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Arab Anger after the War in Iraq

Reader comment on item: 100 Bin Ladens on the Way?

Submitted by Shimon Z. Klein (Israel), Apr 9, 2003 at 01:49

While the goal of destroying Saddam Hussein and his ilk is to be supported, there are a few comments that I would like to make about some assumptions in the above article ...

"Iraqi gratitude: In northern Iraq, a young girl yells in English "I love you," to U.S. troops; in the south, Najaf's mood is described as "like a carnival." Watching the gratitude of liberated Iraqis will undercut the Muslim sense of outrage that this war harmed the Iraqi population."

I find it hard to believe that there will really be "Iraqi Gratitude" after the war. The level of destruction that has occurred as a result of the war, irrespective of US motivation, should not be under estimated. Many innocent civilians have been killed and injured. There has also been unintentional loss of life in the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad where journalists have been stationed. Innocent Iraqis, who have lost their loved ones and property as a result of the death and destruction will not show much sympathy for the "liberation of Iraq" as noble as that may sound. There will also be an intermediate period of utter chaos from which nobody will benefit in the short run and maybe in the long run.

"Casualties: The relatively small number of civilian casualties, plus the excellent care they are getting from the allies, will diminish the rage about Iraqis paying too high a price for their freedom."

This still remains to be seen. The war is still not over. Everyday has its unpredictable surprises as far as casualties are concerned - not to mention the high rate of "friendly fire" directed by the coalition troops themselves. Apart from that, it is not known, with the limited medical attention available, as to how many casualties there are in this time and place.

"Islam: Respecting Iraqi ways, especially their religion, will reduce apprehensions about the war being a crusade."

This is an assumption rather than what is really happening. According to Islam, when non-Moslems attack an Islamic country no matter for what reason, this is in itself sacrilege. Non-Moslems attacking Moslem countries is inexcusable according to Islam. This could spell dangers for the US and the UK in the future. There could be an increase in terrorism directed against the US and UK using this war as a pretext amongst other fantasies.

"Oil: A poll in Jordan finds 83 percent of respondents believing Washington is fighting for control over Iraqi oil; but when a new Iraqi government takes charge of its oil resources, this canard will die."

This is wishful thinking. It will take a long time before a new Iraqi government takes over. When it does happen eventually, US oil interests will be so intertwined at the expense of the Iraqi people that benefits for them will be minimal. The US has economic interests in the Middle East and one of them is oil. Wherever the US has been whether in Vietnam or whatever, their record in post war reconstruction has been poor to say the least. The situation in Iraq will not be any different. It will be another "Uncle Sam's Backyard".

"Imperialism: The alacrity with which the allies remove themselves from controlling Iraq will assuage fears of it becoming part of a U.S. empire."

It will be difficult for the allies to leave Iraq. The chaos after the war and the problems that will inevitably arise with the Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis and possibly the Iranian Shiites will not be conducive to the orderly rule in Iraq. Apart from that, there does not seem to be a viable alternative to the US and allied occupation at this stage. The best that could be achieved is some form of interim government under UN auspices with the minimum of allied influence. The maintenance of law and order and general rule by the US and allies would NOT assuage fears of American imperialism in Iraq.

"Strong horse: As bin Laden himself put it, "When people see a strong horse and a weak horse, by nature they will like the strong horse." An allied victory will establish who the strong horse is, diminishing the ardor of its enemies to fight."

This may be the case temporarily. After a while, with allied rule, there will always be attempts at an uprising to overthrow that rule. No Arab country will tolerate non-Moslem rule in their country. There will be regrouping and a struggle against the foreign power could occur.
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