Monday, August 13, 2007

An example of Baath-jihadi interaction

While thinking about this question of communication and coordination between the secular and the islamist parts of the resistance, I came upon the following. It is a statement by someone called Faisal al-Janidi, posted on the albasrah.net website, dated August 11, 2007, and headed "Comments on a statement by the jihadi factions of Aadhamiya". It is pretty much self-explanatory, a small illustration of an open relationship between the Baath-related and the jihadi sides of the resistance, of the kind intimated by al-Kubaysi (in the ICH interview just posted), and which seems to be an important blindspot for the anglo-understanding. Here it is. (The three dots toward the end are where I skipped over a short illustration from Islamic history. I didn't get it. Forgive me).
A group of jihadi factions in Adhamiya issued a statement a few days ago criticizing the so-called Adhamiya Awakening and warning its members of severe sanctions. We agree with the factions in exposing this group and punishing it, as long as it is clear they are cooperating with the occupation, carrying out [the occupation's] plans, and interfering with the role of the jihadi factions. However, we don't agree with the part of this and other statements where they refer to "suspicious and opportunistic" individuals who had positions, large or small, in the national state before the occupation saying or suggesting that they are the models (meaning representative microcosms) of the national system, as if the Iraqi state in the capacity of each of its employees should be composed of angels. Some of the statements in question went so far as to several members of the Mahdi Army are former security officers, and one of them even said the criminal Abu Daraa used to be a security officer with the rank of Major, which wasn't true but even if we grant that, what is strange or unreasonable about the idea that there were deviations by a group within the hundreds of thousands of [state] employees and officers. And what is their relative position among the thousands of officers and of the rank and file who form the backbone of all of the resistance factions without exception. ... And so I ask our brothers in the factions to be scrupulous and to show their cultural ability (qudrat al-thaqaafii) not to do harm to what is the main component of the resistance, the Baath with its factions and its broad popular leadership, which is the nursery of all of the resistance factions under whatever name. And [we ask you to be scrupulous] so as not to perform a free service for the occupation and its agents, and to keep your turn your guns and your pen turned against those who have declared open season on this country of ours. Because it is unity in our ranks and in our speech that will put the nails in the coffin of the occupation.

14 Comments:

Anonymous Alison said...

Badger, I have posted some urls of articles containing significant background information about the Ba'athist Resistance spectrum and its preparation by Saddam in the comments section of your recent post 'Toward an understanding of the National Iraqi resistance: Part I'.

1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, a few days ago Kubaysi claimed that the Baath and Saddam didn't plan the resistance and that Saddam played an important role to push his people into resistance only after the invasion;
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article18155.htm

Let us remember that the West started with insulting the resistance calling it foreigners and followers of the old regime. They wanted to allude that the resistance has no connection to the Iraqi people. Actually the resistance sprang up on a very grass root level to defend its identity against the enormous provocations of US neo-colonialism. They were former soldiers, tribesmen, nationally and religiously inspired people who acted in their immediate environment. It was neither foreigners nor Baathists who were the driving force of the inception although Baathists were participating as well.

The way the US deposed Saddam was perceived as an aggression to all Iraqis including those who opposed him. To be honest eventually Saddam personally played an important role to push his people into resistance. He did not try to save himself by hiding as was being reported. No, he went from city to city, from Tikrit to Samarra, Anbar and also Baghdad. He contacted Sheikhs, officers and so on. He said that they should resist not for him as a president, but for the nation and for Islam. He asked them even to not use any more his picture as a rallying symbol.

2:32 PM  
Blogger badger said...

anonymous, I don't think Kubaysi said or meant that Saddam or the Baath made preparations for resistance only after the invasion. He tells Saddam/post-invasion story in the context of rehabilitating his reputation, but if you read carefully the 2002 Kubaysi interview (in the prior post) you'll see that he says the 2002 Kubaysi/Saddam discussions were not only about the need for political opening, but also about the related need for strength in resisting America. As for more detail on the preparations, I haven't yet read any of the additional material Allison refers to, so I can't comment on that).

3:11 PM  
Anonymous Steve & Molly said...

Badger,

First of all, thank you for your work.

All the on the ground reporting for our documentary, Meeting Resistance, was carried out in the Al Adhamiya neighborhood. Some of the introductory questions we were asking in the interviews concerned pre-war relationships with the Ba'ath, when the people began forming resistance groups and whether there was a significant party element.

