By Carsten Kofoed, Committee member of the Danish Committee for a Free Iraq, April 29, 2005*
For some people it might seem strange, not at least right now, to publish a longer interview with the former deputy minister and foreign minister of Iraq, Tariq Aziz, who since April 2003, as a result of the illegal war on Iraq, has been illegally imprisoned by the US-led occupying power.
And there will most likely also be people, who, in this strongly poisoned atmosphere about Iraq where the prevailing description of the former, independent Iraq has been “a bloody, brutal dictatorship with the single objective of killing as many Iraqis as possible”, where any balanced description is being made suspicious, will regard the mere publication of the interview as support for everything that the Baath Party has done in Iraq ever since it took power in 1968. This would be a misunderstanding, but on the other hand I think that the picture of “Saddam’s Iraq”, which has been painted by Western mass media, is just as wrong as it is grotesque.
The reason why the present interview, which was conducted by Dr. Ibrahim Naji Alloush, editor in chief of the Free Arab Voice, on September 29, 2002, in Baghdad, is interesting and still of current interest is because it deals with a series of questions that are connected with the war on Iraq as well as the current brutal occupation of the country, but which are pieces of the history of Iraq, too.
The interview fills a real vacuum in the Danish-language coverage of Iraq because it presents the position of the former Iraqi government and the Baath Party on several important questions concerning Iraq. For the Danish public, these positions are on the whole unknown because smear journalism and war propaganda, which are the words best characterizing the coverage of Baathist Iraq by Danish mass media, neither had nor have as their purpose to seek the truth or just to cover the case from both sides, but were and still are a part, a verbal and visual element, in the war of the imperialists against Iraq.
The interview is the more relevant as the developments on Iraq have shown that it was exactly the Baath Party and the Iraqi government under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, which told the truth about Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction and connections with Al-Qaeda, that it was the former Iraqi government, the legitimate government of Iraq, which cooperated with the UN and acted rationally, doing everything possible to avoid the horrible war and thereby save thousands of both Iraqi and Western human lives, while it was the so-called democratic leaders in the West, including Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who lied about the same things, launched the aggression, grossly violated the UN Charter, turning themselves into war criminals, who will be judged by history. Their actions have already cost more than 100,000 Iraqi lives.
The government of independent Iraq also proved to be right on another important matter, namely the fact that the vast majority of the Iraqi opposition, with respectable exceptions, was completely bought and controlled by the US. While the former Iraqi government was working for more than 12 years trying to get the sanctions on the country lifted and, among other things, introduced a food rationing system, which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1995 described as “highly effective in reaching the population”, and which according to the FAO had prevented famine in Iraq, the exile parties were working, while two millions of Iraqis were dying, not for the lifting of the genocidal sanctions, but together with the Anglo-Americans with the aim of “liberating Iraq”, that is, making Iraq to the maltreated, occupied country that it is today.
On April 9, 2003 – the day Iraq was occupied – all these exile parties arrived in Iraq sitting on the US tanks. They were installed by the US in successive puppet regimes. This was also the case with the so-called Iraqi Communist Party, which before the war had claimed opposition to the war and the US in the world-wide peace movement, but which just three months after the fall of Baghdad was appointed by the US aggressors to take part in the Governing Council, a council of collaborators meant to legitimize the occupation in the eyes of the Iraqis and the world. Ever since, these “Communists” have been openly collaborating with the occupying power in order to defeat “the terrorists and extremists”, that is, the Iraqi resistance, which is fighting not only for the interests of the Iraqi people, but for the interests of all the peoples of the world and against the US, “the great enemy of mankind”, as Che Guevara stated more than 35 years ago.
In other words, history has shown who the real agents were, and who helped the enemy and betrayed their country and people. And this puts the policy of the former Iraqi government towards these parties in a completely different light, both politically and historically. In no country, treason is just “political opposition”, but the highest crime.
Naturally, the above facts call in question every single information that these US-backed Iraqis in the West, the Western media and their “Iraq experts” have provided on Iraq and Iraqi matters in the course of time.
Therefore, it is my clear view that any serious treatment and discussion of Iraq, in the past, present and future, must take into account information and assessments of the government of independent Iraq and the Baath Party, which for no less than 35 years held governmental power in Iraq; which was capable of uniting Iraqis across religious and ethnical differences for a common national project; which was the main political force in the construction of the modern, industrialized Iraq; which prepared and made the foundations for the current liberation struggle of the Iraqi people, and which today, together with other patriotic Iraqi forces, is fighting the US-led occupying power and its Iraqi lackeys in the struggle for the independence, self-determination and freedom of Iraq.
The present, translated interview is a contribution for this purpose.
*This article is the preface of the Danish translation of ”Exclusive Interview with Tariq Aziz”, Free Arab Voice, September 29, 2002
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