The elections fever is obviously rising up in Iraq and the belief in the necessity of the elections for the future of Iraq and in the importance of participating in this process is entering the hearts and minds of more Iraqis day by day as the time for elections is getting nearer.
Also we can see more statements coming up from various parties calling the Iraqis to vote in the coming elections and there’s no indication for who’s going to win in this 'announcements race' as many of these concentrate on the necessity of participating and voting for whomever the voters find qualified to represent them.
Today, Ahmed Al Safi, a senior aide of Ayatollah Sistani announced (link in Arabic) that “Those who don’t participate in the elections will end up in hell” and he added in his speech “we must bear the responsibility and we must all participate in the elections because it’s a patriotic duty and not doing so is like treason”
He also denied the news that spread about Sistani preparing or supporting a particular list of candidates.
This announcement serves the purpose, In spite of the harsh extremism in it.
We all don’t like the interference of clerics in politics but the reality is that they still have a considerable influence on many Iraqis and right now we need all the support we can get. Besides, this shows that 'traditional Islam' is not exactly against democracy as some people claim. Yes, they want to use democracy to get to power because they think they represent the majority but don’t all parties think the same?
The important thing is that they’re not against the process and the only important question that remains is that, if they lose, will they accept it or not? I-on my part-believe that Sistani would accept the loss of the powers that he supports but Sadr for example would not and I’m sure the time will come when we will have to deal with people like Sadr more firmly and eliminate the threat they pose to democracy, once and for all.
On the other side, the “Association of Muslim scholars” called all the Iraqis to boycott the elections and considered those who disobey this call as “sinners” . I belive that this opinion does not represents the majority of Sunni population but rather the “Salafis groups”. For example, the “Iraqi Islamic party” released an announcement that has a very different tone; this is according to this leaflet that was distributed this morning which says:
"To my Muslim brothers and sisters:
Beware not to ignore the elections; your participation is both a Sharia and a patriotic duty.
Do not miss your chance to choose your representatives...
And don’t give a chance to the opportunists, racists and those with sectarian agendas...
Let your slogan be “let my participation make Muslims more dominant”
Remember the saying of the prophet (pbuh) “you all have responsibilities and you all shall be questioned for these responsibilities”
Don’t forget to pray for us,
your brothers in the “Islamic Party”"
From this we can conclude that the majority of political and religious trends in Iraq share the conviction that elections are a must and this is good sign for the future of this country and will erase many of the doubts about the prospects of the elections.
We can’t let a small group that’s still living the illusions of the past influence our strategies; the terrorists and their allies thought that they can stop the wild tides of freedom but day by day they’re getting more isolated and I can feel that they are beginning to realize that their end is approaching.
They had missed the train and their call for negotiations strongly indicates that they’re feeling defeated because this is a characteristic feature of the Ba’athists; they never sit down for negotiations untill they know they're losing and until it's too late.
We will triumph and our patience and belief in our cause are our weapons and the support we get from freedom lovers from all over the world encourages us to move on and fight with more faith in victory.
The pessimism we’re being flooded by from the media began to lose its 'glitter' and a bunch of terrorists backed by a bunch of “abduction scholars” will not succeed to steal the dreams of a nation.