2004: A year of hope
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2004: A year of hope

Let's enter 2004 hoping for the best and prepared for the worst.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2005 19:59 IST

As the world enters fourth year of the century of terror, the name of the game would be to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. Despite the Anglo-American occupation of Iraq and capture of Saddam Hussein, the venomous seeds sowed by the iniquitous power politics is most likely to lead to bloodier consequences in the Middle East in particular and rest of the world in general.

No doubt Saddam’s abominable blood would give a new four-year long lease of life to President George W. Bush and his horde of hawks trying to create a new world order based on disorder and might as right. Saddam’s capture does signify the end of an era but it does not yet mean the beginning of a new one. And in any case, as the British journalist John Simpson put it “Saddam or no Saddam, they want us out”.

When Saddam’s two sons were exterminated, there was euphoria in Washington and London that much of the resistance would die with them since they were considered as the iron hands of their father. As against this expectation, Iraqi defiance continued to mount and since Saddam’s arrest on December 14 there has been no let up in the struggle by the people to the extent that now it is being conceded that Saddam’s capture would not ease the situation. The increasing bomb blasts, attacks on the occupationary forces and their touts are a manifestation of the Iraqi resolution to get rid of the Anglo-American troops from their soil.

There has not been even a temporary set back. And the reasons for this are obvious since Iraqi resistance has several strains and vested interests. Nationalists have their own agenda. They have not taken up arms in support of Saddam but to free their country from foreign occupation. Being proud and conscientious people as they are, they will not give up until their country’s independence and sovereignty are restored. Although various religious groups do not have or share a common platform but they too are united to end foreign occupation. The only people who are supportive of Anglo-American occupation are the Kurds who have perhaps been promised a separate homeland. All said and done, we do not see any reason to believe that the situation in Iraq will be any less troublesome than it has been since the official end of the war.

The Iraqis are a proud people. They might not have approved of Saddam’s ruthlessness but his vision of Iraq among them still has hope for the future. They owe to him very high literacy rate among the Arabs. They have been recipients of rapid economic development, broad based distribution of wealth as opposed to its concentration in few hands in other Arab countries, greater social mobility and fostering of a strong highly educated middle class providing backbone to business and administration. Much of the resistance now is believed to be coming from this middle class which is trying to act as the bastion of nation-state that Saddam and Baath party managed to convert Iraq into. Indeed, it goes to their credit that despite a decade-long UN sanctions against Iraq they managed to survive and sustain their population adequately with all the essentials that it needed. They feel that if left alone to themselves, the massive oil reserves that they have will provide bright prospects of economic self-sufficiency and a hope in a better future. Whether one likes it not, Saddam and the Baath party had galvanised them into a nation and they had evolved a socio-economic system that did ensure greatest good of the largest number, although the rulers denied dissent, freedom of expression and had no room for multi-party system or political activity. Notwithstanding Saddam's long tyrannical rule, today majority of the Iraqis feel humiliated by Anglo-American occupation.

First Published: Jan 05, 2004 19:05 IST