Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Adhamiya Wall and the "political process": One man's view

Haroun Muhammad writes in an Al-Quds al-Arabi op-ed:
When the American invaders and their agents ...decided on Adhamiya city to build their separation wall to surround it and to impose [all forms of] compulsion on the million Iraqi persons who live there, this was not some random choice. Rather, there was a prior plan aiming at the collective punishment of its people, because it is a city that is known historically and politically as a proud Arab stronghold, home to the forces of nationalism, that has played an unforgettable role in the resistance to the occupation, and in standing up to its policies and its methods and its governmental structures, and they have written splendid pages in [the history of] the fight...in spite of all that they have faced and still face by way of military sieges and oppressive break-ins and security-raids over the course of the past four years.

And Adhamiya is also an outstanding cultural landmark in Iraq, and was for many years the beating heart of Baghdad, when it extended from Adham Gate [and he names the neighborhoods, each with its cultural resonance]...

So his first point is that this isn't just a random neighborhood. This was picked because it is known both for its steadfastness in resisting the occupation, and something of parallel importance, its cultural weight in Iraq.

The writer then adds:
So it is clear that the American occupiers, with their well-known stupidity and their swagger, were responding to the instigations of their own agents, the sectarians, and began to build this wall to separate Adhamiya from Baghdad, as a message to the Sunni Arabs that Adhamiya is just the beginning...
And the reason the Americans didn't believe Maliki when he told them to stop construction of the wall, this writer says, is that Maliki's own appointees in the Iraqi military are dead set against backing down in the execution of this plan.

Pointing to the symbolic significance of Adhamiya as starting point for this strategy in Baghdad doesn't mean there haven't been instances of the walling-off strategy elsewhere in Iraq.

And here is where the writer gets down to his main point about the relationship of all of this to the "political process".

In particular, the writer says, there have been reports of this isolation strategy in
several cities in the provinces of Anbar, Mosul, Diyala, Kirkuk and Salahaddin, including Haditha, Hit, Falluja, Tal Afar, Samarra [and others], that have been surrounded by earthen berms of various heights, with the cutting-off of food supplies, electricity, drinking water, even the distribution of the food-rations... in collective punishment, without the slightest response from even one single individual from among the participants in the so-called political process, and especially the Islamic Party...
And there is a reason why the writer picks on the Islamic Party in particular.
The latest news about the Islamic Party is that they have become evangelists for the occupation, going around sending messages to tribal leaders and other personalities in the Sunni Arab provinces, inviting them to work with the Americans and cut their ties to the resistance, telling them that the Americans are prepared to end their connections with the Shiite organizations and substitute for them an alliance with the Arab Sunna, if only they will cease their resistance, and pacify their areas.
In other words, the leaders of the resistance are being invited, by people in the Islamic Party among others, to raise the white flag, in the hopes that eventually the Americans will deign to name one of them as the new representative of the occupation.

His conclusion:
The geographical and sectarian isolation strategies ...have failure pre-written upon them, because they rely on the brute force of the foreigners and the coertion of power. The brave persons who have blown up their tanks and their vehicles protected by armored steel, are capable of blowing up the Adhamiya wall or any other wall, or concrete or cement dividers, and proud Adhamiya will remain, protected by its people, dead-set against the occupation and the miserable mercenaries who are its agents, a thorn in the side of the invaders, and in the chest of the Shuubiin and the Safavids.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haron Muhammad is of course correct in his assessment. The occupation is but a blanket veneer compressed upon Iraqi society in an attempt to suffocate the will of the people. The hope being that the people will modify and adapt their culture to accommodate the imposition rather than resist it. The problem though, is that the alien veneer lacks the integral connectivity that adhere the natural layers of society (and history) together, and demand that requirement for integration. Which renders the occupation as nothing more than a persistent irritant, and subject to delamination when exposed to normal weather conditions. Easy to see that the umbrella holders all live in the green zone.

1:54 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

The Islamic Party is a trojan horse, no doubt about it. It's worth remembering that the I.P. was represented on Bremer's so-called Governing Council. Is it funded by the Saudis by any chance?

I often see the Islamic Party's UK spokesman Fareed Sabri on TV. He comes across as an amiable buffoon who emphasises that he opposed the invasion and accurately describes all the damage done by the USA in Iraq - then goes on to say that the Americans need to stay indefinitely in order to correct all their mistakes!

4:36 AM  

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