Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Iraq after the Elections | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Iraq is passing through one of the most difficult stages in its history that can change the course of the political process, on one hand, and the track of the citizen’s relationship with the state, on the other. Probably the most important thing the Iraqis want is to build the state establishments that are based on efficiency, qualification, honesty, and loyalty to the homeland and not to any quarter, and to establish strong relationship between the citizen and his state–a relationship that has been marginalized over a period of almost four decades, and at the same time, the citizen himself was exposed to exclusion by the dictatorship policies. This relationship should be based on balanced and comprehensive political process.

Hence, we emphasize the importance of building the state establishments and that Iraq becomes a state of integrated establishments through a government that takes into consideration the respect for the citizen and to be at his service. The state cannot ask its citizen to belong to it unless it strengthens its relationship with him and provides him with security, dignified living, and basic services regardless of the sect, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. This is what we had presented in our electoral program that we are keen to implement and which is based on main and clear points that tackle the current crisis in Iraq and include the issue of the society of justice and prosperity which depends on achieving and providing the services for the Iraqi society, including water, electricity, health services, education, and transportation and cutting back unemployment as much as possible, providing job opportunities for the Iraqis, and making housing available to them. Our project to achieve the society of justice depends on keeping away from the political sectarianism, implementing justice in the society for all Iraqis through real partnership and making the judiciary deal appropriately with the murderers and terrorists. As for the other aspect of our program, it calls for improving the security and military sector in a way that guarantees the unity and security of Iraq and that Iraq would be having a strong army that defends the homeland and deep-rooted constitutional establishments that are able to protect democracy. This is the outline of our program that we are serious about implementing.

The Iraqi citizen needs that his dignity, life, and freedom be protected and that he lives away from poverty. He needs work, housing, education, and medical care and other services. He is more in need of justice and the sovereignty of the legal establishments so that he feels that he is in his Iraq and that all of Iraq is his – Iraq for all without depriving any citizen of his Iraqi identity. We have worked and will continue to work for an Iraq that can accommodate all of us. This was how Iraq was created and this is how it should remain. Without this, the real feeling of citizenship for the Iraqi cannot be enhanced. We are serious about realizing this with all clarity and simplicity because we believe that the political process, in the end, should serve the Iraqi people.

We believe that the requirements of the next stage are different from the requirements of the previous stage, therefore, we should dot the i’s and cross the t’s concerning the issue of moving ahead, and we should decisively reach the conclusion of whether we are patriotic or we believe in the political sect; whether we are patriotic or we believe in the politicization of religion; whether we are patriotic or we believe in the partition of Iraq into sections and cantons. Do we want a real and democratic Iraq for all Iraqis or do we want an Iraq that marginalizes wide parts of the Iraqi society? He who is with us should believe in our national line and should work for an Iraq that is for all Iraqis away from sectarian allocations, the politicization of religion, and the marginalization of others.

We are working to entrench the Iraqi identity of the Iraqi citizen who endured lots of difficulties, injustice, and wars over long years. This can be achieved through forming a national government that believes, in the first place, in its citizens and respects the qualified Iraqi people, the students, and the youth. This government should take care of the future of Iraq through taking care of children, utilizing the youth energies and their great capabilities in thought and creative achievement. On the forefront of the sectors that the government should take care is the Iraqi woman who endured a lot of difficulties and offered great sacrifices that make her a crown on the heads of all Iraqis.

The previous regimes have marginalized the role and energy of the Iraqi woman and the people’s forces in general, and placed this role and energy at the service of the authority and as an extension of it. Therefore, among the priorities that we are keen to realize will be the question of appointing the right person in the right position, making the country benefit from the national qualifications inside and abroad, with emphasis on the return of the qualified people abroad to their homeland to work in professional establishments regardless of their national, religious, or political affiliations on condition that they have the Iraqi citizenship spirit to live in their country in dignity.

