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(13 AOÛT 2003)

French - English Message

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Un message manuscrit du président irakien Saddam Hussein a appelé les chiites de son pays à résister aux forces d’occupation

Dans le message diffusé ce mercredi 13 août par la télévision satellitaire qatariote Al-Jazira, Saddam Hussein exhorte les chiites irakiens au "jihad (guerre sainte) contre les occupants" américano-britanniques.

Dans cette lettre, le Rais irakien répond à des questions qui lui ont été adressées par un journaliste. Il y salue notamment les positions de l'ayatollah Sistani à l'égard du Conseil de gouvernement irakien, affirmant : «Sayyed Sistani jouit de notre considération.» Fin juin, l'ayatollah Sistani s'était distingué en émettant une fatwa s'opposant à la rédaction d'une nouvelle Constitution par une assemblée désignée par les forces d'occupation, estimant que des élections générales devaient avoir lieu au préalable. L'ancien président exhorte en outre les chiites irakiens au djihad contre l'armée américaine.

"La position de Sayyed (Ali) Sistani (l’une des plus hautes autorités chiites en Irak) et de la Hawza (autorité religieuse chiite) à Najaf (au sud de Bagdad) est importante pour le jihad des Irakiens", indique le message.

Il appelle la Hawza à "proclamer le jihad pour que tout le peuple irakien soit uni contre l’occupation".

C’est la première fois qu’une télévision diffuse une lettre manuscrite attribuée à Saddam Hussein. Six messages audio du président ont jusque-là été diffusés par des télévisions arabes, le dernier datant du 1er août.


commentary :

A new handwritten letter from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein has urged Iraq's clergy to wage jihad, or holy war, against the US-led occupation.

The letter was read out on the Arabic satellite television station Al-Jazeera on this Wednesday 13 evening.

The two-page letter says that if the Hawza, Iraq's powerful Shia Muslim authorities, "calls for a jihad, this would unify the whole Iraqi people against the occupation".

It also welcomes the declaration by a top Shia leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, that any Iraqi constitution drawn up under the US occupation is "null and void".

"We respect Mr Sistani and the priority at this stage is to eject the foreigners and establish peace and safety," the letter says.

Al-Jazeera said the undated letter was written by Saddam Hussein in answer to questions sent to him by an unnamed journalist, without giving details of how it was obtained.




The following is the text of the letter as read by an announcer on the Qatari satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera on Wednesday. However the channel did not explain who asked the questions.

[Question:] Did you hear what Sayyid [Shia cleric Ali] al-Sistani told [Iraqi Governing Council President Ibrahim] al-Jaafari when the latter said that they - referring to those appointed by the occupation authorities as members of the so-called interim Governing Council - are in the process of drafting a new constitution? And what is your comment on that?

[Answer:] In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Peace and prayers be upon Prophet Muhammad, his companions and followers. Yes, I heard that Sayyid al-Sistani told Ibrahim [al-Jaafari] - and this is what we have learnt - when the latter told him that they are in the process of drafting a constitution for Iraq that "any constitution drafted under the US occupation is null and void, because Iraq needs a constitution based on the Islamic shariah [law], and because over 95% of the Iraqi people are Muslims."

On the basis of this text, we welcome this statement because it implies non-recognition of the occupation and considers all the decisions issued under the occupation as null and void, including the talk about drafting a new constitution.

[Q:] What about Sayyid al-Sistani's call for drafting the new constitution on the basis of the Islamic shariah if the occupation ends?

The basic issue at this stage is to expel the foreign occupation and to ensure security and peace for Iraqis

[A:] I think that Sayyid al-Sistani's call is normal. There is nothing strange in his call if we judge things, including the concepts and texts of the new constitution, in accordance with the spirit of our religion and shariah.

[Q:] How can the constitution be drafted on the basis of the Islamic shariah when the Iraqi people include Shias, Sunnis and other religious and sectarian minorities?

[A:] Nothing is impossible if we have good intentions and if wisdom and trust replace hastiness and suspicion. In all conditions, a sincere and honest dialogue coupled by an honest and experienced leadership will be able to achieve people's hopes when it [the dialogue] is conducted away from the spears and interference of the foreigner, regardless of the colour or nationality of the foreigner and irrespective of the disguise he uses to pressure or interfere.

[Q:] Are you willing to reach an understanding with Al-Sistani on the main policy in a manner that strengthens the Iraqis' jihad against the occupation and leads to a form of rule that does not interfere in the affairs of the Hawza [Shia seminary in Najaf] and vice versa, after the general basic policies have been agreed upon?

[A:] Al-Sistani enjoys our respect. The basic issue at this stage is to expel the foreign occupation and to ensure security and peace for Iraqis. Hence, the position of Al-Sistani and the entire Hawza in Najaf is important for the jihad of the Iraqis.

As you know, the Hawza has not called for pursuing jihad to expel the occupation thus far. This puts part of our people and those of the Hawza in a position that no sincere person wishes to continue, but rather hopes it [the Hawza] will lead to declaring jihad. Therefore, the entire people will be united in their position against the occupation.

This unity will be manifest in all levels, occupations, trends and leaderships. God will bear witness to all this and will aid believers after they depend on Him.

[Q:] Are you prepared to have the Hawza in Najaf represented in the ruling system?

[A:] I do not believe that any sincere person among Iraqis and all believers, including Al-Sistani, wishes to push things to the brim of sectarian division, which would weaken the nation and people.

However, hearing out the opinion of the Hawza and for the Hawza to hear us out in order to solve any problem in a way and in a manner that facilitates successful and sincere work based on each party's specialisation, whereby no one party would interfere in the other's affairs, could be achieved through dialogue, honest relations and sincere desire.





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