The following is an archived copy of a message sent to the CASI Analysis List run by Cambridge Solidarity with Iraq.
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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Dear Peter and all, > 2) I've little hope for this but if the resistance could unite politically > it could emerge in the manner of the Algerian FLN as a body capable of > establishing government surely you're kidding. which 'resistance' are you referring to? the one that carries out suicide bombings against iraqis? the one that carries of the hostage taking? there are groups which I feel should be represented, such as moqtada's lot, who have said they will participate in elections. the groups that have said they won't take part are the ones that stand to lose the most, e.g. the Sunni board of clerics, under the pretence that elections under occupation are invalid. I think they'd agree with your logic for troop withdrawal (see below) since they believe in the vacuum that will be left, they have the resources and the ruthlessness to recapture power for the 'traditional pillars of power' as one British diplomat put it (he was actually calling for the UK to give more power back to these pillars of power). > The only contribution we can make is to remove ourselves. Personally I think > this will result in an intensification of the struggle between the different > Iraqi groups =- not because Iraqis are prone to violence but because that is > what happens when you destroy the state. But there will then be some hope of > a resolution. So long as we are there there is no hope. You correctly note that Iraq will slip into further violence yet still advocate the removal of troops at this time. While I have always believed that all the claims that Iraq will slip into civil war should Saddam be removed are baseless and will never come to be true, I would say that the only circumstance that would bring about a civil war would be for troops to withdraw at the present time. Then it'll be a matter of which group is the most ruthless in its fight to control Iraq. The Iraqi people won't win. Iraq will return to dictatorship. It'll make Lebanon look like a friendly argument. This looks more like a 'principled' point of view, lacking in pragmatism or care for Iraq. > It is clear that the conditions for the elections are now much worse than > they were then and I note that the Iraqi Prospect Organisation in a recent > mailing argued that since they would be even worse in January we might as > well have the elections now (presumably using the ration cards which they > condemned a year ago). Last month the head of Iraq's electoral committee stated that they were ready to carry out a voter register, not relying upon the ration card system, and that it could be completed within 2-3 months. The UN is dragging its feet in this matter. If it was a choice between no elections or elections based on the ration card+1997 census then the latter is clearly much better. It does not mean that it is the best option for the reasons we highlighted a few months ago. We completely agree with Sayyid Sistani's insistence on elections, and agreed with him back last year that elections should've happened before June's transfer. Best wishes Yasser Alaskary Media Affairs Director Iraqi Prospect Organisation http://www.iprospect.org.uk Tel: +44 773 638 9400 Fax: +44 20 8450 0270 8a Ashbourne Parade London W5 3QS UK ----- Original Message ----- From: "Peter Brooke" <email@example.com> To: "Daniel O'Huiginn" <firstname.lastname@example.org>; <email@example.com> Sent: Friday, September 17, 2004 10:32 PM Subject: Re: [casi-analysis] Will there be elections in January? > [ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] > > Dear All > > Many thanks to Daniel for this excellent account of the election problems. I > was particularly interested in what he had to say about the census. When > Sistani originally proposed elections as soon as possible we were told that > it was impossible because of the lack of a census. He himself advocated the > use of the ration cards and he could not be accused of wanting to favour the > pro-Baath segments of the population. > > It is clear that the conditions for the elections are now much worse than > they were then and I note that the Iraqi Prospect Organisation in a recent > mailing argued that since they would be even worse in January we might as > well have the elections now (presumably using the ration cards which they > condemned a year ago). > > However, it now seems to me that the time is past that the elections could > establish a government in Iraq that could be generally recognised as > legitimate. In the immediate aftermath of the invasion, yes. Even a year ago > it might have worked but it won't work now. > > It most certainly won't work if the US persist in their efforts to secure > control of the whole country. Without going into the question of what their > real motives might be this is experienced as a continuation of the war. We > are asking peoples who are being invaded to conduct elections under the > 'protection' of an invader whose invasion is still incomplete. > > It is impossible that the continued presence of the invader could be a force > for