Friday, 20 June 2014

Communist rally in Baghdad against terrorism

Communist rally in Baghdad in support of Iraqi people’s battle to defeat terrorism
A rally was organized by Iraqi Communists in the Ferdos Square in central Baghdad on Friday morning, 20 June 2014.
The participants chanted slogans and raised banners declaring support for the Iraqi people’s battle against terrorism.
The rally faced harassment by some elements of the security forces, and cameras were not allowed in, despite the fact that the event had prior security permission. 

Iraqi CP calls for Urgent National Conference to Defeat Terrorism

Iraqi Communist Party calls for Urgent National Conference
 to Defeat Terrorism

The Iraqi Communist Party has called for holding a national conference as soon as possible, and setting up a temporary consultative body that enjoys effective popular support to defeat terrorism.
The editorial of “Tareeq Al-Shaab” (People’s Path), the newspaper issued by the Iraqi Communist Party, (19th June 2014), said that the present government has now become a care-taker government, and the parliament’s term has come to an end, while the new parliament (after the elections on 30th April 2014) has not yet been formed and taken up its role. “In order that all the challenges are confronted in an effective manner, mobilising all efforts, ensuring the unity of patriotic forces, co-ordinating their positions and working in a collective spirit of solidarity, there has to be urgent action towards holding a National Conference with a clearly defined agenda and timetable. Active political parties and forces that are keen to achieve peace, security and stability, and strengthen democracy and build its institutions, and ensure public and personal freedoms, should be invited to attend this conference. The present conditions in our country necessitate convening the National Conference as soon as possible, and for the conference to set up a temporary consultative body that would work with the government to consider the developments and tackle the situation, and would also enjoy effective popular support backing the national effort to defeat terrorism and terrorists.”
The editorial dealt extensively with the recent developments in Iraq. The following are extensive excerpts of the article: 
“Our country is witnessing grave developments as a result of the treacherous offensive by the criminals of ISIS on Mosul, the subsequent speedy and sudden military collapse, and the military-security, political, social and psychological impact on citizens, on society as a whole and on the prospects of resolving the deep crisis in the country.
All responsible forces, parties and citizens are in agreement that our country has come to this catastrophic situation as a result of a host of interacting factors and reasons that are closely connected with the prevailing political, economic, social, cultural and psychological conditions and the deep crisis in the country. This is manifested in the state of deadlock, deep tensions, absence of confidence among political groups, the stale relations between the Kurdistan region and the central government, and also between the latter and several provinces. This is combined with the deepening of the destructive consequences of the policy of sectarian-ethnic power sharing, the increasing manifestations of autocratic rule, the monopolising of power, political exclusion, marginalisation and accusations, fighting over government posts, spoils and influence, rampant corruption, mismanagement, poor services, high levels of unemployment and poverty, in addition to external interference and the clash of interests of other states on our territory, against the interests of our country and people.
“All this, along with other factors, have impacted the military and security institution that has been built on the basis of sectarian power-sharing, to serve specific political objectives and be subservient to the policy of the ruling authority. This institution has thus been used outside its constitutional tasks and as a tool to tackle internal matters. As a result it lacked a well-established national doctrine, and its internal cohesion was undermined, making it highly vulnerable to political changes, and to contradictions and the environment of infighting. This has affected the competence, effectiveness and discipline of the military and security institution, and had a negative impact on the ability of the armed forces to hold out in the face of big and sudden pressures. In addition, we point to poor training, ineffective intelligence effort, and the cases of corruption and bribes.
“What happened in Mosul, on the other hand, has highlighted the importance of the existence of a positive relationship between the military - security institution and the environment in which it is operating, including the local authorities and citizens, and this is the relationship that was lacking and was replaced by a negative relationship characterised with distrust and exchanging accusations.
