Iraq: Elections under the barrel of the occupier’s gun

The following analysis by Kosta Harlan is from Fight Back! News:

Parliamentary elections took place in occupied Iraq on March 8 as rockets and mortars slammed into the Green Zone and U.S. military bases across the country. The U.S. government and its allies in occupied Iraq have hailed the election as a victory for democracy (Newsweek went so far as to write “Victory at last” across the cover of their latest issue), but the reality is anything but. The elections are nothing but a continuation of the same illegal, unjust occupation political process that began when the U.S. invaded and overthrew the anti-imperialist Iraqi government in 2003. The latest election only serves to consolidate the existence of a puppet regime loyal to the U.S. occupation.

Indeed, consider the two front-runners of the election, current Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi. Allawi provided bogus information about the ‘weapons of mass destruction’ to British intelligence that helped build the case to invade Iraq in 2003. He cooperated with numerous foreign intelligence agencies to help overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government. As a servant of the occupation, Allawi presided over the horrific assault on the city of Fallujah in November 2004, in which thousands of Iraqis were killed while the city was reduced to rubble by the U.S. military. He went on to help set up death squads to target resistance forces and those who sympathized with the resistance; these death squads murdered tens of thousands. As for Nouri Al-Maliki, the blood of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis is on his hands, as he co-led the effort with U.S. forces to wipe out the Iraqi national resistance during the ‘surge’ of 2006 and 2007. His government is infamous for its support to sectarian death squads that targeted Sunni Iraqis.

Clearly nothing democratic or progressive can emerge from either of these loyal servants of the U.S. occupation.

Repression in Iraq

The election was carried out under the eyes of 100,000 U.S. troops and 675,000 occupation police and soldiers. Numerous reports of intimidation, assassinations of candidates, voter fraud and corruption emerged in recent weeks. (Iraq is ranked 176 out of 180 for the most corrupt governments in the world.) Over 500 candidates were banned from participation in the elections, after puppet Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki declared that the candidates were supporters of the underground Baath Party. The Iraqi newspaper Azzaman reported that a week prior to the elections, 67 bodies were brought to the Baghdad morgue, all shot with silencer guns. The sources to Azzaman reported that the majority of those killed were civil servants, former Baathists and army officers. A day later Dr. Thamer Kamel, head of human rights section at the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, was shot dead.

Iraqi resistance calls for boycott of elections

The Iraqi resistance, which continues to carry out over 180 attacks each week against U.S. and occupation forces, urged a boycott of the parliamentary elections. “We will not be a party in the electoral process and in the political process as long as the occupation exists in Iraq,” explained Professor Sheikh Harith al-Dhari, the Secretary General of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq and the spokesperson for the Jihad and Change Front, one of the largest resistance organizations in Iraq. “It is a principle we abide by and we will hold the same position until the withdrawal of the occupation.”

In a prepared statement, the Jihad and Change Front, a coalition of ten resistance groups, said, “The Iraqi people and its resistance see that the participants of the political process from the blocs, parties and individuals do not represent the will of the Iraqi people. The participation to election is to strengthen the will of the occupation and to enable him to extend and enforce agreements to realize its interests. It will bring us nothing only destruction and corruption.”

Reality on the ground in Iraq

Contrary to the rosy pictures painted by commanding General Raymond Odierno and the mainstream media, conditions in Iraq are extremely dire. Over a million Iraqis were killed by occupying forces over the six years, leaving millions of orphans and shattered families. Tens of thousands of Iraqis languish in occupation jails. Two million Iraqis have fled the country; 3.7 million are internally displaced. Less than 100,000 returned to their homes last year.

Baghdad has an average of 15 hours of electricity a day. About half the population has access to more than 12 hours of electricity a day. 50% of Iraqis lack adequate housing; less than half of Iraqis have access to drinking water and only 20% have access to sanitation services. Only 30% of Iraqis have access to any level of health services – never mind that most hospitals are severely understaffed and undersupplied. Unemployment and underemployment haunt millions of Iraqis who struggle to make ends meet for their families.

In the 1970s and 1980s, oil revenues were used to benefit the entire Iraqi population and Iraq had one of the most advanced medical systems, best educational systems and highest literacy rates in the Middle East. Today, all of that has been destroyed. 

