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By Khalaf Al Habtoor

  I have seen and read many stories about members of Arab governments who have suggested that it might be a good idea to send an Arab ‘peace-keeping’ force to Iraq.  I have also heard, in Western and American circles, that their governments share the same goal, that is, the replacement of American and Alliance forces in Iraq with Arab ones.

  These declarations, wherever they come from, are equally alarming because they fly in the face of many of the principles of self determination, of which the following is but a selection:

  Deploying non-Iraqi forces in Iraq for any reason is unacceptable because the Iraqi people are free and will accept only Iraqis to protect them.  The core problem in Iraq is nothing to do with security so the solution can have nothing to do with either security or deterrence. 

  The issue in Iraq today is one that includes everything from local sovereignty to Arab identity and its solution must reflect all of that for its people.  We are talking here about national identity, an Islamic nation and self determination.  It is primarily political and cultural and nothing to do with security.

  We refuse to accept that Arab blood is cheap, or that the blood of Alliance soldiers is worth more.  Blood is blood and we have more than once called the Alliance to stop shedding the blood of the Iraqi people and its own soldiers.  So far they have not listened.

  Arab soldiers are not there to help with political experiments and neither should they be used to assist plots aimed at dismembering parts of the Arab world.

  No Arab soldier should ever be sacrificed to cover up for the mistakes of others.  Our Arab homeland has paid dearly for the deaths of foreign forces.  But we now have enough experience to protect ourselves from ever committing the same mistakes again and gambling with our future.

  All nations must realize that they are dealing with a people that respects the freedom and decisions of others.  We demand the right to be treated in the same way by others.  All peoples should be free to select their own political, economic and social paths.  Including Iraq.

  The right solution to Iraq’s present sorry condition starts with handing over the rule of Iraq to its own honest people, not to mercenaries, lackeys and puppets.

  The Alliance must admit that dismantling the Iraqi army was wrong.  We need quickly to retrain and re-qualify the Iraqi army and charge it with the responsibility of keeping peace, order and security within Iraqi’s proper historical borders at the same time as we organize the withdrawal of the Alliance Forces.

  The West should admit that it committed a grave error in Iraq.  And while nothing can reverse the enormous loss of life or compensate for the sacrifices made by the Iraqi people we must tell the American Administration that they must at the very least pay for Iraq’s material losses and the destruction and wholesale theft of Iraq’s historical artifacts.

  Finally, all perpetrators must stand trial before the new independent Iraqi courts for the crimes they committed against the Iraqi people, especially in case of the terrible prison scandals that shook the whole world

  Since we all want to protect Iraq and the Iraqi people and since Alliance partners have admitted their mistakes we call upon them now to ensure it cannot happen again, to preserve the image, history and future of Iraq and to leave – soon.


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