November 13, 2004
IRAQI ANALYST SAYS GOVERNMENT LEADING COUNTRY TO CIVIL WAR
Text of live interview via satellite with Iraqi Political Analyst Zafir al-Ani in Dubai conducted by Jamal Rayyan in the studio in Doha; broadcast by Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite TV on 13 November
(Rayyan) Dr Al-Ani, what is your reading of the repercussion of the events in Al-Fallujah?
(Al-Ani) It is no longer a matter of guesswork or deduction to state that the Iraqi government is now pushing strongly towards a civil war. This has become clear in Iraq. This accursed war that the government is leading against the national resistance in many parts of the country is taking place upon the incitement of sectarian parties that are known for their loyalty to, armament from and intelligence relations with Iran. It is also a war that is unfortunately taking place with the blessings of a number of non-Arab religious authorities. These authorities are not holding their silence but are expressing their blessings of these actions. What is happening in Iraq today is causing domestic tension in Iraq. There is real bitterness on the Iraqi street.
As a second point, even on the military level, to say that the battles in Al-Fallujah have ended is not true.
(Rayyan) If we assume that these troops have been triumphant and have achieved the victory they are talking about in Al-Fallujah, do you not believe that this will encourage them to carry out similar operations, particularly in Mosul?
(Al-Ani) The Iraqi government declared some time ago that there are 15 cities, of which Al-Fallujah and Samarra are the first in a series. There is real rebellion and true resistance in numerous governorates in Iraq now which have fallen outside of the control of the Iraqi Government. The national resistance in Al-Fallujah and Al-Ramadi is practising gang warfare or guerrilla warfare. Their mission is not to retain control of the cities, but to cause huge losses among the enemy ranks and then withdraw to their locations. It is known that the national resistance in Al-Fallujah withdrew before the onslaught started. Most of the resistance that remained behind in Al-Fallujah constituted only 20 per cent, not more. The larger portion withdrew to other cities. Now we can see the extent of the losses they are causing among the ranks of the occupation and agent forces in many cities of Iraq, such as Mosul.
(Rayyan) These operations that are taking place now, whether they have realized that victory or they have not, as you claim, let us assume that they have realized this victory, what repercussions will this have on the political aspect of things, especially since there are elections coming up?
(Al-Ani) Dear sir, elections cannot be held and no-one can imagine that a secure environment can be established with the bloodshed that is taking place, amid this deliberate killing of the Iraqis. This will not prepare the grounds for elections or for a political process. There is now a general Iraqi agreement that resistance is the only way. Let us take Samarra for example. Did the Iraqi government not talk about the (word indistinct) military operations in Samarra? Samarra today is beyond the control of the government? The Iraqi government – to be precise the minister of interior – fired the police and the chief of police in Mosul because there was no presence or semblance of any central power in control. I say that the Iraqi government is pushing towards a real civil war in Iraq against the Sunni and the pan-Arab current, with the blessing of parties known for their ties and sectarian belonging and with the blessing of the authority. The silence from this authority is no longer a surprise to anyone. There are many exclamation marks lingering over the stance of the authority of holy Al-Najaf regarding what is happening in Iraq, at a time when the Association of Muslim Scholars – and everyone remembers this – condemned and renounced what happened to our brethren in Al-Najaf, Karbala and Al-Sadr city. This authority is now also trying to quell the Shi’i pan-Arab current. Ayatollah al-Hasani was detained because he called for boycotting the elections. There have also been preparations for some time to oppress the Al-Sadr current and to contain dealings with the government through a few known parties. The Iraqi government is oppressing the Shi’i pan-Arab current and the national Sunni current.
(Rayyan) While waiting to see what future events will yield, Dr Zafir al-Ani, political analyst in Dubai, thank you.
Source: Al-Jazeera TV, Doha, in Arabic 1805 gmt 13 Nov 04, BBC Monitoring