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'Iraqi resistance winning, but it will be a long war'

M.R. Narayan Swamy, NewKerala.Com.

New Delhi, March 14: Drawing an analogy with Vietnam, a long-time Iraqi dissident says the armed resistance in his country against the US is winning, but it will take a long time to make the American troops go home.

Kamal Majid, a Professor Emeritus in the University of Wales (Cardiff), also said here that Iraqis had every right to invite foreigners to join the fighting against the US troops as Washington too had other governments on its side.

"The Iraqi people are optimistic that they will succeed (against the US)," Majid told an "International Conference on War, Imperialism and Resistance" here, drawing thunderous applause at the end of an impassioned speech.

And soon afterwards, the 77-year-old academic, who counts Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih and Irrigation Minister Latif Rashid as his students, told IANS that he expected violence in Iraq to continue for a long time.

"It will take a very long time (to make the Americans pull out)," Majid said. "After all the Americans have invested $350 billion and they are not going to go home easily. They are not going to leave tomorrow. This is also what happened in Vietnam."

An Iraqi Kurd, Majid said he had not visited Iraq for decades - first because he was bitterly opposed to deposed ruler Saddam Hussein and now because he feared death at the hands of Americans and "these people" - a reference to Deputy Prime Minister Salih and minister Rashid. "I hate them," he added.

Majid squarely blamed the Americans for the Shia-Sunni sectarian conflict in Iraq that has claimed hundreds of lives and threatens to rip apart the country as never before.

"There was no such conflict before the Americans came," he said. "My own uncle, a Sunni, had nine children, six of whom married Shias.

"What happened is that the Americans trained death squads (of Iraqis) in Hungary before the invasion to take on members of one another community. My own cousin, a Shia, was trained in Turkey. But when he was asked to kill Sunnis, he just ran away.

"It was the Americans who spoke about Shia majority areas and Sunni triangles. Iraqis never used such expressions earlier. Despite American propaganda (that only Sunnis are against them), three Shia groups are fighting the Americans.

"We do hope that once the Americans leave," Majid added, "Shias and Sunnis will realize that they need to live in peace, and for 200 centuries more."

Majid said that despite media reports about a possible US troops withdrawal, it was unlikely the Americans would leave Iraq.

"The Americans never leave once they go any place. That is why they have not left Okinawa in Japan after World War II. That is why they have not left South Korea. They have not left Haiti, and they have not left Grenada."

And in comments that appeared to justify the use of suicide bombers, he went on: "The Americans decide where to fight and what weapons to use. We also need (to do that). War has no laws. War has no logic. The enemy uses their own bombs, the resistance uses its (weapons).

"The US uses armies from other countries. So it is also our right to invite people from other countries to fight for our rights. They are not foreigners, they are fighting for us."

The US says that besides the Iraqis connected to the former Baath regime of Saddam Hussein, Arabs from many countries, including those linked to Al Qaeda, are fighting in Iraq.

According to Iraqi and American researchers, over 600,000 Iraqi civilians have died in the country since the US invasion of 2003. American military casualties total over 3,100 - most of them after US President George W. Bush made the now famous "Mission Accomplished" statement in May 2003. American wounded total at least 23,000, anti-war groups say.

--- IANS

:: Article nr. 31346 sent on 14-mar-2007 09:28 ECT


Link: www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=5142

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