Ayad Futayyih al-Rawi was a staff general in the Iraqi Army. He was an honourable soldier, devoted to serving his country and defending its sovereignty. He had a stellar military career making him an exemplary figure in the history of modern Iraq. He was the type of person who all Iraqis can and ought to be proud of — a tireless and generous officer working in the background far from the limelight and refusing media notoriety despite his great sacrifices and contributions.
All Iraqis can rightfully be proud of Rawi but he died May 18, alone in his prison cell. Rawi was arrested in June 2003 when invading US forces used the infamous 55 most-wanted Iraqi playing cards to kidnap the legitimate Iraqi leadership. Those playing cards represent the highest insult to the dignity and history of the Iraqi nation and yet many Iraqis turned a blind eye on the demeaning operation.
During that period, whatever the occupying US forces dared not do because of international law, some Iraqis were more than happy to do on their behalf. These Iraqis would have never dreamed of occupying authority positions were it not for the joint US and British occupation of Iraq.
They have, over time, given ample proof of their opportunism and hypocrisy and done an excellent job of making revenge the archetypal modus operandi of the new Iraq. Their Iranian masters must have been very happy with them.
Rawi was tried for a crime any true Iraqi patriot would be very proud to bear. The general was a highly decorated soldier in the 8-year war against Iran. Rawi and former Iraqi Defence Minister Sultan Hashim Ahmad were among the most wanted and their place on that list was a gift to Iran.
The arrest and imprisonment of the Iraqi leadership following the US-led invasion of Iraq was a war crime. During the occupation, the Iraqis were not permitted to have any say in what the occupying forces were doing in the country but when the Iraqi government carried on with the crime even after the occupation formally ended in 2011, it simply showed that that government cannot be trusted because it looked at Iraq through an Iranian lens.
Rawi and Ahmad were icons of Iraq’s refusal of former Iranian.
Supreme Leader Ruhollah Khomeini’s expansionist project. They were heroes to their last breath despite having been subjected to the worst trials. Rawi died a hero in his prison cell. His heroism preceded him to eternity. As a proud soldier of Iraq, he never considered his heroism as his own private property.
It was shameful of the Iraqi government to keep Rawi, Ahmad and many other military and political figures whom Iran failed to assassinate in detention all this time. We all know that the Badr Brigade, Iran’s agent in Iraq, was responsible for eliminating many of Iraq’s finest doctors, engineers, historians, archaeologists, philosophers, pilots and scientists.
Rawi was a military leader during a difficult period in Iraq’s history. He carried out his duty conscientiously and generously, adding another bright page to Iraq’s honour, something that the vassals of the grand Iranian mullah can never understand.
Rawi’s Iraq was proud and tenaciously keen on its sovereignty and its unity. That Iraq was precisely the enemy that had to be wiped out before the Iraqi Dawa Party could clamp its claws on the country and deliver the unfortunate Iraqi people to the absolute power of the grand mullah.
In the final analysis, Rawi fulfilled his duty as a soldier and honoured his country. His fellow Iraqi citizens will someday bear great regrets but it must be said that these regrets will be of their own doing.
This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.