Thursday, 2 July 2009

Iraqis are too shrewd to fall for an ‘invisible’ occupation

By Priya Satia

Published: July 1 2009 20:03 | Last updated: July 1 2009 20:03

We are at the beginning of the end. On Tuesday, US troops left Iraq’s cities, and in two years they will leave the country. Or so the official story goes. In reality, most of the “withdrawing” forces are merely relocating to forward operating bases where they appear to be hunkering down for a long entr’acte offstage in expensive, built-to-last facilities.

Still, Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, is touting this redistribution of American power as a “great victory” against foreign occupation, akin to the Iraqi rebellion against the British in 1920. The US media appear bemused at the comparison, as they continue to miss the point of the Iraqi insurgency. But Mr al-Maliki is more right than he knows about the historical echo: 1920 turned out to be a sad year for Iraq, as the brutal British suppression of that uprising inaugurated four decades of British rule, lasting until the 1958 Iraqi revolution.

Today, too, victory is tinged with fraud. And the Fallujah bombers – the “patriotic resistance” – know it. Mr al-Maliki may claim US participation in maintaining public order is “finished”, but everyone knows public order depends on Iraqi awareness of the offstage presence of US troops.

US operations will be suspended for a few days to promote the perception that Iraqi forces are actually in control; Ali al-Adeeb, a senior leader of Mr al-Maliki’s Dawa party, says the Americans will become “invisible”.

But Iraqis are too shrewd to fall for invisible occupation again; indeed, they never fell for it the first time. Tuesday’s withdrawals echo the cynical British grant of “independence” in 1932 more than Mr al-Maliki’s selective memory of 1920. Then, too, the foreign occupiers co-operated in the local government’s efforts to create an impression of sovereignty, while continuing to pull the strings of real authority behind the scenes. Then, too, Iraqis saw through the ruse. The celebrations of 1932 rang hollow as British aircraft continued to patrol overhead and British personnel were renamed advisors, trainers, liaisons – “the same individuals with new and supposedly thicker cloaks”, one British official confessed. Today, too, the thousands of troops that will remain in Iraq will be restyled as “trainers” and “advisers”; American aircraft will retain their free hand. Moreover, the Iraqi and US governments’ focus on appearances has increased their need for secrecy about the true number and nature of the withdrawals, compounding suspicions of foul play.

Iraqis worry equally about the loyalty of Iraqi security forces, who will remain under the sway of thousands of embedded US “trainers”. Their takeover of the violent security work of the former occupiers also renders them suspect.

In sermons last week, Moqtada al-Sadr, the firebrand cleric, warned of American loyalists in the military and government. Echoing 1920s and 1930s speculation that violence was the result of British machinations, he blames recent explosions on an American conspiracy to justify the US presence. His sermons inspired marches in Sadr City with shouts of, “No, no to America. No, no to occupation. No, no to terrorism. Yes for independence”. The current withdrawals are not seen as a step toward independence but to more covert and thus even more unaccountably violent American control – like the post-1932 British period.

American officials should heed the cautionary tale of the past, unwittingly invoked by Mr al-Maliki’s bluster. As the British ambassador in “independent” Iraq realised too late, Iraqis “never swallowed the fiction that [the advisers] are maintained as much, more even, for their good than for ours”. Independence remained a mirage as British trainers refused to entrust critical elements of Iraqi security to their trainees for fear of compromising British security. Security itself remained a pipe dream. As the isolated trainers grew increasingly susceptible to a paranoid groupthink about Iraqi politics, it became impossible for them to accept real withdrawal. The fortifications that protect US trainers from their trainees threaten to create a similar bubble.

In 1932 as now, rhetoric about withdrawal was aimed at global as much as Iraqi opinion. Instead of attending only to appearances, stoking the fears of a people familiar with nominal independence, the US and Iraqi governments should deliver the reality Iraqis and Americans want: “Yes for independence.”

The writer is assistant professor of history at Stanford University and author of Spies in Arabia

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

No pains, no gains..........................

Anonymous said...

good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................

