"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What the polls say

Dear Madam,

Khalid Ibrahim of the Iraqi Human Rights Organisation is guilty of the same mistakes he accuses Lara Marlowe of committing in Tuesday's Irish Times. He wrongly asserts that the insurgency is predominantly a foreign force bolstered by remnants of the Baathist party. The insurgency is in actuality largely home grown force and predominantly targets the US military. With the US fading back in terms of visibility in Iraq, preferring to increase even less accurate and accountable air strikes, today killing 14 members of the same family, the insurgent attacks are focusing on the Iraqi police, seen as collaborators.

While it is true many Iraqis live in relative peace, Iraq's most densely populated areas are still in the midst of conflict. This continuing crisis is seen by many Iraqis as a result of occupation. Most, if not all, polls conducted in the past two years have followed three repetitive themes, the need for security, the recognition of the legitimacy of the insurgency and the call for an end to occupation.
Dr. Khalid Ibrahim has admitted this sentiment before; "Of course, all Iraqis do not want occupation and want to end it but I am a supporter of international action," [1] but he now fails to find the link between the international action that led to the massacre following the first Gulf War and the present action that has now led to over 100,000 deaths.

He is right to pay tribute to the strength and the determination of the Iraqis to build a new democracy, it the courage of the peaceful insurgency that will end occupation and prevent civil war.

Yours sincerely,

1. Irish Examiner

Letter in the Irish Times:

Madam, - Lara Marlowe's review of the situation in Iraq (The Irish Times, December 29th) ignored all the healthy signs there and reached misleading conclusions.

There is no civil war in Iraq between Shia and Sunni as she claims. What we actually have is some suicidal bombers coming from abroad - accommodated by the Ba'athists who were involved with Saddam in killing Iraqis for more than 35 years - targeting indiscriminately the innocent people of Iraq.

It is not easy to stop those brainless killers knowing that they have bases and support from neighbouring dictatorships. However, they are active in certain pockets, while the rest of Iraq is calm and peaceful. You could visit many cities such as Najaf, Kerbala, Samawa, Erbi, Suleimanya, and see for yourself that people are making the best out of the new and first democratic era in the modern history of Iraq.

Millions of Iraqis participated in the three polls during 2005, despite the threats of the terrorists. These polls have been authenticated by the United Nations.

The turnout in the December 15th election was 70 per cent, with Sunnis going to the polling stations in massive numbers. The various political parties have now agreed to establish a national unity government which could be a reality very soon.

The trial of Saddam Hussein is another healthy sign of the new Iraq. The court has given him and his team of lawyers the freedom to say in public whatever they want - which does not mean that the court is afraid of Saddam, as suggested by Ms Marlowe. On the contrary, it means that the dictator is facing the justice that he never delivered to his 2 million victims, many of whom were killed and buried in mass graves without any trial.

Ms Marlowe quotes the former interim prime minister as saying human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad or worse as in the time of Saddam. All Iraqis know that this is not true. He said that for political gain during the last election in which he lost many seats. The reality is that we have hundred of political parties, newspapers, and independent TV stations and people are enjoying their freedom. Also many international institutions were invited to investigate any claim of torture in any location inside Iraq.

The democratic process in Iraq, which Ms Marlowe likes to put in quotation marks, is moving forward. We have to pay tribute to the strength and the determination of the Iraqis to build a new democracy in their country. Any fair-minded person can see its huge effects on a region marked by corrupt rulers and oppressive regimes. - Yours, etc,

KHALID IBRAHIM, Spokesperson, Iraqi Human Rights Organisation, Trinity College, Dublin 2

The Irish Times