Sunni Arab Member of Parliament Criticizes al-Maliki Government
The USG Open Source Center carries a translation of remarks of Khalaf al-Ulayyan, a member of parliament from the Sunni Iraqi Accord Front, made in Amman recently. Al-Ulayyan implies a conspiracy by the al-Maliki government to expel several Sunni Arab members of parliament on the grounds that they are related to the insurgency. He complains that the Shiites of Sadr City in East Baghdad are being treated by the Americans with kid gloves, while the Sunni Arabs are facing a harsh crackdown. Sunni Arabs such as al-Ulayyan are the ones who declared themselves willing to participate in a government under American Occupation, and if even they are this bitter, imagine what the ordinary Sunni Arabs are thinking!
|Iraqi Sunni MP Al-Ulayyan Criticizes Government, US Policy, Denounces Al-Qa’ida|
“Exclusive Interview” program, featuring an interview with Khalaf al-Ulayyan, an Iraqi Sunni politician, by an unidentified correspondent in Amman, Jordan; date not given — recorded
Iraq — OSC Summary
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
The Iraqi Al-Zawra Television in Arabic at 2315 GMT on 11 March carries a recorded interview with Khalaf al-Ulayyan, member of the Iraqi Council of Representatives on the Al-Tawafuq (Accord) Front list, from its “Exclusive Interview” program, by an unseen correspondent who is heard to make a few, mostly indistinct, remarks during Al-Ulayyan’s 40-minute uninterrupted but edited monolog. The interview takes place in Amman, Jordan. The date of the interview is not specified.
Al-Ulayyan accuses the Government of trying to gain time by impeding the security plan. “They want to gain time to evict and kill the largest possible number of Sunnis, especially in the Baghdad Governorate,” he claims, adding: “They dissolved Al-Mahdi Army before the implementation of the plan and asked the Al-Mahdi Army not to take up arms against US forces.” He says the government has absorbed them into the National Guard, the Interior Ministry storm troopers, or law enforcement personnel.
He says that “top Al-Mahdi Army commanders” were smuggled outside Iraq to keep them from being arrested or killed, and notes that there was “an order to that effect signed by the prime minister himself and was displayed on space channels and on the Internet.” He argues that the US forces go to the Al-Sadr city but they do not encounter any resistance. He says they announce on television that “the US and government forces will be storming the Al-Sadr City to search for concealed arms,” noting that this is a warning to them to be on their guard. He says once they hear such warning, they will conceal their arms or bury them and the wanted people will escape. Al-Ulayyan asks: “Why do they not do that in our areas? Why do they not say that they will storm Al-A’zamiah neighborhood? Why do they not say that they plan to storm Al-Khadra or Al-Ghazaliyah neighborhoods?”
Al-Ulayyan says: “I do not only speak against the government abroad. When I was at home I addressed numerous news conferences and spoke to the media and in parliament and at the Council of Ministers in front of the prime minister. I speak frankly on these issues and I fear only Almighty God.
“I am now outside Iraq because I underwent a surgical operation on my knees three months ago. I am undergoing physiotherapy in Jordan because it would be difficult to do that in Iraq. I was supposed to continue my therapy in Dubai but for private reasons I wanted to stay in Amman. There are doctors and daily physiotherapy sessions and I will complete this soon and return to my country even if they want to arrest or kill me. I was exposed to more than one assassination attempt but Almighty God saved me. I do not fear such things. If I die it will be an honor and if I survive we will work for the truth, for what satisfies God and serves our country.”
He speaks of rumors about threats, which he says are “either genuine or are aimed at preventing him from returning to Iraq.” He adds: “I am a member of parliament and I enjoy immunity. They cannot arrest me unless they have an approval from parliament. However, they have their own methods. A few days ago, they issued an arrest warrant ordering the detention of Dr Adnan al-Dulaymi at the airport. We learned about it before Adnan arrived at the airport. I personally contacted the US embassy and Vice President Dr Tariq al-Hashimi and many other sides in Iraq, and I told them the news. When they learned that we knew about this, they said that they did not mean to arrest Adnan but his son, who they say backs terrorism. This is a lie. They wanted to arrest Dr al-Dulaymi. They wanted to arrest him first and then they would kill him and throw his body in the street and blame the militias, the terrorists, or the Saddamists, as they would say. That is what they would do to me and others. They would arrest members of parliament without the approval of parliament and then they kill them and claim that they did not know the killers. They would denounce the killings and they even might mourn for the victims.”
