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[casi-analysis] casi-news digest, Vol 1 #184 - 7 msgs

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Today's Topics:

   1. More Guantanamo - What then of Iraqis PLIGHT (farbuthnot)
   2. THE IRAQI ELECTIONS: WHAT DO THEY MEAN? (The Iraq Solidarity Campaign)
   3. Dubai and Iran involved in Food for Oil Scandal of Iraq
       (Edition-1)(7948) (Kishor Aggarrwal)
   4. [Peace&Justice] Success & Failure of Iraq Election | How Much Power Will New
       Gov't Have? (IRC Communications)
   5. [Peace&Justice] Real Story of Elections | One Election Does Not = Democracy (IRC 


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2005 20:26:42 +0000
Subject: More Guantanamo - What then of Iraqis PLIGHT
From: "farbuthnot" <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Printer Friendly Version  E-Mail This Article  =A0
=A0Published on Wednesday, February 2, 2005 by the Associated Press
Videos of Riot Squads at Guantanamo Show Prisoners Being Punched and
Stripped From the Waist Down
by Paisley Dodds
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Videotapes of riot squads subduing troublesome
terror suspects at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay show the guards
punching some detainees, tying one to a gurney for questioning and forcing =
dozen to strip from the waist down, according to a secret report. One squad
was all-female, traumatizing some Muslim prisoners.
Investigators from U.S. Southern Command in Miami, which oversees the camp
in Cuba, wrote the report that was obtained by The Associated Press after
spending a little over a week in June reviewing 20 hours of videotapes
involving "Immediate Reaction Forces."
The camp's layout prevented videotaping in all the cells where the
five-person teams - also known as "Immediate Response Forces" - operated,
the report said. Reviewers said they did not look at all of the available
Although the report cited several cases of physical force, reviewers said
they found no evidence of systemic detainee abuse, according to the six-pag=
summary dated June 19, 2004. An official familiar with the report
authenticated it, speaking to AP on condition of anonymity. AP also reviewe=
an unclassified log of the videotape footage.
The tapes raised questions about mistreatment and misconduct, however, said
the investigators, who suggested some clips needed more scrutiny to rule ou=
abuse. The military has cited 10 substantiated cases of abuse at Guantanamo=
and announced Tuesday an extension would be granted for an investigation to
interview of witnesses in the United States and abroad.
One such clip the investigators flagged was from Feb. 17, 2004. It showed
"one or more" team members punching a detainee "on an area of his body that
seemingly would be inconsistent with striking a pressure point," which is a
sanctioned tactic for subduing prisoners.
In five other clips showing detainees who appeared to have been punched by
team members, the investigators said: "The punching was in line with
accepted law enforcement practice of striking the pressure point on the bac=
of the thigh to temporarily distract the detainee."
In other "questionable" cases, reviewers said a video showed a guard kneein=
a detainee in the head, while another showed a team securing a detainee to =
gurney for an interrogation.
A separate clip captured a platoon leader taunting a detainee with pepper
spray and repeatedly spraying him before letting the reaction team enter th=
cell, reviewers wrote.
Investigators also noted about a dozen cases where detainees were stripped
from the waist down and taken to the "Romeo block," of the camp. No female
guards were involved, they said.
Romeo block is a camp section where prisoners were often left naked for
days, according to two former detainees, Britons Shafiq Rasul and Asif
Iqbal, who were released last year.
Although no female guards were videotaped in any of the stripping cases,
investigators cautioned the U.S. government about using the all-female team
to handle disruptive detainees, citing religious and cultural issues. Many
of the prisoners are Muslim men and under strict interpretations of Islam
view contact with other women other than their wives as taboo.
"Several detainees express displeasure about female MPs either escorting
them, or touching them as members of an IRF team," the report says. "Becaus=
some have questioned our sensitivity to the detainees' religion and culture=
we believe that talking points are appropriate to address incorporation of
female soldiers into the guard force."
In one video clip of the reaction teams, the memo says, "A detainee appears
to be genuinely traumatized by a female escort securing the detainee's leg
irons. In another video, inexplicably an all-female IRF team forcibly
extracts a detainee from his cell."
While stating that female troops have a right to serve as equals alongside