stability. Unfortunately there is no guarantee that the departure of the > invader would bring stability either. The US and UK governments have done > the worst, most criminal thing they could possibly do: they have smashed a > state and reduced a society down to its elements. The creation of a unified > state is a long, complex, often bloody business. Iraq had made great > progress in it. That progress has been undone. > > I can see no way in which we can hope to contribute to the re-establishment > of the sort of national unity that would be necessary if elections were to > produce a legitimate government. Two things seem to be to be possibly > hopeful: > > 1) The moral authority of Sistani (which was almost lost through the attack > on Najaf during his absence). Hopefully tbis extends beyond the Shi'i > community. > > 2) I've little hope for this but if the resistance could unite politically > it could emerge in the manner of the Algerian FLN as a body capable of > establishing government > > The only contribution we can make is to remove ourselves. Personally I think > this will result in an intensification of the struggle between the different > Iraqi groups =- not because Iraqis are prone to violence but because that is > what happens when you destroy the state. But there will then be some hope of > a resolution. So long as we are there there is no hope. > > All the best > > Peter Brooke > www.politicsandtheology.co.uk > > > > 'This aim was achieved in the two wars of 1991 and 2003. Iraq as a strong, > unitary Arab state no longer exists. It has effectively been dismembered. > The best that can be hoped for under present circumstances is that it will > eventually re-emerge as a loose federation.' > > > From: Daniel O'Huiginn <firstname.lastname@example.org> > > Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 12:58:43 +0100 (BST) > > To: email@example.com > > Subject: [casi-analysis] Will there be elections in January? > > > > [ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] > > > > > > Dear list, > > > > There have recently been a couple of good articles on progress > > towards the January elections (1, 5), as well as a Secretary General's > > report earlier in the month giving a summary of the limited progress over > > the summer (16, p. 7-9). Throughout that period, worries about the > > deadline have been floating around, with the UN quietly panicking (2), and > > Iraqi politicians needing to publicly deny that there have been problems > > (3) > > > > The most important question is whether the elections will happen at all. > > Kofi Annan has been becoming gradually more pessimistic in his public > > statements, most recently telling the BBC that "You cannot have credible > > elections if the security conditions continue as they are now."(17). I > > imagine the US wants to avoid any definite postponement before their own > > elections, so I wouldn't wait for anything so downbeat from them. But the > > situation on the ground more than justifies Annan's attitude. The UN > > election assistants have fled to Jordan (5), and the (Iraqi) members of > > the electoral commission ((4) has a list of their names) rarely dare leave > > the Green Zone, and feel forced to travel incognito (1) whenever they do > > venture out. Candidates, too, will have a hard time roaming the country > > without getting shot. Ironically, they'll need to travel because of the > > proportional representation system, which was put in place to make it > > harder for local militias to intimidate candidates. > > > > In such a climate, it's natural that most people, like Annan, see security > > as the main problem. Unfortunately, this has led to an extremely > > counter-productive approach from the military, which insists that it must > > invade 'no-go areas' like Najaf and Fallujah in order to provide security > > for elections. For example an AP from a fortnight ago says that "The U.S. > > military will work to regain control of rebel strongholds and turn them > > over to Iraq's fledgling security forces so elections will be seen by > > Iraqis - and the world - as free and fair." (13) > > > > Helena Cobban picks this argument apart in the Christian Science Monitor > > (12). She argues - based on a comparison to South Africa - that: "For > > elections to be held and to be judged valid in any part of Iraq, it is not > > necessary that US forces be in control of that area - only that it be > > peaceable enough to allow free access by election workers, candidates, and > > party organizers, all of whom are Iraqi, not American. If the election > > process has enough general political credibility in the country, they will > > have the access they need." > > > > In fact, escalating the conflict with Sadr is having the opposite effect, > > opening up the awful possibility of no elections in Fallujah whatsoever: > > "At the weekend Dr Allawi mooted an alternative possibility, also floated > > by Lieutenant- General Thomas Metz, operations chief of the 150,000 US-led > > troops in Iraq: that elections could be prevented or delayed in Fallujah > > without prejudicing the overall result." (1) > > > > Looking at Allawi's comments another way, they're just another step in the > > long process of scaling