The flurry of news, hypotheses, and media’s distortions about the nature of U.S. Occupation and the Iraqi people resistance to the Occupation continues unabated. How much of this is managed propaganda to justify the Occupation and distort the image of the Resistance to U.S. murderous and unprovoked war?
According to both the Western mainstream media and the so-called “alternative” media, the U.S. is “fighting terrorism”, “building democracy”, and “preventing civil war” in Iraq. The distortion of facts and lack of oppositional media leave people in the West, Americans in particular, ill informed. The Western media diligently divert public attention from the illegal Occupation of Iraq and the responsibility of the U.S. and its allies for the horrendous crimes committed against the people of Iraq. Western journalists and pundits are the main agents of this distorted propaganda campaign.
The aims are to justify the ongoing violent Occupation of Iraq and to portray the Iraqi Resistance as “violent insurgency” composed of “religious fanatics” and “foreign fighters” isolated from the rest of the population “with nothing to lose” is the Occupation’s way of discrediting the Iraqi people legitimate right to resist U.S. Occupation.
While they may be “foreign” volunteers fighting alongside Iraqi brethrens, there is no evidence of “foreign fighters” such as Salafi or the Wahhabi (of Saudi Arabia) in the Resistance movement. This is part of the U.S.-created myth, much more useful than the myth of the discredited Weapons of Mass Destructions (WMD). The Occupation forces have yet to provide concrete evidence of these “foreign fighters”, let alone evidence to substantiate the presence of “al-Qaida”. I will return to this later. From an Iraqi perspective, the “foreigners” in Iraq are U.S. soldiers and mercenaries from Britain, Italy, Australia, South Korea and Japan, etc. Moreover, there is, in this regard, a clear distinction between “insurgency” and “resistance”. The term “insurgency” used profusely by politicians, pundits, the mainstream and alternative journalists alike tends again to denigrate the resistance, while upholding the legitimacy of the Occupation, which is directed against the “insurgency”. Resistance is a legitimate cause; “insurgency” is a rebellion against a legitimate government. There is nothing legitimate about the Occupation and its puppet government.
The deliberate description of the Resistance as “violent insurgency” is designed to mislead the public and distort the image of the Iraqi Resistance to the Occupation. It also allows the Occupation and the media to justify the violence of the Occupation as a “counter insurgency”. The war was an illegal act of aggression in contravention of international law and norms. Therefore, there is a legitimate Iraqi Resistance to an illegal military Occupation.
It should be borne in mind that since the 2003 illegal invasion, U.S. forces and their collaborators are responsible for the unnecessary violent killing of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians. Most of the victims were women and children deliberately and indiscriminately massacred by “trigger-happy” U.S. soldiers. To encourage their violent behaviour, U.S. soldiers are provided with “immunity” from prosecution, making it very easy for them to kill with institutionalised impunity, as if Iraqis were not even human beings. The criminal practice emanates from the Pentagon; it is created by the U.S. government to encourage more recruits into U.S. wars of aggression.
The pretexts for the war and the Occupation were fabricated lies. There were no WMD, Iraq had no link to “terrorism” or 9/11 attacks (as admitted by President G.W. Bush), and Iraq was a defenceless nation posed no threat to other nations. Indeed, all the pretexts to justify the invasion and Occupation proved to be fabricated lies. The motives for U.S. invasion and Occupation of Iraq are to destroy Iraq; control Iraq’s oil resources; and protect Israel’s Zionist policy. Hence, the U.S. and its “allies” are in the process, through media distortions, of not only legitimising the Occupation, but also of creating new pretexts for the maintenance of continuing U.S. military presence. The most common pretext in the media reports is that U.S. forces are invited to stay in Iraq to prevent “civil war” and “maintains stability”. The opposite is true. There is no “stability” without authority; the Occupation is the cause of the violence.
The U.S.-imposed puppet government is the source of instability. It is a collection of expatriates who lobbied for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. It is composed of sectarian groups and has no relation to the so-called “national unity government” propagated in the West as a result of “democratic elections”. The January 2005 fraudulent elections were part of the West campaign of public manipulation. Iraqi did not vote for Nouri Al-Maliky. No one heard of Al-Maliky before the U.S. imposed him on the people of Iraq. This façade of expatriates has no credibility among the vast majority of the Iraqi people. These expatriates are the same criminals reshuffled from time to time to provide Bush and Blair with a new “turning point”. They are serving the interests of the U.S. and at the same time serving their own interests facilitating the looting of Iraq’s wealth. There is no sovereign Iraqi government to be recognised; Iraq is under violent military Occupation.
