Grand Ayatollah Ahmed Alhasani al-Baghdadi

Resistance, Not Terror

The Grand Ayatollah Ahmed Alhasani al-Baghdadi Ahmed Alhasani al-Baghdadi is one of the grand ayatollahs, the highest in the Shi’ite hierarchy. In religious terms he has followers among Shi’ites in Iraq and abroad, but since 2003 he has been renowned for his opinion of rejecting the presence of the US forces in Iraq. He also refuses to take part in the political process in Iraq under the occupation. He has more than 30 published books that are available to view (in Arabic) on his website, with the best known being Authority and the Shi’ite Religious Institution in Iraq, The Islamic Manifesto and Thus Spoke Albaghdadi.

The grand ayatollah is not easy to meet. He doesn’t stay in one place for more than one day. He is always on the move because he and the people around him think he is targeted by the Americans for his opinions, which are supportive of the military resistance in Iraq. He spoke to Munthir Alkewther in Najaf.

Munthir Alkewther: What do you think of the resistance in Iraq?

Grand Ayatollah al-Baghdadi: In the name of Allah and from him we seek help. There is a demagogic propaganda against the national and Islamic practical and political resistance, which asserts that [the resistance] targets and kills children, women and old people. Those who carry this propaganda are forgetting that the world is becoming a village and there is a difference between resistance and terror.

Resistance is the right to fight in order to kick out the occupiers from the Islamic homeland. This opinion is based on the Koran and the correct teachings of the Prophet Mohammed. It is also based on international law according to the Geneva Conventions. Terrorism, on the other hand, is what targets the infrastructure and popular areas, and this is one of the biggest sins from an Islamic point of view.

MA: Does this mean you support the resistance carrying guns to enable them to attack the American and British troops?

Al-B: There should be no doubt about it. People have the right to free their countries from any occupation; even President [George W] Bush in a speech condemned terrorism in Iraq and complimented the resistance when he said, “If my country was occupied, I would have fought.”

MA: Are you demanding that the Americans leave immediately or gradually?

Al-B: I repeated many times: the Americans should be removed immediately from Iraq, but after I found that all the people who are resisting the occupation were asking for a timetable for the Americans to leave, then I accepted the principle of having a timetable. Even if the Americans’ claims come true and a civil war broke out in Iraq, then that should not be a big issue, because as Iraqis we will reach an agreement in the end.

MA: What is the alternative you suggest to the Americans and the Iraqi government, which you describe as American agents?

Al-B: When the Americans and their agents leave we will establish an advisory council to have people with differing political opinions from this nation. We give the Americans a period of two years to leave, then a constitution has to be written by people who are specialized in law, and then this constitution is submitted to the Iraqis for their approval.

MA: Giving the differing opinions of Iraqis, how can you ensure the gathering of this advisory council?

Al-B: The Americans were imagining that the Iraqi people would throw roses on their tanks, but they were surprised by the fierce resistance. Then they replaced their military governor, Jay Garner, with Paul Bremer, who achieved the idea of politically dividing Iraqis into sects and races. This resulted in chaos, destruction and killing of people because of their identity and because of their non-identity. As a result of these genocides, we as Iraqis will reach an agreement.

MA: What do think of the main Iranian attitude when it comes to Iraq?

Al-B: As an Iraqi, I don’t want anyone to intervene in my [internal] affairs because Iraq has sovereignty, and if an agreement happened between the Americans and our brothers the Iranians, we would ask the Iranians to demand from the Americans that Iraq is Arab, the withdrawal of Americans according to a two-year maximum timetable, and we demand full independence for Iraq. We have good relations with the Iranians because they support freedom movements all around the world, particularly against American hegemony. If the Iranians took those three conditions, they will save the whole area from Americans plans.

Now we find the new racist American wall to be built in Baghdad as the beginning of the division of Iraq into states. They are  building this wall in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad and their excuse is to protect people from terrorism, although this will not prevent the throwing of grenades and mortars over the wall. This wall isn’t spontaneous; it is an introduction for the Iraqi capital to be divided in two, one for Shi’ites and the other for Sunnis.

MA: Who do you think is responsible for building this wall, the Americans or the Iraqi government?

Al-B: There is no government in Iraq; there is only a handful of employees who take orders from Americans. These people in the Green Zone are a group of spies.

