The Hanoudi Letter: An Interview With Adnan Pachachi
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
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
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.
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
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