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Iraq-Questions and Answers

By Saad Farage

What is Democracy?

Democracy is a system of government in which effective political power is vested in the people. The term Democratic System is reserved exclusively for governmental systems in which the populace exercised this power directly through elected general assemblies or referenda to decide the most important questions of representation, law and policy.

Democracy is a system of government that is built on the basic civil rights that each citizen must have. These rights should be guaranteed by the constitution of the country to its people. These rights are not given by a body of people and taken away as a matter of convenience. These rights are born with the citizens of our country regardless of his or her background.

Democracy is for all the people not one class of ethnic or religious group, an autocrat, or a selected group-share in directing the state's activities. The country should not be allowed to be hijacked in the name of democracy by a single ideology group who sees democracy as a vehicle to achieve their objectives then abandon the same principles that helped them out in the first place. The new constitution of the country should offer a check and balance faucet to retrofit such condition when and if it happens. The government should be from the people, by the people, and for the people. The government appointed by the people is the guard and protector for these civil liberties. The government can't violate these rights nor allows others to do so.

The basic ten civil rights should be carved in the hearts of the people;
The right of thought,
The right of conscience,
The right of expression and education,
The right of movement,
The right of work and commerce,
The right of religion,
The right of life and liberty,
The right of privacy, individual association, form organizations for pursuing common purpose, and freedom of peaceful assembly,
The right to participate politically in ways that does not infringe upon the similar rights of others, and
The right of self governing and representation.

The journey of a human being in life is guaranteed by the physical existence of his body in a natural space. If the body is able to maintain the essential functions for survival, then life manifests itself, and exists on this planet. This journey starts even before birth, when the fetus blossom in a conceptual existence. The mother hosts the incomplete body and brings it up to independence. Once the new body is in full capacity of its elements to survive, life begins.

From a legal standpoint, most legislative scholars recognized the beginning of life at this moment. Traditionally, Life emerges when the first breath of air inhaled by the lungs, but even moments before that, a body emerged and occupied a space in this universe. Again, the full rights of this human being are legally enforced at these earlier moments. In another word, even if the lungs were incapacitated for a short period of time, that human being is legally exists and recognized by the law. The full rights were initiated by the physical space occupancy of alive human being. The environment always restrict the space and also the mobility of this person, but no one could deny the right of occupying the necessary space of this individual for surviving purpose.

In all fairness, man has struggled with the thought of when and where the rights of a human start! The law is still in evolution when it comes to prenatal rights. Religious leaders take affirmative stands on this matter but still come short on the rights issues. “The Human Existence and the Natural Space Theory” I envisioned may not have a complete answer to this question either. The only physical appearance of an unborn human being is when the pregnancy becomes so obvious. In all human cultures, this prenatal period initiates a serious of high expectations reserved only to a new life which is about to come to this world. The new appearance undoubtedly makes a difference by occupying an additional space. Coupled with the human feelings, the new space occupied by the fetus elevates the stature of this combination of two lives in the eyes of others because she is carrying a new life. The appearance of the expected mother allows others to be joyful for the unforeseen.

Moving away to the post birth period, the physical existence of the human being is recognized by all cultures and laws of the lands. The body embarks on a journey after birth. It grows with time and increases the space occupies in this world. The individual entity of any human is visible through the space he or she maintains on this earth. No matter how small this person is, he is recognized as an individual who has basic right of existing, and walking with constant changing in space within natural boundaries around him or her. The body is a sanctuary where all other peaceful gestures stop at this boundary before asking permission. Violating this boundary is violating the law. Unlike other creatures, human being needs to cover his body with clothes. His clothes are part of the individual appearance; in away it is just an added layer to the body. But human laws recognize the difference between clothes which can be easily replaced and harms to the human body itself. The cloths worn by the individual is just an extension to the space occupied by the individual.

The body itself controlled by the mind of that person where all commands are initiated to different parts of the system. In the same way, the mind allows others to enter this sanctuary whether it is during a moment of passion, medical surgery or physical contact sports. In these cases and others, the individual is a willing participant in these activities. The law organizes a set of rules for these purposes such as marriage licensing or consent to operate on a patient.

The concept of soldiering which ultimately is an act of inflecting a wound on the body can be rationalized by the law as if it is a behavior of defending the body from physical harms. Soldiers do not go to war to die but to defend. If the state or a commander tells his soldiers to die for him, in principles he would be violating the general military norms. If a soldier enters the military or even a combat knowing that he would be one hundred percent killed, he would not do it. Soldiering has to be associated with patriotic reasons of defending, a piece of land, people or ideology. The physical harm on his body would be the last thing on his mind when he enters into a combat with the enemy. It is always somebody else. When the odds increases to a point that he things he would not survive physically, the soldier may commit the ultimate disgrace by removing himself from this situation. It is a natural reaction to defend his individual boundary or body. He has separated all other purposes to be in combat from the ultimate goal, surviving. The law as an extension of ideology put ridged mental and physical boundaries to stop such conditions from occurring during combat. In modern warfare the emphasis on safety of combat soldiers propelled technology to create better combat conditions, and also putting sever destruction power in the hands of soldiers. This combination minimizes the physical contact with the enemy. Courage and valor of the early cavaliering spirit is notably absent from the modern warfare thinking.

Is a person of an amputated limb has less rights? No, because the body retained its individuality even after a lose of one of its functional members. Modern society passes laws to accommodate such handicap. The size of the body may reflect negatively or positively on the stature of that particular person, but for all intended purposes basic rights will remain unchanged.

In death many cultures preserve the same right for the body to exist on earth. There is a universal belief that graves should not be disturbed and entity of the body should be honored almost indefinitely. The body retains the space and even more after death. The integrity of the human being body symbolized in the space it occupies forever.

From this basic concept the right of life and liberty is initiated in a democratic society. There will be no life without a space retained for the human body, and there will be no liberty if that space is being violated. All people have the right to occupy the limited space for their body to exist. All other individual rights came to play rolls in the life, and liberties of democratic society are extension of this basic right.

Should Democracy be introduced gradually to the country?

Some people argue that in order to achieve a democratic harmony, democracy should be introduced to the people in gradual steps, or offer it to a privileged people until quote an quote the people understand the principles of democracy!

The new government will not earn its legitimacy without announcing from day one and guarantees a democratic system to include these rights to individuals and not to a block of privileged people. Ensuring the people of their rights is a must for any future government and should be announced from the first day of the new government. These rights are the solid foundation to build a new future for our country. Our people have suffered immensely in the last a few decades. In process the people have built a tremendous resentment to governments. In The past, there has been no trust between individuals and governments. The new government should earn the trust of the people through swift democratic elections to demonstrate the effectiveness of the system.

What is the difference between a true democratic movement and other Iraqi opposition groups?

None of the present Iraqi opposition groups presents a clear vision about a true democratic system of government, most targeting an ethnic and religious sector of the Iraqi society or elite groups of people. The narrowed definition of their present movements does not provide enough political freedom to the entire Iraqi populace. However, there are individuals and groups who in the past showed inclinations to adopt a democratic system, but have not yet formulated a true agenda.

Why there is no true democratic movement represented in the Iraqi oppositions?

In the past a few years, the Iraqi people have accumulated a great mistrust among themselves. Individuals found political refuge in their own ethnic or religious groups. The political dynamic of these groups is somehow built on the fear the current regime spread among the entire population. They are offering support of the people who joined them and in sometimes claim supremacy on entire areas which traditionally inhabited by this group. This is in direct conflict to the essence of democracy which thrives on individual initiative and thoughts. In time, the leader of such movements will have to encounter dissent by harsh measures and trample individual freedom and liberty. In the past, the supremacy of a single ideology party led the country to dictatorship and suppressed civil rights. The disastrous consequences of such policy set Iraq and Iraqi people several decades back.

Is it true to say “that individual Iraqi citizen will affiliate only with his or her own ethnic or religious group?

No, this is not true. Iraqis of different backgrounds represent many political views. Free democratic views provide latitude and transcend these imaginary boundaries. Many Iraqis outside Iraq look at the present Iraqi oppositions and feel frustrated, because none of them has clear representation beyond the narrow traditional agenda. Most believe that there is no use of getting involved and sit on the side lines indifferent to the general political needs.

Where are these Iraqis who believe in Democracy?

