Iraq Constitution Under Military Occupation:
No Liberation Without Self-determination
By Andrew Malieni
"There have been disagreements amongst the Iraqis about this particular constitution. Of course there's disagreements. We're watching a political process unfold, a process that has encouraged debate and compromise; a constitution that was written in a -- in a society in which people recognize that -- that there had to be give and take. I want our folks to remember our own constitution was not unanimously received."
- US President George W. Bush
"Democracy has never been described as speedy, efficient or perfect."
- US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld referring to the Iraqi constitution and the delay of its drafting
The US government and their Iraqi puppet regime are trying to push through a new constitution in Iraq. The US is seeking to establish a reliable proxy regime that can be counted on to serve imperialist interests with of course, at least a minimal amount of perceived legitimacy. This is because the US ruling class is in a quagmire in Iraq. It really has not had any major victories in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. It is unable to completely control even the capital city, Baghdad, and is faced with popular resistance in Iraq everyday. Anti-war sentiment is growing among the population in the US, there are serious difficulties in meeting recruitment quotas for the military. Along with this more and more US soldiers are deserting the military. Certain tactical splits are even developing among some US politicians over setting a timetable for withdrawal of US forces from Iraq. With the constitution, the US government hopes to relieve some of the pressure caused by the Iraqi resistance on its occupying military. This would enable the US to reduce its deployment of troops in Iraq, to make it easier to focus on other future targets in the Middle East like Syria and Iran. Also, the US is trying to use the constitution to impose divisions and splits among people in Iraq in an attempt to make the Iraqi people lose their focus on the number one enemy facing them: the foreign occupation forces.
Iraqi "Democratic" Constitution: Protected by US Military Rule!
The National Assembly in Iraq, 'elected' at the gunpoint of foreign occupation forces, approved the Iraqi constitution on August 28th. The constitution is now set to go for a referendum on October 15th, followed by another election on December 15th if it passes. Under the existing laws established under the occupation, if the constitution is voted down in the referendum, new elections to the National Assembly need to be called and then another constitution needs to be drawn up.
The referendum, whether or not it passes, or even goes ahead, is fundamentally of little practical importance to people in Iraq. The referendum will not change the fact that Iraq is an occupied country, nor will it advance the interests of Iraqi people. The resistance continues. Really, it is just another one of the many maneuvers that the US has used to seek legitimacy in Iraq, none of which have had any fundamental importance to people in Iraq, either. First there was the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, directly and openly appointed by the US. Next there was the June 28th "handover of power" to the Iraqi Interim Government (also appointed by the US occupiers and led by a former CIA agent, Iyad Allawi) that was supposed to mark a new era of Iraq as a sovereign state. After that were the "elections" in January, and now there is this constitution. One has to ask, what will they do next, as they get more desperate?
No Liberation Possible Without Self-determination
Various people and groups in Iraq have criticized different aspects of the constitution, but the most important feature and problem of this entire Iraqi constitution is that it is the product of foreign military occupation, without which it would never exist. Drafted under the guidance of US Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and the US government, how could it have any legitimacy? And what should one expect from imperialist countries that never even follow their own constitutions - countries like the US where, for example, an unknown number of people mainly from the Middle East and South Asia (known to be over 1,200 but quite likely much higher) have been arbitrarily and secretly detained since September 11th 2001, or the UK where a 27-year-old Brazilian electrician was recently shot and killed freely eight times at point-blank range by British police on public transportation?
It is also sufficient to look at the actual record of the foreign occupation forces in Iraq. From weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) to liberation, by now it is clear that the official pretexts for invading Iraq were fake. No WMDs have been found and they are no longer even talked about by the government. Over 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the March 2003 US/UK invasion and subsequent occupation. Child malnutrition has doubled, basic infrastructure is destroyed, unemployment is around 70% and Iraqi opponents of the occupation are regularly tortured, jailed and/or killed by pro-US Iraqi police commandos and the occupying forces themselves.
Whose Interests: The Case of Us Vs. Them
Whose interests, then, does the occupation of Iraq intend to serve? Does it serve the interests of the Iraqi people? No, it clearly does not, other than a small number of collaborators that the US is trying to put forward and groom to work on behalf of US imperialism against everyone else in Iraq. Does it serve the interests of poor and working people in the US itself? How could it? Over $200Billion has already been spent in the war on Iraq while 45 million people in the US go without any health insurance. More than 1,900 US soldiers mainly from poor and working class backgrounds have died in Iraq while fighting for their US capitalist ruling class. The occupation intends to serve the interests of the US ruling class and their corporations. Hit with an economic crisis, imperialist countries, from the US to Canada to France, are forced to extend their tentacles into other parts of the world, to grab resources, shut out rival imperialists as much as possible, and establish bases for further expansion.
What, then, is the solution? The matter of fact is that progress in Iraq is blocked by the presence of 140,000 US occupation forces. The interests of the Iraqi people and the ruling elite in the US are contradictory - both can't be met, and the occupiers will do everything in their power to try to ensure that it is the interests of the ruling elite that are served. The solution to the occupation, without which Iraq can never be free, is self-determination. It is the same for Afghanistan, Haiti, Palestine and Indigenous Nations in Canada. It is important to work in support of their self-determination and for the immediate removal of imperialist occupiers.
US/UK Out of Iraq!
Bring the troops home now!
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