Egyptian and Iraqi intellectuals excluded the notion that Iraq’s unity was endangered after the fall of President Saddam Hussein’s regime against the Anglo American invasion of the country, and demanded that the Iraqi people be given an opportunity to choose their rulers in the coming period.
This was discussed in a seminar organized by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) within salon Ibn Roshd under the title “The future of Iraq – between occupation, civil war, disintegration, tyranny and democracy”, chaired by Bahey El Din Hassan, Director.
Hazem El Youssefy, representative of the Kurdistan national union in Egypt, explained that he expected that Saddam Hussein’s regime would fall promptly due to the separation between the regime and the Iraqi people. Besides, the leaderships of Al Ba’ath Party in the governorates provided incorrect information in order to gain profits or to maintain their relationship and favoritism with the ruling system.
The dethroned President Saddam Hussein has committed unnumbered crimes, and destroyed the Iraqi citizen form the inside. He raised generations not based on any principles of belonging to defend him or the people or any other human principles, but are based on glorifying and deification of Saddam and the Party and nothing else.
El Youssefy has undermined what was said about the popular resistance against the invading forces, most fights were with the group of Baath Party Militias which have no future without the Baath or Saddam. The American- British forces in Basra and Om El Kasr wanted to minimize losses or sacrifices in the fights, so they hesitated to launch attacks where there is resistance. He asserted the Iraqi army did not enter the war.
There are more than 10 million citizens live between Basra and Baghdad, if only 10% of them had the spirit of resistance, the American army would not have gone that long distance in such a short time.
El-Youssefy expressed his sadness because of the plundering and looting situation. He said that this was unexpected, however, there are certain torn sects that took advantage of the circumstances, especially in the absence of security in a country that was tied in shackles more than 35 years, and this was a natural reaction for these sects to destroy and overpower everything.
He added that one of the reasons for these situations is that Saddam Hussein had released all prisoners and criminals who were convicted under normal laws; and these prisoners were supplied with weapons and left in the streets to defend the regime. It is believed that a large number of them plundered and looted.
Well Integrated Country:
El Youssefy stated he has no fear of the launch of a civil or sectarian war in Iraq because it is a united and well integrated country. Iraqis with their different sects cannot imagine disintegration in Iraq. He stated that the political Kurdish and media speech did not contain any slogans insinuating the Kurds’ desire to establish a State north of Iraq. The Kurds wish to establish a federal system within the united Iraq with its current political borders.
He added that the issue of division is inconceivable; it is in the interest of the Kurds to be part of the united Iraq with its flourishing resources, rather than to live in a small country blocked by regional countries who are all enemies. There are no bases for fear of divisions, whether from Shii’a or Sunna.
It is important to establish a transitional Iraqi national government in the united Iraq. The Iraqi people will not accept any occupation or foreign ruler. He expressed his optimism that formation of the government would adjust circumstances after a certain period of time, to allow free and direct elections in Iraq.
The writer Salah Nassrawi indicated that it is not being objective to name the Iraqi opposition as such from now on, because opposition has ceased by the end of the ruling system. It was a must to end it because it was a huge citadel of fascism in the whole world; it has expired and used up all its resources. The Iraqis were aware of that situation early on, however, other people in the Arab world believed till the very last moment, that Saddam will resist and win, however, defeat was imperative since a long time.
He added that Iraq now is passing through a period of fragmentation and re-arrangement like many countries since the 18th century when imperialism fragmented the occupied countries, and societies were rebuilt according to the requirements of the colonizer.
He mentioned that with the preparation for the military operations in Iraq, another parallel political operation was being prepared, because from the beginning, the slogan was changing the Iraqi regime. This raised some questions about the future of Iraq and the following regime. In the light of this, some task committees were formed in Washington in an attempt to investigate and research all aspects of the political, social, military, and security life, to investigate the type of new regime in Iraq.
He further explained that there are Iraqi parties that participated in this research activity. They were carefully selected, and they reached some concepts, most of which have not announced the type of the legal and constitutional regime; the structure of the army and security; the economic future of Iraq, especially with regards to gas. These concepts are being applied and put into practice.
Nassrawi expects that the future of Iraq will pass through three stages; the first is direct military rule, followed by a second stage of joint management, which has already been begun since the capture of Baghdad, which requires an Iraqi front. The third transitional stage, where the permanent constitution will be established with laws voted for in public referendum, in order to reach the final situation.
With respect to the Iraq’s acceptance of these developments, he mentioned that it was obvious the Iraqis are unable to change the regime. The Americans did it. There is a natural state of protest in Iraq because the Iraqi citizen will not accept an occupying force in his country.