There are many Iraqis who share the same democratic views. They may have these feelings but never shared it with each other. Inside Iraq there is a thirst for a true democratic reform after decades of abuse. Once the mechanism of democracy is installed and the people recognize their rights with no fear of retaliation, they will be at ease with their vision of the future and hopes for a better and quality life. Outside Iraq, we are the pilots, the pioneers who would lit the first candle, the candle of hope. Iraqi Americans and others who lived and tasted the meaning of democracy will lead the way fortified by their understanding of such movement. Some are waiting for the right moment of such possibility. This political movement will provide stability and offer bridges of communications among all parties without the hostile intent that could exist at anytime.

Why Iraqi democrats should combine their efforts now?

The need of such movement may come now or at any time in the future, but it is inevitable. We have tried many avenues, all have failed, It is time to leap to the new century with ideas that guarantee good quality of life for all.

Would other neighboring countries welcome a Democratic System in Iraq?

Yes, The entire Middle East region needs stability and peace. The benefits of stable Iraq will provide the Gulf States and Jordan peaceful borders with once a hostile state. Iran and Turkey will realize that all minorities are represented in the newly elected government according to their population and regions, and no one could ever denies that right because it is guaranteed by the constitution. Syria will also come to the conclusion that such government has no intention to interfere with its internal politics, and it stands benefiting economically from such government.

What about the West?

The West has a strategic and economical interest in the region. The strategic interest has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union and developed to maintaining the flow of oil to the industrial world. This strategy was threatened by the invasion of Kuwait. The West will not allow any hostile government to take control of Iraq's oil reserve or any of the region's oil reserve. Their strategy is to maintain the flow of oil to the rest of the world. Undemocratic government based on a single ruling religious or political ideology will put the country back in chaos and creates hostility in the region. Hostility or fear of hostility will threaten the stability of the area and effect the flow and the price of oil. The West policy is to maintain the stability in the region.
The policy of the West toward the Gulf Region is based on balanced power between three major countries, Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. When such balance tips against either one of the countries by external geopolitics, the West interferes to equalize that balance. The Iraq-Iran war ended up in a draw. Saddam tipped that balance again when he invaded Kuwait and threatened Saudi Arabia. He was stopped.

Should we fear the West of controlling our oil resources?

Oil is a commodity. The international market of supply and demand controls the price of oil. The say that “The West controls the oil resources” is a myth. The price of oil is the same for US or China. The interest of the West is to have zero disruption of oil flow to their countries and maintain a floating international price. At this junction the strategic and economical interests intertwine together and form one strategy.

What about our roles as Iraqis living in the United States?

We, as Iraqi Americans have moral obligation to see a democratic system in future Iraq. We have the tools and freedom to raise our voice and let others hear what we really want for Iraq. We have to raise the democratic awareness among all Iraqis. We have to reach out to the American public, lawmakers, and organizations and engage in fruitful dialogs.

Dividing Iraq to smaller ethnic and religious states, is that a solution?

Before I discuss this subject any further, I think we should explore the reasons of why dividing Iraq is a viable option? One may say because Iraq multi ethnicities and religions force such idea to become a reality! But would that be a good choice? What are the real inspirations of an ordinary citizen of this country?

I can imagine that most of the answers would be somewhere along the line of being treated equally, freedom of practicing their religion, preserving the ethnic heritage of each group. Can we tailor a system that can provide all these ideas in one and yet preserving the country in one piece? Yes we can and that system is called democratic system. Democracy is based on freedom, not freedom of the group but individual freedom, freedom of choice, and that freedom can be voiced through free elections and voting system. The majority voters would then entrust a person to speak for them and represent their power. This person has an executive power, and others have legislative and judicial powers.

A great deal of this system works on the idea of respecting other's opinions. We in the Middle East-and I hate to generalize-have difficulties to accept that. We may love what democracy would give us but when time comes to give, we are shortcoming and try to use force instead. The concept of democracy works only if we have the courage not only respects, but accept people's opinion, and that idea is somehow alienating to us.

This is the break in the seam in our society fabrics where dictators such as Saddam and others use very effectively, and ideas of group self-ruling come along. Group self-ruling is nothing but miniature dictatorship. And how many of these miniature dictatorships we should have in our multi ethnic and religion societies? Still we have not achieved a good solution yet. Without preserving the individual freedom through a democratic system we will fall short in our aspirations.

Would dividing Iraq be accepted by neighboring countries?

Dividing Iraq to smaller ethnic and religious states is not a popular alternative among neighboring countries and the western superpowers. Why? Because it will change the political and military balance in the region.

A Kurdish state on Iraqi territories will definitely be rejected by Turkey and Iran and of course the West for obvious reasons, 13 million kurds in Turkey and more in Iran. Otherwise, why it did not happen so far! Technically there is nothing that can stop them on the ground from announcing a full scale Kurdish statehood. If such thing would happen you will see an unusual alliance between Turkey, Iran and Saddam to crush this state in a matter of a few weeks.

And another state in the south? I am going to be politically incorrect and say it. This will create a too friendly state to Iran. And what do you think big brothers to the south would say? The same thing they said in 1991 after the Gulf War, when the uprising was thwarted overnight because the fear of Iranian influence in the region. And why Iran does not support the Islamic Revelation Council to launch a full-scale guerrilla fighting war in the south? Because all the above concerned parties object to that and Iran is warned to stay out of it.

This is the wild card Saddam holding in his hand.

Is Federalization a viable alternative?

A democratic system should first be preserved by a constitution-see above-The executive branch is headed by nationally elected President of the Republic or State. A central legislative body in Baghdad the capital of the country should handle constitutional matters only. Representatives on a congress level are elected to their seats through national elections based on each municipality- 8ka2emma8kamiya- The rest of the country can be divided to several political provinces not based on the current 18 provinces, but, I suggest using these groupings as a guideline. I would use the Tigris River for example as a boundary line.

Mousal and Jazeera including Sinjar to the Syrian borders, and south including Tikrit and portion of Kirkuk.

Zakho and northeastern territories to the Turkish and Iranian borders and south including Arbil.

East, portion of Kirkuk to Sulymania and Iranian borders.

West, west of Tigris River from Feluja to the Syrian and Jordenian borders.

Baghdad, south of Tikrit to south of Diyala. East of khaneqeen to east Feluja.

North of Kut to the Kuwaiti borders including Kut, Emmara, and Basrah. East to Iranian borders and west to the Tigris River.

From Hel'la north to the Saudi borders south including Kerbela, Nejaff, and Nasriya, but not Basrha.

These political provinces would have its own political governments and legislative bodies-No army-and deals with local issues and not constitutional issues. Head of each political province and representatives (Province Congress) are elected through local elections. On the current 18 provinces level, an elected advisory comity takes over and presides on even lower local issues. Below that, each township would elect its own Mayor and chief of police local judges etc.

Why this system works? because the individual rights of each person is preserved and channeled through the power ladder.

Some may call this Federalism, I call it Democracy at work.

When the sanctions against Iraq will be lifted? (Published views in July 1999)

The sanctions against Iraq will never be lifted unconditionally. Some elements of the sanctions will remain even if the current regime has been overthrown and a new government rules the country in Baghdad. The West will keep this option open and use the sanctions as a political leverage until the new government maintains a steady policy. The new government has to demonstrate in its first a few months or even years that it is capable to deliver a stable political environment in Iraq and the Middle East region.

For now, easing up the sanctions to improve the living conditions of our people should be a first priority to every Iraqi living outside the country. We as Iraqis live in the West have to define the immediate needs of our people and immediately work together to ease the sanctions. On top of this priority list are;
Food-The United Nations should maintain a steady supply of food and basic farming equipment to Iraq. Through a strong monitoring system, the United Nations should have a tracking system built to ensure supplies reach the needy people of Iraq.

Medicine and medical supplies- The United Nations should allow more medicine and medical supplies delivered to Iraq and distributed evenly to all sectors of the society and throughout the country. There are evidences that the government is holding back these supplies for political purposes or for hoarding medicine to be sold in the black market. United Nations should be able to maintain an effective monitoring system in Iraq.

Education- We have a new generation of young people born during the war between Iraq and Iran and lived through ten years of sanctions. The education system remains ten years behind the rest of the world. There should be no restrictions on books and supplies providing it delivered to the educational institutes.

Electric power and network- Iraq is in desperate needs to improve its electric power and network. Regular blackout throughout the country became routine. Although the government uses the lack of electric power for its own political gain, but there is a genuine need to improve the old and battered systems in Iraq.

