In the pre-war debate we heard quite a lot about how Iraqi exiles and the Iraqi opposition were supporting the idea of a war for liberation. Yet since the war has begun we have heard much less from them – as if they would just be given a phone call to “come on over” once the streets of Baghdad were safe. Kanan Makiya’s war diary for The New Republic is a daily voice for the Iraqi opposition and he regularly gives lie to the disgusting anti-war slur that he and other exiles are ‘CIA puppets’.
Makiya rejects the suggestion of some that resistance to US-UK forces is about ‘nationalism’ and say it is about fear and lack of evidence of real damage to the Saddam regime: “What is preventing them from rising up and taking over the streets of their cities is confusion about American intentions and fear of the murderous brown-shirt thugs known as the Fedayeen Saddam, who are leading the small-arms-fire attacks on American and British soldiers. The coalition forces have an urgent need to send clear and unmistakable signals to the people of Iraq that unlike in 1991, there is no turning back from the destruction of Saddam Hussein. And in order to do this effectively they must turn to the Iraqi opposition, which has so far been marginalized.”
He wants the TV stations taken out (and properly) and he wants the Iraqi opposition networks to be given a ‘French resistance’ role. But is the US listening? “To date, however, my meetings with administration officials have given me the impression that some quarters of Washington are at war with Saddam Hussein and others are at war with the Iraqi National Congress. The administration still adamantly refuses to let the Iraqi opposition activate our networks to make the fighting easier for the coalition in the cities, towns, and villages. Why? “