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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

Democracy in Iraq « Previous | |Next »
January 17, 2004

Alan Moir

Despite the worthy objective of the U.S. occupation of Iraq ending by July 1 Moir is right.

It is a square peg in a round hole, given the attempts by the US occupation authority with its Iraqi face to impose limited democracy on Iraq, and the resistance by the Iraqi's to a guided democracy. The Bush Administration is even trying to get the United Nations to return to Iraq and play an advisory role in support of the U.S.-backed plan.

Ayatollah Ali Sistani is insisting on full democratic elections in opposition to the imperial American strategy of carefully managed caucuses for any new Iraqi government. The imperial presidency in Washington doesn't much like Sistani's resistance to a 'pro-American', Chalabi-dominated government that would lack legitimacy, popular support, or real independence.

The Washington Post reports the Bush Administration cannot accept Sistani's call for direct elections and are trying to pressure him to back off.

Juan Cole's take on this conflict which has given expression to demonstrations in the cities is insightful. He says:

"British troops estimated that 30,000 Shiites demonstrated in Basra on Thursday, with massive crowds beginning at two separate points and wending their way to the al-Abila mosque. Al-Hayat reported that they were demanding that the elections scheduled for late May be held on a one person, one vote basis. Mainly from the al-Da`wa Party and the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq of Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, the crowds shouted, "No to America! We're coming to you, Sistani!" "Colonialism is not liberty!" and "Yes, yes to Sistani, No, No to Appointment!" (i.e. they demanded free elections, not political appointments by hand-picked bodies).

The Bush administration rather cynically made providing democracy in Iraq its fallback justification for an Iraq war. First, the primary justification, of weapons of mass destruction, fell through. Now the fallback position is creating its own problems, since from an administration point of view the Iraqis are taking it 'way too seriously!"

The imperial presidency has a problem as its imperial interests and democracy in the Middle East come asunder.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:47 PM | | Comments (0)