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Iranian Democracy in Iraq! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It seems that the process of democratization in Iraq is evolving quickly; however, without doubt, it is evolving in the wrong direction. What does it mean when the Debathification commission, or what is now known as the Justice and Accountability Commission, is trying to break up all Iraqi political blocs that disagree with the Iranian program in Iraq, or oppose Tehran’s allies in Iraq who have power and authority, before the upcoming Iraqi elections? The accusation that is always on hand is affiliation to the Baath party or sympathizing with it, call it what you like. Or [the commission just] carries out arrests and raids [against them].

After head of the National Dialogue Front Saleh al Mutlak and his bloc was targeted and banned from taking part in the forthcoming Iraqi elections on the pretext of sympathizing with the Baathists, (and this was said to be based on a joke between Mutlak and someone else), around 500 Iraqi figures were also banned [from participating in the forthcoming elections] including the Iraqi Defense Minister Abdul Qader Obaidi. Dr. Iyad Allawi considers this political, and expansion of the circle of revenge, as this will lead to a state of chaos, not a state of law.

Therefore, when we say that the process of democratization in Iraq is evolving quickly but in the wrong direction [it is because] it is clear to us today that the Debathification commission, or the Justice and Accountability Commission, has come to resemble Iran’s Guardian Council, which approves who is eligible to run in Iranian presidential elections. The difference is that the Iranian Guardian Council says whose nomination it accepts on an individual basis, whereas the Iraqi Commission is more comprehensive as its task is to tighten the grip on political blocs as well as on Iraqi political figures. It would have been easier for the Debathification commission, or whatever it’s called, to say who can run in the upcoming elections instead of [letting] the list of banned [candidates] accused of being affiliated or sympathizing with the Baathists in Iraq reach a number that may exceed thousands.

This is not sarcasm but the truth. The ongoing process of banning Iraqi entities and figures has become barefaced political maneuvering, and widening of the circle of revenge and deepening the authority of a group at the expense of all Iraqi components in the name of democratization. This kind of democracy only resembles the kind of distorted democracy that we are seeing in Iran; the results of which have led to oppression of the people, killing and imprisonment of women not to mention men and youth, and the accusation of being an agent for Israel and the West that is cast against anyone who challenges the authority. [They are also accused of] being against God and religion if they go against the instruction of the Supreme Guide to the extent that in Iran it is now against the law to use mobile phones or email to demonstrate opposition against Ahmedinejad’s regime. The difference between the Guardian Council and the Justice and Accountability Commission, which is entrusted with uprooting Baathism, is that the latter wants to learn from the mistakes made in Iran by carrying out pre-emptive operations before the upcoming Iraqi elections to hunt down those who oppose Iran’s influential allies in Iraq today before they succeed at the ballot box, which would make the process of removing them more difficult. Otherwise, Iran’s allies in Iraq would be forced to pursue their opponents on the streets just as the Mullahs are doing today to the opposition in Iran.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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