A Puppet Government in Baghdad?
Jude Wanniski
July 21, 2003


Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Letter from Iraqi Mohammed Obeidi

I’ve run several letters from Dr. Obeidi from time to time, after he located this website from his offices in Liverpool where he serves as the coordinator of Iraq’s Freedom Party. It has represented anti-Saddam political forces for some years, but also opposed the war for the suffering it would bring to the country. It is a different perspective, to be sure. When I saw the names of the 25 members of the new Governing Council and saw no representative of the Freedom Party, I e-mailed him for his thoughts. As I could not tell from the list of the 25 chosen to write a new Constitution how representative it was of the general population, his response came just as Shi’ite clerics openly denounced the Council and invited demonstrations of opposition. Here is the portion of his e-mail to me pertaining to the Council:

* * * * *

“As to the Council, Jude, the issue more complicated than you think. We have now over 50,000 active members plus friends who share our objectives and ideology. Our party has been denied even publishing its own paper as we are accused by the Occupying forces that we are promoting resistance and incorporation with the Bremer administration. [Paul Bremer is the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq.] Those in the council are only people who were selectively chosen by Britain and the US and no one else from any other well know patriotic parties and movements in Iraq are represented in this council. To us, this council does not represent the Iraqis as long as it was selected by the occupying forces and as long as no real representative of well known parties in Iraq were included in it. Besides, no patriotic movement will cooperate with a council in which Chalabi and Allawi are members. To us those two are the most dangerous people in Iraq at the present time.

“To my knowledge the parties who have not been involved in connection with the occupying forces, and who have reservations and objections to deal with the occupier are all the Arab National Patriotic Parties, some fractions of the communists, two Kurdish parties, and the Ba'athis who belong to Syria plus a large number of independent well- known political figures, and above all almost all the Intellectuals of the Country including the academics, who represent the brains of the country. In addition, all Sheikhs of the tribes, with the exception of those two in the current council. This means that the majority of Iraqis are absolutely unhappy about the structure of the Council as long as it was selected and run by the occupiers.

“Besides, it seems that there is a trouble now between the Americans and one of the largest Shiite fractions that belongs to "Muqtda Al-Sadr" son of a very prominent Shiite figure executed by Saddam, and who has extremely large number of supporters.
Al-Sadr denounced the formation of the "Council" and asked to form another parallel Council that does not include any puppet figures brought to Iraq by the Americans (you know what it means). Accordingly, his house was surrounded by American troops which led his supporters to demonstrate in Al-Najaf in huge numbers. This is in addition to a speech made by another very respected and supported Sunii religious leader, Dr. Al-Dhari, son of a head of a tribe who killed the British commander in Iraq in the 1920 revolution. It also seems that the Iraqis have a problem with the new council saying "what appointed by the occupier will only serve the occupier and not the people of Iraq", which I think it is very true.”