Iraqi Communist Party statement
At its meeting held on December 11-12 the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party (ICP) issued a statement summing up its estimation of the events in Iraq since its July meeting, the present situation in occupied Iraq and the tasks ahead. The Guardian has abridged the statement for publication. The full text can be found on the CPA website (www.cpa.org.au). The period [July to December] was characterised by the intensity of events and speedy developments on all fronts, especially on the political scene, with increasing complexity fraught with dangers. At the same time it opens up the prospect of a peaceful and relatively speedy transition from the previous dictatorial era to a democratic, federal Iraq where the rule of law and respect for human rights become the prevalent norms. This requires the creation of conditions to empower the Iraqi people to end the occupation and regain national sovereignty as soon as possible while ushering the country towards democratic development and reconstruction. The period referred to began with the [US-appointed Iraqi — Editor] Governing Council (GC) starting to function, with limited authority, alongside the occupation authority which had been granted international legitimacy and the right to exercise authority in all fields by UN Security Council Resolution 1483. Executive power has gradually been transferred from the advisers connected to the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) [the Authority created by the US, British, Australian and other occupying countries — Editor] to the ministers who started work in early September and exercised their powers within a complicated, multifarious and contradictory process. The Governing Council dealt with many pressing issues and decisions were taken in the interest of the people, which ministers endeavoured to carry out as well as making changes to the role of staff and cadres in ministries and their tasks. However, many of the decisions taken by the GC and ministers have clashed, and continue to clash, with the Coalition Provisional Authority's [use of] pretexts about the scarcity of financial resources and lack of proper budgetary allocations. Then as now, the security issue predominates. The security situation has been deteriorating with a rise in the intensity of explosions, terrorist attacks and random shootings. The instigators of such criminal acts of terror have apparently improved their capabilities, with co-operation between the remnants of Saddam's regime and terrorist Islamist extremists, benefiting from weak preventative measures and the failure of the occupation forces to maintain internal security, as well as the inability to secure the boarders, thus enabling foreign terrorists to infiltrate from abroad. All this is closely related to the slow improvement in the living conditions in general. For broad sections of the people, these conditions have either failed to improve or even deteriorated. Worsening fuel shortages have recently aggravated the situation. While the salaries of some sections of government employees were increased and there were wage rises, prices, rents and the cost of services [have soared]. The rising inflation has depleted a lot of the increases in real income enjoyed by some, and intensified the burden for the unemployed who constitute more than 50 percent of those able to work. Unemployment is widespread and is too deeply rooted to be remedied with limited and short-term measures. Notwithstanding some improvements in the provision of public services, water, electricity, health and education, the Iraqi people are worn out by and still suffering from the cumulative effects of decades of despotic rule, three wars unleashed or caused by the dictatorial regime and 12 years of strangulating economic sanctions, during which they had to sell much of what they had owned. Moreover, the process of reconstruction and revamping of the infrastructure has been compromised owing to the lack of a clear economic policy and prospects, although it is apparent that liberal capitalist orientation has increasingly prevailed in economic policies. This state of affairs has retarded the development of the economy, as does the rampant corruption in the inherited administrations, in ministries and institutions at all levels. Senior officials have been rushing to sell the homeland and public property for any price to parasitic elements and black marketeers seeking maximum profits, taking advantage of the current extraordinary situation and the delay in removing them from positions of power. During the discussion of the draft of the foreign investment decree, a consensus was noted within the Governing Council of the necessity to exclude important sectors of the national economy (including oil) from foreign investment, as well as delaying the issue of privatisation until an independent government is established. The problem does not lie in foreign investment per se, as we recognise the need for it to revitalise the economy. However, we are concerned with the circumstance and conditions within which such investment is allowed and we stress the necessity to institute proper regulations and limitations to protect national capital and workers' rights. The security issue The change of regime in accordance with the US plan — has created a situation in our country characterised by occupation and foreign rule. The first to be struck by this reality were forces that had thought they could build democracy through this US plan. In actual fact, the patriotic and democratic forces within Iraq are confronted with two pressing tasks. (1) Ending the occupation and ensuring the speedy transfer of power to Iraqis in a manner that regains national sovereignty. (2) Eradicating the legacies and influence of the previous dictatorial regime and building a democratic regime. This requires getting rid of all the remnants of the dictatorship — political, psychological and ideological — and not allowing the emergence of a new dictatorship. In full opposition to these tasks are the terrorist acts and sabotage operations that have ravaged the country for several months. Their real aim is to revive the dictatorial regime. It is an insult to claim that such operations constitute "resistance". The perpetrators of these activities are driven by narrow, self- serving interests to regain privileges endowed by the previous regime and to regain their grip over political and economic power. Their actions contradict the basic interests of the people and of liberating the country. They are inflicting grave damage to the well-being of Iraqis and the country. In the final analysis, they provide pretexts for prolonging the occupation! It must not be forgotten that the former regime had, to the very last minute of its existence, attempted everything possible to gain the approval of the US Administration to stay in power while capitulating unconditionally to the Americans. Is it then possible that the instruments of the former regime have turned into sudden converts to defending national interests? In addition to their endeavour to restore the old regime, with or without Saddam at the helm, their actions to destabilise the situation, disturb peace and spread chaos, also aim to pressure the Americans to hand them, at least, some role in the new Iraq! The resulting deterioration in security within the country has naturally provided more favourable ground for all forms of terrorism and sabotage, including criminal elements (freed by Saddam just before the start of the war). They seized sizeable caches of weapons and money. These forces have pursued their activities unabated due principally to the failure of the occupation authority to effectively and resolutely curtail their