Thursday, April 28, 2005

Response to Raed Jarrar

In his longest blog entry to date, Raed Jarrar explains in some detail his views on matters in Iraq.

The Elections of January 30, 2005.

First of all, Raed looks at the election of January 30, 2005, in which around 8 million Iraqis, despite weeks of death-threats by the terrorists, went to the polls and voted in the first legitimate election in decades. In contrast to those 8 million Iraqis who voted, Raed remained in Jordan and sulked. From his family’s penthouse apartment in Amman, Raed predicted the elections would, in fact, “open the gates of hell.” “I didn’t see elections by themselves as a victory,” Raed writes, tossing up a quick straw-man argument. However, it should be noted that no one claimed that the elections, in themselves, sealed a “victory.” The majority of commentators were pleased by the large turnout in the face of daily death-threats and simply acknowledged that the elections were an important first step in the democratic process in Iraq.

Raed then attempts to belittle the bravery of those Iraqis who voted by bringing up once again an unsubstantiated rumor that a sizeable group voted only to retain their monthly food rations. To date, however, I haven’t read any verification of this charge. “I didn’t see that it’s worth it to threaten people just to have them go vote,” Raed writes. “Voting by itself is not a victory.” In a perverse shift of emphasis, instead of placing the threats at the feet of the terrorists themselves, Raed points to some unnamed officials who wanted to blackmail -- I guess this is Raed's argument -- Iraqis citizens into voting by threatening to revoke their ration cards if they didn't vote.

Raed thinks that democratic elections are, in general, a good thing. “Elections, as a mechanism of public participation, are most needed in our countries, the Middle Eastern developing countries,” Raed writes. He argues, however, that the Iraqi election on January 30, 2005, was NOT a good thing. “I’m not against elections per-se,” he says, “I was and still against the timing and outline of the past elections.” Raed does not tell us when he would have preferred to hold the first election.

At this point, Raed’s train of thought starts to unravel a bit and it is difficult to understand what he is trying to say. He says that elections are important for the future of Iraq, but that they shouldn’t have too many elections because their “magical” effect may lose their “spark.” I urge you, dear reader, to read that passage and see if you can interpret it yourself.

The Resistance

Raed argues that the resistance is a local product and the “foreign” (Al-Qaeda) element is very small. “The Iraqi resistance is the very direct reaction to the invasion and occupation,” Raed writes. “It’s simply an indigenous response to an illegal war.” The Iraqi resistance is comprised of three groups, he says.

1. “remains of the Iraqi government, intelligence, and army” (all Iraqi)

2. Islamists fighting “crusaders” (99% Iraqi / 1% non-Iraqi)

3. disgruntled Iraqis that Raed calls the “Abu Ghreib ex-detainees” (all Iraqi)

I have no problem with this analysis. It seems to accord with most reports of the composition of the insurgents / terrorists / resistance. However, in the last 28 days, this “resistance,” to use Raed’s preferred term for this disparate collection of individuals, have murdered according to the reliable Iraq Coalition Casualties:

269 Iraqi Civilians
174 Iraqi Military / Police

443 Total Iraqis killed in the last 28 days by Raed’s Resistance.

Now THAT I have a problem with. Raed suggests that, because they are fighting the interim government –- and according to Raed, any elected officials are of course “puppets” -- the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children is just another operation conducted by the glorious Resistance.

During the same period, the "Resistance" have killed 39 Coalition soldiers.

My question.

In the same period of time, Raed's Resistance Fighters have killed:

443 Iraqi Citizens to 39 Coalition Soldiers.

Who do YOU think Raed's Resistance Fighters are TARGETING?

This has been my main complaint against Raed Jarrar from the beginning. How can someone in good conscience support a collective of individuals that kills innocent noncombatant Iraqi citizens?

At this point, Raed offers another explanation for why he didn’t vote:
When non-extremists, like myself, decided not to take a part of the state politics and just stay outside and watch what’s happening, it’s not because we’re enjoying the scene, and it’s not that we support violence. It is only because we are marginalized by the US occupying administration and its extremist ideologies.

How exactly, one wonders, was Raed Jarrar “marginalized” by the interim administration?

More to follow.

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I just HAD to link to Ahmad's entry on a true Iraqi HERO, SAMIR.

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