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U.S. Creates Its Antithesis in Iraq

By       Message Nicola Nasser       (Page 1 of 6 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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Nowhere it is more obvious than in Iraq that the existence of an election law, elections themselves and the constitution they are based on are not indicators of democracy or legitimacy, because these mechanisms are merely symbols of the antithesis of the mechanisms of democracy as practiced back home by the U.S. occupying power.

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An editorial of The Washington Post on December 8 hailed the passing two days earlier of an amended version of the 2005 election law by the Iraqi "Council of Representatives" (CoR) as a "Breakthrough in Iraq," which "gives democracy a chance to work." However if this statement is not misleading, then it is extremely too optimistic, at least for one reason: The Iraqis themselves had another say.

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The new version was vetoed by none other than Vice-President Tareq al-Hashemi. On November 23, under U.S. excessive pressure including a phone call by President Barak Obama to Kurdistan Regional Government head Masoud Barzani, the CoR passed another amended version of the law without addressing al-Hashemi's demands to increase the representation in parliament of displaced people, internally and abroad, from 5% of the total to 15%, which indicates yielding in to U.S. pressure by al-Hashemi, nor did it address the Kurds' threat to boycott the elections if their demands in Kirkuk were not met, in another indication of yielding to U.S. pressure by the Kurds, although it did meet their complaint for more parliamentary seats.

Rachel Schneller, a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. State Department writing for the Council on Foreign Relations on December 4, warned that the latest version of the Iraqi election law could make things worse in Iraq if approved. The Sunnis, including Hashemi, could resort to "desperate measures" to gain power as the new election law provoked claims of Shiite dominance. Schneller wrote that elections in Iraq are not a sign of stability. "The United States would do well to back away from the policy of elections at any cost," she concluded.

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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