Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Baath resistance views for the post-Saddam period: A more global, AlQaeda-like world-view

Al-Quds al-Arabi publishes the full text of the Baath party statement on the sentencing of Saddam Hussein, and there are a couple of important points about resistance strategy, in addition to the two points highlighted by Al-Hayat and summarized in the prior post.

The statement is divided into seven background points, then another series of points relating to plans for action. The claim that Saddam refused to bargain with the occupation is point number 5 of the first list. It is followed by a point emphasizing the relationship of the judgment against Saddam (Nov 5) to the US congressional elections (Nov 7). Then in the seventh and final background point, the statement outlines the Baath party view that what the US is aiming for in Iraq is not necessarily partition, but first and foremost a weak Iraq, without a strong enough central government to be able to resist caving in to US and other foreign pressure.

The argument goes like this: The Americans condemned Saddam to death just before their occupation project fails completely, because they know that with Saddam at the head of the government, restoration of security, stability and services would be a matter of hours, not of years. And one result of that would be that Iraq would again have a voice in the affairs of the region, stronger in fact that before. And for that reason the Americans are against a rapid restoration of stability, favoring rather the creation of "an Iraq free but weak, susceptible to external pressure and to the dictation of conditions, incapable of responding or warding off the return of American colonialism via the window of governmental weakness, after having been expelled by the door of armed resistance. The American plan now, having become convinced that the coming freedom is a certainty (meaning: US forces will be expelled by force), is to agree to the establishment of a national government, but a weak one, and one lacking the polarizing element necessary to unify attitudes, and take the required bold and historic decisions necessitated by the absense of Saddam..."

In other words, the US on the verge of being expelled will be too weak to partition the country, so the next best thing will be make sure that the government is a weak one. (As an assessment of American strategy, this is worth noting quite apart from question whether the net effect of executing Saddam would actually be to make an eventual government stronger or weaker).

In the second series of points, relating to future actions, there is an interesting combination of traditional nationalist positions with a more global view. For instance, point number two of the second list is a call for "complete and unconditional withdrawal" of the US troops. But then point number three warns that if Saddam is executed, the hardliners will have the upper hand in the councils of the resistance, and that means switching to a strategy of attrition against US and actually barring the troops from leaving. Here the focus shifts from merely freeing Iraq, to bringing down the American empire by bleeding them in Iraq. This is a view much closer to the global near-enemy/far-enemy long-term analysis of AlQaeda than to traditional national resistance.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Iraqi Baath party is reaching out to the Baath and other parties and intellectuals in the region. This isn't just the problem of one party or one country, the statement says: "Rather, before all of that, it is a question of the fate of the ummah faced with annihilation and change in its national identity. Because on the day when Iraq is destroyed amid the silence or the collusion of intellectuals and national parties, the next day they will see that it is their turn..."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is worth noting the discrepancy between the hardline strategy outlined in the Ba'ath statement and the emphasis on forbearance, forgiveness and humanity in Saddam Hussein's OPEN LETTER TO THE IRAQI NATION (14th October) - see below. Even after his death sentence, Saddam repeated his appeal to Iraqis to forgive each other.

Here is a translation of the OPEN LETTER FROM PRESIDENT SADDAM HUSSEIN TO IRAQI NATION (14th October 2006):

In the name of God, the merciful, who gives us patience and takes our souls as Muslims.

To our great nation, to honourable Iraqi ladies, to the heroes of our armed forces, to our glorious nation: peace be upon you, God’s mercy and blessings.

To our friends around the world; to everyone who embraces the principles of fraternity and equality in human relations and rejects superiority, exploitation and discrimination: peace be upon you, God’s mercy and blessings.

On the occasion of the month of Ramadan, which this year finds our people facing the most difficult situation in their history: having been exposed to injustice, aggression and embargo since 1991, they are now enduring the even greater hardships of occupation, bloodshed and the looting and destruction of everything that is necessary for life. And yet they still hold on to their faith and their pride, which make them reject humiliation, conspiracies and aggression both from neighbouring and faraway countries. Some of the invaders came across the Atlantic motivated by cowardly and perverse Zionist ambitions, illegitimate interests and aggression. Others came from the East with their usual bad intentions.