“While mentioning the reasons and consequences of what happened, we must point out and draw attention to the lack of coordination and cooperation between the forces of the federal government and the forces of the Kurdistan region. A lot of unjustified suspicions, concerns and fear prevented building a mutual friendly and close relationship; of cooperation and support. The recent events have demonstrated the need for such a relationship, especially given that the forces of Kurdistan region proved their ability to confront terrorism effectively.
“On the other hand, insufficient attention was paid to the ongoing developments in Syria and their negative impact on the situation in our country. The borders were open and were exploited by ISIS to group its supporters, at the expense of the ability of the armed forces to provide support to those in Mosul at the right moment in order to avert the state of collapse. The latter was compounded by the presence of “a fifth column” that works to spread a spirit of defeatism and undermine morale.
“We must also not forget for a moment the regional support for ISIS and other terrorist organisations, which includes material, logistic and media support that it continues to enjoy.
“Our people recognise, on the other hand, what the events have revealed; that ISIS was only the more pronounced title in the offensive. What took place was, however, an organised action of a broad alliance that had been coordinating to pounce on the democratic political process, overthrow the existing situation and return Iraq to the eras of oppression, tyranny and dictatorship, for which the people are still paying the price. Attention was previously drawn to indications of this plan and warnings were given, but the counter-measures were unfortunately not up to the level of the big challenge.
“All this, however, does not change the fact that there were in Mosul those who fought and martyred, among the military and civilians, who were not few. Their sacrifices should be praised and their families must be taken care of.
“Today, during these critical moments which our country is going through, it must be emphasised that securing the unity of the homeland and confronting terrorism and its forces require mobilising the forces of the people and the armed forces, adopting a position that responds to the higher interests of the homeland and people; the interests of all Iraqis. The objective must be clear; defeating terrorism and ridding our country of its evils, and opening up the prospects towards a better future that the Iraqis are aspiring to, and which they undoubtedly totally deserve.
“The broad masses of people have emphatically declared their position as demonstrated in the national rejection of ISIS and its crimes, the increasing calls for confronting it on ideological and political levels, large-scale volunteering to join the armed forces, as well as political statements, positions and calls to unite the forces and overcome problems and differences.
“This enthusiasm and surge to confront ISIS and similar terrorist forces must be characterised with clarity, objectivity and realism, and should lead to drawing up a strategy that surpasses mistakes, shortcomings and all that has led to the current situation. This requires pursuing a policy that has nothing to do with sectarian-ethnic power-sharing and forming a government that is also free of it. In addition, an integrated plan should be drawn up that includes practical arrangements that connect the security action, which must be cleared from the factors of limpness, backwardness and corruption, to flexible political actions that bring forces together, remove the causes of tension in relations, resolve economic and social problems and improve services. This plan should ensure getting rid of all manifestations of discrimination and violations of rights and freedoms. Competence, professionalism, integrity and fidelity to the homeland should be the principal criteria in assigning administrative, military and security responsibilities.
“Now that the present government has become a care-taker government, and the constitutional period for the parliament has ended, while the new parliament has not yet been formed and taken up its role, and in order to confront all the challenges effectively and with united efforts, as well as securing the unity of patriotic forces, coordinating their positions and ensuring their serous participation in a collective and solidarity spirit, urgent action is needed to convene a National Conference with a clearly-defined agenda and timetable. Active political parties and forces, that are keen to achieve peace, security and stability, and strengthen democracy and build its institutions, ensure public and personal freedoms, and fulfil the aspirations of the Iraqi people for security, stability and dignified life, should be invited to attend to this conference. The present conditions in our country necessitate convening the National Conference as soon as possible, and for the conference to set up a temporary consultative body that would work with the government to consider the developments and tackle the situation, and also enjoys effective popular support backing the national effort to defeat terrorism and terrorists.”
19 June 2014 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Iraqi Communist Party: Every Patriotic Effort Needed to Defeat Terrorism

