Iraq and Gulf Analysis

An Iraq Blog by a Victim of the Human Rights Crimes of the Norwegian Government

The 511 De-Baathification Cases: Sectarianism or Despotism?

Posted by Reidar Visser on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 17:36

Late Tuesday night, the Iraqi television station Sumaria published the full list of 511 Iraqis that have been barred from standing as candidates in the 7 March parliamentary elections with reference to the de-Baathification procedures. The list says a good deal about the nature of the recent decision by the de-Baathification board – what it is, what it isn’t, and not least what it means in terms of unexpected complications for the Iraqi elections process at a time when many observers thought the institutional framework had been safely locked in place… Full story here.

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28 Responses to “The 511 De-Baathification Cases: Sectarianism or Despotism?”

  1. “An internationalised complaints commission for the elections similar to the one used in Afghanistan could be one possible option.”

    Did this commission have binding decisions? Or only a UN Security Council mandate can transcend the quasi-institutions of the Iraqi state.

  2. Reidar Visser said

    Faisal, a good source for how the Afghan commission tried to operate is here:
    http://www.ecc.org.af/en/
    It is a genuinely internationalised body and it is my impression that it has a far stronger mandate than the standard observation missions.

  3. bb said

    This is all very well, but Iraq has slipped the UN noose hasn’t it? With the signing of the Sofa agreement?

  4. Reidar,

    Just to let you know that the correct word of affiliation in Arabic is “al-Nasab” not “nasba” as the latter means percentage, also the names of Iraqis do not have Bin or Ibin (the son of) eg Mohammed Hassan Ali not Mohammed Bin Hasan Bin Ali.

  5. Salah said

    Looks things get ugly reported today al-Hashimi had a very important document prove De-Baathification Committee unconstitutional body.
    He said that he presented the document to Talabani when he met him.

    So the next coming days there are more things may be folded about the ban.

    أعلن المكتب الإعلامي لنائب رئيس الجمهورية العراقي طارق الهاشمي أن الأخير عرض على الرئيس جلال طالباني وثيقة وصفت بأنها “بالغة الأهمية” تثبت عدم عمل شرعية هيئة العدالة والمساءلة، مضيفا أنه تم الاتفاق على اتخاذ قرارات حاسمة بهذا الشأن.

    وأوضح عبد الإله كاظم الناطق باسم المكتب الإعلامي للهاشمي لـ”العربية” أن الوثيقة التي قدمت لطالباني هي صادرة على عن مجلس الرئاسة تبين تجميد اعمال هيئة اجتثاث البعث لحين المصادقة على هيئة المساءلة والعدالة وهو الأمر الذي لم يحدث كون أن الرئاسات الثلاثة من برلمان ومجلس الوزراء ومجلس رئاسة الجمهورية لم تصادق على ذلك.

    وأضاف كاظم أن مجلس الرئاسة بانتظار عودة نائب الرئيس عادل عبد المهدي لعقد اجتماع رسمي وإصدار بيان رسمي بشأن تلك الوثيقة.
    http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2010/01/21/97962.html

    Reidar, just my thoughts what leads to today crises and connecting the dots.

    I go back to Wataban Al-Tikrity when he stood in the court calling that the Baathists are responsible for the crimes and what happened to Iraq (not the regime), then we have the former British ambassador in Baghdad warning of Baathists military cue then he came back that his statement taken out of contexts, as if there is some thing fishy of all this saga of De-Baathification

  6. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, I’m afraid I disagree with you on all counts here. Where is the reference to “elections” in the accountability and justice law of January 2008? The constitution, for its part, expressly allows past members of the Baath to run for parliament, as explained in the other article. As for the federal supreme court, what it said was that it was for the IHEC to rule whether it was possible to generalise from the level of party heads to an entire political entity; it did not comment on the general constitutionality of the procedures employed by the IHEC to ban individuals. Due process? I’m rather with Maysun al-Damluji of Iraqiyya on this – she described the latest developments as “a Bollywood movie – in Hindi, without subtitles.”