Water/waste treatment plants and drinking water purification plants- These two elements will improve the health and welfare of the Iraqi people. The United Nations should allow foreign companies to design and manage the constructions to eliminate any possible tampering by the Iraqi government for other use.

Environmental and pollution clean up- Part of the health disaster plaguing the population in Iraq is the polluted environment inherited by the Gulf War. Destroyed chemical and biological plants spread its toxic to the surrounding environment and entered the freshwater systems. One of the worst ecological and environmental disasters is drying out the southern marshes. The United Nations should set aside a budget for cleaning up the environment and restoring the marshes and its watershed to its original conditions, including the return of the indigenous people to their lands.

Iraqi oil delivery systems- Iraqi oil delivery systems should also be improved to ensure Iraq has the capacity to sale the allocated amount of oil. The oil delivery systems should be upgraded only to maintain the flow of the mandated amount of oil by the United Nations resolutions. Once the government complies with the rest of the United Nations resolutions including curtailing human rights abuses, then gradual increases in oil production should be allowed.

Only 12 present of the total food and medical supplies delivered to Iraq reach the Kurdish region, yet this region is by far more prosperous than the rest of Iraq. The general population health and welfare are considerably better because the United Nations has a better monitoring system in this region and the Kurdish local government cooperate with the United Nations agencies. The local government understands the importance of their roles to ensure good delivery system. The monitoring system is an important component of the delivery system. United Nations should have a tracing programs installed which not ends at the footstep of the Iraqi government but continue till supplies reach its final destination, the Iraqi citizen.

What are the concept and theory behind the current policy on Iraq for the first year of Bush Administration? (Published view prior to the event of September 11, 2001)

The West cannot afford to give up on Iraq, but with oil supply is relatively stable and oil prices have not reached a crisis level, then there is no need to tamper with the market. In another word, it is more wisely to keep the oil in its underground storage as an oil reserve for the foreseeable future. This is part of the strategic policy toward that region. After the Gulf War, the United States and Britain forces are firmly on the ground in the entire Gulf region. This was not possible before when limited access to ground bases were granted and the navy fleets of both countries were the only task forces in that region, Saddam in a way perpetuating their existence on the ground by simply existing in power.

Based on the theory of “Low Intensity Conflict” which applies to most modern military-geopolitics, on a scale of 1 to 3 the Gulf War would be rated 3, similarly Vietnam War and WWII. The Iraq-Iran War is rated 2. Any Arab-Israeli Conflict would have the potential to escalate to category 3. Based on that scenario, one can assume that Saddam's removal from power would require a major operation at a rate of 1 or perhaps 2 according to the Low Intensity Conflict Theory. To minimize such possibility, the West required the disarmament of Iraq at least of any weapons of mass destruction. Saddam is tinkering with that concept because if his capability were downgraded then the validity of removing him from power would be more viable.

The Iraqi oppositions failed to mount any coherent threat to Saddam, beyond sporadic political action outside Iraq. Iraqi Opposition groups could not muster any meaningful threat to the regime in Iraq. The West recognizes that the oppositions cannot be elevated to a position that would challenge Saddam without risking a potential high conflict in the area, a conflict of a category higher than one. In theory, any conflict regardless of how intense it is requires the involvement of the United States Armed Forces. The possibilities are all there, with the unsettled Israeli-Palestinian issues still volatile on one hand and Iran unpredictable behavior on the other, Iraq problem at this time would only complicate the political balance in the region. The burden of resolving such conflict would rest on the shoulders of the United States. Right now Iraq problem is below the radar detection or below category one. The West does not have the political will to engage in any conflict in that area, and more so would not agitate an old one as long as Saddam would not overplay his hands. Therefore by all assumptions the Iraqi Opposition ticket has to be shelved for now.

But Iraq-Saddam has all the earmarks of a brewing problem. Some may argue “We better deal with it now rather than later” or at least get prepared for it. Since 1998 he has improved his military capability including weapons of mass destruction. Iraqi Oppositions showed a tendency of disorganizing and measurable disagreement among themselves on many basic issues, but with the right help they can be raised to consequential organizations ready if not challenging the regime in Baghdad. This can be done with the current allocated money by the congress. On the other hand Iraqi Oppositions should carry most of the burden and show strong commitments to their cause.

Does Smart Sanction work?

The rhetoric we have seen during and immediately after the new administration took over the rein in the White House cannot possibly be supported by the reality of the Middle East! The forceful feeling policy Colin Powel had prior to his first visit to the Middle East on issues such as Iraq drew loud response from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and other Arab countries. Was he wrong? No. In the last two years, these countries were experiencing staggering profits that come from legal and illegal trades with Iraq and they are not about to give it up. Billions of dollars are exchanging hands every year. The benefactors of such trade in Iraq are new ruling class of people that are associated with Saddam's inner circle. They have set fake trading companies everywhere, even in some of the Gulf States. Many would say that it may not be true, but the fact is during the sanctions of the last ten years a high ranking administrator may be illegible to receive “Hasouda” harvesting machine curtsy of the United Nations policy “Oil for Food” not that he needed it, but it is an indirect payment for his loyalty to the government. Others, small time administrators would settle perhaps for a Honda electric generator. These equipment fetch enormous profit in the black market and most of the time the transactions would take place only on paper. For years illegal trade with Turkey reached a magnitude that can't be ignored, Turkish oil tankers cross the borders to buy cheap Iraqi gasoline everyday. The additional added tax imposed by the local tribes and Udday, the elder son of Saddam did not detour the profiteers of such trade. Would Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey let alone Saddam care about the rest of the Iraqi people?

That was the reasons behind the stiff resistance Colin Powel faced during his early bird visit to the Middle East. This is the legacy of the last two years policy by the previous administration. It did not happen over night, but the result of slow incremental if not calculated steps by Saddam after the obvious lack of resolve by the Clinton's administration on Iraq policy. One may say, its too late to go back and place conditions as if it is 1998.

The new “Smart Sanctions” policy faces that dilemma. It needs a stringent enforcement by the neighboring countries. Would they support such new policy and deprive themselves from staggering trade revenue? Even if the United States pledge a financial support in the future, Jordan for once would have internal difficulties to implement such policy. Saddam has played the Palestinian card very well and he would not hesitate to play it again against Jordan.

In the horizon, we have France, Russia, and China who already are doing brisk trade with Iraq. They are bound to be first on favorite trade nations list with Iraq, if and when the sanctions are lifted. These countries would supply Iraq with everything from shaving razors to multi billion dollar petro-chemical plants.

The calamity of such policy felt only by the Iraqi people. The thriving middle class produced throughout modern history of Iraq has been decimated. New rich social class profiting from the new order rules not only the market but also all aspects of the society. Their sons and daughters would graduate from high school at grade reaches over 100 percent. It would not make any difference if their grade marks at the 60 percent level, an additional 40 percent added from the president to insure them getting seats in the medical and engineering schools. The fairness of the education system that once was the best in the Middle East did not survive this brutal regime. The rest ninety nine percent of the Iraqi population live way below the poverty level. Would “Smart Sanctions” make any changes for those who have not? No, only to those who earned a “Hasouda” this year. Next year they would get two.

How the US Legislators Differ on Issues Concerning Iraq? (This article was written in January of 1999)

In many ways legislators in the US senate and house of the representatives have developed more than one view on the national policy towards Iraq. During the Gulf War the majority chose to be behind the president at a time of crises. Since then there was a long period of indifference. Most of the legislators thought of the idea of engaging in a dialog on Iraq other than enforcing the general views of the American Administration would be a great political risk.

In late 1998 and after an intensive lobbying effort by the INC leadership, several senators and a few congressmen pushed a bill in congress which later became known as the Iraqi Liberation Act (ILA). The ten senators and congressmen who are accredited for seeing this bill through the congress are;
Senator Trent Lott (R-Ms)

Majority Leader

Senator Jesse Helms (R-N.C)

Chairman of the Foreign Relation Committee

Senator J. Robert Kerrey (D. Neb)

Senate Intelligence Committee

Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Al)

Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Shelby

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)

Congressman Benjamin A. Gilman (R-NY)

Chairman of House International Relations Committee, US Congress

Congressman Howard L. Berman

Senator John McCain (Arizona)

Senator Richard Luger

Senator John Kyl

These senators and congressmen are strong supporters of the Iraqi oppositions in the US congress. In December of 1998 they wrote a joined letter to the president urging him to sign the bill into a law. Before the end of the year, the president signed the bill and the Iraqi Liberation Act became a law. Senator Robert Kerrey and presidential running senator John McCain are considered among the best ten supporters in congress to the Iraqi oppositions.

