Assembly that does not represent the people
On February 17, the Iraqi Electoral Commission announced the final results of the "National Assembly Elections." According to the announcement, the United Iraqi Alliance, a coalition of Shiah Muslim parties, received 140 seats, giving it an absolute majority in the 275-member Assembly. The Kurdish Alliance received 75 seats, coming in second. The Iraqi List, led by Prime Minister Allawi, received 40 seats, coming in third.
However, this "National Assembly" can never be an organ representing the Iraqi people.
In the first place, the Assembly was born from the elections that were not free or fair at all. The US occupation authority appointed members of the Electoral Commission. They also established the election rules. Any party that did not satisfy the requirements set up by the US government was disqualified from running. No policies were publicized, and an option of ending the occupation had been excluded beforehand. Rampant were coercions into voting, leveraging a religious decree called "fatwah" and threats to terminate food distributions from the rationing system. Some polling stations even had a Muslim militia deployed to intimidate people into voting.
Those were political shows that do not deserve a reference as "elections." That was why a majority of the entire electorate, or nearly ten million voters out of about 18 million, boycotted the elections. Thus, the Iraqi people have given no credence to the "National Assembly."
Disguise to enable continued occupation
The place used by the Shiah coalition to publicize their candidate list was a conference room within the US-controlled Green Zone in Baghdad. This fact alone is enough to foresee absence of the will or competence to end the occupation in a Shiah-led "Transitional Government" to be launched soon. It is also known that the US government has imposed on the new government the following three requirements: it must not request the withdrawal of US troops, it must not accept any influence of Iran, and it must not build an Islamic nation.
The role of the Transitional Government is to disguise itself as an organ that makes one step forward in the process of building a sovereign nation while actually smoothly implementing the plans of US and other global capitalists to control Iraq. In December, Iraq's Interim Finance Minister Mahdi, an influential politician representing the spine of the Shiah coalition, the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and one of candidates for a new prime minister, said to US industry insiders, "Iraq wants to issue a new oil law that would open Iraq's national oil company to private foreign investment." As this statement evidences, the Shiah political forces are neither anti-American nor anti-occupation.
Such moves for grabbing Iraq's resources and processes toward privatization will be supervised by five-year-term auditors appointed by the US occupation authority and deployed at all government departments. The mechanism of the occupation rule is just the same even after the Transitional Government replaces the Interim.
With other things aside, a tremendous device of violence composed of 150,000 occupation troops still persists while plans to construct as many as 14 permanent military bases are underway. The Shiah coalition's campaign pledges included a promise that it would negotiate for the withdrawal of multinational forces. If that representation ends up in a mere gesture, the anger of the people anxious for terminating the occupation will inevitably mount even more.
Future is in citizens' hands
Another disaster that has accompanied the elections is expansion of the social segmentation and disputes in Iraq arising from ethnic and religious backgrounds. Shiah mosques have been under a string of bombing attacks. Pressure is growing to force women to wear veils and comply with religious dress codes. Voices of some religious groups are becoming louder, calling for a constitution based on Islamic codes.
Now is the time the Iraqi Civil Resistance fully demonstrates its power as a front for a democratic Iraq with freedom, equality and secularism in place. Now is the time for us to enhance solidarity with the Civil Resistance through struggles for immediate withdrawal of the Self-Defense Forces (Japanese troops) and against "reconstruction assistance." (February 21)