Statement of the Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party 
 Every Patriotic Effort Needed to Defeat Terrorism
The province of Nineveh, and several Iraqi provinces and cities, are experiencing very difficult and critical times, as murderous terrorists have managed to seize control of important and strategic positions, and continue to advance towards other safe cities. Hundreds of families have left their homes and sought refuge in other safer places, under deteriorating conditions and a critical humanitarian situation.
These are moments during which the homeland is exposed to serious dangers threatening its unity and social fabric, and the entire political process. This requires that everybody, including the political parties, the popular masses, the armed forces and the Peshmerga unify their ranks, face up to the challenges, rise above petty rivalries and take urgent action to support the military, security and intelligence efforts of our armed forces in order to perform their national duty to defeat the forces of terrorism, liberate our cities from their filth and crimes, and foil the schemes of external quarters that harbour evil designs for our beloved Iraq.
It is truly the battle of the homeland that is now being threatened. Political, material, logistic and military prerequisites must be provided to stop the expansion of this malignant cancer. Terrorism is targeting all, and it has no religion or denomination or nationality, and it wants to finish off the political process in our country and return it back to the days of tyranny and obscurantism.
Terrorism is the enemy of all. Our people, of various nationalities, religions and sects, and of all ideological and political affiliations, should be aware of the reality of the dangers and beware of falling into what Da’ish (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - Isis) and the regional and international powers standing behind it are planning, with the aim of destabilizing national unity and stirring up sectarian strife and narrow nationalist and chauvinist tendencies.
We in the Iraqi Communist Party, while condemning terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, renew our full support and unlimited backing for the military and security forces, and call upon all the political blocs and parties, whether in power or outside, to meet immediately and conduct an urgent national dialogue. This should consider ways of confronting effectively the forces of evil, aggression and crime, defeating the terrorists, and providing political, material and moral support for the armed forces in the ongoing battle, in addition to sound management of the overall security policy.
Attention must also be paid to the citizens, ensuring their safety and sparing them the consequences of military battles, and providing urgent humanitarian aid for hundreds of displaced families.
Let us all stand against terrorism and its barbaric forces, and let us work to defeat it speedily.
Baghdad - 10th June 2014

Interview about the Iraqi parliamentary elections on 30th April 2014

Interview with Iraqi CP about the parliamentary elections

 on 30th April 2014

The following interview, with Comrade Salam Ali, member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, was conducted by "Nameh Mardom", the newspaper of the Tudeh Party of Iran, and was published on 5th May 2014. 

1.   Were the Iraqi parliamentary elections on 30th April free and democratic, in terms of ability to campaign and to vote?

The current parliamentary election campaign has been launched in the conditions of the ongoing deep political crisis, deteriorating relations among the influential and ruling political forces and mounting terrorist activities. Therefore, there is a general feeling that the outcome of this election will have a very significant impact not only on the shape of future government, but also on the principles and the basis that have governed the political process so far, since 2003, and consequently on the underlying  rules of power-sharing that determine the formation of the government. These high stakes, together with the tense political situation in the background, the deteriorating security situation in some provinces, have created uneven conditions for the electoral campaigning. In some provinces, e.g. in Anbar and in Salahadin, and in some parts of Nineveh and Diyala provinces, the possibility of conducting an open and free election campaign, have been severely limited, if not reduced to nearly clandestine conditions. However, in the rest of the country, despite the violence exercised by militia-type armed groups, there is a wide scope of free movement for election campaigning.  A number of candidates of different electoral lists have been the targets of terrorist operations in addition to political assassination. 

2.   What were the main political groupings that participated in these elections? Is the political landscape still dominated by religious and ethnic divisions, as it has been in the last few years?