    And no, no, no, Nehru Abd al-Karim is emphatically not the Lord of the Marshes, I don’t think his writ ever extended that far south. The Lord of the Marshes is Abd al-Karim al-Muhammadawi, who is part of Iraqiyya, and who fought against both the Baath and Iran.

    Finally, as for the SOFA, with it Iraq “slipped out of the American noose”, to replicate your terminology, rather than the UN one. Theoretically, at least, the US lost most of its leverage with that agreement. Conversely, the UN actually retains some, since Iraq is still subject to certain war reparation issues which were put in place under a Chapter 7 mandate by the Security Council, and which the Iraqi government is eager to have cancelled. Of course, in practice this means that the US still has some leverage through the Security Council, on top of the influence that inevitably comes with its remaining physical presence on the ground in Iraq. My point is that at the very least, one way or another Washington should use this occasion to make some noise that breaks with the ethno-sectarian paradigm and offers hope to non-sectarian Iraqis. Otherwise there is the danger that resignation and fatalism will govern these elections after the rottenness of the system has been exposed so abundantly through the latest action/inaction of the accountability and justice board and the IHEC.

    Shatha, many thanks for your comments which I am sure better reflects every-day usage of these terms. Nonetheless I would like to stress that my own nomenclature here was meant to reproduce the abstract world of genealogy, where the distinction between nasab (lineage) and nisba (denoting place/tribe of origin, which is what I refer to) still exists, and where the use of ibn/bin in genealogical constructions is certainly found in some relatively recent material from Iraq – I am away from my bookshelf right now but examples that come to mind include the re-publication in the late twentieth century of the works of “Ibn al-Ghamlas”, a Zubayri historian, as well as the writings of Ibrahim al-Haydari, where the author is referred to as
    ابراهيم فصيح بن صبغة الله الحيدري البغدادي
    (i.e. first nasab, then two references to nisba at the end)
    I fully realise this practice may have been more common in the past, but it does seem to survive in genealogy at least.

  7. Hassan al-Calaph said

    I just would like to mention that many of the people who are banned are themselves violating basic rules of democracy which is accepting and receiving funds from abroad such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. Of course these countries would not dare to support these candidates without an American green light.
    Also I can see that you over emphasise the “national” and “secular” nature of these forces especially the Bolani list! I mean these forces are not “national” and association and partnership with the Arab regime and the American are notorious. In fact Bolani would not be allowed to be the minister of interior had he not pleased the CIA. Unlike al-Maliki these forces have no real popular base among the people especially al-Bolani himself.
    Now regarding the secular nature of these forces I can tell you one thing that that the modern history of Iraq taught me that there was only one secular force which is the communist and A K Qasim. All these forces that claim they are secular and non-religious can be as sectarian and as regional and classist as the Islamic party. Even Kamel al-Chaderchi has opposed the expansion of education to the south at some point and argued against it. he also refused to allow those “Shergawi” poor people to join his party because they were unfit to the ideology. and that’s bring us to racist and elitist comment of Mayson al-Damalouji who describe the law as film hindi which could be, but let her be aware that the her Amrici film is as scandalous and ridiculous as that of the elected Maliki. Mayson forgets when she run on the Iraqia list that she is not nationalist and liberal because simply her list is know to Iraqis as the CIA list. Me coming from the same social and cultural background of Ms Damalouji allows me to understand very well her elitist, regional, classist and hidden sectarian prejudices.
    However many Iraqis are aware that being secular and claiming a nationalist agenda does not make automatically popular or even democratic. Because we know that Dahlan gangs and Mahmoud Abbas corrupt government in Palestine are portrayed in the same way in the western media but we know that they are backed by the CIA, the Saudi, Egyptian and Jordanian secret intelligence. and we know that they are not popular and not nationalist as they claim. just as Hamas to their people, Maliki who is Islamic, “undemocratic” and backward however they are popular, elected and seems much honest and even much nationalist than Bolani, Alawi, Mayson and the rest of the American Hollywood stars in Iraq.

  8. ((Maliki who is Islamic, “undemocratic” and backward however they are popular, elected and seems much honest and even much nationalist than Bolani, Alawi, Mayson and the rest of the American Hollywood stars in Iraq.))

