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[ This message has been sent to you via the CASI-analysis mailing list ] Dear Yasser and all The problem as I see it is that the state no longer exists. There is no government in Iraq. Iyad Allawi is already, as someone wittily remarked he might become, 'Prime Minister of the Green Zone' The same is true of Afghanistan. It no longer exists as a country. In these circumstances we are already in something resembling the situation Yasser envisages resulting from a US/UK withdrawal - >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. Except that a) there's no question of anyone controlling 'Iraq'. Its only a matter of controlling parts of what used to be Iraq and b) there is one group that possesses much more firepower than any of the others, namely the US army. So the question is can the US army recreate the state? And perhaps more importantly, do they want to? Prior to the invasion it might have been possible for elements in the US establishment to imagine that an independent unified democratic Iraq might be well disposed towards 'the West' and provide lots of opportunities for entrepreneurial initiative. It is not possible to believe this now, so it is very difficult to imagine that the United States could really want to bring such an independent united democratic state into existence. Perhaps the debt mechanism would be so crushing that they would still be able to keep a hostile Iraq under control but otherwise it seems to me that, as between a genuinely independent state that would be ranged among their enemies, possibly teaming up with Iran; and the present state of chaos, they would probably prefer the present state of chaos. Elections will not automatically produce a government which is felt to be legitimate. At present there is no question of the formation and campaigning of nationwide political parties, so it is likely to be an assemblage of local interest groups, probably bearing more than a passing resemblance to the old Iraqi Governing Council (which, let us admit, whatever its faults was better than the pseudo-independent government we have at the present time). Its legitimacy will be very shaky and will collapse entirely if it is dependent on the US army to enforce its will. My own view is that it is impossible for a genuine Iraqi army or police force to develop under the aegis of the Americans. No Iraqi nationalist worth his salt (and Iraqi nationalists are what is needed at the present time) will collaborate in any joint policing venture with the Americans. And this has been seen: the Iraqis hang back, not because they are cowards (given the Iraqi experience of the past twenty years the thought is ridiculous) but because they cannot be associated with the US. So I am looking at other elements which might be able to contribute to a work of nation building. One is the personal prestige of Sistani which, I am assured, goes beyond the confines of the Shi'i community (and I note in parenthesis that he is the most credible Shi'i leader despite the fact that unlike the Sadrs, al-Hakims and Khoeis, he was not implicated in the opposition to Saddam). And then I wondered if 'the resistance' could generate something resembing the Algerian FLN. In response to this Yasser asks, quite legitimately >'which 'resistance' are you referring to? the one that > carries out suicide bombings against iraqis? the one that carries of the > hostage taking? 'The resistance' is indeed a term that covers a wide range of different elements. There is 1) an element which I would call 'militant salafiyya', equivalent to the 'Afghans' who worked in Algeria under the broad title of the GIA. They wish to plunge the whole Muslim world into chaos in order to bring about a restoration of a pan-Islamic caliphate. They are militantly anti-Shi'i and I assume that they were behind the bombings in Karbala and perhaps the assassination of Muhammad Baqir al-Hakim, as well as the more grisly kidnappings and public beheadings. From the point of view of state building in Iraq they are a definitely negative element. Their desire to create chaos in the Arab world all too clearly complements the desire of the Americans to create chaos in the Arab world. 2) an element that is simply outraged by the atrocities committed by the occupying force and is out for revenge for relatives killed etc. I assume that is the bedrock of many local resistances notably in Falluja. Their militancy is entirely a function of the United States presence and we can assume it will continue as long as that presence continues. Unclear what they would do if the US withdrew. 3) 'Moqtada's lot'. My impression is that they wish to establish little enclaves ruled by themselves in accordance with Islamic law as they understand it and it is only because they have been provoked that they have engaged in war with the Americans. They are not likely to be a very positive element in the b usiness of state building. 4) Beyond that it is clear that there are what we might call 'Arab nationalists' who are probably responsible for the bulk of the attempts to target directly the US army and the Iraqi collaboration. Many of their actions are very ruthless and create huge civilian casualties. This however does not distinguish them from the FLN in Algeria which was especially vicious towards Algerians willing to work with he French. They are the element the occpying force would characterise as ex-Baathist but it is quite impossible to say to what extent that is true or to what extent they are united or would ever be able capable of uniting into a coherent movement capable of taking control of the country. Given the usually accepted calculations as to the amount of support a guerrilla movement needs to keep active they must have a lot of support. And it is immensely significant that on the street it is very largely the US that gets the blame for the chaos not them. I was not saying they would be capable of building a state. I know that in invoking them I am clutching at straws but they are one of the only straws I can see. best wishes Peter > 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" <firstname.lastname@example.org> > To: "Daniel O'Huiginn" <email@example.com>; > <firstname.lastname@example.org> > 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 <email@example.com> >>> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2004 12:58:43 +0100 (BST) >>> To: firstname.lastname@example.org >>> 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 >>> email@example.com >>> 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 > _______________________________________ 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