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Sunni official predicts upsurge in resistance attacks

The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI), a grouping of Iraqi scholars aiming to represent the country’s Sunnis, was founded in 2003. AMSI says it opposes the "U.S occupation," supports resistance against it (while condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians) and calls the current political process illegitimate. Niqash met AMSI spokesman, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faydhi, to discuss AMSI’s position on current developments. Al-Faydhi reiterated that there could be no real national reconciliation so long as the U.S occupation continues and suggested that armed resistance is on the rise...


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Sunni official predicts upsurge in resistance attacks


March 31, 2009

The Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq (AMSI), a grouping of Iraqi scholars aiming to represent the country’s Sunnis, was founded in 2003. AMSI says it opposes the "U.S occupation," supports resistance against it (while condemning indiscriminate attacks on civilians) and calls the current political process illegitimate.

Niqash met AMSI spokesman, Sheikh Mohammed Bashar al-Faydhi, to discuss AMSI’s position on current developments. Al-Faydhi reiterated that there could be no real national reconciliation so long as the U.S occupation continues and suggested that armed resistance is on the rise.

Niqash: Is it true that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki asked you to participate in the political process and promised to let you join the government?

Al-Faydhi: Yes, al-Maliki extended an invitation to Dr. Harith al-Dari, Secretary-General of the AMSI, when al-Maliki was at odds with the [Sunni] Accordance Front following their boycott of the government.

The offer came through a mediator who quoted Maliki saying that "Dr. Dari, and not the Accordance Front, is the best representative of Sunnis." He also quoted al-Maliki saying that "if al-Dari accepts to join the political process, he would deal with him." As expected, al-Dari refused the offer and sent a message to al-Maliki, through the same mediator, saying: "It is wrong to interpret our conflicts with the Accordance Front as a matter of government positions. We disagree with them because they joined the political process designed by the occupier and based on an ugly sectarian and ethnic basis. Thus you should spare yourself the effort. If you want real national reconciliation, then you should abide by the agreements of the first and second Cairo meetings. In these meetings, we reached a number of agreements as published in the two statements issued after each meeting. If you respect these agreements and implement them, then we are very close to reconciliation."

[The Cairo statements call for a timetable for U.S withdrawal; an acknowledgement of the legitimate resistance; ending arrests and raids; and the release of detainees held without a warrant ].

Niqash: You are talking about reconciliation but you support military operations carried out by terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq. Is there joint coordination between AMSI and these organizations?

Al-Faydhi: Every researcher specialized in Iraqi issues, who follows accurate research standards and who is not subject to what others dictate him knows that AMSI does not have any relations with al-Qaeda. It has condemned many acts claimed by the organization, which we considered acts of terror, unjust and criminal. We dealt with events in Iraq by monitoring and evaluating acts, regardless of who committed them. AMSI adopted this approach because the enemy was clever in shuffling cards and attempting to distort the resistance’s image. That is why AMSI always evaluated actions before judging them; acts of resistance were praised and criminal and terrorists acts were condemned regardless of who stood behind them.

It seems that neither the Americans nor the successive governments under occupation appreciated our approach and thus they accused us of having links with these organizations. If any of them has one substantial piece of evidence against us they would have made much ado about it.

Niqash: There has been a recent upsurge in armed attacks in Baghdad, Diyala and Mosul. Do you believe that these attacks are a response by armed groups to al-Maliki's call for reconciliation?

Al-Faydhi: Neither al-Maliki nor any other person have the right to call for reconciliation. The occupation is ongoing and all international conventions give people under occupation the right to resist their occupiers. Additionally, resistance is a teaching of God.

Regarding the escalation of armed attacks against U.S occupation forces, I don’t believe that al-Maliki’s statements have anything to do with it. I think that resistance is growing again after being undermined by many factors such as the Awakening projects. When these attempts failed, and when al-Qaeda became weak, the Iraqi resistance started to recover and to grow. We have all witnessed the rise in the number of attacks during the last month and I expect the resistance to reach its peak during the coming few months.

Niqash: How do you interpret the ongoing conflict between Sunni parties on a new Sunni parliamentary speaker?

