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Commentary :: Civil & Human Rights : Globalization & Capitalism : Government & Elections

Bush Never Dreamed of Iraq Elections: and Deserves No Credit

5 Years ago, George W, Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and their neo-conservative cadre were spoiling for war with Iraq.
Democratic elections were not a goal of the US invasion and are now being used as a smokescreen for yet another phase of deepening US involvement.
It was the powerful cleric Ali al-Sistani who first pressed the issue - and then as part of an exit strategy for the US.
Sistani met with his supporters recently in which he discussed the ongoing showdown between his demand for elections and the U.S. refusal to grant them, said Noor Aldin Alwaadh, a spokesman for Sistani's Baghdad office. At the end of the talk, which lasted for hours, Sistani "was clear about it - he wants direct elections," Alwaadh said.

"We are not the Taliban and we are not al-Qaida," Alwaadh said. "But if you want to hear me say it, fine. We will fight for our rights. We will fight … we will not sacrifice our independence, and we do not want occupying forces in our country."

Tom Lasseter
January 22, 2004

With help from Ahmed Chalabi, British Intelligence, and forged documents the Bush administration made a case to justify a war with Iraq. It has since been admitted by administration officials that Iraq was attacked on false pretenses for the sake of bureaucratic expediency.

In today's Toronto Star Haroon Siddiqui sets the record straight with a reminder of some recent history: history that has been archived elsewhere on this site as it happened.

"...the world should credit Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. It was he, not Bush, who forced the election.

It was at his behest that hundreds of thousands demonstrated a year ago demanding an election, which Bush wanted postponed.

It was Sistani who insisted on the one person-one vote formula, rather than U.S.-style caucuses. It was his edict — "voting is more important than prayer or fasting" — that propelled millions of Shiites, including women, on their death-defying march.

It is his followers, along with the semi-autonomous Kurds, who made a success of this election. It failed where Americans have direct control, in the Sunni heartland.

Finally, had the vote been held last May, as Sistani suggested, there would have been far fewer dead Iraqis and Americans...

But an election for an assembly to write a constitution, to be ratified in a referendum, followed by another election to elect a real government is not all that new to the region. That was precisely the process neighbouring Iran used 25 years ago after overthrowing the shah, America's pet autocrat in the region.

Haroon's complete editorial is online at the Toronto Star

Factors affecting the deepening US involvement I forsee will include:


decisions made by Moqtada Al Sadr after the election


pipeline negotiations between Iran and Azerbaijan


negotiations between Iraq and Turkey that were interrupted by the
US-inspired insurgency

David Roknich



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