Tag Archives: reconstruction

Chilling Interview with Iraqi Insurgent Leader

Chilling Interview with Baathist/Qaedist Insurgent Leader

A very well connected reader of tdaxp has, in the last few days, conducted an interview with a man he believes to be very high up in the Iraqi insurgency. He is safely out of Iraq. His interview is now online, and I suggest it be read in full. The nature and aims of the Iraqi insurgency cannot be properly understood without knowing our enemy.

After being seated in his office, I said: “Colonel [name withheld], I came especially to learn your views in regard to the condition of your civil and political affairs in Anbar Provence, and the Sunni areas generally. I desire them for publication in [newspaper withheld]. I do not wish to misrepresent you in the slightest degree, and therefore only ask for such views as you are willing that I should publish.

“I have not now,” he replied, “and never have had, any opinion on any public or political subject which I would object to having published. I mean what I say, honest and earnestly and only object to being represented. I dislike to be placed before our countries in a false position, especially as I have not saught the reputation which I have gained.”

I replied, “Sir, I will publish only what you say, and then you cannot posssibly be misreprsented. Our people desire to know your feeling toward the Iraqi Government, your men both inside and outside of Anbar Province, and upon the question of the Shia electoral majority.”

“Well, sir,” said he, “When I surrendered my 7,000 men in 2003, I accepted a parole honestly, and have observed it faithfully, up to today. I have counseled peace in all the speeches I have made; I have advised my people to submit to the laws of the State, oppressive as they are, and unIslamic as I believe them to be. I was paroled, and not pardoned until the issuance of the last proclamation of general amnesty, and therefore did not think it prudent for me to take any active part until the oppression of my people became so great that they could not endure it, and then I would be with them. My friends thought differently and sent me to Mosul, and I am glad that I went there.”

“Then I suppose, colonel, that you think the oppression has become so great that your people should no longer bear it?”

“No,” he answered, “it is growing worse hourly; yet I have said to the people, stand fast; let us try to right the wrong by legislation. A few weeks ago I was called to Ramadi to counsel with other gentlemen who had been prominently identified with the cause of the former government, and we then offered pledges which we thought would be satisfactory to Mr. al-Maliki and his government, and we told them that if they would not call out their army we would agree to preserve order and see that the laws were enforced. The parliamentary committee certainly led me to believe that our proposition would be accepted, and no soldiers mobilized. Believing this, I came home, and advised all of my people to remain peaceful, and offer no resistance to any reasonable law. It is true that I never have recognized Mr. al-Maliki’s government as having any legal existence, yet I was willing to submit to it for a time, with the hope that the wrongs might be righted peacefully.”

“What are your feelings towards Mr. al-Maliki’s government, Colonel?”

“I loved the old government in 2003. I love the old regime yet. I think we have the best State in the world, if administered as it was before the war. I am opposing now only the radical revolutionists who are trying to destroy it. I believe Mr. al-Maliki’s government to be composed, as I know it is in Anbar, of the worst men on God’s earth – men who would not hesitate at no crime [sic], and who have only one object in view – to enrich themselves.”

“In the event of resumed operations against you, do you think there will be any resistance offered to their acts?” I asked.

“That will depend upon circumstances. If the soldiers are simply called out, and do not interfere with or molest anyone, I do not think there will be any fight. If, on the contrary, they do what I believe they will do, commit outrages, or even one outrage, upon the people, they and Mr. al-Maliki’s government will be swept out of its existence; not a radical will be left alive. If the militia are called out, we cannot but look upon it as a declaration of war, because Mr. Malikihas already issued his proclamation directing them to shoot down the “terrorists” wherever they find them, and he calls all Muslim men “terrorists.”

Read the Rest

Redoing Reconstruction Right (in Iraq)

What the American Civil War can inform us about Iraq,” by David Ignatius, Daily Star, 5 May 2005, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=5&article_id=14804 (from Informed Comment).

David Ignatius compares the Iraqi insurgency to the post-conflict in the American Civil War.

After the American Civil War, pandering to the old local elite was a disaster

Reconstruction suffered partly because of a mismatch between a transformational strategy and haphazard tactics. Northern radicals like Representative Thaddeus Stevens wanted to break the old slaveholding aristocracy and remake the South into a version of New England, with former slaves and poor whites dividing up the plantations. But only weeks after President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, President Andrew Johnson was moving to protect the privileges of the old regime. Even after Johnson was impeached, the Union balked at enforcing the tough land-reform strategy evoked by the slogan “Forty Acres and a Mule.”

Local pro-Reconstruction forces were too weak to stand on their own

By 1877, says McPherson, the North essentially gave up. Demoralized by the economic depression of 1873, Northern investors pulled back from projects in the South and turned their attention to the West. The troops occupying the South were withdrawn. White Southerners, defeated in war, had won the peace. The South slipped into more than 80 years of racism, isolation and economic backwardness.

So, how to apply this to Iraq? First, recognize the successes

  • It is a success that the Iraqi army was disbanded. In the South we fought plantation power — in Iraq we fight Ba’athi power. The Iraqi Army was a source of Ba’ath power and had to be eliminated.
  • It is a success that the Shia-Kurdish government does not include more Sunnis. The Shia and Kurds will be in Iraq long after we are gone. It is vital that they know the country is theirs, and their oppressors deserve no power out of propotion to their numbers. Attempts to force the Shia-Kurds to include more Sunnis weaken Shia-Kurdish resolve, and give openings ot Ba’athi remnants.

Unlike in Reconstruction, in Iraq are doing it right. We are winning.