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Worse than Saddam Hussein's Iraq - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The current Iraqi regime has proven to be worse than Saddam Hussein’s and even more dangerous. Whereas there was a consensus that Saddam’s regime was a dictatorship, the problem today is that the current regime is portrayed as a democracy, yet it is a regime based on abhorrent sectarianism and its exportation.

The events in Syria, and before that in Bahrain, have proven that the current Iraqi regime is not concerned with democracy as much as it is with sectarianism, and establishing Shiite rule. This is a description of reality, rather than an attempt to entrench the sectarian dimension, and unfortunately one is forced to say such a thing because many wise people are refusing to do their part, especially in these troubled times. Just as wise Sunnis must address their extremists, whether they are groups, individuals, or states, the Shiites must also do this, with their increasing numbers of extremists today, consisting of groups, individuals and states as well.

How can we accept, for example, some of the comments from members of political parties governing Iraq, about what is happening in Syria? Rather than such figures declaring their concern for what is happening to unarmed citizens, and instead of stressing that Syria must be a democracy – as they call it – we find that they are expressing fears that the “Salafis” will gain control in Syria, and of course here they mean the Sunnis. These Iraqis see the arrival of Sunnis to power in Syria as a danger to them, so they say there is no basis to the demands of the Syrian masses, and that what is happening there has external dimensions, in addition to defending the Syrian Baath party. Is this conceivable? Especially as the Iraqi regime talked about how the Arab peoples in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, had rebelled against tyrant regimes, yet today look at what they say about the events in Syria!

In Iraq, after the dissolution of the Baath party and its elimination, and the demobilization of the army because a large part of it was Sunni, it is strange that the new Iraqis today come to the defense of the Syrian Baath party! If this is the logic of the new Iraq, how will the Iraqi regime deal with an essential component of its people, the Sunnis, not to mention the Christians? Is this a democratic Iraq? Is this the kind of democracy that America supports in the region?

What is of great concern, and is even shocking, is when you hear voices in Iraq saying that in the event that the Sunnis, or the Islamists, come to power in Syria, this would mean that they received support from Saudi Arabia (according to what some of those affiliated with the Iraqi regime say). Hence it is clear that the new Iraqis are undertaking the same role as Iran in an attempt to target Saudi Arabia, and the same can be said for Hezbollah. The truth is that what is happening in Syria is a genuine popular demand; there is no external force behind it, while foreign hands are clear, and explicit, in Bahrain, whether from Iran, or its agents from Iraq and Lebanon. These forces have provided a political and media cover for what is actually happening in Bahrain.

So, what we see from Baghdad today assures us that we are dealing with an Iraq far worse than that under Saddam Hussein.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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