[Marxism] Preparation underway for Iraqi move to get US out (Sistani denounces US occupation as prime threat)

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Oct 19 09:39:55 MDT 2007

It's the resistance, stupid
By Pepe Escobar 

The ultimate nightmare for White House/Pentagon designs on Middle East
energy resources is not Iran after all: it's a unified Iraqi resistance,
comprising not only Sunnis but also Shi'ites. 

"It's the resistance, stupid" - along with "it's the oil, stupid". The
intimate connection means there's no way for Washington to control Iraq's
oil without protecting it with a string of sprawling military "super-bases".

The ultimate, unspoken taboo of the Iraq tragedy is that the US will never
leave Iraq, unless, of course, it is kicked out. And that's exactly what the
makings of a unified Sunni-Shi'ite resistance is set to accomplish. 

Papa's got a brand new bag
At this critical juncture, it's as if the overwhelming majority of Sunnis
and Shi'ites are uttering a collective cry of "we're mad as hell, and we
won't take it anymore". The US Senate "suggests" that the solution is to
break up the country. Blackwater and assorted mercenaries kill Iraqi
civilians with impunity. Iraqi oil is being privatized via shady deals -
like Hunt Oil with the Kurdistan regional government; Ray Hunt is a close
pal of George W Bush. 

Political deals in the Green Zone are just a detail in the big picture. On
the surface the new configuration spells that the US-supported
Shi'ite/Kurdish coalition in power is now challenged by an Iraqi nationalist
bloc. This new bloc groups the Sadrists, the (Shi'ite) Fadhila party, all
Sunni parties, the partisans of former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi,
and the partisans of former prime minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari. This bloc
might even summon enough votes to dethrone the current, wobbly Maliki

But what's more important is that a true Iraqi national pact is in the
making - coordinated by Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi, a Sunni, and
blessed by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani himself. The key points of this
pact are, no more sectarianism (thus undermining US strategy of divide and
rule); no foreign interference (thus no following of US, Iran, or Saudi
agendas); no support for al-Qaeda in the Land of the Two Rivers; and the
right to armed resistance against the occupation. 

Last Friday Grand Ayatollah Sistani finally confronted the occupation in no
uncertain terms. Via Abdul Mahdi al-Karbala'i, his representative in the
holy city of Karbala, Sistani called for the Iraqi parliament to rein in
Blackwater et al, and most of all the "occupation forces". He has never
spoken out in such blunt language before. 

For his part Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi
Council (SIIC), one of the two key, US-supported Shi'ite parties in
government, is back in Baghdad after four months of chemotherapy in Tehran.
But it's his son, the affable Ammar al-Hakim - who was the acting SIIC
leader while his father was away - who's been stealing the limelight,
promising that the party will do everything in its power to prevent those US
super-bases being set up in Iraq. Up to now SIIC's official position has
been to support the US military presence. 

Ammar al-Hakim even went to Ramadi on Sunday to talk to Sheikh Ahmed Abu
Risha, brother of the late Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the former leader of the
tribal coalition Anbar Awakening Council who was killed by a bomb last
month. It was the first time since the invasion and occupation that a SIIC
leader went to hardcore Sunni Anbar province. Ammar al-Hakim glowingly
described the dead sheikh as "a national hero". 

Most interesting is that Ammar al-Hakim was flanked by none other than
feared Hadi al-Amri, the leader of the Badr Brigades - the SIIC militia
trained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, that in fact comprises the bulk of
death squads involved in the avalanche of sectarian killings. 

Ammar al-Hakim may now be against permanent US bases and in favor of
Sunni-Shi'ite union. But although he now says he is against federalism, he's
actually in favor of "self-governing regions". That makes him for many
Iraqis a partisan of "soft partition" -- just like US congressmen. He
qualifies the central government in Baghdad as "tyrannical". 

