Husayn Al-Kurdi: journalist and historian of Middle Eastern affairs
January 21, 2008
Husayn al-Kurdi as an expert on Middle Eastern affairs. He is the president of News International. Over the
past two decades, Al-Kurdi has had hundreds of articles published on the Middle East. I ran this interview about a year ago,
but because of the persistent ongoing false accusations by leftist pundits that Saddam Hussein was a CIA operative and that
the U.S. supported Iraq during the eight-year Iran-Iraq War, it is crucial that the truth about these times again be addressed.
ML: Today, we seem to be reading much "revisionist" history about the Ba’ath
Party that has wandered far from reality. What is your opinion?
HAK: Well, let’s start from the beginning of the Ba’ath Party. I notice
in much and many of the anthologies allegedly about Iraq, the question of what the Ba’ath Party actually is has been
completely distorted. The Ba’ath Party comes out as some kind of fascist party. However, if you study it, it is an anti-fascist
party and explicitly so. But, I’ve noticed they’ve expunged all the anti-fascist part of the little collections
that they include in their anthologies. I notice that, increasingly so, they’re calling it a fascist party, while it’s
definitely an anti-fascist party.
It’s totally absurd because the bases of the Ba’ath policy are anti-fascism and anti-feudalism.
Their formulation is "unity, freedom, and socialism." The primary project is to unify the long-suffering and oppressed Arab
people from imperialism so they can go their own way and so they can also put a dent in their oppressive conditions as well
as those who serve the interests of the usual suspects.
It is not a leftist or Marxist party. If you examine what 90% of those are in the world, especially in the
Middle East and Iraq, that’s a good thing. They are the ones who have been part of the problem in the way of stopping
the Ba’ath and Saddam fully realizing the goals and aims, which have been repeatedly spelled out. Somehow, the message
has been obscured. Both what Saddam and the Ba’ath did and what they said have been hideously distorted.
Back to the origins of the Ba’ath. Not just in Iraq, but throughout the Arab world. The Ba’ath
was the pan-Arab party par excellence. I was growing up then and it was a romantic thing. You looked up to those guys because
they were always facing death and trying to topple the pro-American type regimes. Yet, they were these dashing figures. Saddam
was one of them; running around on their Vespas trying to make a real change in society. That’s what I grew up around.
It was a great subversive nationalist Arab party. Not leftist, not rightist; in both cases a good thing. The
leftists and rightists were the same as those in America; two wings of the same bald eagle.
The Ba’ath Party is the party that’s fought to unify Arabs and liberate them from imperialism.
That is the heart of the Ba’ath Party. If you read the crapola of all the other parties, they somewhere go off and play
some kind of game with it, whether it be leftist, communist, or the old rightist feudalist; i.e. the big land owners. Look
at Barzani. He actually claims that he owns part of Kurdistan because he inherited it. That’s something that goes back
to the 16th century. Deep roots.
ML: The current rewriting of history includes many "leftist" writers who opposed the
Iraq invasion and criticize U.S. imperialism. However, they also condemn Saddam and say that he was put in power by the CIA.
What’s your take on this?
HAK: I’ve read and read and can’t see where that’s true. What’s
the source behind all these sources? There’s nothing at all.
The thing we heard is that the CIA gave Saddam a list of communists. Even I believed this at one time. But,
that’s an absurdity because everybody in Iraq knew who the communists were. They were public figures as well. A lot
of them were tormenting the people a long time ago. The Ba'ath Party did not need a goddamn list from the CIA to say who they
were, where they were, or what had to be done about them. Go behind the sources and see what it’s actually based on.
The source will fold before your very eyes, just like Curveball and all the stuff he was coming out with.
ML: Another fallacy the left mentions is that the U.S. supplied Iraq with much military
equipment in the Iran-Iraq War, thus the CIA kept Saddam in power. In fact, Iraq only spent $200 million dollars with the
U.S. for this time, mostly on helicopters. Its major suppliers were the Soviet Union and China, with whom Iraq spent billions.
After 1990, the CIA/Saddam allegations took on a life of their own. How does this play into the myths now being written?
HAK: You are pointing out the general fact of the CIA’s activities toward Saddam
and the Ba’ath. The version via the Kurds that no deal was ever good enough for them. Who put them up to it? Today,
we know it was the CIA and Mossad working in tandem.
ML: In 1991, Barzani and Talabani met with Saddam to discuss the Kurdish issue. Neither
mentioned the alleged deaths of 182,000 Kurds in the "Anfal campaign" of 1988. Today, one who questions this figure is put
into the same category as a "Holocaust denier," and denigrated. Give us some background about this meeting and the Kurdish
issue in Iraqi in general.
HAK: They met and Talabani kissed Saddam on both cheeks. The deal wasn’t anything
new. Many, many times, Barzani and Talabani had said, "Okay, we’re going to give it up and be a peaceful and cooperative
element in helping to build Iraq."
Let’s look at 1970. The best deal the Kurds ever got anywhere or ever will get, in my opinion, was granted
by the Ba’ath Party in negotiation. Still, after awhile, it turned out not to be good enough
I know that the university in Sulaymaniyah, the most advanced Kurdish institution of higher learning in the
world, was brought along with the Ba’ath regime and with support of the Ba’ath Party.
The 1991 meeting was kind of a re-affirmation of the old deal, the first of a series of which, and the most
fundamental of which, as a part of the law of Iraq, was the deal in 1970, which was made a part of Iraqi statutes and law.
ML: Contrary to be popularly-held belief that the U.S. inserted Saddam in power, could
it really be that the CIA was trying to undermine Saddam and the Ba’ath Party from day one?
HAK: Between the CIA and the Mossad, we have to take that into account. There is an
overlapping project that has been in effect since the 1950s.
I don’t remember the period of 1968 to 1973 as the CIA being supportive of the Ba’athists. They
considered Iraq to be a frontline state against Israel and a part of the rejectionist front toward Israel and during that
period the U.S. was not friendly toward Iraq. The U.S.’ biggest client at the time was Iran. Then, the U.S. signed off
and had its own deal with Barzani to subvert Iraq. It was precisely in that time-frame they were carrying on their activities.
ML: In 1973, the Ba’athists committed an unpardonable act in the eyes of the
U.S. They nationalized Iraqi oil. How does this affect the interplay?
HAK: You’re approaching an area where the bad guys have always had it in for
Saddam and the Ba’ath. Pan-Arabism is something the Israelis and the U.S. will never play. Then, you have the matter
of "threatening their (U.S.) interests" as an excuse to commit aggression. Then you had an Arab country becoming too strong.
Then you had Saddam refusing to knuckle under. He wanted to go his own way.
ML: How can this erroneous revision of history change and reflect a more honest look
at this period?
HAK: We have to re-examine the "official" history. We’ve got to get tougher
and tougher. I was looking through a couple of anthologies earlier today and the more that come out, the more they include
Saddam in a preposterous manner. The left tries to expose the "real Saddam," but it’s far from the truth.
We heard that the Internet was illegal in Iraq under Saddam. U.S. troops were surprised to find that Iraqis
knew about the Internet. Stories like this are only a coverup for the other Arab countries where the people are really put
in a semi-feudal position by their guys. The U.S. government and all those regimes have only one job: to fool the American
people. They are not fooling anyone else.
There are some good Arab writers who depict reality, but, for the most part, their works have not been translated
into English. A lot of scumbags have; predictably.