their male counterparts, investigators warned the all-female team could
create the perception that the gender of the squad was taken into
consideration for the Muslim population.
"By forming an all-female IRF team for use with one detainee we potentially
undercut our position that we do not distinguish between male and female
soldiers. Clearly, the soldiers' gender did play a role in forming the
all-female IRF team," the memo says.
The memo suggests that military "personnel showing the IRF videos outside o=
(Defense Department) channels should be prepared with talking points to
refute or diminish the charge that we use women (against) the detainees'
culture or religion."
The U.S. military wouldn't comment on whether there's a specific strategy
involved in using an all-female response force but said female guards - who
serve on mixed reaction teams as well - comprise about 20 percent of the
guard force.
"As a matter of policy, we do not discuss specific Immediate Response Force
composition or methods, but they are consistent with those used in the
corrections profession and are always carried out with the security and
safety of detainees and troopers in mind," said Lt. Col. James Marshall, a
spokesman at U.S. Southern Command.
Navy Cmdr. Robert Mulac, a former spokesman at Guantanamo, reported last
year that Guantanamo had surrendered 500 hours of videos to investigators.
Southern Command spokesman Col. David McWilliams disputed the number on
Tuesday. McWilliams said he couldn't provide a specific figure because
investigations were pending and the information was classified.
Prisoners released from Guantanamo have accused the extraction teams of
abuse and one former U.S. National Guardsmen received brain damage after
posing undercover as a rowdy detainee and being beaten by teammates.
"The obvious problem with our armed forces is their inability to comply wit=
international law," said Arsalan T. Iftikhar, national legal director for
the Washington, D.C.-based Council on American-Islamic Relations. "Many of
us thought that the Abu Ghraib scandal in Iraq was going to shake us into
awakening but it seems like the things we keep learning about Guantanamo
indicate there was, in fact, systematic abuse."
Joe Navarro, a former FBI interrogator who has taught questioning methods
and is familiar with Guantanamo, said treating prisoners poorly makes them
more stubborn and unwilling to talk.
"The military has been cavalier in their attitudes toward these individuals
to the point that it has been detrimental to the overall mission," Navarro
told AP.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a Freedom of Information Act
request asking for all photographs and videotapes depicting the treatment o=
the detainees.
Although a court ordered the government to comply with the ACLU request and
turn over documents - thousands of which the ACLU has received - the
government has refused to provide videos, citing privacy concerns, said
Jameel Jaffer, an ACLU attorney.
Although the extraction team actions are videotaped, interrogations with
detainees aren't.
The use of female guards and interrogators has created controversy.
A former Army linguist who served at Guantanamo as an Arabic translator fro=
December 2002 to June 2003 wrote in a draft manuscript that female
interrogators tried to break Muslim detainees by sexual touching, wearing a
miniskirt and thong underwear and in one case smearing a Saudi man's face
with fake menstrual blood. The draft written by former Army Sgt. Erik R.
Saar was obtained by AP, which reported on its contents last week.
About 545 prisoners from some 40 countries are being held at Guantanamo Bay=
Cuba, most accused of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or
al-Qaida terror network.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Associated Press Writer Paisley Dodds is based in San Juan,
Puerto Rico, and has been covering the U.S. detention mission at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, since it began in 2002.


Message: 2
Date: Sat, 5 Feb 2005 22:20:31 +0000 (GMT)
From: The Iraq Solidarity Campaign <>

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Occupation Watch Bulletin
5 February 2005
By Marjorie Lasky


On Feb. 4, Borzou Daragahi in Baghdad reports, "Partial results from
Sunday's election suggest that U.S.-backed Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's
coalition is being roundly defeated by a list with the backing of Iraq's
senior Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, diminishing
Allawi's chances of retaining his post in the next government. Sharif Ali
bin Hussein, head of the Constitutional Monarchy Party, likened the vote
outcome to a 'Sistani tsunami' that would shake the nation. 'Americans
are in for a shock,' he said, adding that one day they would realize,
'We've got 150,000 troops here protecting a country that's extremely
friendly to Iran, and training their troops.'"

