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Seek the Masters Not the Slaves - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Americans in Baghdad have stated that they will stop their forces pursuing political leaders implicated in violence and that the US will track the culprits of the militia soldiers directly. This policy is doomed to fail, if indeed the aim is to end the violence that has already spilled much blood. Usually leaders are opportunists who would not bat an eyelid if half their supporters died while executing their plans, whatever they may be, from eliminating opponents to spreading chaos, or declaring wars.

The pursuit of the real leaders in the ongoing crisis of political and sectarian genocide in Iraq is the only real solution that can save time and blood. The likes of the Sunni and Shia leaders who murder innocent civilians are cowards who will not put themselves at the risk of any confrontation with the government or the US forces; they will sacrifice their troops but not hazard their own lives or personal interests, seeking, as they do, to build glory and influence at any cost.

In past crises, we have witnessed failure in attempts that sought to target militias as it is invariably used as politically propaganda for their leaders. We have also seen how intimidating leaderships achieves an immediate truce, high-level mediations and a multitude of pledges. The Americans have granted immunity to the leaders of government militias, as they have admitted, only to have caused the present anarchy. Each side wants to be at the forefront of the assassinations, the cleansing and terrorization. We have come to see how the forcible expulsion of citizens from the suburbs has prepared the capital for a harrowing war that awaits a whistle to sound off its launch.

The US has announced in its statements that in accordance with the Iraqi government’s requests, it will no longer hold major leaders accountable but instead has recently decided to go after militias – even if they are affiliated to the government. This follows a completely twisted logic, both in protecting the leaders of the murderous gangs, and before that by allowing the militias to kill people simply because they are associated with the new political regime in Iraq.

It is the duty of the people involved in the new political institution, to be more disciplined and committed to the law than the savage rebels of the opposition who seek to overthrow the regime – and there is no dispute about the legitimacy of pursuing and eliminating them. Turning a blind eye on the official militias has only resulted in further deteriorating the situation today, steeling it for, as I have already mentioned; a broad state of killing that will be the cause behind the collapse of the entire system.

No one can defend the crimes of terrorists from al Qaeda and the Baathist opposition, among others, but their crimes do not justify the association of those affiliated to the new state of practicing terrorism. Their immersion in killing is fulfilling al Qaeda’s wishes, whose leader, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s, voice went hoarse before he lost his head inciting people to fight among themselves and criticizing the majority of Sunnis for not taking part in the war.

If the Iraqi and American forces do not aim their spears accurately and decisively in the direction of the leaders embroiled in the present infighting, there will be no hope left to curb the violence because its source is the masters, not the slaves. In it, they have found political influence, perhaps even financial profit from internal parties while other external ones seek to hire the militias, all of which has started the ball of conflict rolling with no foreseeable horizon.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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