Thursday 27 January 2005

How can this possibly be called "an election" in Iraq -- are we insane?

Here are a couple of up-to-the minute "man on the street" interviews of typical residents of Iraq. They portray rather bluntly how this election is being jammed down their throats by the Americans with no good results likely to come from it this Sunday. Insecurity and fear have actually been heightened to unfathomable levels. There are indications from some sectors of the populace who fear if they don't vote they will have their food rations cut off. and

Its all being corroborated by another article posted yesterday (Jan. 26, 2005) by Linda S. Heard, staff writer for Gulf News:

"Iraqi Election 'A Done Deal'; Villagers Forced To Vote For Allawi To Keep Food Rations "

Forgive me if I cannot whip up too much excitement over the coming Iraqi elections. Apart from my innate scepticism as to US intentions after its pretexts for going to war were blown apart, the words of an Iraqi diplomat who insisted he was a close friend of Eyad Allawi add fuel to the embers.

"The outcome of the elections is more or less a done deal," he told me. "Allawi is set to continue."

I took this statement with a fistful of salt until I read this in last Sunday's Times: "fears of a takeover by Shiite clerics have prompted speculation that Washington might have been trying to strike a deal with Al Sistani to keep Allawi as prime minister after the election".

Tipped to oust Allawi is head of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq Abdul-Aziz Al Hakim and he is clamoring for American troops to go home pronto.

Since Bush has promised the occupying forces will abide by the wishes of a sovereign Iraqi government, his call could prove embarrassing.

Let's face it, US troops aren't about to go anywhere especially since neighbouring Iran features large on the 2005 pre-emption menu.

We would have to be either naive or on Prozac to believe the Bush administration is poised to walk off into the sunset sans oil and sans face, leaving an Iraqi government representing the Shiite majority free to cosy up to the Iranian ayatollahs.

Even if the United States isn't engaged in manipulative hanky panky, the election is defective from the start.

UN monitors are understandably scarce on the ground and three or four Sunni provinces (containing almost half the country's entire population) will be virtually excluded due to rising levels of violence.

Allawi's attempt

Indeed, heralding the new Iraqi democracy are closed borders and airport, travel restrictions and curfews, while candidates and the location of polling stations will remain secret until the last minute.

Allawi's bid already looks suspect after he doled out $100 bills to reporters hoping for favorable coverage.

The Riverbend girl blogger refuses to be seduced. She says she found an "Elect Allawi" pamphlet promising "security and prosperity for occupied Iraq", which fitted nicely at the bottom of a parakeet's cage.

She complains: "People in many areas are being told that if they don't vote * the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off," and asks, "what sort of democracy is it when you force people to go vote for someone or another they don't want?"

The idea that Allawi has a mega following is frankly laughable. This is a former Baathist who fell out with Saddam Hussain and forged links with the CIA.

Few had even heard of him before he replaced Ahmad Chalabi in the Pentagon's affections. So low has Chalabi sunk that the interim Iraqi Defence Minister is threatening to hand him over to Jordan where he was convicted in absentia for embezzlement.

Allawi cheered on the flattening of Fallujah and supports the American military presence, so it is hardly likely he would attract a significant popular vote.

Iraqis know that Allawi perpetuates the lie their country is now a sovereign state.

Clearly aware who his masters are, Allawi's speech before the US Congress was ridiculed as being designed to aid Bush's re-election and probably dreamt up by Bush's own speechwriters.

"We are succeeding in Iraq," he said, before thanking his audience for "your brave vote in 2002 to authorize American men and women to go to war to liberate my country * ".

No condemnation concerning the use of cluster bombs, which are regularly responsible for small children losing their limbs. No condemnation of the use of depleted uranium tank shells responsible for a prevalence in birth defects and cancers.

No condemnation of the deaths of up to 100,000 Iraqi civilians and not a word about the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Allawi is no patriot and if he remains prime minister after the vote, then, as far as I am concerned it was a sham, a pre-arranged set-up just as the Iraqi diplomat confided it would be.

The release of an audio tape by the elusive Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, which announces: "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology" just days before the election, is strangely reminiscent of that released by the even more elusive Osama Bin Laden days before the US vote, said to have swayed voters in Bush's direction.

Fit the profile

"Evil principle of democracy?" Bush always said that they, the terrorists, hate democracy. It looks like Zarqawi is only too happy to fit the profile.

If you believe that anyone believes democracy is evil, I've got a nice Egyptian pyramid I'd like to sell you with a free camel if you purchase two.

Donald Rumsfeld was quick to acknowledge that this election will be far from perfect but believes a flawed election is better than no election.

The trouble is democracy isn't a loaf of bread. There is no such thing as half democracy. Elections are either comprehensive, inclusive, free and fair or they are not.

Iraqis deserve a prosperous, peaceful and democratic Iraq but I doubt this is possible as long as the occupation forces stay. They have their agenda; the Iraqi people have theirs and both are mutually exclusive.

A paper entitled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" drawn up by the Project for a New American Century in 2000 and signed up to by several top members of the Bush administration suggests US troops need to establish a permanent foothold in the Gulf, while keeping a low profile.

Once Iraq is officially stamped a democracy and American soldiers withdraw to a series of permanent bases or behind the walls of the largest and most fortified US embassy in the world, the Strauss-cons will have achieved their objective occupation in democracy's clothing.

Although whether they will be allowed to get away with this giant con is an entirely different matter.

Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at


It seems apparent to me this effort is likely to turn out to be one of the largest farces our government has ever "sponsored." The rest of the members of the world community are shaking their heads at us.

Tell me again, just what kind of freedom is it we are trying to export to the rest of the world? Smells exactly like tyranny to me, the very thing we supposedly are fighting against!


1 comment:


    This provides quite the commentary on the final election results in Mess O' Potamia (by Jon Stewart in his "Daily Show")!!