In his first audio recording since the fall of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on 9th April 2003, Izzat al-Duri, Iraqi vice-president, declared that this year ‘will be the year of finishing the US presence in Iraq’.
He said now is the time for ‘striking the enemy everywhere and at all times to make this year our starting point for the final conclusion to the great victory, with God’s permission and our strong force, to destroy the enemy and liberate the homeland.’
Al-Duri called on US President George Bush to leave Iraq and admit the true US losses during the past years.
He said: ‘I address you Mr President on behalf of the great Iraqi people and the glorious nation in the same way that one of its sons addresses an invading enemy.
‘I say: This great Iraqi people will keep fighting you until Doomsday!
‘So leave our country, oh tyrant invader. You have killed, dispersed, displaced, destroyed, and demolished enough.
‘The experience of more than five years of epic struggle is enough for you.
‘I also call on you to frankly announce the number of your people who have been killed and the size of your losses – which will be announced by the Americans themselves in the near future, whether you like it or not.’
Al-Duri said that the US projects inside and outside Iraq are of no value if they do not take into consideration the Iraqi resistance, and he criticised both the Al-Qaeda Organisation and the Al-Mahdi Army.
The Iraqi vice-president said the resistance was preparing for victory: ‘And for more escalation to attack the enemy everywhere and at any time to make this year our starting point for the final battle for the great victory, with God’s permission and our strong force, to destroy the enemy and liberate the homeland.
‘Oh tyrant invader, our resistance is not organised like a huge formal army so that you can amass your formal armies, which are better equipped and larger in numbers, to triumph over it.
‘The resistance can strike in this city and tomorrow in that one.
‘And it is not Al-Qaeda which offered itself to you on a golden plate to slaughter.
‘The resistance is not the Al-Mahdi Army, which even lured you with its backward methods to militarily liquidate it.’
However, Al-Duri stressed: ‘All those who fight you over the land of Iraq to liberate it have my respect, appreciation, pride, and love.’
Meanwhile, the Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) has addressed an open letter to the Arab and Muslim world in which it called on leaders, peoples, and religious, political, popular and media establishments to express their categorical and clear rejection of US attempts to impose a Security Agreement for permanent US bases in Iraq.
The AMS said: ‘We were plagued by the calamity of occupation. Unthinkable deeds were committed against us: killings, torture, the storming of cities and the violation of honour and sanctities. . .
‘We expected our Arab and Muslim world to take a stand towards such injustice and make the occupier feel there is dissatisfaction with what he is doing, at the least, and help the wronged to overcome their ordeal in the same manner as what Iraq used to provide to the Arab and Muslim world at times of tribulation, but nothing of the kind happened. . . .
‘As for the Organisation of the Islamic Conference [OIC], it has not done anything useful for our cause.
‘It has not given Iraq – a Muslim country and an OIC member, whose territory has been occupied and hundreds of thousands of its sons killed by the occupier – what is due to it in accordance with the conventions and resolutions it approved.
‘As for the Arab League, on which we had pinned many hopes, it also did not help us. But what can it do if not backed by the Arab leaders and rulers? . . .
‘We have closely watched the Arab League’s interest in the cause of fraternal Lebanon and the Arab leaders’ concern for that dear country, and we were pleased by such stands. . .
‘However, the following question remains in one’s mind: What about Iraq? Iraq today is being subjected to a different kind of plot that is more dangerous than the occupation itself, namely the US occupier’s endeavour to impose a long-term security, political, economic, and cultural treaty and to persuade the present Iraqi government, which does not represent Iraqis, by intimidation and inducement, to sign it before the departure of this US administration and before the end of the work of what is called the coalition forces in Iraq at the end of 2008.
‘Our people and their forces that oppose the occupation have rejected this unjust agreement which will embroil Iraq in the hell of a continuing occupation that will expropriate the sovereignty of Iraq and the freedom of its sons, and will seize Iraq’s territory, skies, waters, and wealth, and where the real power will be in the hands of the occupiers, their allies, mercenaries, security committees and others.
‘Brothers, our people are not deceived by the pretext of Chapter VII (of the UN Charter) which the present government is citing so as to deceive and mislead.
‘The reasons for Chapter VII no longer hold, and there is no longer any legal justification for it to remain in force.
‘After liberation it will no longer be in force without any price to pay, whether the occupier likes it or not. Yet Chapter VII is many times better than the long-term agreement the invading Bush Administration intends to impose on the Iraqi people unjustly and aggressively.
‘Various regional sides and political quarters have condemned this agreement.
‘However, it is both distressing and astonishing that Arab leaders and rulers have not, to this moment, uttered a single word about it, and the Arab League also has not done anything. . . .
‘Brothers, if this treaty is concluded and comes into force then the Arab and Muslim states, especially those neighbouring Iraq, will pay a high and also long-term price at the expense of their security, stability and economy, and the Arab League’s role will be diminished.
‘That is because the clauses of their agreements on solidarity, including the Arab Joint Defence agreement, will be merely ink on paper.
‘The treaty will maintain the manifestations of occupation and its security, political, cultural, and economic hegemony not only over Iraq but over the entire region.
‘In the name of all Iraqis, the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq calls on the brother Arab and Muslim kings, presidents, and amirs to stand by their brothers in Iraq in these difficult circumstances, by expressing their clear and unequivocal rejection of such US attempts to impose the agreement on the Iraqi people, and to seek by all means to prevent its conclusion, especially as there are differences over it within the United States that can be exploited, and as the present administration has only a few months left of its term, and should not be relied upon in anything.
‘The Iraqis, from now on, will not accept anything less than that from their brothers.
‘The Association of Muslim Scholars also calls on the OIC and the Arab League to reject the treaty and not to remain silent on it.
‘The Association of Muslim Scholars also calls on the Arab and Muslim peoples and their religious, political, popular, and media establishments to reject the said agreement and to warn of its aims and future dangers for Iraq and the entire nation.
‘The AMS calls in particular on the Sheikh of Al-Azhar and his office, the Senior Scholars Authority in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the General Union of Muslim Scholars, fatwa-issuing bodies in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and other religious and popular establishment to say a word of truth for which God will reward them, and which history will record for them.
‘Brothers, one should not trust at all the present government’s manoeuvres to lower the ceiling of the agreement by falsely demanding a timetable for the withdrawal of the oc cupation forces, or turn the agreement into an understanding, or resort to such formulas or terms that are intended to cover up this serious plot against our people.
‘This game and others are exposed to our people, for it aims to give the occupation government a measure of respect, improve its image, and enable it to claim that it was able to achieve some gains or lessen the extent of the damage.
‘That is because what the occupiers want they will impose in one form or another.
‘The principle of concluding an agreement between an occupied and powerless people with the occupation authority is the source of woes, entails dangers, and is absolutely rejected.’
The AMS concluded by warning ‘today there is no longer any excuse for anyone’.