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السبت، 6 يونيو 2015

Reminiscing Tariq Aziz (a republication)

Reminiscing Tariq Aziz (a republication)

By Malcolm Lagauche interviewing Ibrahim Ebeid. Les Blough (commentary)
Axis of Logic
Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010

Editor's NoteWe first published the following article on May 9, 2008, at the time when Washington's puppet regime in Iraq was about to put Tariq Aziz on trial. Mr. Aziz was Foreign Minister from 1983 until the U.S. bombed Iraq in 1991, under the George Bush Sr. After the U.S. bombing campaign, Aziz served as Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister until the U.S. invasion in 2003 under George Bush Jr. As Malcolm Lagauche stated below, the guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion in the 2008 show trial. Two and a half years later, it appears that the bloodlust in Washington, Israel and Baghdad is to be sated. The same war criminals who have wrought death, misery and the wreckage of the sovereign nation of Iraq, have now sentenced this gentleman to death by hanging. More than a million Iraqi souls, murdered in the name of U.S. democracy cry out for justice. But the hard truth is that there will be no justice - not for them and not for Tariq Aziz.
- Les Blough, Editor
October 27, 2010

May 9, 2008
"People say to me, you (Iraqis) are not the Vietnamese. You have no jungles and swamps to hide in. I reply, let our cities be our swamps and our buildings our jungles." - Tariq Aziz

Tariq Aziz in 2006
In the interview published below, Malcolm Lagauche tells of 2 times he saw Tariq Aziz interviewed on US television: the first, prior to Desert Storm and later, before the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
I also remember seeing Mr. Aziz interviewed on the Charlie Rose Show where Rose was no match for Aziz. Rose's feeble attempts to attack and belittle Mr. Aziz were calmly met with superior knowledge, impeccable logic and a superb use of the English language. In the end the interview was obviously embarrassing for Charlie Rose and his "liberal" media host, PBS.
It is little wonder that when seeking the video on the long list of videos on theCharlie Rose website, one finds: "Tariq Aziz: Video not available".
[2010 Addendum: Instead, PBS replaced Charlie Rose's embarrassing interview with Tariq Aziz with A conversation with David Martin from CBS News "about the surrender of Tariq Aziz, the number two official in Saddam Hussein's regime," on April 24, 2003. In his interview with Martin, Rose resuscitates his cowardly attack on Tariq Aziz when Aziz is not there to respond. In the same show, Rose and Martin served as state/corporate media for the Bush regime and Pentagon, giving credence to the existence of "weapons of mass destruction."]
- Les Blough, Editor

Friday-Sunday, May 9-11, 2008
Tariq Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Iraqi Christian.
Tariq Aziz is about to go on trial for the murder of 42 people in Iraq in 1992. The verdict, as with all the so-called trials of the Ba'ath regime members, is a foregone conclusion. Aziz will be found guilty.
If you remember, the judge who sentenced Saddam Hussein to hang, Abdel-Rahman, quickly left Iraq shortly after the murder of the president and claimed asylum in Great Britain. Since then, little or nothing has been heard about him. But, mysteriously he returned to Iraq and will be the judge in Tariq Aziz' case.
The first time I saw Tariq Aziz on U.S. television was in the aftermath of Desert Storm. His voice was the only one that made sense of the political scene at the time. For once, I heard the truth about many items that had been twisted beyond recognition by the U.S. administration and media.
Aziz' eloquence in the English language intrigued me. Most U.S. government spokespeople could have used an elementary school refresher course in English, yet there was an Iraqi who, like Baghdad Bob, spoke better English than the president of the United States.
The last time I saw Tariq Aziz on U.S. television was a few months before the illegal March 2003 invasion. At the time, the U.S. was calling the Iraqi government a supporter of global terrorism and also began to mention the Iraq/Al-Qaida link. The accusations were believed by the U.S. public. To this day, many Americans believe Saddam was in cahoots with Bin-Laden in bringing down the U.S. trade center.
Tariq Aziz gave an extraordinary explanation of the difference between terrorism and revolution. He added that terrorism was the enemy of revolutionary movements. The TV program appeared at 3:00 a.m., so few people watched it. And, if more viewed the presentation, most would not have understood Aziz' eloquent offering.
Shortly before the 2003 invasion, many U.S. pundits said that the Iraqi people would welcome the U.S. soldiers with flowers and candy. Aziz took another view. He stated, "We will welcome the Americans in Baghdad. However, we have run out of candy and will have to substitute bullets." His assessment was far more accurate than those of the myriad retired generals who painted a rosy picture of the impending military action.
There is much information about his savage treatment in prison after he turned himself in to U.S. authorities, so I will not delve into the issue here. I would like to publish an interview with a former comrade and friend of Tariq Aziz. He is Ibrahim Ebeid, a Palestinian-American activist.
ML: When did you first meet Tariq Aziz?
IE: I first met him in Baghdad in 1973. That was my first trip to Baghdad from the United States. I was a guest. I knew him before, but not in person.
ML: What was your first impression?
IE: He was a young man. Very intelligent. He was my age so we related together
When I joined the Party in the early 1950s, most of my generation also joined the movement. I was living in Palestine at the time. What I heard from people is that Tariq Aziz joined the movement in the 1950s, even before the Iraqi portion was formally started in Baghdad, when it was underground.
After that, I went almost every year and I saw him frequently. We became friends. When I met Tariq Aziz, he was not in a high leadership position. Later on, he became a member of the leadership of the Iraqi branch of the Party. He was very committed.
ML: Tell us about the well-known assassination attempt against Tariq Aziz in 1980. You have good knowledge of this because you were at the scene on the day of the incident.
IE: I went from the United States to attend a conference on April 1, 1980 at Al-Mustansiriyah University. Thousands of students from the Arab world had assembled to attend various conferences. They were awaiting Tariq Aziz to listen to his speech. Tariq had been scheduled to inaugurate the International Economic Conference, organized by the National Union of Iraqi students, in collaboration with the Asiatic Students Committee.
There was a young Iranian man in the crowd. When Tariq Aziz made his entrance, amid cheers, the Iranian hurled a bomb in his direction.
The president of the Student Union, Mohammed Dabdab, hollered, "Comrade Aziz, a bomb, a bomb!" Everyone threw themselves on the ground. Dabdab and Tariq Aziz were wounded, but two people, a male and a female, were killed.

