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Cole writes: "Demonstrations and rallies began being held in the largely Sunni Arab province of al-Anbar and spread to Samarra (Salahuddin) and Nineva in Iraq on December 26."

Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)
Juan Cole; public intellectual, prominent blogger, essayist and professor of history. (photo: Informed Comment)

Dear Neocons: Iraqis Still Don't Feel Liberated

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment

31 December 12


emonstrations and rallies began being held in the largely Sunni Arab province of al-Anbar and spread to Samarra (Salahuddin) and Nineva in Iraq on December 26. Sometimes crowds flew the flag of the Free Syrian Army, with which Iraqi Sunnis often identify, since the FSA is fighting a Shiite-dominated regime.

The Sunni Arab youth are chanting, "the people want the fall of the regime," in emulation of the revolutionary crowds two years ago in Tunisia and then Egypt. The initial protests concerned the arrest of 10 bodyguards of the Finance Minister, Rafi al-Issawi, on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

On Sunday, 3 people were injured in a melee that broke out when deputy prime minister Saleh Mutlak attempted to address angry demonstrators in al-Anbar. Mutlak is a prominent Sunni Arab and a member of the Iraqiya political party. The angry crowds cut him no slack for being a Sunni Arab. What enraged them was that Mutlak serves with al-Maliki at all. They pelted Mutlak and his entourage with stones and empty bottles, driving them away.

Aljazeera English has a video report:

Among the demands of the angry crowds are
  • that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (a Shiite) cease being a puppet of neighboring Shiite Iran,
  • that the Shiite-led government release the thousands of young Sunni Arab men and women it has arrested (they say arbitrarily),
  • that the banning of the Baath Party cease and former Baathists be allowed to reenter public life under a general pardon
  • Better services from the government

Thy allege that Sunni young women imprisoned by al-Maliki's forces are raped in prison. Al-Maliki said Monday morning that the women prisoners would be released. The practice of arbitrarily arresting thousands of Sunnis who happened to be in the vicinity of attacks began under the US military when it occupied Iraq. In 2007 there were some 25,000 Iraqi prisoners, mostly Sunni Arab, in US prisons in Iraq, and 25,000 in the hands of the Shiite government in Baghdad.

Shiite member of parliament Abd al-Salam al-Maliki,, representing the ruling State of Law coalition of PM Nouri al-Maliki, warned that elements of the Free Syrian Army and al-Qaeda might come over the border to Falluja, Samarra and Mosul, and infiltrate the demonstrations, using them as a cover to commit terrorist attacks. MP Abd al-Salam's statements are outrageous, since there is no Free Syrian Army operating in the Sunni areas of Arab Iraq, and he is attempting to tar the demonstrators with the brush terrorism.

His remarks reveal the close connection Baghdad sees between instability in Syria and instability in Iraq, in both cases, the MP alleged, driven by nothing more than American hatred of the Shiites.

Some of the slogans and demands of the demonstrations have evinced nostalgia for Sunni rule of Iraq, and there have even been rumors that the crowds want to fly the Saddam Hussein version of the Iraqi flag. The USG Open Source Center paraphrased a report on Dec. 28 in Al-Sabah newspaper "citing Al-Anbar Governor Qasim al-Fahdawi as affirming that during their telephone conversation yesterday, 28 December, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki agreed to transfer the cases of alleged raped female prisoners to the Al-Anbar Court of Appeal. The report cites Salah al-Ubaydi, spokesman for Shiite Leader Muqtada al-Sadr, as regretting the raising of sectarian slogans at the demonstrations staged in the Al-Anbar Governorate. The report cites Hakim al-Zamili, parliament member for the Al-Ahrar Bloc, as saying that his trend does not participate in demonstrations raising the former regime's flag. The report focuses on the demonstrations staged in Al-Ramadi and Mosul yesterday [Dec. 27]."

Iraq was ruled by a Sunni-dominated Baath regime 1968-2003, which was overthrown by George W. Bush. Under American rule, the majority Shiites came to power. They instituted 'debaathification,' politically banning many Sunni Arabs. your social media marketing partner


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+32 # sibbaldflats 2012-12-31 11:49
It's little wonder the PTSD and suicide rates among American soldiers who helped destroy Iraq are so high. They know what their countrymen don't, and don't care to.
The rest of the American population escapes the same fate by living in a bubble of denial and apathy. They're the same people who once accused the Soviets of airbrushing to oblivion reality and history. The difference is, most of the Soviet people knew it.
There's no need for the perpetrators to feel imperiled. They're on a book tour. When they die they'll be eulogized as having good intentions of defending America. God bless and welcome to another year of it.
+36 # DaveM 2012-12-31 13:10
Has any nation truly felt liberated after being invaded, looted, largely destroyed, and then abandoned by a much larger foreign power?
+41 # fredboy 2012-12-31 13:21
Yep. After spending trillions of dollars, killing millions of people including an untold number of innocent civilians, and blowing the limbs and balls off countless Americans, we forgot something. We forgot to liberate and help the people of Iraq.

