March 30, 2008
This is my second attempt at this post.
Yesterday I spent not less than 4 friggin hours writing it. Then some motherfucker tried to hack me, my server got disconnected and I completely lost the draft since my blog for some reason refuses to save drafts.
Today is my second try. I am keeping my toes crossed -- obviously since I can't keep my fingers crossed...But you are not going to believe that either --as I sat down to start all over again, I got terrible stomach cramps -- food poisoning or some intestinal flu...Hence this post will be punctuated with rushed trips to the toilet... I think this must be a sign of something...or the other.
So here it comes...
I am not pleased at all with the English version of the Muqtada interview on English Al-Jazeerah. It is short, inaccurate, and doesn't give the English speaking reader the full picture.
I did watch the 60 mn interview in Arabic on that same channel. I watched it after having dinner -- not a very good idea. My stomach is still churning ever since...
What I am about to write, is a fairly detailed translated transcript of the interview. Everything Muqtada said has been translated word for word and is in ITALICS
The interview was conducted by the bland Ghassan Ben Jeddu, who looked terrified and in awe, but then Ghassan Ben Jeddu is always in awe in front of Mullahs, Nassrallah included...
I will try to group his interview under headings to make it simpler for you -- I hope I will succeed, as Muqtada kept jumping from one subject to the other, evading questions or not giving full concise replies.
1) A PR Introduction to Jaysh al Mahdi and Tayyar al-Sadree.
(Mahdi Army = JAM (armed wing), Tayyar al Sadree = the Sadrist movement(political wing)
At the very beginning Muqtada explained why he's been isolating himself from the political scene -- to study, reflect and give a hint to to the Iraqi people and politicians that he is upset and not pleased. And that his isolation was a tactical move. And that he did not freeze his JAM nor his Tayyar.
Then he goes on to give a brief historical overview of JAM, saying that it was established 5 years ago. He admitted tht he did not always have total control over JAM at the very beginning but that now, they are an obedient, aware and capable of liberating Iraq.
He then said Liberation comes under different forms, so does Resistance. It is cultural, political, social, and armed combat -- Resistance has to be varied.
Then he gave the usual stuff that every Arab and Iraqi wants to hear --namely that
the Liberation of Iraq was his main objective and that Resistance is a legitimate right -- referring to HIS resistance.
2)On the U.S occupation, Saddam Hussein and the Baath.
He said that this occupation is a crusade against Islam and that muslims have to fight it.
When asked about his resistance to the U.S, he said textually-- the U.S knows that I am still resisting them but I am doing it in lawful ways and they know it.
He then added --Saddam Hussein was occupying Iraq as a dictator and a tyrant. We have got ridden of Saddam and the Baathists , but whatever you are witnessing right now is also the work of Saddam and the Baathists. The Little Satan has left (Saddam Hussein) and the Great Satan has arrived. I already said that at the beginning of the occupation in 2003.
Khomeini used exactly that same sentence when referring to Saddam Hussein and the U.S. I wish the "Baathists" will pay heed -- unlikely though and despite what Salah Al Mukhtar claimed on Al-Jazeera the other day -- he said " 128'000 Baathists have been murdered since 2003 " But Salah Al-Mukhtar forgot to add that those who murdered them were also JAM.
He concluded his thoughts on Saddam and the Baath by saying U.S influence and occupation is worse than the Baath but added that whatever mayhem we are currently witnessing in Iraq is all because of Saddam and the Baathists -- they are still responsible for all of it.
3)On Shiism and the Aqeeda (Shia covenant)
He said the following-- The Mahdi Army is an Aqeeda, preparing the way for the coming of Imam Al-Mahdi Al Musleh --the hidden Imam that will reveal himself and establish justice.
See my post "the hell that is Iraq" for the Khomeinist definition of the coming Imam Al-Mahdi which is very much in line with Muqtada's theological bent.
He then textually said-- Every Muslim has to submit to Imam Al-Mahdi Al-Musleh. He will appear in the future and our (my) army is to serve him. And he repeated This is a crusade against Islam and we have to fight it.
And he concluded by saying--It is not enough to have an Islamic governance, everyone is saying this is a Islamic government. We also need an Islamic society on all levels
Presumably a Shiite one, Iran style. Oh God ! am about to faint.
4) On the Marjaiah-- the highest Shiite theological council
He said the following --I have a good relationship with all the Marjaiah, and we still follow Ayatollah Al-Haeri despite our past differences, which have been resolved. May God sustain his shadow-- Layla Anwar rolls her eyes...
5) On the current Iraqi government and Al-Maliki.
On that issue, Muqtada gave two contradictory replies. On the one hand he said
The Iraqi government considers the Resistance (his resistance) as terrorism, on an official level, publicly but in private and they will not say it, they don't call the Resistance (his), terrorist.
Then he said--The current government is more concerned with itself than with the Iraqi people. The government should aim for a rapprochement with the people. Now it's divorced from the people.
He added-- We complained that Saddam was a tyrant and dictator divorced from his people, the current government is the same.
Then Muqtada mentioned "corruption." But of course, he did not mention the millions of dollars that evaporated when the Sadrists were/are in charge of some of the ministries.
He also said that-- the current Iraqi parliament is fomenting sectarianism --but he did not mention that two of his ministers were charged with murdering sick Sunni Iraqi patients in their hospitals beds. And they were let free without no charges.
Then he spoke of detainees. He said that the current government is detaining people with no charges. He mentioned 12 women (7 shias and 5 sunnis but was not sure who was what) and three Shiite figures close to him and this is their names
- Sheikh Ali Al-Humernee
- Sheikh Adel Haleem
- Sheikh Al-Khazaalee.