After three years of violent Occupation, the situation in Iraq has descended from bad to worse. Iraqis lives have deteriorated significantly as a result of a deliberate destruction of the country’s essential infrastructure and well-planned military and economic Occupation. Iraqis living conditions have deteriorated to the lowest level in Iraq’s history. More than 10 per cent of Iraqi children are suffering from acute malnutrition than was the case before the invasion of March 2003; more than two-thirds of Iraqis still do not have clean water; and electricity supply is far bellow the level before the invasion. A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) released on 02 May 2006 reveals that one in three Iraqi children are severely malnourished and underweight. The report shows that 25 per cent of Iraqi children between the ages of six months and five years suffer from either acute or chronic malnutrition. The new culture of corruption introduced by the U.S. and its allies has left Iraqis wondering without hope.
Furthermore, security has disappeared and replaced by Occupation-perpetuated violence. With no effective authority in place security is non-existent today than before the invasion. Less than 1 per cent of Iraqis believe that the occupying forces have improved security. Before the invasion the Baghdad morgue processed fewer than 100 corpses a month. In the first three months of this year, it processed 3427 corpses. Despite the authoritarian nature of the previous regime, Iraq was relatively safe and functioned state. None of these mass murders of innocent civilians were committed under the previous regime.
The disbanding of the Iraqi Army and Police and the creation, arming and financing of “ethnic militias” and death squads by U.S. forces was designed to create ethnic divisions and provoke sectarian violence among Iraqis. The violence will then used to justify the ongoing Occupation. These U.S. sponsored militia groups are: The Kurdish militias (or Peshmerga) whose warlords supported the U.S. invasion and Occupation of Iraq. The Iranian-trained Badr Brigades (the armed wing of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq [SCIRI] led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakeem and the Da’wa party by Ibrahim Al-Jaafari); The INC militia led by Ahmed Chalabi; and the INA militia led by Iyad Allawi. All these militia groups are involved in daily terror against Iraqi civilians. The latter three groups piggybacked into Iraq on the back of U.S. tanks, without valid Iraqi citizenship papers. They were trained in acts of terrorism, financed and armed by U.S., Britain and Iran.
The Kurdish militias are the Occupation’s most loyal collaborators – called by Iraqis as the “Occupation dogs” for their loyalty. Together with the occupying forces and Israeli Mossad agents, they are responsible for wide scale of atrocities, including the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Iraqi families from their homes. The militias and death squads are responsible for the systematic killings of thousands of prominent Iraqi academics, scientists, politicians and religious leaders. The militias and death squads formed the core of the newly U.S.-created police and army to terrorise the population.
Having established and perfected the tools of terror, former U.S. administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer at the behest of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, former Deputy of Defence Paul Wolfowitz and the indicted criminal Ahmad Chalabi initiated the murderous campaign termed “DeBaathification”, which implied the liquidation of anyone associated with the Ba’ath Party, as well as anyone with anti-Occupation nationalist views. “De-Baathification” is simply euphemism for a murderous practice of inciting violence and destroying Iraqi society. It is reminiscent to the murderous “El Salvador Option” campaign implemented in Central America in the 1980s and supervised by the same John Negroponte who was U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Chalabi, who never lived most of his life outside Iraq until the invasion, stated that he “wants to raise Iraq from the ground and build ‘new’ Iraq”.
What is taking place in Iraq today is a U.S-instigated criminal atrocity. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been murdered in cold blood and thousands have simply disappeared. Their crimes have never been investigated, and no one has been arrested. Evidence shows that the Bush Administration is protecting these criminal elements and encouraging their crimes. The label of “Sunnis” and “Shiites” is a U.S. creation used by the media and Western pundits to reduce the violence “Iraqis against Iraqis”, provide smokescreen and divert people attention from the crimes of the Occupation.
The strategy is to absolve the U.S. of any crimes and legitimise a prolonged Occupation. “Whenever major terrorist operations happened, it was mostly with U.S. blessing or involvement. Israel’s Mossad planned major terror operations in Iraq, recruiting 2,000 mercenaries before the war and sending them to various Iraqi cities to offer protection and support to the occupation forces”, reported the Egyptian, Al-Ahram Weekly.
