Ending major combat operations gives way to…The hard tasks [Archives:2003/634/Opinion]

May 5 2003

Mohammed Khidhr

Six weeks after the beginning of Anglo-American military operations in Iraq, the U.S. president George W. Bush announced ending of the major combat operations there. This announcement ushers the beginning of a stage that is more difficult and harder than the actual military operations in Iraq. It is a hard task and stage not only for the allied forces but also for the Iraqi opposition factions, both those who were abroad and came with the invading forces and those inside. It is hard and bearing great challenges because it is a stage of reconstruction; first the development and services infrastructures and second the political life in prelude to establishment of a democratic parliamentary state. Baghdad fell militarily to the allied forces since April 9 and since then the whole situation is still unstable and normal life has not returned to Baghdad and the whole country. Everything in Iraq is still foggy and the entire picture is not clear yet. Despite the intensive military presence of the occupation forces the security situation is still out of full control. There are still looting and killing incidents here and there in Baghdad and many other cities in the country, most of these incidents happen under the very nose of the Anglo-American troops. The major security task taken by these troops is taking all measures and precautions to provide security for themselves alone, although according to Geneva conventions, the forces of occupation have to undertake keeping security and stability in that country in absence of any local government or power. So far the allied forces have not reinstated the Iraqi police and security forces to resume their duties in keeping security. There still only few Iraqi security members employed for this purpose. All ministries and government institutions, especially those relating directly to the people basic needs such as water, electricity and health are still semi-closed. All members of the various military forces in Iraq are out of their units and constitute a huge army of unemployed people who have not received even their salaries for the past months of March and April. A consequence of which could force those unemployed people to commit various kinds of illegal acts to make for their basic needs to provide sustenance for their families, given the fact that majority of the Iraqi people are dependent on supplies provided for them in the program of oil for food endorsed by the UN according to the UN-Iraqi government memorandum of understanding. Perhaps the main reason behind delay of implementing the promises made by the American and British administrations before and during the war campaign on Iraq is the fact that the allied forces are fully suspicious of all the Iraqis and they deal with them not as civilians but rather as enemy soldiers in a state of war with them. He allied forces do not trust any citizen and always suppose that he would be attacking them because so far they have failed to create with them bridges of trust by undertaking all tasks leading to establishment of security and return to normal life in all walks of life in the country. In order to win confidence of the people the allied forces should be instructed to begin fulfillment of heir promises to the Iraqi people when they said they came to ''liberate'' the country and the people from the former regime and not to behave as a force of occupation. All conduct of the allied forces in Iraq is seen as one of an occupation power. The allied force have to seek advice of the Iraqi political and social forces, whether those already inside Iraq or those who accompanied them in their military campaign and who constituted an opposition in exile, regarding the best ways and means for restoring normal life in Iraq. These people know well that Iraq's administrative technical machinery is enough to carry out running the country's various civil institutions and them that those people are skilled and well-trained and having an accumulated experience. All civil servants and members of police and the armed forces should be summoned to join their institutions to begin running them again under a joint supervision of the Iraqi political personalities from inside and those who were abroad in cooperation with representatives of the allied forces. This should be a measure given topmost priority especially during the period until an Iraqi interim government is formed because it is very detrimental for both the Iraqi people and the allied forces to leave the situation so loose till the completion of an interim government. Re-employment of all Iraqi administrative machinery is very urgent now and those who are proved to have committed offences and abuse of power during the ousted regime could be interrogated and tried by Iraqi courts to receive the punishment they deserve. The majority of he people who worked, at various levels, with the former regime were not necessarily in accord with it or loyal to it in everything it did. Most of them criticized the regime's acts and policies in their private meetings but dared not oppose it because of its fiercely suppressive measures. Many members of the regime even some of those who were occupying senior civilian posts or military ranks were not really supporting the regime, therefore when they found out that the higher leadership of the regime was at the brink of collapse, they abandoned it and preferred not to support it. That attitude is an evident indicator that they hoped to get rid of that leadership. Some of them even offered help in ousting the leadership, and I'm sure the Americans and the British and leaders of the former opposition know them well.
Politically, all the Iraqi political forces have now to muster their efforts and join forces to speed up their consultations and practical measures to form and start the governance in Iraq and should not exclude any political organisations or parties. A good start and a new chapter of fraternal relationship should be inaugurated among all Iraq political factions, even the Baath party which was used by the regime as an umbrella of its rule. Tens of thousands of the Baath members have discarded the organisation of the party and formed an underground opposition which could not declare their opposing stand against the regime for fear of its oppressive measures. The Iraqis inside and those Iraqis abroad know well the individual Baathists who have committed or supported suppressive policy of the former regime and those can be brought to justice to be tried on charges proved to have been perpetrated by them. The new regime in Iraq should not be based or founded on vengeance because it would lead to injustice and a cycle of violence and counter-violence. All the Iraqis all loyal and faithful patriots and love their country and people very much and are ready to defend and build their country with an exception of very few compared to the population of Iraq. The new Iraq must be the best example of a people and land unity entertaining equal opportunities in all walks of life under a constitutional democratic regime.