Despite the district having a reputation for being a "Ba'ath stronghold", we found very little respect for party members among those we spoke to and it would not be too strong to say that the Ba'ath was widely despised for its' corruption and cowardice. Most of the interviewees in the film had joined ad-hoc groups within a week of the fall of Baghdad without orders and based their decision purely on a sense of "doing the right thing". Saddam, toward whom there was a much more complex attitude of respect - bolstered by the invasion itself - purportedly sent out a call for an underground re-formation of the state defense structures a couple of weeks later.

Overall, Ba'athists had a lot of catching up to do and the appeal you posted here seems to show that perceptions of the party are still very much in a state of flux.

We have a limited theatrical release going on at the moment so if anyone is in the LA or near Hartford CT the next few days you can see the film there. We'll be doing more in the fall and there's a dvd pending. If you go to our site www.meetingresistance.com, you can also sign up for our newsletters letting you know where it's going to be showing.

We apologize for the shameless plug but, given how much time and space you devote to this topic we're sure you'll feel - as we do - that this is a very important piece of the Iraq puzzle.

3:34 PM  
Blogger badger said...

Steve & Molly, You honor me. I saw the trailer that was posted on Iraqslogger, and I've been trying to figure out how to help. For now, I'll do a post with the meetingresistance.com link and schedule of the initial showings, with a link to the trailer and a note on your comments on the tiein with recent posts here. I'm so pleased you located us, it's almost as if the internet really works ! Badger

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Steve & Molly said...

Of course it works Badger. This is a place of refuge on a daily basis. The journey of understanding has its oases and Missing Links is one such.

Were it not for yourself, AbuA, Helena C and Bernhard, what would the world be? And, of course, there is JC - for all our criticisms - who seeks to transport our minds into this uncertain world of knowledge.

Thank you in advance for anything you may be able to do to push MR along a little and we look forward to being able to deliver it to you soon.

Maybe you could drop us a line about this and we can tell you what we're up to.

Best

Steve & Molly

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

alison

In 2002 Kubaysi didn't say that he met Saddam. He said that he met some " officials"

But Kubaysi said many different things.

For instance:
http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/a-list/2003w50/msg00026.htm

(December 18, 2003)

AC: Will the arrest of Saddam Hussein result in a setback for the resistance?

JK: No, on the contrary already within a few weeks you will see a further strengthening of the resistance movement. For some Baathists it might be a temporary disappointment. Although Saddam did not exert any command function he still represented the one man rule and the dominance of his family clan. Many party members who until now remained passive for that reason now will join the resistance. As the fragmentation of the Baath party reached its final stage, everyone decides upon his one without waiting for the command chain which anyway was no more operative since the collapse of the regime.
[...]
Is the Baath party also inside the [resistance] front?
JK: There is no official representation of the party as they are all occupied by hiding themselves. But many members joined the front or support it.


http://www.insteadofwar.org/site/news_more.php?id=A918_0_2_0_M
February 2004
Certainly the presentation of Saddam Hussein in front of the media was a meticulously planned propaganda success. But on the ground it changed nothing. On the contrary, the overall unity of the resistance has been strengthened. Many Baathists who did not agree to the rule of Saddam Hussein and who were opposed to him playing at least the role of a leader by honour, now actively engage in the resistance. The different Baathist groups became much more flexible in their decisions. And on the other side the Islamic forces increased their co-operation. Saddam, despite the fact that a big majority did not agree to this methods of rule, is about to become a symbol of resistance. Even on Western TV networks they showed demonstrations carrying the pictures of Saddam defaming those boys of being Saddam-loyalists. The people have nothing to do with Saddam. They just use him as a symbol to defy the occupants just like many secular women wear the veil as a symbol against the occupation.

etc. etc.

Then the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance joined the Baath party in the National Islamic Patriotic Front and Kubaysi's version of the past changed.
By the way, Kubaysi lives quietly in Paris.

6:27 PM  
Blogger badger said...

If I may interject, first of all thank you for the link to the insteadofwar interview of 2004. It is a very enlightening read, and for people's convenience here it is in clickable form

The other url you cited doesn't seem to be working, and there doesn't seem to be an archives.econ.utah.edu any more. Do you have any suggestions how one could find that?

When you say the Baath party later joined in the National Islamic Patriotic Front, I'm aware that is the name of the outfit now, but do you have any references for the circumstances of that joining? (I'm wondering if you have another url up your sleeve...) I'm interested particularly in the relationship with the Islamists.

I'm not exactly sure where you think K's story changed significantly. I guess he's nicer to the memory of Saddam now that Saddam loyalists are on the team, but apart from that?

