guest won’t leave Iraq
The message is loud and clear: The
United States is not welcome in Iraq. But the Bush administration
relying largely on the sheer power of its superior military
and armaments shows little interest in heeding the message.
A recent poll released on Wednesday
shows more than 70 percent of the Iraqis, want US and
other occupation troops to leave Iraq within a year
- with more than half of them calling for a withdrawal
within six months.
The poll conducted by the University
of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes
(PIPA) shows that Iraqis, especially the Shiites (87
%) and the Sunnis (97%), are increasingly impatient
for an early US withdrawal. Quite contrary to what US
President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair constantly and adamantly claim, the Iraqis
do not believe that their country will fall apart along
sectarian lines or will be plunged into an all-out civil
war once the occupation troops leave.
|An Iraqi Shiite boy reads Quran
at a mosque in Baghdad's poor neighbourhood of Sadr
City country. AFP
If this is not
compelling enough for Bush to call back US troops and
wind up the illegitimate military occupation of Iraq,
then here are more findings of the poll:
- About six in 10 Iraqis say they
approve of attacks on US-led forces.
- Almost four in five Iraqis say
the US military force in Iraq provokes more violence
than it prevents.
- About 61 percent approved of the
attacks - up from 47 percent in January. A solid majority
of Shiite and Sunni Arabs approved of the attacks.
The increase came mostly among Shiite Iraqis.
- An overwhelmingly negative opinion
of terror chief bin Laden and more than half, 57 percent,
disapproving of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
- Three-fourths say they think the
United States plans to keep military bases in Iraq
A majority of Iraqis, 72 percent,
say they think Iraq will be one state five years from
now. Shiite Iraqis were most likely to feel that way,
though a majority of Sunnis and Kurds also believed
that would be the case.
The PIPA poll more or less endorses
a periodical State Department survey, according to which
two-thirds of Iraqis in Baghdad favour an immediate
withdrawal of US forces.
However, the PIPA poll shows that
a majority of Kurds welcome US occupation.
The Kurds wants the United States
presence in Iraq for obvious reasons. Under a Shiite-Arab
majority government, they will not be able to realise
all their political aspirations, especially the return
of the oil rich Kirkuk region to the autonomous Kurdistan
province. It could be achieved, the Kurds believe, only
with US help. Besides, the Kurds also believe the presence
of US troops in Iraq is a shield against Turkish military
incursions into Iraq's Kurdistan. Little surprise then,
when Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, himself a Kurd,
told the United Nations last week that coalition forces
should remain in Iraq until Iraqi security forces are
capable of putting an end to terrorism and maintaining
stability and security.
Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in
a recent interview with the German newspaper Der Spiegel
said that he told the Americans that they would win
the war in Iraq, but would soon sink into a quagmire.
"What has now happened is worse than I expected,"
It does not need an expert's analysis
or a report of a top intelligence outfit to conclude
that the problem of terrorism has increased after the
United States invaded Iraq.
The evidence is literally on the ground
- with scores of bodies of tortured victims being found
almost every day and with no signs of letting up in
attacks on US forces. Bob Woodward, the award winning
US journalists, claims in his latest book which has
already shaken the White House that at least 800 anti-US
attacks take place every week in Iraq.
A US intelligence report declassified
on the orders of President Bush shows how flawed the
decision making power of the US president is. The war
in Iraq was sold by the Bush administration to the American
public as part of the war on terror. More than 60 percent
of the Americans believed then that Saddam Hussein had
a hand in the 9/11 attacks on the United States and
the Iraqi dictator was hand in glove with al-Qaeda leader
Osama bin Laden. But the fact was Saddam Hussein was
a sworn enemy of the Islamists, including bin Laden.
Islamists in Iraq, whether they are Sunnis or Shiites,
were persecuted and most of them lived in exile.
The report prepared by analysts from
16 intelligence agencies reveals that the war in Iraq
is "cultivating supporters for the global jihadist
"The Iraq conflict has become
the 'cause celebre' for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment
of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating
supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should
jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived,
to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired
to carry on the fight,'' the report read.
Isn't it proof enough that it was
the policies and actions of the West, especially the
United States, that breed terrorism?
Yet British Prime Minister Tony Blair
failed to see this when he addressed his last Labour
Party convention as prime minister. He stuck on to the
discredited argument that terrorists go after the West
because they hated its values and rejected claims from
critics that his government's foreign policy was to
blame for terror attacks.
"This terrorism is not our fault.
We did not cause it. It's not the consequence of our
foreign policy. It is an attack on our way of life,"
Blair's position is not different
from that of a person who lives in a fool's paradise.
The so-called Islamic terrorism is essentially a reaction
to state terrorism practised by the West and Western
allies. In effect, there is provocation in the Bush-Blair
policies on West Asia.
The Afghan Mujahid's did not take
up arms against the Soviet Union until their country
was invaded. Palestinians did not take up arms against
Israelis until their land was grabbed. Iraqis did not
take up arms against the United States and its lackeys
until their country was attacked and occupied.
If terrorism is to be dealt with effectively,
then all these problems need to be solved in such a
way the affected people will get justice. But the problem
is it is the United States which decides what these
oppressed and subjugated people want, be they Afghanis,
Palestinians or Iraqis.
Last month, some 100 Iraqi parliamentarians
presented a motion in the national legislature calling
on the United States to leave immediately. The matter
is now on the order book. Whether it will ever be taken
up is anybody's guess. But the people's verdict is the
stranger must go. The Bush administration, in the meantime,
doesn't care two hoots about opinion polls, especially
if it involves Iraq or its people.