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Comments on: The Bloc That Has No De-Baathification Worries





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By: David

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 21:57:26 +0000

Reidar- Your analysis looks to me like a case of Iran stealing the US occupation's lunch. There have been some belligerent noises toward Iran coming out of Washington recently, ostensibly concerning its nuclear program. Maybe this is the real motive. In any case the Green Zone disarray is good news, more proof that the occupation political process is a Frankenstein's monster that will never survive on its own.



By: Faisal Kadri

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 01:07:38 +0000

Reidar, I agree about your comment but I think the carbon copy approach of the EU Parliament may not last long; there will surely be more hot news from Iraq and the folks at the EU will have to elaborate a European policy in a more substantive and characteristic manner. Regarding your warning against placing too much hope on UN forces, I have a different vision, let me explain. To me, valid census and clean elections are not about saving the Sunnis but about the Kurds and Shias. Census is vital for defining a relationship with the Kurd and only clean elections can peacefully sort out who speaks for the Shias. Clean elections is about Shia leadership, not saving the Sunnis because sectarian segregation is now so complete there is no fear of fraud from the other side. I don't see the necessity of "benign international forces coming to the rescue." I propose a role for the UN as essentially a supervisor and arbitor for certificatio and validation of votes and citezenship. Most work should be done by Iraqis, with muslim non-Arabic speaking supervisors on temporary assignments. The only force in the arena that counts is the U.S. who can obtain a Security Council mandate and persuade her Iraqi allies to cooperate. Key players (the EU) can make it a lot easier for the US to follow the option of UN run Census and Elections in Iraq.



By: Reidar Visser

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 07:22:20 +0000

Faisal, absolutely, there you go, the European parliament striking a new note! Thanks for the excerpt. What I do not like about it is the form: This seems to have been lifted almost verbatim from the Amman-based opposition media, complete with the easily recognisable Mottaki conspiracy theory etc, instead of marking an independent European position. This in turn reminds me of the recent past, when the voice of the European parliament was entirely dominated by Baroness Nicholson, a British lady who had an opposite agenda – she specialised in Marsh Arabs (whom she believed to be a “separate people”!), Christian minorities, and little else. And so while this is certainly a step in the direction (I personally agree with much if not all of what's in the statement), on the whole, the stance of the European parliament (which at the end of the day, let’s face it, is not particularly consequential on the ground in Iraq) still comes across as somewhat whimsical and susceptible to unpredictable external influences. As I have done before, I would warn Iraqi nationalists against placing too much hope on benign international forces coming to the rescue (solutions involving the UN etc). Those forces are not sufficiently influential in the arenas that count, and all the key players right now appear ready to wash their hands of their affair if they could just find a way to check that “Sunni” box. Ali, any pretence of legality has been abandoned a long time ago here; the rules are being made up as we proceed. The IHEC has signalled that it will ban whomever the accountability and justice board wants them to ban, and they refer to the seven-judge appeals board as the ultimate arbiter. Also, Ayad al-Samarraie is trying to convince the Americans that a three-man parliamentary sub-committee can perhaps overturn the decision; what he is not telling them is that the prerogatives of that committee are ill-defined and that one of its three members has already resigned!