In April of last year senator Kerrey met with Iraqi oppositions in Windsor UK and encouraged them to work together and achieve unity among themselves. Later in September of the same year, he delivered a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center outlined a strategy to remove Saddam from Iraq. His concept was that the US military should lead the way in that effort including using ground force. Senator McCain is also an outspoken supporter of the Iraqi oppositions, although this subject would be considered a political risk in a presidential campaign, he was reported in the news speaking favorably of removing the current regime by force.

An unexpected political forces entered the arena of the US/Iraqi policy. Since July of last year and during their national convention, ADC ( Arab Anti Discrimination Committee) has launched a national campaign to lift the sanctions on Iraq. The campaign was plagued by suspicious since day one. There were no mentions of the human rights abuses by the current regime in Iraq during their convention meeting on this issue. I was in the meeting, and I questioned the lack of response on this issue from the ADC leadership. Zaineb Al Esterbadi collected signatures of concerned Iraqis, who thought that the ADC should not be silent on issues concerning human rights abuses in Iraq. The campaign by the ADC was orchestrated by people who have connections with the Iraqi government. In general the ADC is controlled by Palestinian Americans who became in views of many Iraqis as sympathetic to the Iraqi government.

In the last a few years, the ADC became a giant political machine. Their lobbying effort would not go without

Senators and Congressmen Close to Iraqi Saddam's views
Reps. Danny Davis

Sam Gejdenson

Earl Hilliar

Cynthia McKinney

Bernard Sanders.

How Baath Party in Iraq Stay in Power?

The Baath party is a product of the ideology of the Nazi era. It primes itself on the social nationalistic feverish that was endemic at the time of its inception. In the name of one race similar to the Germanic pure race of Nazi Germany, the idea of totalitarianism flourished to hush down any descent, which was incompatible to the views of the leadership. As if that was not enough, Baathism injected socialism in its ideology to assume full power on the economic system in the country. This way it closed the circle and completed the firm control grip on the people.

Baathism in the hands of Saddam went one notch up by narrowing the leadership to a one kind of people who came from one area of the country, but the system is still the same and has not changed a bit. Saddam background is a product of a tribal society. When hard times faced Saddam's leadership he turned to his immediate family to further enhance his control on the country. At a time of crisis he used his tribal instinct to survive. He rebirth the tribal mentality again and used it to his own advantage. First, he elevated the mistrust among people then he combined it with fear. People folded back and sought refuge in the old tribal social frame. In the last two or three years, we see tribal talk dominating topics even among Iraqi Oppositions. People who lived in the West for so many years suddenly are taking pride of knowing such and such tribe or associating with such and such tribe. Saddam is the only beneficiary of such segregated society. This way local problems will be contained and would not dangerously spill out of control to other areas, because people of neighboring tribes would not buy into a mass revolt.

Other Baathies who did not fit the social ladder of the leadership were either removed before becoming a meaningful threat or left to establish an outside opposition groups. For all intended purposes those new opposition Baathies are no better than those who are still in control of Iraq and should not be mixed with those who carry democratic views for the future of Iraq. Those Baathies are the old wolves in sheep clothing.

What is the role of the Iraqi army?

The role of the army as one of the government institutions is to defend the country from outside threats to its people and its land. The neutrality of this institution when it comes to internal politics is paramount. The army could have the power to tip the scale to favorite one side or the other. This is not the democratic way.

Politics should be conducted through the mechanism of democracy that the Constitution offers to the citizenry of the country. That mechanism is invested in the legislative and executive branches of the government, both branches are elected by the people in a free and fair democratic ways that is guaranteed by the Constitution. The army is a subordinate organization that has one specific role, defending the country from outside coercion.

What is the estimated Iraqi oil reserve?

Iraq holds more than 112 billion barrels of “proven oil reserve” - the world's second largest reserves. Iraq also contains 110 trillion cubic feet of gas, and is a focal point for regional security issues. The only meaningful oil exploration was done in 70's before that there was virtually no seismic exploration. During the next two decades, Saddam was busy with his killing fields and not oil fields. Whatever was done in 70's, it covered a limited areas and did not include the entire country, furthermore it was done with outdated technology compare to what the new age of computers can provide these days. Iraq's true resource potential may be underestimated, as new oil fields were identified by seismic and drilling explorations but not included in the proven estimates.

Major Developed Fields (112 Billion Barrels)

Southern Rumaila field

Northern Kirkuk field (Jambur, Bai Hassan, and Khabbaz)

West Qurna

East Baghdad.

Portion of Majnoon Oil Field

Fields not in the Proven Reserve Estimate

West Qurna's Mishrif formation (Lukoi)

Majnoon, with reserves of 10-30 billion barrels of 28o-35o API oil, and located 30 miles north of Basrah on the Iranian border (Elf).

Nahr Umar field, 6-billion barrels

Halfaya 5-billion barrels (Italian Agip)

Nasiriya,2-billion barrels

Khormala, 2-billion barrels

Hamrin, no estimate

Gharraf, no estimate

In addition, there are 25 new field projects in the central and southern parts of Iraq. Iraq plans to offer foreign oil companies service contracts to apply technology to 8 already-producing fields. This will include new reservoir development at the
North and,

South Rumaila,




Abu Ghirab,

Buzurgan, and

Fuqa fields

Iraq has identified at least 110 prospect oil fields from previous seismic work along the Saudi and Jordanian borders. All these are shallow based oil formation, which characterize most of the Iraqi oil fields. In addition, other deep-seated oil baring formations are not fully explored in Western Iraqi Desert.


Who is the Northern Alliance?

The Northern Alliance of Afghanistan -- September 25, 2001

Afghanistan is a nation that is geographically and ethnically divided. After decades of turmoil, the country still controlled by tribal warriors and split by ethnic differences. The Talaban which they control two-thirds of the country are mostly Pashtun. The Pashtun, predominantly Sunni Muslims are the largest ethnic group. Some estimates put them at 40 per cent of the total population and occupies the center, south and east of the country. The Talaban captured Kabul in September of 1996 and quickly polarized the ethnic disparity among the Afghanis. The Northern Alliance formed as an anti-Talaban and anti-Pashtun Islamic fundamentalist forces. The Northern Alliance headed by Tajik Rabbani, Commander Ahmad Shah Masoud and their Jamiat-i-Islami forces, and General Abdul Rashid Dostum and the ethnic Uzbek Junbish-i-Milli party. The political conflict mainly in the north and parts of central regions of Afghanistan leaves another major ethnic group out of the picture, the Hazara. The Hazara are shi'a Muslims and estimated to be about 20 per cent of the population. Most of the Shi'a population concentrated in the central and western Afghanistan, along the Iranian borders. They are the most economically disadvantaged ethnic group in the country. They are united under another Islamic political party called Hizb-i-Wahdat.
A man claimed to be an Arab journalist assassinated the Northern Alliance Leader Ahmad Shah Masoud two weeks ago, that left the leadership of the Northern Alliance in the hands of Rabani and General Abdul Rashid Dostum and his National Islamic Movement, Junbish-i Milli-yi Islami. The Uzbek Islamic militant movement, Junbish-i Milli-yi Islami was established in 1991 in the city of Mazar-i Sharif. The organization is backed by the former Soviet state of Uzbekistan and most recently by the Russians. General Dostum entered in a brief alliance with Hikmatyar and Abdul Malik against the Taleban in 1994 then he was defeated in a battle outside Kabul and had to flee to exile in Turkey, it was 1997 when he came back to Afghanistan. Jamiat-i-Islami which was controlled by Ahmad Shah Masoud was originally founded by Rabbani in 1973 and was mostly a Tajik Islamic movement financed by Saudi Arabia till 1993 and received technical support from India. Masoud built the network of the movement inside the country and controlled most of the northeastern region including Panjshir valley outside Kabul. Before the Talaban came to power, the Shi'a controlled area of Hazara ethnic group was supporting Rabbani. Hizb-i-Wahdat is a consolidation of many small Afghani Shi'a factions. In 1997, the Talaban pushed the Shi'a minority across the borders to Iran causing a flood of 1.4 million refugees, and Iran mobilized its troops to protect the Afghani Shi'a population and also in response to the assassination of one of their diplomats in Kabul.
The Northern Alliance backed by neighboring countries to the north including Russia is poised to challenge the Talaban with the help of the United States. The Talabans feel more isolated than ever after Saudi Arabia severed its diplomatic relationship with them. Only Pakistan now is maintaining a diplomatic channel with the Talaban partly because of the fear of internal revolt by considerable supporters among the population which some share the same ethnic background.

