Jiji Mansoor / Occupation Watch – 2004-12-29 00:10:49
(December 25, 2004) — Any social scientist who hopes to study the Iraqi resistance faces a difficult and complex challenge to determine the ideological and political positions of the resistance for a number of reasons:
The resistance arming itself to oppose the occupation before it was able to develop a social or political platform.
Another complication rendering research on the resistance difficult is that numerous groups claim in the media or on the internet to be part of the resistance, and the difficulty of judging the legitimacy of their claims.
Also, it is worth noting that information provided by the occupation forces and the local authorities is often misleading and untrustworthy. In the early stages of the resistance the US military and the interim Iraqi government attributed the fighters to remnants of the Saddam regime.
After Saddam’s arrest the military and government referred to the resistance fighters as terrorists. As the insurgency operations intensified the US and Iraqi Interim Government labeled these groups as foreign terrorists who had gained access through the porous Iraqi borders. All of these characterizations by the US military and the Iraqi government have served minimize, distort and delegitimize any notion that a real Iraqi national resistance to the US occupation exists.
Dr. Imad Al Joumaili, Professor of International Law at the University of Baghdad explains, “We saw that field research was the best methodology to learn about the ideological and the political positions of the resistance. However, the research has been made difficult because members of the resistance are afraid to give information believing that the researchers could be spies for the US military.
Also, local researchers are afraid to do the research fearing that the occupation forces will pursue them for any information collected about the resistance”. He says, “The best way to study the resistance is to take a random sample of the martyrs from different regions, and analyze the social and ideological environment of the regions from where these martyrs originated”.
“I have found from the results of my research so far that there are two axes, or two main tendencies in the Iraqi resistance. The resistance seems motivated either by Islam or by Nationalism. According to the random sample of some 30 martyrs that we have studied so far I found that those with nationalist tendencies only represented 15% of the sample, while the Islamic tendencies made up 85% of the total sample. Of those driven by Islam, 80%, were Iraqi while only 5% were foreign fighters.”
Few Foreigners in a Largely Local Resistance
It is believed by many inside and outside Iraq that to justify its continued occupation of the country, the US feels a need to claim high numbers of foreign fighters. However, the results of Dr. Al Joumaili’s research indicate that foreign fighters represent a small portion of the resistance and calls into question the legitimacy of continued US military operations in Iraq. The research also supports the notion that Iraqi nationals actively oppose the US foreign occupation of their country.
Jamal Al-Asady, a member in the Shiite Party’s Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution, stated that, “We, in the party, have our own sources that say the foreign fighters are divided between those who ally themselves with Saddam loyalists and control about 40% of the terrorist operations, and those allied with the Islamic movement controlling about 60% of the terrorist operations.
“What we experienced in Fallujah is consistent with this analysis. We do not consider those fighters, both Iraqi and non-Iraqi, who target Mosques, Shrines, Churches, policemen and civilians as true national resistance fighters as their principle aim is to create divisions among the Iraqi people.”
Hani Al-Hiti, a member in the Sunni-led Iraqi Islamic Party, claims that, “Anyone, anywhere in the world has the right to defend their homeland if it is invaded by foreigners. However, with respect to Dr. Imad Al-Joumaili’s analysis, no one knows exactly the number of foreigners operating in Iraq since the borders have been wide open since the beginning of the invasion. We do know that many suspicious elements have been allowed to enter Iraq and are now trying to create civil war.”
All three sources do not consider foreign fighters to be a large component of the resistance operations in Iraq. From their individual analyses, we see that much remains to be learned about the makeup of the Iraqi resistance movement. The lack of a unified political and social platform has made it possible for a few terrorist groups to operate within the ranks of the resistance and muddle its goals.
This has made it easier for the US occupying forces and the interim Iraqi Government to perpetuate the idea to the rest of the world that the fighting in Iraq is against terrorist groups.
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