"Free elections" without freedom
On January 30, the Allawi puppet administration of Iraq enforced the elections for a transitional National Assembly. US President Bush applauded the incident, calling it "a resounding success" and the United Nations also followed Bush through UN Secretary General Annan who described it as "the first step in a democratic process."
However, those were far from what the term 'election' normally represents.
After extending the state of emergency for one more month toward the elections, Allawi closed the nation's borders and international airport for three days from January 29 in joint operation with US forces. Moreover, he banned inter-provincial migration from January 27 through 31 by sealing all provincial borders. Thus, the whole nation was on high alert with a total of 300,000 troops deployed, including occupation and Iraqi police forces.
From the beginning, it was out of the question for Allawi to imagine the possibility of elections that would allow all eligible voters to participate. Along with dubious voter registration, non-publication of candidates' names and participating parties' campaign pledges characterized the elections. There was no political freedom at all. Even worse, Shiah Muslims issued a religious decree called 'fatwah' to force Muslims to vote, inviting rampant acts of threatening and vote buying. Moreover, the dispatched UN personnel were no more than 25 members, and no international monitors were deployed for visiting polling stations for the observation mission. There was absolutely no control over election rigging and the media were prohibited from publicizing anything outside the scope of the government's official announcements.
We can never call elections under violence and lawless circumstances 'free elections.' Instead, a farce is the correct term for the elections, which was employed by US forces, the puppet administration and religious circles in order to ensure continued occupation.
Continued occupation for oil
Large portions of Iraq's water, power and other lifeline systems still remain ruined after US random attacks destroyed the infrastructure of the country. The Allawi puppet administration, however, places the priority not on civil life recovery but on reconstruction of the oil industry, earmarking as much as three billion dollars in the 2005 budget for that purpose. The administration has decided to encourage foreign enterprises to enter the nation's oil industry. As it is totally unlikely at the moment for any additional countries to join the existing donor countries of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq, this move reveals the administration's intent to make way for global capitalists even at sacrifice of civil life of the Iraqis.
In the wake of the elections, the interim administration is to change its official name to the 'Iraqi Transitional Government.' Their scenario has it that elections under a new constitution are to be held no later than December 15 this year to create a 'permanent government.' Nonetheless, Bush made it clear that "US troops will remain in Iraq until the country's forces are capable of carrying out their own security functions." Allawi also supported the US plan for a lengthy stay of military forces by saying, "I will not set final dates." Already, the US Army authority has made it clear the it expects to keep its troop strength in Iraq at the current level of about 120,000 for at least two more years.
In any sense, the "elections" are not "the first step in a democratic process." It is nothing but another attempt to fix the failed ruling of the occupiers. It is merely a process of legitimizing the oppressive regime so that global capitalists can use it as a medium to control Iraq's oil resources as well as to secure their profits from reconstruction work.
Enhance solidarity with Iraqi Civil Resistance
Withdrawal of all occupation forces, conciliation of all segments of the Iraqi society beyond religious or ethnic differences and truly democratic elections based on the people's will - these are the indispensable building blocks of the democratic reconstruction of the Iraqi society.
The Iraqi Civil Resistance front driven by the Worker Communist Party of Iraq has been developing activities, including their campaign for a boycott of the deceptive elections under occupation. The Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq (FWCUI) have won higher wages and better working conditions by going on strikes. The Iraqis are struggling for democracy on their own, extending their movements across the nation. Nowhere but in the Iraqi Civil Resistance exists the prospect of realization of a democratic Iraq.
Now is the time for us all to be united with the Civil Resistance and demand all occupation forces to withdraw. (January 31)