"The relevant issue is not the number of combatants but the number of civilians supporting them"



An interview with the Iraqi Resistance



Delegation of CEOSI to Iraq, 22th April, 2005
IraqSolidaridad (www.nodo50.org/iraq), 5th May, 2005
Translated into English by Lola Oliván (CEOSI)


"The different components of the Resistance share the common aim of expelling the occupiers and reject a current ideological hegemony over the others"


Abu Yusef [1] identifies himself as representative of "[...] the patriotic current of the dissolved Iraqi Armed Forces integrated in the Resistance". Abu Yusef, slowly speaking and discreet in gestures, almost white haired whose age can be no more than 55 is a former General: "Part of the actions of the Iraqi Resistance against the occupiers are being lead by members of the former Iraqi Army" that was dissolved, with the Ba'ath Party, by the Civil Administrator of the Coalition Provisional Authority, Paul Bremer, in Summer, 2003.

The corresponding political organization that integrates nationalist members of the dissolved Iraqi Army is named Free Officials Movement (FOM), which name recuperates that of a clandestine military organization made up by officials in the Monarchy period before the 1958 Revolution. With the Ba'ath Party, the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, and the People's Union (integrated by dissidents communist leaders and militants of the collaborationist line of the Iraqi Communist Party), FOM is participating in the debate for setting up a so called National Liberation Front [2], that will be presented as the political wing of the military Resistance against occupation.


Against hegemonies and sectarism


The meeting with the Delegation of CEOSI is hold in a house in Baghdad with not particular means of security. Without being necessary to accord on it, we renounce to record the conversation or to take pictures or filming. Abu Yusef advances at the beginning of his intervention a clear definition of the Iraqi Resistance:

"The Iraqi Resistance rejects terrorism, kidnappings, extortion, assaults over houses and attacks against temples; it protects the academic and public institutions, since they are a collective patrimony of the Iraqi people. The Iraqi Resistance has as aim to expel the occupiers and to preserve the unity of the Iraqi territory and the Iraqi people"

Abu Yusef does not identify the Resistance with any ideological -nationalist or Islamic- current; neither has he expressed that one or another is the majority between the combatants: "The different components of the Resistance share the common aim of expelling the occupiers and reject a current ideological hegemony over the others". Abu Yusef is categorical regarding that the insurgent movement "[] will defend the principle of citizenship and will respect the popular will" once the liberation of the country from occupiers is achieved. He adds that it is necessary to keep the armed Resistance "[] far away from the religious fanaticism and from any ethnic or confessional identification".

Abu Yusef joins the repeated consideration of all our interlocutors while staying in Iraq regarding the intention of US and the Iraqi collaborationist forces to artificially induce a civil conflict in the Arab country [3]. He said so in a moment of the meeting when they showed us a list that includes one thousand names and details of individuals supposedly against to occupation and that are to be killed. The list -that was leaked to the Resistance by public workers of the Iraqi Interior Ministry- was jointly elaborated by the militias of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Badr organization and the militias of Ahmad Chalabi. It would confirm the set in motion of the death squadrons in Iraq.

In the same sense, Abu Yusef criticized the fetwa (Islamic edict) by the ayatollah as-Sistani of last 22nd March, in which he sanctioned the delivery of information to the Iraqi secret and security services on the Resistance and the opposition; an edict "[] that not only does not condemns the occupation but that supports it and benefits it while deepening the project of Iraqi internal confrontation" as our interlocutor states.


Legitimate targets


Asked on the level of unification between the different armed groups, Abu Yusef points out that "[] the Resistance is in a phase of improving its coordination while the process of creating unified commands goes ahead". Abu Yusef avoids answering on the number of effectives in the Resistance and points out: "The relevant issue is not the number of combatants but the number of civilians supporting them".

The Iraqi Resistance, adds Abu Yusef, "[] is developing a different experience from that of the guerrillas movements in between the Second World War and the 70's" and taking into consideration that it dopes not counts of secure bases as it was the case, for instance, in Vietcom. Abu Yusef is in this sense very critic when it comes to stand out that any Arab country limiting Iraq is supporting by any means the Iraqi Resistance and that, on the contrary, they collaborate with the occupiers. The Iraqi Resistance, adds Abu Yusef, gets its founding exclusively by the internal Iraqi contributions.

Abu Yusef differentiates between what he calls "legitimate targets" of the armed activity from those that are not:

"The occupiers, the traitors and the collaborationists [are legitimate targets of the armed activity]. Also targets of the Iraqi Resistance are as well the Iraqi Police and the National Guard, militias created by the occupiers to protect themselves from the Resistance and that are being used currently as the vanguard of the occupation forces [in the contra-insurgent operations]".

However, Abu Yusef is categorical in pointing out that the Resistance never resorts to car-booms neither perpetrates indiscriminate attacks that kill Iraqi civilians. "The Resistance -he adds- resorts to bomb attacks in the shoulders [against the convoys of the occupation forces], to missile and mortar projectiles bombing, grenade launchers, and light armament".

Abu Yusef appeals to the expression "mixed cards" to describe the confusion and manipulation through internet that call the authorship of actions that being legitimate operations of the Resistance are being presented as terrorist attacks by some of the groups associated to Al-Qaeda or to az-Zarqawi. Sometimes, Abu Yusef adds, some of the indiscriminate actions adjudicated to these plots are, however, carried out by "[...] religious currents of foreign Arab youngs that are not associated to Al-Qaeda" and neither linked to the internal Resistance.

They are also legitimate targets the oil infrastructure while the State companies provide oil to the consortium of US companies of Halliburton, as well as the tanker trucks convoys that nourish the occupation forces with oil and that can be seen usually in the network of highways in the periphery of Baghdad escorted by US armoured military vehicles.

However, Abu Yusef indicates that not all the sabotages against pipelines are Resistance actions; an affirmation that will be repeated by other interlocutors of the Delegation of CEOSI while staying in Iraq: sometimes, particularly in the south but also in the Kirkut-Ceyhan net, in the north, some Iraqi public workers associated to mafia dam up clandestinely the spilled oil or increase the figures of burnt oil in an attack to smuggling it later.


Withdraw from Iraq


"We are sure that US is going to leave Iraq; that they are looking for a way to get out of Iraq. That's why they are establishing and protecting internal entities and [security] forces that are the continuity of the militias made up of the parties that came with the occupiers: their loyalty is to money, not to the country", affirms Abu Yusef. After quoting Winston Churchill ("US makes a mistake once, they makes the same mistake a second time but at the third time they get right"), Abu Yusef affirms that he has not doubt that soon or later the occupiers will have to open a direct negotiation with the armed Resistance -attempts of negotiations that, as other Iraqi interlocutors of CEOSI Delegation indicated, would be a fact at least since eight months ago.



1. Abu Yusef is not necessarily a pseudonym. Popularly in the Arab country men change their original name by his first son or daughter's name preceded by Abu, "father of".
2. The Delegation of CEOSI had access to two drafts of this document elaborated by different organizations promoting the Front. In one of them, it adds to the National denomination that other of Islamist: National and Islamic Liberation Front. See in IraqSolidarity a forthcoming article.
3. Abu Yusef emphasizes the tolerance that has characterized Iraq traditionally with a personal example of curious religious syncretism: being her mother a Muslim, and due to the lateness of getting pregnant, she resorted to an image of the Iraqi Christians Virgin to get it lighting Her candles in a Christian church of Iraq.