No Shiite,.. No Sunni,… Ours is human identity

An exclusive interview with Samir Adil the President of the Iraq Freedom Congress.

KOMONIST: Thank you for your time. On the third anniversary of the invasion and occupation, Iraq is further slipping into chaos and lawlessness. The threat of a full scale civil war is looming. What is going on?

Samir Adil: the occupation has destroyed everything in Iraq. For almost three years we have been witnessing the absence of the state, social services, security, an unemployment that is expanding, and corruption in almost every official level. The Iraqi society today is more like a jungle where gangs of thieves, thugs, sectarian and ethnic groups are killing and slaughtering people in the daylight. What we are witnessing today of ethnic and sectarian violence is a consequence of the occupation. You have witnessed how blowing up the Shiite shrine erupted into a sectarian war leaving (as opposed to the announced figure) more than 2000 people dead. If you ask me whether the political groups in power have done anything to avert this war, I would say these groups are the main culprits. The ethnic and sectarian division in Iraq was legitimised on the eve of the occupation at the conference held in London and it was officially recognised just after the occupation began, by the Governing Council, Interim Government and the fiasco of the elections and the Constitution. We have mentioned over and over again that there is an ongoing undeclared sectarian violence and there are hundreds of crimes were committed against civilians in which the ethnic and religious identity is the main target. This has been going on even prior to the recent incident of the shrine. The political groups in power attempted to take advantage of the shrine incident to their own best interest, and every one of them began to call for calm while their armed militias conduct a daily carnage. Many people have been killed because their names indicated association with a certain sect. Actually a new political phase has just begun.

Having mentioned these, however these are not the only incidents that take place. The crimes committed by the occupying troops and their policy are another part of the story. The major issue facing the Iraqi society is the occupation. I have my own view on this issue and have mentioned it often times in several TV and newspaper interviews. I have said that the political Islam, in its fight to defeat the US project, is trying to implement the strategy of chaos. The Political Islam is pursuing its objectives through inciting a sectarian war by attacking the workplaces of the workers who are considered to be Shiite, bombing markets, attacking mosques and churches and kidnapping and killing people. All these are examples of how the political Islam pursues its goals. Furthermore the political Islam (both Shiite and Sunni) is pursuing similar interests in this strategy. The Shiite Islam who is supported by Iran attempts to drown US in the Iraqi quagmire as the analysts describe. The Sunni Islam represented by Zarqawi on the other hand has the same interest justifying its violence by stating that it is fighting the occupation and the Fatwa issued by him six months ago was nothing but part of this strategy.

In addition the US troops are committing tens of crimes on a daily bases. They arrest people arbitrarily and abuse and torture detainees. They are engaged in “scorch earth” policy and much more…

Today the Iraqi society endures two major issues, the occupation and the resulted ethnic-sectarian conflict. Ending the occupation and forming a non-ethnic and non-religious state is the only way to stop the society from sliding down to the abyss.

KOMONIST: How deep are the religious, ethnic and tribal divisions in Iraq? Are these so- called ifferences so antagonistic that people have to kill each other for them?

Samir Adil: The sectarian conflict had no base in the Iraqi society. The sectarian gangs attempt to create and incite the hatred to gain more power and wealth and we have to realise that dividing the society based on sects and ethnicity was first legitimised after the occupation through the scenarios I have mentioned earlier. In general the Iraqi society rejects all kinds of sectarian divisions and many incidents are present to further proof my point. For the past three years the sectarian mobs spared no efforts to instigate a civil war. However they failed miserably and the recent upsurge in sectarian violence was directly fuelled by Sadir and Badir militias and the Interior Ministry. However the ordinary people did not get involved in this tragedy. Another example was the stampede on the Kadhimya Bridge where more than a 1000 people were killed, all of them were Shiite. We saw tens of young men from the Sunni community rushing to save those who had fallen off the bridge and offered their support. Those young men did not think of the sectarian background when were rushing to help, however their act caused embarrassment to the sectarian groups such as Islamic Supreme Council and the Sadir Group who were forced to call for the unity between Shiite and Sunnis. What I mentioned is fact. Though I cannot guarantee that the sectarian conflict will not deepen in the people mind, making them pull guns against each other. There are enough sectarian gangs (both Shiite and Sunni) prepared to commit horrible crimes to fuel a sectarian war. Several examples are available throughout the history showing how the ethnic and sectarian mobs were successful in instigating wars with devastating consequences in societies such as Lebanon, Rwanda and Kosovo.

