Thursday, April 15, 2004

By Hatem Abunimeh:

So is it safe to suggest that the current Iraq situation is a clash of civilization like Huntington suggested? Or is it Orientalism like Edward Said theorized?Perhaps it might be Occidentalism like Osama Bin laden implemented?What is it?Each side be that Iraqi or American is mutually demonizing and vilifying the other side.Mistrust and misgiving is the only governing denominator between them.Where do we go from here?Who is misconstruing what?To simply suggest that the Americans are there because they are enthralled with the idea of colonization and the expansion of their imperialist ideals is a very naive suggestion.To suggest that the Iraqis are fighting back because they want to expel the Americans out of their country is more naive than to say that the Americans went to Iraq because they are parched for some oil.Some people suggest that the internationalization of the Iraqi issue will put a pluralistic face on it and l! end it more legitimacy than leaving it purely American.Meanwhile,the Iraqis can't stand on their own even if the Americans pack up and leave right this moment,each faction in Iraq will hurry up to grab a piece of the pie and since there is no attendant to divide the pie in an equal fashion,chaos and anarchy will erupt during the process and the pie will end up unequally divvied.In other words civil war will become the ultimate result in the absence of strong military leadership.The whole Iraq issue in my opinion is a huge case of misunderstanding between the occupying powers and the Iraqi governing council.Neither one of them is spending the sufficient time to explain the true problems to the other.The Americans are trying their best to say that they are there to install freedom and democracy for the Iraqi people,but the way the are saying it is not sinking in any ones head.The provisional governing council on the other hand is trying to convince the Americans to hand them the pow! er of sovereignty even in a hap hazardous way and also allow them to take full charge of the situation and not worry about the consequences since they will be in charged of installing law and order in a lawless provinces.The Americans in turn are not convinced and they feel that the governing council needs more time to prove its ability to govern since thus far their performance leaves something to be desired.Finally,the Iraqi people are lost between the over confident occupying forces,and the under achiever governing council.A year has gone by and when things appeared to be worse than what it was under the dictatorship of the former regime of Saddam Hussein they decided to take matters into their own hands.It started with the Shia worried about being swept under the rug after the Sunni and Kurds proved that they still have the stamina to deal with the Americans be that in a diplomatic fashion or through the gun barrel.Noticing that the Shia has awakened from their deep moribund,! the Sunni expanded their already operational eruption and spread it further into other Iraqi provinces.The Kurds while they still standing on the side for now,they know deep down by confirmed assurances from the occupying powers that their rights will not be swept under the rug.Will the Iraq situation turn into a religious war?Will Jihad rather than nationalism become the driving force behind motivating the Iraqis to resist.Will the latest wave of killings and counter killings prove to be nothing more than a tempest in a tea pot?And before long stability will prevail and the insurgents will be crushed and the sovereignty will indeed be handed back to the governing council of Iraq?Will Iraq plunge into long term internecine that only God know when and how will it end?Will the Iraqis on one hand and the occupying force on the other reconcile their differences and come to term with one another by concluding that no party will be able to defeat the other party by military means and the o! nly available solution is the negotiating table?Will the differences be patched and couple of years from now we see free,prosperous,democratic Iraq?Only time will tell.

By Hatem Abunimeh

I'll never forget the time when I read a satirical comment by someone trying to mock the current administration by asking a direct question of how on earth the United States of America as a country is being run by a Bush...a Dick....a Condom...and a Colon.That was indeed a reference to the President George Bush,His vice President Dick Cheney,his national security advisor Condolesa Rice,and his secretary of the state Colin Powel.But let me put lampooning aside and get down to the real issues discussed in Mr. Nabulsi's open letter to the American people.

I read with keen interest the letter to the American people written by Zaid Nabulsi,and here is my rebuttal to his rather very lengthy arguments which were appearing in it.

You will notice as you read through that I'm going to eschew from commenting on the sections that I happen share with him the same line of thinking.

The first argument that attracted my attention was the one about holding the one who hands the murder weapon at the same level of guilt with the one who pulls the trigger.
This argument is farcical at best since Guns don't kill people and people are the ones who kill other people.His argument is the same one like those who want to hold the gun manufacturer like Wesson and Smith responsible for each murder that takes place as a result of someone using their company's manufactured guns to kill someone else.Somebody from the national rifle association might counter the argument by suggesting that guns are also used for hunting animals and for personal protections and for many other defensive none offensive postures.

