Iraqi Elections: To Vote or Not To Vote

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Elections usually decide who will be in the driving seat, managing the affairs of state which functions within an ideological framework. It is that framework which consists of certain values, systems and laws that establishes the character of the nation. The upcoming Iraqi election (to be held on the 30th of January 2005) is significant, as the ‘elected’ body will also determine the shape of the new Iraqi constitution, the core of the ideological structure.

Due to an extremely low turn out it is possible that the election will fail so badly that it may even be dismissed by the occupying powers. Consequently, the status quo will not be altered and the Iraqi resistance will continue to fight the occupiers until Iraq is liberated. However, if the election ‘succeeds’ it may eventually result in one of two, mutually exclusive scenarios.

a). A free Iraq that is genuinely independent and free of foreign influence.

The US track record when it comes to genuine free and fair elections in the Islamic world is zero! On the contrary the US has an excellent track record for propping up countless dictators, including Saddam Hussein. In the early 1990s when the Algerian elections were about to deliver the reins of power to FIS (Islamic Salvation Front), the Western World (including the US) agreed to a military coup in order to abort the elections. Likewise, when the Islamic party in Turkey won the election the subsequent intervention by the Turkish military did not lead to any threats nor did it jeopardize Turkey’s bid in seeking entry into the European Union!

If the US is really interested in bringing democracy through free elections why doesn’t she start with her client states like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Kuwait etc? It certainly would not require a full scale war and invasion since the US has a cordial relationship with them!

Capitalist nations are driven by material interests and it is a sheer myth that they are driven by principles, such as democracy, freedom and liberty. Rather, these principles are used as a fig leaf to cover their lust for the material resources of other countries. Therefore, only the naive and the treacherous would advocate that the Capitalist US has invaded Iraq for altruistic reasons. Those who are naïve and treacherous have expressed gratitude towards the US, as if the Americans have incurred a huge expense and loss of lives only for the Iraqis to hold free elections; – the US is definitely not a charitable institution!

The Pentagon has already announced that it will keep 120,000 troops for the next two years, hence Iraq will certainly not be independent and free regardless of the elections. How can the US be so confident that the elected Iraqi government would agree to the continuation of the US occupation, given that the recent polls showed over 90% of Iraqis viewing the US with contempt? In addition, the US has been building military bases and the largest embassy in the region, so what makes the US so sure that the future regime will not sever ties and close down these bases and its (US) embassy.

The answer is the US intends to engineer the elections. A ‘free and fair’ election would most likely result in producing an anti-US regime thereby the US would risk being: getting kicked out humiliated, loosing its plan for the long-term domination of Arab oil and not fully recuperating at the very least the cost of this war. The US perhaps would only resort to such ‘free and fair’ elections as part of its exit strategy. Therefore, the purpose of this flawed election is to try and give legitimacy to a puppet regime.

b). The election may trigger a full scale Civil War after a sectarian-Shi’ite based pro-US puppet is ‘elected’.

Everyone is predicting a Shi’ite dominated parliament with some Kurds and no Arab Sunnis (NB. The majority of Kurds are also Sunni). The Arab Sunnis abstaining will feel betrayed and reluctant to accept the election result. Sistani ordered his followers by issuing a fatwa not to resist the invasion. Despite the toppling of the Ba’athist regime followed by Moqtada as-Sadr’s uprising and the desecration of Shi’ite shrines Sistani still remained silent. The Grand Ayatollahs silence over the Abu-Ghraib horrors and Fallujah massacre will forever remain within the psyche of the Arab/Islamic masses. Sistani ‘rewarded’ wit! h praises from the neo-con Zionists within the White House. This perceived Shi’ite alliance with the US, for gaining sectarian interests has made the Sunnis feel nothing but contempt towards Sistani and his followers.

The Kurds are insisting on maintaining a loose autonomy over the Northern Kurdish autonomous region. The Peshmergas participated in the Fallujah massacre, siding with the American forces from the onset and many work for the US as spies. Added to this, is the recent decision by the Allawi regime to allow 100,000 Kurds (expelled by Saddam Hussein) into the oil-rich city of Kirkuk to vote, has raised the anger of the Sunni Arabs. The Kurds have always considered Kirkuk as the future capital of Kurdistan. All the ingredients are present to initiate a Civil War; any further increase in tensio! ns may just ignite the whole process.

This Civil War may facilitate the exit strategy of the US, particularly from the Sunni triangle. A divided and weakened Iraq would suit the long term interests of the US, since the oil rich provinces in the North would be under the Kurds and in the South under the Shi’ites.

From the onset the US has deliberately tried to fracture the unity of Iraq by promoting the sectarian and ethnic agenda. The US kept referring to the Shi’ites as the “majority-oppressed-Shi’ites”; – as if their heart bled for them! After the 1991 Gulf War, the US allowed Saddam’s army to crush a nascent Shi’ite uprising. If the Iraqi Shi’ite were so oppressed how was it that they fought tenaciously against their Iranian co-religionist for eight years. Similarly, the US constantly moaned abo! ut the oppressed Iraqi Kurds but strangely, the US is muted about the subjugation of the Kurds in Turkey who happens to be an US ally!

