Iraq: The Situation and How to Pull the Country Out of Crisis


Editor's note: The following represents the views of the Iraqi Communist Party following its recent national committee meeting.

It noted that our country is going through an extremely complex and difficult period, with many overlapping internal and external factors. And it noted that in the continuing intensified struggle over the future of Iraq and the form of the state's political - economic - social system, the situation remains open to many possibilities, depending on the ability of the masses of people to continue the movement and pressure, to pull the country out of the current crisis, and open up possibilities for real democratic development of the country and its reconstruction.

Our people and their democratic and patriotic forces are, after more than eight years since the departure of the former regime, still striving for and looking forward to building a national democratic alternative and the civil state.

In the meantime, particularly in recent months, our country has witnessed several crises coupled with intensified government tensions and a deepening crisis of the regime. This has coincided with the refreshing revolutionary storms of change affecting our region early this year, and their interaction with the internal factors in our country’s situation, motivating protest movements and demonstrations, with the masses going out to the streets to express their views and put forward their just demands, which they had already begun in the summer of last year. 
Deepening crisis of the power-sharing system

This is taking place at a time when the regime’s crisis is deepening, and the political power that is based on sectarian-ethnic power sharing fails to address the problems of the country and put Iraq on the right path. The consequences of this situation interact with the absence of short- and long-term visions and strategies, and with a big imbalance in the application of the principle of the placing the right person in the right place. This has led to the exclusion of dedicated competent and patriotic elements, widespread corruption, and the overgrowth of state bodies, institutions and administrative machinery. In addition, there is an absence of will for joint work, a shrinking of spaces for collective action and cooperation, and growing manifestations of individualism, overlapping of powers and clash of legislations and regulations, leading to disruptions that deepen tensions and crisis. All this has led to the paralysis of state bodies and the loss of ability to carry out their functions, as well as the inability of the political blocs to fulfill the promises they made to their voters in the days leading to the elections in March 2010.

Crisis of government and its manifestations

The above-mentioned situation is reflected in the continuation and intensification of the crisis of the government which was formed according to the results of those elections. It is also reflected in the increasing complexity of the political scene in general. This is manifested in the following:

    •    The deterioration in the relationship between the partners in the government, and between the influential and ruling political blocs, and also within the blocs themselves. These blocs were only able to form a government, through a "partnership" deal, nine whole months after the elections, and after the “Barzani Initiative” (put forward by Masoud Barzani, the president of the Kurdistan region), which was preceded and accompanied by a bitter struggle over positions of power and influence, and though six months have passed since the government was formed, they are still facing a big breakdown in harmony and cooperation, unable to work as one team. The atmosphere of suspicion, distrust and recriminations is still dominant and characterize their mutual relations. This has been clearly reflected in the composition of the government itself.

    •    The inability to complete the formation of the government, because of the inability to reach consensus regarding the filling of vacant security ministries, at a time when the country is witnessing very serious security breaches, and face the obligation of completing the withdrawal of U.S. troops late this year. This is coupled with tension and estrangement in the relationship between the presidencies of the executive and legislative branches, and in the relations between the central government and the provinces, and between the central government and the Kurdistan region.

    •    Continued tense relations between the influential political blocs and exchange of recriminations, holding each other responsible for foot-dragging in implementing the Irbil Agreement, particularly concerning the formation of the Supreme Council for Strategic Policies, and the controversy over its powers, while questioning the usefulness of its formation to begin with. The cabinet is still working without an internal system directing and controlling its work and its mechanisms.

    •    Differences between the blocs, and within them, over the number of vice presidents and their nomination. The effects of this problem are lingering even though this matter was finally settled in the Parliament through a "consensual" deal, at the expense of the public interest and against popular will.

    •    Very sluggish performance of the government and its economic, social, political and cultural institutions, despite attempts by some of them to do something, here and there, including signs of partial movement related to the 100-days deadline.

As a result, and under the influence of the direct suffering of the people – especially the youth - from poor governance, the sectarian – ethnic power sharing policy, rampant corruption, the continued deterioration of services and other aspects, and the continuation of terrorist acts and instability, as well as the impact of the stimulating atmosphere generated by the wave of popular uprisings in the region, mass popular protests have escalated and swept across the country. These protests have raised slogans calling for the reform of the political process (the reform of the system), ending the sectarian – ethnic power sharing system, combating corruption and unemployment, addressing the deterioration in people's living conditions, tackling the rise in prices, and solving the problems of public services, including the ration card, electricity, potable water, municipal, health and education services, fuel, the housing crisis and issues of mismanagement. The protests have also demanded an improvement in the security situation, ensuring constitutional freedoms and human rights, and other legitimate demands.