Brothers, you know that I am free in my thoughts and opinions, but because I am detained by the invading forces I have only very limited opportunities to express my sentiments and my will, and in particular to communicate with you Iraqis through the media. I only managed to address you on a few occasions during the farcical trial before the microphones were switched off, depriving me of a legitimate opportunity to address the people even as the invaders seek to devour you through the media which they control.

So here I am addressing you today in this holy month of Ramadan, saying:

Resisting the invaders is a right and a duty, and the same goes for those who collaborated with the western or eastern enemy. But I ask you, brothers and comrades in the various factions of the courageous Iraqi Resistance, and you, the proud people of Iraq, to be guided by wisdom and justice in your Jihad and not to succumb to recklessness. Don’t engage in tit-for-tat violence and don’t attack for the sake of attacking when the opportunity arises while you are carrying a gun. I ask you not only to exercise tolerance, but to keep the door of forgiveness open for those who have lost their way, especially if they show some hope of being guided. Remember that it is your duty to save those who have gone astray from themselves and to show them the right path. Keep the door of forgiveness open for everyone until the day of liberation, which is coming soon, God willing.

Victory is close at hand, but remember that your immediate goal is to liberate your country from the invaders and their collaborators. Don’t get diverted into settling accounts - it will only make reconciliation more difficult when the invaders retreat. Remember that after every war there is peace, after every division there is unity, after every separation there is reunion and after all hatred God will return us to familiarity. We share a common humanity and you are one great nation. Our land was the cradle in which the greatest human principles and pure, monotheistic religion were first imbibed before they were transmitted to other civilisations, rescuing them from ignorance and savagery. You are sacrificing your lives for these values today as you did in the past, and above all for the unity of Great Iraq, which transcends ideological differences and group allegiances: that is the guiding light in the heart of each one of us which dispels the forces of darkness.

Brothers, when I speak to you, my heart and my tongue recoil from the terms and categories used by the foreigners to sow dissension among you. Such differences never divided Iraqis in the past. We all remember an Iraq that was resplendent in all its beautiful colours. Great Iraq encompassed Arabs and Kurds, different religious denominations and minority communities – we were proud to be one nation.

Dear brothers, you have been oppressed by the invaders, their followers and associates, so don’t oppress anybody, otherwise your cause will cease to be just in the eyes of God and you will be easy prey for opportunists who seek to distort your struggle. It would be a terrible loss if that were to happen. When you achieve victory, remember that it is God’s victory and that you are his soldiers. Therefore you must be truly magnanimous and set aside any thought of revenge over the spilled blood of your sons and brothers, including the sons of Saddam Hussein. Remember what the merciful prophets taught us, especially the two honourable ones, Mohammad and Jesus, son of Mary. Both forgave and turned to God, beseeching him to forgive those whom they had forgiven, including those who had hurt them. Don’t forget that Mohammad forgave the pagans in Mecca after he had accomplished victory. I know the heart of the freedom fighter and his love for his country and his people which is second only to his love of God. I expect you to heal wounds and not to inflict new ones.

Brothers, after you have forgiven those who wronged you, act to apply the law fairly and firmly so that your nation can enjoy the blessings of stability and security, so that culture, science and law can flourish and you can lead peaceful, happy lives.

In this glorious month of Ramadan I say to you that I recognise no authority above me except for God and the truth. You know very well that Saddam Hussein never surrendered to any threats. He is as you knew him and he remains as you knew him.

God is great…Glory to God, to our nation, our people and the Mujahideen…

Long live Iraq…Long live Palestine…Long live our glorious nation and our peace loving people. God is greater.

Saddam Hussein
President of Iraq and Commander in Chief of Iraq’s Mujahideen Armed Forces

7:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting the letter, Alison Grundle. I appreciate it. I am saving a copy.

7:58 AM  
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