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Friends, While I think our emphasis must continue to be on stopping the drive to war and on monitoring expected Washington/Whitehall war crimes, the article below is a very important one for understanding the current situation and possible political developments. Pachachi is refusing to serve as a fig-leaf for one or other of the US plans for the occupation of Iraq. In the meantime, it is also heartening to note Oxfam's rejection of dirty money for its humanitarian contingency work. Kamil Mahdi Find this article at: http://search.ft.com/search/article.html?id=030303001367&query=Iraq%27s+route+to+a+democratic+future&vsc_appId=totalSearch&state=Form COMMENT & ANALYSIS: Iraq's route to a democratic future By Adnan Pachachi Financial Times; Mar 03, 2003 Post-conflict Iraq, rather than the conflict itself, has become the focus of global attention. Two options dominate current thinking: US military rule, or a government in exile. Both are flawed and counter-productive. The former is oblivious to a vibrant Iraqi nationalism; the latter ignores the aspirations of massive anti-Ba'athist forces inside the country. This is the reason I have rejected offers to take a leading part in the arrangements for the post-Saddam era. Last week, Jalal Talabani, leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, invited me to join the leadership of the Iraqi opposition. I declined for three reasons. First, I have serious doubts about the legitimacy of such a group or its representative nature. Second, any body formed by such a group would have only advisory responsibilities during the transitional period, not executive ones. Serving as an advisory body attached to a US military administration would be damaging and unacceptable. Third, I have reservations about the group's structure and membership. Hence my surprise to learn on Friday that I had been elected to the six-man leadership committee. This is a portent of how selection may go through without due process of information and consultation. Together with a group of prominent liberal, secular Iraqi figures, I issued an appeal last month urging Saddam Hussein to relinquish power in order to avert a catastrophic armed conflict and spare the Iraqi people the ravages of war. We called for the removal of the authoritarian regime and its replacement with an Iraqi civilian administration, not military rule, to manage the affairs of the nation during a transitional period, hoped to be no more than two years. This provisional government of qualified technocrats should work under the guidance of a sovereign council whose members would be chosen after consultations conducted by the United Nations with Iraqis of all political persuasions. Most Iraqis reject the imposition of a government from outside. Iraqi nationalism is still a vibrant force to reckon with. A vast majority inside the country, which has borne the brunt of Mr Hussein's oppression, must and can be consulted before any authority is installed in Baghdad. A narrow-based government in exile would be disruptive. Reliable surveys indicate strong antipathy towards a government "parachuted" in from abroad. The principal tasks of the interim administration should be to maintain law and order, defend the unity and territorial integrity of Iraq, provide essential services, revive the economy and prepare for elections. Immediate steps would be required to enable the people to engage freely in political activity, such as the formation of political parties. The interim administration should enact an electoral law based on universal adult suffrage for the election, under international supervision, of a constituent assembly to draft a constitution. The constitution should contain guarantees for fundamental human rights, provide for periodic elections and the peaceful transfer of power and ensure the subordination of the military to civilian government. The rule of law must be guaranteed under an independent judicial system. It must prohibit torture and summary execution, degrading or inhuman punishment, arbitrary arrest and other atrocities from which the Iraqi people have suffered for many decades. The draft constitution should be submitted to a referendum under inter- national supervision. Only then could elections be held for the first genuinely democratic government in Iraq's modern history. This government would have to deal with many problems, such as reversing the effects of political, ethnic and sectarian oppression and upholding the principle of Iraqi identity and citizenship. Pluralism and tolerance rather than segmentation are the answer. The government would have to agree with the representatives of the Kurdish people about the system under which the Kurds would live in a united Iraq. Indeed, it should endeavour to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of all ethnic and religious groups. Gradually, the government would deal with debts and reparations so that Iraq could rebuild its free-market economy, providing the incentives, security and confidence for investors. It would have to pursue a sound oil policy, one that contributed to the reconstruction of Iraq, and co-operate with other, especially oil-producing, nations to minimise the fluctuation of oil prices. The government would also have to take a forthright stand in supporting the aspirations of the Palestinians to establish an independent and viable state in the West Bank and Gaza. I am optimistic about the future. Although some regimes have oppressed sections of the population, the peoples of Iraq have always lived in peace and harmony. What differentiates them is not ethnic origins, or their religious or sectarian affiliations, but their political beliefs and aspirations. Among the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds one will find socialists, capitalists, communists, nationalists, religious fundamentalists and secularists. With the spread of modern education and intermarriage, Iraqis have learnt the virtue of tolerance without which no democratic system can survive. The writer was foreign minister in the government deposed by Saddam Hussein in 1968 Find this article at: http://search.ft.com/search/article.html?id=030303001367&query=Iraq%27s+route+to+a+democratic+future&vsc_appId=totalSearch&state=Form Dr Kamil Mahdi Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies University of Exeter Exeter EX4 4ND Tel: (44 1392) 264029 Fax: (44 1392) 264035 Secretary of IAIS tel.: -44-(0)1392-264036 Visit the IAIS website at http://www.ex.ac.uk/iais _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk