
rejected attacks against civilians and blamed the US forces and their
allies for orchestrating the violence.
The creation, arming
and financing of 'ethnic militia' and Para-military death squads by
US forces designed to create ethnic divisions and provoke civil war,
the ultimate goal of the Bush administration in Iraq. Jalal Talabani's
recent call to use the Kurdish Peshmerga militia and the Badr Brigade,
the Iranian-trained militia of the SCIRI party, to fight the Iraqi Resistance
is a desperate act, which will pave the way for breakdown of Iraqi society.
After all, the US and its allies have the most to gain from a
divided Iraq embroiled in sectarian violence. The Iraqi civilians are
the victims of this US-instigated violence.
From March 2003
to October 2004, US forces have killed more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians,
most of them innocent women and children, reported the reputable British
journal, The Lancet. The only credible scientific study published so
far. The estimate is considered conservative because it excludes the
high death tool of the Fallujah atrocities. The US forces self-immunity
from prosecution makes it very easier for them to kill Iraqis with institutionalised
impunity, as if Iraqis were not human beings.
Fallujah was fire
bombed and destroyed by US forces. In violation of International Law
and the Geneva Conventions, US forces used modern form of napalm bombs
(MK-77 Mod 5), which ignites on impact to attack civilian population
there. According to the Red Cross, more than 6,000 innocent civilians
(men, women and children) have been killed, and the rest of the population
is displaced refugees. A war crime termed "collective punishment"
designed to instil fear in the Iraqi population passed with complete
silence in Western capitals.
Cluster bombs, and
mines have needlessly blown up countless Iraqi men, women and children.
Many of the cluster bombs reportedly dropped from the air by US-British
forces on civilian areas throughout Iraq were of the banned types BLU97A
and CBU-105. In addition to cluster bombs, the use of "depleted"
uranium (DU) by US-British forces have contaminated large areas of Iraq
with abnormally high levels of radiation. Credible evidence shows that
DU is the cause of dramatic increase of cancers and birth defects.
Two years of US
Occupation, the situation in Iraq is on the brink of disaster. Malnutrition,
hunger and infant mortality among Iraqi infants under the age of five
had almost doubled since the invasion - double the number of that before
the invasion and during the genocidal sanctions. The health situation
have exacerbated due to lack of drinking water and electricity. Poverty
has increased and living standards in Iraq declined markedly. Most Iraqis
are still living on food rations and aid. Iraqis continue to be humiliated
and abused in violent house-to-house searches being conducted by US
forces. Tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children are imprisoned,
abused and tortured in US-built and controlled prisons through out Iraq.
The April 19, 2005
demonstration of more than 300,000 Iraqis in Baghdad alone (the largest
in Iraq for many decades) was jointly organised by Al-Sadr movement
and the Association of Muslim Scholars, showed that all Iraqis are united
against US Occupation and terrorism. This unity contradicts the West
perception of Iraqis as a divided society and rejects the occupiers'
imperialist policy of 'divide and rule'. "The fact is that sectarian
and ethnic tensions in Iraq are not a product of deep-seated cultural
differences. They are the product of a history of imperialism and colonialism
in the region and domestic Iraqi politics", wrote Rami El-Amine
of Left Turn magazine. El-Amine rightly added that; "This applies
as much to the Arab-Kurd tension as it does to the Sunni-Shias [sic]".
This should serve, as the launching pad for the "anti-war"
movement demands for the full withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and
the liberation of Iraqi people from foreign occupation.
Resistance to foreign
occupation is enshrined in people legitimate right to national liberation
and sovereignty. "International law grants a people fighting an
illegal occupation the right to use 'all necessary means at their disposal'
to end their occupation and the occupied "are entitled to
seek and receive support". The Iraqi people have the right to resist
The success of the
Iraqi Resistance to liberate Iraq from US Occupation and achieve national
independence and sovereignty is a precursor to thwart US imperial doctrine
of dominating the world by force. Had it not been for the Iraqi people
Resistance against US Occupation, Syria and Iran would have been attacked
To match its rhetoric
with its actions, the "anti-war" movement should use its infinite
resources to expose the violent and anti-democratic imperialist nature
of the Occupation. The best way to support the Iraqi people and prevent
Iraq from descending into more violence and civil war is to end US
Occupation of Iraq. The Occupation is the problem not the solution.
Iraqis are very capable to work things out between themselves and built
their society without interference from foreign forces.
movement can then organise the setting up of a war crimes tribunal to
investigate and prosecute those who committed this murderous war of
aggression against the Iraqi people. This will eventually contribute
to enhancing democracy and respect for the rules of law at home and
Ghali Hassan lives
in Perth, Western Australia.