    What about his silence about Iran’s occupation of Al-Fakka oilfield?

    In the first place, Who brought Maliki and other pro-Iranins to Iraq? Were not the Americans!

    Where were Al-Da’wa members during the 1980′s and 1990′s? Weren’t they hiding in Iran, trained by Iran’s Quds Force to fight Iraqi Army and to carry out attacks and explosions inside Iraq to kill civilian and non-civilian Iraqis. Was not al-Maliki the head of the military wing of al-Daw’a at the time.

    Why he and other Da’aw have not been brought to juctice for their crimes aginast Iraqis like the Saddamists!

    In my view, ISCI and its affiliates are more hoest than Maliki and his Da’wa because ISCI do not pretend to be nationalists and do not hide their Iranian patronage.

  9. Reidar,
    The Afghan Commission is established under Afghan law and as far as I can see does not have the mandate to investigate the most harmful type of fraud: vote rigging .
    Anyway, the time before the elections is very short and there is already some resistance to the idea from Maliki’s office, so I am not sure an international commission is such a good idea at this time.
    I wish there is no need for an international commission or UNCEI, but I expect the events on the ground will make UNCEI necessary, I believe the best the US can do right now in order to encourage the widest participation in the elections is to declare all options will be considered, including a commission and UNCEI, in case of confirmed and substantial election fraud. Without such declaration many Iraqis will stay at home in desparation without hope for reform of the political process. Clean elections in Iraq is not just an internal matter, it affects the whole region and is partly the responsibility of the US.

  10. Salah said

    To add to what Shatha talking, when I was working within university of Technology the crimes done on normal Iraqis by Da’awa party during 1980s with people had nothing with the regime at that time.

    two indecent, first killing Dr. Mohammad an academic staff from Applied Science department for no reasons the attacker was student from the university from Da’awa Party caught and taken by security forces.
    Secondly an indecent targeting the vice chancellor Ahmad Bashir Al-Naib, the attacker had gun in his hand run the stares to first floor one of the employee interrupted him as she dashed and fallen on long stairs, then the head of Scholarship department interpreting and caught him but he had shoot gun in his body, Falliha and the other guy survive and lived.

    The was another guy his name Khthir with his brother Mohammad both Da’awa party Khthir was MSc holder engineering working with Control& System Engineering his brother Mohammad a MSc student they both caught having secrets meeting and distributing papers during launch time. both caught by security forces.

    The other incident was in the Mansoor area west Baghdad the most prestige area where Saddam Son shooed, at that time there were rubbish bins attached to streets light poles just newish things installed in Bagdad Da’awa Party put explosives in one of them and when went of killed injured many people from walking nearby.

    These some of the crimes I don’t go to the tortures crimes with Iraqis POW inside Iran by Bader and Da’awa member while they were in hands of Iranians.

  11. bb said

    The Iraqi constitution:

    Article 7:

    “First: Any entity or program that adopts, incites, facilitates, glorifies, promotes, or
    justifies racism or terrorism or accusations of being an infidel (takfir) or ethnic cleansing, especially the Saddamist Ba’ath in Iraq and its symbols, under any name whatsoever, shall be prohibited. Such entities may not be part of political pluralism in Iraq. This shall be regulated by law.”

    Seems clear enough to this lay person.

    “Article 135:

    First: The High Commission for De-Ba’athification shall continue its functions as an independent commission, in coordination with the judicial authority and the
    executive institutions within the framework of the laws regulating its functions. The Commission shall be attached to the Council of Representatives.”

    Ditto.

    “Third: A nominee to the positions of the President of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the members of the Council of Ministers, the Speaker, the members of the Council of Representatives, the President, members of the Federation Council,
    their counterparts in the regions, or members of the judicial commissions and other positions covered by de-Ba’athification statutes pursuant to the law MAY not
    be subject to the provisions of de-Ba’athification.”

    Don’t know about the Arabic but in English there is a significant distinction between “may” and “will” in legal terms.

