To return Iraq to real life
(Interview with ICP General Secretary)
The following interview on June 6 with the General Secretary of the Iraqi Communist Party, Comrade Hamid Majeed Mousa was published in the left Italian daily il Manifesto. The il Manifesto correspondent opened: Iraq is living through a situation which is anything but peace. What happened last night in Falluja was a real war. The Americans are trying to play down the incident. In the Andulus square (in Baghdad) I met a comrade who was distributing Tareeq Al-Shaab, the newspaper of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP), which was published openly immediately after the fall of Saddam. Close by is ICP's headquarters. Statements, calls, comrades going in, others leaving. After years of clandestine work, Communists are showing their faces openly without fear of being murdered. Their newspaper has published a list of names of party members and cadres who were physically liquidated by Saddam's regime. It includes 167 names, "but we have other lists and we intend to publish them", said party leader Hamid Majeed Mousa when he received us in his office. He is 60 years old, from Babel province, and had lived for long years in (Iraqi) Kurdistan where the party operated legally. Q: Now you can work openly, but the country is under occupation. How do you feel about this? A: The majority of the Iraqi people are happy for the demise of Saddam's regime. But we are not happy with this situation because this change has come with occupation, and not in a peaceful way. As a party, we had hoped that this change would take place with the efforts of Iraqis, without war and without occupation. But we have now to confront this situation, shouldering once again our responsibility. We can now operate openly in order to enable our people to overcome fear, become involved in political work and take fully into their hands deciding the country's future. This phase is extraordinary. It is a state of national catastrophe. Not only has the regime collapsed, but also the state with all its institutions. This has given big powers to the occupiers on the level of institutions but not in popular areas and the countryside, in the poor areas of the country. The power there is in the hands of local religious groups or being run by tribal leaders. What is missing at the moment is a patriotic government with real powers. As Iraqis, we must find a solution to this chaos, and exercise our right by establishing our own government. It has to be a government with real authority, not like the one referred to in the recent UN Security Council resolution (UNSCR 1483) which gives total powers to the occupiers and a consultative role to the Iraqis. It has to be a government that is backed by the people and recognised by the Americans who are obliged to give help. They have destroyed the country and they have now to help in rebuilding it in accordance with the Geneva Convention and under UN supervision and monitoring. Q: It seems that the Americans are not thinking of leaving. Are you sure that you can launch this process of change under US occupation? A: I am not talking about what they are thinking of. They did not come for the sake of Iraqis, but on the basis of a strategy which is in line with their objective and desire to impose their control over the world. I am talking about what the Iraqis want — a broad government that is born out of a national conference representing the whole spectrum of Iraqi society and Iraqi political parties which fought against dictatorship and tyranny. We are working to establish a front of political forces which have a common position with regard to setting up the government. The agreement with regard to this provisional government would deal with [the tasks of] eliminating remnants of the dictatorial regime, striving to rebuild Iraqi institutions and the whole country after the destruction caused by the war, working to formulate new laws and preparing for free elections under the auspices of the UN, preparing a draft constitution and putting it to a national referendum and then conducting negotiations about the presence of foreign forces and their departure from the country. In this way, the country can return to real life. Q: Which are the parties that agree with this program? A: The Kurdistan Democratic Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Supreme Council of Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Group of Democratic Independents, the Dawa party, the Arab Socialist Movement, Iraqi Islamic Party, Assyrian Democratic Movement (Christians), the Iraqi Communist Party, and other patriotic organisations and personalities. We are all in agreement on this program, but not on the form of government. Q: But the Americans have another plan, which is to set up a government from foreigners in the occupation forces. A: We know very well that the Americans want a government which is in line with their interests. The UN Security Council Resolution 1483 is in the final analysis an American-British plan which establishes the authority of occupation but only refers to a consultative role for the Iraqis. The Iraqi and American plans constitute two different alternative plans. If the US wants stability for the country, then it should accept our solution. Q: And if they don't agree, would you then be ready to fight? A: We are now acting in a legitimate and peaceful way. Our program is backed by the people, and this is the path to achieve stability and freedom for our country. The Americans have the power, but they do not have the solution. All the Iraqi parties have rejected the UN Security Council resolution and we must work to change the situation also on that level. In the US, there are many who are against the occupation. Arab countries prefer an Iraqi government. Some of the European countries which were against the war and have accepted the UN Resolution are prepared to accept a patriotic government. Q: Everyday there are attacks against the American occupiers, with victims falling. Is there an organised resistance? A: There is no organised armed resistance. They are individual acts, and the clashes always occur for the same reasons. This does not mean that the Iraqis accept occupation. Some people are reacting to arrogance displayed by the Americans who do not respect the traditions. In some occasions, these clashes are reportedly instigated by supporters of the previous regime. But in the area of Hit (north-west of Baghdad), it happened that some elements of the regime helped the American forces. We warn the Americans that if occupation continues, then there will be resistance. Q: Among those who have benefited are the religious, especially the Shi' ites. Is there a danger of establishing an Islamic state? A: The Shi'ites in Iraq constitute 60 percent of the population but not all of them are included within the Islamic parties. Also inside the religious parties, there are extremists and moderates. Some of the Shi'a parties, and also Sunni ones, want an Islamic government, but they differ about how to achieve this and when. There are those who think that the way to achieve this is through elections and there are others who believe that it must be imposed by force. Q: What is the extent of Iranian influence? A: Some of the religious parties have spiritual, ideological and political relations with Iran, but all of them have to take into account the will of the Iraqi people. Q: After having operated in a clandestine way, how are you working now to rebuild the party? A: In Iraqi Kurdistan we were able to work openly, but in the rest of the country there were a lot of dangers. Life was extremely dangerous, but we always remained a party that existed inside the country. Since the moment we opened [our] headquarters people have been coming from all over Iraq — young and old, workers, peasants, and intellectuals, Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunnis, Assyrians. We are a democratic and secular party. There is enormous work ahead of us.