Thus proving it was all a lie, a big, deadly, selfish, profiteering lie.
+19 # grouchy 2012-12-31 13:39
This was a given even before we did stupid act of invading this country (to grab their oil supplies, NOT for something Repubs spun as WMD's), rushed do do it without understanding the history and culture of the country. Dumbness on a totally grand scale! And we didn't end up in control of the oil, it cost thousands of lives (both American AND Iraqui) and left them in a total mess in spite of how our government spins the tale. Disgusting! A shame!
+9 # Charles3000 2012-12-31 14:47
Before the invasion of Iraq French, Russian and Chinese oil companies had contracts to operate the Iraqi oil fields. American oil companies now run those oil fields. The invasion of Iraq was a success for what it was designed to do, gain control of Iraqi oil production and keep it being sold for dollars, not euros.
-24 # MidwestTom 2012-12-31 13:47
Maybe Hillary had a secret plan to start an all out war between the Sunni's and the Shiites; after which in a pre-arranged deal the US and Russia split up the muddle east and Israel's neighbors are greatly weakened. May the Lord help the Christian populations in the Middle East, because the US certainly will not.
0 # MidwestDick 2013-01-02 23:04
The secret plan was part, no doubt, of the protocols of the elders of Clintonia -- in league with the bilderburgers and the whopperburgers.
+21 # cafetomo 2012-12-31 13:50
We have a long record of demonizing other countries, while exalting our own. That we repeat history indicates a failure to learn from it. Every country has its failings. We should refrain from visiting ours upon theirs, for a start
+18 # paeos 2012-12-31 14:07
The invasion and continuing occupation was undertaken, like all since WWII, for Corporate Amerika. Iraq did not attack US, threaten our security, liberty or freedoms. our politicians do that, it did however sit atop one of the largest remaining oil feilds in the world. No we the sheeple did not end up in control of the oil but Big Oil did and their
"assets" are protected by the over 100.000 mercenaries (private military contractors) left behind in 59 "bases" under the contol of the State Department and its CIA spooks. The true shame is that so few know the whole truth about why we fight to support our congressional industrial military complex.
+25 # reiverpacific 2012-12-31 14:17
I well remember Dimwit's comment in the run-up to the invasion, when he was told that there were both Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq (not to mention the Kurds) and his reply; "Oh, I thought they were all Arabs!".
That's the depth of understanding prevalent in the US, including some of the military brass, as admitted recently by the C.-in-C. of the current Afghani invasion force.
But then when you dehumanize those who are about to be invaded, it's easier to murder them in the spirit of "Shock and awe" for the Corporate State, innit?!
Same thing as Wounded Knee really.
0 # keenon the truth 2013-01-01 06:08
Oh my goodness! Did he say that?????!!!!!! I missed that one! I didn't think he could still make me blush with shame!
-30 # Joeconserve 2012-12-31 16:03
The biggest mistake we made in Iraq was leaving because of a political promise. For those of you who believe we should not have been there, I wish you could have walked the desert with me. But, then, your lottes would have gotten cold.
+28 # Mannstein 2012-12-31 16:25
Should never have gone to the desert in the first place. Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11, yellow cake, mobile biological weapons labs, or other remarkable WMD dreamt up by the likes of John the Walrus Bolton Paul Wolfowitz and the reast of the Zionist neo con traitors.
-12 # Joeconserve 2012-12-31 22:54
With mortar shells, tank shells, aircraft rockets, and a multitude of other ammunition spread all over the desert, WMD was not properly defined.
+1 # dkonstruction 2013-01-02 15:51
Quoting Joeconserve:
With mortar shells, tank shells, aircraft rockets, and a multitude of other ammunition spread all over the desert, WMD was not properly defined.

So, we have the right to attack any country we want that has weapons even if they have never attacked us or even threatened to attack us? And you justify this policy and practice based on?
0 # reiverpacific 2013-01-01 19:52
Quoting Joeconserve:
The biggest mistake we made in Iraq was leaving because of a political promise. For those of you who believe we should not have been there, I wish you could have walked the desert with me. But, then, your lottes would have gotten cold.

0 # MidwestDick 2013-01-02 23:06
I think he meant latkes.
+4 # Coleen Rowley 2013-01-01 00:08
Then why, Mr. Cole, did you initially support Bush's war on Iraq? And why did you support Obama's war on Libya?
0 # MidwestDick 2013-01-02 23:07
Huh. What evidence do you have of that Juan Cole supported the Iraq war?
+6 # Big Jake 2013-01-01 06:52
I would suggest that things in Iraq are working like we intended them to work. No stability creates an environment where stealing the oil is easier. Some of the Neo-cons might believe that this is about politics but really, it has always been about the resource-oil. None of the Elites want a country that produces onions or oranges. Never have. It is always about the natural resources. Why do think the Africa looks the way it does? Maybe they are just not capable of self governance. Sound quite British. Until the world and in particular the naive Americans say enough of the theft, it will continue as planned. Most of the Neo-cons are fools and dupes, but they are dangerous fools and dupes. Peace and stability in Iraq or Afghanistan will remain elusive as long as the CIA and the other tools of the Elite are in charge.
+3 # HCantanhede 2013-01-01 09:28
Oh, but they have been liberated all right. They've been relieved from their oil when they received the 'gift' of 'democracy', as defined by the Big Sisters (still seven?) and their lackeys, the countless taxpayers in so many countries, who so consistently hold hands when it comes to destroying other peoples' lives (including those of their own).

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