IRAQI ACTIVISTS have dismissed the idea that the elections held in Iraq are any kind of triumph for George Bush and Tony Blair. “The US should not take any comfort from this result,” says Sabah Jawad, secretary of Iraqi Democrats against the Occupation.
“The vast majority of the people who voted in the election are demanding the removal of foreign troops. And that’s in addition to the people who boycotted it.
“People don’t anticipate much as a result of this election. They say the occupation is still in place and the struggle against the occupation will continue.
“Even the people who participated in the election have little confidence in the process. They are very sceptical about the way it was done. If we take the results at face value it shows Iyad Allawi [the interim prime minister installed by the US] doesn’t have popular support.
“People who participated and people who opposed the election should get together and talk about how to get rid of the occupation.”
Mundher Adhami, an Iraqi exile and researcher at King’s College London, says, “In Iraq, the people I have spoken to are not giving the election a lot of importance. They think it’s a temporary show.
“The problems it will create will be within the collaborating groups. The US has given different promises to different forces to get them involved, but it is unlikely to keep them.”
Mundher says the image presented in the Western media of an Iraq increasingly divided along ethnic or sectarian grounds does not reflect reality.
“The people I’ve been speaking to are repeatedly saying they are puzzled. They don’t see this reflected on the ground in the population, although it is heavily in the media and with politicians.”
It is also not true that the division over whether to vote or boycott ran down sectarian lines, he says.
Mundher says the desire for unity between pro- and anti-election resistance forces is being realised. They have met together to try to prevent the occupying forces using a divide and rule strategy.
“Immediately after the election there were apparently several meetings.
“There’s huge pressure from everyone in Iraq to ease off, because the US has created a hysterical atmosphere. People were saying we can resolve these issues without playing the US game of sectarian violence.”