End the occupation

As the occupation drags into its seventh year, the need to rebuild the anti-war movement and pressure the U.S. to withdraw from Iraq has never been greater. Despite the propaganda and the lies to the contrary, nothing progressive or democratic can emerge in Iraq until the hated occupation is ended and Iraq’s people are free to determine their own destiny. Progressives in the United States must support the patriotic forces who resist the occupation and do everything possible to hasten the day of Iraq’s liberation.

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5 responses to “Iraq: Elections under the barrel of the occupier’s gun

  1. The “anti-imperialist Iraqi government” of Saddam Hussein…lol.

    • Tom,

      A lot has been said over the course of the 1st Iraq War that began in 1990, through the sanctions period, and into the second Iraq War to demonize Saddam Hussein, leading up to his martyrdom. And certainly his government wasn’t perfect. But whatever you want to say about Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s government, it is clear that the Iraqi government under the Baath Party was anti-imperialist by its own policies and programs which fiercely sought to develop and defend Iraqi national sovereignty from U.S. intervention and CIA provocations, which sought to develop a modern, secular, national democratic Iraq, and which sought to unite the Arab countries in defense of their own interests against the U.S. and Israel.

      And today we can see perfectly well what the alternative to Saddam Hussein’s vigorous defense of Iraqi national sovereignty has been: 1.2 million Iraqi deaths in the current war, more than 4 million displaced, a colonial puppet government and an ongoing occupation. The article above says the rest.

      • Comradezero,

        Your guesses as to what information has influenced my reply (apparently, you think MSM stories of Iraqi “atrocities” had the slightest thing to do with it) are wildly off the mark. I have more respect for a Marxist-Leninist than for the MSM (which I recognize as the informal or semi-formal propaganda voice of the imperialist U.S. war machine). But that doesn’t mean I don’t often find the perspective of Marxist-Leninists so simplistic as to be verging on laughable. Still, I respect your attempt to take a principled stance.

        So, now to the heart of my objection…

        When the Iraqi government waged a vicious eight-year war against the ALSO “anti-imperialist” (to use a Marxist-Leninst perspective for a moment) Khomeinist regime in Iran, it was being anti-imperialist?

        When it took arms and money from the U.S. to fight this conflict with Iran, it was being anti-imperialist?

        When it repeatedly suppressed the aspirations of Iraq’s Kurds to national sovereignty–just like the ultra-nationalist government of Turkey–it was being anti-imperialist?

        When it chose to force the Shi’a into a minority political role, thus upholding a political solution created by the British and French imperialist when they carved the nation randomly out of the desert and lumped different nationalities into a single state, it was being anti-imperialist?

        When Iraq invaded another sovereign state (Kuwait), it was being anti-imperialist?

        The government of Saddam Hussein only BECAME “anti-imperialist”, even in your own view, once it came under attack by a bigger country. By your standards, the government of Salvador Allende would have been *LESS* “anti-imperialist” than that of Saddam Hussein, since the former held out for less than one day under the attack of an imperialist-sponsored coup, while the latter held out for more than a decade against military attacks, sanctions, cruise missiles, etc.

        Surely you see how ridiculous this “analysis” is, and how anything that esteems Saddam Hussein above people like Allende, or Bela Kuhn, or the Paris Commune–all of whom held out for mere months in the face of imperialist attack, if not less–can not be considered remotely leftist.

        Of course the Iraqi government was NOT anti-imperialist. It was in fact imperialist, or petty imperialist if you like. This is clearly demonstrated by its actions.

        Bottom line: your analysis is puerile.

      • By the way, my bad: it is not “your” analysis, but Kosta Harlan’s. Sorry for the mistake.

  2. This article gets right to the heart of it: it shows the jockeying of the treacherous Green Zone factions for spoils while the suffering of the masses goes on and on.
    These elections-at-gunpoint are as far from democracy as can be. What Newsweek means is that US imperialism needs the facade of an election to hide its defeat.
    The resistance statements are outstanding for clarity and principle. Only the resistance represents the people. They will win, no matter how long it takes.

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