back expectations for the elections. In June the > > UN thought 30,000 polling stations would be needed(6). Now, they're > > planning to have 7,000 (5). The same scaling-back is happening with voter > > registration. In June, the UN was planning to use oil for food ration > > cards to identify voters (9). This was replaced by a plan to have a full > > census, which would have taken place on October 12 (7). As the 21 July IPO > > news analysis (10) explains, this is a good thing because the "ration card > > database is deeply flawed. The Hajj pilgrimage allocations, executed in > > December and which were based on that database, resulted in gross > > overestimation of population size of districts that were Ba'athi > > strongholds, and underestimation of population size from districts that > > were hostile to Saddam." I'd add to that the practical problem that > > however good the ration cards were two years ago, they're out of date now, > > given the large migrations, return of expatriates, etc. A census would > > also be extremely useful for other reasons (11) However, the census was > > cancelled in late August because of security concerns(8), and so we're > > back to the OFF cards (5). What's worse, the procedure for dealing with > > discrepencies is pretty flimsy: "Residents will be able to look at the > > list for six weeks in November and December to make corrections...We don't > > have time to worry too much" (5) > > > > Another issue that pops up from time to time is postal voting for > > non-resident Iraqis. Not surprisingly, the 5-million-strong expatriate > > community are keen on this, but there are problems. Leaving aside the > > practical issues of finding them, registering them, and getting them > > ballot papers, there is the problem that many of those who would class > > themselves as Iraqi don't have official citizenship. Because 4 fifths of > > the expatriates are Shia, some Sunni groups may also object to postal > > voting (15). To understand the significance of this, bear in mind that > > five million people is somewhere around a sixth of the total population. > > > > The obvious next question is what happens if elections are postponed or > > seriously flawed. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this, but in the > > meantime I'll leave you with this comment from Juan Cole (18): > > > > "Sistani's quite resonable demand for elections is nevertheless among > > the greatest dangers facing the Allawi government and the Americans. It > > will be extremely difficult actually to hold the elections on time. But > > Sistani believes only such elections can produce a legitimate government, > > and he already accepted a six-month delay. If the elections are not held, > > and if Sistani begins to fear they won't be held soon, he may well call > > the masses into the streets. That could lead to an overthrow of Allawi and > > an expulsion of the Americans. Keep your eye on February and March of > > 2005." > > > > 1. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,7374-1261760,00.html > > 2. http://www.iwpr.net/archive/ipm/ipm_127.html > > 3. http://www.iwpr.net/archive/ipm/ipm_151.html > > 4. > > http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/c9d627bb6f3a7aeb85256ea9006561f5?OpenDo cu > > ment > > 5. > > http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=43063&SelectRegion=Iraq_Crisis > > 6. http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2004-06-16-iraq-vote_x.htm > > 7. http://www.iwpr.net/archive/ipm/ipm_133.html > > 8. http://www.iwpr.net/archive/ipm/ipm_139.html > > 9. > > http://www.irinnews.org/report.asp?ReportID=41446&SelectRegion=Iraq_Crisis&S el > > ectCountry=IRAQ > > 10. http://www.casi.org.uk/analysis/2004/msg00380.html > > 11. > > http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/6574f59d163e714b85256eaf005795d0?OpenDo cu > > ment > > 12. http://www.csmonitor.com/2004/0909/p09s01-coop.htm > > 13. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A64018-2004Sep5.html > > 14. > > > http://www.boston.com/dailynews/252/world/Annan_warns_that_violence_in_I:.sh > tm> l > > 15. > > http://www.juancole.com/2004_07_01_juancole_archive.html#108956703612409175 > > 16. http://www.reliefweb.int/library/documents/2004/unsc-irq-03sep.pdf > > 17. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/3661640.stm > > 18. > > http://www.juancole.com/2004_09_01_juancole_archive.html#109530515235243454 > > > > > > ------------ > > Daniel O'Huiginn > > firstname.lastname@example.org > > 07745 192426 > > 24, Priory Road, Cambridge > > ------------ > > > > > > > > _______________________________________ > > Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list > > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis > > All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk > > > > > _______________________________________ > Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list > To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis > All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk > > > _______________________________________ Sent via the CASI-analysis mailing list To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-analysis All postings are archived on CASI's website at http://www.casi.org.uk