More links! More urls! Thanks for this so far!

9:09 PM  
Anonymous Alison said...

It is important that history is not distorted or rewritten!!

I’m not absolutely sure whether Kubaysi met Saddam personally when he visited Baghdad in 2002, though he certainly met Al-Douri. However, Kubaysi provides many details of Saddam’s underground activities between April and December 2003 in his moving tribute - in Arabic - posted on the IPA website, www.iraqipa.net, in the first half of February.

Neither Kubaysi and the IPA nor the spontaneous resistance groups that sprung up after the invasion were privy to the comprehensive secret preparations for armed – and popular - resistance undertaken by “the martyr leader Saddam Hussein” and the “very capable cadres” whom he recruited "in complete confidentiality" to “ensure the victory of the Ba’ath Party and its allies at the end of the of the great conflict whatever adverse circumstances beset the Party and its fighters after the invasion” according to leading Ba’athist intellectual and activist Salah Al-Mukhtar, a confidante of Saddam. According to Salah Al-Mukhtar these secret preparations were completed in 2001-2002.

For a better understanding of the origins and scope of the Iraqi National Resistance systematically prepared by Saddam and the Ba’ath BEFORE Kubaysi's visit to Baghdad in 2002, I strongly recommend that you all read the following interviews:

Interview: Baath leader calls for peace talks (2005): http://robertdreyfuss.com/blog/2005/12/interview_baath_leader_calls_f.html

Salah Al Mukhtar: The Iraqi Resistance is geared to keep on fighting for a decade to come (2005): http://www.al-moharer.net/moh225/arabmonitor_mukhtar225.htm

An interview with a leader of the Iraqi Ba’ath Party (2004): http://comitesirak.free.fr/baath/baath-041011-eng.htm


An interview with General Abu Al Mu’tassim (2004) : http://comitesirak.free.fr/baath/baath-041031-eng.htm

2:12 AM  
Anonymous Steve & Molly said...

Alison,

There is little doubt that the Ba'ath - at some level - had planned to go underground and create a resistance movement but, in the topsy-turvy world that was post-invasion Iraq we saw little evidence that the plan was being implemented. If you take a look at the FAQ on our site you will see why we decided to pursue the story back in 2003. In part this was because the nature of the attacks against the US military in April and May of that year contradicted the Pentagon description of mopping-up operations against die-hard remnants of the Iraqi armed forces. What we were seeing and hearing about on the street were small scale hit and run attacks that failed to press home an advantage. They were, in a word, amateurish.

Small groups of friends and neighbors had decided to take it upon themselves to form groups and get involved - for a variety of reasons - and a movement grew out of what you could call, this enthusiasm. By the time the party members were raising their heads above the parapet they found themselves in a position of followers rather than leaders and essentially grafted themselves onto what were now existing structures. Some attained leadership positions based on expertise but it's doubtful that the movement they were joining was the object of their hearts desire. Their world had changed irrevocably and they could no longer claim ownership of anything in Iraq, even among the Sunni communities.

6:36 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Just a quick comment for now as I don't have much time.

I don't know whether you have actually read the interviews I recommended, but there is absolutely no way that the Iraqi National Resistance could have been sustained if it had merely been ad hoc and spontaneous as is so often - erroneously - asserted.
On the other hand, mass mobilisation was important and Saddam's frenetic activities in the months before his capture were aimed at connecting these two essential components of the Resistance.It was in the nature of things that preparations before the invasion had to be kept secret and that obviously had disadvantages as well as advantages.

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

badger

The numerous interviews to Kubaysi have been published on the Antiimperialist camp’s website, from which ICH got the latest one. http://www.antiimperialista.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5269&Itemid=55

The Antiimperialist camp is a kind of IPA’s megaphone. However now they have deleted all the Kubaysi’s interviews 2003-2004, since they don’t reflect anymore today’s Kubaysi’s thought and his history draft. One needs to go look for those interviews on those websites that republished them at that time.

http://archives.econ.utah.edu/archives/a-list/2003w50/msg00026.htm it works fine to me; it’s an interview to Kubaysi published on the Antiimperialist camp on 18 December 2003 and now deleted. However it’s now available also on http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2004/01/284478.html.