People have often been found dead – with evidence of torture – after the police and security forces have arrested them and tortured them. According to Adnan Al-Dulaimi, head of the Muslim Endowment, a religious organisation that supervises mosques and Muslim shrines, Iraqi police were “complacent about, even complicit with those killings”. He called on the U.S.-imposed puppet government to open an investigation into the killings, but the puppet government is party to the policy of crimes.
In this connection, it should be noted that all Iraqis, including the Resistance leaders and leaders of the influential Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS), and others have rejected the attacks against civilians and has blamed U.S. forces and their allies for orchestrating the violence. Mr. Harith Al-Dhari, the head of the AMS, publicly blamed the Badr Brigades for the recent spate of killings of Sunni Muslim clerics in the country. “The parties that are behind the campaign of killings of preachers of mosques and worshippers are…the Badr Brigades. [They] are responsible for the escalating tensions”, Mr. Al-Dhari told Al-jazeera. “Which religion allows anyone to kill more than 100 Iraqis, destroy 100 families and destroy 100 houses?” ….”Who are those people who do this? Where did they come from? … [This] is a conspiracy to defame the reputation of the Iraqi [R]esistance by wearing its dress and using its name falsely”, Cleric Ahmed Abdul Ghafour Samarrae told Edward Cody of The Washington Post in 2004. “Any action targeting civilians is forbidden under any circumstances”, Sayyid Muqtada Al-Sadr told AFP. “The occupiers are trying to sow division among the Iraqi people, but there are no Sunnis and Shiites. Iraqis are one. It is not acceptable to direct to the Sunnis the allegations of ugly acts committed by the occupier against the Shiites”, said Al-Sadr.
The hidden agenda is to blame the Iraqi Resistance for violence and portray is as “sectarian violence”. The aim is to demonise the Resistance movement, thereby weakening public support for it. The majority of Iraqis believe that the U.S. forces and their Israeli agents together with the main militia groups are the main cause of the daily terror in Baghdad and around Iraq.
The Occupation authorities and the mainstream media play an important role blaming this deliberately orchestrated violence on the Iraqi Resistance. These fabricated stories are fed into the Zionist Western news chain. They are used to portray the U.S fighting one group of Iraqi (Muslim) fanatics who see the U.S. as “infidel”, rather than as a violent occupier. Western media reports on Iraq are then linked up with 9/11 stories, namely that the U.S. had been attacked on 9/11, and that this war is “justified”. This type of reporting, which deliberately dehumanizing the Iraqi Resistance, is aimed at a receptive Western audience, which shares the perpetrators frame of reference, to exploit an overarching climate of fear and prejudice, and in the process encourage more racism and Islamophobia.
In addition to the intrusive and aggressive daily house raids being conducted by U.S. soldiers, Iraqis are also witness daily routine street patrols. Journalist Ken Dillian of Knight Ridder wrote: “All day long, the soldiers pointed their guns at Iraqi civilians, whom they called ‘hajis’…. Wary of ambushes, they rammed cars that got in the way of their Humvees. Always on the lookout for car bombs, they stopped, screamed at, shoved to the ground and searched people driving down the road after curfew or during the day if they looked suspicious”.
The report, Vicious Circle: The Dynamics of Occupation and Resistance in Iraq, revealed that abuse of Iraqis by U.S. occupying forces have become routine. Iraqis face constant foreign military patrols — about 12,000 per week; Ubiquitous (and too often deadly) vehicle check-points; Raids — 8,000 total since May 2003; and Citizen round-ups — 80,000 detained since April 2003”. Iraq has turned into a cluster of prisons, where tens of thousands of Iraqi men, women and children are imprisoned without charge or trial, tortured, sexually abused and in many cases murdered in cold blood in contravention of the law and civilised norms. The Iraqi people have only one option left: Resistance.
According to a recent report by the U.S. Project on Defence Alternatives: “Strong majorities in the Sunni and Shiite community oppose the occupation – and significant minorities have registered support for attacks on U.S. troops.’ What drives these attitudes more than anything else’, says the report’s author, Carl Conetta, ‘are nationalism, the coercive practices of the occupation, and the collateral effects of military operations'”.