Who is Ossama Bin Laden?-Personal Biography (Published 9/18/2001)

Ossama Bin Laden was born in 1957 from a Syrian mother and Yemen -Hadramaut father. He was the forty-third child of a wealthy general contractor Muhammad Awthe Bin Laden. His father Arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from Hadramaut in 1930 looking for work. He started as a bag carrier in Jeddah port and in a few years the father became one of the most influential contractor in the young kingdom. In the next a few years he built a good relationship with the entire ruling family and on top of them Prince Faisal. When a family feud developed between king Saud and Faisal he was in a position to convince the king to step aside and let prince Faisal take over the reign of the kingdom.

He bankrolled the kingdom for six months at the time when the treasury of the new state could not meet its payroll obligations. The new king Faisal showed his gratitude by granting all contracts to Muhammad Bin Laden the father. In 1969, he oversaw the rebuilding of Masjed Al Aqssa, the most holy shrine in Islam after a devastating fire. The father Muhammad was a religious man and he even saved his carrying bag from his earlier days to remind people and his children of the long journey he had from rag to wealth. The father passed away in 1970 in an airplane crash. When the father died, Ossama was a young boy then. The eldest son Salem followed his father footsteps by taking over the family business, but like the father he died in an airplane crash shortly after.

Ossam finished his high school and collage in Jeddah. His college degree was in Business Administration. He had never been to any of the western countries; his travel abroad is limited to trips to Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and the Gulf region countries. His views were influenced at early age when his father used to invite many of the Islamic figures to his house, but more importantly he was influenced by two of his collage professors Muhamad Qatab and Sheik Abedula Azzam.

Immediately after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Ossama Bin Laden organized a trip with some of his Pakistani Islamic groups to Peshawer. He met with many of the Islamic fighters like Sayaff and Rabbani who he'd known from his earlier days in Saudi Arabia. He then came back after staying there for a period of one month. He started a donation drive in Saudi Arabia to help the Afghani cause against the Soviet infidels. He made a second trip back to Pakistan to visit the refugee camps on the borders between the two countries and distributed the money he collected from his country. In 1982 he decided to enter Afghanistan, he brought with him earth and road pavement equipment and helped the Islamic fighters to establish military bases in remote areas. In 1984 he organized his first Islamic movement to support the Afghani fighters in Peshawar and called it “Bait Al Anssar”. His organization was to collect money from the Gulf region and channel it out to the Afghanis through the local leaders such as Abdullah Azzam.

In 1986 he decided to expand his operations inside Afghanistan from building camps to active participations in the fighting against the Soviet occupation forces.
During that period he built six military training camps inside Afghanistan, an enlisted volunteers from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey and other countries numbering in the thousands, they all joined their Afghan Muslim brothers in the struggle against an ideology that spurned religion. In one raid late that year his followers managed to kill several well trained Soviet commandos near the city of Jaji. Between 1986 and 1989 he was engaged in five major battles against the occupied Soviet army. He kept detailed records of volunteers from different Islamic countries, the base of this organization later became known as “Al Qeyada” meaning the Central Command.

He returned to Saudi Arabia 1989 after the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. Shortly after his return, he learnt that the government forbids him from leaving the country. In a series of letters to the state handed over by Prince Ahmmad Bin Aziz, he predicted the expansion desire of the Iraqi regime in the Gulf region, however the Saudi government considered that an interferingfere with its national affairs and he was almost put on house arrest. After the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, he sent a letter to the government suggesting the use of Arab volunteers to combat the Iraqis. But the decision of allowing the Americans and other troops from western countries to protect Saudi Arabia had profound implications on his religious and political views thereafter. In his opinion, it was the first time in history since the beginning of Islam that infidel troops set feet on the Arabic peninsula. He then asked for “Fetwa” for new Islamic volunteers to fight with him in Afghanistan. A local Sheik by the name of Bin Athmain responded to his call and issued a Fetwa to help him in his new cause. After a raid by the Saudi government on his compound outside Jeddah he decided to leave the country. He managed to convince the internal ministry through Prince Ahmmad Bin Aziz to let him leave the country and attend urgent business in Pakistan.

He immediately entered Afghanistan to find the country embroiled in a tribal war. His first reaction was not to take sides in the internal struggle for power. But soon learned that it's best for him to leave. This time he decided to leave to Sudan, he quickly transferred most of his financial possessions out of the Saudi Arabia and left at the end of 1991. In 1992 the Saudi government froze what's left of his financial assets, then followed it up with the withdrawal of his citizenship in 1994.

The Sudani government was under external pressure to extradite Bin Laden to the United States after his implications of bombing the WTC. He then contacted Sheiks Younis Khalass and Jalal Al Deen Al Hakhani in Afghanistan, which both were controlling Jalal Abad area and left secretly to Afghanistan. He endorsed the terrorist attack on Kubar in June 1996 but stop short of admitting masterminding the attack. The Saudi government claimed it was organized by Iranian backed groups shielding him from any involvement in the attack, however soon after this terrorist attack he issued a personal call asking to remove the infidels from Saudi Arabia.

After the sweeping control of Talaban forces to Jalal Abad, the head of the Talaban government Mulah Omar Zaim considered him a guest of the Afghani people. Shortly after that he escaped an assassination attempt on his life by a combination of Pakistani intelligence agents and local tribesmen. For that reason he decided to move his headquarters to Kundehar. His bond with the Talaban government improved when he took their side against opposition groups headed by Dowstam- Uzbekistan tribes-, and Masoud- Tajikistan tribes- who was assassinated late last week.

In mid 1997 there was a second assassination attempt on his life organized by the Pakistani inelegance agency and backed by the CIA. In 1998 he asked for a new Fetwa to justify killing all Americans, several religious figures in Pakistan and Afghanistan endorsed his call and he entered in an alliance with the Egyptian Jahad Islamic movement-Dr. Ayman Al Thawahiri and Riffi Taha-. The Talaban government however did not like this escalation and considered it a violation of his guest status in the country. At the same time Ossam increased the rhetoric by granting the ABC News an interview where he claimed that there would be new attacks on Americans in the very near future. For the first time he linked the possible retaliation to the sanctions against Iraq. A few weeks after on August 7, 1998 he launched the attacks on the American embassiesassy in Tanzania and Kenya. A release to the press by the Islamic Army to liberate the Holy Shrines asked the release of Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman in US and others in the Saudi jails like Sheik Salman and Saffar.

In 1999 the Saudi government sent Turkey Faisal and Sakman Al Omari to Kabul asking the Talaban government to hand over Bin Laden, but Mulah Omar refused bitterly there offer and asked them to leave the country and close the Saudi consulate in Kabul. In return Bin Laden sent his followers to defend Kabul against attacks by the opposition leader Shah Masoud.

Ossama Bin Laden was married at early age of seventeen, he has many wives and twenty children most of them live with him in Afghanistan except three of them who are still living in Saudi Arabia.

Was there an Iraqi connection? (Published 9/23/2001)

Mohammad Atta the prime suspect in the September 11 attack on the WTC in fact met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Europe earlier this year. Another meeting was also arranged between the Iraqi's ambassador to Turkey in 1998, but the same sources tell us that Bin Laden had met with other inelegance officers and officials of many other countries including frequent meetings between him and the Pakistanis! So far the information leaked from the State Department cast a doubt on such involvement but would not outright denies any connection. It seems the officials in the State Department would not rule out of such possibility because of one reason; the complexity of such attacks required state trained men and expertise.

In the past ten years, the Iraqi intelligence in Europe had limited success sponsoring terrorist attacks. Press reports stated that, according to a defecting Iraqi intelligence agent, the Iraqi intelligence service had planned to bomb the offices of Radio Free Europe in Prague. Radio Free Europe offices include Radio Liberty, which began broadcasting news and information to Iraq in October 1998. The plot was foiled when it became public in early 1999.

