Armed up and bulling ahead with elections in Iraq
On January 7, President Bush said publicly that he was opposed to putting off the looming elections for an Iraqi Transitional National Assembly, declaring to the world that he would forcibly go ahead with the elections, resorting to crude violence and armed coercion.
With criticism against occupation troops spreading throughout Iraq, misgivings concerning the elections were also emerging inside Allawi puppet administration. To shake it up, Bush decided to deploy an extra 12,000 US troops to Iraq. He also had a talk with Allawi on January 5, leading to Allawi's announcement on the following day to the world and to Iraqis the administration's decision to extend the state of emergency for 30 days as well as its commitment to sticking to the election timetable.
The scheduled elections are nothing but a vehicle for beguiling the world and justifying the occupation. The decision of the extension of the state of emergency is an admittance of the Allawi administration that it is not based on a national consensus and is rejected by the Iraqi people. Bulling ahead with the elections would certainly lead to negation of the sovereignty and the right of self-determination of the Iraqi people. It would also deepen ethnic and religious splits in the Iraqi society.
Agitation among pro-occupation elements
However, this staunch scenario of going ahead with elections is not evidence of a turn toward stable dominance of the occupation forces and pro-occupation groups. With the occupation proven to be a failure, without any other option to take, they are blindly pressing ahead with the hard-line strategy.
Already the Iraqi Civil Resistance front has declared a boycott of the elections. Iraq's biggest Sunni party, the Iraq Islam Party, has withdrawn from the elections, defeating the effort to induce Sunni Muslims to participate. At the 2004 yearend, even UN Secretary General Annan, the very scenario writer for the National Assembly elections came to express a negative view of the situation developed by the US and the Allawi administrations. He said in Dec. 21 press conference, "We have also encouraged them to try and reach out to people outside the process and make the elections as inclusive as possible, … But the Government and electoral commission have decided as of now to go ahead with the elections," implying his view that the elections are not likely to become inclusive enough.
Furthermore, President al-Yawar of the puppet administration implied his support for postponement of the elections, saying, "On a logical bases, there are signs that it will be a tough call to hold the elections. … Definitely the United Nations should really stand up for their responsibilities and obligations by saying whether that is possible or not." On January 9, Even Allawi acknowledged the perilous situation, saying "'Pockets' of Iraq are too dangerous for voters to cast ballots." On top of that, the US administration candidly shows its stance that any kind of elections, if enforced, will serve their purpose, as implied by the remarks of Press Secretary McClellan who said, "The elections, no one expects to be perfect" in his response to the press on January 11.
Stand up for withdrawal of all occupation troops
Now, different areas in Iraq are seeing growing waves of actions to expose the reality of the occupation and struggle for freedom and civil rights.
On January 1, in Falluja where mass killings were committed repeatedly, several thousand demonstrators demanded that the occupation troops withdraw. Besides that, the delegate of Fallujans presented a report to the United Nations that describes crimes committed by US troops and the living conditions of displaced residents. They also submitted a list of demands, including withdrawal of occupation forces, disbanding of the National Guard, prosecution of war crimes at the International Criminal Court, reconstruction of public services, compensation to inhabitants and postponement of the ellections.
Workers of the FWCUI (Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq), a member organization of the Iraqi Civil Resistance, went on strikes one after another in Basra, Nasriyah and Baghdad for higher wages and better working conditions. The Worker Communist Party of Iraq issued an appeal to the world calling for withdrawal of occupation troops and support for an election boycott.
Respond to their struggle. Stand against the attempt to go ahead with the elections that would destroy Iraq. Let us spread our voices around the world that call for solidarity with the Civil Resistance and for withdrawal of occupation troops. (January 15)