Friday, June 10, 2005

Grand Resistance Coalition Emerging in Iraq

By Pepe Escobar - Against all odds, a national liberation front is emerging in Iraq. Washington hawks may see it coming, but they certainly don't want it. It is composed of politicians, religious leaders, clan and tribal sheikhs -both Sunni and Shi'ite- with a single-minded agenda: the end of the US-led occupation.

The front is also opposed to permanent Pentagon military bases; opposed to the privatization and corporate looting of the Iraqi economy; and opposed to the federation of Iraq, ie balkanization. Members of the front clearly see through the plan of fueling sectarianism to provoke an atmosphere of civil war, thus legitimizing the American presence.

This front will include the powerful Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) and the Sadrists. It will refuse any kind of dialogue with new Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and his government unless there's a definite timetable for the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces.

But the proliferation of what many moderate Sunnis and Shi'ites suspect as being Pentagon-organized black ops is putting the emergence of this front in jeopardy. This is obvious when we see Harith al-Dhari - the AMS leader - blaming the Badr Brigades (the armed wing of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution - SCIRI - in Iraq, a major partner in the government) for the killing of Sunni Arab clerics.

Several Iranian websites have widely reported a plan to break up Iraq into three Shi'ite southern mini-states, two Kurdish mini-states and one Sunni mini-state - with Baghdad as the seat of a federal government. The plan was allegedly conceived by David Philip, a former White House adviser working for the American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC). The AFPC is financed by the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, which has also funded both the ultra-hawkish Project for a New American Century and American Enterprise Institute.

Once again this is classic divide and rule: the objective is the perpetuation of Arab disunity. Call it Iraqification; what it actually means is sectarian fever translated into civil war. Operation Lightning - the highly publicized counter-insurgency tour de force with its 40,000 mostly Shi'ite troops rounding up Sunni Arabs - can be read as the first salvo of the civil war....


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