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Before a bullet leaves the gun barrel

January 23, 2014 - 12:06:54 am
After about a year of peaceful protests in Al Anbar province, the Prime Minister of Iraq, Nouri Al Maliki, has sent army troops to end the sit-in by force.

The troops, as always, were holding sectarian flags and shouting chants of revenge for Al Hussein ibn Ali’s death by Yazid bin Muawiya and his allies, so they killed, burned and captured a large number of people.

Consequently, as an already known spontaneous reaction, residents of Al Anbar wielded weapons to defend their lives, homes and dignity. As a result, Iran immediately declared that it supported Al Maliki in his war against terrorism and that it was ready to send him necessary support.

The US declared the same thing; it even rushed weapons Al Maliki had asked for. The United Nations Security Council, the UN Secretary-General and the Arab League adopted the same stance.

What is this nonsense? 

Is it possible that all these parties do not know that Sunnis in Iraq are suffering under a savage and sectarian regime, which works its fingers to the bone to humiliate, marginalise, displace, impoverish and exclude them, using every villainous way created by a sadistic and ruthless mind? Has Iran begun reaping the fruits of its long stand-off with the US?

It seems only Sunnis were exclusively accused of terrorism, so they are terrorists in Syria, as if Bashar Al Assad did not kill more than 100,000 people, as if his sectarian militants do not besiege thousands in the Yarmouk refugee camp who die of starvation while the world is watching. 

It seems footages of hungry screaming to camera lenses have no meaning anymore and the sight of helicopters throwing explosives to destroy people and places is not terrorism. 

The toxic gas shells that killed hundreds are also not considered a terrorist act, as if the groups of sectarians sent by Hassan Nasrallah are in Syrian for emergency relief only.

The accusation of terrorism has stuck with us and will not go anywhere else, even if we are eradicated by sectarian swords, destroyed by bombers or assassinated by professional assassins, we will still be terrorists. These people know how to manage their relations with Washington, which entitles anyone whatever it wants.

Sunnis in Lebanon are also called terrorists when they painfully scream and oppose Hezbollah’s manipulation of the destiny the country and its people or killing anyone at the diktat of politicians without the latter being judged or held accountable.

Hezbollah was the one that swept the streets of Lebanon with its armed members, claiming to defend the country’s rights but controlling airports’ security. It is also the one that decides when the country enters a war and when it comes out of that, controlling the destiny of thousands of people without mercy.

Residents of Al Anbar will have to manage their battles in a more realistic way, away from slogans or promises they might get from people who cannot do them any good. They are globally considered terrorists who follow the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) or its allies despite the fact that they were the ones who fought this organisation out of their cities and villages and was affected badly because of it.

There are a few points revolutionaries of Al Anbar must consider:

First, they must clarify their stance regarding ISIL clearly, as the world is living in fear because of this organisation that has become a burden on everyone. It is okay to negotiate for it to leave cities and settle in the desert once again, as its existence in cities of Al Anbar is enough excuse for everyone to kill without mercy. And it is the same excuse Al Maliki used to gain the world’s sympathy when he said he fights terrorism. This excuse also made Shia youth in the south line up at recruitment centres to get weapons and training to fight the organisation that has become like a ghoul in their minds.

It is also the same excuse Washington, Moscow and Tehran have and it terrifies Arab states.

Second, Al Anbar should have its representatives in the West and Washington, who speak on its behalf and clarify its position on ISIL and Al Maliki and claim their demands they fought for a year before carrying weapons to defend themselves.

Third, media teams with the ability to speak English must be formed to encounter the media besiege. Iraqi expats also have a moral responsibility that lies in making people aware of what is happening in Al Anbar because the Sunni media in Iraq is weak and ineffective, and there are only two effective channels — Al Rafidain and Baghdad — still in the Iraqi perimeter and opposing each other.

Fourth, residents of Al Anbar should leave aside differences until the crisis is over. These differences and disagreements have left their supporters desperate and let their defenders down.

War is not young people carrying guns and sitting behind trenches to fight the enemies. It is more than that. The low-tech surveillance drones Al Maliki has got from Washington will be able to hunt down his opponents day and night.

Citizens of Al Anbar will find themselves alone and under siege if they are not represented abroad when electricity goes out, food is in short supply and negative media finds its ways into ears. Lots of people will be killed as well with treachery after tribal leaders get money from Al Maliki.

People of Al Anbar have to know that they are standing alone against the whole world. Are they ready for it? I can say they are not yet, as there are many things they have to do before the bullet leaves the gun barrel, and I wish to be wrong.