It is easy for Westerners, the ”Left” in particular to pontificate about “non-violent” resistance, but what is at issue is the violence committed by the occupying forces. This position arises from double standards and distortion of the underlying facts and points out a lack of solidarity on the part of those ”progressive” groups in the West, who put the onus on the Iraqi people, who are defending their homeland against U.S. imperialist aggression. It should be borne in mind that the Martin Luther King’s statement that the U.S. “is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today”, is as true today as it was then and all acts of violence and destruction in Iraq have occurred under aegis of U.S. forces. All resistance movements have been required to respond with armed resistance to defend against military aggression and occupation. Iraq is not different. Violent resistance arises from violent military occupation.
Whatever the religious and political affiliation of the Resistance, the main aim is the liberation of Iraq from U.S. forces. “[The Resistance] intellectual tendencies are usually described as a mixture of Islamic and pan-Arab ideas that agree on the need to put an end to the U.S. presence in Iraq”, wrote Samir Haddad and Mazin Ghazi of the Baghdad weekly Al-Zawra. “These groups have common denominators, the most important of which perhaps are focusing on killing U.S. soldiers, rejecting the abductions and the killing of hostages, rejecting the attacks on Iraqi policemen, and respecting the beliefs of other religions”, added Haddad and Ghazi. The Iraqi Resistance is a homegrown movement of several Iraqi groups taking directions from members of their respective communities.
According to Molly Bingham, (Boston Globe, 15 December 2004), a journalist and a research fellow at Harvard University, who spent some time with a group of Resistance fighters in Iraq: “I met Shia [sic] and Sunnis fighting together, women and men, young and old. I met people from all economic, social, and educational backgrounds…The original impetus for almost all of the individuals I spoke to was a nationalistic one”.
In contrast to Western media accounts, most of the terrorist acts such as kidnappings and hostages attributed by the Western media to the Iraqi Resistance movement were actually carried out by the U.S-created and armed militias. These reports also point to the role of U.S. and Israeli Mossad intelligence agents involved in a process of distorting the image of the Resistance. There is, in this regard, a growing body of analysis, which suggests that the various acts of violence and kidnappings attributed to the Resistance are part of a deliberate and conscious propaganda effort by the occupying forces and the mainstream media to distort reality. The bombing of crowded markets and mosques during time of prayers, and the capture by Iraqi Police of two British SAS officers planting bombs in civilian areas in Basra last October is evident of how far the U.S. and its collaborators will get to foment civil violence, distort the image of the Iraqi Resistance and justify ongoing Occupation.
The Western media, particularly the U.S. press, are focusing on civilian’s casualties with a view of discrediting Muslims and the Iraqi Resistance. Regrettably, much of the coverage of the Iraqi Resistance in the Western media has focused on the U.S-created phantoms of al-Zarqawi and “al-Qaida”, called “radical Islamists” and “suicide bombers”. Yet despite the media hype, there exists no substantial evidence that these groups are active inside Iraq. Most of the attacks on the occupying forces have been attributed to the main Iraqi Resistance groups, and very few of these attacks were on civilians. Western media are only interested in car bombings that kill civilians. The reality is that occasionally the bombs missed their intended targets, which are the U.S military convoys. Anthony Cordesman of the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) noted in this regard that 77 per cent of all attacks were against military targets of the U.S. and “Coalition Forces”, and only 4.2 per cent of these attacks were led in civilian areas. However, despite the credible evidence, the media continue to distort nature and the aim of the Iraq Resistance.
Parts of the “alternative” media outlets seem to have joined the bandwagon of endless war and racism against the Iraqi people. Several “alternative” media controlled by the so-called liberal “Left” have depicted the Iraqi Resistance in much the same way as the U.S. Administration and the mainstream media. Most of the so-called “Left” or “Progressive” websites such as ZNet, Counterpunch and AlterNet, just to list few examples, are very tricky in how they manipulate and mislead the general public.
For example, ZNet plays an important role in the war against the Iraqi people. One of its editors and contributors, the Zionist Stephen Shalom (ZNet, 24 May 2005), compared those who support the Iraqi people Resistance against the Occupation to those who supported Fascism, as if Iraq was not a defenceless nation invaded and occupied by Fascist forces. Shalom attacks on some of the honest members of the “anti-war” movement like Sharon Smith (Socialist Worker, 21 January 2005) and Paul D’Amato, (International Socialist Review, 40, March–April 2005) is unbelievably dishonest. It is difficult to believe that Shalom was serious. He is deliberately trying to mislead people about a legitimate cause that people around the world should support. Shalom’s main point is that the “anti-war” movement must make its support for the Iraqi Resistance conditional according to Western thinking, the “Left” thinking.