The Iraqi authorities apprehended the perpetrator right away. According to later statements by pro-Iranians, they intended to kill the "unbeliever" Tariq Aziz
Because of the circumstances, Tariq Aziz was unable to give his speech. He supervised the taking of the injured in the ambulance then he went along with the ambulance and delegated someone else to deliver his speech. They decided to keep the conference going on.
On the day of the assassination attempt, I was there at the university. I talked briefly to Mohammed Dabdab and he asked me to stick around to see Tariq Aziz, but I had to leave to go to a Baghdad hotel to meet with some members of the Arab-American delegation. Minutes after I left, the attack took place.
ML: Did the incident bother Tariq Aziz immensely?
IE: It gave him more strength to continue practicing his principles.
ML: How many times did you meet Tariq Aziz?
IE: Many times. Every time I was in Iraq with a delegation, we went to dinner.
ML: What kind of human being was he?
IE: A very sensitive man. Very friendly. He cared for the people. He never behaved like a high-ranking man. He never looked down at people.
One time, he was speaking to an African-American delegation from the United States and he asked me to sit by him because I knew the people who were invited. He forgot the English word "avoid." He asked me in Arabic and I told him. Then, he told the crowd, "You know, sometimes you forget the simplest words. Thanks to my colleague Ibrahim, I remembered it." That's the way he was, a very humble man. He remained that way even after he took high command in the Party in the Foreign Relations Bureau and later as Minister of Foreign Affairs.
ML: Many naysayers say that Tariq Aziz should be tried because he was part of Saddam's "inner circle." What's your take on that?
IE: What I would say is that Saddam never had an "inner circle." He had a leadership. The members of the regional leadership of Iraq were also the members of the Revolutionary Council. Every time they had a meeting, the whole Party met to decide the policies for Iraq. Saddam never took action on his own. They used to discuss things and the majority ruled. We read and hear that Saddam was a dictator. He was a leader, not a dictator and he was very intelligent in his leadership.
When he used to visit people in their homes, he used to ask them what they think, what they need and what the government should do for them. He used to take the notes himself. If he was hungry, he used to ask what they had to eat and sit down with them.
ML: What do you think about the U.S. treatment of Tariq Aziz and what's the reason for the Americans to treat him in such a way?
IE: The reason is very obvious. A major reason for the war was to eradicate the leadership of Iraq and the Ba'ath Party. They went after the leadership because they think that by executing them, they killed the spirit of the Party and the Party would become weak and the hope for Arab unity and the radical changes the people called for would be diminished. That's why they came up with a new name for the area: the New Middle East. We don't even call the area the Middle East. We hate that term. We call it the Arab Homeland
ML: Has this backfired on the U.S.?
IE: Of course. And you can see how the Party in the Arab world after Saddam's execution has spread like fire.
ML: Not one person in the Ba'ath leadership turned on Saddam after the 2003 invasion. Some have been executed and some are awaiting the gallows. Each could have won his freedom and a handsome payday for testifying against Saddam, yet they chose death. Tariq Aziz, when he testified at Saddam's trial, told the world he was proud to have served in his regime. This upset many observers because some in the U.S. administration wanted him to denigrate the president. In your opinion, why did the regime members, including Tariq Aziz, show this incredible loyalty?
IE: They were committed to their principles. The leadership in the Party were elected according to their merit in the struggle.
Don't forget, it was not only the U.S. that wanted to destroy the leadership of Iraq. Iran became a partner in the occupation of Iraq. Maybe they are getting more benefits than the United States.
ML: What will Tariq Aziz' legacy be in the Arab world?
IE: He will go down as a well-respected person, whether they execute him or indirectly kill him by keeping him in jail until he dies. They don't give him proper medicine and they don't treat him well. They want him dead.
Ibrahim Ebeid is the co-editor of the website, Al Moharer

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One Arab Nation from the Gulf to the Ocean
Related Articles:
Tariq Aziz has less than one month to live (2006)Editorial note by Les Blough
by Malcom Lagauche
For Shame, America (2004)by Mark Gery
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