Sunday, July 10, 2005

Bodi, Bosnia's 7/9, Anthropologists, Civilizations, Iraq Memory Foundation, Museums, Dodge, Iraq

1) Faisal Bodi Op-Ed:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/attackonlondon/story/0,16132,1524808,00.html

Blair put us in the firing line

The war on Iraq made the attack on London inevitable

Faisal Bodi
Saturday July 9, 2005
The Guardian

Amid all the punditry about whether there was an
al-Qaida connection to Thursday's attacks on London
commuters, it should not be forgotten that the bloody
trail of blame leads straight to 10 Downing Street.
The prime minister's early return to Westminster was a
fitting response to the carnage unleashed on the
capital. It was the only hint of personal
responsibility for our entanglement in a war that has
made prime targets of innocent Britons.

The fury generated by Tony Blair's decision to
coat-tail George Bush into what only the blind still
call a justified war has put us all in the firing
line. When Blair led us into the war on terror, he
knew that a country with which Islamist networks had
no immediate axe to grind would be drawn into their
sphere of hate as a consequence.

That is why we have had tightened anti-terrorism laws,
public scares and training exercises for emergency
services. They were all premised on the inevitability
of blowback for Blair's foreign exploits. In the
calculation that staked our security against some
ill-conceived national interest in occupying Iraq, our
government has turned us all into expendable pawns, in
the same way it did Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan.

Not that this outrage is likely to shock us into
realising we have become involuntary martyrs for Blair
in the service of his master's imperial cause. In the
politics of fear, attacks like Thursday's rarely lead
to awareness beyond the most immediate danger. Those
further down the chain of causation usually escape
censure in the resulting wave of revulsion.

So it came as little surprise to see Blair trotting
out the same tired juxtaposition of our civilisation
and their barbarism. Those responsible have no respect
for human life, he said. At such times of high emotion
we can perhaps forgive him for losing a sense of
perspective. It might serve him well to remember our
conduct in a conflict waged without rules and mercy.
Abu Ghraib, Guant√°namo and the bombing of innocent
Afghans in their homes might conjure up images of US
brutality, but our policies and military action ever
since the first Gulf war, including sanctions and the
use of depleted uranium, have maimed and wiped out
hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, whose only crime was
to live under a tyrant of our making - not theirs.

Blair is in too deep for us to hope for extrication in
the lifetime of this parliament. The anti-war protests
have come to a halt in the cul-de-sac of Downing
Street. Iraq is now a forgotten war in the national
media. Besides, it has taken on a momentum of its own
and too much blood has been spilled for any party to
make a clean break. Perhaps the bombings are an
attempt to remind us that, however we try to put it
out of our minds, Bush and Blair's war goes on.

Nor can we be clear that the perpetrators are Bin
Laden's lieutenants, despite the internet claims being
attributed to groups linked with al-Qaida. In 1995
Paris was hit by metro station bombings, believed to
be the work of Algerian Islamists punishing the French
for their support of the Algiers government. No one
declared responsibility for the attacks, and they were
attributed to the GIA, one of Algeria's more radical
anti-government groups. But subsequent evidence under
oath from former members of the Algerian military, now
widely acknowledged to have infiltrated the GIA,
pointed the finger at the Algerian secret services.

Whoever carried out Thursday's abomination, the
fallout is likely to have an impact on Britain's
Muslims. Community organisations are receiving reports
of verbal assaults and of Muslims afraid to venture
out. Many have asked the community to be on its guard
in the knowledge that Islamophobic incidents are
directly proportional to terrorist atrocities. We are
all victims in this phoney war on terror, some of us
more than others.

· Faisal Bodi is news editor at the Islam Channel

bodi_fy@yahoo.co.uk



2) Bosnia's 7/9:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5130098,00.html

Thousands Mourn Srebrenica Victims

Saturday July 9, 2005 9:31 PM

By AIDA CERKEZ-ROBINSON
Associated Press Writer

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) - Thousands lined
Sarajevo's main street Saturday to watch a funeral
cortege of tractor-trailer trucks transport 610 bodies
to the site of a memorial for victims of Europe's
worst massacre since World War II.

Weeping shattered the silence as the canvas-covered
trucks trundled to the front doors of the Bosnian
president's office while en route to the east Bosnian
town of Srebrenica. The bodies will be buried during
the commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the
massacre on Monday.

``My older son is on those trucks,'' said Sabra Mujic,
64, wiping her tears. ``I'm still missing my husband
and my younger son. I wish they would be here
together.''

Among those who paid tribute was the Bosnian Muslim
member of the country's multiethnic presidency,
Sulejman Tihic. Neither the Serb nor the Croat members
of the presidency came to pay their respects.