Alison,

Salah al-Mukthar is not jabbar-Jubaysi, even though now Salah
al-Mukhtar is very close to Kubaysi and IPA. I know perfectly well that al-Mukhar and other members of Baath (and others) have said that the resistance was planed before the war. I am not saying this is not true. I am just saying that Kubaysi changes continuously his version of the facts according to the circumstances. In 2003/2004 he repeatedly – you may read it above – stated that the Baath was completely dissolved with the war and that all the executive cadres were only busy to hide themselves. On December 2003 Kubaysi would make fun of the Baath. On September-October 2005 the Baath and Ipa joined into the National Islamic patrotic Front (at that time Kubaysi was in jail) and from that time the Baath accepted the political programme of IPA. At this point the past changed or it’s been deleted, as in the notorious ministry of truth. I know that now even the Baathists are saying that the alliance with IPA dated 2002 and it’s been sanctioned by Saddan Hussain; it’s just not true. One just needs to read the interviews and the many statements of Kubaysi and his spokesperson Qalamji in 2003 and 2004.

I don’t know whom Kubaysi met in Iraq in 2002 (surely, not Saddam). I didn’t read the moving tribute to saddam on the IPA website but I read and posted above what Kubaysi said when Saddam was captured; not that moving, isn’t it? Obviously now that he’s allied with the Baath (and I’d say that IPA is now the major political training force of the National Islamic Political Front) he can’t but keep writing well on Saddam, even though he keep being indulgent on the murderers of Saddam (Sadr and his Mahdi Army). About Kubaysi’s revelations on Saddam’s activities between April and December 2003, I too may give you some other revelations if you like. And I don’t think they would mean less than Kubaysi’s. Anyway, Saddam can’t deny anything at this point, can he? How can Kubaysi know what Saddam was doing in April-December 2003? In the most optimistic hypothesis, someone must have told him since in December 2003 Kubaysi was all happy about Saddam’s capture and he was saying this was a happy event for the resistance, because in this way the numerous opponents of Saddam would unite to the resistance.

Honestly, it’s not that what IPA says is that important, since IPA says all and its contrary, according to the conveniences of the moment. Maybe there is still someone who remembers the story of the Unified Command of the Iraqi Resistance? http://arablinks.blogspot.com/2006/10/meet-resistance.html (October 2006): first IPA spread this “news” then, after the outraged denial by 1920 revolution Brigades and Islamic army in Iraq, and after some members of the so-called command knew about it reading the al-Quds al-arabi, IPA said that that news wasn’t true. In March 2007, Awni al-Qalamji, spokesperson for the IPA, said that the news of that unified commando wasn’t correct. http://www.nodo50.org/iraq/2007/docs/23_03_07_Awni_al_Kalemji.html Very strange, since Qalamji had confirmed some months before every details to the Italian News Agency Adnkronos. http://www.osservatorioiraq.it/old/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=3239

The Antiimperialist camp (unofficial mouthpiece for the IPA) even wrote recently (in December) that the news of the unified commando of Iraqi resistance was a conspiracy by a Bassora newspaper and from “the newspaper pro-Saudi al-Quds al-arabi" with “the criminal intent” to discredit the iraqi resistance and expose all (and in particular Kubaysi and Qalamji) to the risk of American retaliations. http://www.antiimperialista.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4915&Itemid=68
To be precise al-Quds al-arabi is the newspaper where used to write at the time and still now writes Qalamji.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous Steve & Molly said...

Alison,

We don't want to argue the toss with you - really - but our reporting on the ground just doesn't lend any support to the notion that the Ba'ath had any great influence over events in that period. It would be more in keeping with the realities to say that much of the organization was coming out of the mosques but even that would be only partially true given that the clergy themselves had little say in the matter. When the Ba'ath did eventually join up they became yet another network of funding and weapons sourcing that had, hitherto, been almost entirely social.

Had the Ba'ath institutions been the main movers and shakers the US would probably have cleared them out in short order. The fact that resistance was coming out of a social rather than a political order made that task so much more difficult, especially as the US military didn't get its head around the realities for many months and were effectively looking for the wrong people.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous Alison said...

Steve and Molly,

I don't want to get into a protracted argument with you either, but empirical research of the type you conducted only ever scratches the surface and appearances are often deceiving.

As IPA General Secretary Abdul Jabbar Al-Kubaysi now acknowledges, Saddam - ostensibly in hiding - was travelling from village to village, from town to town in 2003, writing hundreds or even thousands of letters to tribal chiefs, clerics, army officers etc and - where appropriate -putting ordinary people in touch with the emerging clandestine cells of the Ba'ath Party. Was that being reported? Did anyone tell you about it? Of course not! ABSOLUTE SECRECY was crucial.

3:57 AM  

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