Dr. Mustafa Kamel El-Sayed, Director of Center for Research and Studies of Developing Countries at Cairo University, expressed his deep pessimism about the results of the invasion and occupation of Iraq for the future of Iraq and the region at large. He said we are facing a plan designed by the ruling team in Washington surrounding the American President in Washington to determine what he should do in Iraq, then in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
He added the American plan started with the fall of the Soviet Union, and the emergence of America’s desire to be the only pole for a generation to come because of its sustained military superiority. The decision making team has designed a clear plan, not only for Iraq, but also for Syria and a number of Arab countries as well. We cannot talk about the future of Iraq without understanding and learning the current thoughts of the ruling team in Washington.
Dr. El-Sayed regards the qualified ones to conform to the American scenario in Iraq are the Kurds, because they want to maintain the profits gained after the second Gulf war. Washington is careful to satisfy Turkey because it is far important to it than the Kurds of Iraq. Turkey does not want a Kurdish or federal State north of Iraq, which will give some kind of actual independence but without a federal nomenclature. He explained that some sections of Shii’te would not participate in the American plan, because the idea of establishing an Islamic State in Iraq where the Supreme Shii’te Council would carry its banner; is a thought that worries the United States because of the Shii’a connection with Iran.
He stated that Sunna representation in the parties dealing with America is limited to the democratic kingdom movement, therefore, the Sunna feel they are considered absent. The United States is doing just like the British imperialistic management did in Iraq; they felt comfortable dealing with the heads of tribes and clans.
Further, he asserted the United States will face real problems in Iraq. The pictures broadcasted showing how the Americans are welcome in Iraq, are fake and untrue.
America will face some difficulties in how far it can offer a luxury standard to the Iraqi people and bring them back to the seventies. Half of the income of Iraq will be channeled to reconstruction. Dr. Mostafa asserted it would not be easy to implement the American plan because no one accepts occupation in his country. It is expected that Iraq will settle in hands acceptable to the United States, while the military rule will remain in place, with a changed attitude towards reconciliation with Israel.
Dr. El-Sayed mentioned that the United States views the division of Iraq is a threat to its interests, however, it will try to weaken the central government in Iraq in order to remain united, to be controlled by a weak government deprived of the huge revenues from the oil sector.
It will be very difficult for to have a democratic system. America has several reservations about the Iraqi political powers. He said, I do not believe there will be a huge improvement in the human conditions in Iraq; America will use the oil revenues to repay the debts without much improvement in the health and educational situations.
He further mentioned that the Arabs, friends of America, are the most worried about how to deal with the military government and the transitional government that will acknowledge Israel. Now the Arabs should continue their solidarity with the Iraqi people, he warned that just acknowledging the military or transitional government could give legitimacy to an unfair and unjustified war.
The lawyer Negad El Boraie, former Director of Group for Democratic Development (GDD), expressed his feelings that Arabs are not sufficiently concerned about Iraq; their main concern is focused on political and ideological thoughts. For example, everyone knew the magnitude of suffering in which the Iraqi people lived under the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, yet not one demonstration by the Arabs went out requesting freedom for the Iraqi people.
At the beginning of the war we wished America would be defeated without concern that the result would mean Saddam’s rule will continue, however, the situation changed into a shameful fall of Saddam regime.
He further said he is very optimistic about forming the transitional government, stating that the United States has its own interests, but sometimes we forget that in certain political moments, interests could come closer or go farther. Some people are begging that the Arab League would have a role in the transitional government in Iraq; however, first we should ask what it offered to the Iraqi people, for no one knows how to translate hatred to America into practical and real plans.
He added there are tens of law suits which will be filed against the former Iraqi regime, and asked whether the current legal system will be capable to resolve these suits.
He answered that the Iraqi regime has corrupted the old legal system, each Iraqi carries vengeance against Saddam’s regime; accordingly, there can be no fair trial of Saddam and of his regime. He requested we should support the Iraqi legal system so it would not end up in settlement of accounts and retaliation. The Iraqi people lived 30 years under oppression; therefore, the Arab governments are required to design programs to offer expertise in democracy to the Iraqi people, with the participation of Arab non-governmental organizations.
There is an urgent need for the Arab countries to offer Iraq experts in different fields to guarantee it will remain steadfast and finally become a democratic country. El Boraie said that the task of parties, syndicates, and non-governmental organizations that wish to serve the Iraqi people, and not to gloat over it, are to offer cadres, support to the judicial system, democratic ideas, and to place their imagination of the form that Iraq wants to be.
El Boraie criticized involving Israel in the future of Iraq. He said if any of the changes we talked about occurred in Iraq’s relationship with Israel; that will be negligence on our part as Arabs. The Iraqi regime was proud of the heads of tribes and clans, thus, for any authority to enter Iraq, it must have plans to deliver it and not to gloat over it.
This post is also available in: Arabic