Saturday, September 17, 2005
'US using Zarqawi name'
A prominent Shiite religious leader of Iraq has said that Jordanian militant Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, an associate of Osama Bin Laden and said to be the mastermind of the rising insurgency in Iraq, was killed sometime ago and that the US forces are using his name to justify the occupation of the country.
Sheikh Jawad Al Khalessi, imam of the Shiite mosque Al Kadhemiya in Baghdad and a senior religious leader, made the comment in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.
Khalessi is currently in France to attend an inter-faith meeting in Sant' Egidio, in Lyon.
He told Le Monde that the US forces were trying to terrify the Shiites into moving closer to the US and therefore they were citing Zarqawi's name — and not that of Iraqi Sunnis — so that they could stay in the country citing a need to stay to fight Zarqawi.
Khalessi also said laid out a three-point proposal for the US to get out of the crisis in Iraq.
Following is the Le Monde interview in a question and answer format:
Question: Abu Musab Al Zarqawi declared the "all-out war" with the Shiites and perpetrated the bloodiest massacre in Baghda on Wednesday Sep. 14, since the beginning of the war in Iraq. What do you think of this declaration?
ANSWER: I do not think that Abu Musab Al Zarqawi exists as such. He is only one invention of the occupants to divide the people because he was killed in the north of Iraq at the beginning of the war when he was with the group of Ansar Al Isla in Kurdistan (in northern Iraq). His family in Jordan even conducted a funeral service for him. Abu Musab AL Zarqawi is thus a toy used by the Americans, an excuse to continue the occupation.
QUESTION: It is a pretext not to leave Iraq. But why declare an "all-out war" with the Shiites?
QUESTION: In order to bring them closer the occupying forces. In this manner, the Shiites will find refuge near the Americans rather than join resistance. The Shiites are takin part in resistance to the south, as the recent made attacks testify, in particular, in Basra.
QUESTION: However, it has been just announced that Najaf had passed under the control of the Iraqi forces and that other cities of the South were going to follow?
ANSWER: It is not true. In reality, it is propaganda aimed at the media. Actually, the Iraqi forces do not control the situation and the troops of occupation remain with the periphery to intervene as soon as there are problems.
QUESTION: The draft Constitution adopted will be subjected to a referendum on Oct.15. What do you think about it?
ANSWER: It is a text adopted with haste to answer the agenda of the Americans. It does not reflect the hopes of the Iraqi people, who are worried more over their daily survival and safety. The project was concocted in the "green zone" in Baghdad under the instructions of the American ambassador. A British specialist in Iraq has said: "The draft constitution is like one arranging the deckchairs on the bridge of Titanic... and (like Titanic) Iraq is also sinking.
QUESTION: : Will the referendum be a success, like the elections of Jan. 30?
ANSWER: Personally, I call for boycotting it, but if my fellow-citizens decide to go to vote "no" we will not oppose it. In any event, George Bush has prepared a declaration affirming that this consultation was a success and progress on the way of the democracy. But what will that change for Iraq?
QUESTION: In your opinion, what are the solutions to save Iraq?
ANSWER: First there should be a timetable for withdrawal of foreign troops. Secondly Iraq's national resources should be placed under the supervision of the UN and used for in the service of the country. Thirdl a national dialogue should be launched for elections to be continued under international supervision. If the occupation continues, the situation only will only worsen and more Iraqis will join resistance.