Sunday, July 20, 2003

Saghiyyeh on Iraq
Al-Hayat published a very lucid commentary by Hazem Saghiyyeh in its Saturday edition, an English translation of which can be found here.

After opening on a comment on Abdel Karim Qassem's failed efforts to revive Iraqi nationalism at the expense of Arab nationalism, he addresses the growing opposition to the newly-established transitional ruling council.

He writes: "[M]aybe there are many criticisms on the transitional ruling council in Iraq. On its prerogatives. On its representation. On its formation stemming from an American occupation. However, one thing must never be repeated: no one should say that the transitional ruling council and hence Americans are inventing sectarianism. No one should say so, especially those who are supposed to have a nationalistic awareness.

"These people must do something totally different: reconsider their role and admit that the representation within the ruling council is wider than any representation they would have ever dreamt of making in any of their countries. Hence, they ought to reconsider their sense of awareness, which divides any country as soon as they set foot in it. Iraq is one of the best examples of nations disintegrating because of the nationalist mentality."

Incidentally, the piece is not well translated. The sentence "In 1963, the Baathists ousted Abdulkarim Qassem. Before he collapsed, he came under a violent campaign led by Nassiriyah followers" should read ..."under a violent campaign by followers of Gamal Abdel Nasser."

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