Again, the difficulty involved in planning the attack on US Cole suggested state involvement and Iraq was singled out because of the nature of the operation. The Guardian in its editorial of October 19, 2000 concluded that the investigators uncovered evidence suggesting the bomb attack on the warship USS Cole had been a meticulously organized conspiracy and a leading US terrorism expert thought it may have been the first joint operation between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Whereas, the Paris-based weekly Al-Watan al-Arabi, considered friendly to Saudi Arabia, reported at the same time that Iraq was involved in the October 12 attack on the U.S.S. Cole. It reported that Iraqi intelligence received the explosive used in the attack from Russia, and the Iraqis transported the material to Yemen, in collusion with senior officials of the Yemeni regime. The report repeats some of the same charges made two weeks before that in the same magazine, which explained again that it was such a massive operation and was so carefully planned, that it was virtually impossible for a terrorist group to have carried out the attack without state support.

A passport found on one of the bombers of the U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 believed to have been disappeared from Kuwait during the 1990 Iraqi invasion of that country cast another connection between Iraq and Bin Ladin. But the men that carried out this attack came from Jordan and Saudi Arabia, both had strong ties with the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and could have obtained the passport during the chaotic aftermath.

The State Department annual reports of the last a few years on state sponsored terrorism cast no connection between Iraq and Bin Ladin! Iraq mainly hostes several terrorist groups, which described as Palestinian rejectionists, “Iraq continues to provide safehaven to a variety of Palestinian rejectionist groups, including the Abu Nidal organization, the Arab Liberation Front (ALF), and the former head of the now-defunct 15 May Organization, Abu Ibrahim, who masterminded several bombings of US aircrafts”

Bin Laden network primarily includes; The Egyptian groups Al-Jihad and Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya, the Pakistani Islamic group Harakat Al-Mujahideen, and the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front (FIS). Iranian backed Islamic groups such as Hizb Al Da'wa and the Lebanese Hizballah should be excluded from this list for one reason! Bin Ladin belongs to the Wah'habi religious sect, which is in effect the archenemy of the She'as.

The Iraqi intelligence focus primarily on the antiregime opposition groups both at home and abroad these days and also busy building a network of bogus companies to import parts and electronic components for the state run military industries, but one cannot rule out their involvement entirely, and its too early to make such a blanket statement at this time.

Why we need a comprehensive policy on Iraq? (Published 10/13/2001)

The strong resolve of the President and the American people to uproot terrorism worldwide forced the issue of Iraq and the regime of Saddam Hussein back on the front burner. Intelligence report gathering on the perpetrators of these barbaric attacks led to one organization backed by extensive global network of extremists concealed by religious fervor. This network was successful in channeling money and suicidal young men to achieve high-level operations that required many years in planning. Apart from the financial and human resources, expertise of years in the making would also be required to mastermind such operations. The role of state sponsoring terrorism came to life again and intelligence reports circulating around were pointing fingers at the obvious states, Iraq, Syria, and others in the Middle East.

Iraq toped the list of states that harbor terrorists for many years. The annual State Department report on terrorism cited the Iraqi regime for maintaining training camps and offices of many of these organizations. In the aftermath of September 11 attacks, the State Department steered away from focusing on Iraq as one of those who are directly involved in the attacks, but did not close the subject entirely and left the door open for further speculations leaving the impression that such possibility may not be completely out of the question. The strategy is to deal with Afghanistan and Ben Laden first while exercising leverage on other Islamic and Arabic countries to be part of a coalition front against international terrorism. The State Department is extremely sensitive to keep a fragile coalition of Islamic countries behind the President. Colin Powel even asked the Ameer of Qatar to tone down Al-Jazeera broadcasting to the Arab World. The strategy is to keep the war localized in Afghanistan for now while dealing with Ben Laden and the Taliban.
The second phase of the worldwide crackdown on terrorism would start by targeting those states suspected of aiding and harboring terrorism.

But a new threat is emerging now, Bioterrorism. It is another way of delivering deadly attacks to highly populated cities and towns. Early indications led to believe that this weapon of mass destruction was on the menu for those who were engaged in the September 11 attacks. Mohammad Atta wanted to buy a crop-duster in Florida. If there were any links between Saddam Hussein and Ben Laden it would be through the use of biological and chemical weapons. Iraq has extensive knowledge in this field, and since the departing of the United Nations inspectors in 1998, Saddam Hussein has been dedicating 47 percent of his budget to redeveloped his military capabilities. He has been virtually immune from any restrictions of developing weapons of Mass Destructions. Mohammad Atta met twice with Iraqi officials; the most recent meeting was this year. He wasn't looking for financial help or young men to carryout these attacks! He was looking for other ways to inflict death on civilian populations. Whether his wishes were granted or not! We don't know yet!

The United States should not waste time dealing with this evil regime in Baghdad. The lack of clear policy on Iraq in the last ten years may let this regime of the hook for a while now. Sporadic tomahawk missile attacks on installations in Iraq hurt the Iraqi people and leave Saddam high with this invincibility feeling. The President of the United States told the world that the war on terrorism is going to be long. We need comprehensive long-term plans to remove Saddam and not a quick fix “Silver Bullet” strategy. A strategy that comes back to haunt us later on. We have to lay down plans based on a replacement of Saddam and his regime by a democratic and legitimate government. The first step now to consider is to restart the process of indicting Saddam and those around him who carried out his orders of killing people on mass scales. Documents against those who committed atrocities against the Iraqi people are well established and cataloged and ready for court actions. The Iraqi Oppositions need to be reorganized in one front and transformed to a state of military confrontation in the south and in the north of Iraq. There are millions of Iraqis outside Iraq who are ready to work together to bring about the end of Saddam, with the strong determination of the President things could be changed. A new Iraq can bring stability to the Middle East and for generations to come.

The Inner organization of the Iraqi Baath Party
By Saad Farage
President of the Iraqi Activists

The Baath party is a product of the nationalistic fervor that was sweeping the Middle East and other countries in the 1930's and 40's. Arab nationalism had wide appeal among the new middle-class, and well-educated men in Syria, Iraq and Egypt, and may very well be inspired by the Germany experience at the time. In essence, it was a revolt against the British and French control of the Middle East and establishing a new identity for the Arab nation as a whole.  In mid 1930's Anton Saada, a Syrian educator established a nationalist party to unit the fertile crescent countries mimicking the Nazi ideology and symbols such as the Nazi salute and banners. Later, British agents assassinated him in 1939.  For a brief period in 1941, Rasheed Ali Al-kailani took over the government in Iraq and sent the royal family and the young king (See Photo) who was backed by the British to exile. The new government established strong ties with Germany.

The original founders of the Baath movement Michel Aflaq, Zaki Al-Arsuzi, and Salah Al-Din Al-Batar organized demonstrations in Damascus in support of the new government in Iraq against the British presence in the area. It was till 1947 when these three, officially established the Baath movement in Damascus. The principle ideology was based on uniting the Arab nation under one state and establishing a vague socialist order, which primed itself as anti Marxism. The vision of the Baath was to resurrect the Arab nation to its past glory, the name Baath in Arabic means rebirth in reference to the Arab nationalism. The movement gained momentum beyond its borders in the next year when the general feeling among Arabs was that their current governments were responsible for losing Palestine and establishing the state of Israel.  
The Iraqi branch of the Baath party was established 1954 ( Photo of Fu'ad Al-Rikkabi First Iraqi Baath Party Secretary  General, 1954)  after merging with another Arab nationalist party headed by Akram Al Hurani. On February 8, 1963, the Baath party assumed power in Iraq after a bloody coup against the government of Abdel Karim Qassim (See Photo). Then, quickly rounded up thousands of people mostly communists, communist sympathizers and socialists and sent them to makeshift detention camps. Many believe that the CIA was behind the coup after seeing the Iraqi communist party gaining support with Qassim's government. James Critchfield, then head of the CIA in the Middle East, said. "We regarded it as a great victory." Later, Ali Saleh Al-Sa'adi, the Baath Party secretary general said "We came to power on a CIA train."  The CIA had a similar coup involvement in Iran in 1954, when it brought back the Shah to power after a brief control of a pro communist government led by Musadaq.  The Baath party stayed in power until November of that year when it was overthrown by the army led by Abdel Salam Ariff (See Photo).

