Wednesday, October 19, 2005

How the mighty have fallen.

Saddam Hussein;

Dictator, Psychopath, Murderer, Madman, Thug, Assassin, Monster, Warmonger, Egomaniac, Thief, Racist, Xenophobe, Liar, Ignoramus, Torturer, the destroyer of a nation.

I don't care what happens to this man. In fact I wish he were dead already. I think the majority of Iraqis would say the same.

In my opinion the timing of this trial is not ideal, but the fact is that PM Ja3fary and the current ruling Shia majority parliament have pushed very hard to make sure that this trial occurred before the December 15th elections and while they are still in power. I guess they were worried that maybe after the elections the new Government might feel sorry for Saddam and let him go. (Me being sarcastic)

For me, I hope these trials take a very, very, long time. I hope that every person who has ever been damaged by this man's actions, directly or otherwise, gets a chance to face him in person and ask him why and what for. I hope that all Iraqis get to see and relive the pains of the past through these trials so maybe at the end we can be reborn as one nation again, with brotherhood instilled in our hearts. I hope.

I see this trial as a chance for all us Iraqis to finally find closure and deliverance from the ghosts this man has wrought on our lives.
I'm not sure what the powers that be have decided regarding these trials. I just wish they do the right thing by us all.

Monday, October 17, 2005

The magic is not in the paper....

Even before the official result of the ballot count is due to be announced, it seams quite clear that the outcome of this constitutional referendum has been preordained to be an unequivocal yes by the majority of Iraqis except of course those areas where the Arab Sunni population so overwhelmingly outnumber any other sect that any suggestion of a ‘Yes’ vote would be so absurd as to be laughable.

It seams that the current Kurdish / Shia’t government, backed by the US administration, have managed to achieve a substantial coup in convincing the world that they have run an honest and legitimate vote count in order to pass this draft constitution. The fact that the average Iraqi is mind boggled by the 70+% ‘Yes’ acceptance in majority held Sunni Dyala and Niniveh provinces is considered neither here or there to the Iraqi government or the American administration.

Now before you go on about how Sunnis are not all one voting block or how the last minute concessions and amendments had convinced the Sunni Islamic Party to make a last minute announcement that they in fact were calling on their members to vote ‘Yes’ for the ratification, and how that would explain the change of heart of the Muslawi (Ninivan’s) or Dyalan’s to all of a sudden change tack and overwhelmingly vote 70+% to ratify, Let me clarify some a few facts.

1- Contrary to what the press wants you to believe the Islamic Party represents a very small percentage of the Sunni population and unlike the situation with the southern Shia’t religious Hamza (religious authority) of Nagaf and Karbala, there is no obligation on Sunnis to follow Fatwas or Edicts of the religious clerics like the Shia’t do every time Sistani press office decides to issue one in his name.

2- The Niniveh province, with its population of nearly 1.5 million mostly Arab Sunni and Turkmen Sunni, both fiercely apposed to the government and American occupation, has seen substantial military activity these last few months, the latest of which is at Tel-A3far city west of Musol. Now, the government wants you to seriously believe that this very troubled city with alls its past year’s anti American sentiment would conceivably vote overwhelmingly for the ratification of this constitution. (I don’t think so.)

3- Everyone seams to be praising the substantial Sunni participation and how that somehow means they have finally decided to drop arms and join in the democratic process. The fact is, whether you believe me or not, is that Sunnis overwhelmingly came out to vote in fear of the ratification and the increasing alienation that they feel in Iraq. The fact that it was largely peaceful on the day is not due to Iraqi security force operations, but due to the fact that the Sunnis paramilitary wings urged by the political organizations held off any attacks on the day to make sure that as many of their population would vote against the constitution being ratified. The fact that the government seams to have assassinated this much hyped political and democratic process by forging the results will not go unnoticed by the Sunnis or their paramilitary groups.

Where does this leave the political process in Iraq?

