December’s elections, in any case sham elections conducted beneath the shadow of the oppressor’s gun, had to be further rigged in an attempt to conceal the true breadth of Iraqi hostility to the balkanising designs of Anglo-American imperialism.
Even before voting started, residents of Fallujah complained to the electoral commission that local poll officials had been fired and placemen hired in their stead. Other early reports spoke of the discovery of a lorry-load of fake ballots in Wassit and the absence of functioning polling stations in several provinces in which the sunni community predominates. (See Baghdad Burning weblog, 15 December 2005, riverbendblog.blogspot.com)
Once the votes were cast and the first dodgy figures began to filter out, all hell broke loose. On Friday 23 December, reported Al Jazeera, some “10,000 sunni Arabs, expressing anger at the preliminary results of the Iraqi election, flocked from their mosques and marched through Baghdad after Friday prayers, condemning America and calling for a re-vote”. Worse for imperialism, prominent on this demonstration was the black, white and red Iraqi national flag, symbolic of the unity of all Iraqis. On the same day, over 2,000 marched in Mosul and another 1,000 in Tikrit, the President’s home town.
The following Tuesday the protests went on unabated, as “more than 10,000 people backing sunni Arab and secular shia politicians … marched through Baghdad in support of a national unity government … ‘No Sunnis, no Shias, yes for national unity,’ marchers chanted”. (Al Jazeera, 27 December 2005)
Whilst professional stooges like Allawi sought to contain these protests within a collaborationist framework, begging for a ‘fairer’ distribution of the electoral spoils under continued imperialist occupation, the patriotic thrust of the protests clearly had more in common with the realities of the national struggle for liberation. (That Tuesday alone saw a number of attacks on the collaborationist ‘security forces’ in Baghdad and its environs, claiming the lives of five police.)
In the light of this powerful response from the Iraqi people, the United Nations was forced to back-pedal from its initial craven endorsement of the elections and agree to send “a team of independent experts to issue a follow-up report on alleged irregularities in the vote” . (Al Jazeera, 30 December 2005) Through Condoleezza Rice’s gritted teeth, Washington felt obliged to grin and bear this fresh humiliation.
After his release from over a year of detention and torture, the secretary general of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance, Abdeljabbar al Kubaysi, neatly summed up what Washington had hoped to achieve by these sham elections — and how they would fail. “It is obvious that the US realised that they cannot win the war against the resistance backed by the people so they need to employ political means,” he was reported as saying, adding that the elections were being used to set the confessional communities one against the other. However, people who went to the ballot boxes now understand that they have been cheated. As a result, said Kunaysi, “only in a few weeks we will see that the resistance will come out even strengthened.”
Were all this not enough, the sham ‘trial’ of President Saddam Hussein and seven members of his illegally ousted government has turned into a complete own-goal for the Washington lie machine, as international attention has been far more absorbed with what the ‘accused’ have to say than with the lies of their criminal abductors. The President told the court he had been beaten “on every part of my body and marks are still on top of my body and that was done by Americans, and we were tortured, every one of us”. So panicked was the US company hired to televise this kangaroo court that they stupidly pulled the plug on the sound at this point, but left the cameras running!
The next day, the President seized the opportunity to set the lies and brutality of his captors against the bigger picture of imperialist hypocrisy and barbarism. “The White House lies once more, the number one liar in the world. They said in Iraq, there is chemicals, and there is a relation to terrorism, and they announced later we couldn’t find any of that in Iraq. Also, they said that what Saddam Hussein [said about his injuries] was not true. I have documented the injuries I had before three American medical teams … We don’t lie. The White House lies.” (Cited on CNN.com, 22 December 2005)
Plainly unnerved by the spectacle of the ‘accused’ turning the table on their ‘accusers’ in the full glare of international publicity, the criminal dispensers of colonial ‘justice’ have opted to adjourn the ‘trial’ until 24 January.
As Sara Flounders of the International Action Centre explains: “The detention of Saddam Hussein and his co-defendants, along with tens of thousands of other Iraqis, is all based on a criminal, illegal war of aggression. The Iraqi Special Tribunal and the trial of Saddam Hussein are also a violation of international law. The Geneva Convention, to which Washington is a signatory, explicitly forbids an occupying power from creating courts. In addition, the trial itself, along with the total isolation of the defendants and denial of all visitation and legal rights, violates the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights. The defence lawyers who have stepped forward have been threatened and intimidated. Two lawyers on the defence team have been assassinated … The Iraqi Special Tribunal has been illegitimate since its very formation … The funding and the personnel are totally controlled by US forces. The US Congress has appropriated $128 million to fund the court. Of course, the court has no jurisdiction over crimes committed by US forces in the invasion and occupation!”
