January 31, 2005


New dawn in Iraq (Hassan Hanizadeh, 1/31/05, Tehran Times)

The new era in Iraq finally began to dawn with a massive voter turnout in Sunday’s election and some bloody incidents.

Criminal terrorists tried to sabotage the election by carrying out attacks on polling stations, but the determined Iraqi people braved the threats of the gunmen.

After enduring eight decades of dictatorship and crime, the Iraqi nation has taken the first steps on the path toward a bright future and democracy -- a new phenomenon in Arab world.

The Iraqi people have experienced great suffering due to dictatorships, geopolitical conditions, and demography.

And, unfortunately, some neighboring Arab countries played a direct role in setting up despotic governments in Iraq, since they cannot tolerate the rule of democracy in Iraq due to its complicated ethnic makeup.

Indisputable evidence discovered after the fall of the Baath regime showed that Saddam Hussein could not have committed such crimes against his own people without these Arab states’ support.

The Shia in the south of Iraq and the Kurds in the north succeeded in liberating 14 of the country’s 18 provinces in 1991, shortly after the Iraqi Army was driven out of Kuwait. But certain Arab states pressured former U.S. president George Bush and he eventually gave Saddam the green light to brutally suppress the Shia and Kurdish uprising.

Saddam’s government was on the brink of collapse, but the leaders of some Arab countries helped the Baathists quell the Iraqi nation’s uprising mercilessly, since they preferred a weak Saddam to a democratic government.

Some 450,000 Shia and Kurds were massacred by Iraqi troops loyal to Saddam, who continued carrying out crimes due to the Arab states’ misunderstanding of the Shias.

If power had been transferred through holding a free referendum under the supervision of the United Nations and the international community in 1991, Iraq and the rest of the region would not have witnessed such painful events.

In addition, the United States would not have felt compelled to sacrifice so many lives and spend such a huge amount of money to overthrow Saddam, and the Iraqi nation would have been able to establish a popular government calmly and without carnage.

Yet, the Iraqi people, despite their ethnic and sectarian differences, have maintained their national identity and cast their votes freely in order to find a logical way to resolve the current crisis.

One of the most delicious aspects of the elections was the way the anti-Americanism of the Left, far Right, and the terrorists played into our hands. It was an article of faith for all that we couldn't be there to impose democracy and that the Iraqis wouldn't take it.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 31, 2005 12:27 PM
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