"U.S. 'In for a Shock' In Early Election Results, Shiite Cleric's
Alliance Trouncing U.S. Favorite"

But, is this early result such shocking news? Didn't people throughout
the world, including the United States, understand the significance of
the Iraqi elections?

To counter the reports in the corporate media and offer analyses on the
elections, Occupation Watch sent the following request to several

"We're writing on behalf of the International Occupation Watch Center
with a request for a quick response from you regarding today's election
in Iraq. With the blizzard of media stories that will be coming out
right after the election (many of them worthless drivel or propaganda), we
would like to organize and publish an article that helps people frame
the election in the context of the real situation of the Iraqi people
and the reality of the occupation."

Among the responses, Imad Khadduri, an Iraqi nuclear scientist based in
Canada, writes about rigged elections:

"Why would we conclude anything other than a rigged election, from
start to finish? 6o million ballot sheets were flown to Iraq days before
the election. If all legitimate voters had participated, they would have
needed about 15 million ballots. The Iraqi minister of the interior
claims that 8 million participated. Why did they need more than 40 million
ballot sheets?

=93The people in the three Kurdish provinces had an extra piece of
ballot, one with an Iraqi flag and a Kurdish flag, with a place to place yo=
thumb stamp next to either flag. One would assume that this extra
polling effort was done with the agreement of whoever is organizing the
elections in order to measure the percentage of the people in these three
provinces who would support Kurdish independence.

=93Why did they not also offer the Iraqi people in all provinces a
similar small piece of paper asking the voters whether they wish the
occupiers to stay or to leave? That would have been a mandate for the incom=
government as representatives of the will of the people. Its absence,
in contrast to allowing the above Kurdish paper, is another
manifestation of rigging.

=93As for the legitimacy of this election, I believe this is the first
time in modern times that 7500 candidates, scattered among 257 lists,
with at least 6000 of them fearful to declare their names till election
day, are offered to people living under armed occupation and a general
state of infrastructure paralysis yet are asked to vote, simply to
vindicate the morbid figment of George Bush's imagination on the legitimacy
of this election."

Tahrir Swift of Arab Media Watch offers several thoughts:

"It is hardly surprising that most Iraqis would like to believe that
their voice can have some sort of influence on the events on the ground
after years of silence. The real danger comes if they come to realize
that the elections made little difference.

=93Two things one should be aware of: When the Americans or their stooges
talk about withdrawal, they do not mean eradicating the American
presence in Iraq.

=93Some candidates seem to have promised the Iraqis the earth in a
situation that is not totally under their control. The proof as they say is
in the pudding!

=93The other matter is 25 Iraqi towns and cities that boycotted the
elections were ignored by the media.

=93There were calls within Iraq for a reconciliation conference after
Fallujah, that was rejected by Allawi, the media is not asking why?

=93Has Negroponte ceased to be Iraq's real ruler?

=93The acid test for the elected government is to stop the privatizations
(order 39) and reject the Americans long term military presence.

=93For whose benefit is the big hype in the British and American media on
the 'elections' celebrations' in Iraq?"

Munir Chalabi of Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation queries:

"Will this be the turning point election? Despite the reservations we
all had on the election, millions of enthusiastic Iraqis went to vote by
their own free will to choose their future for the first time in their
lives. Heavy voting covered the Kurdish and Shia areas. However, there
were much lower numbers of voters and enthusiasm within the Sunni

=93So is this election going to be the turning point to end the
occupation and start an inner Iraqi political process to establish a new
democratic Iraq? The answer will depend first on whether or not the CIA and
their puppet Allawi will decide to rig the results heavily in their
favour. This will cause millions of Iraqis in the south and the centre who
have mostly restrained themselves from taking up arms to now do so if
the election was rigged.

