Saturday, January 03, 2004

Iraq and The transitional period

Every now and then I hear some fears and suspicions regarding the Islamic parties in the GC, the communist party and the desire of the Kurdish parties to make an independent state. of course I've heard the same from many of my Iraqi friends.

As for me in the meantime I stand strongly behind the communist party, the Kurdish party and the Islamic parties in the GC!
Of course I'm not a communist, not Kurdish and not an Islamist. And before the formation of the GC, I was strongly against establishing a temporary government (knowing its possible consistency), while most of the Iraqis were demanding with all their power to form a government (any government), as they thought that a strong government would be the magical cure for all our difficulties.
Strange enough now we have changed our positions and many of the same people who said that they would be content with any sort of a government are now against it.
What are the reasons behind such an immediate change?
As for most of the Iraqis it appears now that they found there was no magical cure and instead of putting all their anger on the USA (many Iraqis look to the USA as sort of a Goddess who can say "be" and it's done). Now they distribute their anger and frustration equally between the USA and the GC, saying that it doesn't represent all of them.

For me I knew that from the beginning, I knew that the most qualified parties to form a temporary government do not represent in my opinion more than 30-40% of Iraqis, but there is also the fact that the rest of Iraqis 60-70% do not have any distinguishable representative. They are the silent majority. Most important is that the GC parties are either representing a certain ethnic group or religion, a much distorted way of democratic representation.
In addition to that the old disputes between Turkmen and Kurds over Kirkuk which was shown by the last (expected) events in Kirkuk (this is the 2nd time) proved that the political parties based on ethnicity are the most probable source to civil war. That's why I was against the GC before it was held.

I was hoping that within few months this silent majority could regroup itself to form a strong mass that's mostly democratic and have the majority in any temporary government.

As this didn't happen and appears to be a remote possibility in the near future (as the truly democratic parties are terribly weak), it appears to me that the best thing to do now is to support the GC no matter how much I disagree with the perspectives of most of its parties, until the Iraqis and the coalition defeat the Ba'athists and the terrorists in Iraq once and for ever.
During that, I hope that the emotions settle and the minds start working and concentrating more on how would we like our country to be? What sort of a government and a constitution is more suitable for us?
This is one of my reasons for supporting the GC. And allow me to show you a more realistic picture of those (radical parties):

-I personally know many members in the Iraqi communist party, and I may have said it before, that a lot of them have feelings of gratitude and love towards the USA and the coalition forces. Why?
Maybe because she helped them to get rid of Saddam, and maybe that after all what they have been through, they became more peaceful and less inclined to the revolutionary violence.
The same thing applies to Al-Da'awa party (the only Islamic party that accepts Sunni and She'at as members) and to a lesser extent to the SCIR.

-Allow me to add that most of Saddam victims in the early 70s and 80s were either members of the 1st two parties, suspects of being members or had relations with some of their members.
While the SCIR was almost the only party-beside the Kurdish militias- that had militia on the ground and combated the Ba'athists for the last ten years (this militia no longer functions by order of the SCIR secretary).
I think these three radical parties after crossing a river of blood and tortures became less interested in violence as a way to control and are more inclined to political work.

-Another fact worth mentioning; none of the above parties was accused of any terrorist attack. On the contrary, they, and especially the leaders of the SCIR were the subjects of many well-known terrorist attacks to which they made no violent response.

I was there in the big anti-terrorist rally on the 10th of Dec. when all the political parties in the GC gathered with other independent organizations and political parties, to condemn terrorism. And to tell the truth the most organized and peaceful parties were the communist party, Al-Daawa party, the Kurdish parties and to a lesser extent the SCIR. The only annoying group were those teenagers supporting that idiot Muqtada Al-Sader who gets all his popularity from his father's name other wise the guy is pathetically ignorant and I'm sure will not last for a long period or pose any serious threat.

However this picture may seem far from reassuring; democracy based on ethnic and religious descent? Kurdish parties claiming belonging of Kirkuk and in conflict with its Turkmen? Raged teenagers with arms following a mad man? Communists and Islamists? Wouldn't that lead to a civil war rather than a democracy?
Yes, I will not bury my head in the sand. Such possibility does exist, and adding to the above; man's never ending lust for power and control and the very short democratic experience of all these parties.
Still I'm optimistic why??
In addition to the explanations above I have 5 reasons:
-The presence of the coalition forces makes any attempt to use force equals political and literal suicide.

-The large differences between these parties might be beneficial; I mean who could oppose the rise of a theocracy more than the communists and vice versa, and who would balance the Kurds other than the Turkmen ( although this might well lead to the opposite (a civil war) if it wasn't for the other causes).

-After nine months of the formation of the GC and despite minor disagreements in the beginning, things seems to be going swiftly and the GC appears to act somewhat harmoniously.

-The presence of the common enemy which is still more powerful than any party in organization and military practice with obvious support from some of Iraq neighbors acts as a common threat that forces all to unite against it.

-The presence of a small but growing mass of small liberal and democratic parties that acts as a lubricating factor and a bond between the extreme right and extreme left (relativity here), and the fact that these small parties are gaining foot against the more radical parties, as most Iraqis have gone sick and tired of wars and blood shed.

Yes, it's a delicate balance that either leads to a civil war or to a steady and progressive advance created by the net force -of pull and push- inflicted by extremes on both sides with the moderate powers acting as a monitor and a security valve.

The US and the coalition help here is needed, and provided, to eliminate the Ba'athists and fascists and provide a healthy environment for a peaceful dialogue between different political dispositions. But in the end it's our responsibility the people of Iraq who believe in peace and democracy as the only option, something I sense to grow (slowly) day by day and I hope we will be ready when the time comes.
Here comes to the mind a question that is often asked when it comes to elections; that's how soon should these be held? And when should the coalition forces turn the power completely into the hands of an Iraqi government whether elected or temporary one?And what if the Islamic parties won the majority in the future elections?Should they be allowed to rule Iraq or should the USA interfere to prevent this?
these questions are far from being easy and no matter what I say, a lot of people will not only disagree but will probably call me a traitor, a self centered or a fool depending on the way they look to the Iraqi issue, and no matter what the USA decide, there will always be difficulties and natural mistakes which the USA will get the major blame for, but that's a long subject and I'll leave it to another post.

By Ali.

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