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Pacifying Iraq
Publication date: 2004-11-30

Does Iraq Need an Elections, and of What Kind ...

The destruction of Fallujah has not brought peace to Iraq. But some hope that the planned elections will.

But does Iraq need an elections? And if it does, then what kind of elections?

The idea of the Iraq war is part of the American Plan of Democratizing the Middle East. The origins of this plan can be traced back to the works and speeches of Benjamin Netanyahu, the architect of the War on Terror doctrine.

In the case of Iraq, democratization is envisaged by holding a general elections, in which various “political parties” will put forward their candidates, and those who will get the most votes will form the government of Iraq. This model of “democracy” is based on the systems of government which exist in the USA, Britain, or France.

But in the USA, Britain, or France the systems of government were not imposed by an occupying power, they developed out of the circumstances of those countries. Nor are these systems all the same. The American system is different from the British system and the British system is different from the French. Nor are attempts to transplant the American system into Britain, or the British system into France likely to succeed. And the reason is that the USA, Britain and France are countries with different social, demographic, and cultural structures, and their systems of government reflect the differences in these structures. Attempts to impose upon a country a structure of government that does not reflect its natural social, demographic and cultural structure are likely to fail.

So, what structure of government would fit Iraq?

The reason that Iraq is not in total chaos is due neither to the American presence, nor to the efforts of the present interim government of Iraq. The reason that Iraq is not in total chaos is because the removal of the government of Saddam Hussain has not resulted in total removal of the Iraqi government. The government of Saddam Hussain was just a top layer of the Iraqi government. Underneath that top layer was the layer of natural, native, and truly and uniquely Iraqi local government. This Iraqi local government has existed for thousands of years and has survived not only the rule of Saddam Hussain, but the British attempts to rule Iraq, the Turkish empire, and the Mongol invasion1. This native Iraqi local government are the tribal and religious leaders of the various communities that compose the Iraqi population.

Such tribal and religious leaders are not elected. The tribal leaders are the eldest and the wisest members of the tribe. The religious leaders are religious scholars renowned for their learning. And both have natural authority over their groups.

Such leaders exist in all the ethnic and religious communities composing Iraq, and they could form the grass root basis of the Iraqi government.

Such leaders should come together and establish municipal councils in towns, cities, and rural areas (if they do not already exist). And these municipal councils will form the second level of the government of Iraq.

The municipal councils will appoint representatives who will form regional councils, which will be in charge of the regions. And these regional councils will appoint representatives to the national council of the State of Iraq.

This national council of the State of Iraq will appoint the President of that council who will hold his office for 2 years, and will be replaced by another member of the national council on rotation basis.

Such structure will ensure that each Iraqi tribe is governed by its own traditional laws and customs at the level of local life, while the higher levels of government will deal with the provision of government services at the municipal, regional and national level.

The representatives of the higher level councils will be accountable to the lower level councils and ultimately to the tribal leaders. And the lower level councils and the tribal leaders will be able to dismiss the members of the higher councils appointed by them. This will ensure that all the Iraqi tribes and communities have either direct or vicarious representation at every level of the Iraqi government.

The important part of such government will be definition of the functions of each government institution and provisions for accountability of the government officials for their actions and decisions. This is necessary to prevent abuses of powers and ensure competent administration at every level.

The foundations of the above system are already in place. What is left is for the tribal and religious leaders to set up the municipal councils, for the municipal councils to set up regional councils and for the regional councils to set up the national council and elect the president of that council.

The above operations do not require the massive security arrangements which would be necessary for a general elections. The security provided for the meetings of the various councils can be provided by tribal and religious militias who have greater support of the local population than the American or the interim government troops. And, as the tribal and religious leaders are not seen as “collaborators” with the occupation forces, they will not be targets of the resistance.

And, as such elections can be conducted without the American troops, the Americans can start packing their bags and be back home with their families by Christmas. — Peace and Good Will to All Men. Mission accomplished!

And what about the “terrorists” (the resistance)? If the Americans leave Iraq, there will be nobody to resist, and they can join the militias, and the militias will become the police force of Iraq.

And what about all those “political parties”?

Party politics is creature of the European history. It is the product of the “class conflicts” that followed the demise of the European feudal system. European democracy has come to the end of its useful life still at the end of the 19th century. The 20th century saw progressive decay of European democracy accompanied by suffocating moral stench of the decay and the physical stench of the carnage caused by wars and revolutions. The rule of Saddam Hussain was the form in which this decay found its expression in Iraq. The present War on Terror is a spill‐over of this poisonous rot into the 21st century. Today's Europeans find it hard to suppress vomit when they see, hear or talk about “politicians”. In the Modern European Public Mind the word “politician” has inseparable logical associations with the words “incompetence”, “dishonesty”, “hypocrisy”, “sleaze”, “slime”, “scandal” and “cover‐up”.

Does Iraq, or any country in the world today, need “party politics”? People need honest and competent government — not political demagogues. So, the political parties can disband themselves and find some honest and productive ways of making a living, and not only in Iraq, but all over the world.

Notes:   -----   to top

1) Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan (1217–1265), as part of a Mongol program of subduing the Islamic world, seized and ransacked Baghdad.

A successor of Hulegu, Mahmud Ghazan (1295–1304) embraced Islam, and his later successors, known as the Moguls, spread Islam to the Indian Subcontinent. Is the history repeating itself?

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