Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Resistance supporter on the forces at work in the Cairo process

Awni Qalamji writes in his regular op-ed in Al-Quds al-Arabi in criticism of those groups that have been in the ambit of the armed resistance, who it seems are now prepared to attend the Cairo Conference, even though the US hasn't responded to the main resistance demand for a commitment to complete and unconditional withdrawal:
At this point we need to move from generalities [about resistance strategy] to complete specificity and clarity, because these forces that are interested in accomodation with the invaders and their agents have constituted a heavy burden on the armed resistance in its fight against the occupier, for many reasons.

First, their political program is the opposite of the program of the Iraqi resistance....[Instead of insisting on the prior commitment to complete and unconditional withdrawal] these forces have entered into a process that is the complete opposite of the resistance program, and is instead based on conciliation and truce and inviting the occupation to negotiations under the pretext of an expulsion that would be face-saving and a withdrawal with honor....
And here Qalamji offers a glimpse of what he thinks the process has been like. He writes:
And in spite of the lack of response to these invitations [made to the Americans by the forces he is criticizing] still they persist in their program, and they continue putting out initiatives and proposals for free, instead of withdrawing from that and returning to the ranks of the Iraqi resistance.
Qalamji says the attempt to sell this approach as "political resistance," and as a support for the armed resistance, is fraudulent and disruptive of the unity of the resistance. In this regard he writes:
...this has generated confusion in Iraqi and Arab circles, in the sense that it has become difficult to confront these forces and expose their attitudes and explain the causes that underly them and their aims, namely that they are not following this path out of conviction or out of mistaken reasoning that could be corrected by discussion or by making them see the danger of their mistaken policy, but rather that they are following this approach in order to realize a particular agenda of theirs.
That, Qalamji says, is the first reason why these self-styled "political resistance" groups have been a burden on the armed resistance.

The second reason has to do with regional politics in the Gulf. Qalamji writes:
The second reason is that these forces have given up their political autonomy for the benefit of Arab countries, and particularly the emirates of the Gulf. These forces are prepared to facilitate the particular agendas [of these Arab states] in the following sense: [These forces']participation in the [Iraqi] poitical process presents the opportunity for creation of a balance in the political equation [in Iraq]for the advantage of a small clique, using the argument that this balance prevents an alliance between the Kurds and those parties that are working essentially in the interests of Iran...which is something that implies division of Iraq with a Shiite state in the south allowing Iran to realize its ambitions...And this explains the support provided by these Gulf states, in varying degrees, to the aforementioned forces, and their complete coordination with them, including the necessary material and political and PR assistance, financing of their activities and conferences, and so on.
So Qalamji's second criticism of those groups participating in Cairo is that they don't represent the Iraqi people because what they do represent is a "faction", namely that faction in the GreenZone that wants to drive a political-process wedge between the Kurds in the north and the Shiite separatists in the south. It is worth noting: While some might think of fighting the Kurd-SCIRI alliance as "nationalist", Qalamji is saying no: This is part and parcel of the kind of sectarian back-and-forth that goes on under a regime that is dominated by the occupation forces. The nationalist position is to expel the occupier first, then deal with internal politics.

And Qalamji's third argument against these forces is an elaboration of that point, namely that by participating in this type of discussion with the occupier still occupying the country, all they are doing is arguing about the specific sectarian allocations with a view to altering them, instead of attacking the cause of this whole sectarian approach, which is the occupation itself.

Still, Qalamji says the experience of Cairo is going to be a positive one in the long run, because it will make those accomodating forces in effect declare themselves, putting an end to the above-described ambiguity, thus simplying the struggle.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Badger, you may be interested in a recent article by Salah Al-Mukhtar along the same lines, if you haven't read it already:

1:25 AM  
Blogger badger said...

thanks Allison, I completely missed that. I've done a short post on it today (Friday Jan 18).

11:25 AM  
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