In these elections107 electoral lists are participating. They include lists that represent coalitions and alliances as well as single parties or political figures and individuals. We find in these electoral lists the same major political groupings, based on ethnic and sectarian identities that have dominated the political scene in Iraq and shared power over the past decade on the basis of sectarian-ethnic power-sharing. However, a number of new features characterize the elections this time.
First, the three main political blocs that reflect the ethnic, religious and  confessional divisions of Iraqi society, namely the Arab Shiite, Arab Sunnis and the Kurds, are not only entering the elections under different and separate lists, but also with serious differences and conflicts among them. This applies, to a larger or lesser extent, to all the three main blocs.
Secondly, it is significant to note that practically all Islamist and sectarian lists are presenting themselves under neutral or “civic” titles or names. Among the 36 electoral coalitions approved by the Independent High Electoral Commission, not in a single one figures the word Islam or any sectarian reference. Furthermore, the number of religious figures among the candidates has shrunk significantly to a very low figure.
Thirdly, the democratic civil political groupings, including the Iraqi Communist Party, have succeeded in forming a broad and big coalition that has presented itself to the electors in a single electoral list called the Civil Democratic Alliance. This is a very significant development since it is the first time that the civil secular political groupings have managed to unite themselves in one list. In past elections they participated in the elections in separate lists and some of them joined sectarian coalitions. Thanks to this list, the democratic civil forces can claim to be presenting a credible political alternative with a clear and broad national democratic program. As the past month of political campaigning has showed, this broad alliance has had an encouraging and mobilizing impact on large sections of the electorate and has produced a kind of dynamics that we hope will be translated into promising election results.

3.   Were the recent bombings on the days leading to the elections part of a terror campaign, and who is behind these crimes and what is their objective?

The bombings are certainly part of a terror campaign aiming at further destabilizing the country, deepening sectarian tensions, with the aim of causing the total collapse of the transition process towards a democratic system. It should be noted that this transition process itself is a complex process fraught with inner contradictions, and sometimes opposing tendencies among its constituent political forces reflecting their narrow interests. The more immediate objective of the terrorist acts is to prevent people from participating in elections, particularly in the predominantly "Sunni" provinces and districts. The terrorist groups; Al Qaida, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant  (ISIL), members of Saddam's special security and armed forces, and other groups of similar nature, receive significant material, financial and logistic support from neighbouring countries, whether directly or through non-governmental organizations and groups. They have also local and domestic incubators that thrive and expand as the infighting and conflicts intensify among the influential forces that are in power.

4.   What were the key elements of the Islamist groups’ programs to resolve Iraq’s problems, that would differentiate them from each other (where and how do the Islamist groups draw their strength?)

The sectarian and ethnic parties do not accord significant importance, with rare exceptions, to political programs. They rather practice identity politics, which means that they draw support from the exacerbation of religious, confessional and nationalist sentiments. So the real objectives and intentions are not those which they announce publicly, but should be inferred from their policies and their actual deeds over the periods when they exercised power and from the nature of their political and socio-economic interests. 
Over the past few years, the governing parties have accumulated wealth and gained dominant positions in the economy, mainly in trade and contracting activities, as well as in the financial, banking and real estate sectors. So despite their official condemnation of the actual sectarian-ethnic power- sharing government, they have no real interest in moving towards a citizenship-based governance or to promote policies of sustainable development in the economy. Their interests lie in maintaining the extreme "openness” of the economy as reflected in the rapid and continuing increase in imports, estimated at over 50 billion dollars in the past year. This means, as a matter of fact, maintaining, if not reinforcing, the rentier nature of the Iraqi economy.
On the other hand, in view of the astounding failure of their experience in power in all domains over the past nine years, and the mounting demand of the people for change, these Islamist groups have introduced promises of change in their announced programs, and adopted a discourse that proclaims their commitment to build a civil state, denying they ever wanted to install a religious state which they recognize it does not suit the conditions in Iraq.

