Iraqi predicts end to ‘Saddamist abuses’

By WND Staff

The head of the Iraqi Free Officers Movement – which supports overthrowing Saddam Hussein’s regime and establishing a new, democratic government – has published an article laying out his vision for a new Iraq after Saddam is ousted.

The Iraqi opposition newspaper Al-Mu’tamar published the article by Gen. Al-Salhi, which was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

Before defecting in 1995, Al-Salhi served in the Iraqi military as commander of the Republican Guards tank battalion, commander of the 16th Armored Brigade, as commander of the 27th Mechanized Infantry Brigade, and as chief of staff of the 1st Mechanized Division.

Writes Al-Salhi, “The regime of the despot Saddam Hussein is nearing its end and, for the first time since the establishment of the modern Iraq state in 1921, there are signs of a new order that would replace the pits of crime and the abyss of disasters the Iraqi people [have] suffered from.

“The removal of the Saddam regime will not usher the season of spring immediately. Saddam’s legacy would fall as a heavy burden on the incoming regime in terms of a destroyed infrastructure and a country ridden with economic, political, social, cultural, financial and legal problems. Add to this a quasi-disjointed social environment – men and women exhausted by coercive despotism, state police, the drums of war, suffocating sanctions and a legacy of arbitrariness, injustice and corruption.”

Al-Salhi continues his confident tone, speculating about the new regime:

“Here are a people emerging from a frightful prison, seeking freedom without boundaries. This will be one of the significant scenes in the days and weeks that will follow the collapse of the ancient regime and the rise of a new one. This will raise a number of critical questions: What will be the nature of the new regime? What will be its strategy for putting the country on the right course? What are its abilities to provide a sense of social, psychological and political stability? The failure to address these issues early on will place a question mark on Iraq’s ability to survive as a unified political entity.

“For the Iraqis, the credibility of the new regime will be tested by its prompt application of laws that would transform the country politically, socially and economically. The people will be looking toward a multi-faceted political system that will abide by the result of the ballot, respect human rights and guarantee a unified and prosperous Iraq.”

The opposition leader sees new rights extended to the women and children in Iraq.

“The Iraqi women ought to be liberated and their legitimate rights restored,” writes Al-Salhi. “There is a need for legislation that would protect the rights of women and children after years of Saddamist abuses. It is important to underline the constitutional rights of women in terms of equality in education, work, culture and politics. It is a fiction, and absurd, to rebuild a destroyed country with half of its people paralyzed or unemployed.

“This will require the rebuilding of the educational system on principles that will ensure a new and healthy family, free from fear. A new regime should pass laws that will do away with the unnatural circumstances that forced the child to leave school and the security of his family.”

Al-Salhi next sets his sights on the economic programs “created by Saddam and his gang.”

“In its attempt to create unnatural sources of wealth, the Saddam gang has wrecked the foundations of the national economy and destroyed the middle class and the productive forces of the society. It has derailed the civilian economy from its natural course to satisfy its aggressive, militaristic and intelligence appetites. The need calls for the mobilization of all the natural resources as well as the physical and human capacities for the accelerated production of goods and services in high quality compatible with international standards.”

The solution, says Al-Salhi, is in transforming the present economy controlled by the central government bureaucracy to a “free economy where the private sector would have great freedoms to take its part in the development and growth of the national economy.”

Al-Salhi then addresses needed restructuring of the security and military establishment of Iraq:

“The current psychology, which is built on fear from a despotic regime, cannot be changed overnight. The social and demographic changes wrought by Saddam to preserve his rule beg the question: Is it possible to rely on the military establishment and the security apparatus to maintain law and order after the fall of the regime? It will be necessary to examine each establishment – army, policy, security on a scientific basis –and destroy the foundations created by Saddam, and bring them all under public scrutiny. The military establishment, in particular, must be reorganized on the basis of the new democratic national life. Military units should return to their barracks, away from political and party activities. They have to be reduced in size to a level that would ensure active defense of the national security. …

“There may be an inclination to take revenge on those who committed crimes against humanity. The new regime must be firm in establishing the rule of law. Individuals should be tried based on crimes they have individually committed rather than on the basis of a collective guilt. Compassion and amnesty may be necessary.”