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[casi] Financial Times> Adnan Pachachi> Iraq's route to a democratic future <fwd>


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:

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 

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 

The writer was foreign minister in the government deposed by Saddam Hussein in 1968

Find this article at:

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

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