Despite calls to demonstrate independence, the so-called ‘national assembly’ of Iraq’s new Parliament met inside the fortress of the ‘Green zone’. This International Zone is the heavily guarded area of closed-off streets where the US occupation authorities live and work. Western media hailed the first meeting as another ‘historic’ moment in Iraq’s road to ‘democracy’. In Iraq, the story is of widespread dismay and anger that the elections have not produced any change on the ground or even a new government. The same expatriate quislings, just more divided on sectarian lines than before the elections, are gathered to discuss their new positions. They simply met in the shadow of US forces to announce that their symbiotic relation with the Occupation will continue, and that the US forces will stay in Iraq to protect them and terrorise the Iraqi people. It was anything but a democratic parliament. It was a US theatrical show with Iraqi puppets.
The US is now slowly dividing Iraqis in order to justify prolonged Occupation of Iraq and the siphoning of its resources. The New York Times reported on 17 March, 2005 that interviews with Iraqis ‘indicated in particular a striking sense of disillusionment among [Iraqi] Shiites . . . [and]suggested a hardening of the sectarian divisions that were visible in the election’. From the beginning the US played the sectarian card to destroy the unity of the Iraqi people. The new tools of this policy are the Kurds, who have been used by foreign powers time and again.
Thanks to Peter Nicholson from the Australian
With new veto power granted to the Kurds under the US-crafted and unconstitutional Transitional Administrative Law (TAL), the law laid down by former US Proconsul Paul Bremer, Iraq has been divided into one small Iraq in the north and a bigger Iraq to the south. The TAL gave the Kurds, who make less than 12 per cent of the Iraqi population, 27 per cent of the seats in the new ‘national assembly’. The US-crafted power allows the Kurds to derail any democratic solution, let alone the end of the Occupation in Iraq. So, the Kurds veto in Iraq is the US card. It can be accurately compared with the US veto card at the UN. Further, the TAL also forms the blueprint for any new Iraqi constitution. In other words, Iraq’s self-determination is the hostage of the US. The Iraqi people have no say in the affairs of their country. This is the reason for the ongoing wrangling and haggling over the forming of the new fictitious ‘government’. The most disconcerting was the failure of the media to critically examine the new ‘national assembly’ and the deliberate obstruction by the Kurds.
Furthermore, evidence from Iraqi sources obtained by Scott Ritter, former UNSCOM weapons inspector, suggests that the Bush administration and its Allawi gang tampered with the elections results and lowered the Shiites votes from ’56 per cent of the vote to 48 per cent’, through a ‘secret vote count’ and ‘reengineering the post-election political landscape in Iraq dramatically’ to fit with the US-designed kind of democracy for Iraq, (Alternet link: www.alternet.org/module/printversion/21566 )
The elections were ‘the farce of the century’. The US-based Carter Centre, which monitors elections around the world, did not participate in Iraq’s elections because they did not meet the criteria, such as a free and safe environment, and the ability of candidates to move freely. All independent voices in Iraq, regardless of ethnicity, have boycotted the elections. As I have pointed out earlier, the elections have divided Iraqis and reinforced sectarianism.
The elections were not for the sake of ‘building democracy’ in Iraq; they were ‘demonstration’ elections aimed at American and Western citizens at home. In other words, it was a PR exercise to promote a new form of colonialism and armed conquest. The US-crafted elections were designed to legitimise the Occupation of Iraq and promote US influence around the globe through ongoing military aggressions. ‘Democracy under Occupation’ is the new motto of the White House.
It isn’t ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ or human rights that the US is promoting; the US is promoting its own corporate interests. The most brutal and dictatorial regimes in the world, including those in the Middle East, are the closest allies of the US. The brutal and dictatorial regime in Egypt is the second largest recipient of US aid after Israel. The corrupt dictators of the Gulf States, led by Saudi Arabia, are the US’s closest allies for over half a century. Furthermore, the US encourages and supports the abuses of human rights in these countries by the outsourcing of torture. The policy, called ‘extraordinary rendition’, is the practice by which innocent prisoners and detainees in US custody are sent for interrogation in foreign countries that practice torture, such as Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Arab leaders should be ashamed for associating the Arab World with such an appalling practice that should be the trademark of the US.
The US did not invade Iraq for the sake of ‘democracy’, ‘freedom’ or to safeguard human rights; these are the pretexts for war. It should be remembered that the original pretext was that Iraq possessed large arsenals of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which was proved to be a lie. The Bush Doctrine of ‘pre-emptive’ illegal wars of aggression is designed to impose US hegemony on defenceless people. Since the US invasion and Occupation of Iraq, the Iraqi people are the most abused and unfree people on the planet today. The destruction of the city of Fallujah and the slaughter of thousands of Iraqi citizens by US napalm and chemical weapons amount to war crimes and are in direct contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
In the US, returned soldiers have painted a horrific picture of what it is like for Iraqis to live under Occupation. US soldier Camilo Mejia, who refused to return to Iraq after taking leave in October 2003, said recently; ‘I thought of the suffering of a people whose country was in ruins and who were further humiliated by the raids, patrols and curfews of an occupying army And I realized that none of the reasons we were told about why we were in Iraq turned out to be true… I realized that I was part of a war that I believed was immoral and criminal, a war of aggression, [and]a war of imperial domination. I realized that acting upon my principles became incompatible with my role in the military, and I decided that I could not return to Iraq’. (Camilo Mejia, ‘Regaining My Humanity’, www.codepink4peace.org/National_Actions_Camilo.shtml )
Another returned soldier, ex-Marine Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey, sums up the war; ‘[What we are doing in Iraq] sickened me so that I had actually brought it up to my lieutenant, and I told him, I said, œYou know, sir, we’re not going to have to worry about Iraq – you know, we’re basically committing genocide over here, mass extermination of thousands of Iraqis ’. (Amy Goodman interviews Jimmy Massey, www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=04/05/24/148212 )
Self-censored media shields the government from any wrongdoing and keeps the public entertained and in place. As professor William Cook of the University of La Verne in southern California noted; ‘None of the Iraqi 100 000 dead have a voice to cheer Bush’s Doctrine; none of their family members have been asked about its benefits; no one concerned about the ensuing years’ invisible companion, depleted uranium, has a voice; none of the maimed – the blind, the limbless, the sick and dying – have a voice; no one has been asked about America’s fourteen military bases being a permanent part of the Iraqi landscape; no one has been asked about America determining that Iraqi resources should be sold to the most favoured private bidder, primarily non-Iraqi; and none of the prisoners [innocent, men women and children] subjugated to [abuse and]torture at Abu Ghraib [and other expanding US prisons in Iraq]has been asked about America’s virtues and its democratic ways’. (William Cook, www.counterpunch.org/cook03162005.html ) The war was a murderous crime, and those who are responsible for it, and for the destruction of the Iraqi civil society should face war crimes trials like the leaders of Nazi Germany.
A parliament produced by illegitimate elections in the shadow of foreign occupation does not make a nation democratic, free and sovereign. It makes a colonial dictatorship. The US-led foreign forces have no business in Iraq. Iraq’s liberation and self-determination from foreign invaders are the unquestionable legitimate rights of the Iraqi people.
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