The so-called Western “Left” is not the Left with international socialist ideals; the Western “Left” is an amalgamation of lite imperialism, lite capitalism and Zionism. When the pretext for war found to be a lie, the “Left” changed their stripes. The “Left” use the suffering of the Iraqi people (and the suffering of other peoples) to justify their complicity in war crimes and further their agenda. Iraqi president Saddam Hussein is demonised and used as the West “moral compass” to justify greater crimes. “We support the Iraqi people struggle, but we think the Occupation must continue to avoid civil war”. But the Occupation is the generator of greater violence and the vast majority of the Iraqi people (87-92 per cent) are against the Occupation and support wholeheartedly attacks against the occupying forces.
Other proponents of the Occupation are those who “opposed” the war, but are in favour of America’s imperial vision of “democracy”. The deceptive argument pushed by the Western media is that the Occupation will lead to “democracy” and help Iraqis. This line of reasoning is also advocated by several alternative media sources. In recent article in AlterNet which claims to “provide readers with crucial facts and passionate opinions”, senior editor of AlterNet, Lakshmi Chaudhry wrote:
“We can’t simply turn our backs on the million of Iraqis – who lack basic necessities like, water electricity food or medical care…. It is immoral for us to leave them to die in the cross fire of a violent civil war fuelled by extremists that we created…We must take the president at his word and force him to deliver on the promise of freedom”. (AlterNet, 06 January 2005). Only an accomplice can be part of this charade.
This is simply and endorsement of George Bush flawed “messianic mission” of occupation masquerading as “democracy promotion”. The ongoing propaganda campaign that the U.S. must stay in Iraq to “prevent” civil war is not only “immoral”, but also a lie from George Bush’s own pack of lies. The U.S. war on Iraq has blurred the line between Western rightwing pundits and the Liberal “Left”, and exposed them naked. The reality is that the Occupation is the generator of all violence. The so-called U.S. “democratic occupation” is a euphemism for imperialist occupation and oppression.
Patrick Cockburn of the (not so) Independent of London and CounterPunch, who is embedded with the Kurdish militias, wrote; “The strength of the armed resistance is misunderstood outside Iraq. It has always been fragmented. Unlike the National Liberation Front in Vietnam (NLF) or the Provisional IRA and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland, it is not well organised…They have no political wing. The fanatical Sunni fundamentalists, commonly called the Salafi or the Wahhabi, see Iraqi Shias [sic] and Christians as infidels just as worthy of death as any U.S. soldier. When American forces damaged two mosques in Mosul in the fighting last November, the resistance blew up two Iraqi Christian churches. Such sectarianism makes it impossible for the resistance to become a truly nationalist movement, but there are four or five million Sunni Arabs a strong enough base for an insurgency”. (CounterPunch, May 13, 2005).
No corroborating evidence, no names, and no concrete documentation, however, are provided regarding the “fragmented” nature of the Iraqi Resistance aside from anecdotal news items, which invariably tend to downplay the violence of the Occupation, not to mention the crimes and atrocities committed by U.S. forces. Moreover, why should the Iraqi Resistance be modelled on the Vietnamese NLF or the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which Western journalists tend to romanticize, in order to cast a bad light on the Iraqi Resistance? Both, the IRA and the NLF were also involved in countless violent acts, which resulted in civilian casualties. In fact Vietnam was never a democracy. While imperialist occupations have a similar logic, the circumstances of countries and their people are different. The Iraqi Resistance targets Iraqi collaborators, who side with the U.S. led Occupation, because they are rightly considered to be “spies and traitors and deserve to be liquidated”. (Incidentally, this pattern of executing collaborators is similar to that followed by the French Resistance during World War II.)
It is important to remember that without popular support, which is the basis of any national resistance movement, the Iraqi Resistance would not be able to operate. Of significance, is that after three years of U.S. brutality and violence, Iraqi Resistance groups have been able to integrate, modify their methods and fight effectively against the biggest most violent military machine in history.
In a subsequent article, Cockburn wrote:
“Many of the resistance groups are bigoted Sunni Arab fanatics who see Shia [sic] as well as U.S. soldiers as infidels whom it is a religious duty to kill. Others are led by officers [sic] from Saddam’s brutal security forces. But Washington never appreciated the fact that the U.S. occupation was so unpopular that even the most unsavoury groups received popular support… [U.S. forces] massive firepower meant they won any set-piece battle, but it also meant that they accidentally killed so many Iraqi civilians that they were the recruiting sergeants of the resistance”. (CounterPunch, 16 May 2005).
