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Elections' Aftermath


Ghali Hassan • 7 February 2005

It is true that millions of Iraqis have participated in the "elections", but by international standard, the turnout was very low. On the day of the elections Iraq was in a state of siege, cut off from all directions. Journalists were also limited to areas of higher turnout, and the international monitors stayed in Jordan, 1200 km from Iraq. The elections were designed to provide legitimacy to US Occupation.

Despite the illegitimacy of the elections, which are held under foreign military occupation, Iraqis who came out for the elections voted to end the occupation, not to endorse its continuity. About 7 million of the 18 million eligible Iraqi voters in Iraq and about 280,000 of the 4 million Iraqi voters outside Iraq voted in the elections. They were hoping that their participation would lead to an end of occupation and violence in their homeland.

Mainstream media and western pundits sold the elections as the 'road toward democracy'. The opposite is true. The purpose of the elections was to persuade the outside world, particularly the US citizens, to support the occupation and US foreign policy. US interests have very little to do with fair elections and democracy.

According to the US-based Carter Centre, which monitored elections around the world, the US have endorsed illegitimate and fraud elections in Azerbaijan but rejected or disendorsed legitimate and democratic elections in Venezuela. Further, the Centre did not participate in the Iraq's elections because Iraq's elections do not met the elections' criteria, such as free and safe environment, and the ability of candidates to move freely. The candidates, with their identities remain secret, are those who entered Iraq on the back of US tanks, collaborated with the Occupation, and depend on it for survival. All independent voices in Iraq, regardless of ethnicity, have boycotted the elections.

The Bush administration claims that the elections are somehow an endorsement for the war and the Occupation are misleading and untrue. The war is an illegal act of aggression in violations of international law. The occupation is against the wishes of the majority of the Iraqi people. All Iraqis are in favour of free and fair elections as long as the occupation forces withdraw from Iraq. The US brought nothing good to Iraq. It brought destruction and has encouraged the eventual division of Iraq on sectarian lines. Military occupation by force is not freedom or liberty.

A future Iraq submissive to US imperialism put flagrantly by two mainstream media outlets in the US. The Washington Post argued that the elections in Iraq constituted "an answer to the question of whether the mission in Iraq remains a just cause." The Los Angeles Times ranted, "the world could honestly see American troops making it possible for a long-oppressed people to choose their destiny." The Iraqi people have voted to end US domination even if they voted in illegitimate elections.

Juan Cole, the American Blogger and textbooks "experts" on Iraq told C-Span Washington Journal on 27 January 2005, that, "Iraq is like South Africa during the Apartheid regime [a major US ally], the US had to invade and change the regime of Saddam and give power to the Shiites majority". The comment is not only ill informed and misleading; it is foolish. Also, Shiites as a majority is very disputed figure in Iraq itself. There is not a single town or city in Iraq that is purely "Sunnis". Mr Cole also said that he studied Iraq in the US from textbooks because he "couldn't get visa to do fieldwork in Iraq during Saddam regime". This is utterly untrue. Iraq has been very frequent destination by Westerners, such as workers, scientists and archaeologists. My 85 years-old father once said: "Our family have lived on this River [the Tigris] for generations, and we have not experienced the kind of division and racism Western, and particularly American pundits and academics are promoting in order to sell themselves and their books". Only in the West people are ranting about Iraq's division and Iraq's ethnicity. The elections were designed to establish sectarianism in Iraq, not democracy.

Iraqis Sunnis, Shiites and Christians have lived together since the rise of Islam. There has never been a civil war, or talk about civil war in Iraq. Suddenly everyone is talking about civil war in Iraq. Civil wars are imperialism useful tools to rule the native peoples and provide fodder for domestic consumption. The more the natives are divided, the easier to rule them and exploit them. Iraq's problem is not an internal problem; it is a Western-created problem. The US and Britain fabricated lies in order to invade Iraq, remove a nationalist government, and seize control of Iraq's oil reserves. Saddam was a pretext for an illegal war of aggression in violations of international law.

Saddam and his regime is now the West "moral compass". The more he is demonised, the more brutal the US treatment of the Iraqi people becomes. This is very evident in the passive stand Western and American citizens took in response to the torture, abuse and murder of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and other prisons throughout Iraq. An experiment in human torture has been validated and accepted in the West, but only if the victims are the "others".

The recent scientific study in the prestigious British journal The Lancet showing that there were more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians killed as a result of US invasion and occupation, was immediately ignored in the Anglo-Saxon countries, particularly the US. By contrast, the death of 3000 citizens as a result of the 9/11 attacks is repeated daily in order to justify war and occupation of other countries.

According to recent polls reported in the September 26, 2004 of The Seattle Times, 98 per cent of Iraqis want the Americans to leave their country. The majority of the Iraqi people have also boycotted the elections. The elections are a farce. They are rigged and forced on the Iraqi people at gunpoint in order to elect candidates who support the continuing of the US Occupation. For Iraqis, the elections did not change anything on the ground, the deliberate destruction of their country and society will continue.

The Bush administration is increasing its hold on the country, using the pretexts of democracy and fraudulent elections to legitimise the Occupation. Who ever win in these elections will remain in power only with the support of US occupation forces. The elections form part of the foundation for a corrupt colonial dictatorship in Iraq. This is evident in the US refusal to agree to a timetable for troops withdrawal and prevents further escalation in violence, and continues to build military bases there against the wishes of the Iraqi people.

If the US wants to end the violence, an exit strategy to end the US Occupation of Iraq is now available. The elections should provide a first step to free Iraq from US occupation, and allow the Iraqi people to build their society and their country free from foreign domination.

Ghali Hassan lives in Perth Western Australia. He can be reached at e-mail:





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