=93But if the US chooses to limit its interference in the election
results as part of its new =93Exit strategy=94 then the election could beco=
me a
turning point to the winners, but not necessarily to the whole of the

=93The two major winners seem to be the Sistani list, with the Kurdish
list following. If the winners show that they have the wisdom and ability
to bring together all sectors and religions in Iraq to widen the
political process then this will unite all Iraqis in their struggle to end
the occupation, stop the blood bath, and build a democratic future.
Alternatively, if such a process does not take place then the division
between different sectors of Iraqis will increase, resulting in more Iraqi
blood being shed and the occupation continuing.

=93The cause of such a large turn out was the heavy price paid during the
35 years of Saddam's ruthless repression, the failure of the occupation
to improve the standard of living and end the occupation, and a
rejection of terrorist organizations that killed thousands of innocent
civilians and further destroyed the infrastructure.

=93The election has shown that the majority of Iraqis believe that
democratic methods are the way to solve the problems facing them and unite
them to end the occupation."

Some Iraqis chose not to vote. In an open letter prior to the election,
a group of Iraqis explained the significance of the elections and why
they weren't voting: "Iraq is being denied free and fair elections,
after enduring decades of Saddam's brutal dictatorship. The US and British
occupation governments have engineered a process for reproducing the
US-appointed Iraqi Interim Government, to prolong the occupation and
incite sectarian and ethnic conflicts."

"Iraqis Boycott Election Fraud"

Hawra Karama reflects upon why she didn't vote. With a touch of irony,
Karama recalls voting in previous one-question elections in which
Iraqis were asked to approve Saddam Hussein as their leader. Karama then
translates the meaning of the January 31 ballot into a series of questions
that should have been but were not asked. These include:

"1. Do you prefer to be tortured by A) American soldiers or B) British
soldiers; 2. When occupying soldiers stop you on the street, would you
rather be strip-searched A) With blindfold or B) Without blindfold?"

Needless to say, Karama had the same reaction to marking the ballot as
in the previous two elections; she left the polling place without

"The Iraqi Ballot, Translated"

After the election, in contrast to "the blaring trumpets of corporate
media hailing [the Iraqi election] as a successful show of 'democracy,'
Dahr Jamail maintains that Iraqis voted to end the occupation.
Believing that "the National Assembly which will be formed soon will signal=
end to the occupation...they expect the call for a withdrawing of
foreign forces in their country to come sooner rather than later."

"What They're Not Telling You about the 'Election'"

Sabah Jawad agrees that Iraqis voted to end the occupation. In
addition, Jawad denounces the elections as being anything but free and fair=
argues, "If Iraq's elections had taken place anywhere else, they would
have been denounced by the 'international community' as hopelessly
flawed. If they had happened in Zimbabwe, they would have been cited by the
White House as a reason for 'regime change' and possible invasion."
Jawad's rationale:

"o[The election] took place under a state of emergency. The usual
practice in authoritarian regimes is to lift a state of emergency during an
election in order to give the appearance of normality and free choice.
In occupied Iraq, the opposite happened.

oThe election commission was appointed by the US and remains secret.

oThe identity of most of the candidates themselves was also kept

oOccupation forces and Iraqi police have been pictured putting up
posters for the party list of Iyad Allawi, the pro-occupation puppet
=93interim prime minister=94.

oThe international observers sent to monitor the vote in fact didn't
set foot in the country and =93observed=94 from Amman in Jordan.

oThen there is the small matter of the brutal repression of people by
the occupation. Over 300,000 people were driven from their homes in the
city of Fallujah alone."

"The vast majority of Iraqis want the US to get out"

Juan Cole also maintains that the elections "were deeply flawed as a
democratic process." However, Cole among other analysts recognized, even
before the publication of any electoral results, that the elections
"represent a political earthquake in Iraq and in the Middle East. The old
Shiite seminary city of Najaf, south of Baghdad, appears poised to
emerge as Iraq's second capital. For the first time in the Arab Middle
East, a Shiite majority has come to power."

Were Americans not listening?