Some 8,000 Muslims, mostly boys and men, were
slaughtered at Srebrenica in July 1995 by Bosnian Serb
soldiers who had overrun the eastern town. The
killings in what was then a U.N.-protected zone came
shortly before the end of the country's 1992-95 war.

The bodies were dumped in mass graves across the
countryside and are still being found. Thousands are
still missing.

Germany Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Saturday
urged the detention of fugitive Bosnian Serb leaders
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to help prevent any
repeat of the massacre. The U.N. war crimes tribunal
court in The Hague, Netherlands has charged the two
with genocide.

Fischer said the killing was the ``gruesome climax''
of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic's
policy of 'ethnic cleansing' against Muslims and
Croats during the Balkan wars and must not be
repeated. Milosevic is in custody and facing a trial
at the tribunal.

Forensic experts have found 5,000 bodies in 60 mass
graves in the area of Srebrenica. DNA sampling and
other forensic methods have led to the identification
of 2,079 remains. Of these 1,327 of have been buried
at a cemetery for victims which is part of the
memorial center placed in the Srebrenica suburb of
Potocari.

About 250,000 people were killed during the country's
war among Muslims, Croats and Serbs.

Of the 610 victims on the trucks Saturday, two were
aged 14 and several others were over 70, said Jasmin
Odobasic, member of the Muslim Commission for Missing
Persons in charge of the exhumation process. The
cortege began at an identification center for victims
in the central town of Visoko, after family members
said a final farewell - many of whom were comforted by
having a corpse to bury.

``I'm sort of relieved, because I found my sons Hakija
and Hazim after 10 years,'' said Hata Halilovic, 70,
just before offering a prayer near their caskets in
Visoko.

Beside Halilovic, 9-year-old Envera Hasanovic, lifted
her hands up to pray for her grandfather. She was born
in August 1995, two months after her pregnant mother
lost her husband, two brothers-in-law, and a father in
Srebrenica.

``My father is still missing,'' she said.



3) This is not a new issue, but still an interesting one:

In the latest issue of "Military Review" (March-April,
http://www.leavenworth.army.mil/milrev/English/MarApr05/indxma105.htm) ,there's an interesting article on the history of the role anthropology and anthropologists played and play in the US Army: M.
McFate, Anthropology and Counterinsurgency: The Strange Story of their Curious Relationship

(http://www.leavenworth.army.mil/milrev/download/English/MarApr05/mcfate.pdf).



4) Book review of Roger Atwood's "Stealing History":

My review of Roger Atwood's book "Stealing History:
Tomb Raiders, Smugglers, and the Looting of the
Ancient World" has just been published:

"Preserving the Past From the Vandals of History," in National Catholic Reporter, 41, 29 (May 20, 2005)

http://www.natcath.com/NCR_Online/archives2/2005b/052005/052005ssg.php



5) "Smash of Civilizations":

Tom Engelhardt's worthwhile and widely read
www.tomdipatch.com yesterday included an interesting
and readable piece entitled "The Smash of
Civilizations" By Chalmers Johnson, extracted from
_Nemesis: The Crisis of the American Republic_,
forthcoming in late 2006, the final volume in the
Blowback Trilogy. The first two volumes are _Blowback:
The Costs and Consequences of American Empire_ (2000)
and _The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy, and
the End of the Republic_ (2004).

http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=4710


6) Iraq Memory Project:

Kanan Makiya, Interview in The Middle East Quarterly
(with information on the Iraq Memory Foundation).

http://www.meforum.org/article/718

"...There is a special prime ministerial order that
grants us use of the "Crossed Swords" site in Baghdad
for our museum. It will become a national archive, a
museum of remembrance, the offices of the Iraq Memory
Foundation, and the location of these documents..."



7) On Museums:

Philippe de Montebello, "Museums: Why Should We Care?
For the study and understanding of mankind", in the
Wall Street Journal's Opinion Jornal:

http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110006760



8) Toby Dodge, in an interview, provides one of the
more intelligent analysis of the Iraq insurgency in
recent weeks:

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=16&article_id=16373

Rebuilding a stable, peaceful Iraq will be a slow,
generation-long process

Security analyst says government must provide
day-to-day necessities of life if it hopes to battle
insurgency

By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star staff
Friday, July 01, 2005

Interview

BEIRUT: The anti-American, anti-Iraqi-government
insurgency in Iraq comprises over 70 different groups
that are based on family, personal or local ties for
the most part, and neither military force nor
political negotiations are likely to put down their
challenge in the near future, according to a leading
London-based expert on Iraq who has done research in
the country for many years. Dr. Toby Dodge, lecturer
in politics at Queen Mary College of the University of
London, and a consulting senior fellow for the Middle
East at the International Institute for Strategic
Studies, told The Daily Star in an interview earlier
this week during a conference in Gstaad, Switzerland
that Iraq must go through a slow process of rebuilding
a credible state structure that can deliver services
and provide security, before the insurgency loses its
popular support base. He sees an extreme form of local
government and identity taking root, which may be hard
to reverse in the future. Below is the full text of
the interview.