Al-Faydhi: The political process is not of any concern to AMSI because we believe it is not a legitimate process under occupation regardless of who champion this process, the Sunnis, Shiites, Arabs or Kurds. But the whole situation confirms results already predicted by AMSI when we said that the sectarian quota system will become a source of new crises and problems, not only between the different components of Iraqi society but also within each component. Regarding conflicts between Sunni parties, they should answer this question themselves.

Niqash: Aren’t you convinced that national reconciliation will bring political stability and security to the country?

Al-Faydhi: There will be no national reconciliation under an occupation which supports one party at the expense of the other. The party which receives U.S support will feel strong and will not be compelled to make any concessions. This is human nature and this is what the government is doing now. The other party, now weak, will continue to have its doubts and will interpret each act as evil and driven by occupation. Reconciliation will only become serious when occupation ends and when all Iraqis sit together around the table feeling that they are equals. Then, if no reconciliation is reached, everyone will pay the price equally.

Niqash: The political process is moving ahead and Sunni parties are supporting it.

Al-Faydhi: When a person suffers from a chronic disease no one says that he enjoys good health. He is always vulnerable to relapse at any moment as he is likely to die. The same applies to Iraq. The support of Sunni parties of the political process is of no value because parties who participated in it under occupation lost all popular support. The recent provincial elections, despite the manipulation of its results by occupation, have clearly revealed this fact. Participation in elections did not reach a maximum of 30% in the best cases. Voters did not vote for the sectarian parties who dominate the country’s political process.

Niqash: What is your view on religious fatwas that call Shiites infidels and do you think that Iraqi Shiites serve as an extension of Iranian influence?

Al-Faydhi: Since the first days of AMSI’s creation, we said that Shiites are our brothers in religion, our partners in the country and people of the Qibla [Muslims]. The rule is that we do not accuse the people of the Qibla of infidelity. This is why we visited Shiite religious authorities, such as Sheikh al-Khalisi, and worked with him and others to serve the interests of the country.

Regarding the second part of your question we have never considered Iraqi Shiites as such and we never said so. We only perceive Shiite politicians that are now participating in the current political process taking place under occupation - all of them - as extensions of Iranian influence; this is our view which we still believe in.

Niqash: What will resistance fighters do when U.S troops leave Iraq? Leaders of the Salafi-Jihadi movement say that they will take the battle to neighbouring countries.

Al-Faydhi: We are not adherents to the Salafi-Jihadi movement. AMSI is an independent and new school of thought. It has a distinctive vision and philosophy and we have had a successful experience in crisis management under the occupation of Iraq.

When Iraqis liberate their country, they will rebuild it again and fix all the damage made by war and they will establish good relations with neighbouring countries and with the international community.

Niqash: The government has arrested women described as 'al-Qaeda members’ being used to commit suicide attacks. Islamic sharia clearly states that women should be spared in Jihad. What is your religious verdict on this matter?

Al-Faydhi: Firstly, I think that there is an exaggeration in such issues motivated and driven by the occupation and its agents. The purpose is to distort the image of jihad in Iraq. In any case, jihad is the responsibility of men; if women volunteer and their guardians allow them to do so, then they can participate in the jihad. If a woman dies in confrontation with the occupier, she will be considered a martyr. If she kills innocent people and die, she will be in an unenviable position because she committed suicide and Islam promises severe punishment to those who do so – may God spare us such punishment.

Niqash: Why did four groups, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Hamas-Iraq, the Mujahedeen Army and the Murabitoun Army, break with al-Qaeda after having previously been loyal to the group?

Al-Faydhi: The organizations you mentioned, according to our own sources, have no links with al-Qaeda and they never said that they were loyal to it. Thus, it is not true to say that they broke from al-Qaeda because they were not linked or loyal to it. When al-Qaeda was only targeting the U.S occupation, its operations were considered as resistance. Others considered it as part of the Iraqi resistance movement. When it started to target innocent people, conflicts started to arise and there were even armed confrontations between the 1920 Revolution Brigades and al-Qaeda in Abu Ghraib; confrontations that lasted for months and led to the deaths of many resistance and al-Qaeda members.

:: Article nr. 53053 sent on 01-apr-2009 05:56 ECT


Link: niqash.org/content.php?contentTypeID=75&id=2416&lang=0

:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.

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