Cockburn is the first embedded Western journalist to attack the Iraqi Resistance, and unashamedly called those who resist the Occupation “bigoted Sunni Arab fanatics”. For propagandists like Cockburn, nearly half of Iraqi population are “bigoted Sunni Arab fanatics”. Can you imagine what will happen to me if I called half of the Anglo-Saxon population “bigoted Christians”? You know the answer. Cockburn speciality is to paint a distorted and false picture of Iraq based on his own “bigoted” and distorted images of the Iraqi people.
And what evidence is offered in support of these assertions? This over-armed military machine is unpopular because it kills so many Iraqi civilians “accidentally”. Remember, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, most of them innocent women and children killed by U.S. forces and their collaborators. Iraqi civilians continue to be killed “accidentally”.
Recent evidence, including the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, shows that U.S. forces are deliberately and indiscriminately killing innocent Iraqi civilians in their homes. On 19 November 2005, 24 civilians, including seven women and three children were deliberately murdered in cold blood by U.S. marines in the town of Haditha. The U.S. NBC news reported recently that military sources say photos taken immediately after the massacre “show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead”. Other towns and villages experience similar atrocities at the hands of maniac U.S. marines. The massacre in Haditha is one of many ongoing massacres committed by U.S. marines in cowardly fashion.
The destruction of the vibrant city of Fallujah and the killing of more than 6,000 innocent civilians by U.S. forces using banned napalm, white phosphorous and cluster bombs to kill many civilians in densely populated areas is just by ”accident”. The deliberate destruction of Iraqi towns and cities, including the holy city of Najef adds to the enormity of the war crimes committed against the Iraqi people.
In the towns Qaim on the Syrian border, U.S. forces have besieged the town for many days and denied the population water and food as a “collective punishment”. Residents told IPS on telephone; “all the fighters here are Iraqis from this area”. The ongoing abuses by U.S. soldiers had provoked people into confronting the occupying forces. “The fighters are just local people who refuse to be treated like dogs”, one resident said. “Nobody wants the Americans here”, added another resident. Many innocent civilians have been killed and the city centre “has been almost completely destroyed”, including the city hospitals and schools. “[The Americans] are using warplanes, mortar shells and tanks to shell the city indiscriminately, hurt citizens and bomb the houses with warplanes”. Like the atrocity of Fallujah, the silence of the Western media is deafening, while Iraqi cities and towns are destroyed one by one. While in Iraq, Cockburn was not able to see reality with his own eyes. It is possible that Cockburn is a paid propaganda agent.
Cockburn recent distortion of fact is the promotion of “civil war” in Iraq in the interests of ongoing Occupation. Unaware of Iraqis deep anti-imperialist culture, Cockburn recent propaganda piece is that “Iraq is disintegrating” (Independent 24 May 2006). Of course Cockburn offers no evidence to this “bigoted” and imperialist propaganda. The Occupation is not mentioned, and U.S. troops mentioned once as security guarantor for imbedded journalists. Cockburn should state openly that Iraq is not “disintegrating”, but Iraq is under violent Occupation. It is important to mention that from time to time ZNet, Counterpunch, AlterNet and the likes will publish article critical of the Occupation. However, this is only designed to mislead people and increase donations.
Instead of serving as propaganda agents for imperialist powers, Western media and journalists would do well to hold to account those responsible for perpetuating war of aggression against Iraq. Only when Western journalists observe the Occupation from an Iraqi perspective and set themselves and their Western perspectives aside, they can feel credited. Unfortunately, impartiality in reporting is lacking and most Western Journalists have become paid propaganda agents.
Furthermore, the Western media have failed to report honestly and accurately the U.S.-led policy of ethnic cleansing by Kurdish militias, particularly in the city of Kirkuk. It happens under the radar of U.S. occupying forces. Thousands of Iraqi (Arabs and Turkomans) families, who lived for generations in northern Iraq, are forced by armed Kurdish militias to flee their homes and seek sanctuaries further south. Israeli commandos are in northern Iraq training the Kurdish militias in the art of land dispossession and ethnic cleansing. The U.S. is pitting Iraqis against each other accompanied by climate of fear and violence unseen in Iraq’s history. The policy is forcing Iraqi population into ethnic and sectarian enclaves. Hundred of Iraqis are internal refugees, ethnically cleansed from their homes not as a result of “civil war”, but as a deliberate policy. The policy is reminiscent to that created in the former Yugoslavia. It is the prelude to a U.S.-orchestrated civil war. The major aim is to divide Iraq and weaken the population unity. The U.S. and its allies have much to gain from a divided Iraq embroiled in sectarian violence.