Q: How would you describe the "insurgency" in Iraq?

A: Certainly, it's very fractured and that's a legacy
from Saddam Hussein's time when he used a great deal
of money and violence to comb through Iraqi society
and wipe out any organized national opposition
capacity. When you look at the way the regime itself
fell after three wars and years of sanctions, what you
had left were small groups scattered throughout the
country, organized on the basis of family, friendship,
kinship, and geography, with only the loosest
coordination between them.

Q: How do you come up with the estimate of 74
different groups in the insurgency?

A: The figure of 74 is an amalgamation of discussions
I've had with different governments and their best
estimates. It's a rough figure. The importance is it
indicates you have a series of small, independent
fighting forces ranging from 10 or 15 people up to 200
or 300 people, spread across the entire country.
Militarily it's almost impossible for the American
Army to beat this. You can't roll up one group after
another, because as you do other groups will spring
up, as we've seen happen. More worrying politically,
it's difficult to negotiate with them, because there's
not a single figure or group that leads them. Their
common denominator position is for the Americans to go
home. There's no way to get a set of nuanced
negotiations going against that fractured background
of the insurgents.

Q: Why do Americans tend to single out Abu Musab
al-Zarqawi?

A: To be frank, if you speak to the senior American
military off the record it's clear that Zarqawi is an
irritant, but a minor player. They'd say that less
than 10 percent of the insurgency is foreign; I would
say it's probably closer to 4 or 5 percent. It's a
small element. If we put the fighting forces of the
insurgency between 20,000 and 30,000, this means you
have a few thousand foreign fighters at most.

If we were to map out the insurgency you'd start out
with the forces of the old regime, which have
reconfigured a new politburo and political and
military wings inside and outside the country, but
their ability to control the fighters is pretty loose
and diffuse. These Baathists are responsible for
perhaps 60 percent of the fighting.

The other 40 percent is an indigenous hybrid of Iraqi
nationalism and radical Islamism. The fastest growing
groups include ones like the Battalions of the 1920
Revolution, formed around Abu Ghraib being the
suburban hinterland of Iraq. Their ideology is
militantly nationalist but also Islamist radical. My
sources whom I've interviewed close to the insurgency
say this is the fastest growing, fastest recruiting
type of group. Beyond this element you get to the
other radical fringe, the jihadist, transnational
Islamic radicals, almost like jihadist tourists
visiting the country, exemplified by Zarqawi. His
forces are fairly small, around 1,000, and his
networks delivering in fighting forces are still
fairly diffuse, not in any way organized on a large
scale. So we don't have an Afghan-like comparison;
what we have is an ad hoc, flexible, organic network
delivering relatively small numbers of Saudis,
Yemenis, Syrians and others into Iraq.

Press coverage focuses on the suicide bombings that
terrorize and hurt the population, but they are a
small percentage of the fighting that goes on every
day. The majority of the violence going on is
ambushing, mortars, and improvised explosive devices
deployed against American troops and the Iraqi Army in
conventional but asymmetrical warfare. You've also got
porous borders and there is evidence that the
insurgents are bringing in very sophisticated missiles
that they are buying abroad and smuggling into the
country.

Q: Criminal violence is much more widespread than
purely political fighting?

A: Yes. Kidnapping, housebreaking and general violence
would be the vast majority now, around 80 percent of
violence according to the Americans. However, the 20
percent left is political and it's driven by
operatives with a strong ideological commitment to
what they are doing. It would be glib and wrong simply
to write them off as criminals. There's also a hybrid
kind of kidnapping now, with commercial criminal gangs
kidnapping people and selling the captives to those
people who want to use them for political purposes.

Q: What do the insurgents want beyond getting the
Americans out?

A: Beyond getting Americans out the insurgents don't
have much of a platform. They see it as a typical
national liberation struggle, basically asking the
Americans to get out of their country and they'd worry
about the rest after that. Again we have a hybrid
range of groups from those who are basically Baathists
seeking to rebuild a Baathist state through to radical
Islamists looking for a caliphate.

Q: What are the implications of all this for political
or military progress? It seems gloomy.