"The Shiite Earthquake"

Clearly, Noam Chomsky was listening and speaking. In an excerpt from a
presentation made prior to the election, Chomsky hypothesizes that as a
result of the much-anticipated Shi'ite victory, feelings in the Shi'ite
regions of Saudi Arabia might be stirred up and "you might find what in
Washington must be the ultimate nightmare-a Shiite region which
controls most of the world's oil and is independent."

"The Future of Iraq and U.S. Occupation"

However, Chomsky's vision of a Shi'ite region controlling the world's
oil contradicts an earlier article by Antonia Juhasz in which she posits
that the election might very well lead to American investors and
companies obtaining large "chunks of Iraq's national oil company." In
Juhasz's analysis, the current Iraqi Finance Minister Abdel Mahdi, who ran =
election on the ticket of the leading Shi'ite party, has proposed "to
privatize Iraq's oil and put it into American corporate hands."

"Of Oil and Elections"

Robert Fisk sees the elections as a "Triumph and Tragedy for Iraq." The
triumph--"the sight of those thousands of Shi'ites, the women mostly in
black hejab covering, the men in leather jackets or long robes, the
children toddling beside them, that took the breath away."

The tragedy--the absence of Sunnis at the polls; "[for] without that
vital minority component, who will believe in the new parliament or the
constitution it is supposed to produce or the next government it is
supposed to create?"

"Triumph and Tragedy for Iraq"

James Carroll thinks about the election in Iraq while reflecting on the
previous week's train wreck in California where a man drove his Jeep
Cherokee onto the railroad tracks. Leaving his SUV, the man watches while
an onrushing train "crashed into his SUV, derailed, jackknifed, and hit
another train. Railroad cars crumbled. Eleven people were killed and
nearly 200 were injured, some gravely. The deranged man was arrested."
First reports claimed the man was suicidal, leading Carroll to speculate,
"Whatever troubles had made him suicidal in the first place paled in
comparison to the trouble he had now." For Carroll,
"Iraq is a train wreck."

"Train Wreck of an Election"

Aside from the positive factor of Shi'ites turning out en masse,
Phyllis Bennis argues that Iraqis generally will not benefit from the
election because:

oThe millions of Iraqis who came out for the elections were voting
their hopes for an end to violence and occupation, and a better life; their
hopes are not likely to be met.

oGeorge Bush will be the major victor in this election, using it to
claim legitimacy for his occupation of Iraq.

oThe election, held under military occupation and not meeting
international criteria, including those of the Carter Center, remains
illegitimate; legitimacy is not determined by the number of people voting.

oEven the expected victory of Shi'a-led political parties is not likely
to result in the new assembly calling for an immediate withdrawal of
U.S. troops.

oU.S. domination of Iraq 's economic, political and social life will
continue through the military occupation and the continuing control of
money, the legal system, and political patronage.

oThe U.S. has a long history of using elections held under conditions
of war and occupation to legitimize its illegal wars."

"Reading the Iraqi Elections"

What is the real meaning of the elections? A "Shi'ite Tsunami"; a
tragic loss of Sunni voices; a deeply flawed or corrupt process; a
reflection of Iraqis' desire to rid their country of the US occupation; a
reckoning over who controls Iraqi oil; or an imperialist exploitation of an
occupied people--perhaps, all of these and more.

It well behooves us to recall a New York Times article of September 4,
1967. In that article, Peter Grose recounts that "United States
officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in Sout=
Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign
to disrupt the voting." According to Grose, " A successful election has
long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of
encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam...The h=
here is that the new government will be able to maneuver with a
confidence and legitimacy long lacking in South Vietnamese politics. That h=
could have been dashed either by a small turnout, indicating widespread
scorn or a lack of interest in constitutional development, or by the
Vietcong's disruption of the balloting."

