SCIRI Rejects Negotiations with Baathists
Against the backdrop of the London Times report that the Americans are negotiating with Iraqi guerrillas, confirmed recently by US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Gilbert Achcar writes:
Excerpt from the lead article on Iraq in Al-Hayat, June 28:
The Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (led by Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim) [the main Shia fundamentalist pro-Iranian force in Iraq and the main component of the Parliament’s majority United Iraqi Alliance] warned the Americans against concluding a settlement with the Baathists and supporters of the previous regime.
Ali al-Aadhad, a member of the leadership of the SCIRI, told Al-Hayat that “the terrorist attack that hit the Shia-inhabited al-Karada aera in Baghdad represented a turning point in the strategy of the alliance between the Takfiri forces [fanatical Sunni fundamentalists] and Saddam Hussein’ bunch. This turn meant basically a shift from attacks aimed at the US and [Iraqi] army and police men to attacks aimed at Shias as was the case in al-Karada.”
He considered that “such terrorist attacks constitute a means of pressure on the Americans to speed up the conclusion of a settlement with Saddam’s bunch, allowing them to return to political life.” He maintained that “the Americans use sometimes labels like ‘Sunni Arabs’ in order to justify the talks, but the SCIRI knows that the talks are held with Saddam’s bunch.”
He accused the Americans of attempting “to by-pass Shia religious forces” [the SCIRI leader specified “religious” because “secular” former US-designated Prime Minister, Iyad al-Allawi, is the main architect of the strategy of a US deal with the Baathists], maintaining that “the timing of the US settlement with Saddam’s bunch means that the Americans want to involve this bunch in the drafting of the constitution and the forthcoming elections.” He added that one of the most important goals of the al-Barq [Lightning] operation was “to accelerate the weakening of Saddam’s bunch in a way that contradicts the ongoing attempts to conclude an American settlement with this bunch.”