A: It's extremely gloomy. If you look at classical
counterinsurgency strategy you'd look to a political
process that would draw the political support base of
the population from the insurgents. That would be
about setting up a government of national unity that
offered a genuine basis on which to draw in all
Iraqis, especially the Sunnis, that would chose
Cabinet ministers on the basis of their capacity to
represent different aspects of the whole Iraqi
community and not on their close ties to the United
States.

Q: Is it reasonable in your view to rebuild Iraq on
formal sectarian and religious lines?

A: That is an incredibly dangerous dynamic. Until
relatively recently if you asked ordinary Iraqis "what
are you?" they'd only think of saying they were
Iraqis, but that has started to change as they assert
other identities. We can understand that, because when
the state collapses and you're looking to protect and
take care of your family on a day-to-day basis, you'd
look for stability and predictability anywhere you
can. In Iraq today they're going to be local and based
on the local street, neighborhood and town where you
live. They're going to use local ideologies to
legitimize themselves and in Iraq those are going to
be religious, and to a certain extent increasingly
sectarian. That's perhaps very depressing. If you look
at opinion polls coming out of Iraq those who describe
themselves in tribal terms are always very small, so
tribal identity is not the main focus for people in
terms of how they identify themselves. The main focus
is religion and nationalism together.

We have a strong ideological commitment among the
population to both Islam and to Iraq, but the
realities on a day-to-day basis are that people are
finding the security and stability they need on a much
more local level; it's much easier to legitimize and
understand that on a sectarian level than on the level
of Iraqi nationalism.

Q: How does the country move beyond the current
insecurity and rebuild the state?

A: If you were to take a technical view of
state-building, the first thing to do is to get the
government and state in a position where it could
control society by having a monopoly on the use of
violence and arms. It hasn't got that, and is no way
close to that. After that happens, the government
would build institutions that deliver daily needed
services to the citizens, and if those institutions
and their services become necessary to the population
they would also become legitimate. That's a slow,
generation-long process. We don't have a state today
and the government doesn't have the capacity to
deliver services to the whole country, so for the
moment things are getting worse, not better.

There is also the problem of endemic political
corruption among ministers whose power is being used
to build a support network of family, friends and
faction followers. How do you legitimize that? You
clear staff out of the ministry to bring your friends
in, and you call that de-Baathification. As you
appoint people to represent your community, this gives
you an increasing sectarian tinge of communalism in
Iraqi politics, which is incredibly negative. Once
that ball starts rolling, it will be very difficult to
stop it.

Q: Will a rebuilt Iraq possibly be configured on a
more decentralized, confederal basis?

A: We have two processes going on. One is a formal
political process creating a constitution that sees
federalism as the best way to run Iraq. The question
is whether it would be geographic or ethnic
federalism, based on self-managed governorates or on
distinct population groups that are represented in the
central state. However, the more real, everyday issue
is that the Iraqi state has collapsed and the
Americans and their allies have been very bad at
rebuilding the state. What you have as a consequence
is extreme localism, with the best example perhaps
being Basra in the south. Leading politicians in Basra
have become extremely alienated and cynical about
politics in Baghdad and have started to call for
radical decentralization. Politically they're saying
they want something similar to what the Kurds have in
the north, almost total autonomy. They've started by
setting up a local government that has almost no
contact with Baghdad at all. So you have a formal
political process but also a more powerful every day
reality that if you have any vestige of political and
security authority where you live in Iraq it's highly
likely to be done on a town or neighborhood level.

Q: What are the implications of the Iraq situation
today for wider American policies in the rest of the
Middle East?

A: The invasion of Iraq was the key moment in the
entire Bush doctrine. The point was to take down
Saddam Hussein, the most radical oppositional
government in the region, and to show the rest of the
Middle East that your sovereignty is radically
reduced. The United States will tolerate your
government only if you play by the rules - no
terrorism, shrinking state power, increasing
liberalism, no weapons of mass destruction - that
American lays down. That's failed, no doubt, and that
raises profound questions about America's ability to
project power in other parts of the Middle East and
beyond the region. American policymakers clearly
realize that and are worried about that, which is why
they stay in Iraq, because they know the consequences
of a defeat in Iraq for American power would be global
and devastating, you'd have a kind of post-Vietnam
syndrome when American credibility and power would be
radically reduced and foreign policy may have to be
re-thought.

In the region itself, Iraq gives the U.S. much less
influence in neighboring states for now. Bush's team
has moved heaven and earth to deny American dependence
on neighboring states. Whether they like it or not,
Iran and Syria have a vast amount of influence in
Iraq, especially Iran. Iran has its hands firmly under
the entire south of Iraq, and when the conflict
between Iran and the U.S. comes over the uranium
enrichment issue, Iran is going to squeeze. The
Americans must realize that, but they're trying to
deny it, because the consequences are that in Iraq
America is much more vulnerable to Iran than Iran is
to America. That's a very difficult situation for the
world's sole superpower to be in.




