Few things about the situation in Iraq
Through few emails I exchanged with Paul Seale of Arena of Ideas he asked me few questions about the situation in Iraq, I would like to share our conversation with you
AA: Could you tell our readers where you live?
Sooni: I live in Baghdad-Iraq
AA:Many talking heads here in the United States have said recently that Iraq was better under Saddam. What do you believe and what do you say to those people?
Sooni: Saddam was a dictator, a murderer, and a warmonger. He assumed power in 1979 since that day Iraq got only backward, and part of what we are going through today related to him and what’s left of his family and followers who are still spending Iraq stolen money on funding terrorism. Saddam ruled by killing a whole family for suspecting their son, if the current government would rule that way you will see a peaceful Iraq two months from now. Iraq situation is bad now and no one can deny that, but what do you expect a battlefield would look like? Al-Qaeda, Iran, Syria, many other Arabic and Islamic countries and Islamic groups fight the Americans in Iraq and when they realized that they cant defeat the American Army they started to attack the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police also provoking the sectarian violence. They think if they can make Iraq fall down then they will be able to hinder the American project for the region. All those regimes feel threatened and they chose a clever indirect confrontation where they do not lose much more than money. If they really think it was better under Saddam then all we have to do is to let the government hands loose and a small massacre like what happened in 1991 uprising will bring back stability to Iraq!
AA: How do Iraqis view Americans as a people? What about American Soldiers?
Sooni: I can’t speak here in the name of all Iraqis, but I will try to illustrate what different groups and sects think about that. To have a better approach our parliament consist of 275 seats and Iraq population is around 27,500,000 so when I will mention a (seat) you will know how many population it represents. Iraqis love American movies, songs, and life style, I didn’t meet anyone who hates the American people, but when it comes to politics and of course the American soldiers are part of the politics we have different opinions: the Seculars and Liberals (28 seats) and the Kurds (55 seats) understand and appreciate what the American done and doing. The Sunni groups (58 seats) speak frankly of their hatred to the American policy and soldiers. The Shiite groups (130 seats) consist of many parties, trends, and individuals so I wont go far and I will say only (25 seats) of them are pro-American. At the beginning (the early days of liberation) most of the Shiite used to be pro-American because of the big favor of toppling Saddam, but later some tense started to appear when they disagreed over some political issues and after the American lunched few operations against Mahdi Army of the Sadir trend (30 seats). You can reflect those numbers on the population and you will have a good idea about the American Image in Iraq.
AA: During this election cycle in America there are politicians proposing to pull American forces out of Iraq and move them to other places in the region. If you could say something to these people, what would you say?
Sooni: Iraq is now on the edge of all-out civil war, the American troops act now like a safety valve and it is definite that Iraq will explode if those forces leave now.
AA: How might such a plan effect the average Iraqi?
Sooni: The civil war will mostly take place in Baghdad, Diala, Kirkuk, and Basra so I guess we are talking about more than 10,000,000 people will be affected directly from it and this effect will continue for many years.
AA: Could you explain the issue of federalism to our readers?
Sooni: The first group who talked about federalism was the Kurds and they put it as a condition to participate in the political process. Later the Shiite liked the idea and start talking about the “Southern Region”. The Kurds want to practice more independency away from the central government while the Shiite pretexted of providing more security to the south part of Iraq. The Sunni and part of the Shiite (al Sadir trend) refused it totally saying it will lead to partitioning Iraq.
AA: When you hear American politicians and media discuss partitioning Iraq off into sections what are your thoughts? Again, how might this effect the average Iraqi?
Sooni: The Iraqi street is a little bit confused about this issue, we hate to see Iraq divided. From the practical side I expect this will lead to endless fights and blood feuds among Iraqis. Just imagine it this way partitioning Iraq will create a small Iran in the south of Iraq and a small Afghanistan in the middle of it!
AA: From your vantage point, how bad is the sectarian violence in Iraq?
Sooni: Very bad since people get killed everyday on sectarian bases, we are only one-step away from an all-out sectarian war, any move like partitioning Iraq or the pull back of the American troops will definitely start it.
AA: What do you believe is the main cause of this?
Sooni: Too many reasons to count, but I will try to put it this way: Saddam planted the seeds and al-Qaeda reaped.
AA: What does the average Iraqi believe is the main cause for the violence?
Sooni: That will depend on their backgrounds, believes would vary from blaming al-Qaeda ending up with blaming the Jews!