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From Jude Wanniski
Re Yes, Says Mohammed al-Obaidi
Regular readers of "Memo on the Margin" will recognize Dr. Obaidi as an acquaintance I've come to trust in recent years as a straight-shooting Iraqi who has been living in exile in the UK as a medical doctor and now a university professor. He was sincerely anti-Saddam when I encountered him, but also unusual in that he agreed completely with Dr. Stephen Pelletiere, my CIA friend, that Saddam did not commit genocide and that the Iraqi Kurds who died at Halabja in March 1988 were caught between the Iranian and Iraqi forces and were collateral victims of Iranian gassings intended for Iraqi soldiers.
Mohammed also opposed the U.S. war, believing it was unnecessary and would take a great toll on the Iraqi people. He has, though, been the spokesman for the "People's Struggle Movement," a political party that intended to participate in the January elections until it came to believe the Allawi government was making sure the outcome of the elections would put in power a national assembly that would only serve the interests of the occupying power, the US. I frankly don't know what's going on in Baghdad and am mystified by the stories I read in our papers and periodicals about the coalitions getting ready for the elections. But I ran across Dr. Obaidi's column today on Al Jazeera's english language website and found it interesting and persuasive as to why we are hearing so much about the boycott. By the way, it was Obaidi who introduced the opinion editor of Al Jazeera to me some months ago and I am now also writing occasional columns for the network.
Why Iraqis should boycott the election
by Mohammed al-Obaidi
Friday 03 December 2004
Forty seven Iraqi political parties met on 17 November and made the decision to boycott the coming Iraq election. The People's Struggle Movement (al-Kifah al-Shabi), which I represent, was one of those groups.
After carefully studying Iraq’s situation, considering the military occupation as well as economic and national interests, we felt there were enough reasons for any patriotic Iraqi to boycott the proposed January election.
It is a violation of all international laws. International charters that regulate the relationship between occupier and occupied do not give occupying authorities the mandate to instigate a change in the country's social, economic and political structure.
The planned election will change the political composition of Iraq to suit the interests of the occupation authorities. The change will also lead to ethnic, sectarian and religious divisions that the Iraqi state and people had succeeded to avoid.
Historically, Iraqis have been able to coexist and the spectre of civil war did not loom until the country was stricken by the US-led occupation.
Many Iraqi political activists believe the coming election results have been decided already. They also believe the electoral process will not be free and democratic but will be exclusively for those who maintain strong ties with the US occupation authorities. We feel that all steps have been taken to secure full US domination of decision makers in Iraq.
A look at the electoral process and the composition of the current national council reveals that the election's main mission will be to install some of the country’s most notorious politicians who have constantly spoken proudly of their links to international intelligence agencies.
The coming election will give power to every politician who has assisted the invaders and collaborated with them to consolidate the occupation. Therefore, we believe that even after the election, the decision making process will be taken in the US embassy in Baghdad and the elected government will be no more than a vehicle to carry out Washington’s decisions.
"The US administration works hard to portray the Iraq election as a political achievement to cover over the scar that the war has left on its credibility"
It is very difficult for any sensible person to believe that the US would give up its domination of Iraq after spending billions of dollars and sacrificing the lives of hundreds of its soldiers.
We cannot believe that after all this the US will simply allow free and democratic election to take place in Iraq that could install a government which could make it its first priority to tell foreign troops to get out.
We strongly believe that the main purpose of the election process is to secure a government that will facilitate long-lasting agreements with the US to keep its forces on Iraqi soil and transform the country into an American colony.
The US administration works hard to portray the Iraq election as a political achievement to cover over the scar that the war has left on its credibility.
Washington will use the election card to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community to prevent it from seeing the tragic consequences that the war has left on the Iraqi people.
For all these reasons, many Iraqi political activists feel it is their national duty to boycott the 30 January election.
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[Professor Mohammed al-Obaidi is the spokesman for the People’s Struggle Movement (Al-Kifah Al-Sha’abi) in Iraq, and works as a University Professor in the UK. He was born and educated in al-Adhamiyah district in Baghdad. This article, was written exclusively for Aljazeera.net, and was translated from Arabic.]
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