The popular masses protesting against the deteriorating conditions have raised these demands in different parts of Iraq. Under their impact and under pressure from the street, the government introduced a "Reform Paper", and defined a period of 100 days to implement it. The Parliament, meanwhile, was still waiting for a detailed program from the government. In connection to this offer, a legitimate question has been, and continues to be, raised: Can the Reform Paper, and the period declared, achieve a significant shift towards addressing the above-stated difficulties and problems, and meet the demands that have been raised, especially since the specified period is nearing its end?

No economic progress without a strategic vision

The ruling group is pinning hopes so much on increased oil revenues, whether through increased production and export and signing more contracts, which implies promoting investment, or as a result of increased prices of crude oil in the global market. The aim is to secure additional funds to tackle the problems related to living conditions, services and other urgent issues. This is taking place at a time when the country lacks a comprehensive strategy to utilize these financial revenues. So, can the government channel funds toward the required fields? The experience of previous years, when there was no real budget deficit, has clearly shown that these revenues were not properly utilized, because of poor mismanagement and rampant corruption. (For information, we mention that Iraq's revenues from oil sales in the month of March 2011 alone amounted to $7.167 billion. The figure rose in April to $ 7.4 billion).

It has to be  pointed out that the government is still working without a clear plan for the advancement of productive sectors, especially agriculture and industry, and for addressing the problems of weak national production through initiatives (such as the “agricultural initiative”). These initiatives, which can serve as first aid and stimulus, are not a panacea to rehabilitate agriculture, or other productive sectors, or to ensure progress on achieving food security, reduction of imports which are currently out of control, and providing the necessary protection for citizens and national production. Therefore it is necessary to conduct a serious review of the attempts to address economic issues through such initiatives which are overwhelmingly aimed at immediate narrow gains.

It is also necessary to activate the customs tariff law through initiatives and mechanisms that ensure the supply of goods and services at prices commensurate with the citizens’ average incomes and that also ensure the control of inflation.

In such a climate, the citizen is entitled to wonder: Will the investment, which the government is relying very much on to address the deteriorating economic conditions, arrive? The answer is obvious. Investment looks for a stable natural environment in order to work, with no violent and terrorist activities, no legal and administrative complexities, and no flagrant manifestations of corruption. It also looks for clarity in the economic policy pursued by the country concerned. What our country needs is to take comprehensive steps on economic, social, political, legal, administrative and other levels, and on the level of fighting rampant corruption, which would provide an appropriate and attracting atmosphere for investment.

The absence of unified perceptions, strategies and policies of the state in the areas of development and economic and financial policies, and in the state's role in the economic process, still persists eight years since the end of the old regime. This absence, combined with flooding the market with cheap and shoddy goods, has led to the decline of domestic productive capacity, the decline of the national industry and agricultural sector, and the perpetuation and exacerbation of the rentier character of the Iraqi economy.

The need for effective response to the scourge of corruption

It is difficult to talk today not only about defeating terrorism and terrorists, but also about successful reconstruction and economic development, without a real and firm confrontation with the phenomenon of corruption that is alarmingly rampant in the country.

This confrontation requires undertaking a comprehensive and radical approach, and avoiding a policy of temporary measures, scattered here and there, linked to this or that political position or alignment. It also means the adoption of a firm political position by everyone, and at various levels, and abandoning a selective and malicious political approach when dealing with this issue. It also requires activating the role of the judiciary and ensuring that it can fully use its powers to tackle corruption and the corrupt, away from any interference by the executive and legislative powers. In addition, there is a need to create the atmosphere and opportunities for regulatory bodies to function in a neutral and professional manner.

It is natural that the chief perpetrators of corruption are making every effort to escape the grip of justice. But what is unfortunate and dangerous is that they find in the state apparatus elements that collaborate with them and make things easier for them, as revealed recently by the reports of Parliament.

Addressing the scourge of corruption will remain out of reach unless all state organs and institutions, including the legislative, executive and judicial branches, contribute to it, along with political parties, civil society organizations, the media and others. The masses of people can also shoulder a role of great importance through the activation of popular control.

Mass action and calls for reform

A wave of sit-ins, demonstrations and other protest activities has swept cities all over the country in recent months. This has not come about in isolation from the complex political scene in our country, and the continued suffering of citizens – in living conditions and services – since April 2003. This suffering has also been due to widespread unemployment, the reduction of items in the food ration card, high prices, the inflation which swallowed the increases in the salaries of employees and retirees and in the wages of workers and incomes of the rest of the toiling people, the acute shortage in the supply of electricity, potable water and fuel, and widespread corruption. Add to that are efforts to curtail public freedoms and diminish the margin of democracy, and gagging people, in a clear and flagrant violation of the Constitution.