Flounders concludes: “The global movement that opposes the US occupation in Iraq must seriously consider its responsibility to oppose every aspect of the US war – especially the phoney courts and staged elections that seek to legitimise and legalise this piracy. Implicit in the call to bring the troops home now is the demand to stop the whole brutal process of recolonisation. This means cancellation of the US corporate contracts that have privatised and looted Iraqi resources, closing the hundreds of U.S. bases and the thousands of US checkpoints, cancelling the ‘search and destroy’ missions and closing the secret prisons where tens of thousands of Iraqis are tortured and humiliated. And closing the illegal, US-created courts.”
The potency of Saddam’s interventions in the court has now led to the resignation of the chief judge, Rizgar Amin, who accused the stooge ‘government’ of interfering in the case. (The US-backed media had described him, laughably, as being overly soft on the defendants. Clearly the defendant’s right to speak is not consistent with imperialist justice!) The Iraq Commission, the body set up for ‘deBaathification’ has now accused Amin’s replacement, Said Hameesh, of being a member of the Baath Party! Perhaps they should let Donald Rumsfeld chair the proceedings … The farce continues.
And always, behind the sham courts and the sham elections, behind the sham ‘politics as usual’ greasing along under the shadow of the occupier’s guns, sounds the relentless drumbeat of the Iraqi resistance. Some insight into the real political life of the Iraqi nation can be gained from an interview posted on the internet by Robert Dreyfuss. Dreyfuss interviewed Salah al-Mukhtar, an Iraqi Ba’ath Party official who has belonged to the party for 47 years. At the time of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, Mukhtar was Iraq’s ambassador to Vietnam. Here is some of what Salah al Mukhtar had to say.
“The Iraqi armed resistance was prepared, systematically, in the year 2001, after the Iraqi leadership reached the conclusion that the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq. In that year the final preparations were completed, such as establishing a secret leadership for the part and an elite force from Ba’ath party, the Iraqi army, especially the elite of the Republican Guard, the most experienced intelligence officers, some scientists from the military industrialisation establishment, [and] millions of Iraqis who were trained in urban guerrilla warfare. Arms and ammunition were hidden in secret stores, enough for fighting at least ten years without any need for outside support. As for the regional or national command: yes, there is a central command for the major resistance organisations, and all members of that command are inside Iraq. The majority of the members are new leaders appeared after the invasion, that’s why none of them have been captured as prisoners of war. No command member is working outside Iraq. The communication difficulties inside Iraq have been overcome through a new kind of secret communications system, very complicated and highly sophisticated, and because of that fact the secrecy of the armed resistance has not been penetrated by the CIA …
“The invasion of Iraq by the United States of America has reached a dead point, after which it cannot move, and now your army in Iraq is facing the most critical and dangerous situation ever it has faced in this war’s history. That army has used its maximum force, including its best technology, and the most severe techniques of mass killing, destroying cities such as Fallujah, torturing human beings, physically and psychologically. But the result was more people joining the armed resistance … The debate inside your Congress, and the government of the United States, and among the think tanks, about whether you should withdraw immediately or gradually reflects the correct understanding of the dangerous situation in Iraq. It is imperative for the public of the United States to understand that the armed revolution in Iraq will never die, nor be weakened by any means. On the contrary, it is growing and spreading everywhere in Iraq. You have in the United States a proverb suggesting that if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging. …
“The only way out from the deadly situation in Iraq is to negotiate with the Ba’ath party and resistance leadership, and not any other party. Because those who have the biggest political and military organisations in Iraq are the determining factor in the process of the conflict … The demands of the resistance have been published many times in the last two years. Among them are the full and immediate withdrawal from Iraq, the compensation for Iraqis and Iraq, the rebuilding of both the state and the legitimate national army of Iraq. Within the context of accepting these demands the peaceful withdrawal of the US army from Iraq will be guaranteed. But withdrawing from Iraq without negotiation with the real and decisive power in Iraq definitely will not give any guarantee; on the contrary, it could lead to more tragic casualties among American troops. The leadership of the resistance has declared in many statements that it is willing to negotiate a peaceful solution for the war in Iraq. So the ball is now in the court of the United States of America.” (RobertDreyfuss.com, 20 December 2005)
Failure of imperialism to ignite confessional strife
In reply to a question from Dreyfuss about attacks upon mosques, Salah al Mukhtar offered this illuminating response: “We suspect that the Zarqawi stories are created by the CIA, because there are many indications suggesting that Zarqawi was killed in the northern part of Iraq during the beginning of Iraq’s invasion. The CIA, as well as the Iranian intelligence services, are working hard to ignite sectarian strife among the Iraqis, by attacking shiite and sunni mosques, or by killing Iraqis according to their sectarian affiliations. This is not the work of the resistance. The armed resistance has condemned many times any attack on civilians, and repeatedly said that attacks should be concentrated only on invasion armies and the Iraqi agents supporting the invasion. As for Al Qaeda, or the bin Laden organisation, I would like to remind you that this organisation did not exist in Iraq before the invasion of Iraq by the United States. This organisation established itself in Iraq only after the invasion. That’s why it is your policy that brought Al Qaeda to Iraq, not President Saddam Hussein.”
Victory to the armed revolution of the Iraqi nation!