Regrettably, since President Bush ordered the invasion of
Iraq in 2003, life in that country has become a list of grievances and
frustrations, fears and deaths.
Ordinary Iraqis are forced to abandon their aspirations and
hopes and are left to die unceremoniously. Hunting them has becomes a favorite
sport for amateur and skilled sportsmen alike. Even though they are burdened by
their calamities, Iraqis manage remarkably to maintain their sanity. Powerless
and saddened by daily tragedies, they have learned to demonstrate, in various
forms, their protests against and contempt for the occupation front men.
In the Iraqi public square, these front men are called, alhbal (the fool), al-athowal (the disoriented sheep), al-tern (the stupid), and al-tartoor
(the joke). These adjectives are primarily reserved for the national security
adviser, the prime minister, the president and his two deputies, and the
speaker of the parliament who are constantly ridiculed. Nevertheless, deprived
of morality and patriotism, the charlatans behave in their hideout -- the
occupation-fortified Green-Zone -- as if life is an eternal paradise.
Pretending they are important and in charge, the charlatans in Baghdad appear
on TV surrounded by well-armed bodyguards and armored vehicles. Flanked by
Iraqi flags, they hope to convince the disbelieving public that they are
Surprisingly, the charlatans are persistent in their
deceptions. As each day passes and they remain in power, they continue to
distance themselves from the Iraqi people and to hope that the occupation will
last forever, as it protects them from their own people.
One of the most ridiculed charlatans in Iraq is National Security
Adviser Mowaffaq al-Rubai. He has been called the fool and a dozen other
epithets that express the people�s disrespect for his incompetence and pathetic
On May 21, al-Rubai was interviewed by the Independent. In it he indicated that the
occupation powers induced him, in 2004, to have a meeting with Muqtada al-Sadr
at a specified time and place in the city of Najaf in order to engage him in
peaceful negotiations. At the designated time, the US Marines opened up an
intense bombardment of the house where the meeting was supposed to take place.
But al-Sadr managed to escape. Al-Rubai insisted, in the interview, that it was
al-Sadr rather then himself who was the subject of the assassination attempt,
stating that the Americans were not planning to kill him along with al-Sadr
because he had �a senior American officer with him almost all the time.� For
al-Rubai, the killing of Iraqis by foreigners is not wrong as long as he is
Like al-Rubai, al-Malaki and Talabani, the prime minister
and the president of Iraq, respectively, have been either used or ignored by
the occupation forces. Nevertheless, they continue pretending that they are in
charge and responsible for a sovereign Iraq. When the occupation powers decided
to build walls around certain neighborhoods in Baghdad -- caged communities --
both al-Malaki and Talabani objected. Their objections were ignored and many
Iraqi communities found themselves confined and humiliated.
According to the occupation-framed Iraqi constitution, the
prime minister, Nuri al-Malaki, is the head of the executive branch and the
commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces. Al-Malaki seems to like this,
constantly reminding Iraqis that he is in charge and that Iraq is a sovereign
country. However, he does not have the authority to order his army to move from
one place to another and he has no freedom of movement without the approval and
the protection of the occupation authority. Recently, he issued an order to
Iraqi military units not to obey orders from the occupation forces in attacking
Iraqis without his consent. Iraqi officers, in some units, ignored his orders
as they are in practice under the command of foreign officers.
The New York Times
(June 30) reported that al-Malaki condemned the bombardments of Sadr City by
foreign troops in which 26 civilians were killed, and asked that such illegal
operations be discontinued. Since then, however, foreign troops have expanded
their operations against several cities in Iraq, including Baghdad, Dewyniah,
Basra, Nasryia, Kut, etc. Likewise, when the occupation authority decided to
arm tribes in the Anbar and Diyala provinces and some extremist militias (e.g.,
the Islamic Army, Mohamed Army, etc.) al-Malaki vehemently rejected the
proposal. The leaders of the occupation's military forces went ahead and armed
In occupied Iraq, decent and patriotic Iraqis are being
gradually exterminated while the lucky ones are escaping from the country. The
UN reported that, since the occupation, more than 4.3 million Iraqis have
become refugees and about 50,000 Iraqis leave the country each month. The
charlatans in Baghdad have become an important instrument to legitimize actions
against Iraqis and to perpetuate their suffering. For the charlatans, the
safety and dignity of Iraqis, and for that matter the integrity of Iraq, is not
important as long as they live in a protected zone and their interests are
Recently, prominent charlatans agreed to organize a new
alliance called the moderate or the constitutional front. The alliance
encompasses the two ethnic minority Kurdish groups led by warlords Brazani and
Talabani and the two religious organizations led by al-Malaki and al-Hakim.
Iraqis familiar with political maneuvering argue that this new alliance is aimed
at appeasing the occupation powers, exterminating patriotic forces, and
accelerating the partitioning of Iraq. If successful, the alliance will deepen
the misery of the Iraqis and condemn them to a dark future.
Working with the occupation powers, charlatans in Baghdad,
in a little more than four years, have changed the demographic landscape of
Iraq and deepened hostility to Iraqi national and cultural identity. In the
process, they have helped to incapacitate Iraqi cultural, economic, and
political institutions. It is doubtful that these individuals can survive
without an omnipresence of foreign troops. Indeed, they have become an obstacle
for a free and democratic Iraq. In their presence, a healthy and functional
Iraq is a distant dream.
J. Ali, is Professor and Director School of International Management, Eberly
College of Business, Indiana University of Pennsylvania.