The right of citizens to demonstrate and express their opinions is a constitutional right. All the prerequisites for its application should be provided, and the government and its organs must provide adequate protection to citizens who exercise it. It is also the duty of councils of areas, districts and provinces and the Parliament, as well as the executive branch, to listen carefully to what people want and to seek to fulfill their legitimate demands, and to pay attention to their calls for reforming the political process and correcting its course in the direction of building a democratic civil state.

It is obvious that Iraq is not isolated from what happened and is happening in other countries of the region, although it differs from them in the particulars and details. The storms of change have stimulated our people as well to act and break the barrier of fear and hesitation, and to go out into the street. The contribution of young people in this movement has been distinguished, making use in this respect of the modern technology of communication and employing it to serve their legitimate goals.

However, the behavior of the government and its organs, and the way it has dealt with the protest movements, have constituted a violation of the constitutional right to demonstrate peacefully, and an attempt to suppress the exercise by people of that right, after the people realized that the first and last concern of the ruling blocs is to preserve their interests, engage in fighting over political power and sharing the spoils among themselves, with utter disregard for the citizens who are groaning under the heavy burden of unemployment, poor services, patronage, sectarian power-sharing and rampant corruption.

We follow and feel the suffering of the people and the difficulties and problems that are poisoning their lives. We also observe and note the serious loopholes in the political process, acknowledging at the same time the fact that our people have not yet reaped the fruits that they had looked for, endured patiently and struggled and offered so many martyrs to achieve. This is what we pointed out in detail in the Communiqué issued from the previous meeting of the Central Committee, held on 5th October 2010.

The protest activities that took place on 25th February 2011, and before that date and afterwards, have managed to deliver a clear message about the just demands of the people, despite the attempts to distort the nature of their movement and its goals, as well as attempts to abort it and discourage participants from continuing their protests. This has also been achieved in spite of the measures and means employed, including harassment, arrests and the use of force, which we have condemned.

Today, too, as the Iraqi street is stirring with movement and demonstrations expressing the concerns of the masses of people and their demands, we affirm our well-known position and reiterate our support for the people’s aspirations and legitimate demands. We express our commitment to their right to express these, by voice, pen, banner, picketing, assembly and demonstration, and our condemnation of any action that seeks, under any pretext, to curtail freedoms and rob the people of their rights. For this purpose, we believe that it is necessary to promulgate a law that regulates the right to demonstrate in a democratic manner, preserves the constitutional right of the people, and prevents its violation by the executive authorities under any pretext. This law should facilitate the enjoyment of this right instead of curtailing it and imposing new restrictions on it.

On the other hand, the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution should be exercised in a peaceful and civilized manner, without the use of violence or abusing or inflicting harm on any one, and without damaging public and private property. In addition, there needs to be vigilance towards infiltration attempts by subversive elements, in order to foil their efforts.

Violation of the Constitution and restrictions on freedoms

However, the efforts to impose restrictions on the available margin of democracy, and on the public and private freedoms, have taken an upward turn in the recent period. This is reflected in many of the measures taken by the central and local authorities and the provincial councils, in outright violation of the Constitution at times, and in a selective approach in applying and interpreting its articles at other times. This has been carried out in a manner that suits those in power and their quest to impose a single mode of thinking, style of living, life and conduct, under flimsy excuses that cannot hide their real goals.

The interference by government authorities in the affairs of trade unions, associations and civil society organizations has constituted a clear violation of the independence of these organizations, of their internal regulations and the laws under which they operate, and of the right of their members to affiliate voluntarily to them and organize their affairs within their framework, and to coordinate their activities to defend their rights and interests.

In this context, we have expressed our support for the General Federation of Workers Unions and its executive bureau, in its ongoing effort for years to hold its internal elections in a free and fair manner, without government interference, and in accordance with its inner rules and the law regulating trade union activity. We have also supported and continue to support its other legitimate demands, especially the legislation of a new Labour Code.

The government and its institutions and agencies must stop interfering in the affairs of organizations, associations and trade unions, stop putting pressure on their leading bodies that are elected by will of their members, and seeking to impose alternative leaderships on them, in blatant violation and distortion of democracy. What is required is quite the opposite: that is to provide the proper conditions for the flourishing of democratic trade union and professional activity, in an atmosphere of freedom and democracy which we have missed for many decades.