    “Fifth: Mere membership in the dissolved Ba’ath party shall not be considered a sufficient basis for referral to court, and a member shall enjoy equality before the
    law and protection unless covered by the provisions of De-Ba’athification and the directives issued according to it.”

    What this says is that MEMBERSHIP in Ba’ath party ALONE is not a sufficient basis for referral to court but must be accompanied by something else like incitement etc, eg Article 7.

    According to Nibras Kazimi Mutlak’s “debarment was exhibited in the media as a move principally directed against him for his stated (and taped) Ba’athist sympathies.
    According to the new AJC law, his statements are illegal. But he could appeal by saying that he uttered at a moment of anger.”

    Kazimi thinks Mutlak might be reinstated and gives an amusing rundown of his relationship with the Ba’ath.

    “Sixth: The Council of Representatives shall form a parliamentary committee from
    among its members to monitor and review the executive procedures of the Higher Commission for De-Ba’athification and state institutions to guarantee justice,
    objectivity, and transparency and to examine their consistency with the laws. The committee’s decisions shall be subject to the approval of the Council of Representatives.”

    Reidar, you said that the Federal Court did not comment on the general constitutionality of the procedures employed by the IHEC to ban individuals. Was it asked to do that by the IHEC?

    Surely it stands to reason that Iraq must have some body responsible for deciding if any candidates breach Article 7? If not the Accountibility/Justice Commission, then who? Kazimi is emphatic that it is the Commission who has the responsibility under the law, and says “barring illegal candidacies is part of (its) day-to-day operations”. Rather seems obvious that some kind of due process is being followed, even if inadequate in your eyes?

    As for Bollywood, Kazimi makes a similar point to Maysun al-Damluji.
    It’s all impending-election hard ball politics, imo, and is arising from the new reality that, because the old UIA has split, the ISCI/Sadrist combo has to win votes off Maliki’s party from the shia constituency after the shellacking they got in the provincial elections. Or else ISCI/Sadrists might become as irrelevant as the ba’ath.

    As for UN taking over elections. Can’t see UN going against the wishes of a sovereign country that is no longer under a Chapter 7 resolution. Cannot see what war reparations have to do with the issue.

    Thanks for clarification on lord of marshes. Good to see him making a comeback with Iraqqiyia.

  12. Salah said

    Here new development as Al-Sumaria Satellite TV there is a document issued from PM Office on 14th of Jan 2010, regraded De-Baathification Committee unconstitutional

    حصلت قناة السومرية الفضائية على مذكرة تعميم صادرة من الأمانة العامة لمجلس الوزراء العراقي بتاريخ 14/ 1/ 2010 تؤكد عدم قانونية قرارات هيئة المساءلة والعدالة.وتنفرد السومرية نيوز”، بنشر نص المذكرة التي جاء فيها أنه “لعدم مصادقة مجلس النواب العراقي على قرار مجلس الوزراء العراقي رقم 385 للعام 2009 المتضمن اقتراح تشكيل هيئة المساءلة والعدالة، لذا فان مجلس الوزراء يؤكد عدم قانونية الإجراء المتخذ من قبل الهيئة المشكلة”.وينص ما جاء في المذكرة على ضرورة تعميم المذكرة إلى الدوائر والوزارات المعنية ومنها
    http://www.iraqoftomorrow.org/index/77332.html

    In other news The provincial council in Iraq’s Shi’ite holy city of Najaf has threatened to expel anyone with ties to Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Ba’ath party, saying it would give them a day to get out of town or face “an iron hand”. this triggered Barwari to issue statement warning this is collective punishments and and against the Iraq democratic rules.
    http://www.uragency.net/index.php?aa=news&id22=4247

  13. حصلت قناة السومرية الفضائية على مذكرة تعميم صادرة من الأمانة العامة لمجلس الوزراء العراقي بتاريخ 14/ 1/ 2010 تؤكد عدم قانونية قرارات هيئة المساءلة والعدالة.وتنفرد السومرية نيوز”، بنشر نص المذكرة التي جاء فيها أنه “لعدم مصادقة مجلس النواب العراقي على قرار مجلس الوزراء العراقي رقم 385 للعام 2009 المتضمن اقتراح تشكيل هيئة المساءلة والعدالة، لذا فان مجلس الوزراء يؤكد عدم قانونية الإجراء المتخذ من قبل الهيئة المشكلة”.وينص ما جاء في المذكرة على ضرورة تعميم المذكرة إلى الدوائر والوزارات المعنية ومنها

    Today I heard the news on Baghdadya saying that al-Maliki confirmed the legality of Accountability and Justice board! How contradicting!

