Friday, 22 November 2013

Iraqi CP - Brief Report on Current Situation in Iraq

Brief Report on Current Situation in Iraq *
Iraqi Communists and democrats are continuing their relentless struggle under the most difficult and complex conditions. They are also facing the enormous legacy of US occupation, as well as the legacy of decades of fascist dictatorship, leaving behind a fractured society.
The ending of the American military presence in our country, almost two years ago, was a victory for the will of the Iraqi people. It was an important step along the path of regaining full independence and national sovereignty. It came about as a result of a unified popular stance and national consensus. Our Communist Party had rejected all attempts to maintain foreign military presence on Iraqi territory, under any pretext or title. One of the prerequisites for full sovereignty is to end Iraq’s subjugation to Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, and to stand firmly against the covetous designs of some of the neighboring countries that are exploiting Iraq’s difficult situation and chaos.  
Iraq has been engulfed in a deep political crisis that has continued since the parliamentary elections in March 2010. Its roots lie in the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system that has existed since 2003. The crisis has opened up the door for increased interference by external forces, especially the US and regional forces. It has also exposed the agenda of the ruling political forces and their fighting to maintain positions in political power and privileges, while the people’s suffering and anger intensify as a result of the rampant unemployment, corruption, poor public services, health and education, in addition to the deteriorating security situation.
It is important here to highlight briefly the socio-economic nature of the present regime. Iraq has a rentier economy that is heavily dependent on oil revenues, with marginalized productive sectors, and is highly consumerist, relying heavily on imports. As a result, there has been a growth of comprador and parasitic strata accumulating enormous wealth from public money grabbed through corruption, big contracts with the state, in collusion with influential officials, as well as speculation, smuggling of funds and other parasitic activities. There is a tendency, which is becoming increasingly obvious, of the tangling of interests between influential political forces in power and the growing parasitic and comprador strata. These forces as whole, with support from international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, organisations of the UN and others, stand for transforming the Iraqi economy to a total market economy and breaking up what is left of the public sector through privatization and other measures that are inspired by the ideological arsenal of neo-liberalism. The Iraqi Communist Party firmly stands against these policies, puts forward its alternatives and works to develop alignments bringing together those have an interest in resisting this neo-liberal orientation. 
Our party has been actively involved in organizing and supporting mass popular protest movements that have called for radical reform and were characterized by active participation of youth. These movements exposed the anti-democratic policies of the rulers and the bankruptcy of the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system. They also demanded firm measures against the scourge corruption. Our party strongly condemned government interference in the affairs of workers’ unions, professional associations and civil society organisations. Thousands of workers participated in free trade union elections in late 2012, despite the provocations and threats by influential ruling groups that attempted to falsify the will of workers and impose their hegemony over the unions. These elections were culminated by holding a national conference of the General Federation of Iraqi Workers.
The Iraqi CP has also warned in recent days against the danger of the country sliding once again into sectarian strife, and has called for urgent action by the democratic forces, and for popular initiatives, to safeguard Iraq’s national unity.
Iraq has witnessed a new episode of the political crisis, posing a grave danger that threatens civil peace and Iraq’s national fabric. Our Party has called upon the government to respond, in a speedy and serious manner, to the just and legitimate demands of the people, and warned against resorting to violence against peaceful demonstrations. The infighting among ruling groups, over power and privileges, has provided a fertile ground for extremist Islamist and shadowy groups to intensify acts of terrorism, carrying out heinous atrocities, with the aim of pushing Iraq into sectarian strife and civil war. More than 7000 people have been killed so far this year, by waves of car and suicide bombings. The victims are mainly innocent civilians, including workers and the unemployed in poor districts. These barbaric crimes and the perpetrators must be unequivocally condemned by all progressive forces, with effective support and solidarity extended to the Iraqi people. 
The Iraqi CP, which represents the main force of the Left in Iraq, has exerted relentless efforts to achieve unity in action of the democratic forces. It has played a leading role in setting up a broad coalition called the “Democratic Current”, which was launched in Baghdad in October 2011. The party is striving to transform it into an effective principal force in the ongoing intensified struggle over the future of Iraq. This vision requires greater efforts to involve the trade union movement and democratic organizations, especially those of women, youth, students and other civil society organizations, in mass struggles to defend human and democratic rights of workers and people.
The Iraqi Communist Party, along with the Democratic Current, was actively involved earlier this year in setting up broad democratic civil electoral coalitions in Baghdad and other provinces which contested the provincial elections in April 2013. These coalitions achieved a modest but politically significant success that provides a good basis for developing a broad democratic civil coalition to contest the forthcoming parliamentary elections in April 2014. 
We believe that  overcoming the crisis of the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system in Iraq can only be achieved by changing the political balance of forces in society, in favour of the supporters of a national democratic plan that calls for establishing a democratic civil state on the basis of the principle of citizenship, freedoms and social justice. 
(*)  This report was prepared for the 15th International Communist & Workers’ Parties, held in Lisbon - Portugal, 8-10 November 2013.  
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