Number Of Iraqi Expatriate Groups Will

A number of Iraqi expatriate groups will boycott the forthcoming dissident summit in London, according to Asharq al-Awsat. Al-Hizb al-Islami al-Iraqi, a Sunni Islamist party, complains that Sunni representation at the summit is weak. He says that two-thirds of the delegates are Shiites. (He does not say that about 2/3s of Iraqis are Shiites; that is, the sort of representation he is complaining about is just proportional to the population. In the past, the Shiite minority has usually been taken advantage of and treated as a functional minority.)

Dr. Mubaddir al-Ways of the Socialist Party criticized the conference as funded and organized by the US rather than springing from the Iraqi people. He said the aim was to detach the Iraqis from the Arab nation and to deliver them into a (primary) relationship with Israel. He maintained that the US would not join up with any indigenous Iraqi fighting force, and that it had put pressure on Iran to prevent the Shiite al-Badr Brigade (based in Iran) from being allowed into Iraq in case of a war. (Iran yesterday announced that it would not allow Iraq to be attacked from Iranian soil, which would make it difficult for the 10,000 to 15,000 fighters commanded by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to move its forces into support of the US advance from the south. Al-Ways is claiming that this prohibition was announced at US insistence. I find this allegation highly unlikely; Rumsfeld at least seems to want to hook up with SCIRI fighters.)

The Communist Party of Iraq has similar qualms about participating in a primarily US-fueled conference that has no Iraqi grass roots.

Keeping the Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs happy with one another in a post-Saddam Iraq is obviously not going to be easy.

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