KOMONIST:- What are the ordinary people think about all these? What is main concern of the people in Iraq now?

Samir Adil: A climate of the dismay and horror is dominates the society. Everyone is in a state of emergency and the resentment is widespread. Also the wariness is growing among the people who have become afraid and suspicious of each other as a result of the hatred that is imposed over the society. We have issued a statement titled “No Shiite… No Sunni… ours is the human identity” since then we have receiving reports that people in districts and cities are making copies of it and distribute it widely. It actually reveals a fact that the people realise and reject the current situation.
Therefore the second part of your question is already answered which indicates the fact that the people are completely concerned about their security. The Iraqi individual whether politician or not is a potential target of the suicide bombers, road side explosions and assassination etc…

KOMONIST: What role the IFC can and is playing at these difficult times? What are the IFC’s immediate priorities?

Samir Adil: As you mentioned the situation is very difficult, however to tackle it we need a group of people who believe that changing the political equations and stopping the bloodshed is not an impossible task. And I believe that such people exist here and that is how the IFC was formed. Immediately after the current wave of sectarian killings, we held a press conference attended by many local and global media and issued two statements and distributed widely. Also we organised a number of gatherings in different districts and neighbourhoods to expose the real motives behind the recent conflict. The IFC actions were very well received, encouraging numerous people to join its ranks. Moreover in one of Baghdad’s districts (Zafaranya) we were able to mobilise the residents to form their own squads to provide secure for their neighbourhood. The priority for us is to present a model of society where security is maintained and people live without fear and worries. I believe this is the main objective of our work today. The Zafaranya model of self protected neighbourhoods headed by the IFC has been received with great enthusiasm. Many volunteers have stepped forward and offered their services. Residents of other districts and neighbourhoods have asked to set up similar initiatives.
The human being by nature tends to protect itself to survive; with the existence of IFC we can make use of this human instinct positively to reinstate and restore the human identity that has been disfigured by occupation, political Islamic gangs and ethnic groups. On the other hand though, the absence of the IFC can be exploited by those mobs to inflame the sectarian war and transform the issue into a full scale ethnic cleansing.

KOMONIST: What message do you have for progressive people outside Iraq? How can we help?

Samir Adil: Iraq has been transformed into a global battle field. There is a conflict between two poles, United States who leads the West and the political Islam who is supported by Iran, Saudi Arabia and the Islamic mafia around the world. The IFC has put the end of occupation and political Islam influence on its agenda. Since the IFC is part of the global libertarian and humanitarian front, therefore ending the agony in Iraq cannot be achieved without the support and backing of this front. What happens in Iraq is an extension of the September 11 in US and July 7 in London. Thousands of innocent people have died in these vicious acts and as a result of this conflict, therefore defeating both poles means a victory for the human beings around the globe.

The IFC has made great strides in advancing its international appeal. The recent international Conference held in Japan in January 2006 promoted it into an International entity. Several delegations from different counties attended this big event. Delegations from “United for Peace and Justice” from US ( the largest Allies against the war in US with a membership of 1500 organisation), the Socialist party in Chicago, and delegations from South Korea, Philippines, and Indonesia attend this conference.

The conference adopted two important resolutions, voted for unanimously. The first one is to support the IFC and its struggle by all means and establish its branches all over the world. The resolution also called for strengthening the anti war movement on the global level; commemorating the anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq and participation in all anti-war events to strengthen the IFC. The second resolution was to establish a satellite TV station to promote IFC’s policies. the conference was a huge step forward to empowering the libertarian movement in Iraq that fights against occupation, terrorism, ethnic and sectarian conflict and building a society where wars and terrorism do not exist. Financial and moral support will empower this movement and will be well received in Iraq. Such supports will strengthen the beliefs of the leaders of the movement and will encourage and boost the trust of people that they are not alone in fighting terrorism and occupation. The global dimension to our movement will unite the anti-war movement in Iraq by giving it a unique and unified agenda and I mean the movement led IFC. We appreciate every achievement abroad and will be reflected in Iraq and vice versa. The humanity expects us to make big advances in Iraq to empower the humanitarian movement on the international level. I believe that there is only one force capable of ending the war and occupation and that is the IFC. The international conference in Japan was the first step. Actually it is a huge step, locally and internationally towards the establishment of a non-ethnic and non-religious state in Iraq.