Al-Ulayyan says the Iraqi resistance is an honor to every Iraqi. He says that “when the Iraqi state collapsed in such a short time, we were ashamed and I could not appear in public because I was ashamed.” He says the Iraqi resistance restored the honor of the Iraqis. He says he is prepared to offer everything to the resistance, adding: “The Iraqi resistance that fights the occupation, that defends the Iraqis, and that does not shed the blood of the Iraqis is the real resistance. We do not recognize terrorism that kills the Iraqis — Shiites, Sunnis, or others — and we do not consider it Iraqi resistance.
“The ordinary citizen must understand that the acts that are aimed to realize his interests are acts of resistance but acts that are directed at him cannot be considered acts of resistance. They are perpetrated by those are backed by the occupation, regional states, others inside the government, or other hostile sides with the aim of igniting inter-Iraqi trouble or tarnish the image of the resistance.”
Al-Ulayyan says that many organizations were formed to ignite internal fighting and “the government might not know about them.” He adds: “As far as I know, whenever the Americans arrested some of them, they would release them a few hours later. Therefore, there are may sides that want to tarnish the image of the Iraqi resistance. Indeed, an Iraqi is not interested in killing another Iraqi.”
Al-Ulayyan says: “In Baghdad for instance, we are trying not to let the resistance or the ordinary citizen attack US forces. We feel that the US forces extend some form of security to us. When the Iraqi forces arrive in an areas, they violate the inviolable; they kill, steal, and violate the honor of women, but the Americans do not do that at least. Therefore, the citizen tries not to attack US forces because he seeks protection from them against the government, which is supposed to protect the citizen. Therefore, this is in the interest of the occupation forces.” He notes that they want to prolong these conditions.
Al-Ulayyan says that a man in the Interior Ministry, Ahmad al-Muhandis, who is an Iranian by origin, used to back the death squads. The Interior Ministry Under Secretary Adnan al-Asadi also supports the death squads and directly supervises them. The Interior Minister also directly supervises the death squads.”
Al-Ulayyan says: “Therefore the government participates in these attacks, in backing the death squads and the militias. I have evidence to prove that the government forces shed their uniforms, put on black clothes and attack Sunni areas to kill and loot in the name of the Al-Mahdi Army before they take off these clothes and wear their formal uniforms and appear in the streets as deliverers.
“At the beginning, we used to welcome the mujahidin from aboard, from the Arab countries, as brothers who came to save us and help us to pass through this ordeal and resist the occupation. Therefore, we respected and loved them. We extended assistance to them.”
Al-Ulayyan says that three years ago, he and “others, including Mahmud al-Mashhadani” met with a US general. He cites a “mediator,” who arranged the meeting, as pointing out in introductory remarks that the meeting would be for introduction and that other meetings would be held in the future. He cites the general as having said that he would meet with politicians but not with terrorists. Al-Ulayyan says that he objected to the general’s remarks, pointing out that the resistance cannot be described as terrorism. He says the general immediately stood up and apologized, saying that “I do not mean the Iraqi resistance but the terrorists who arrived from abroad.” Al-Ulayyan says that he again told the general that these came to help the Iraqis and they are on the same level as the Iraqi resistance.
Al-Ulayyan notes that no other meetings “with the mujahidin” were held. He says: “Apparently their strategy changed after they became a force. Al-Qa’ida Organization in Iraq took another course, contrary to what people understand; namely, that it is a jihad force aimed at establishing an Islamic state and end the occupation. Al-Qa’ida directed their attacks particularly at the Sunnis. They started to kill the noble and honorable tribal chiefs, who were not collaborators. They started to kill the resistance leaders, those who participate in the political process, the former army personnel, and the pilots who participated in the war against Iran. Al-Qa’ida killed Staff Major General Pilot Khalil Abd al-Fuhaydawi in the Hadithah area the same day Iran celebrated the killing of the last Iraqi pilot to participate in the Kharg Island bombing. Who told Iran about that?”
Al-Ulayyan questions Al-Qa’ida behavior and says that they killed his brother “who had nothing to do with politics and never occupied any position. He was a 63-years old handicapped man.” He also says they also killed two of his cousins, one of whom “was a mujahid who fought the occupation from the first day, memorized the Koran, and was a religious man, a fundamentalist, and with a bread to boot.” He says they made ordinary Iraqis displeased with the Iraqi resistance. He tells a story that relates how Al-Qa’ida men entered school and killed a teacher “in the way a sheep is slaughtered,” and some students were “dumbfounded, unable to speak for days as a result of horror.” He says: “Therefore, we started to view this group with suspicion after we had been proud of it as a mujahid Muslim Arab force.”
He says that he opposes the federation of Iraq but Al-Qa’ida has divided Iraq by declaring an “Islamic state in the Sunni governorates — Mosul, Al-Anbar, Salah al-Din, part of Diyala, and part of Baghdad.” He argues that this was “what others wanted, what Iran and the occupation wanted.” He says this is much worse than the federation.
