Not everyone in the Arab world is dead set against the US occupation of Iraq, as shown
by the two articles below that appeared in Kuwaiti and Saudi newspapers. Of course, the
Kuwaitis in particular can be expected to support the demise of the Saddam regime in any
form, but it isn't usual for dissenting voices to make themselves heard quite so clearly. However,
Ahmed Al-Jarallah doesn't limit himself to the US invasion of Iraq - he is calling for the
liberation of Syria as well.
Even more interesting, is the change of heart experienced by columnist Fawaz Turki, who
comes to the defense of the US occupation of Iraq after opposing it quite vehemently.
His reasoning should be taken into consideration by anyone evaluating the effects of the
Revisionist Thoughts on the War on Iraq
Fawaz Turki, email@example.com
Is it too early to adopt a revisionist view of the US war in Iraq and for this column to admit
its mistake in having vehemently opposed it from the outset?
At issue here is whether the Iraqi people have benefited from the overthrow of the Baathist
regime and whether the American occupation will eventually benefit their country even more. I'm
convinced - and berate me here from your patriotic bleachers, if you must - that what we have seen
in the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates in recent months may turn out to be the most
serendipitous event in its modern history.
One need offer no apology for saying that the supreme virtue of this war is that Saddam
Hussein was gotten rid of. Period. The very man who had established arguably the closest
approximation of a genuine fascist state in the Arab world, that sustained itself on fear,
repression, genocide, cult of personality and wanton murder - a state whose law was that those who
rule are the law.
One doesn't become a revisionist in a vacuum. I pore over material from various media sources
about the mass graves unearthed all over Iraq, particularly those discovered in uncounted pits in
the south, where Saddam had crushed a rebellion there in 1991 with genocidal ferocity, and I turn
away in nauseated disbelief. Then there's the UN Special Rapporteur's September 2001 report about
the execution of 4,000 prisoners at Abu Ghraib's prison in 1984, and 3,000 others at the Mahjar
prison between 1993 and 1998. And you ask how a regime could become so monstrous, so whisked clean
of human decency.
Last Saturday, the Washington Post's Peter Finn filed a gut-wrenching report about Baghdad's
Kadimiyah High School, where during the 1990s kids were being dragged off for questioning by members
of the Mokhabarat for writing boyish anti-Saddam graffiti on their walls, such as "Down with
Saddam" - and never returned home. Only now are their families, like other families of the
"disappeared" speaking up, asking questions and demanding to know how and why their children were
killed and where they are buried. One of the ancillary byproducts of the US invasion of Iraq was the
ouster of Saddam and the obliteration, clearly forever, of the totalitarian dungeon that he had
turned his country into.
That, in my book, is enough to warrant extending my support for that invasion and for
Washington's projected plans to rebuild the country.
Washington may not succeed in turning Iraq into a "beacon of democracy" but it will succeed,
after all is said and done, in turning it into a society of laws and institutions where citizens,
along with high-school kids, are protected against arbitrary arrest, incarceration, torture and
Look, I have no illusions about the shenanigans and hypocrisies of a big power like the US,
including its neocon ideologues, who are more cons than neos. Lest we forget, at the height of
Saddam's bloody reach in the 1980s, which saw the Halabja atrocities, Washington not only uttered
nary a word of criticism of the Iraqi leader, let alone called for his overthrow, but provided him
with political, military and economic assistance that, in effect, underwrote his survival and made
possible the very repression that American officials now claim they want to banish forever from the
All true. Yet, the US may, just may, end up doing in Iraq what it did in war-ravaged European
countries under the Marshall Plan. And if it doesn't, well, what would Iraqis have lost other than
the ritual terror of life under a dictator who had splintered their society into raw fragments of
fear, hysteria and self-denial - a man who insisted that third graders learn songs whose lyrics
lauded him with lines such as "when he passes near, the roses celebrate."
No, I don't believe that by going to war, America had dark designs on Iraq's oil or pursued an
equally dark conspiracy to "help Israel." I believe that the US, perhaps willy-nilly, will end up
helping Iraqis regain their human sanity, their social composure and the national will to rebuild
their devastated nation.
And no, it's not too early to adopt a revisionist view of the US war in Iraq, or too late for
a columnist to say he was wrong all along.
Another call for liberation
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
THE Syrian regime's political maneuver, in holding a ministerial conference of Iraq's neighbours
didn't bear any fruit. The regime was aiming to play the same old broken record of Arab patriotism,
so it could continue to play the role which it is used to playing by interfering in the internal
affairs of other countries. It was planning to live off others irrespective of the balance of power
in the region.
Representatives of Iraq's neighbours - who attended the conference - succeeded in steering the
conference away from a confrontation with the US while it is carrying out its mission in Iraq.
Instead, they made sure the conference supported the US policies in Iraq. Iran showed complete
understanding of the consequences of its nuclear programme. Turkey - which is aware of the
sensitivity of sending its troops to Iraq - allayed fears it is planning to divide Iraq.
These countries were wise enough to force the Syrian regime to reevaluate its policy in view of the
new international realities. The Syrian regime has understood Israel and Lebanon enjoy the backing
of America and that the US will rely on them to punish Syria. This makes us ask several questions.
What are the plans of the Syrian regime? What role does it expect to play in the region? and does it
expect the US and other nations to approve of its plans?
Iran and Turkey have done what was expected of them, calm international opinion. Kuwait, Saudi
Arabia and Jordan are known for their understanding of the current situation in the region. These
countries participate in various international fora accordingly. That leaves only the Syrian regime.
This regime - which is keen to do an encore in Iraq for what it did in Lebanon - has no place in the
changed international circumstances.
This regime should have acted prudently by calling for a conference to stabilise the security
situation in Iraq and save the lives of Iraqis. Obviously, this issue certainly was not in the minds
of the powers that be in the Syrian regime when they called for this conference. More facts on the
conference can be expected to surface shortly.
This regime, which thrives by terrorising and torturing its own people, lives in an illusory world.
This power is worthless in free societies. This regime has survived this long feeding on the hard
work and money of its people. Such a regime may be strong internally but its strength doesn't count
for much in the outside world, because it has miserably failed to improve its economy, society and
politics. It has failed to be friendly and fair to its own people and for this reason the same fate
awaits them that of Saddam.
Countries which participated in the conference have taught a valuable lesson to the Syrian regime.
They played their cards right and concluded nobody should interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq.
They have decided all the neighbours of Iraq should work on stabilising the security situation in
Iraq and prevent terrorists from infiltrating through their borders into Iraq. They have legitimised
the US presence in Iraq and its role in building a bright future for Iraq to make that country
become a model state in the region.
Is this the conclusion which the Syrian regime was scared of? Or is this the end which they wished
for their Iraqi brothers?
Answers to these questions are in the hands of Damascus and these answers must reflect in its
policies towards Lebanon and Iraq. Otherwise another liberation war could be underway shortly