In an ideal world, the US-
appointed interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi would find himself answerable for his craven obeisance to his US overlords, instead of using this week's Sharm el-Sheikh conference as an excuse to condemn those who are fighting back against occupation.
A year and a half ago, CIA wings wafted him and his ilk back to long-suffering Baghdad, the ancient capital of a resilient Arab people, who had somehow survived two devastating wars, 13 years of history's most punitive sanctions, the all-consuming degradations of life under a totalitarian regime, the destruction and occupation of their country by a motley crew of US soldiers, British tag-alongs, "a coalition of the coerced and the bribed" -- to use Senator John Kerry's once radical phrase -- and the harpies and carpetbaggers in the form of US private contractors, corporate swine, exiled Iraqi fraudsters, and professional torturers. Iraqis watched helplessly as their country's infrastructure was destroyed -- electricity, sewage, houses, hospitals, schools, libraries, bridges, roads -- and as their national treasures were allowed to be looted, and their natural resources robbed.
Now they are bankrupt, riven with preventable disease, chafing under emergency laws and watching as respectable political figures are roughed up and arrested for their party's stance on the methods of the occupation. There has been a regression to Saddamite tactics -- one Islamist politician's daughter and grandchildren were reported to have been arrested when he could not be found. Press freedom is muzzled, and directives are issued to the media to follow the interim-government line on Falluja, or else. But the graves of Fallujah speak for themselves: "Ya Allawi, ya jaban. Ya 'ameel al-Amercaan. Sheel idak, sheel idak. Hatha shaabak mai reedak!"
This rousing chant, in Iraqi vernacular, which calls on Allawi to make himself scarce for being a coward and a US agent, is being chanted throughout the cities of Iraq in furious demonstrations. Al-Jazeera showed one of these last week, which may explain why Allawi scurried over to the more supine al-Arabiya satellite station (which most Arabs sneer at, although not quite as hard as they do at al-Hurra, the Pentagon-financed and controlled propaganda station). There he denounced al-Jazeera yet again, having already closed down its offices more than three months ago, and harassed and insulted their journalists.
In this, he was just following in the footsteps of his US taskmasters, who sought to blow al-Jazeera off the face of the earth, first in Kabul, then in Baghdad, for allowing Arabs to see what the US was up to.
What with embedded journalists giving us asinine reports on all other stations, using marine-corps terms as though there were no others ever taught them, and with British Prime Minister Tony Blair forbidding anyone to parody US President George W. Bush, al-Jazeera has become more necessary than ever, simply because it lets Arabs speak their minds freely, with eye-witness reports of the most uncensored and unpackaged sort.
The fighting feminism on its For Women Only program puts institutionalized western feminism to shame. All that manufactured outrage over the burka, which rose to a climax precisely as bombs fell on Afghanistan; where are the cries of outrage now, when Iraqi women are being incarcerated and raped in US dungeons, where tens of thousands of their menfolk are also being held; when they are being starved, denied drinking-water, bombed, buried alive in the rubble of their homes, maimed and killed? It will prove to be the US' dirtiest war by far, and the one that destroys forever its sense of purpose and pride.