Many of the comments I have read over the past two days exalt this referendum as some kind of victory and major step forward to the country. Many commentators keep referring to the imminent passing of the constitutions, and the rights that it may or may not provide to the average Iraqi citizen, as a major victory or validation to the American efforts in Iraq, as if it is a document sent down from God, set in stone and impossible to abuse. They seem to believe that somehow the passing of this document is like the magic pill which will cure all of Iraq’s woes. The fact of the matter is that this document, like many of Iraq’s constitutional documents of yesteryear, is only as valuable as what the people make of it. It derives its power from the people and for the people. That is its magic. Otherwise its no better nor more valuable than the paper it is printed on. Tyrants and dictators will always find a way to make pieces of paper irrelevant, all it takes is the right political climate and enough guns.

For me, it is the democratic process that will save Iraq and not a ragtag contradictory piece of fantasy literature. Iraqis must be helped to believe in the Democratic process and all that comes with it. Public dialogue, Free Press, Responsible governance, Trusted and honorable police and Law officials, Free fair and transparent elections.

If the Vote comes back as a ‘Yes’ to the constitution, aa most are already hinting, then a huge opportunity will have been lost by both the American and the Iraqi governments to bring piece and reconciliation to Iraq once and for all. The next few days and weeks will witness a Sunni uprising on a scale not seen before and I’m truly fearful from the days to come.

(PS. Just in case you are wondering; No, i'm not Sonni. My Mother kurdish and my father is a Shia Arab originally from the southern city of Nasarya. I was born and raised in Baghdad and i currently live in the UK).

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Iraq’s Constitution and Democracy?

Today’s constitutional vote should mark the turning point for Iraq. And the outcome of this vote is more important than many could ever guess or think. We are at the cross roads, one path would lead to chaos and a civil war while the other would finally bring reconciliation and peace to Iraq and set an example that democracy and peaceful political participation is the only way forward and that the voice of every Iraqi does have a value and can change the political landscape.

Enormous efforts have been made to pass this constitution in spite of the Sunis rejections and fears. The Western media and Iraqi Government media keep hinting that the constitution will be ratified and that the latest amendments to the draft has convinced enough Sunis to vote ‘Yes’ to the draft (Which is completely untrue). This eagerness to pre-judge the results and somehow prepare the media to accept a preordained ‘Yes’ vote before the results are even cast or counted somehow smacks of a conspiracy to prepare the public to accept the ‘Yes’ vote before hand.
This is very dangerous in my opinion.

If there is one thing that is clear from today’s turnout polling numbers is that Sunis in their majority held cities and provinces have in fact turned out in Massive numbers to vote ‘No’ for the constitution and to cast it down. You only have to look at the turn out numbers in cities such as Mosul, Kirkuk, Diyala, Baghdad, and provinces of Sallahaddin, Naynawa, and Anbar, to see that these areas which have substantial popular Suni and Turkmen rejection to the constitution have finally heeded the democratic call and headed out in force to cast their voice.

Now, as we all know the final counting will not be done at the polling stations but instead the count will be done at the green zone under the control and supervision of the Iraqi government and American administrations. If the results come back and do not coincide with the voting that went on, then I fear that the Suni populations would up in arms and completely be disenchanted with the idea of continuing their involvement in a peaceful political participation.

These are the turnout levels recorded in the 18 provinces in Iraq according to the electoral commission in the latest press conference:

High= more than 66%
Moderate= 33% - 66%
Low= less than 33%

Duhok: moderate.
Erbil: moderate.
Sulaymania: high.
Mosul: high.
Kirkuk: high.
Diyala: high.
Anbar: unknown.
Baghdad: high.
Babil: high.
Kerbala: high.
Wasit: moderate.
Salahiddin: high.
Al-Muthana: moderate.
Al-Qadisiya: low.
Najaf: high.
Thi Qar: moderate.
Maysan: moderate.
Basra: moderate.