The Guardian 2 February, 2005

Iraqis vote:
First step towards
democracy & independence


The courage shown by millions of Iraqis in Sunday's ballot in the face of car bombings, suicide killers and mortar attacks by terrorists, (who are misnamed "resistance fighters" by the media and even some on the left), is a huge tribute to their determination to take this first step in the long struggle for a democratic, independent and sovereign Iraq.

From first accounts, the turn-out of voters in Iraq was higher than expected even though some voting irregularities have been reported by groups of NGOs monitoring the election within Iraq. The voter turnout seems to have been higher than in overseas countries such as Australia where the media and, once again, some Trotskyist organisations, inculcated fear of the consequences should they take part in the elections.

Proportional representation

The Iraqi electoral system is more democratic than that in Australia in that it is based on proportional representation and each Party or alliance of organisations entered a ticket of candidates.

It is nonsense for the Bush administration (and no doubt Howard will echo his master's voice) to claim it was all down to the work of the US Government and its invading troops. Let it never be forgotten that successive US Governments armed and helped finance the Saddam Hussein regime especially during its eight-year war against Iran. The poison gas used by the Hussein regime to kill its own citizens in the north of Iraq was supplied by the US.

Furthermore, following the first Gulf War in 1990 when the Iraqi people rose against Saddam Hussein they were crushed with the connivance of the US government of Bush Senior. They saved Saddam Hussein.

The objective of the Bush Government is and remains the permanent occupation of Iraq and the seizure of its rich resources, especially oil. It is, even now, building a number of military bases which will be permanently occupied by US forces unless driven out by an Iraqi Government.

The so-called resistance is made up of former Baathists who were privileged recipients of crumbs of power under the Saddam Hussein regime and external terrorist organisations whose objective is to impose a fundamentalist Muslim regime and, thereby, to destroy the secular society which had always previously existed in Iraq, even during the Hussein period.

Travesty

It is a travesty for these groups to be regarded as a genuine resistance or to believe that their objective is anything more than to create the circumstances that would bring them once again to power. Furthermore, the US occupation would prefer the return of a Baathist regime than to have to deal with a genuinely progressive government that would soon call for the expulsion of all US military forces.

Forces which have been responsible for the deaths of many more of their own citizens than US troops and which use the indiscriminate weapon of suicide bombings can make no claim to be a genuine resistance.

Interim government

While the results are not yet known it is possible that communists and their supporters may become part of the interim government which will be formed following the election success.

The interim government has the responsibility of drafting a new Constitution for Iraq. This will then be put to the Iraqi people in a referendum, hopefully before the end of the year and then new elections held for a new government.

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