Sunday, November 14, 2004
The problem with the hailing of the Iraqi resistance by such leftists as Tariq Ali or say the Socialist Worker is that there are many resistances in Iraq. There's the actions against American military patrols in the Sunni Triangle and more and more outside of it as well, the Mehdi Army of Muqtada Al-Sadr, the unknown jihadists (?) that massacred Shi'ites in Kerbala during a muslim holiday last spring and the occasional beheading of an abducted foreigner - surely not all of them supportable! I strongly doubt whether an Al-Sadr-dominated (rump?) Iraq would be seriously a better alternative to the current status quo. Whatever reaches the press here about conditions inside rebel-controlled Falluja by the way - which isn't much - seems contradictory, some stressing a largely indigenous pro-Iraqi resistance, some a rather noxious mix between foreign fighters and Iraqi radical islamists.
An Indian novelist, Arundathi Roy, recently seems to have argued that we should "become the Iraqi resistance", even, only to add that she apparently meant it metaphorically, or so: "One wasn't urging them to join the Mehdi Army, you know, but to become the resistance, to become part of what ought to be a non-violent resistance against a very violent occupation. So that is to redefine what resistance means, you know, we can't just assume that resistance means terrorism, because that would be playing right into the hands of the occupation." I wonder whether the Iraqis agree that the resistance should be a non-violent resistance against a very violent occupation. Anyway, I think I'll decline the invitation - I have a nasty feeling that I'd become the star in Al-Zarqawi's newest video pretty quickly.
The whole point, I suppose, is that the anti-war left first succeeded to build a massive but politically quite impotent movement around the lowest common denominator of "Not in our name". Now, we have an Iraqi resistance part of which seems to be quite legitimate, parts of which seem to be very, very bad news - and we have the anti-war left hailing this undifferentiated Iraqi resistance. The Americans will lose this war - they're losing it pretty quickly. The whole question is what will happen to Iraq after it. Will there be a secular Iraq with a strong trade-union movement, or an islamic Iraq which is a sattelite state of Iran? Will the Kurds secede, and should the left support the right to self-determination of the Kurds? These are questions that will become urgent pretty soon.