By: Faisal Kadri

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 01:38:28 +0000

Reidar, Here are press releases from the EU parliament, I sent you the .pdf by email. Suddenly I get the feeling we're not alone! Exclusion of Salih Mutlak from elections in Iraq undermines legitimacy of elections The exclusion of Dr. Salih Mutlak, leader of the National Dialogue Front, and a number of other political personalities from upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq is a haunting development, reminding us of election shams held under fascist regimes such as the one in neighbouring Iran. Dr. Mutlak has been part of the political process in Iraq over the past six years and has been a member of the committee responsible for the Iraqi constitution. The true reason for his exclusion is his uncompromising position against the Iranian regime’s meddling in Iraq. The essence of this decision becomes more evident as it coincided with a visit to Iraq by the Iranian Foreign Minister Motaki. I strongly advise the Iraqi government not to allow the Iranian regime to impose its policies upon the election process in Iraq that would discredit the legitimacy of the elections. The model of elections in Iran must not be exported to Iraq. Millions of Iranians have been challenging the Iranian regime’s election charade. I express my full support for Dr. Mutlak’s democratic right to participate in elections in Iraq and will closely follow up this matter in the European Parliament and will call on the European Union, the U.S. government and the United Nations to condemn this move and prevent the exclusion of Dr. Mutlak and other political figures from the parliamentary elections in Iraq. Struan Stevenson, MEP President of the European Parliamentʹs Delegation for relations with Iraq European Parliament ISJ condemns exclusion of Dr. Mutlak from parliamentary elections in Iraq, calls to prevent Iranian regime’s interference in Iraqi elections The International Committee of In Search of Justice (ISJ) noted with deep concern reports indicating that Dr. Salih Mutlak and the Iraqi National Dialogue Front have been excluded from the upcoming parliamentary elections in Iraq. This has caused widespread anxiety in the European Parliament and parliaments in democratic countries. There are many indications that this is a foul plot by the Iranian regime that is extremely frightened of a free and democratic election in Iraq. One of the objectives of the visit to Iraq by the regime’s Foreign Minister was to exclude Dr. Mutlak from taking part in elections. A free parliamentary election in Iraq will lead to elimination of the regime’s proxies from many posts in the state and therefore to cutting off the arms of the mullahs in Iraq. The clerical regime has turned Iraq into a field for its terrorist and fundamentalist objectives. Exclusion of Dr. Mutlak from elections in Iraq will undermine the legitimacy and credibility of parliamentary elections in that country. This is a pattern of sham elections exported by the Iranian regime to Iraq. We strongly condemn this undemocratic move and call on the United Nations, the U.S. Government and the European Union to intervene and prevent exclusion of Dr. Mutlak and other democratic forces from taking part in the elections and not allow the future of Iraq to sink in darkness and violence. While millions of people are calling for regime change in the streets of Iran, we should not allow the ominous policies of the regime to be imposed upon Iraq. Alejo Vidal-Quadras President of ISJ Vice President of European Parliament



By: ali

Mon, 18 Jan 2010 23:34:30 +0000

what i don't understand is this; it is the IHEC that has the final say when it comes to barring candidates, are you therefore suggesting the IHEC is also illegitimate, non-transparent and should also have its decisions reversed? Doesn't the de-baathification commission become very much irrelevant or insignificant in this respect? t



By: Kjetting

Mon, 18 Jan 2010 21:15:11 +0000

I would not put to much into the opening of diplomatic represenatative offices in Erbil. This is for European countries mostly related to the issue of refugees (and a little bit to trade as a side-show). As far as I know there are no primary diplomatic representation from any European country there, it is consulates side-accredited to Baghdad embassies deailing with consular matters. They have not been profiled or made much of in terms of political recognition, but are more a function of the wish in European states to return Kurdish refugees to Iraq.



By: Reidar Visser

Mon, 18 Jan 2010 20:21:57 +0000

This is not something I follow very closely, so feel free to supply any links you might have on the subject. In general, I would not expect any very fine-tuned reactions from the EU countries. If anything, they have in the past been even more dismissive of Iraqi nationalism than Washington. For example, they have been in the lead in establishing bilateral relations with the KRG (more so than the US), many of them apparently happy to pretend that Iraq became “normalised” in the very second Obama won the presidency. Maybe this particular issue of de-Baathification stands a greater chance of at least being on the radar because it can be framed as a sectarian “Sunni” issue – the key to generating interest for anything in the western democracies it seems, but of course ultimately the primitive game that Iran wants them to play.



By: Faisal Kadri

Mon, 18 Jan 2010 18:50:13 +0000

Reidar, What is the position of the EU and western democracies towards the exclusions and transparency? I see conflicting reports of European displeasure and acceptance to run the elections for Iraqi ex-pats in 15 countries.