Report From the Arab Press

Collated by A.

June 29, 2004

Handover or Resistance day?

The Pro-Constitutional Royal Movement web-site, Iraq for All (Iraq4all.dk), under the title 'Authority Handover Made Ahead of Schedule in Fear of Resistance', said it seems that the date of the delusional handover of authority was made ahead of schedule to escape theIraqi resistance. It continued: "The biggest power on earth, which keeps more than 130000 soldiers in Iraq and imposes the harshest illegal occupation to a UN founder country, and the government supposedly receiving this false authority, both evaded the date of handover decided by the President of the biggest power in the world.

"This is an implied recognition by both parties to the farce of sovereignty, the master (occupying power) and the servant(the governing council and Allawi's government) of the fact that the Iraqi resistance has defeated the myth of the superpower;

"Today, the superpower is the Iraqi resistance movement. Today is the festival of resistance. As for the Iraqi people, they are always the real master and have never succumbed to the occupation.

"Let us all celebrate this big achievement by hoisting an Iraqi flag in every single house, and lowering the flag of the despicable and failing governing council, which symbolized occupation."


Handover setting underlines serious failures

Many Arab and Iraqi media and websites commented on the handover of authority to Ayad Allawi's government. The Lebanese daily, al-Safeer commented on the Iraq handover saying: "The occupation authority had raced against time and those who launched bloody attacks by handing over, all of a sudden, what it called full sovereignty to the Allawi government in a totally secret party wrapped by police-like suspense.

"Immediately after this party, Paul Bremer left to his country. "Enter Negroponte, the most prominent among the planners of civil wars and organizers of death squads in Central American countries so as to assume the post of US Ambassador.

"Bringing ahead handover date, which had been decided since November 15, 2003 and its setting clearly underlined failure of US occupation forces to control security and that of interim Iraqi government to rule the country or even to protect a party of such importance;

"Despite the wishes by some that this handover would lead to Iraqis' practicing sovereignty, the realities show something different. First of all, the new government will not be able to organize the presence and moves of foreign forces.... Three hours before leaving Baghdad, Bremer himself signed law 17 extending immunity to foreign soldiers and civilians collaborating with them against any Iraqi legal prosecutions.

"As part of the US administration's theatrical moves, it announced that it has decided to resume diplomatic relations with Iraq. In a similar move, Kuwait announced the same."


Further criticism of the handover

After the release of the news of the authority handover and the immediate departure of the former US Viceroy of Iraq, Al-Jazeera TV showed American occupation soldiers removing barbed wire from different parts of the capital. It said there are serious restrictions that curb the new government from exercising its sovereignty, such as the presence of about 160,000 foreign soldiers outside its control, and the ban on its ability to make policies. Dr. Nadhim al-Jasour of the University of Baghdad, said that it is a defective sovereignty as long as Occupation forces remain inside Iraq and beyond the control of its government.

Dr Salman al-Jumaili of the same University told the interviewer; " Sorry,I cannot hear you clearly, because of roaring American warplanes over my head. Look what type of sovereignty we got today; "On my way to the studio, I found nothing has changed on the ground. American occupation checkpoints and patrols with tanks and armored vehicles everywhere. The people in the street cared a little about this event. The modest setting of the handover suggests, which is even less than a small family party, suggests an attempt to legalize an illegal connection between newly installed government and the occupier power.

"What matters is what this government will do on the ground. This is the factor that will give it credibility. Iraqis will support it if the new government will try to meet a lot of urgent popular demands such as security, employment,restoration of law and order,reconstruction, restoring governmental offices and public services destroyed by occupation. But on top of all, it should earnestly seek a speedy withdrawal of foreign occupation troops, stop foreign companies' plunder of Iraq's resources, release scores of thousands of Iraqi detainees, and stop all measures against other Iraqis accused of anti-occupation activities."


Communists: Handover of just a paper

The Iraqi Communist Party-alkader dismissed the handover of authority as a handover of just a piece of paper. It explained: "Though Karazai is widely considered as a trivial stooge and puppet, there were celebrations and musical festivities when he was installed in Afghanistan. However, in Iraq, the handover of authority was merely an anonymous paper handed over to Allawi in secret two days ahead of the scheduled date. Thus, Bremer managed to flee the hell which was awaiting him. Such a way of making the handover shows what kind of sovereignty we are going to have have. What happened today will be forgotten within 24 hours, where the state of occupation would go back to what it was. Soon, the Iraqi resistance will force a new reality on the ground, that of the liberation of the homeland."


Moslem Scholars: Handover a sham

The Association of Moslem Scholars (Ulama) dismissed the handover of authority as something cosmetic. In a statement on the occasion the Association said what happened was a sham, a deception and mockery to the Iraqi people. "We were waiting a true handover of sovereignty by the withdrawal of foreign occupation forces. Alas, what happened is a transfer of papers, not of real sovereignty. Sheikh A.S.Jabbar, a member of the Association, said the handover was superficial. "We call upon the new government to oust foreign occupation forces. The terror that they are talking about was brought by the US occupiers themselves. Peace will only prevail after the withdrawal of these forces. I call upon this government to be fair in dealing with the Iraqi people."


Ba'th warns of Saddam trial consequeces

The Ba'th Party in Iraq, in a statement on the handover posted on several websites, said the early, speedy, frightened, and secretive handover of authority reflects the growing crisis of the occupation. The Ba'th party said there are certain understanding with some Arab regimes, especially the Saudi regime, to bolster Bush's chances of winning a second term by certain measures like glutting the international oil markets to cause a drop in oil prices that would help reduce gasoline prices inside America. It added that the handover of authority is intended to provide a base for America to ask Arab and Islamic states to play military roles in Iraq. It continued that the new government, upon instruction by the US administration and advice by certain neighboring countries' secret services, will conduct a superficial trial for members of Iraqi legal leadership so as to focus local, Arab and world attention on the trial for certain purposes related to the US elections. It explained that the US administration, through this trial, wants to intimidate the Iraqi resistance by insinuating that it could threaten the life of President Saddam and his colleagues if the resistance does not stop its operations.

The Ba'th party insisted that the Iraqi resistance and itself can never bargain on national objectives and principles. The Ba'th party warned occupation forces and the US government, as well as the "puppet government against going ahead with what they have intended to do, for it will backfire against them, as was the case with several other execrable attempts."


Unreported resistance operations in Basrah

Alkader.net, an Iraqi communist web site, reported resistance operations against British occupation forces in Basrah that were not admitted by the UK forces and not reported by media. It quoted its correspondent in Basrah as saying that occupation bases are bombed daily. "Two days ago a British occupation convoy was attacked. Two military vehicles were destroyed. Two weeks ago the headquarters of the British command in the Corniche area was attacked with mortar shells which fell on a hall, reportedly killing 25 foreign soldiers and injuring 40, according to an interpreter working there.


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