MA: What are the benefits for the United States when they have divided Baghdad?

Al-B: In order to stop the attacks that target them, in order for them to remain in Iraq and in order to keep the area busy and confuse everyone, including Iran.

MA: Why do you lack trust in the Americans’ intentions?

Al-B: The American administrations and not the American people are the enemies of people everywhere. They are provoking wars. Look at what they did in Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq. They even let down their own agents. They don’t have permanent friendships or enemies, they only have permanent benefits. If America wanted freedom and democracy for the people, they wouldn’t have intervened in Iraq in this barbaric, [Adolf] Hitler-like manner, crushing all international laws and legislation. America is not a charity organization; there is a big resource of Iraqi [petroleum]. If America stayed on this track, it would collapse.

MA: Why don’t you believe that the US wants to establish democracy?

Al-B: America occupied Iraq for [petroleum] and secondly to control the countries of Middle Asia.

MA: What is your opinion of the Sadr movement?

Al-B: The al-Sadr movement is a revolutionary movement demanding the withdrawal of the Americans. They also have groups that fight the American army. The majority of this movement is from the poor people who are poverty-stricken and have had their rights taken from them. They are not from the high classes; they feel what their nation feels.

MA: Do you expect a political future for the Sadr movement?

Al-B: Their political discourse isn’t well established and their relationships with other revolutionary movements that demand Iraq’s freedom need more coherence. They are targeted by the occupiers because of their belief of expecting the rise of the Imam Mahdi.

MA: What is your opinion of the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq (of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim), and its political attitude?

Al-B: Everyone who took part in the so-called political procedure in Iraq has committed treason and a sin; this applies to the Supreme Council and whoever else took part.

MA: You complimented the Sadr movement even though it took part in the political procedure in Iraq. How do you explain that?

Al-B: I advised them that what they are doing is against Islamic sharia law. I said that even in an international conference in Italy. Fighting is a must and armed resistance is the only way. Once we get involved in the political procedure, we would give legitimacy to the occupation.

MA: What is your evaluation of the religious Shi’ite grand ayatollahs and their attitude toward occupation?

Al-B: There is the American media machine and its followers; they say that the religious institute in Najaf with all its members supports the political procedure, ie, they support the division of Iraq. There are lots of grand ayatollahs in Najaf, and not only four. The Americans want to make people think that the religious institution in Najaf supports the occupation. I am one of the grand ayatollahs in this nation and I say I don’t support the political procedure. I call for boycotting the economy and all institutions, following the way of [Mahatma] Gandhi and also taking to armed fighting.

MA: Are there other grand ayatollahs in Najaf or Iraq who think the same way as you do?

Al-B: The whole of the Iraqi people are fighting. There are only four grand ayatollahs who are with the Americans. [Henry] Kissinger said: “If [Grand Ayatollah Ali al-]Sistani was against the American existence in Iraq, we would have left within a few weeks.” That’s why they wanted to grant him the Nobel Prize. Sistani and Bashir al-Najafi are not Iraqis. Sistani is an Iranian nationalist. If [Imam] Ali and [caliph] Omar were alive they would have fought against America. If Bush was a Muslim, I would have accepted him, even if the Americans gave us complete freedom; still Islam ordered us to fight with them. It is according to the Koran that we shouldn’t let non-Muslims govern us. Sistani is keeping silent and not uttering a word of truth, so he is a dumb devil. I say fighting is a must and it is the only way to free the land and humans.

MA: What about the death squads, and who is responsible for their existence?

Al-B: Recall the Phoenix agreement in Vietnam at the time of Ho Chi Minh when he was the leader of the resistance and when the resistance achieved victories: American political thinkers established death squads. They bore the slogan “We are thirsty for fresh blood” in order to demonize the Vietnamese resistance. When the Americans faced an increase in the Iraqi resistance and its victory, American ambassador [John] Negroponte used his brain to establish death squads in order to discredit the real national resistance. One of the things to prove that is when the so-called Iraqi police check the remains of an exploded car, they find the chassis number is American.

(This article first appeared in Published with permission.)


~ by r7fel on May 28, 2007.

One Response to “Grand Ayatollah Ahmed Alhasani al-Baghdadi”

  1. Hi Jim. Photos i received. Thanks

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