Al-Ulayyan further says the Al-Qa’ida members kill anyone who does not owe allegiance to them and “they killed many Iraqi fighters” most of whom were salafis (fundamentalists), not from the Ba’thists. He says: “There is no home in Al-Anbar that was not harmed by Al-Qa’ida exactly as it was harmed by the Americans.” He says they are shelling areas with mortars, killing women and children. He says many from his own tribe were killed by Al-Qa’ida and “I do not believe that there is anyone in Iraq that supports Al-Qa’ida any longer.” He says he knows many “despicable Iraqis” who cooperated with the Al-Qa’ida “for many reasons,” noting that many Iraqis would like to resist the occupation but because other groups no longer have material resources to fight and recruit fighters, they go to the Al-Qa’ida and join it because of “its huge resources.” He says that these people are now grumbling but they cannot abandon Al-Qa’ida for fear that they might be killed by other Al-Qa’ida members.
Al-Ulayyan says that his aim is just to solve Iraq’s problems, spare people’s blood, and rebuild Iraq, and “that is why we participated in the political process,” but “if we do not find a solution we will take up arms.” He hopes that God will eventually guide Al-Qa’ida, “otherwise the Iraqis will one day take up arms, no matter what the cost, to fight Al-Qa’ida as they are fighting the occupation forces.”
Al-Ulayyan speaks of a visit to Iraq by President Bush during which he met with representatives of political blocs. He says: “I was told to come to represent the Al-Tawafuq Front. I arrived at the meeting and I found Dr Iyad Allawi, Dr Roz Nuri Shawis from the Kurdish Bloc, and Shaykh Imam Hammudi from the Iraqi National Coalition. All spoke and praised Bush and the US forces, which they said saved Iraq from dictatorship and realized security, stability, construction. I was astounded. I was surprised that Bush should have listened to them because what they said was not true. Where is the security, stability, and reconstruction? When I talked, I denied everything they said. I told President Bush: You made many promises but you failed to fulfill any of these promises.”
Al-Ulayyan says that he told Bush that when he was an army officer, he had hoped to go to the United States to do some military training but adds that after the occupation, he found that the US soldier “was a savage person who does not know the meaning of humanity, who violates honors, loots, and kills innocent people.” He says that he told Bush: “We have discovered that you are only cowboys, and no more.” He says he told Bush that the Americans imposed “the worst constitution” on the Iraqis, and that the elections were forged “by US admission because they said that they impounded seven trucks laden with ballot papers during election time and said that there were some other similar trucks but could not apprehend them.” He says that such elections should have been canceled. He says he told bush: “You promised to install a nationalist government but you installed a sectarian government with quotas, devoid of patriotism or professionalism, and therefore, we now consider you liars because you did not fulfill any of your promises.” He says he told Bush that he handed Iraq to Iran “on a silver platter because there is now an Iranian occupation covered by US occupation, from Baghdad to the Al-Faw Peninsula.”
He says that Bush thanked him for “his utter frankness.” He says that he also told bush that the Iraqis would like to know what the United States wanted from Iraq. He says that Bush told him that the Americans wanted to withdraw from Iraq the moment Iraq was “capable of standing on its own feet,” and “we want to leave Iraq as soon as possible.” Al-Ulayyan adds that, judging but what we can see, these claims are not true. He argues that the conditions under Al-Maliki are the worst in Iraqi history. He says the government “is exploiting the embarrassment of the United States and President Bush to promote its interests by directing the security plan against Sunni areas and implementing its plans.”
Al-Ulayyan also talks about a meeting secretary Rice held with Iraqi politicians, noting that he told Rice that the Iraqi people are killing American soldiers because they came “as occupiers” of the country that has “one of the most ancient civilizations” in history. He says he told her: “If the Iraqis do not kill US soldiers, then you must rightly say that the Iraqi people are despicable and they do not deserve respect and appreciation.” He says the Iraqis are aware of the atrocities that the “Americans perpetrated in Iraq.”
He says the Iraqis cannot decide their fate by themselves “because there is no balance among the various Iraqi components.” He asks the Arab countries to intervene and threaten to use military force “because Iraq is an Arab country, the crown and the spearhead of the Arab nation.” He also speaks of the “Iranian threat to the entire Gulf region.”
Al-Ulayyan finally greets the Iraqi people and urges them to cooperate to spare their own blood, noting that the Iraqi resistance must change its strategy because there are many enemies apart from the US occupation. He says that “they must cooperate with the other political blocs in drawing up a unified action plan.”
Al-Ulayyan also greets the Al-Zawra Television channel and hopes it will continue to be a channel of resistance, by word and deed.