Omar Waraich interviews Patrick Cockburn, Iraq correspondent for the Independent.
Commentators in the West opine, would have us believe it is merely Zarqawi-ite “Islamo-fascists” that are offering violence in Iraq. What credence, if any, is there to these claims?
"Before the capture of Saddam, the US and British generals in Baghdad all emphasised that the resistance was all remnants of Saddam’s regime. Then they had a bit of a problem when they actually captured Saddam. It actually validated what all of us believed, that there never was any real connection with Saddam.
"Zarqawi had been mentioned from the beginning, even by people like Colin Powell. But then from January 2004, there was no briefing that you could go to in Baghdad, by the Coalition Provisional Authority, where whatever happened, Zarqawi wasn’t mentioned or blamed. It was almost a parody. Any question asked by a journalist and you would get Zarqawi. Why is there a water shortage? It’s Zarqawi. Why does the toothpaste taste different? Zarqawi strikes again!
"At last count, I think there are 38 different organizations that are claiming attacks on the Americans... The main motive is a very simple one, that the Iraqis – like everyone else in the world – don’t like to have their lives controlled by foreigners and foreign troops. The last poll I saw showed that 82% of the Sunni Arabs to withdraw now or in the near future. That is somewhat predictable, but the figure for Shi’a Arabs was 69%.
"Even when I have travelled in the Shi’a areas, often after a bomb directed at say police recruits, people I speak to around the site say, “Why are they attacking Iraqis like this, why don’t they kill Americans instead?” The first part of the sentence often appears on American television. The second part, very seldom, is ever mentioned.
So they are fine with insurgents attacking Americans?
"Yes, in fact that’s what they invariably say."