Workers World managing editor John Catalinotto participated in interviews in Madrid on Oct. 10 with Abu Muhammed, a spokesperson for both the post-invasion Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party in Iraq and for the Supreme Command of the Front for Struggle [Jihad] and Liberation in Iraq (FSL), whose formation was announced Oct. 2. This front is one of the major coalitions or fronts of organizations that participate in the Iraqi National Resistance (INR) to the U.S. occupation.
This was the first set of interviews by an official representative of a major coalition of the Iraqi resistance outside the Middle East. He came to Spain at the invitation of the group CEOSI (iraqsolidaridad.org) and held media, political and institutional meetings.
There are other coalitions that also group thousands of Iraqi resistance fighters. While sharing many of the same goals as that of the Front for Struggle and Liberation—especially that of driving out the U.S.—these other fronts may have a different assessment of their relative strength, of the exact role of Iran, of the exact role of the Ba’ath Party, etc. There is a possibility of continued and growing cooperation among these fronts.
These fronts, however, don’t consider Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army part of the resistance, although the U.S. treats the 100,000-strong Mahdi Army as a hostile force.
Abu Muhammed, who did his graduate studies as a medical doctor in the United States, was a university professor in Baghdad during the Saddam Hussein government. Since some of his remarks have been translated twice, from Arabic to Spanish to English, it is more appropriate to paraphrase them here for readers’ information rather than treat them as exact quotes.
Statements by Abu Muhammed
Abu Muhammed speaking to the Spanish
Campaign Against Occupation and for the
Sovereignty of Iraq (CEOSI).
We in the Supreme Command of the Jihad and Liberty in Iraq are resistance fighters against the U.S. occupation. We want to make it clear that there were no terrorists in Iraq before the start of the occupation. There was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before the U.S. occupation. We condemn the attacks of al-Qaeda against civilians.
Izat Ibrahim al-Duri, who was a general in the Iraqi army and a vice president in the last Iraqi government before the invasion, and who is secretary general of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party in Iraq, is chief of the Supreme Command of the 22 nationalist and Islamist groups and parties that have joined together in a front.
Regarding the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party in Iraq, it was not and is not a dictatorial party. We believe in nationalism. The situation existing in Iraq in the last decades, the challenges the party faced, led to a centralized party under Saddam Hussein. Since the occupation the party has evolved from being a party in power to being a party in the resistance. We believe in pluralism and in a new democratic vision.
Our party made errors in the past. There was good and bad done during Saddam Hussein’s regime. The party is not locked in old ways. We are no longer a centralized party or a dictatorship. After liberation we will continue to be pluralist. We will participate with other parties in elections.
Regarding the attempt to divide Iraq, the truth is that Iraq is now living under an occupation and under those who support the occupation. The occupation and its supporters are parties that have militias made up respectively of Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds. These parties have death squads. Some of them cooperate with Iran. We in the resistance represent more than 80 percent of Iraqis from all parts of Iraq. In a recent survey made by USA Today, the majority of Iraqis are for the resistance and against the occupation, and are for a democratic and pluralist Iraq. The system of the one-party regime is over.
We in the armed and unarmed resistance are the only road to independence and stability for Iraq. We will continue to resist until the defeat of the U.S. or until the U.S. accepts a withdrawal. We will only accept negotiations if the U.S. recognizes the rights of Iraqis. Otherwise, we will continue the resistance.
There were more than 1.5 million Iraqis killed during the sanctions period [1990 to 2003] and more than 1 million more Iraqis killed since the invasion. On the U.S. side, the 3,700 deaths reported are only the Marines. It doesn’t include the mercenaries, and as many mercenaries function in Iraq as do U.S. troops. The mercenaries are in action more than the Marines, in Falluja, Samarra, and other cities.
The Pentagon has estimated that there have been a total of 54,000 actions against U.S. troops by the resistance. If you estimate at least one death for every two of these actions, that means 27,000 deaths. This number includes U.S. troops and mercenaries. Now the resistance makes 177 operations every day.
