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The Guardian Celebrates the Iraqi “Resistance”

Seumas Milne, a windbag previously confined to the Comments section of the Guardian, has had his byline upgraded to the Foreign Correspondence page, and imagine the results. The same guy who in 2004 called the "resistance" in Iraq the only … Read More

By / July 19, 2007

Seumas Milne, a windbag previously confined to the Comments section of the Guardian, has had his byline upgraded to the Foreign Correspondence page, and imagine the results. The same guy who in 2004 called the "resistance" in Iraq the only real force for liberation now glorifies one of its lead spokesmen, who is said to be shopping around France for the establishment of a political headquarters for his murderous Islamist phalanx:

At the heart of the new insurgent alliance is a rejection of the murderous sectarianism that has come to grip Iraq – and the role of al-Qaida in particular. Most striking is the case of Zubeidy, whose hardline salafist (purist Islamic) group Ansar al-Sunna recently split in half over the issue (his faction is now called the Legitimate Committee of Ansar al-Sunna – Goure says such splits are endemic in the resistance movement). "We wanted to unite with other resistance forces, but the other group is moving closer to al-Qaida and refused. Al-Qaida has brought benefits and problems," Zubeidy says. "They attack the US occupiers. But every day the problems they bring become greater than the benefits.

Milne is painting a rosy portrait of a young thug who boasts of killing American and British soldiers and not just anyone who cooperates with them but anyone who participates in the parliamentary system of Iraqi government. Whole swaths of an ethnically and confessionally mixed population participating in national elections?  Legitimate targets of Mr. Zubeidy and his goon squad.

Though Milne would do well to better remember his former advocacy. Now pitted against the brave Sunni resistance hymned above are countless Shia sectarians, themselves guilty of murder, torture and kidnapping. Here's what Milne wrote of them back in 2004: 

Their tactics are overwhelmingly in line with those of resistance campaigns throughout modern history, targeting both the occupiers themselves and the local police and military working for them. Where that has not been the case – for example, in atrocities against civilians, such as the Karbala bombing in March – the attacks have been associated with the al-Qaida-linked group around the Jordanian Zarqawi, whose real role is the subject of much speculation among Iraqis. The popularity of the mainstream resistance can be gauged by recent polling on the Shia rebel leader Moqtada al-Sadr, who was said to have minimal support before his Mahdi army took up arms in April and now has the backing of 67% of Iraqis.

Zubeidy's outfit, if it stays true to its own doctrine, wars with the Mahdi Army, which controls three key Iraqi ministries and are rather conspicuous in its "collaboration" with the current Iraqi government. How's that "mainstream resistance" definition look now?

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