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Syrian Rebels the "Free Syrian Army" flag in Anbar protests

Syrian Rebels the “Free Syrian Army” flag in Anbar protests

Anbar and London may not have much in common but both had seen some important events in 2012.

London events were Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (60 years on the throne), the Olympics and Paralympics, Boris Johnson winning a second term as Mayor of London and Mo Farah (A Somali British “practicing” Muslim) winning 2 Olympic gold medals.

Anbar events on the other hand included “Anbar Glass factory resumes production since Saddam’s regime fall”, a judge burned to death in Anbar by “accident”, the announcement of $1 billion dollar Power plant in Anbar  and of course the Anbar Demonstrations.

Demonstration is a Right

Demonstrations are welcome, as long as they are peaceful and do not attempt to damage social harmony or target Iraq’s unity. It is a right for every Iraqi, in the new Iraq.

The demonstrations following the arrest of some 10 out of Al-Issawi’s mini-army of 250 bodyguards and blocking the international Highway was another matter altogether. Since Iraqi economy is dependent on Oil, it was hardly going to impact the Governments financials (which are supposedly managed by Al-Issawi himself the “finance minister”). Of course, except for the reduced petrol consumption by cars otherwise would have passed through this highway and the delay to those unlucky enough taking that route.

Who is behind it?

Saddam's pictures raised in Anbar

Saddam’s pictures raised in Anbar

Media outlets tried to hive up the demonstrations suggesting they are in solidarity with al-Issawi. It is very clear however, once the demonstrators’ demands are surveyed to realise that those demands are as varied as the elements in Mendeleev’s periodic table (Chemistry).

Demands included Article 4 – Anti-Terrorism Law (2005) of the Iraqi constitution to be scraped, Accountability and Justice Law (2008) which is a much relaxed version of De-Baathification

 Law to be stopped and reversed. If you want to find out who is behind the protests it’s fair to ask, who would benefit from such demands?
In addition, Saddam’s Baath era flag, “Free Syrian Army” and Turkish flags were raised. Tareq Hashemi the fugitive former “Iraqi Vice President”, Izzat Al-Douri Saddam’s deputy -wanted for crimes against humanity- have publicly supported these demands. Now that is quite telling of the motivation and objectives.

Saddam's Ba'ath party flag - pre 2003 era - held by Anbar protestors

Saddam’s Ba’ath party flag – pre 2003 era – held by Anbar protestors

Who filed the court case against Al-Issawi?

It was widely known on Iraqi streets that Hashemi’s and al-Issawi’s bodyguards are involved in running death squads. “They are definitely involved in killing people” a Baghdad University Lecturer said.

What is even more astonishing is that those cases filed against al-Issawi’s Bodyguards are submitted by Falluja residents, some are of the same tribe of Al-Issawi himself.

Al-Sadr backing them …

Al-Sadr offered to send a delegation representing him and backed any legitimate demands by the demonstrators. Some analysts saw that as a shrewd political pre-elections move .

While on the surface it seemed an added burden on PM Al-Maliki but the support of Moqtada Al-Sadr in person may be a blessing in disguise. It helped vapourise the ultra-sectarian route envisaged by the instigators.  Al-Alwani’s video widely available is one example of the excessively sectarian path originally intended.

Al-Alwani later on Al-Jazeera claimed that his offensive remarks and foul language was actually directed at some of his Anbar co-politicians whom he views as traitors and hence “deservedly” had their share of his verbal onslaught.

Al-Iraqiya bloc has now requested that Al-Alwani’s speech to be investigated and if found guilty further action will be taken against him according to 7th article of the Iraqi constitution which will include being suspended and banned from entering the parliament.

Too much of a coincidence!

Anbar protestors - Blocking the Highway  connecting Iraq to neighbouring Jordan

Anbar protestors – Blocking the Highway connecting Iraq to neighbouring Jordan by AFP

This is too much of a coincidence for these demonstrations to fall exactly during the anniversary of probably the most important achievement of the incumbent government which is the complete withdrawal of Coalition forces on the 18th of December 2011. Also, the local elections are just around the corner and everyone is assuming a hawkish attitude to prep for them without paying heed the slightest to the sever consequences if the events get out of control.

Prince Harry (the 3rd in-line to British throne) in 2005 in a dress-up party wore “swastika Nazi armband and there was a huge backlash in the media, later he was forced to apologise, imagine if he waved a Nazi flag in Germany and stood in the middle of a Bundesautobahn (German federal expressway)!

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2 thoughts on “My Way or the Highway – Anbar, Iraq

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