"U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote: Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite
VietCong Terror"


The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

The Iraq Solidarity Campaign

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Message: 3
From: "Kishor Aggarrwal" <>
Subject: Dubai and Iran involved in Food for Oil Scandal of Iraq
Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 00:56:36 +0530
Organization: Nuurrie Media Ltd

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Dubai and Iran involved in Food for Oil Scandal of Iraq (Edition-1)(7948)

This is the biggest scandal of centuries. U.N. agencies working under the o=
il-for-food program squandered millions of dollars through suspect overpaym=
ent to contractors, mismanagement of purchasing and assets, and fraud by it=
s employees.
UN-Habitat was one of nine U.N. agencies that helped to implement humanitar=
ian aid in Iraq under the $60 billion oil-for-food program that was created=
 as a humanitarian exemption to sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1990 in=
vasion of Kuwait, which led to the 1991 Gulf War. Beginning in 1996, it all=
owed Saddam Husseins government to sell oil and use the proceeds to buy foo=
d, medicine and other items.
Despite previous statements to the contrary, the son of U.N. Secretary-Gene=
ral Kofi Annan is now said to admit he did indeed play a role in the scanda=
lized oil-for-food program with Iraq, and thats prompting a call for his te=
stimony before the U.S. Congress.
For Complete News Visit the Site WWW.GOODMORNINGSTAR.COM

For All Edition of this News Visit
Visit For 21 news sites Under Nuurrie Media Limited gro=

Another Financial Scam of Punjab National Bank under leadership of S S Kohl=
i, Chairman Cum Managing Director (Edition =961) (9047)

Numerous Financial Scams of Punjab National Bank Punjab under the leadershi=
p of Mr. S S Kohli, the Chairman Cum Managing Director and Mr. Naraynsami, =
as Executive Director of the Bank have been published in this channel and o=
ther news channels. In this series we are herewith publishing another finan=
cial fraud planned by Mr S S Kohli, Mr. Narayansami and their trusted lieut=
We are in possession of the documents that proves that Punjab National Bank=
 sanctioned loans of more than Rs. 30.00 Crores to one single group in diff=
erent names. The Proposal of the Projects was arranged in such a fashion to=
 avoid route of board approval. One Single Project, owned by one group was =
divided into small projects and Rs. 30.00 Crores was sanctioned and disburs=
ed into different cut projects. Rs. 30 Crores was sanctioned and disbursed =
with full knowledge of Mr. S S Kohli and Mr. Naraynsami to one family but u=
nder the umbrella of different names.
For Complete News Visit the site WWW.BALANCESHEETSTAR.COM

For All Edition of this News Visit
Visit For 21 news sites Under Nuurrie Media Limited gro=

For Complete News Visit the site
Visit For 21 news sites Under Nuurrie Media Limited gro=
If You Want To Unsubscribe From Our Mailinglist Please Email Us at unsubscr=


Message: 4
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 12:13:26 -0700
From: IRC Communications <>
Subject: [Peace&Justice] Success & Failure of Iraq Election | How Much Power Will New
  Gov't Have?

[ Presenting plain-text part of multi-format email ]

Peace and Justice News from FPIF

February 8, 2005

Introducing two new reports from Foreign Policy In Focus

After Iraq's Wartime Elections
They Were a Success for Most Iraqis but May Yet Lead to Failure for the
United States
By Frank Smyth

The failure of the U.S.-backed election in Iraq is not that it was
illegitimate for most Iraqis but that the exercise has only deepened Iraq's
sectarian divisions and perhaps moved the country closer toward the specter
of a full-scale civil war.

Progressives should remain critical of the January 30 election but not for
the reasons that most have articulated so far. Many anti-war critics were
so busy pooh-poohing the balloting as a farce engineered by the Bush
administration that they forgot that Washington had only agreed to the
election under Iraqi Shi'ite pressure. The first U.S. plan for Iraq was to
hold indirect elections through regional caucuses, a process that would
have lent itself far more easily to American manipulation. But Iraq's
Shi'ite grand ayatollah, Ali Sistani, and other Iraqis said no. Actually,
the election results are not likely to enhance American influence over
Iraq. According to the reliable Arab-run polling firm, Zogby International,
more than two-thirds of Iraq's Shi'ites want U.S. forces out of Iraq either
immediately or once the elected government is in place. That goal may be
unrealistic, since any sudden withdrawal of U.S. forces could well plunge
Iraq into civil war, but it underscores that the election was a step
forward for Iraqi sovereignty, despite the conditions of U.S. military
occupation in which it took place. U.S. progressives could help Iraqis
reach their goal by ensuring that a transfer of power actually occurs.

