A year on, occupation has failed

A year has passed since the start of the Anglo-American war and the end of Saddam’s 40-year brutal regime, which consisted of mass slaughter, genocide against the Iraqi uprisings, over 8 years of unjustified wars and 12 years of brutal Anglo-American sanctions in which hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died from starvation and the effects of depleted uranium. Since the occupation started, what did the Iraqi people gain from the promised American democracy? Free elections? Reconstruction? And the promises to bring peace and prosperity to every Iraqi man woman and child?

Since the start, the occupation has shown its true colours, revealed by the obliteration of the Iraqi state institution, the mass destruction of public and government buildings and mass looting including the historical headstone of the people’s civilisation and culture, the dissolving of the Iraqi army, state organisations and the closing of most of the state’s industry, resulting in hundreds of thousands of unemployed Iraqis with millions left without any income. American armaments replaced Saddam’s tanks in horrifying civilians and shooting peaceful demonstrators asking for jobs, food and freedom.

Since then, Saddam’s prisons started to fill with new groups of people who were imprisoned under accusations of terrorism. This was the start of a new type of occupation terrorism, which consisted of the assassination and imprisonment of many Iraqi scientists, intellectuals and anti-American politicians. This was going hand in hand with the daily explosions, resulting in the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of men, women and children. They accused extreme religious movements and foreign fighters of committing such atrocities, while most of the Iraqi people accused the American occupiers and Israel intelligence of being behind many explosions. These included the bombings of the UN centre, the Jordanian and Turkish embassies, and the civilian demonstrations in Najaf, Karbola and Kademia, which resulted in the killings of thousands of civilians. One thing we are certain about in accordance to international laws – the occupying forces are responsible for the safety of civilians in occupied territories.

Iraq is becoming a country without peace and stability, where the occupying forces have completely lost control, and where the only change we see is that the American army has replaced Saddam’s forces in residing in his palaces, prisons and army camps, while the “Revolutionary Council” has been replaced by the Coalition Provisional Authority and possibly “Paul Bremer replacing Saddam”.

The sacking of hundreds of thousands of soldiers, policemen and government employees has taken place, as well as the closure of the largest public industries, seizing sophisticated equipment and resulting in over 50% unemployment within the working population. The only exception to this mass unemployment was the increased salaries of some sectors of Iraqi society such as teachers, doctors, engineers, and what was left of government employees and the increased income of some businessmen from trade imports or the black markert.

As for reconstruction, nothing has actually changed since the end of the war. All the ministries, administration buildings and communication centres are still in the same derelict condition we’ve seen them in since the end of the war. The occupation seems to have bypassed time for a whole year. During the last year the economic crisis has been hitting civilians, starting with shortages in drinking water, petrol for transport and oil for heating and cooking. But the biggest shortage has been the loss of electricity, which has affected the lives of millions of people all over Iraq. It is frustrating to see that even Saddam’s regime managed under severe international sanctions to return most of the electricity and water supply to large cities within 3 months after the Gulf war in 1991. The whole might of the American economy could not return the electricity, petrol and fresh water to the Iraqi people even after one year.

Reconstruction has become nothing but business contracts to American companies, costing billions of dollars, whilst nothing has been done to improve the economic infrastructure of Iraq, apart from some refurbishment in some schools and hospitals, building new garrisons needed for the occupation and 4-metre-high concrete walls around the palaces, police stations, hotels and other CPA and Governing Council buildings.

In addition and due to the mass resistance of the Iraqi people, the CPA and the GC had no alternative but to freeze most of their privatisation laws, which would have handed all the Iraqi wealth, including the oil industry, to American multinational companies for a fraction of what they are worth.

American companies such as Halliburton and Bechtel have become a source of ludicrous contracts to hundreds of corrupt companies and thousands of Iraqis and foreign pro-occupation businessmen, who have stolen as much as they can while leaving little for real reconstruction. Such people include many American businessmen and generals, as well as many of the Saddam regime’s supporters from within Iraq and abroad.

As for the political agenda, the failure of the American plans has been more obvious than the failure of the economic and security plans. The failure of the GC, appointed by the occupiers, is an example of the failure of the American political line, as they have been unable to reach any of their major political goals, even with some of the patriotic Iraqi political parties within the council working hand in hand with organisations arriving in Iraq on American tanks. The Council was born dead. This was recognised by many international political observers in addition to most representatives of Iraqi society. The council had no real power and became subsided to an advisory organisation for the occupying forces in all major decisions. Several Iraqi democratic organisations and religious movements have put forward plans to get rid of the occupation by continuing all means of struggle for free and democratic elections. We cannot see other ways to end the occupation and suffering of the Iraqi people other then free elections supervised by the UN. This will give the Iraqi people freedom to decide their future, to end the occupation and bring democracy to Iraq without allowing the return of a new dictatorship similar to Saddam’s regime.

The American plan between the CPA and GC signed on the November 15, 2003, was to continue the occupation under the so-called “Transfer of Sovereignty” and the "Law of Administration for the State of Iraq". This is no more than continuing the occupation ‘indirectly’ through an un-elected and appointed “Enlarged Governing Council”, which has no legitimacy within Iraqi society. Such undemocratically appointed organisations will fall in the same way as its predecessor, the GC, as it has no authenticity. All the decisions of such an illegitimate council will have no legal status locally or internationally. The Iraqi people who are mass-demonstrating these days against the new unlawful occupying laws will bring down this plan as they have done with the previous one. Indications are pointing that the new plan will fail and the struggle of the Iraqi people will intensify using all means to resist occupation, and that the occupying forces will lose their ability to have any success in establishing any security and achievement in the political and economic future of Iraq.