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The Lesson is Over | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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There is a popular [Arabic] saying that goes “the house that we tore down last year will cover us with debris today” which strongly applies to the statement issued on the anniversary of the foundation of the now outlawed [Iraqi] Baathist party by former Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri. In this statement al-Douri said that the Baathist leadership have undertaken a comprehensive assessment of the Baathist party’s 35-year experience in Iraq.

In his statement al-Douri touched upon what he described as “the mistakes and errors in the journey of the [last] thirty-five years” saying that these “belong to those that committed them, for they alone bear the responsibility of what was committed against the Baathist party, and its great people.” Al-Douri added that “The Baathist party is innocent from any mistakes, errors, and wrongs, and those that committed them. The Baathist party will examine its experience deeply and widely, and sort out what is what.”

There can be no doubt that this man is living a fantasy, and his statement is clearly arrogant, which is the [default] attitude of the Baathist party. His party has been removed from power, and his “comrades” have divided against one another in a pathetic scenario, and only now is he calling for a comprehensive review! Where was this review when the party ruled the nation with an iron fist, and its members looked at things from different perspectives and the people had no connection to reality? It is enough to remember the state that Iraq was in during those days when they [the Baathist party] were in power, and they are responsible for the situation that Iraq is currently facing.

What is strange is that al-Douri’s statement suggests that he is blaming the mistakes of the past on yesterday’s “comrades” – some of whom have died, while others are waiting for orders – but what is clear is that he means Saddam Hussein. It is [also] worth noting that during an interview with Al Arabiya News Channel, Raghad Hussein [Saddam Hussein’s eldest daughter] said that her father had been betrayed by some who were close to him.

This is not the first time that al-Douri has tried to distance himself from Saddam Hussein. During a written press interview [prior to the Kuwait invasion] al-Douri called on Kuwait not to increase its hostility against the deposed regime [as it would be the Iraqi people who paid for this] and it is not the Iraqi people’s fault, which the Kuwaitis were well aware of. However he did not object to the invasion of Kuwait, indeed al-Douri himself headed the Iraqi delegation at the Jeddah negotiation, while the Kuwaiti delegation was headed by Sheik Saad al-Abdullah, may he rest in peace. The Iraqi invasion of Kuwait took place only a few hours after the Jeddah negotiation [and this clearly demonstrates al-Douri’s importance in the Saddam Hussein regime].

The shortcoming of the [Iraqi] Baathist party, and [other] Baathist parties in our region is that they do not learn from the mistakes of the past. Until today – and despite the fact that Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri is a fugitive after [previously] having strong support among the Iraqis – it seems that a-Douri has yet to understand the consequences of arrogance and conceit. He is still setting conditions, demanding that the U.S withdraw, apologize and allocate compensation, and then return the country to how it was prior to the regime’s collapse. Only after the US has done all of this would he – yes, al-Douri – accept good relations with Washington.

There can be nothing more wasteful and absurd than this to the point that when you read al-Douri’s statement you cannot help but think how pathetic al-Douri is, and wonder why is it that our countries are plagued with this type of politician and leader?

All that can be said to al-Douri today is the title of the famous [Arabic] play “The lesson is over, stupid.”