Frank Smyth is a freelance journalist writing a book on the 1991 uprisings
against Saddam Hussein, which he covered at the time from inside Iraq for
CBS News, The Economist, and The Village Voice. He is the co-author of
Dialogue and Armed Conflict: Negotiating the Civil War in El Salvador and
of El Salvador: Is Peace Possible? and a regular contributor to Foreign
Policy In Focus ( His clips are posted at

See new FPIF Policy Report online at:

With printer-friendly pdf version at:

How Much Power Will the New Iraqi Government Really Have?
By Stephen Zunes

Much attention was paid in the run-up to the January 30 elections in Iraq
regarding how the lack of security in much of the country, combined with
the decision by major Sunni Arab parties to boycott in protest of recent
U.S. attacks on several major urban areas, could thereby skew the results
and compromise the resulting government's credibility. Related concerns
include the prospect of this election and the government that emerges
exacerbating the divisions between Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, and Kurds.

Perhaps an even bigger question is what kind of power this new government
will actually have.

It also remains to be seen as to whether the United States will allow the
new government likely to be dominated by Shiite parties with a strong
Islamist and nationalist agenda to assert their authority. Will the United
States really defend freedom and democratic rule in Iraq if it results in a
government that pursues policies seen to be contrary to American strategic
and economic interests? Orlike Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass
destruction and the absence of any operational, financial, or logistical
links to al-Qaidawill "the establishment of democracy in Iraq" prove to be
yet another deception of the American public in order to justify the U.S.
takeover of that oil-rich nation?

Stephen Zunes is a professor of Politics and chair of the Peace & Justice
Studies Program at the University of San Francisco. He is Middle East
editor for Foreign Policy In Focus ( and the author of
Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common
Courage Press, 2003).

See new FPIF report online at:

With printer-friendly pdf version at:

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International Relations Center (formerly Interhemispheric Resource Center).
We remain committed to our mission of "Working to make the United States a
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The IRC has been promoting "people-centered policy alternatives since
1979." Please consider becoming an IRC member or donor. You can join the
IRC and make a secure donation by visiting . Thank you.


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Message: 5
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 16:04:07 -0700
From: IRC Communications <>
Subject: [Peace&Justice] Real Story of Elections | One Election Does Not = Democracy

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Peace and Justice News from FPIF

February 8, 2005

Introducing two new commentaries from Foreign Policy In Focus

The Real Story of the Iraqi Elections
By Gareth Porter

Amid the orgy of self-congratulation over the bravery of Iraqi voters,
officials and commentators have ignored the most important story of the
election results: a Sunni electoral boycott that demonstrates a level of
support for the insurgency in the Sunni triangle that is far greater than
what the administration has admitted.

Gareth Porter is a historian and an analyst for Foreign Policy In Focus
(online at His latest book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance
of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam, will be published by University of
California Press in May.

See new FPIF commentary online at:

With printer-friendly pdf version at:

One Election A Democracy Does Not Make
By Ronald Bruce St John

The Iraqi people on January 30th participated in their first truly free
elections in more than 50 years. Voter turnout on a relatively peaceful day
of voting exceeded all expectations. At some polling places, the mood
turned joyous with Iraqis celebrating newfound democratic freedoms in
spontaneous street parties. The elections were a resounding success and
mark an important first step in Iraq's transition to democracy.

That said, a single election, no matter how successful, does not a
democracy make, in Iraq or anywhere else. A functioning democracy
necessitates the development of a supportive political culture, that unique
pattern of political action in which every political system is embedded.

Ronald Bruce St John, an analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus
(, has published widely on foreign policy issues. His latest
book, Revolution, Reform and Regionalism in Southeast Asia: Cambodia, Laos
and Vietnam, will be published by Routledge later this year.

See new FPIF commentary online at:

With printer-friendly pdf version at:

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