On July 17, 1968 the Baath party successfully took over the government with the help of Abdel Al-Razaq Al-Nayeff, the head of presidential palace guards. Immediately, a power struggle brewed among the coup organizers and within two weeks the party was in full control of the country. Abdel Al-Razaq Al-Nayeff was sent to exile. Iraqi Baath party injected socialism in its ideology to assume full power on the economic system in the country. This way it closed the circle and completed the firm control grip on the people.   
Saddam Hussein quickly consolidated his power and became the Prime Minister. In his first public speech in 1970 at the Shaab stadium, he outlined his intentions by saying ”We will not let others ride behind us on the mule and stick their hands in the saddle satchel.” Referring to Iraq as the mule and the government as a satchel. Within two years, it was clear that the leadership was in the hands of people who came from one rural area, Tikrit, a small province located about100 miles north of Baghdad. Saddam background is a product of a tribal society. When hard times faced the leadership he turned to his immediate family to further enhance his control on the country. At a time of crisis he used his tribal instinct to survive. He rebirth the tribal mentality again and used it to his own advantage. First, he elevated the mistrust among the people then he combined it with fear. People folded back and sought refuge in the old tribal social frames and tribal association became significantly important. Saddam is the only beneficiary of such segregated society. This way local problems will be contained and would not dangerously spill out of control to other areas, because people of neighboring tribes would not buy into a mass revolt. Other Baath party members who did not fit the social ladder of the leadership or show dissent were either removed by force before becoming a meaningful threat or fled the country.  

The pyramidal structure of the party is based on passing several stages even before becoming a full member of the party. The system requires passing successfully a series of tests or showing certain accomplishments before moving upward to the next stage. Such structure encourages the combativeness of the individuals and criminal behavior among members of the party and more so among the “Supporters-Mueyed and Sympathizer-Nassir” levels.

Before becoming a member of the Baath party an individual has to go through several stages of developments that could last up to 4 years. The Baath party initiated programs to teach children at age 8 to 14 the ideology of the party and prepare them to serve the party at older ages. The four initiation stages are as follows;  
And Trainee-Mutederib.  
Currently, there are about 2 million Iraqis that fit in these categories. Some may finish the entire 4 year stages others would linger for many years within these preliminary stages on purpose mostly to maintain certain level of favoritism among party members enough to conduct their daily businesses. The party recognizes that role and uses it to its own advantage. There are about two million Iraqis passing through these stages at any given time. In a country like Iraq, political affiliation of one family member may as well mean that the entire family would endorse that particular political views. Based on such analysis, the number may multiply to 4 or even 6 million Iraqi citizens who would consider pro Baath party.

After successfully passing all 4 stages, the trainee can become a full member of the Baath party or Edow. It is estimated that there are about 40,000 active members of the Baath party in Iraq. He or she would become a member of a Cell-Kheliya or Halaqa. An ideal Cell would consist of 3 to 5 members and the head of the Cell-Ra'ees Al Kheliya. I estimate that there are about 10,000 Baath Party Cells in Iraq. The next step up is Division-Ferqa, then Section-She'oba. A Section would consist of 2 Divisions and not more than 3 depending on location and local political environment. Each province would consist of 2 to 3 Sections, and each 2 Sections are represented by a Branch-Far'e, except Baghdad which has 4 Branches because of its high population.

There are 21 Baath party branches in the entire country, one for each of the 18 provinces plus additional 3 in Baghdad. All the 21 branches are represented in the Regional Command (Iraq). The function is to implement orders given by the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and attending the business of monitoring the government functions through an in placed units within each government office. Also serving an instrument to promote and purge members of the party. A party member has to attend weekly and monthly meetings on both sides of the ladder to enable him to be in a good stand. Orders of criminal in nature is most likely passed along to lower levels and carried out by junior members and even by Nassir or Muyed levels who are too willing to show their obedience to the party leadership. The establishment of Feda'eyen Saddam, which consists of teenage level members eager to move up in the Baath hierarchy ladder, serves that purpose.

Advancements within the party hierarchy is competitive and depending on how that person allies him or herself among other members. The base structure of information movements is only vertical (Up and Down) and not horizontal was inherited from the time when the party was operating underground. This way each party cell is virtually isolated and members have no knowledge of others at the same level. Commands and advancement come from the top and through elections, and viable information moves only upward. Purging of members of the party is common and comes in a most ruthless fashion. One can only follow the steps of Saddam since the beginning of 1968 and see how many Baath members who showed obvious rivalry to him were assassinated, executed or purged from the party altogether.  Most prominent incident was at the time when Saddam took over power in 1979 and executed 25 high-ranking members of the party including Abdel Khalq Al Samira'e, the Baath party ideologist at the time.

Prior to applying to the military academy, the local Baath party screens eligible candidates and those who are not enrolled in the Baath party encouraged to do so prior to accepting them in the academy. Each military brigade has a political commissar who presides on regular party meetings for all military personnel. In the army, political

The Baath Party headquarters damaged during the 1991 Allied airstrikes

affiliation other than the Baath party is punishable by death. There is unwritten law that often Saddam spoke of which establish guilt by association of those who know a guilty person. These rules established high level of awareness and mistrust among the military personnel.

Since Saddam Hussein assumed full power in 1979, the decisionmaking mechanisms in the Baath party gradually shifted to a cult of a single personality. Saddam became and for the first time in the history of the Baath party; the chief executive, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, deputy secretary-general of the Baath's National Command, chairman of the regional Command, and chairman of the revolutionary Command Council. In the past, however the general election of the regional congress of the Baath party set the stage to those in the RCC, and members of the RCC who are not reelected lose their seats, but Saddam transcended these summery election and handpick the RCC members.

The following are members of the Regional Command (Iraq), curtsy of Saad Rashid's website.

Qussay Saddam Hussien, Secretary General
Ali Hassan Majeed

Abad Baqi Abed Kareem Al Sadoon
Aziz Salih Noman Al Khafaji, Baghdad Resafa
Okhla Abad Saqar, Amara Province
Adel Abdela Mahdi, Nassiriya Province

Ghazi Hamood Al Obeydi, Kut Province
Fathel Mahmoud Ghareeb, Kerbela Province

Lateef Nasef Jassim
Luqman Owda Al Delemi
Mizyan Khther Haddi
Muhamad Zemam Abed Al Razzaq, Mousol-Kerkuk Provinces
Mehssen Khther Al Khfaji, Nejeff-Dewaniya Provinces

Hudda Saleh Am'mash (Daughter of Salih Mehdi Am'mash purged in 1970's from the Baath party by the rising Saddam Hussein)
Rasheed Saf'fan Khazem, Al Anbar Province

Samir Abed Al Azziz Al Najem, Diyala Province.
Saddam Hussien, Izzat Ibrahim Al Doori, Taha Yassin Ramadhan, and Tariq Azziz are permanent members of the Regional Command (Iraq) and also members of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC)

The Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) is the highest authority in the country. It has legislative and executive power and rendering the National Assembly as a rubber stamp legislative body. They meet regularly every week or whenever summoned by the Secretary General Saddam Hussein. The members fluctuate during the last twenty years from fifteen to nine. I am aware of the following members beside Saddam,

Izzat Ibrahim Al-Doori
Taha Yassin Ramadhan

Tariq Azziz

Mezyan Khther Haddi
Watban al-Tikriti
Sabawi Al-Tikriti
Muhammad Hamza al-Zubaydi
Aziz Salih Al-Noman.

The new appointment of the younger son Qussay to head the Regional Command is a significant step in the command structure of the Iraqi Baath Party, and one step behind resuming his father's roles as a head of the Iraqi Baath party and the presidency of country.

Beside the two structural commands, the National Command is designed as a command center for the entire Arabic world. In theory, as in the Regional Command (Iraq) the Baath Party would have regional commands for all other Arab countries, but the most active one are for Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Yemen, and Lebanon. In reality, the Iraqi Baath Party spent hundreds of millions of dollars to promote its ideology in the Arab world to a minimal success. The National Command has little authority and its existence is just for the party prestige.

In theory this system can be seriously affected if the higher command is separated from the one beneath it, then a weak link would be established which jeopardize the entire system. Somehow if a chaotic situation infused within the Regional Command- Al Qeyada Al Qutriya then there is a possibility for the system to collapse. Keep in mind, the system has many check and balance points, which has proven its effectiveness in the past, most important one its ruthlessness dealing with political dissent, and its secrecy. This structure would allow the upper hierarchy to isolate bad apples before having any effect on the others. Also it meant that on lower levels (Sections and Divisions) members do not know other members except at the Regional Command, which makes it more vulnerable. Other than that this system works like a fine Swiss watch. Bad apples at any levels can be replaced like series of shark teeth, one set get dislodged another set just behind it ready and eager to resume their new posts.

