Sheikh Majid al-Gaood of the Duleim tribe from Ramadi, Iraq, joined the thousands demonstrating against the G8 in Edinburgh last weekend.
The Financial Times recently reported that Duleim tribe members were being rounded up in Baghdad. Sheikh Majid now lives in exile in Jordan. He spoke to Socialist Worker’s Simon Assaf about the situation in Iraq.
it is a great honour for me to be in Britain and be a part of the Make Poverty History demonstration in Edinburgh.
I would like to thank all those who participated in the demonstrations and those who helped organise the G8 Alternatives conference and the Naming of the Dead ceremony.
I found that millions of ordinary people defend and love freedom. It is comforting to see ordinary people standing against the actions of their governments.
I participated in the G8 Alternatives conference with John Rees and George Galloway, where I got to meet many representatives of the European left.
There was a cocktail of speakers and organisations there—the French left, Italy’s Rifondazione Comunista, the Portuguese Left Bloc and many more. At one meeting there were over 1,500 people.
The people of Iraq have suffered terribly over the last few years—but now we find ourselves suffering under the “democracy” of tanks, sectarian killings and torture.
Life in Iraq now is very hard, full of terror and fear. But we have to insist that the resistance has the right to defend Iraq—not only against the American occupation, but also against the sectarian militias that want to turn the mosques against the Hussainiyas (Shia places of worship), the churches against the mosques, and brother against brother.
We know there are many sectarian militias kidnapping and killing, groups like SCIRI (a pro-occupation Shia party) and the Kurdish Peshmerga. They work for the occupation and are trying to turn Iraqi against Iraqi. Meanwhile the media paints the resistance with the brush of sectarianism.
The true resistance differentiates between the police who serve the Iraqi people and those who serve the occupation. We only oppose those who serve the Americans. Those police that serve the Iraqi people are not our enemy.
The resistance has been involved in kidnapping, but it releases those who are not serving the occupation. Most of the kidnappings are by criminal groups that want a ransom, or sectarian groups that want to sow divisions.
The US occupation is in deep trouble. Not only is it costing them billions of dollars, but they are also sacrificing their young men. This is not only in terms of deaths, but also in the masses of wounded US soldiers—over 12,000 so far.
The US is also suffering from the damage this occupation is doing to their moral standing around the world.
The Iraqi resistance is launching over 70 operations a day, the majority against the forces of occupation, or against oil pipelines. The pipelines are targeted because the resistance does not want the US to steal Iraq’s oil.
Mercenaries and “contractors” are also dying, but they are not counting them. Many of them are dying and their deaths are going unreported. Many are tempted by the chance of getting a green card (a work permit for the US), so they come first to Iraq.
There are many silent tragedies taking place in Iraq—the mass killings, the aerial bombardments of towns like Fallujah and al-Qaim, the raids, arrests and torture.
There are new mass graves appearing across our country. We hear disturbing reports of secret burials in the deserts, or reports of farmers seeing bodies being dumped in lakes.
Although it is difficult to say which is rumour and which is fact, these reports show the fear that has come with the occupation. God himself only knows the truth of the many crimes being committed in our land.
The one main demand of the resistance is a timetable for the withdrawal of the US military and their allies. Once they commit to a timetable to leave our country then we can sit down and talk to them. Until then, we have nothing to say to them.
We also fear the interference of Iran in our affairs. We fear that large parts of the country have fallen under their control. This can only sow disharmony. We want true independence, and God willing, to build real democracy.
Sheikh Majid al-Gaood will be appearing at Marxism 2005 in London this week. See page 10 for details or go to www.marxism2005.net