    Why Talabani publicly stressed the illegitimacy of this board today! It is very smiple, the Americans have increased their pressure on them espcially because of the tomorrow-expected visit of Biden.

  14. Reidar Visser said

    BB, as already said, there is no specific reference to article 7 in the ccountability and justice act of Jan 2008. Contrary to what you seem to believe, the law creates a relatively specific mandate focused on removing officials of a certain rank and/or Baath membership level, again as explained earlier. The whole idea was to create a more systematic approach and to move away from the boundless, often ad hoc de-Baathification of the early Chalabi period. The key is the first part of article 6 and I don’t have the time to translate:

    لمادة-6-
    على الهيئة إتباع الإجراءات الآتية بحق المنتمين إلى صفوف حزب البعث والأجهزة القمعية قبل تاريخ 9/4/2003 لغرض تحقيق أهداف الهيئة وتنفيذ مهامها:ـ
    أولاً: إنهاء خدمات جميع الموظفين ممن كان بدرجة عضو شعبة وإحالتهم على التقاعد بموجب قانون الخدمة والتقاعد.
    ثانياً: إحالة جميع الموظفين الذين يشغلون إحدى الدرجات الخاصة( مدير عام أو ما يعادلها فما فوق) ممن كانوا بدرجة عضو فرقه في صفوف حزب البعث على التقاعد بحسب قانون الخدمة والتقاعد.
    ثالثاً:- إنهاء خدمات جميع منتسبي الأجهزة الأمنية( القمعية) وإحالتهم على التقاعد بموجب قانون الخدمة والتقاعد.
    رابعاً:- يمنع فدائيو صدام من أي حقوق تقاعدية لعملهم في الجهاز المذكور.
    خامساً:- السماح لجميع الموظفين غير ذوي الدرجات الخاصة ممن كانوا بدرجة عضو فرقة فما دون في الصفوف حزب البعث بالعودة إلى دوائرهم أو الاستمرار بوظائفهم.

    I’d be interested in what article of the AJ act Kazimi thinks justifies the sweeping approach to the Baathism issue (including the revival question).

    To your other points, on 135, there is no doubt that the 2008 act creates new conditions for the de-Baath board (see also Salah’s post on some new info on this subject above; haven’t had time to check that out yet), as for the constitutional requirements, as explained earlier there is a difference between being a member of the Baath and being “subject to the de-Baathification rulings” otherwise the constitution would be contradictive and meaningless. Finally, the supreme court simply commented on the issue that I referred to, as explained before. I hope that was all.

  15. Reidar Visser said

    Salah, looking at the memo, I think this may reflect the previous internal Shiite Islamist struggle over who should head the commission. I guess Maliki was angry when Walid al-Hilli was not approved; they call the existing board “illegal”. But the memo is already one week old and has been superseded by plenty of statements by Maliki in support of the board.

    On this issue, though, I actually agree with the de-Baathification guys who told Sumaria that kind of decision should come from parliament! Or, as an alternative, I would say, “from the federal supreme court”. But it is interesting that people inside the government were apparently using the same arguments as those employed by the opposition today.

  16. Salah said

    Reidar, I think all issue now became struggle between same guys and folks each one like it in his way.

    All in all things goes backward and its used as same as old regime with same folks who cried from ill-treatment and suppression by Saddam.

    Although if any Iraqi whoever who is should hold account of any crimes committed against Iraqi and should goes to court, this just sicking me using Ba’ath tag to override people by this way because of his history, get him if he is guilty of any crime ok.

    Btw, Saddam in one speeches during his every day invasion of TV told Iraqis that each Iraqi Ba’athist even if he is not a member of Ba’ath party!! I worry in the end all Iraqi banned because Saddam said so?

