Ghali Hassan: Iraq: Occupation and Sectarianism


Richard Moore


Iraq: Occupation and Sectarianism

By Ghali Hassan

February 23, 2006

At the outset of the Occupation, it was clear that the U.S.
would rule Iraq by breaking the country into mini states or
regions and dividing the Iraqi population on ethnic and
sectarian lines. The Occupation-orchestrated violence
between Iraqis was meant to provide a pretext for the
long-term occupation of Iraq, and direct Iraqis anger away
from the brutality and violence of the Occupation.

While on his recent unannounced (secretly sneak in) visit to
Baghdad, Jack Straw, the British Foreign Secretary echoed
the comment of the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. Straw said; "we
are keen to see these two departments [defence and interior]
in the hands of competent people, probably technocrats",
some one like Ahmed Chalabi or Iyad Allawi. The comment had
nothing to do with stopping the violence in Iraqi but much
to do with the exercise of total US control on the Iraqi
army and police. The latter could then be used against
opponents of the Occupation. Indeed, those who are involved
in violence against Iraqis are working hand-in-glove with
the occupying forces. Jack Straw is in Iraq to perpetuate
more violence and more bloodshed.

It started with the deliberate destruction and dismantling
of the Iraqi State, and the appointment on July 13, 2003 of
the so-called Iraq Governing Council by U.S. Proconsul L.
Paul Bremer. The appointees - mostly expatriate quislings -
were deliberately chosen and identified according to ethnic
and sectarian criteria. They were encouraged and promoted to
compete for power and positions. Moreover, Paul Bremer
initiated the criminal process of "De-Baathification", 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 a murderous tool for
inciting violence and destroying Iraqi society.

To cement these divisions within Iraqi society, the U.S. and
its allies staged illegitimate and fraudulent elections. The
latter were designed to establish sectarianism - not
'democracy' - as well as legitimise the Occupation. Iraqis
were promoted and encouraged to vote based on their
religious and ethnic affiliations. Both the electoral system
and the methods of voter mobilization applied by major
players were meant to fan the flames of sectarianism rather
than contribute to national unity and liberation. There were
no candidates or political parties with political
ideologies, just religious and ethnic slates. In addition,
the U.S.-drafted Constitution was there to cement and
legitimise these various divisions. One wonders why Britain
and the U.S. do not have the same 'democratic' system at

Another U.S. trigger for civil strife and security chaos in
Iraq was the deliberate and criminal act of dissolving the
Iraqi army and security forces and replacing them with
ethnic and sectarian-based militias. U.S.-trained militia,
Iranian-trained militia and Israeli-trained Kurdish
Peshmerga form the bulk of the new Iraqi army and police.
Their lack of loyalty to the Iraqi nation  as well as the
rivalries and hostilities between these various militia
ultimately serve the interests of U.S. forces.  These
paramilitary groups are deployed to fight their Iraqi
brothers belonging to different ethnic areas. This process
thereby served to create ethnic tension and division.
Together with U.S. forces, the Peshmerga militia continue to
perform arbitrary arrests, they are involved in brutal
treatment of civilians, violations of residents' rights and
the theft of properties. They are responsible for acts of
deliberate ethnic cleansing in the regions of Tel Afar,
Kirkuk and Mosul. It is all part of a U.S. policy of
creating sectarian violence which eventually will lead to
"civil war" and circumstances which  will be used to justify
the ongoing Occupation.

Furthermore, death squads trained and armed by the
Occupation forces are torturing and murdering innocent
Iraqis, including prominent Iraqi politicians, nationalist
leaders, Iraqi academics and professionals. Even Iraqis who
participated in the 1980s war to defend Iraq against the
Iran are being targeted. The thugs are eliminating all those
who are opposed to the Occupation. 

This deliberate violence, which has swept Iraq since the
invasion, has largely contributed to the disintegration of
Iraqi society. This murderous campaign is based on the "El
Salvador Option" - a U.S-created and financed "civil war" in
El Salvador in the 1980s. The El Salvador Option was
replicated in Iraq by John Negroponte. It has the full
approval of the White House. Its aim is to terrorise the
Iraqi population and enforce the Occupation.

Thousands of innocent Iraqis have been murdered in cold
blood. A report by an Iraqi human rights group, Monitoring
Net of Human Rights in Iraq noted that:

"Iraqi police sources revealed that till the end of March
2004 more than 1,000 Iraqi scientists were shot. A report,
which was previously published by the U.S. State Department,
confirmed the killing of 350 scientists specialized in
nuclear science and 200 professors".

After the recent criminal attack on the Askariyah shrine in
Samarra - which has never been attacked for centuries -, all
Iraqis without exception have condemned the attack. "This is
a terrorist act that is aimed to fan a sectarian strife
among Iraqis", said Sheikh Ahmed Daye, member of the Sunni
Association of Muslim Scholars. The Occupation-appointed
president Jalal Talabani said: "We are facing a major
conspiracy that is targeting Iraq's unity. We should all
stand hand in hand to prevent the danger of a civil war".
Others in the puppet government have pointed the finger at
the U.S. Ambassador in Baghdad for inciting the violence and
for interfering in Iraqi political and domestic affairs.
Thousands of ordinary Iraqis took to the streets throughout
Iraq denouncing the U.S. and Israel.

Samarra is like Fallujah. U.S. forces have attacked the
Resistance city several times, and Donald Rumsfeld has
threatened the city with destruction unless it surrenders.
Iraqis believe that the attack is a pretext for the U.S.
forces to invade the city. The attack was not something new;
similar attacks were perpetuated against other Iraqi cities
in the past. These attacks were well-orchestrated to provoke
one group of Iraqis against the other, and bring in U.S.
forces as "peace brokers".

Immediately after the attack on the Askariyah shrine,
violence erupted in several localities in Iraq. Only the
U.S. and Britain stand to benefit from the violence and

Iraqi sources argue that U.S. and British forces and their
collaborators are behind every major sectarian killing and
kidnapping in the country. After every act of killing of
civilians, a specific Iraqi community is deliberately blamed
for the violence. "[W]e have widespread evidence that the
outside forces are attempting to instigate a civil war here
and Iraqis are conscious of that and have made determined
effort not to respond to it", said Dr. Saad Jawad, a
political scientist at Baghdad University.

The arrest by Iraqi Police last September of two British
undercover soldiers identified as "SAS elite special forces"
and disguised as Arabs planning to detonate
explosives-packed car in the centre of Basra was a case of
Western perpetuated terrorism.

Bush and Blair have often used the pretext of preventing
"civil war" to counter Iraqi demands for troops' withdrawal.
It is the old colonial cliché: The more the natives are
divided, the easier to rule them and exploit them. 


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