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The Hanoudi Letter: An Interview With Adnan Pachachi PDF Print E-mail
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Sunday, 08 May 2005 21:34
Dr. Pachachi is a prominent Iraqi Sunni Arab politician, he heads the Iraqi Independent Democrats which is a moderate, liberal and a secular party.  Dr. Pachachi was born in Baghdad in 1923, he carries a Ph.D. in political science and history from Georgetown University in Washington DC since 1949. He had a very long career in the Iraqi diplomatic service, he left the country to the UAE in 1969 were he served  in very high profile posts until his return to Iraq after the fall of Saddam, he very graciously consented to answer few questions from Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi which were related to the current situation in this country.  The following are an excerpt from that interview which was conducted in his office in Baghdad on May 7, 2005.

Dr. Hanoudi: Thank you your Excellency for granting me this opportunity to ask you few questions on behalf of The Hanoudi Letter and its loyal audience.  I know how busy you are and I hope that this is not an unwelcome intrusion into what must be a very tight schedule.

Dr. Pachachi: Not at all I will be very happy to answer all your questions.

Dr. Hanoudi: This week is witnessing Europe’s commemoration of the end of the Second World War and the defeat of Hitler and his Fascist regime, what are the lessons you think we have to draw from this historical event in the context of our own history under Saddam and his regime.

Dr. Pachachi: Iraq is a very special case, it went into three major wars, and was subjected to very punitive sanctions for 12 years, it was ruled by a regime unparalleled in its atrocious treatment of its own people.  The country fragmented and its values unraveled, the structures of the state have disintegrated and the Americans’ mistakes made things even worse so we had to start from scratch.  The current situation is very serious.  I came back under the assumption that the Iraqis are secular and tried to help in establishing a secular democracy.

Dr. Hanoudi: You are known to have advocated delaying the January 30 general elections in this country, what were your reasons for that suggestion and now that your advice has not been accepted and the elections have taken place are you still of the same opinion or you have reconsidered your previous position and why.

Dr. Pachachi: I have advocated amongst a group of more than a dozen parties and political groups to postpone the elections for few months and allow the tensions which followed the Fallujah onslaught to cool down and encourage those who were embittered by it to participate, we thought that given few months we could have reached out to those elements who were now encouraging the trend to boycott the elections and in fact becoming increasingly hostile to the whole process of building a new political structure, but we failed and the elections were hailed with the non participation of a very large segment of the population which makes the assembly it produced an incompletely representative body.

Dr. Hanoudi: What about the newly formed cabinet, what do you think are its chances of survival during the next few months and how do you rate Dr. al-Jaafari himself and some of his controversial choices like Dr. Chalabi.

Dr Pachachi: The cabinet will most probably survive, but its role should not be exaggerated, after all its mandate is for only few months and most of its members lack the necessary experience in running a government, but it is a beginning.  Dr. Jaafari is a mild soft speaking and a religious man, Dr. Chalabi was imposed on him by elements close to Iran.

Dr. Hanoudi: What about the current situation in the country now as it relates to security the provision of the services and the other essentials, I am not going to ask you about the electricity situation, because this is becoming a very painful topic.

Dr. Pachachi: The current situation in this country as I have mentioned a bit earlier is very serious, the security is terrible, the services are almost non-existent the provision of the essentials is extremely inadequate.  There is rampant corruption and selfishness the Iraqi political class is only a bit better than that of the Congo.

Dr. Hanoudi: The anti-American movement is it a resistance or a jihad or an insurgency, what are your views concerning its structure its aims and its future.

Dr. Pachachi: The resistance the insurgency etc. every one calls it according to his political attitudes and convictions.  It is basically two groups, on the one hand a very hard core of fundamentalists and religious extremist, jihadists against the infidels and on the other extreme young overzealous nationalists who are fighting to liberate their occupied country and in between is a number of groups each with its own agenda some are remnants from the toppled regime.

Dr. Hhanoudi: What do you think is going to happen to Iraq is it going to end up like another Somalia or is it going to be the free, federal, prosperous and democratic country we are being promised it will be.

Dr. Pachachi: I said earlier that I came back to hoping to be able to establish a secular democracy in our country, this my hope and my dream, a free and a progressive country.  But there is a real danger of fragmentation, people who believe in a united and a free state have to get together, the Iraqis have a culture of dependence, we have to encourage civil society organization.  Democracy will be practiced and defended by those who are going to accept the risks, but also learn how to protect their freedom which is a gift worth cherishing and protecting.

Dr. Hanoudi: It has been extremely nice talking to you sir, thank you very much and a very happy birthday.

Dr. Najeeb Hanoudi
Baghdad, May 8, 2005
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