activities and punish them. It should be clear by now that the security tasks must be transferred, first and foremost, to the Iraqis themselves before we can hope to see a reduction in terror and sabotage and, ultimately, their abatement. Serious measures to reconstitute the police force, army and security organs are a necessity towards achieving this goal, as is the proper monitoring of the country's borders. The various political parties are further required to step up their role within society to create conditions to rebuff terrorists and saboteurs. It should also be taken into consideration that restoring security involves not only pure policing measures, but also appropriate and concrete changes in the political, economic and social arenas. All of this must be carried out simultaneously to ensure a speedy and complete end to the current situation, where terror forces retain the initiative and offensive, while those defending the people of Iraq, their rights and the country's sovereignty and democracy, find themselves on the defensive! Governing Council The Governing Council has endeavoured to assert itself and to expand its authority, influence and role in the decision making process. It has been involved in continued struggle with the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to ensure the transfer of power to the Iraqis and regain independence, sovereignty and end the occupation. It has managed in this respect to achieve a measure of unity. However, the obstacles put up by the CPA and limitations imposed on the Council's powers, have impeded its efforts. Coupled with this are the slow decision-making, apparent deficiencies and weak initiatives, as well as insufficient ties with the Iraqi people. All this presents the Council as an easy prey for those wanting to decry its ability and suitability to lead the country. New Agreement The "Agreement Regarding Political Measures", signed by Mr Jalal Talabani, representing the GC, and Paul Bremer, representing the CPA, on November 15, was the result of a multitude of factors. Among them are the deteriorating security situation, on the one hand, and the growing demand by the Governing Council to speedily transfer security matters and power to the Iraqis, as well as mounting popular pressure which is yet to materialise in well defined forms. All these were behind the change in the US administration's position towards [the] transfer of power and the formation of a government with full authority that will be born out of the formation of a national assembly comprising representatives of all of Iraq's political, national, religious and ethnic mosaic. This would have taken the country along the path of regaining its independence and national sovereignty and ending the occupation. The agreement, [however] represents a step in the right direction. For the effective implementation of the agreement, it is necessary for the Governing Council to retain its coherence, act collectively and in a unified manner, and co-operate with the patriotic forces active outside the framework of the GC. UN Security Council Resolution The UNSC Resolution (1511) at the end of October 2003 generally marked a positive development but it was discussed and formulated in the absence of any representation of the Iraqi people. It included the formation of a multi-national force under a unified command, but without a clear indication of who takes the commanding role. Nor did the resolution indicate the authority of the force, or whether it will replace the current occupation forces. Clause 15 of the resolution indicates that the Security Council will look into the responsibilities of this force and its needs within a period that does not exceed a year from the passing of the resolution. However, the resolution leaves open the question of how long this force will remain, and links it with the political process. The text allows one to conclude that the force could possibly stay even after the formation of a representative and internationally recognised Iraqi government. The positive aspects of the resolution emerge in it stressing the temporary nature of the occupation and its call to the occupation authority to give back responsibility and power to the Iraqi people. The resolution also recognises the Governing Council and brings to the fore its role in the political decision making process. It recognises the authority of the appointed ministers and asserts that the institutions formed by the interim Iraqi administration will gradually run the affairs of the country. The resolution also puts the UN in a more active role in the political process that is evolving in our country. The resolution further takes a firm stand in rejecting the so-called "resistance" and its terrorist activities and calls upon UN members to deny terrorists arms and finance and to put an end to their infiltration into Iraq. Having said the above, the implementation of the resolution in a manner that achieves positive results is dependent on the steadfast and unwavering commitment on our part and all the patriotic forces in Iraq to mobilise world public opinion in support of our people's objectives to regain Iraq's independence and sovereignty and to end the occupation. Our Tasks * The proper fulfillment of tasks necessitated by an estimation of the existing reality requires forming the broadest political alliance possible and constituting a political front based on agreed common denominators, in various shapes and forms. Our tasks are interconnected: ending the occupation and regaining Iraq's sovereignty and independence, as well as consolidating the democratic process in all forms of political life. * We seek to strengthen co-operation between members of the Governing Council, on the one hand, and dialogue and co-operation between the Council's members and patriotic forces and political figures outside the Council, on the other. * Our party further seeks to co-operate and form other alliances with the democratic forces — in the interest of the people and country. * There is always a pressing need for our party's media to uncover facts, criticise shortcomings and put forward logical and positive alternatives and solutions to existing problems. * If and when an agreement is reached to elect assemblies for governorates and municipalities, our comrades and organisations need be ready to actively and effectively participate in the elections. It is necessary to make proper preparations [and form] coalitions with genuine and decent patriotic figures and groups and provide effective assistance to ensure success. * There is an urgent need to combat brutal acts of terror through broad mass action throughout the country and in various forms. * In addition to the security issue, living conditions and difficulties associated with them present a most pressing demand. Our comrades need to carefully and genuinely address people's demands: they must listen to people's complaints, and effectively involve them in the struggle to gain their rights at the workplace and in society. We need to address our own shortcomings and provide appropriate solutions, launch mass initiatives and seek effective ways to consolidate the solidarity of society. The responsibility for taking the initiative in all this falls on the shoulders of our party members. * The cornerstone of our political orientation remains the revitalising of popular activities, especially among the working people. We must proceed tirelessly and steadfastly. At the end of the meeting, the Central Committee stressed its confidence that, in spite of the complexities and challenges, our Party along with the political forces concerned for national unity and democratic progress in Iraq can move forward to achieve a unified, federal and democratic Iraq.