If the US is so concerned about fair representation of different ethnic communities then it should lead by example. The Afro-Americans and the Hispanics should have had a quota system reserved for them within the Senate and Congress. Instead the only place where they are adequately represented in fact over represented; – is within the prison system!

Manufacturing the elections

Common sense dictates that any election held under occupation is flawed as only a sovereign nation is capable of holding a free and fair election. Furthermore, according to the Vienna Convention the occupying force has no right to change the composition of the occupied territories politically, thus any election is void. It can be further argued that since the war itself was illegal according to International Law, any occupying power has no entitlement to any jurisdiction given by the Vienna Convention. Why is the UN not forthcoming in declaring the impending elections as void? The US is clearly engineering the elections and the means used are elaborated below:

Nepotism – Those who are going to comply with the US policies will receive greater publicity and funding; those who oppose will be automatically excluded. Many of the opposition leaders and intellectuals have been assassinated. Iyad Allawi’s participation is making the whole episode resemble the recent farcical Afghan elections (substitute Karzai for Allawi) where the Taliban and all the other anti-US elements were excluded, while the pro-US elements were given enormous amounts of funding and publicity: the result was a forgone conclusion.

Participation Level – Many in the streets of Baghdad are calling this an “election at gun point” and “the first secret election in history”. Certainly the entire Iraqi nation will not have the ability to participate due to the fear of violence and access to the polling stations. Polling stations will only be known the night before the elections. Polls indicate that only 10% of the 1 million eligible Iraqi expatriates are likely to vote whilst inside Iraq the expectation is at the most 25%. There should have been a quorum, thus giving the elections an element of legitimacy! as, after all the country is under occupation!

Fraud –” Most of the candidates are unknown. The parties contending in the elections are largely supporters of the occupation. No international election monitors will be allowed inside the country: so who is going to insure that the votes are not massaged? Or will it be an election ‘victory’ –” Bush-style (Remember Florida 2000)! Who is monitoring the eligibility of the Iraqi expatriates? Allegedly there are 240,000 of them voting in Israel! Perhaps for the first time in history we may get voters from outside the country actually electing a government. Independent monitoring and verification is crucial under the current circumstances ot! herwise one should assume the election is fraudulent and not to mention illegal.

Betrayal

Of those seeking election, virtually none have made the expulsion of the US as a central issue. The seeking of compensation for the war crimes committed by US and its allies should have been a must, as Iraq WAS without WMDs. Additionally there are plenty of other reasons for seeking compensation e.g. theft of oil revenues, Abu-Ghraib, the routine murder of civilians etc. What is stopping Sistani from issuing a fatwa on these matters? Abdul Aziz al-Hakim the leader of the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA) has already stated that the US presence will be required until the situation stabilizes and the nascent Iraqi National Army is! ready to take over. As the election approaches al-Hakim is now stating that the US will be asked to leave, how convenient! By participating in the elections the UIA have compromised their position by collaborating with the US agenda.

Having established their Quisling-status, the UIA is need of US protection, without which they would not survive post-election; – after all one cannot bite the hand of the one who feeds him. Eventually, the more secular and overtly pro-US elements will be groomed into position and Sistani consistent with his Shi’ite beliefs that only coming Mahdi has the right to rule, has already stated that he (Sistani) wants to have a back seat.

Conclusion

Even before the routine murders, pictures of Abu-Ghraib, the carnage in Fallujah etc. The US was never viewed as liberators by the Iraqis. Bush, Blair and the rest, continuously sneaked in and out of Iraq like the oil-thieves and bandits! Every Iraqi recognizes this simple fact. But some of the leaders seeking to secure personal/tribal/sectarian benefits are sacrificing the interests of the entire nation. Short-sighted decisions based upon narrow self-interests can only incur a heavy price. Have the Arabs forgotten the calamity they incurred in their blind zeal of seeking independence from the Ottoman State by siding with the UK and France? This led to their (Arabs) betrayal through the Sykes-Picot agreement 1916, which resulted in colonialization, usurped wealth as well as Palestine being handed over to the Zionists.

Similarly, internal feuds in Muslim Spain led to their demise, culminating in the horrific Spanish Inquisition, the complete holocaust of Muslims in Spain – courtesy of the Catholic Church. Likewise a similar pattern of behavior led to the downfall of the Muslim Moguls in India. It is only due to the internal divisions of the Muslims/Islamic World, which the crusaders of the past and present have been able to take advantage of, thus inflicting calamities upon Muslims. Iraqis have a historic opportunity not repeat the past mistakes which led to them becoming a British colony; otherwise it is on course to becoming an American-Israeli colony.

Voting at best will only produce a pro-US regime through which the US will seek to legitimize its occupation and continue the Abu-Ghraib style oppression, at worst it will lead to Civil War which will fragment the country.

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