Friday, 4 May 2007
Sami Ramadani interview: ‘Iraq is not a communal war’
Issue: 114 of the new ISJ
Sami Ramadani, an Iraqi exile based in Britain, spoke to International Socialism about the situation in the country after four years of occupation
International Socialism spoke to you and Haifa Zangana about 15 months ago. At that stage both of you were saying that, while there was some sectarianism, it was not the Iraqi way. Today people say sectarianism is the dominant factor in Iraq—this is not just the argument of those on the right, but also people like Patrick Cockburn on the left [see ‘Alternative Views of Iraq’]. How do you see the situation?
There is a greater degree of sectarianism since that interview. This is mainly due to the grip that sectarian parties have established on the formal politics of the country. They are backed by the occupying forces financially, and in every other sense. The rise in sectarianism is mainly reflected in the battle for power between the sectarian parties that are in the government. All of the factions cooperate with the occupation, but they are also competing with each other for a greater share in political power, and ultimately Iraq’s wealth. These forces cannot obtain any substantial social base without appealing on the basis of a religion, sect or ethnicity. The growth of sectarianism aids and abets their existence. The greater the sectarian divide, the greater their chance of having a wider social base.
Having said all that, I am still of the opinion that the sectarian conflict in Iraq—between the forces I have described—is not yet the dominant factor among the masses in the streets. If there was a communal civil war in the streets, towns and cities of Iraq, that would be a very serious development. I do not think we are anywhere near this stage. Indeed, the people’s hostility to the governmental parties and the occupation, and the historical absence of mass sectarian hostility have all combined to prevent large-scale communal strife and violence.
International Socialism Journal 114