Interview with Ahmed Karim, leader of the Patriotic opposition of the Iraqi Communist Party
Anti-imperialist Camp: How do you evaluate the development of the resistance?
Ahmed Karim: Frankly speaking, I did not expect such a rapid expansion of the resistance movement. Many set all their hopes on the Iraqi army and then were frustrated by the betrayal of the high command. On the level of popular organisation almost nothing could be prepared before the attack, though we asked the regime of Saddam Hussein to grant us elementary liberties in exchange for our support against the US aggression. Beside the fact that Saddam reacted only reluctantly it was too late anyway. Considering these circumstances, the development is more than we could have expected. The military resistance is firmly rooted and backed by the broad masses of the poor classes and not only by them. And the resistance keeps growing – also thanks to the appalling atrocities perpetrated by the occupying army. And we should not forget that we have the strong support of the Arab masses and at least the sympathy of the majority of the world population. Even in Europe many people side with us without daring to express it openly. Indeed, now it is far too late for the US to take a soft stance and thus lulling the resistance into sleep, whatever step they make it leads to new escalation.
AIC: Do you think that the "Governing Council" will succeed in stabilising the situation to a point that the US can hand over power to a puppet regime?
AK: No, the council became a part of the problem, not its solution. The US army has to protect them, to feed them, to pay them and they start asking themselves about returning back home. The council has lost even the slightest trace of credibility within the popular masses if it ever might have had one. This is being reflected in the fact that some elements of the Iraqi forcess that supported the US and were organised by them in the London alliance now oppose the council. That does by no means indicate a change of their treacherous role but by that move they try to increase their weight in front of their masters.
AIC: How do you comment the participation of the Iraqi Communist Party in the US governing council?
AK: This is the worst thing I could ever imagine. Before this incredible treason the party leadership was already moribund with its implicit support for the genocidal embargo and the military aggression. But now they are completely burned, dead. Any communist worth this name must be in the first line of the resistance, with the masses. Anybody who serves the occupation is an enemy of the people who only deserves to be fought against.
AIC: But does this evoke opposition and splits within the Communist Party and the communist milieu?
AK: While the party leadership is opening offices all over the place under the protection of the US occupation forces, many of communists turn their backs towards the party and join the ranks of the resistance. The party which was once the strongest party of Iraq is like a dead corpse. But this mortal crisis, this agony of the party does produce opposition even within the central committee. Not all are supporting the suicidal line. Soon we will experience splits.
AIC: How will the anti-imperialist communists act in order to build a communist wing of the resistance?
AK: First we will participate by all means in the resistance and its attempts to build a common national liberation front. Only by fighting we will be able to rebuild the communist movement. Regarding the remnants of the CP we will organise a conference right in Baghdad. The leadership will try to sabotage our attempts but we will proceed with or without them. This will be combined with an open letter by the patriotic communists supported by nearly all the Arab communist parties. No single party supports the US occupation and its governing council. They support us.
AIC: How do you judge the possibilities of the construction of a national resistance front?
AK: This front is an urgent necessity and I am sure that it will see the light of day sooner or later. Eventually we will succeed to bridge the differences between the leaderships of the Nationalist, Islamic and Communist forces. On the popular level this co-operation is already evident as the resistance is no matter of religion or confession but of national and social self-determination. However, we cannot say how long it will take us to forge the front. You have to bear in mind that the occupation has been lasting for only have a year while we have been deprived of political life for decades. We need time, much more time to build the necessary central leadership and command.
AIC: Is it true that the relation with the Shiite leadership is the main political problem for the resistance?
AK: There is no common Shiite leadership. On one hand there are some clerics who only care to preserve their role. They oppose the occupation not as a principle but only insofar as their interests are endangered. The US have already understood that their governing council will not carry them far and that they need other pillars. Therefore they are wooing some clerical leaders. On the other hand you have to keep in mind that there are millions of very poor Shiites. They used to be communists and now they want to fight the occupation. They mainly defend their class interest which includes independence from imperialism. They will follow whatever leadership which provides for that. The process revolving around the definition of the political role of the clerics has not finished yet and will be object of further conflicts. Its outcome is decisive for the resistance – and that does indeed know also the US. They are powerful and will always find people ready to collaborate.
AIC: What you expect of the global anti-war movement?
AK: We absolutely need that movement on several levels. First of all in the US and Great Britain to set pressure an the warmongers to force them to eventually withdraw they troops. Secondly you need to exert pressure to the European governments not to retroactively justify the aggression and occupation by giving money or sending troops even if this happens under the guise of the UN. The US and its British watchdog must be progressively isolated. Thirdly the resistance needs direct political support as has been given by the Anti-imperialist Camp. The resolution adopted in Assisi and endorsed by dozens of organisations around the world openly calling for the victory of the resistance has been spread in Iraq and has encouraged the resistance movement. We look forward to the international demonstration not only against the occupation but also in favour of the resistance scheduled for December 6 in Rome. If thousand and thousands will express their support for as it that will be a big political blow against our enemies and their European, Middle East and Iraqi collaborators.
Vienna, October 27, 2003