Got news for you Muqtada, the number of Sunni prisoners in U.S and Iraqi governmental jails are around 100'000 detained only because they are Sunnis. And the number of Iraqi female prisoners detained is over 300 in the Kadhimiya prison alone and most are Sunnis and have been raped and tortured.
He then concluded on the Iraqi government by saying --They are under U.S pressure, but we would like them not to give so much power to the U.S
He also said that the 9th of April should be a day when every Iraqi must demonstrate and I invite Badr and the Majlis to participate as well...
6) On Sectarianism
When asked about the accusations leveled against his Tayyar and his JAM regarding sectarian cleansing of sunnis, this is what he had to say
This is all very exaggerated. The media blamed us because we are the biggest and most influential movement in Iraq. There was some done but I am ready to open a new chapter and we are now brothers...
After Samarra there was an outcry and a popular uprising against Sunnis, that is why some sectarian cleansing took place and the Americans and others charged the Tayyar with sectarianism, but I am against sectarianism and ethnic chauvinism.
I've always tried to hold the stick from the middle, wanting to please both shias and sunnis, I may not have succeeded...but I do feel closer to Sunnis politically and closer to Shias through my Aqeeda... I blame the U.S for all the sectarianism and other parties as well...
A lie Muqtada, a blatant lie insulting not only our intelligence but also the memory of those who perished under your men. I personally know of at least 12 families, and each of these families had a member who was either kidnapped, shot, tortured, drilled, raped or set on fire alive...Some were women, some were men and their only crime was because you considered them NAWASIB, i.e a slur for designating Sunnis, and some were just tortured to death because their names were Omar, Bakr and Othman. I have a few examples in my immediate family...
But it does not stop there, your men and the Badr brigades and the Mossad and the Peshmergas are responsible for bringing down the Palestinian population in Iraq from 35'000 to a mere 7'000 still in hiding. There are those whom you massacred to death and the ones who escaped are still in tents in a no man's land.
Do us all a favor you duplicitous thing, go and consult the UNCHR list of displaced Iraqis, be it in Amman, Damascus or Cairo to name just a few places and see who was the main cause of their exile.
7) On Federalism
I am not against Federalism, Federalism is a good thing..but Federalism under the U.S occupation will lead to the partitioning of Iraq but Federalism without occupation will not
Pray tell me, will someone explain to me this ? What does that mean ? Federalism is federalism and will lead to partition anyways since Iran and Israel are hell bent on it...
8) On external influences -Iran and the Arab world.
On Iran this is what Muqtada had to say -- During my last Hajj (pilgrimage), I met with Khameini- May God preserve his shadow, and I frankly told him that even though I was very close to Iran through my Shia aqeeda and sect, but politically I don't feel affiliated to them and I ask him on the levels of political involvement to change their agenda...
So Iran had an agenda then ? Good to know that ya Muqtada. But you failed to tell your viewer that the Pasdaran - Iranian Quds Brigades and Hezbollah are heavily infiltrated in your movement and army...So much for distancing yourself politically from Iran !
On the Arab world he said their influence was negative, he referred to car bombs, IED's and delegations being sent for reconciliation...I suppose he was hinting at Saudi Arabia...
And he added that him and his Tayyar will not do what other Arab countries did to Iraq, because after all this is a true Islamic movement so this movement will stand with all Arab countries muslim and non muslim and help them should they need help.
And he concluded by asking the Arab Countries, the UN, the Arab league to support the Tayyar and JAM politically, culturally and aim for the unity of the Iraqi people...He also said that he did not need their arms.
He finished off by saying that two dossiers were in urgent attention
- the lebanese dossier -- obviously referring to Nasrallah and the Iraqi dossier obviously referring to himself... He made NO MENTION of the Palestinian Dossier...In fact not once did he mention the word Palestinian
9) On the upcoming provincial elections
He said that some parties are trying to stop the provincial elections, and that is why they started the problems in Kut, Amara, Hilla, in order to postpone them...
And even though elections under occupation are not legitimate, but still I encourage the Tayyar and other Hawza members to participate in them. These elections are for Iraqis only and it may be that independent provincial municipalities will assert our independence from the U.S.
Oh God what bullshit....Muqtada this is not the first time you encourage your people to participate in the illegitimate elections as you call them...you were part of the political process since 2005 -- give us a break with your lies.
10) On the future of JAM, the Tayyar and Iraq
He said -- Even though JAM may still need some improvement, it has already greatly improved and is much closer to the Iraqi people. It has become more educated and aware. Past divisions within JAM have been forgotten. They all returned to the Father (him) to the Source and they know that I have a wide chest and a big heart
Oh! Ah! I and other Iraqis are very touched...except some of them are not here anymore having had their eyes gouged out and have been drilled to death -- so they will not be able to bear witness as to how big your heart is ya Muqtada...
On the future of Iraq he foresees more sectarian conflict on the level of the people and political conflict at the level of government.
In other words Muqtada does not see the sectarian conflict as a result of government politics. Someone ought to teach this idiot politics 101. And of course as long as personalities like him are around, there will always be sectarianim in Iraq. Him and his ilk in the puppet government alongside the Americans are the main reason for sectarianism.
He also said-- I told the men with turbans to stay away from politics, politics and turbans don't go well together but he also said Religion is Politics and Politics is Religion....and obviously he "forgot" that he wears a turban himself...
He ended the interview by saying that he will remain involved in the international scene and will be attending a conference in Syria soon, to discuss the slanders against the Prophet Mohammed -- referring to the Danish cartoons presumably.
And that the Mahdi Resistance is the only true Resistance to the Occupation.
End of Interview.
Sorry got to rush to the toilet again !