Friday, March 12, 2004

They came. They did their job. They will leave.

-Since the formation of the GC, there has been a lot of criticism and accusation to this council. Some people said it didn’t represent the Iraqi people, others accused them of being puppets to the Americans, and others called them as corrupted selfish people who cared only of their interests and those of the ethnic or religious group each one of them is representing.
As the GC is about to finish it’s task and hand the authority to a temporary government, one would like to asses what has been accomplished and the way the GC handled different problems and the degree of success or failure the GC had achieved in all the missions that were lying on their back.
Regarding the question of how much the GC represent Iraqis, I’d like to say that in my opinion -and I think most agree on this- the GC represent about 30 to 40% of Iraqis. Now to start with this is more than any previous government, including the constitutional monarchy before 1958, had represented the Iraqis. Besides, the fact that the left 60 to 70% were mostly independent people who have no political stance makes one say with clear conscience that the GC is the best available representative of Iraqis.

Many people blame the American administration for having no plan for the period after the war. This includes Arab, Muslim, some Iraqis and Americans as well. I’d like to say that when the major operations came to an end, the American administration was left with NOTHING on the ground. Iraq was broke economically, politically and morally too. The difficulties were far from being easy to solve and as the Americans searched for the political parties that represent Iraqis, they found only those in the GC, they were not satisfied with most of them, but since there were no alternatives they had to deal with them in the hope that stability will allow the Iraqis with time to form new and more mature political visions and parties that would replace those at the present.

I’d say it’s unfair, especially on our part (Iraqis) to say that the American administration had no plan for the post-war period. I think they had “plans to make plans!” these are not my words, they are senator Kerry’s in response to the question of his plans regarding Iraq if he is to win the elections. I would like to say that I support this statement, but I rather prefer to deal with those who had plans to make plans rather than those who have, as the former have by now developed a plan and are carrying it effectively as I see it and I don’t like the idea of starting all over again, unless there is a grave mistake in the plan we already have. I haven’t detected such a grave mistake and would like to hear another opinion. All I say is I have seen a steady and great progress made from near zero in less than one year. Our difficulties are getting less as every day passes, shortage in power supply is decreasing fast, gasoline and kerosene supplies are no longer an issue, the income of teachers, doctors, nurses, policemen and different government officials has raise for about 15 times as what it used to be before the war for the majority and we are on our way to true democracy. The only remaining problem is security and this is getting better every day despite terrible occasional attacks- which I don’t see why should we blame the GC or the American administration for them as they are doing their best to prevent them and are making progress- but at least armed robbery and crimes have decreased considerably in a very short period. How can we attack GWB and his administration for not having a previously prepared plan for the post-war period when they had a WAR to win 1st, and accept his opponent’s statement for not having a full plan, where he doesn’t have a war to worry about winning it, not a major one at least!

What has been achieved in this period on the part of the GC? I think that they were successful in doing their gob in a way that no one expected. They worked hard with the CPA to find an acceptable way to run things in Iraq, they restored Iraq diplomatic relations in a way much better than Saddam did, they helped the ministries in coordinating their plans and never disagreed-despite their great differences- in a way that endangers the unity of Iraqis. They reached what seemed to most people, including Iraqis, far from being easy to make in such a short period; a temporary constitution and a law for running the country by a temporary government that will lead Iraq until a permanent constitution and an elected government is found and when they found an agreement of how to do this, they are now ready to step aside within less than 3 months and hand their places to the temporary government. Can anyone compare this attitude with that of ANY other government and still say that the GC is an illegitimate council!?

Were the GC members were puppets to the USA? I think that if we look back a little, we’ll see that Paul Bremer never used the Veto despite some unacceptable decision on the parts of the GC like announcement 137, and when the USA convinced turkey to take a role in Iraq which was a vital issue to the American administration, and when some members in the GC -supported by the rest- opposed strongly this step, the US government had to yield to this and dismissed the whole idea! Even in the temporary constitution you can find some points that we all know the US administration and even some Iraqis would oppose, like considering Islam an essential source of law giving (not the only one though). What a puppet this GC is! If being grateful for the USA, being her allies and coordinating efforts with her for the benefit of both sides makes one a puppet, then I’ll be the 1st.

Some people blaming the GC for doing nothing to unite Iraqis and say that if it wasn’t for the Americans, civil war would’ve been inevitable and that such an agreement as the one has been achieved would’ve been impossible, and the funny thing is that those are the same people who blame the Americans for not preserving security in Iraq and for “throwing the country into chaos”!!

Now it may seem that I’m saying I support the GC completely, but this is far from being true. The GC members as I see them are not exactly politicians and their parties are only representing the major ethnic and religious groups in Iraq. Their role should be a limited one and it’s now up to us, Iraqis to find the alternatives: political parties with no fanaticism and with plans to develop economy, education, industry…etc.

Some people are pessimistic about this and see that Arab and Muslim in general are incapable of forming democracies. Needless to say that this is again a fanatic vision and I think that in Iraq, the GC and similar parties have no future and it’s highly predictable that they will lose ground to the more democratic and liberal small parties. They had a task, to guide Iraq in this transitional period with the help of the coalition and to preserve the rights of the groups they represent, and it will be the same Kurds who supported the Kurdish parties who will lose interest in them as they fought hard for gaining a federal state and after achieving this, they’ll be left with nothing to present to their people. The same thing applies to the Islamic She’at parties, who did their best to ensure having the majority in any future government, which had never happened before, and after that, again they’ll be left with nothing to present to the She’at and these people themselves would start to look for other representatives.

The GC was a temporary council that is needed in those difficult times, but I see no future for its members on the long term unless they go beyond their religious and ethnic limits to look at Iraq as a whole and try to come up with new ideas for new Iraq. Once they fail, and it’s predictable, then it’s our turn and our duty to search for alternatives and some Iraqis have already started doing this a long time ago and the rest should start now, and with this we should work as hard as possible to make the new constitution works until we agree on a permanent one, when we should make sure that no one should have the authority to breach it, and no one should be allowed to make changes other than us, the Iraqi people.

By Ali.

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