  17. bb said

    Well if not the A/J commission then who or what? Can’t see that the law not specifically mentioning Article 7 is particularly crucial. It stands to reason there would be some mechanism since the constitution is so clear regarding elections.

    Out of interest: were any candidates barred from the previous election, Dec 05? If so, by whom?

  18. Reidar Visser said

    Bb, apparently you mean the accountability and justice board can intervene in exactly the way it wants as long as its actions can be construed as being aimed at preventing the Baath from returning. Well, if the constitution gives it such a sweeping mandate by article 7, then why did the Iraqi parliament even bother to pass a separate piece of legislation in January 2008 setting out far more restricted powers? Similarly, what you refer to above about a possible appeal with reference to some kind of repentance is completely made up; it simply is nowhere in the law. Note also that article 7 simply emphasises Baath party revivalism as one among several unacceptable forms of politics including also racism and sectarianism; surely one would expect the same body to deal with all exclusions under this heading, no?

  19. Mosa Yasser said

    Is this good enough to get yourself excluded?

  20. Reidar Visser said

    As I have tried to explain earlier, the mandate of the de-Baathification committee relates to purging the Iraqi bureaucracy of Baathists of a certain rank. The January 2008 legislation does not cover any particular mechanisms for dealing with accusations under article 7 of the 2005 constitution, which is where the question of revivalism/glorification is handled. That article, in turn, also outlaws racism and sectarianism, which means many other prominent Iraqi politicians, probably thousands, could be banned if it were implemented. At the very least, that sort of screening should be done by a single judicial authority for purposes of consistency, which at this point could only be the federal supreme court. I think it is unlikely that the court would be able to handle the potential caseload before the elections if general challenges to parliamentary candidacies with reference to article 7 were allowed to go ahead.

  21. Mosa Yasser said

    Thank you for the clarification Reidar – however, I’ve just read the January 2008 legislation (anyone who wants to can find it here: http://www.parliament.iq/dirrasd/law/2008/10.pdf ) and I think Article 3, Section 1 can be argued to give the committee legal cover for what it has done. That part reads:

    أولاً:- منع عودة حزب البعث فكراً وإدارةً وسياسةًوممارسةً، تحت أيّ مسمىً إلى السلطة أو الحياة العامة في
    العراق.

    (For those who don’t read Arabic, Google translates this as:

    First: – prevent the return of the Baath Party ideology, management and practice, under any guise, to the Authority [i.e. the State] or public life in Iraq.)

    It may not clarify the mechanism but it does seem to give them the authority to remove candidates based on the argument it is preventing them from running for election, and thus preventing them from being part of a future government or parliament.

    I largely agree with the principles of what is being done, but I don’t like the timing or the selective way it has been done.

  22. Reidar Visser said

    But that is just a general “hadaf”/goal.
    تهدف الهيئة إلى مايأتي
    The whole point in passing the legislation was to make the actions of the commission more systematic and less arbitrary. It cannot do whatever it fancies to do just because it can say it has to do with preventing the Baath from returning.
    As outlined above (see comment 14) what the commission is supposed to do is largely concentrated in article 6 under الإجراءات
    (measures, practical application)
    The relationship between the elements is also underlined by the following sequence
    تتبنى الهيئة لغرض تحقيق أهدافها المهام والوسائل الآتية
    In order to achieve its goals, the board will do the following…
    All leading towards the more limited measures I mentioned.

  23. Salah said

    Mosa Yasser,

    That ok, but there is 511 person or so are they all said or did same as Salih Al-Mutluq?

    What about The provincial council in Iraq’s Shi’ite holy city of Najaf calling all Old Baath member to leave the city within one day other wise they will face “an iron hand”.

    Is this the way the government deal with its citizens even they are suspected by crime but they not proven of their crimes?

    You banned Al-Mutlak and his party all and other parties on suspicions, yes you Youtube enough you ban Al-Mutalq but why all party? May the party will asked to get new head and continue his process with the election.

