Iraq’s forthcoming electoral farce under Iranian domination

The last thing party and coalition leaders are concerned about is their sects, ethnic groups or national interest.
Sunday 04/02/2018
A 2016 file picture shows Iraqis protesting against wide-scale corruption in front of government offices in Baghdad.  (AP)
Crippled hopes. A 2016 file picture shows Iraqis protesting against corruption in Baghdad. (AP)

What difference could having the general elections in Iraq at their planned time of May 12 make in the lives of Sunni or Shia or Kurdish citizens? So what if pressure from Sunni and Kurdish parties led the Iranians and Americans and their local agents to postpone the elections?

Shia Islamists in Iraq insist on having the elections at their scheduled time because it is important for them to respect the constitution. Sunni and Kurdish politicians insist on postponing the elections because of the exceptional conditions in Sunni districts and in the Kurdish region. The Shias, of course, are outraged by the other side’s blatant disregard for the law of the land.

But, I wonder, when did Nuri al-Maliki and his Shia cohorts show any respect for the country’s constitution?

In the opposite camp, Sunni candidates, be they Islamists, nationalists, Ba’athists or secularists, claim over and over that they want to delay the elections out of concern for their communities. They are genuinely concerned with their people’s safety and wellbeing. They want them to be able to freely choose the candidate best fit to defend their rights in the next parliament.

Is this true? Should we be so naive as to believe that conditions in Sunni districts are going to magically improve if these politicians are elected?

How will the life of a Kurdish citizen improve in the event of a victory by candidates from Kurdish parties? What kind of peace and prosperity will be introduced in the lives of Shia communities should Shia candidates win?

The weirdest aspect of the farce in Iraq is that these competing factions and sects are against sectarianism and the appalling quota system. They all champion the civil state built on equal and fair citizen rights. No one is more eager than they to defend Iraqi sovereignty and Iraq’s territorial unity and all of them have sacrificed their dear offspring in the defence of Iraq’s sacred borders.

What a surreal sight to see Shias and Sunnis, Islamists and secularists, nationalists and Marxists speak the same language and repeat the same lies! That’s the reality of the coming general elections in Iraq.

It has been said hundreds of times before: Elections in Iraq since 2005 are farces in which small local politicians of all colours love to compete and fight hoping for a share of the cake bigger than the one in their possession since the previous elections.

What we know for sure is that the last thing on the minds of party and coalition leaders in Iraq is their concern for their sects or ethnic groups or the national interest. They couldn’t care less about the masses and their future.

There is no better proof of that than the miserable conditions of Iraqi cities and villages, regardless of their religious or ethnic make-up, conditions that have been prevailing since 2003. You know the situation is hopeless when former vagabonds who have sold their souls to the Syrian, Iranian, American and British intelligence services have become, thanks to the tragedy of the American invasion followed by the Iranian occupation of Iraq, the country’s presidents, ministers, ambassadors and high officials.

They’ve quickly managed to amass fortunes worth billions of dollars in palaces, high rises, farms, businesses, radio and television stations and even mosques and shrines. They did that by selling hollow slogans and usurping for themselves the right to speak on behalf of a given sect or ethnic group.

No sane person can understand the reasons why some Iraqis insist on having elections at their scheduled time. They’re probably doing it out of hypocrisy and opportunism or maybe just out of ignorance and fanaticism, for they know very well that the elections will have no effect on their lives and will never improve the miserable daily reality. We have reached a point where we take it for granted that the aftermath of any elections is more corruption and greater underdevelopment.

Well, we might find excuses for common Iraqi folks for not understanding the stakes — they are simply novices in the art and culture of democracy — but what is the excuse of the US Embassy in Iraq for opposing the elections’ postponement? More than anyone else, the Americans know that having elections after the disasters of the Islamic State and the independence referendum in Kurdish Iraq would be like flogging a dead horse.

Ironically, by refusing to postpone the elections, the Americans are joining ranks with the Iranian regime which, US President Donald Trump said, is the number one source of terrorism and instability in the region.

The Americans seem to have missed the news conference of Huda Sajjad, a State of Law parliamentarian, during which she recognised Iranian presence in Iraq as de facto since 2003 and credits it with closing the ranks of Iraqi Shias.

“Iran’s mediation in harmonising points of views inside the Shia house is normal,” she said. “Qassem Soleimani (Iran al-Quds commander) does not coerce anyone nor does he meddle greatly contrary to what’s being rumoured.”

Furthermore, the US Embassy in Iraq knows well that its Iraqi allies and former proteges are in the end nothing more than obedient servants of the Iranian Embassy in Iraq.

Without exception, all Iraqi politicians are heartless and resentful. There isn’t one ounce of democracy inside them. So, what is this democracy that the US ambassador, Maliki, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and their cohorts are talking about?