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The Ba'athist insurgency in Iraq
By Bill King
Many opponents of the war in Iraq in North America, particularly those on the left, dismiss the suggestion that the Iraqi "resistance" is made up of remnants of the Saddam Hussein regime, i.e. former armed forces, paramilitary -- such as the Fedayeen Saddam, intelligence apparatus, and Ba'ath Party militants. Instead, North American leftists usually use the vague and more positive sounding term "nationalist" to describe the non-Islamist component of the insurgency, with the aim of giving it more legitimacy thereby buttressing their arguments against US efforts in Iraq.
But in Europe (where the political dynamic is very different and where anti-Americanism is on the verge of becoming the official religion), as well as throughout the Middle East, opponents of the war are not as circumscribed when it comes to talking about the real nature of the Iraqi insurgents. The result is some often very informative and revealing items that are unfortunately only rarely translated into English.
A case in point is a recent article from the Jordanian newspaper Al Majd, which was translated into Spanish on the web site of the Spanish anti-war group CSCA (Committee of Solidarity with the Arab Cause). The article is an interview with a former general in the Iraqi army, under the pseudonym of "Abu Mutassim", who is involved in what he describes as the "military leadership" of the insurgency. It clearly lays out what should be a surprise to no one, namely that the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who made up Saddam Hussein's army, police, and other repressive forces, as well as Ba'ath Party cadre, did not simply vanished into thin air, but rather that thousands of them are actively engaged in the Iraqi "resitance".
The most pertinent parts of the article, mainly direct quotes from "Abu Mutassim", are translated here:
[Source: Al Majd, translated by Al Moharer. Elaboration: CSCAweb ]
There is clearly a certain amount of exaggeration and braggadocio in "Abu Mutassim's" comments, which is itself typical of Ba'athist-Saddamite discourse. In particular, it is doubtful just how much "leadership" or control the Ba'ath Party has over the Islamist and al-Qaida elements in Iraq. But it's also clear that those North American anti-war activists who maintain that only innocent and patriotic "nationalists", together with the Islamists, are involved in the insurgency are either poorly informed or are consciously trying to conceal the true nature of the insurgents in order to push their agenda of defeating the struggle for democracy in Iraq.
Bill King is a freelance writer in Surrey, BC.
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