The people of Iraq do not wish to live under U.S. Occupation and voted against the U.S. presence in their country. The Western media distorts what is happening in Iraq in order to provide legitimacy to the U.S. government’s agenda. The majority of Iraqis do not want U.S. “democracy”; they want the U.S. forces to leave their country. More than 92 percent of Iraqis see the Americans as imperial occupiers rather than “liberators”.
Clearly, Western journalists and pundits have shown that they lack an accurate understanding of Iraq’s history and Iraqi society. Most reports out of Iraq have been always from a Western perspective, but rarely from an Iraqi perspective.
As a result of biased and racist media, it would take Westerners a long time to understand the situation in Iraq today, including the general relationship between Islam and politics. Historically, Islam and politics in Iraq and many other Muslim countries have been inseparable. “Thus, the demand for the separation of religion and state in Muslim countries is more than secularist; it is openly [anti-Islam]”, wrote Gilbert Achcar. The majority of Muslims identified with Islam as part of the battle against imperialism and Zionism. Today’s Islam is largely secular and concerned more with political and social issues rather than religious.
Sectarianism and ethnic tensions in Iraq “are not a product of cultural differences. They are the product of a history of imperialism and colonialism in the region and domestic Iraqi politics. This applies as much to the Arab-Kurd tension as it does to the Sunni-Shias [sic]”, wrote Rami El-Amine of Left Turn magazine. Iraq is a mosaic society. Most Iraqis are intermarried and there are no barriers between communities. There is no history of “civil war” in Iraq. Iraqis do not identify themselves by religion, but by their loyalty to their Arab-Iraqi identity. While the U.S. led occupation is intent on fomenting social divisions and religious hatred, there is ample evidence of a mass movement where united Iraqi communities have in fact joined hands in opposing the U.S.-led Occupation
Despite the atrocities and the suffering inflicted by the U.S. and its allies, Iraqis are united against the Occupation. If there is any divide, this “divide, already narrower in Iraq than in some parts of the Arab world, is by all accounts shrinking each day that Iraqis agree their most immediate problem is the occupation”, wrote The Washington Post correspondent R. Chandrasekaran. Only three years ago, Iraqi Christians, and Muslims lived together in harmony despite their religious and political differences. If there is any division between Iraqis today, the division has been created quite deliberately by the U.S. Occupation.
The recent demonstration in Basra and in Baghdad jointly organized by the Al-Sadr movement and the Association of Muslim Scholars showed that all Iraqis are united against the U.S. Occupation and terrorism. This unity contradicts the West’s perception of Iraqis as a divided society and rejects the occupiers’ imperialist policy of “divide and rule” masquerading as U.S.-imposed “federation of Iraq”. As noted earlier, the invasion was an act of aggression in violation of international law and norms. U.S. forces and their allies have no right to be in Iraq. The Iraqi people have right to resist and live in freedom.
As a result of media distortion of facts, many people in the West, Americans in particular, continue to support an illegal war of “Supreme crimes” perpetuated in their name. The Western media should follow an ethic of moral responsibility toward the Iraqi people and provide impartial and accurate information to the outside world. The media’s distortions to justify the ongoing Occupation of Iraq amount to complicity in war crimes and crimes against humanity. It is the duty of civilised people to hold the perpetrators of this unjustified war accountable for their crimes.
It appears that the common agenda of Western governments led by the U.S. is the revival of the old Western colonialism masked in the fake rhetoric of “democracy” and “liberation”. Any kind of resistance to the current imperialist aggression in Iraq is legitimate resistance.
The Iraqi people have a legitimate right to resist, and use all forms of resistance to liberate their country. “International law grants a people fighting an illegal Occupation the right to use ‘all necessary means at their disposal’ to end their occupation and the occupied are entitled to seek and receive support”.
While many Westerners, Americans in particular, may have difficulty understanding the violence in Iraq, only the full and immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq will bring pace and security to the Iraqi people. No amount of U.S. violence will quell the desire of the people of Iraq to achieve freedom, sovereignty and national independence.
Ghali Hassan lives in Perth, Western Australia.