5.   What are the main external influences on Iraq’s political development?

The external factors continue to play a major role in Iraqi politics. We can safely say that all neighbouring countries interfere, in one form or another and to varying degrees, in Iraq’s affairs. The major external actors that have strong influence on Iraqi internal affairs and politics are the US and Iran with the influence of the latter growing on both political and economic levels. Turkey and some Gulf states also exercise important influence through their close relations with some sectarian political groupings, in addition to Turkish investors and companies and their extensive presence in Iraq, and particularly in Iraqi Kurdistan.

6.   How did the Left forces participate in these elections, and in particular what was the ICP’s approach to the elections?

As mentioned earlier, the Iraqi CP strove to participate in the elections by broadening its alliances. The party achieved a relative success in the provincial elections last year when it participated in electoral lists constituted by the 'Democratic Current'. The latter is an alliance comprising the party and a number of democratic parties and personalities. Eleven candidates were elected to various provincial councils, five of whom are communists. Moreover, the electoral law imposes the need to create coalitions in order to have a reasonable chance of gaining a seat. So for both, political and practical reasons, the party spared no efforts to build a broader coalition for participating in the parliamentary elections on 30th April, at the heart of which the will be the 'Democratic Current" and with the party being the main driving force.

7.   What are the most immediate objectives in ICP’s program with respect to Iraq’s most urgent needs?

Our major objective is to reform fundamentally the basis of the political process and the ongoing construction of the Iraqi state. We believe it is urgent to move away from the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system of governance. This mode of governance is the principal source of all the ills in the Iraqi political system. It has proved to be a crisis generating mode of governance. It is totally incapable of building a viable and performing state, to realize security and stability, to achieve reconstruction and economic development and to combat corruption effectively. Our program of action calls for taking concrete measures to get rid of the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system and move  towards a governance based on citizenship , away from any kind of ethnic, religious or confessional discrimination. We aim at consolidating the democratic federal structure of the state and call for the promotion of dialogue, consultation and a patient solution-oriented approach in dealing with the issues and problems that are still unresolved or with the new ones that may arise.
High in our list of priorities is the introduction of legislations and economic policies and measures in favour of social justice and defending and securing workers and women’s rights.
As for security and fighting terrorism, we call for a comprehensive, integrated multi-sided approach. The security solution on its own is not sufficient, as it should be combined with political, economic, social and cultural measures. Of particular importance is the need to take concrete steps in favour of national reconciliation and healing divisions in the social fabric of Iraq.
In the economy, we lay emphasis on promoting productive sectors and activities, mainly in industry and agriculture, and on stimulating diversification. In the oil sector, we urge the development national capacities for direct exploitation of the Iraqi oil wealth. We also believe it is urgent to reach a consensus on the promulgation of the Oil Law.
The party considers that one of its main priorities is to improve as rapidly as possible the living conditions of the poorer sections of society through a combination of measures, some of which include directing higher levels of social investment to meet the immediate needs of housing, education and health infrastructure, and a comprehensive social security system.
In the domain of civil liberties and democratic rights, a major objective is to ensure the freedom of trade union organization for all workers, including those working in the public sector, by abolishing Saddam’s labour laws and speeding up the promulgation of a just Labour law.

8.   Is the ICP able to openly work in the communities? We were saddened to hear about the assassination of comrade Mehdi Mustafa Wadi in Mosul. What was the motivation for his murder and who committed this crime?

The assassination of the comrade Mehdi Mustafa on 20th April was a heavy loss for our comrades and our party in the city of Mosul (Nineveh province). The martyr was very active and had been campaigning bravely, defying threats and danger in favour of the electoral coalition, Civil Democratic Alliance. He was well-known as a communist and a creative artist, which made him a prime target for the terrorist and obscurantist armed groups.
Mosul is a conservative city where traditional and extremist nationalist and sectarian political groupings are well entrenched. Moreover, the city is relatively close to the Syrian borders. The conflict in Syria and the enhanced presence there of Al Qaida and ISIL has led to increased presence and activity of these extremist groupings and other similar armed groups in Mosul and surroundings areas. Our comrade was a victim of their criminal acts.