On October 20, 2001 Saddam Hussein announced forming a new party organization called Al-Nawat, meaning the nucleus. The new organization will work independently from the traditional party hierarchy and attached to Saddam's office. The members of this organization are handpicked from all party levels. This came after a new round of purging and executions of many military and civilian members of the party. A sign of possible coup attempt by high level party officials followed deploying military units along the boundaries with areas controlled by the Kurdish regional authority and as far as Dehuk on the Turkish borders. Baghdad believe that a possible attack would come from the north in the next a few months once the campaign against Afghanistan winds down, this may also combined with a coup attempt similar to the one the CIA organized in 1995. Baghdad government also executed 6 men including Muhammad Hadeed head of a pro Nassir ideology movement. The tactics of establishing an independent organization within the party is not new; the party resorted to such strategy in the past when it was forced to go underground in the 1964 and during the coup of Nadem Ghzar of 1973.

Saad Farage
President of the Iraqi Activists

Who Are the Doves and the Hawks on Iraq Policy ?

On January 26, 1998 William Kristol of the New American Century sent a letter to President Clinton urging the American administration to adopt a new policy toward Iraq to include removing Saddam from power. The letter signed by eighteen experts in the global geopolitics argued that the policy of “containment” was a dismal failure and should be replaced by a new strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. The letter did not hint who are the possible candidates to run the new government in Iraq nor did detailed a method of removing the current regime. The INC, the main Iraqi umbrella group indorsed the letter.  That letter formulated an alliance between Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and R. James Woolsey who were among the eighteen signatories of the letter and strong supporters of the INC. The letter also initiated a strong movement in the congress, which later resulted in passing the Iraqi Liberation Act at the end of that year.

But the State Department maintained the same policy toward Iraq. The policy of containing Saddam in many ways was less costly and controversial. As long as Saddam keeps defying the UN sanctions then there was a good reason to keep him boxed in. The air campaign engaged Saddam air defense forces on the ground on regular bases and on the eve of the impeachment vote in congress-December 16,1998-Clinton ordered operation Desert Fox, a combination of airstrikes and Tomahawk missile attacks on suspected weapons of mass destructions sites. Desert Fox came as a response to expelling the UN inspectors from Iraq the month before. The President signed the Iraqi Liberation Act into law, and the State Department seemed to embark on a tougher policy toward Iraq. In January of 1999, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine appointed Frank Ricciardone, a seasoned diplomat who have long experience with the Iraqi Kurdish opposition as a United States' special representative for transition in Iraq. His job was to aiding the opposition groups in their effort to oust the Iraqi leader. But the new hard line policy toward Saddam Hussein took an immediate blow in the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing,
"I will be honest. I don't see an opposition group that has the viability to overthrow Saddam at this point," Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. "Helping the opposition if not done properly could be very dangerous," Zinni said. He raised the prospect of dozens of splinter groups competing for power. "The last thing we need is another rogue regime," Zinni said. This testimony marked a serious setback to those who backed the INC, namely Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and R. James Woolsey team, and the new policy was shelved indefinitely. The INC consisted of mainly ethnic and religious figures outside Iraq was going through endless internal bickering. The groups never had any common ideology other than sharing the beliefs of replacing the current regime. The INC had lost its foothold in northern Iraq two years earlier after Saddam made a swift attack on Arbil and annihilated their inexperienced small force they had on the ground. The PUK headed by the Jalal Al-Talabani was expelled from Arbil while their rivalry group the KDP headed by Masoud Barazani stayed neutral in the fight. Since then, the INC was seen as an infective opposition and overburdened by many small splinter groups.

At the same time the pressure by many Arab countries was building up to put an end to the sanctions against Iraq. Pictures of malnutrition children became more frequent on TV screens, and many new radical movements sprouted up here in US and Europe advocating the removal of the sanctions altogether, most of these new movements were of questionable reputations and backed by controversial figures. Arab American organizations put their weight behind it and so did Saddam. The State Department pushed for lesser sanction resolution in the UN, and resolution 1284 passed in the Security Council to easing up sanctions. Resolution 1284 allowed more flexibility to importing humanitarian supplies while putting no limits on oil exporting by Iraq. The resolution also established a new monitoring system of weaapons of mass destruction, UNMOVIC to replace the Special Commission. Iraq rejected Resolution 1284. Since then the role of the UN was left unclear. It was clear to Saddam that it was the time to start breaking the sanctions. He signed many trade agreements with Muslim and Arab countries, and gave the lion's shares to permanent members of the UN Security Council, Russia, France and China.

The general prevailing policy in Washington was to aid the Iraqi oppositions with non-lethal aids. The INC had a conference in New York City at the end of 1999, but little was achieved other than the regular squabbling among the different factions of those who claim to be the Iraqi Oppositions. To many Iraqis living abroad, it was a big disappointment. By then the State Department was frustrated after spending $2 million from the allocated money by the US congress on the New York event. During the congressional hearing of June 28, 2000 Mr. Perle alerted policy makers on the danger lays ahead, but the Iraqi problem was virtually in a state of hibernating awaiting the new US election. Throughout the presidential campaigns, hopes were high among those who wanted to see the US taking an active role to remove the current regime in Baghdad, Bush and Gore promised to work actively on the Iraqi issue.
Colin Powell and Richard Cheney who were part of the US team in 1991 to expel Saddam from Kuwait are back again in the new administration Bush assembled to lead the country. Three of the original signatories of the 1998 letter, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary, Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle were on one side in the Defense Department. There first action was an air strike, which angered many Arab leaders. The forceful feeling policy Colin Powell had prior to his first visit to the Middle East on issues such as Iraq drew loud response from Egypt, Jordan, Syria and other Arab countries. In April 2001 article from Foreign Policy In Focus called the Iraqi opposition "feckless" and urges the U.S. to "halt its efforts to arm the opposition and foment a coup in Iraq" and instead "work with the United Nations to enforce international treaties and resolutions." It was second setback to those who advocated a steadfast policy toward Saddam.
By then, it was obvious that two views were immerging in the new administration. The State Department-The Doves-viewed Saddam as nuisance as long as he kept under control, “Saddam is like a toothache or kidney stone that will eventually pass ” Colin Powell said. Whereas the Defense Department-The hawks-viewed Saddam as a potential problem growing at a fast rate and the sooner he would be dealt with the better it is in the long run. Colin Powell came with new policy toward Iraq which later became known as “Smart Sanction Policy” but this policy is based on strict inspections by the neighboring countries of Iraq and many of these countries have no desire to enforce.

Both views came to a clashing point after the events of September 11. Saddam Hussein involvement in the attacks came under vigor scrutiny by the news media and those who see his fingerprints in every possible state sponsored terrorist action, but later we learned from the carefully released intelligence reports that only two meetings between Mohammad Atta, the mastermind of the WTC attacks and Iraqi intelligence officers took place in Europe and Turkey. What was discussed in these two meetings is everybody's guess. The State Department assembled a coalition of Arab and Muslim countries to tackle the first target, Afghanistan and is very careful at this stage not to drag Iraq in the picture. Ryan Crocker, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Reynolds Kiefer, head of the Iraq Department, Henry Ensher, head of the UN Sanctions at the State Department took a low profile on the Iraqi problem till early this week when the President revisited the issue again.

The fear of negative Arab response to any action by the United States against Iraq is real only if it comes in a retaliatory fashion as it happened in the past in forms of airstrikes and missile attacks. These actions harmed only innocent Iraqis and elevated Saddam statutes in the eyes of many in the Middle East. This policy has failed in the past and will fail again in the future. The only effective strategy to remove this tyrant from power should be based on a comprehensive, long-term and deliberate policy and not a quick fix by coup or assassination attempts. Such attempts will create an immediate vacuum that will be filled by another new tyrant government. The Iraqi Oppositions who believe democratic government should be an integral part of this policy, only the Iraqi people with the help of United States and those who believe in the true democratic values should make the effort to liberate Iraq from this oppressive regime. There will be no outcry among Arabs for liberating Iraq by its own people. The new policy should be based on political, economical, and as well as immediate military help to the Iraqi Oppositions. Only by then the will of the Iraqi people in a collective democratic government can preserve the peace and stability to the region.

Saad Farage
The Iraqi Activists