- Forgive me if I cannot whip up too much excitement over
the coming Iraqi elections. Apart from my innate scepticism as to US
after its pretexts for going to war were blown apart, the words of an Iraqi
diplomat who insisted he was a close friend of Eyad Allawi add fuel to
- "The outcome of the elections is more or less a
done deal," he told me. "Allawi is set to continue."
- I took this statement with a fistful of salt until I
read this in last Sunday's Times: "fears of a takeover by Shiite
have prompted speculation that Washington might have been trying to strike
a deal with Al Sistani to keep Allawi as prime minister after the
- Tipped to oust Allawi is head of the Supreme Council
for Islamic Revolution in Iraq Abdul-Aziz Al Hakim and he is clamouring
for American troops to go home pronto.
- Since Bush has promised the occupying forces will abide
by the wishes of a sovereign Iraqi government, his call could prove
- Let's face it, US troops aren't about to go anywhere
especially since neighbouring Iran features large on the 2005 pre-emption
- We would have to be either naïve or on Prozac to
believe the Bush administration is poised to walk off into the sunset sans
oil and sans face, leaving an Iraqi government representing the Shiite
majority free to cosy up to the Iranian ayatollahs.
- Even if the United States isn't engaged in manipulative
hanky panky, the election is defective from the start.
- UN monitors are understandably scarce on the ground and
three or four Sunni provinces (containing almost half the country's entire
population) will be virtually excluded due to rising levels of
- Allawi's attempt
- Indeed, heralding the new Iraqi democracy are closed
borders and airport, travel restrictions and curfews, while candidates
and the location of polling stations will remain secret until the last
- Allawi's bid already looks suspect after he doled out
$100 bills to reporters hoping for favourable coverage.
- The Riverbend girl blogger refuses to be seduced. She
says she found an "Elect Allawi" pamphlet promising
and prosperity for occupied Iraq", which fitted nicely at the bottom
of a parakeet's cage.
- She complains: "People in many areas are being told
that if they don't vote the food and supply rations we are supposed to
get monthly will be cut off," and asks, "what sort of democracy
is it when you force people to go vote for someone or another they don't
- The idea that Allawi has a mega following is frankly
laughable. This is a former Baathist who fell out with Saddam Hussain and
forged links with the CIA.
- Few had even heard of him before he replaced Ahmad
in the Pentagon's affections. So low has Chalabi sunk that the interim
Iraqi Defence Minister is threatening to hand him over to Jordan where
he was convicted in absentia for embezzlement.
- Allawi cheered on the flattening of Fallujah and supports
the American military presence, so it is hardly likely he would attract
a significant popular vote.
- Iraqis know that Allawi perpetuates the lie their country
is now a sovereign state.
- Clearly aware who his masters are, Allawi's speech before
the US Congress was ridiculed as being designed to aid Bush's re-election
and probably dreamt up by Bush's own speechwriters.
- "We are succeeding in Iraq," he said, before
thanking his audience for "your brave vote in 2002 to authorise
men and women to go to war to liberate my country ".
- No condemnation concerning the use of cluster bombs,
which are regularly responsible for small children losing their limbs.
No condemnation of the use of depleted uranium tank shells responsible
for a prevalence in birth defects and cancers.
- No condemnation of the deaths of up to 100,000 Iraqi
civilians and not a word about the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu
- Allawi is no patriot and if he remains prime minister
after the vote, then, as far as I am concerned it was a sham, a
set-up just as the Iraqi diplomat confided it would be.
- The release of an audio tape by the elusive Abu Musab
Al Zarqawi, which announces: "We have declared a fierce war on this
evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology"
just days before the election, is strangely reminiscent of that released
by the even more elusive Osama Bin Laden days before the US vote, said
to have swayed voters in Bush's direction.
- Fit the profile
- "Evil principle of democracy?" Bush always
said that they, the terrorists, hate democracy. It looks like Zarqawi is
only too happy to fit the profile.
- If you believe that anyone believes democracy is evil,
I've got a nice Egyptian pyramid I'd like to sell you with a free camel
if you purchase two.
- Donald Rumsfeld was quick to acknowledge that this
will be far from perfect but believes a flawed election is better than
- The trouble is democracy isn't a loaf of bread. There
is no such thing as half democracy. Elections are either comprehensive,
inclusive, free and fair or they are not.
- Iraqis deserve a prosperous, peaceful and democratic
Iraq but I doubt this is possible as long as the occupation forces stay.
They have their agenda; the Iraqi people have theirs and both are mutually
- A paper entitled "Rebuilding America's
drawn up by the Project for a New American Century in 2000 and signed up
to by several top members of the Bush administration suggests US troops
need to establish a permanent foothold in the Gulf, while keeping a low
- Once Iraq is officially stamped a democracy and American
soldiers withdraw to a series of permanent bases or behind the walls of
the largest and most fortified US embassy in the world, the Strauss-cons
will have achieved their objective occupation in democracy's
- Although whether they will be allowed to get away with
this giant con is an entirely different matter.
- Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East
affairs. She can be contacted at email@example.com