In addition,comparing or equating the ones who provide the murder weapon with those who pull the trigger would also be equivalent to supporting those who say that earth moving equipment manufactured by Caterpillar are also being used to kill activists like Rachel Corrie and also used to demolish Palestinian homes and orchards,therefore, Caterpillar is responsible for the murderous acts being committed with the machines that they manufacture,Caterpillar on the other hand,conversely, asserts that his heavy equipments are supposed to be used for earth moving--,practically, the same argument made by Wesson and Smith,namely, that their guns ought to be used for a defensive not offensive purposes.

The second argument he alluded to in his open letter is his mistrust and misgiving about the greater middle east initiative and how it relates to the Libyan colonial Moammar Ghdafi.While Ghadafi may have been flip flopping over the past quarter of century,one can't deny that he had made some concrete steps to rectify some of his previous mishaps.For instance,he settled the long standing issue about the Lockerbie bombing over Scotland,he delivered the suspect,and he is going to pay the families of the victims a handsome amount of monetary compensation.He is working with the French to settle their claim over the downing of the French commercial jet.He stopped funding all of the African rebellions,he came clean on his nuclear,chemical and biological manufacturing plans,and most importantly,he recen! tly declared his intention to compensate the Libyan Jews that immigrated to Israel.What else a man ought to do in order to propitiate his guilt.

As far as Halliburton's involvement in getting contracts in Iraq,the vice president declared on more than one occasions that he no longer has any association with the company and he liquidated all of his assets with them immediately upon becoming a vice president.The fact Halliburton has been able to get more contract than any other company has to do with the skills that they acquired over the years and the reputation for carrying out projects until completion at a reasonable cost to the client.In other words,they did not get the job in Iraq because of Dick Cheney's influence.

In terms of his comments about the rebuilding of the infrastructure,the reference here is about what has been lacking over the last three decades and not about what the planes destroyed during the bombing.
Iraq is in need of complete overhaul of its telecommunication system,electrical connections system,water irrigation,etc.
In essence,they need a complete rebuilding of their entire infrastructure including what was damaged during the invasion and occupation war.

Many people including Mr.Nabulsi suggested that a link between Iraq and Al-Qaeda couldn't be established,while an explicit link couldn't be established, an implicit one was apparent,and slowly growing.What do you make of the presence in Iraq of Abu Abbas the master mind of the Achilles' Lori ship hijacking?,Abu Nidal.Ansar Al Islam group that are known for their terrorist activities?.

What do you make of the $25.000.00 reward that was given to the families of each suicide bombers by Saddam Hussein.It was perceived as an incentive to commit more suicide bombing in order for the families to receive the reward on behalf of those who carry out successful suicide bombing.What about the alleged presence of Abu Musaab Zarqawi in Iraq?What about daily firings of anti aircraft missiles for 12 years during the nineties on US planes patrolling the southern and northern no fly zones?

Then Mr.Nabulsi moves on to say that the United states is doing whatever is doing in the Middle East in order to finance Israel and at the same time never find an equitable solution for the Palestinian question.Let me tell you,the Arabs are not interested in resolving the Palestinian question.If and when the question is resolved there wont be anything else left to cry about or bargain on its behalf.In essence,the Palestinian question being left unresolved helps the Arab leaders to stay on their seats endlessly,it is a winning strategy for them why would they want to give it away!

Ehud Barak offered Arafat at Camp David II to settle the Palestinian Issue once and for all giving him 90 to 95 percent of the 22% of the Palestinian land.Egypt,Jordan,And Saudi Arabia objected to it and did not give Arafat the green light to accept the deal.Now years later we are again asking for the same thing offered many years ago and was rejected by the Arabs.

Adding new fuel to the fire, a brand new violent movement started in September of 2000 & thus far resulting in 3000 dead Palestinians and 20 thousand injured with some for life.

Again and again,Mr.Nabulsi moves on appealing to the American people to take the matter in their own hand,well,most polls taken recently show that the majority of American people still support their president for his initial decision of going to war in Iraq,they, however, oppose to the recent handling of the current situation, but in no way oppose his concept of establishing what he termed free democratic Iraq.

Finally,America nowadays is the only remaining super power on earth,and as such it finds itself obligated to operate as the world's police man.It will continue to do whatever it takes to preserve [ freedom ]which is considered almighty God gift to humanity,not Americas gift to oppressed people.

April 15,2004