Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Southern tribes call for political unity with the Iraqi resistance

The Council of Arab Tribes of the South issued a statement Wednesday, reported by Aswat alIraq. Their English-language summary got shrunk in the wash, leaving out important parts; here's what their Arabic-language summary said:
The Council of Arab Tribes of the South issued a statement Wednesday calling for the start of the sixth year of the occupation to be the year of Iraqi national unity and liberation and the putting of Iraqi interests above the sectarian, racial, and partisan interests, because everyone's interests will be served by a strong, secure and unified Iraq.

The statement, issued on the fifth anniversary of the entry of the foreign troops, said: "On the eve of this landmark day, we say, on behalf of all Iraqis: 'Enough with the occupation, you occupiers. Depart far away, because you bring with you nothing but evil and terror, and enough of the foreign interventions and the messages of killing and destruction exchanged between the parties to foreign struggles'.

And the statement said: "We are on the threshold of the sixth year of the occupation, and we want this to be the year of national unity and liberation, the year of the love of Iraq and its people, the year of throwing out sectarianism and partition [and there follows the statement quoted in the first paragraph above about prioritizing the national interest].

And the statement of the Council of Arab Tribes of the South directed this message to the Iraqi resistance: 'We issue a call to all resisters to unite their ranks, and to invite all Iraqis to unity, because there is other way of expelling the occupation except by unity in the ranks. And we urge [all resisters] to cut off all those who target Iraqis or threaten their national unity.'

The statement continues: 'Likewise, we call on all groups in the current political process, whether in the government or in parliament, whether governing or in opposition, to reconsider their attitude.' Explaining: 'It is part of nationalism and honor and straightforward courage to admit that the current political process has failed in realizing the interests of Iraqis. Rather it has brought upon us all of this calamity that the Iraqi people are going through.'

It called on the political groups to conduct an honest reappraisal of all that has happened up to now, and:
to try to become effective participants in the founding of a new national political process, based on a genuine Iraqi national initiative, leaving aside the ambitious persons and the litigants, overcoming all of the negativity and tragedy of the prior period.
Aswat alIraq says the statement concluded by urging all Iraqis to be firm in nationalism,
which it defined via certain points, including: "expelling the occupiers with their evil allies, and combatting foreign interventions, starting with the Iranian intervention in Iraq, and caling for national unity, and a single, undivided Iraq."

Aswat alIraq says this council was formed a year ago, has its headquarters in Basra, and includes a number of tribes mainly centered in the South of Iraq, adding that the council has been calling for an end to the sect-based political process since its formation.

I googled the Council of Arab Tribes of the South for more information, but the only thing I found was a missing links post from December 2007 that started like this:
The Central Council of Iraqi Arab Sheikhs (representing tribes--mostly Sunni--in the West and North of Iraq) issued a statement in support of the nationalist, anti-federalism stance adopted by Arab tribes--mostly Shiite--in the South of Iraq, and Al-Hayat says it was this emerging sign of Sunni-Shiite solidarity on the tribal level that frightened Hakim and the Maliki government into their new-found opposition to continued organizational existence/expansion of the awakening-council movement.


Anonymous William deB. Mills said...

This makes two very important posts in two days. One would think you are (pardon my French) actually suggesting that we in the West should pay attention to the Iraqi press and to what Iraqis actually say. I'm shocked.

Overcoming my shock, I am also intrigued by a very moderate, calm, serious nationalist appeal from Moqtada and nearly simultaneously the same appeal from this southern tribal group. Hmmm...Basra's down south, too...

It will be very interesting to see what, if anything, Sistani says in public. Do you have any idea what is going on here? After all the money that has been spent to ensure that Iraq fragments into nice weak ethnic zones, it would be something if a credible nationalist movement were to emerge, wouldn't it?

1:22 PM  
Blogger badger said...

it certainly would.

As far as Sistani is concerned, I don't know, but it's quite possible he isn't the man anymore (having locked himself into all-Shiites-together concept, which is obviously dead). As I understand it, people can choose who they follow...

5:14 PM  

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