Anonymous said...

您的部落格文章真棒!!有空我一定會常來逛!!.........................

Anonymous said...

正妹日報成人版免費視訊聊天室美女貼圖518人力銀行性感美女線上av免費影片台灣a片王-avdvd免費視訊辣妹聊天室成人 影片明星露點照明星色情文學明星色情寫真明星色情貼圖真真明星色情照片明倫高中正妹明道中學口交日本漫畫卡通排行榜日本漫畫卡通 h 線上觀看日本漫畫色情視訊 辣妹sexdiy影城米克綜合論壇85cc免費聊天室露點girl5320av一葉情貼影色網性愛影片77p2p影片網性愛貼圖sogo論壇xvideos日本sex888免費a片卡通一夜成人聊天室免費影片線上直播ut同志聊天室sm聊天室高雄視訊淫美論壇免費18影片85st免費影片觀看

幸雨 said...

may the blessing be with you.........................................

Anonymous said...

好的開始並不代表會成功,壞的開始並不代表是失敗......................................................

Anonymous said...

喜樂的心是健康良藥,憂傷的靈使骨枯乾。........................................

Anonymous said...

這一生中有多少人擦肩而過?而朋友是多麼可貴啊!..................................................

Anonymous said...

愛情是盲目的,但婚姻恢復了它的視力。......................................................

Anonymous said...

我喜歡用心經營的blog~ ^^........................................

Anonymous said...

天下沒有走不通的路,沒有克服不了的困難,沒有打不敗的敵人。.............................................

Anonymous said...

愛情不是慈善事業,不能隨便施捨。...............................................................

Anonymous said...

在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................

伯臻伯臻 said...

Subtlety is better than force. ......................................................

Anonymous said...

與朋友在一起,分擔的痛苦是減半的痛苦,分享的快樂是加倍的快樂。 ............................................................

Anonymous said...

「不可能」這個字詞,在聰明人的字典中是找不到的。........................................

俊偉 said...

Keep in contact. Good Luck..................................................

韋富 said...

要照顧身體歐~保重......................................................................

Anonymous said...

Pay somebody back in his own coin..................................................................                           

Anonymous said...

欣賞是一種美德~回應是最大的支持^^....................................................................

Anonymous said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

Anonymous said...

君子立恆志,小人恆立志。.................................................................

Anonymous said...

你的分享很不錯.. 謝謝 ..................................................................

Anonymous said...

希望能有更多心得與我們分享~ ..................................................................

Anonymous said...

晚上好,很喜歡你的blog哦...............................................................

Anonymous said...

所有的資產,在不被諒解時,都成了負債............................................................

Anonymous said...

Prevention is better than cure.............................................................

Anonymous said...

blog有留言互動才好玩~~希望留言能支持您的更新動力!!!............................................................

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Anonymous said...

人生最重要的一件事,就是從生活中認識你自己。............................................................

Anonymous said...

這是一篇來自遙遠的78星雲的留言!要開心哦!............................................................

Anonymous said...

大師手筆﹐果然不凡............................................................

甄賴盈賴盈 said...

蛛絲馬跡皆學問、落花水面皆文章............................................................

Anonymous said...

Learn wisdom by the follies of others.............................................................

Anonymous said...

人生中最好的禮物就是屬於自己的一部份............................................................

建邱勳 said...

謝謝原PO的熱情分享 大家也要一起分享喔 感恩(≧ω≦)............................................................

Anonymous said...

朋友是一面鏡子......................................................................

Anonymous said...

Many a little makes a mickle..................................................................

Anonymous said...

打擾你實在不好意思, 你的blog很好看呢!!!!............................................................

Anonymous said...

精彩,thanks!............................................................

Anonymous said...

堅持是為著某種目的或目標,而持續不斷朝向既定方向努力的一種意念。..................................................

Anonymous said...

你不能決定生命的長度,但你可以控制它的寬度..................................................................

慧SigridNolen1201珊 said...

人生匆匆-把握當下,支持鼓勵~事事如意~..................................................