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Support Iraq: the Country or Team? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Sports, for many, are a means of becoming acquainted with the customs and capabilities of the world’s diverse peoples. Of course, it also provides an element of amusement and suspense, something that manifests conspicuously in large-scale football events.

This is what crossed my mind as I watched the epic Asian Cup semi-finals, in which Iraq and Saudi Arabia deservedly made the finals after beating Japan and South Korea in what were legendary performances.

The dramatic and compelling story is, however, the fact that Iraq reached the finals – amidst the wide support among viewers. In fact, Iraq’s achievement can be likened to a fairytale since no one had expected a happy ending for the ravaged country, torn apart as it is by foreign occupation, terrorism and an infighting that has generated a tremendous sedition and civil war.

What was both interesting and striking was the magnitude of public support for the Iraqi team, how it was like a ‘brother’ team and that the members were our ‘brothers’ and part of our ‘one nation’.

Reflecting upon the pro-Iraqi team speeches and rhetoric forces one to reconsider the madness unfolding in the Iraqi arena and to ask the question: who is responsible for this bloodshed in Iraq?

Of course the blatant reason everyone points to is the foreign occupation, and that is correct. The foreign forces have invaded Iraq using a filthy plan that was led by the neoconservatives, however those who follow the takfir ideology have exploited this reason to kill and blow up those who deviate from their beliefs – even fellow Muslims of whom scores have fallen at their hands rather than being victims to the occupational forces.

Moreover, there exists a sectarian-tainted ideology that feeds and is reinforced by regional powers to expand and retaliate whilst gaining more influence in a hysterical manner. Additionally, the Baath party affiliates who used to govern Iraq, fearing obliteration avenge themselves through an organization that is financed by an obscure source with exceedingly deep pockets, which is supported by all means by Baathists living in other Arab countries.

In fact, tearing Iraq apart has resulted in various different groups, each with its own agenda and who are assisted by hired mercenaries to execute the foulest of assassinations, bombings and destruction.

The foreign occupation has contributed to the ravaging of the country; however it is also responsible for bringing the devils out of their lairs who are pillaging the country beyond belief.

Despite the immense and amazing support shown to the Iraqi team throughout this football tournament, it still remains that Iraq is in dire need of support for the country itself and that it be protected against the forces of evil. All Iraq’s neighbors should support Iraq and contribute monetarily and by ammunition and humans. This is far more important than the support of a football team because without supporting Iraq as a country and nation, there will be no Iraqi team or audience!

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

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