Thursday, June 24, 2004

Two Views of Iraq: Faiza and Zeyad

Let me very clear about this, gentle readers. I think that both Raed and Faiza are decent people. True, Raed is a febrile smart-aleck, but I've corresponded with him for several months and I think he's a good guy. However, even though I like him, I must object to his strange ideas and outlandish characterizations. Faiza is a very good mother to her sons and a good wife to her husband, Azzam. Both Raed and Faiza will be part of Iraq's future. It's their future in Iraq, not mine. Again, however, I cannot accept her characterizations of my country and my country's soldiers. I think she is wrong about many issues and I will engage her in those debates. The two of them have written many interesting blogs and we appreciate that. At the same time, as the latest blogs by mother and son suggest, they open themselves up to some serious criticism when they pen such comments. If they disagree with me, hey, they can post their thoughts on my COMMENTS PAGES.

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Faiza:

We are peaceful nations, our past and present is merciful and composed…
We do not like using force unless in self and country defense, and these are humanitarian traits…


*

Zeyad:

This preoccupation with lineage and blood ties was also a source of hostility between different tribes as the famous saying put it 'Me and my brother against my cousin, and me and my cousin against the stranger'. Therefore it is not uncommon for clans of the same tribe to be at war with each other, and then suddenly unite against an outside
aggression or a common enemy, after which they would be back to fight each other.

...

Abdul Malik bin Marwan had to lay siege to Mecca and bomb it with stonethrowers when Abdullah bin Al-Zubair (one of the last surviving companions of Muhammed) rebelled with the backing of several Bedouin tribes, he also sent his strongman Hajjaj Bin Yusuf to control the disorder among Iraqi tribes. Hajjaj massacred thousands of people and forced military conscription. Iraqis to this day tell tales of his violent rule, and Saddam Hussein was always compared to Hajjaj in his ruthlessness. Hajjaj called Iraqis ahl alshiqaq wal nifaq or 'the people of disunity and hypocricy', one famous story was that during a curfew on Kufa, his guards brought him an old Bedouin who had entered the town unaware of the curfew, he implored Hajjaj that he did not know about the curfew and that he just came here from the desert, 'I know you are innocent' Hajjaj replied, 'But killing you is for the best interests of the umma, hang him on the city walls guards!'.

...

One governor, Hassan Pasha, was in constant war with tribes, once he subjugated a tribe, another would immediately rebel against him. After he brutally repressed the Shammar and Bani Lam tribes in 1708, an alliance of several powerful Iraqi tribes including Shammar, Zubayd, Al-Khaza'il, and Al-Mayyah rebelled against him under the leadership of the Al-Muntafiq tribal confederation. A fierce battle was fought near Basrah in which cannons were used against the tribesmen killing thousands.

...

In 1797 an army of Iraqi tribes armed with cannons and firearms led by Sheikh Thuwayni of Al-Muntafiq moved south against the Wahhabis after news of the fall of the Ahsa region in the hands of Abdul Aziz Bin Mohammed Bin Saud. Sheikh Thuwayni was assassinated by a slave who sympathised with the Wahhabis, he stabbed him in the chest with a dagger while shouting 'Allahu Akbar!'. As soon as the news spread among the Iraqi tribes they fled in panic and the Wahhabis looted the army. Another larger campaign followed the next year which was also met with failure, and the Baghdad governor was forced to sign a truce with Ibn Saud. The truce didn't last long, a caravan of Wahhabis was passing by Najaf and they witnessed a Sheikh from Al-Khaza'il kissing the gates of the shrine of Imam Ali, this enraged the fundamental Wahhabis so they attacked and killed the Sheikh. After that Wahhabis continued to raid southern Iraqi villages slaughtering their inhabitants including the women and children. During the Ghadeer day festivities in 1802 they attacked Karbala and plundered the shrines of Imam Hussein and Abbas, killing 5 thousand Iraqis. Four years later they tried to attack Najaf but it was defended by the tribes. Wahhabi raids against the Iraqi south continued to be a problem for over a century until after the British occupation, when British aircraft started bombing the raiding tribes.

...

Political demonstrations were popular during the 50's and on many occasions these would serve as a pretext for anarchy and looting. Political parties acted as tribes and would often engage in revenge killings in the name of 'defending the nation' or 'fighting colonialist spies and enemies of the revolution'.

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It appears that Raed and Faiza read from the same history book, where Americans force innocent terrorists to use the technique of beheading that they had never seen before in their history. Raed:

Did anyone ever heard about beheading before the occupation of Iraq? Before the silly right-wing war of terror?

The same history book where, for Faiza, Iraq has always been a peaceful kingdom and where outsiders are the ones who cause violence:

We are peaceful nations, our past and present is merciful and composed…
We do not like using force unless in self and country defense, and these are humanitarian traits…




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