For their part the Sunni Arab sheikhs in Anbar are totally against what
would be a Western Iraq provincial government - possibly encompassing three,
majority-Sunni provinces, Anbar, Salahuddin and Nineveh. 

If on one Shi'ite side we have Ammar al-Hakim from SIIC, on the other side -
literally - we have Muqtada al-Sadr. The same day Ammar al-Hakim was
courting the tribal sheikhs, pan-Islamic Muqtada was saying he was against
any soft partition or provincial governments. That's exactly what the
sheikhs like to hear. 

So now, in theory, everyone in the Shi'ite galaxy seems to want (more or
less) the same thing. Tehran worked very hard to forge the recent peace pact
between the al-Hakim family and the Sadrists. SIIC and Sistani are now
explicitly saying that a unified Iraq must rein in the Pentagon and throw
out the occupation - that's what Muqtada had been saying all along. Tehran
and Tehran-supported SIIC must obviously have seen which way the Shi'ite
street wind was blowing, so now we have a new, anti-sectarian,
anti-occupation SIIC. 

But it will require concentric halos of forgiveness for Sunnis to forget
that the Badr Brigades have been responsible for a great deal of the ethnic
cleansing of Baghdad, have cynically collaborated in synch with both the US
and Iran, and have been focused on building a virtually independent
"Shi'iteistan" in southern Iraq. 

'We want you out'
Away from the Anbar sheikhs, the Sunni front is also moving fast. Last week
six key, non-Salafi jihadist resistance groups, on a video on al-Jazeera,
officially announced their union under the "Political Council of the Iraqi
Resistance". They are the Islamic Army in Iraq, the al-Mujahideen Army,
Ansar al-Sunna, al-Fatiheen Army, the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance
(JAMI), and Iraqi Hamas. 

The whole process has been on the move since early summer. The council has a
14-point program. The key point is of course guerrilla warfare as the means
to throw the occupiers out. A very important point - deriding the usual
Pentagon rhetoric - is that the council is fiercely against al-Qaeda in the
Land of the Two Rivers. The council also rejects all laws and the
constitution passed under the occupation; calls for an interim government;
defends Iraq's territorial integrity and rejects sectarianism. 

It has been the Sunni Arab guerrillas that have virtually defeated the US in
Iraq. And what's even more remarkable is that, unlike Vietnam, this has not
been a unified resistance of Sunnis and Shi'ites. 

A very important issue concerns a group that decided not to be part of the
council: the 1920 Revolution Brigades. The brigades are basically Iraqi
nationalist, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist. They totally reject any
sort of collaboration with the US. 

But they may join the council in the near future. In a statement released in
early September, the brigades stressed what an overwhelming majority of
Sunnis agree on: "The democrats have a chance to end this conflict in a
face-saving solution for the US, by first declaring that they recognize the
factions of the Iraqi resistance as the representatives of the Iraqi people
and the Iraqi Republic. After which a negotiating team would be arranged to
negotiate your troop withdrawal, compensation for Iraq, and matters of
future interest. It is only through the Iraqi resistance that a solution may
be born." 

Or else, it's "variable, adaptable and reversible asymmetric warfare that
will set the standard for years and years to come". 

And there's still more - the coordinated, "new Ba'ath" front: 22 resistance
groups, under the command of former Saddam star Izaat al-Douri, already
seriously talking with the Iyad Allawi bloc - thus part of the nationalist
front - and dictating their conditions, which include a resistance ceasefire
in exchange for a precise US timetable for withdrawal. 

As far as all the key Sunni and Shi'ite factions in Iraq are concerned, they
all agree on the basics. Iraq won't be occupied. Iraq won't hold permanent
US military bases. Iraq won't give up its oil wealth. And Iraq won't be a
toothless pro-Israel puppet regime. 

As far as a concerted Iraqi resistance is concerned, the only way is up.
What a historic irony that would be - before the Bush administration is
finally tempted to attack Iran, it may have to face a true benchmark imposed
on it in Iraq. 

(Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved.  

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