Sunday, February 22, 2004

"Technical reasons"

Following the UN's lead, US Viceroy Jerry Bremer has declared that there will be no elections in Iraq before 2005 for "technical reasons". Among the "technical reasons" cited were:

[Iraq] has no law governing political parties, it has no voters' list, it has not had a credible reliable census in almost 20 years, there are no constituent boundaries to decide where elections would take place

Why doesn't Iraq have those things? Because the US occupation government has assigned them a low priority and consistently dragged its feet. They've had plenty of time to do a census and compile an electoral roll, for example - but they've decided not to. Work on electoral boundries and the exact structure of any future Iraqi government has taken a back seat to working out how to loot Iraq's assets and sell them to foreign multinationals. The chief "technical reason" is that the US doesn't want an elected Iraqi government, because it will make decisions they don't like.

That the UN is going along with this charade is shameful. Iraq deserves a government run by and for Iraqis, not a bunch of foreign appointees. The UN should be putting its experience of nation-building at their service, so that they can organise a constitution and elections, rather than providing cover for the American failure in this area. Why the urgency? Because this is their one chance to get it right. Iraqis will not wait until 2005 for the Americans to give them their freedom; if they can't get it by the ballot box, they will take it by the gun.