The majority of Iraqis in the country are fighting or are supporting those who are fighting. There are no mountains, no forests in Iraq, and we have no help from neighboring countries. The Iraqis have surprised the world with their determination to go on fighting despite all the difficulties and destruction.
Message to U.S. population from Iraqi resistance
I would like to send a message from the resistance to the people of the United States.
Bush has humiliated the U.S. people with his invasion and occupation of Iraq. He has humiliated the U.S. Army as well. It is a shameful blot on U.S. history for the U.S. to occupy a country which was living in peace and was stable and one of the developing countries.
Bush and his administration lied to the U.S. people, telling lie after lie regarding the causes of the occupation of Iraq and the events that were taking place inside Iraq. He also lies about the number of U.S. Army troops killed.
Regarding the alleged causes of the war, first the U.S. raised that Saddam Hussein had a dictatorship and that he possessed nuclear and chemical weapons, the so-called weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), and also that Saddam Hussein had relations with al-Qaeda. By now the U.S. leaders themselves have pulled back from this claim. They have recognized that these reasons were false and that no one can show that there was a relation between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. No one found WMDs in Iraq.
Indeed, if the Bush administration had really believed that Iraq possessed WMDs, then it would not have invaded Iraq.
Since the invasion was based on these lies and the U.S. leaders knew they were lying, it means that the U.S. government is responsible for all the consequences of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. This includes the existence of al-Qaeda in Iraq, since there was no such organization in Iraq before the invasion and no one in Iraq had heard of al-Qaeda.
There are many negative results of the U.S. invasion: the interference of Iran in Iraq; the sectarian fighting in keeping with the political agenda; the militias and the death squads that belong to the parties that cooperate with the occupation or which belong to the government. All these results lead to a seriously bad condition in Iraq, as well as the lack of services such as social services, health and water. The mass killing of the people and their imprisonment without cause, the stolen wealth of Iraq, were all caused by the occupation of Iraq and the U.S. is responsible.
The resistance began its development starting in the early days of the occupation, growing at first gradually day by day until it enlarged quantitatively and qualitatively, and is now all Iraqis from all different national groups, religious groups, sects, Kurds and Arabs, Sunnis and Shiites, Christians, Turkmen, etc.; all Iraqis. According to USA Today and CNN, 80 percent of all Iraqis support the resistance.
The resistance is fighting the U.S. army and killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq, not because they are people from the U.S., but because they are occupiers of Iraq.
Program of the resistance
The policy of the resistance is to liberate Iraq. After that it will form a temporary council from the different groups and political parties that have rejected the occupation. This includes all those that have left the political process organized by the occupation and are now resisting. This temporary council will select a transitional government that will rule for two years. It will also establish a national constitution. At that time it will initiate a law for parties to run candidates. This is a new vision of the Ba’ath Arab Socialist Party and of the resistance.
The project and strategy of the resistance is that the U.S. and its allies should recognize the rights of Iraq and the Iraqi people. These include:
• Recognition of the Iraq National Resistance as the military and political representative of the Iraqi people.
• Complete and unconditional withdrawal from Iraq.
• Cancel all laws and structures that were passed under the occupation.
• Set all the prisoners of the U.S. and the government free.
• Compensate the state and the people of Iraq.
• Stop invading homes and harassing people.
If the rights of Iraqis are recognized and the U.S. is ready to implement them now, representatives of the Iraqi National Resistance will be ready to sit with the U.S. directly to put lines in place for withdrawal of the U.S. Army and hold a discussion of the placing of bases on the borders with Iran to prevent an invasion, and to make an agreement to have good relations with all countries whether they be neighbors or scattered around the world.
Otherwise the resistance will continue throughout generations, whatever the losses. There would be no stability in Iraq then, until there is a big defeat of the U.S. Army. The U.S. administration knows very well what such a defeat would mean, and what the serious results would be.