Dr Khudayr al-Murshidi, official representative of the Iraqi Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party, has warned that the United States is seeking to divide the resistance movement in Iraq.
Speaking in the Syrian capital Damascus last weekend, the Iraqi Ba’athist leader declared: ‘Iraq is still under American occupation, there are 140,000 American soldiers in Iraq.
And regardless of the manoeuvres through which they say there was a withdrawal from cities to bases and so on, facts prove that there are tens of thousands of mercenaries working for security firms.
‘This is in addition to a number of armies affiliated with the regular American Army and the mercenary army, I mean the armies of the economic and security companies and the party militias with their death squads.’
However, he said: ‘The raging resistance against this occupation is growing and escalating, supported by the overwhelming majority of the Iraqi people.’
On the Ba’ath Party’s call for forming a higher leadership for the resistance, Al-Murshidi stressed the need to unify resistance factions as the way for Iraq’s liberation.
He recalled that the Ba’ath Party and its Secretary General Izzat al-Duri have been calling for such unity since 2003.
He expressed his belief that it is now easier to unify the resistance factions because ‘these factions got together within known fronts that are not more than three’.
On the resistance strategy after the American pullout from Iraqi cities, the Ba’ath official said: ‘The resistance has a clear strategy: chasing after and attacking the occupation troops wherever they are in Iraq.
‘This is the general principle, but the means available to the resistance are limited.
‘It is known that confrontation with American troops moving in the streets of Iraqi cities is different from a confrontation with American troops stationed in bases.
‘There are various means of resistance and their use depends on the nature of the deployment of the American forces.
‘The resistance drew up a strategy after the American decision to pull out of cities, although the American withdrawal is not a real withdrawal because the Americans are still present in the heart of the Iraqi cities.
‘I stress that tens, indeed hundreds, of rockets are fired by all resistance factions at the American bases and the positions of the occupation troops.’
Al-Murshidi also stressed that his party categorically prohibits attacks on Iraqis, including the security forces, stating: ‘We in the Ba’ath Party and the Higher Command for Jihad and Liberation explained and publicised this position; namely, that we absolutely prohibit the killing of any Iraqi, including those who work for the police, the Army, or the Awakening Councils.
‘This is because we know that the overwhelming majority of these Iraqis joined those agencies because of the difficult living conditions.
‘We will not raise our weapons in the face of these people except in cases of self-defence, when they volunteer to defend the Americans, fight on their behalf, and storm houses.’
Al-Murshidi said the political process in Iraq has ‘proved its failure’ and ‘led Iraq to destruction’.
He called on those who joined this process under the pretext that they were willing to change it from within, to withdraw from it and join the resistance, whether military or political.
‘It was proved,’ he says, that this process is ‘a joint exercise by the American-Zionist plan, which they wanted to apply in Iraq, and the Safawi Iranian plan, which found an appropriate environment to infiltrate Iraq and the region through Iraq.’
Al-Murshidi stressed: ‘The Iraqi resistance is the heir of the national state.
‘The resistance factions, in all their names and headings – and I do not exclude the Islamic Army, the 1920 Revolution Brigades, Al-Rashidin Army, and others – are led by (former) Iraqi Army officers.
‘I am responsible for what I am saying. Yes, some brother Islamic mujahideen emerged after the occupation and played an honourable role in resisting the occupation.
‘They are the sons of the Iraqi national state.’
He added: ‘When I say that the resistance is an extension of our national state, it means that it certainly has the ability to make its weapons and the ability for innovation and planning. It relied on itself from the first moment.’
He added that the resistance relied on the weapons, training expertise, and military industrialisation that the Iraqi state provided.
He pointed out that military industrialisation experts ‘locally produced or developed many rockets’.
He continued that ‘we possess a great deal’ of weapons.
He added: ‘What we announce is only a small part of the capabilities that the resistance possesses, capabilities through which the resistance can fight the occupiers for tens of years.
‘The resistance will not wane. It will continue to grow until the last occupation soldier has been expelled from Iraq.’
Al-Murshidi casts doubts on the official American figures on the American fatalities in Iraq.
‘Resistance figures show that between 30,000 and 35,000 occupation soldiers were killed in Iraq,’ he said.
On negotiations between the Americans and some resistance factions, the Ba’ath Party representative said that his party was not consulted about the talks.
He said: ‘What happened concerns the brothers in the Political Council of the Resistance, and we should not exaggerate what they did.
‘It was nothing more than a meeting with an American party.’
Warning that the Americans are trying to divide the resistance, he said: ‘Those who want to negotiate with the occupier must meet three conditions.
‘Firstly, they must be prepared to adhere to Iraq’s rights in full, without relinquishing any of them. If they give up any right, they will not be able to conclude any agreement with the occupier because the overwhelming majority of the resistance rejects this approach.
‘The brothers who went to the negotiations were a minority, representing no more than five per cent of the resistance. Any agreement between them and the occupier, therefore, will not be respected by the other resistance factions, the real players on the ground, or by the people of Iraq.
‘Secondly, those who go to negotiate should consult with the other fronts. There are other anti-occupation fronts, factions, and forces. You need to consult with them on the issue of rights and principles, on the common view, and on what to negotiate.
‘Thirdly, those who negotiate with the occupier must have legitimacy.’
Al-Murshidi stressed that the Ba’ath Party will not negotiate with the Americans before they recognise all Iraq’s rights, primarily that the Iraqi resistance is ‘the sole legitimate representative of the Iraqi people.’
He said: ‘Arab and non-Arab mediators came to us two weeks ago and we told them: “Let the Americans recognise Iraq’s rights as established in the Liberation and Independence Programme and then we will have no problem talking to them.”
‘They also need to prove good intention and abolish the de-Ba’athification law.’
He said that the Americans also need to stop raids and arrests against ‘the patriots, Ba’athists, and honourable people’ and to recognise Iraq’s rights in full.
‘When they announce this to the world, we might be convinced that the Americans are serious about a dialogue.’
Al-Murshidi insisted: ‘There is no security or political vacuum in Iraq. This is a big lie the occupation makes to justify its presence in Iraq.
‘It is also a lie made by the countries of the region that want the American forces to stay in Iraq.
‘Some Arab countries regrettably believe that a security and political vacuum will happen (after the American withdrawal) and that the Iraqis are unable to rule their country.’
He added that the 6,000-year-old Iraq does not lack the talent to rule itself.
‘There are two plans in Iraq: the plan of the occupation and its followers and the plan of the resistance and its supporters. The plan that will win the conflict will fill the vacuum.’
Al-Murshidi alleged there is ‘flagrant’ Iranian meddling in Iraq’s affairs, adding that the Americans ‘brought Iran’s agents to rule Iraq.’ He sees an ‘American-Iranian partnership in the occupation of Iraq.’