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"Now Is an Opportune Time," Says a Member of Iraq's Parliament
Friday, 15 June 2007 21:39
by Dal LaMagna

A five-minute monologue by one member of the Iraq Parliament, a member of the National Dialogue Front, sums up what several other Parliamentarians had to say about how to solve the violence in Iraq.

Before I left for Baghdad, six members of the Iraq Parliament met at Mohammed’s flat in Amman. Each was aligned with the moderate National Dialogue Front, a secular party promoting one Iraq, a scheduled withdrawal of American troops, and Iraqi control of Iraq’s oil.

Present were:

  • Dr. Saleh Al-Mutlaq, former Minister of State and founder of the National Dialogue Party)
  • Prof. Mustafa Al-Hiti, former dean of Baghdad's University's College of Pharmacy
  • Ali al-Sajri, who has never attended a meeting of Parliament
  • Mohammed Al-Dynee, who traveled to the U.S. to bring different viewpoints to members of Congress
  • Taha al-Lihabi, injured in the April 2007 suicide bombing inside the cafeteria in the Green Zone next to Parliament
  • Fallah Hassam Zaidan
  • Assad Ibrahim Hussein

It was a raucous meeting among close friends with lots of cigarette smoking. They had agreed to meet and allow me to videotape their conversation, with the idea their words could be heard directly by Americans.  This was important to them, since many of these Parliamentarians express views that differ from those of members brought over by the American Administration to speak to the media.

Assad Hussein delivered a five-minute, non-stop monologue that captured the essence of what everyone in the group had been saying.  Thus, to give voice to their ideas, here is what Hussein said:

“Now, is an opportune time, for you; the opportunity is wide open.  We hope that there will be quick solutions so that we can stop the senseless killing of your sons as well as ours, in Iraq.  We all feel that all that is happening in Iraq, now, is nothing other than senseless killing.

“The main topic of conversation, which all the Iraqis are discussing and concerned with now, is "What do the Americans want from the Iraqis?  What do they want?  They occupied the country for false reason and insipid and mistaken slogans.  They occupied the country.

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“The next question is why all this killing? Why all this displacement of people?  Why was sectarian and ethnic strife created?  People fighting each other; the dividing of Iraq; the creation of a Constitution which split the country apart and the Americans knew that this would be the effect of the Constitution they were insistent on installing.  All Iraqis objected to this Constitution.

“There are a lot of things happening in the country for which they have no explanations - such as the gangs, which are comprised of the security companies.

“The solution in my opinion is simple.  We start with simple beginnings. 

“However, the decision has to be courageous and difficult for the American Administration to take.  It is the immediate announcement of an organized withdrawal of American troops in Iraq because their presence in Iraq creates violence and provides the justification for every Iraqi to carry arms.  This action would give our sons the confidence that the Americans are not remaining in Iraq forever.

“They can plan a timetable schedule for the withdrawal of their large units from the country.  After which further practical steps should be taken for the solutions; for example, the reactivation of an effective United Nations role in Iraq and placing Iraq under the authority of an international and Arab umbrella, thus reactivating the effective role of the Arab League.  This is another of the steps that should be taken as part of the solution to calm the situation and the violence.

“You take these steps in parallel with others - such as the cancellation of the political process completely, and the cancellation of the government.  Get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolutions under the terms of Clause 7 of the United Nations Charter which limits and stops neighboring regional countries' interference in Iraqi concerns, thus limiting regional influence inside the country.   These resolutions should be put into effect and upheld. 

“America should start the process of reconciliation and unity amongst the Iraqis by rebuilding the military and civilian institutions, which Bremer meant to dissolve.  For these institutions to be reactivated and unified within society - the dreadful decisions and laws that were so detrimental to most Iraqis, such as the forced displacement should be stopped.

“All of the above are partial solutions.  However, the most important solution, in my opinion is for the American Administration to announce its scheduled withdrawal from Iraq, immediately.  After that the other steps should be started as a result of which the country will be stabilized and Iraq will build a good relationship with the United States based on mutual interests and respect – the same as with any other great power in the world. 

“So the vision and the thought are simple.  But they will lead us to solutions and an exit out of this quagmire - the exit of the Americans from this country which they systematically destroyed and whose people they systematically divided.”

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