We have clarified before the elections, in which the Iraqis participated in a courageous spirit, that these elections would lead to important changes and its results would positively reflect on all Iraqis. We have underlined the importance of the honesty of these elections that could lead to results and surprises that probably the most important of which is the decline of the trend that politicizes religion and sect and depends on political sectarianism in return for the revival and progress of the national civil trend.

Regrettably, the electoral process witnessed several violations–violations that preceded the elections, others during the elections, and other violations that happened and are happening after the elections. This led to the confiscation of the votes and the will of the Iraqis. The government, which considered the other lists as competitors, carried out actions that are totally far from honesty and transparency, starting with excluding and banning of candidates, represented in the illegal decisions of the Commission for Accountability and Justice and the campaigns launched to tarnish the reputation of the Al-Iraqiya Bloc and deceive the people through lies and false charges through dropping of leaflets from helicopters that are only available to the ruling authority. These actions also include the storming campaigns and wide arrests of candidates who belong to Al-Iraqiya and their supporters, and using public funds for electoral propaganda in favor of a party and a list that has influence on the government, in addition to the explosions that took place at morning of the elections day in areas that support our bloc, which are followed by the deployment of government’s military forces in neighborhoods such as Al-Azamiyah and the storming of houses of those who voted for Al-Iraqiya and arresting them. The polling and the counting of votes should have taken place in a transparent way as a manifestation of our respect for our people.

Nevertheless, we are optimistic that the Iraqi votes bear the strength and determination of the Iraqis’ will to change to build a strong and secure Iraq through having professional army and security forces that are not politicized and that are biased only toward Iraq and the Iraqis and whose national task is to protect the country and its people against foreign interference and the adoption of a clear foreign policy that is based on building a network of joint and balanced interests with the Arab and Islamic countries of the region, respecting the sovereignty and the noninterference in the internal affairs, resolving the problems through dialogue, closing the hot files, and forming a strong axis of moderation in the heart of the Middle East, which can protect the Iraqis and the peoples of the region from the evils of terrorism, killing, and destruction. Regrettably, the government was not clear, honest, or realistic when it made the statements and spoke about the preparedness of the armed and security forces to shoulder their security responsibilities when it endorsed the security agreement with the United States. We have pointed out this issue at an earlier stage, and my colleagues in the Al-Iraqiya Bloc remember that during our negotiations with the US side on the security agreement, I was personally clear on the issue of the importance that the armed and security forces be prepared to shoulder the security responsibilities and that they should be highly qualified and prepared. This agreement would be deficient if the political reform document is not reached and if no popular referendum on the agreement is conducted and Iraq is not rid of the Chapter 7 so that it can enjoy full sovereignty and its funds abroad are preserved.

Iraq will not be healthy while it is away from its Arab and Islamic depth. Iraq today considers all neighboring countries hostile states. The government is against Turkey, Syria, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. This is something that is really regrettable. On the other hand, the Arab affiliation has become something shameful in Iraq, and the one who claims to belong to the Arabs and that he is part of the Arabs has become as if he has committed a crime or is facing a charge at a time when I believe that Iraq’s strength is part of the strength of the Arab and Islamic region, and we are sorry because Iraq is kept away from its Arab and Islamic environments and its international role has weakened.

We have worked and will continue to work to build balanced relations with our Arab brothers and neighbors in the region. Our position is clear and we are with good relations and balanced interests with Turkey, Iran, the neighboring countries, and the world. I point out here to an invitation I received to visit Iran, as I was told, and I told the one who conveyed the invitation that I would do so after the elections regardless of the results of these elections. I am looking for acceptable frameworks that put all pending files under discussion to reach solutions, whether these are Iraqi-Iranian or Arab-Iranian files to reach clear concepts in establishing a balanced regional system that protects all and leads to stability, one the one hand, and achieves growth on the other through expanding the horizons of economic and financial benefits for the regional countries that do not have enough resources to meet the requirements of their peoples, reducing unemployment, and building up important bases for increasing gross income and national revenues for the people, and put the relations with the Arabs and Iran in their right and sound places.