    Till now there is no one Baath member was caught and brought to courts on crimes that he done this another issue here. 7 years past no one member caught and found guilty of crimes!!, this is not means there is none, but some are killed publicly and some fled Iraq if there are some why not deal with them according with the law instead this way of Militia style.

  24. Hassan al-Calaph said

    Shatha al-Juburi is repeating the same ingenious Baatthi rehtoric! Who brought Maliki to power? The election of course while the American had brought Saddam and tried to push Alawi forward but they failed!
    Iraq will have time to get al-Fakka and all the lands that Saddam gave and kept quite about which went to the pro-American dictatorshios in the region like Saudi Arabia, Jordan and even Kuwait. Your media under Saddam never mentioned the lands he granted to Jordan or Saudi Arabia! Also Iraq has to worry more about the Turkish water projects more than al-Fakka for the meantime.
    The Iraqi army under Saddam was like the Egyptian army today under Mubarak! a thuggish army responsible for punshing rebelious poor neighbours like Iran in the 1980s and Gaza now who opposed the western designs in the region. I know that just few Iraqis loved their army in the 1980s especially when it was at al-Qadissia alMajida but those few were somehow priviliged under Saddam as I have been told by them that they used to party until the morning in the 1990s when the people were starving and selling their clothes to survive while they considered this normal.
    So I would say leave Fakka now and enjoy your time in exile and as we say in Iraqi “فكوا ياخة عن العراق”!!

  25. Reidar Visser said

    Hassan, one thing I wanted to ask about in your previous comment concerned the Iraqi communists and their nationalist credentials. Whilst I certainly understand that people can see certain positives in the Qasem era (along with lots of problems…), I have always had trouble understanding why the ICP has been so remarkably pro-federal in the post-2003 era. For example, as far as I can remember, both Hamid Majid Musa and Mufid al-Jazairi voted in favour of the federalism bill in October 2006 which proved so divisive.

  26. Hassan AlCalaph said

    Dear Ridar:
    I agree with you! the ICP today is not the same party that I was talking about under Qasim and even in the 1970s. That’s why I said history taught me because the current current leadership of the ICP is scandalous due to their shameful ties to Barazani, their weak opposition to the international capital and above all their outrageous alliance with Iyad Alawi! But I am sure that the left will reborn again in our land and push back the sectarian and fascist trends.

  27. Anon said

    Hassan AlCalaph, you didn’t answer the question

    Because of the old relations between the Kurds and ICP, early 70′s, the Ba’ath Party started to dominate the power leaving a very limited freedom to other parties (ie ICP). To confront the situation ICP announced the formation of the “National Front” (which is an entity with an unknown agenda, a political body, or a military one?).

    Unhappy with the above development, Saddam Hussein released a booklet called “One trench or two trenches”, in which he argues that the state can not be run by multi-party political system, after this book, Baath party (Government) started an aggressive campaign against the ICP. Many ICP members fleed to Kurdistan and started to militarize themselves joining the Kurds (Barzani – Father) fighting the Iraqi military.

    Later, after the formation of the PUK (Talabani), Barzani asked the ICP to help him to fight against the new PUK Party. Talabani received support from Saddam attacked the ICP bases killing many and forced the survivors to flee to Iran and this is called “Pachachan massacre”.

  28. Hassan Alcalaph said

    I agree with you Anon, but the national front included the Baath party which was in power at the time. In fact the Baath according to Saddam himself had no popular base when it first arrived to power had to adopt the some progressive programs the Left was calling for from a log time. Also Saddam has said infamously “give me authority and I will give you a party” meaning here that we don’t need to be a popular party because once we are in office we can easily build a “popular” party depending on terror, privilege, coercion and brain washing. Many wise communists considered the National Front a fatal mistake and a crime because it helped the Baathis to extract some legitimacy by allying themselves with their victims (ICP) and the most popular party at the time. So after national front nothing surprise me about the ICP bourgeoisie alliances with Barazani, Allawi, or even the Americans. The current leadership of the ICP is weak, unwise, shortsighted and I would say politically “corrupt”! They should work harder and present to the Iraqis a real leftist alternative better than the sectarian and fascist current forces.

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