9) This is a routine examination of reality in Iraq (truncated):

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/4663345.stm

Iraq: An upside-down place

By Jon Leyne
BBC correspondent in Baghdad

With the kidnapping and murder of Egypt's ambassador to Iraq in Baghdad this week, Jon Leyne reflects on what the US could have done to limit the scale of insurrection which surrounds them and their allies.


Security checks are part of daily life in Iraq
If the insurgents do not get you, maybe the traffic police will. At least, that was my experience in Baghdad.

Our car was caught by an American military policeman wielding a speed gun, inside the secure zone that surrounds the international airport.

The officer asked the driver to show him his licence. It was only later I realised how surreal it was.

Surely, there are no driving licences in Iraq. I cannot believe the government has issued any in the past couple of years anyway.

This is an airport where the planes take off and land in a steep spiral to avoid missiles. This is an airport where the approach road is one of the most dangerous places in Iraq, the target for frequent car bomb attacks.

A few days afterwards, an American official complained to me about the traffic cops in the Green Zone, the secure area in the centre of Baghdad. "Don't they realise this place still gets mortar attacks?", she pointed out.

This is Iraq now, an upside-down place - so far from normality it is hard to know where to begin in describing it.

The streets are jammed with traffic, except when there is an American convoy, when everyone keeps their distance to avoid being caught in an ambush.

The electricity is off more than it is on, leaving most people to swelter in a 40-50C heat.

The water supply is frequently sabotaged by the insurgents, who seem to know exactly where to place their explosives to create maximum damage.

Westerners still cannot move around freely for fear of kidnapping.

Nevertheless, for the media in Iraq, there are always plenty of briefings explaining how much progress the coalition is making.

At one of the recent sessions, the military officer in charge of reconstruction produced a book load of statistics to show how well the reconstruction process was going. Hundreds of projects under way, electricity generation up, and so forth.

Yet Iraqis to a man and woman will tell you that their standard of life is no better, and probably worse, than under Saddam Hussein.

And Americans are asking the same question in increasing numbers. Why is nothing getting better more than two years after the invasion, when we have spent so much money and lost so many lives?....



10) American in Iraq freed:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5130975,00.html

Lawyer: American Held in Iraq to Be Freed

Sunday July 10, 2005 8:46 AM

AP Photo LA101
By LAURA WIDES
Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The U.S. military has agreed to release an aspiring American filmmaker who had been detained in Iraq since May, when potential bomb parts were found in a taxi he was riding in, his lawyer said Saturday.

Cyrus Kar's family had filed a lawsuit accusing the federal government of violating the 44-year-old's civil rights when it continued to hold him after the FBI cleared him of suspicion.

A hearing had been scheduled Monday, but the family's attorney, Mark Rosenbaum, said Saturday that the military had agreed to release Kar and his Iranian cameraman, Farshid Faraji, from a military jail in Baghdad.

He said State Department officials informed him Saturday that Kar would be released.

``They didn't explain either why he's been detained after he passed a lie detector test and cleared by the FBI, nor did they explain why he was to be released,'' said Rosenbaum, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California.

Kar's aunt, Parvin Modarress of Los Angeles, said an official at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad also called her to say Kar would be released and needed her to wire money.

``We are all so happy and excited,'' she said. ``We are praying to hear from Cyrus.''

A spokeswoman for the military in Baghdad and a spokesman for the State Department in Washington said Saturday they had no information about developments in the case.

Kar was born in Iran but immigrated to the United States as a child. He served in the U.S. Navy and worked in the computer industry before becoming interested in documentary filmmaking.

With help from independent producer Philippe Diaz, Kar began working on a documentary about the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great. He interviewed experts and shot of footage at archaeological sites in Afghanistan and Iran, according to his family and Diaz.

On May 17, officials and relatives say, Kar was in a taxi that was stopped at a checkpoint where Iraqi security forces allegedly seized several dozen washing machine timers, which can be used in terrorist bombs.

Kar's relatives say the FBI told them weeks ago that he had been cleared and that the taxi driver was transporting the parts to a friend.

FBI spokeswoman Cathy Viray declined to comment on the case.

According to the Pentagon, five U.S. citizens have been suspected of insurgent activities in Iraq, spokesman Bryan Whitman said last week. He declined to identify them, citing a Pentagon policy that prohibits the identification of detainees, but said they include Iraqi-Americans and a Jordanian-American.

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