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How can Tariq Ali justify an apologia for terrorists?

By Jim Nolan - posted Thursday, 1 July 2004

Thirty years ago the brilliant political satire of the late great Peter Cook – The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer – lampooned a rent-a-crowd student radical who by common consensus was deemed to be based on the young Tariq Ali. Ali’s recent strident apologia for the jihadists and Ba’athist remnants terrorising ordinary Iraqis reminds us that we would be grateful were he merely a gun for hire.  

He is deadly serious, however, and his message is poisonous – only the conceit of blind ideology can account for Ali’s idiosyncratic support for the reactionary forces in present day Iraq.

Somehow or other, an election in Iraq in around six months’ time is anathema to Ali, whereas, curiously, no election for 30 years under Saddam still doesn’t figure as a useful basis for comparison.


No matter that the UN Security Council, NATO, and the French (no less) have resolved to support the interim government and free elections for Iraq. Even the fat boy scowler Moqtada al Sadr has now – better late than never – decided that elections may not be such a bad idea after all.

For good measure, the Washington Post reported the weekend of June 26/27 that nearly 70 per cent of Iraqis support the new government and high levels of approval have been given to the new President and Prime Minister.

Whereas every social democrat in the world should wish for and support the transition in Iraq, as do the great majority of Iraqis, Ali continues to run interference on behalf of the laughably misdescribed “resistance” whose only beneficiaries are the Islamists. The only resistance they represent is resistance to civilization, democracy and any semblance of human rights.

A comprehensive report in the June 27th issue of Time magazine describes Ali’s “resistance” members out of their own mouths:

Their goal now, say the militants interviewed, is broader than simply forcing the U.S. to leave. They want to transform Iraq into what Afghanistan was in the 1980s: a training ground for young jihadists who will form the next wave of recruits for al-Qaeda and like-minded groups. Nearly all the new jihadist groups claim to be receiving inspiration, if not commands, from Abu Mousab al-Zarqawi, the suspected al-Qa'ida operative who the U.S. believes has masterminded the insurgency's embrace of terrorism.

Not troubled by the truth about these fanatics, Ali marshals his best Battle of Algiers revolutionary rhetoric, to anoint the “resistance” as representing the “courage of the poor of Baghdad, Basra and Fallujah” who have exposed the political leaders of the West.   Really?


Contrast Ali’s dewey-eyed depiction with that of the parties of the secular left in Iraq, most notably the Iraqi Communist Party, who are unambiguous in their support for the Iraqi interim government. Last week’s edition of Tareeq Al-Shaab – the official paper of the Iraqi Communist Party had this to say about the havoc wrought by Ali’s doughty “resistance”:

Such murders and intentional harm have exposed the true nature and designs of those who carry them out and those who stand behind them. Were they to achieve their sinister aims, Iraqis would obviously face a grim future under a despotic regime similar to that of Saddam Hussein and his clique. However, the fig leaf that the terrorists sought to take cover behind has fallen. All attempts to give their crimes the semblance of credible resistance have failed.

The “butchering of Iraqis” will only further complicate the situation, and will not bring the people closer to achieving their aims in regaining full sovereignty and building a secure, peaceful country. It will only provide additional pretext for those, inside and outside the country, who want to keep Iraq bleeding in order to achieve their sinister self-interested design.

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Article edited by Margaret-Ann Williams.
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About the Author

Jim Nolan is an old fashioned social democrat and Sydney Barrister with an interest in Human Rights. He is a long-standing member of the Australian Labor Party.

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