Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"The game is up"

From Missing Links

"Nahid Hattar, one of the prominent Jordanian opposition journalists, lays out the argument for what perhaps a lot of people instinctively grasp, namely that the events of the past week, even though they laid bare an intra-Shiite split, that split is actually a very positive thing. In fact these events, including what he calls the uprising of the Shiite masses of the South and Center of Iraq, mark the beginning of the end of the American occupation and potentially the start of a non-sectarian approach to Iraqi reconstruction. His main points:

(1) What happened in the South and Center of Iraq in the recent period of time represented the alienation of the main part of the Iraqi Shiite masses from the political/occupation process, changing instead to a violent clash with it, politically and in military terms. This in itself is an important turning point in the development of the Iraqi resistance, because the whole American defense of their project in Iraq rests on some inscrutable but assumed support of the Shiite majority, which, it is now clear, has gone over to the side of resistance and opposition......

Forthly, says Nahid Hattar, it is clear that the Americans requested Iran to intervene militarily in the recent fighting, in the interests of the Maliki government (presumably referring to the habitual American requests to help fight the "terrorists"), and Iran declined to to so. So from this point on, he says, it's no good for any nationalist Arab to interpret the Iranian attitude as "murky" or "ambiguous" or to resort to explanations of that type, which don't stand up to the facts of the recent events. What he means is that if Iran had wanted to prop up a sectarian pro-Iranian government, this was its occasion to do so, and it clearly declined.

The writer concludes with a list of things Arab movements and Arab regimes should do to take advantage of this turn of events: (1) Opening up to the forces and the people representing this Shiite nationalism and supporting them; (2) new reconciliation initiatives, not between participants in the existing political process, but rather in the interests of unifying the national-unity and Arabist forces across Sunni and Shiite lines; (3) refusal to consent to Iranian influence in Iraq; (4) refraining from any kind of taassub (gang- or party-formation) or sectarianism; (5) reflecting on the experience of the regime of Saddam Hussein, and the forces connected with it, as something past, and studying together with Iraqis in an Arab framework, a modern Iraqi form for the new nation, for the period after the occupation, which is collapsing; (6) rejecting Kurdish separatism or any other kind of separatism.

Finally, he writes:

The uprising (intifada) of the Iraqi Shiites against the occupation and its cooperators is a sure sign that the hour of the defeat of the American project in Iraq is approaching. So perhaps it is already time for those who have wagered on the success of this project or on an Iranian success as its inheritor, to be warned that the game is up, because a free, unified, Arab and strong Iraq will be back. It is both in our interests and our duty to hasten the day of that return."

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