Socialist Worker

US will rule in 'free' Iraq

by Tahrir Swift
Issue No. 1936

Tahrir Swift

Tahrir Swift

THE ELECTION in Iraq this weekend is nothing but a fraud. I have registered as eligible to vote, but will not be voting. What right have I, living in relative safety in Britain, got to decide what goes on in Iraq? Anyone whose father is Iraqi can vote, while many in Iraq cannot. Does this sound like a free and fair election?

With only 10 percent of Fallujah refugees having returned to their devastated city and a significant number of Iraqis not having the opportunity to register, let alone vote, I think it is inappropriate for Iraqi exiles to take part.

The appalling pictures of prisoner abuse by British soldiers in Basra, proves that this occupation has nothing to do with democracy or human rights.

As proof that these elections are democratic, we are told by US officials that only four provinces are unsafe, Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala and Mosul. These are home to more than 40 percent of the Iraqi population.

In principle, I am for holding elections in Iraq. Yet these elections are not even what we were promised. We were told the US forces would be confined to their barracks.

Instead we had them destroying two cities—Najaf in August and Fallujah in November. When Saddam committed such crimes, he was an evil dictator. When the might of the US military indulges in destruction, we are told it is for democracy.

Moqtada al-Sadr and other anti-occupation forces have complained about arrests without warrants of their supporters. Will the elections produce legitimacy? That also is doubtful. If a significant number of Iraqis are excluded from this process, then the results will not be seen as legitimate. The US is building a huge military base in the heart of Iraq. Is this an occupier about to leave? I have little doubt that the elections will be only a game of musical chairs that will yield a government of the parties already collaborating with the occupiers. The aim is to legitimise the illegal occupation.

Tahrir Swift is an Iraqi exile and a peace activist

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Sat 29 Jan 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1936
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