Performance of the Parliament

The current Parliament began its work after a significant delay, and tensions and disagreements between the ruling and powerful blocs which make up the Parliament were reflected in it. By virtue of this fact, instead of the Parliament representing the people and those who elected its members, it has come closer to be the embodiment of whatever is agreed upon by the blocs. Reaching consensus between these blocs has, however, been difficult to achieve because of the deterioration of their mutual relations to low levels, except in cases that involve the joint narrow interests that have nothing to do with the concerns and aspirations of citizens. The election of the deputies of the President of the Republic is the latest example of this.

Meanwhile, the Parliament has been afflicted, in a noticeable way, with clashes in the order of priorities and powers, and the continued phenomenon of the absence of members from sessions. All of this has impacted on the legislative and oversight role of the Parliament, and the tasks it should assume. This has caused a delay in passing important laws that affect people's lives and are needed ensure the stability of the work of state bodies and institutions. Dozens of necessary laws are still waiting to be passed, including the implementation of the federal court decision invalidating the amendments made to the Elections Law, the Federal Court Act, the law of the Supreme Judicial Council, the law of public inspectors, the law of financial control, the law of integrity, the law of parties, and others.

The situation in Kurdistan

The Kurdistan region has not been immune from the mass movements that have swept Iraq and the region. Many of its cities have witnessed mass movements that were dominated by a political character and highlighted the aspects of conflict and competition between the various forces in the region. When following events in the region, we must keep in mind the nature of the complexities there, and the nature of the forces involved in the ongoing struggle and their conflicting agendas. After more than two months of demonstrations, there are no signs looming on the horizon of a solution to the escalating crisis between the authorities in the region and opposition forces. There is, instead, an escalation, a hardening in positions and a raising of the ceiling of demands.

The Kurdistan Communist Party put forward a detailed program for reform that deals with the situation in the region in political, economic, social and other fields. The party stressed in its positions and statements that it stands with the just demands of the people and their natural right to protest, pointing out the need to distinguish between striving to apply the law and the abuse of powers coupled with the excessive use of force. It called for an end to all the violations of law and human rights, for striving to fulfill the demands of people for justice, equality and reform, and for the crisis to be managed with flexibility. The authorities were also called upon to carry out measures on the path of reform, fulfill the promises made to the people, and create a climate for dialogue and understanding, and for the conflicting parties to enter into a dialogue leading to the consensus required to end the continuing crisis in the region.

Our position regarding the Reform Paper and the 100-day deadline

The Reform Paper put forward by the Prime Minister was received with interest by political circles, and sparked mixed reactions when it was discussed in the Parliament and through the media. The hallmark of this Paper is that it did not come as an initiative of the relevant parties in power. It came instead, along with the Parliament’s report and what was issued about it after the Prime Minister’s meeting with the Parliament, as a result of the broad and multifarious popular movement and mass protest actions which swept the country and all its provinces, demonstrating the legitimacy of the demands brought by the masses.

Reform is necessary and important, and ways should be sought to make it comprehensive and integrated. This requires a mobilization of forces and the identification of priorities that would help to achieve successive gains for the people.

It is no secret that the Reform Paper was hastily written, and it did not include all the required aspects. Mechanisms for turning the reform into concrete action were also not developed. But this does not make us – as Communists - stand against it because it is a limited and spontaneous reform step. We support any action taken to meet the demands of the people, especially with regard to principal demands.

As a result of popular pressure, the government took some partial steps to move the situation, such as increasing the amounts allocated to the food ration card and speeding up the implementation of some service projects. But the nature of the government and the conflicts between its components, the lack of mutual trust between its parties, and the fact that it is built on the basis of sectarian and ethnic power sharing, with subsequent weakness in its performance, revival of corruption and the absence of the ability to develop clear and integrated visions for government work in all aspects... all of this makes it impossible for the government as currently constituted, and for its executive bodies, to undertake all that is required by the reform process and achieve the desired economic and social growth and development.

In view of this reality, it is essential to continue popular pressure, diversify its forms, and develop the appropriate formulas for exercising it on various levels. Popular control is regarded as an effective form of pressure on local authorities and relevant government agencies, in order to carry out their obligations, commitments and promises, and to follow up their performance in implementation. Popular control can take varied forms depending on the circumstances specific to each region, the forces and organizations located there, and the nature of the local authority. This is confirmed by the experiences and examples achieved so far by this control. It is therefore  required that appropriate forms of public control be adopted, in cooperation and coordination with the forces and parties, workers unions and professional associations, civil society organizations, democratic and patriotic social personalities and figures, and members of provincial and municipal councils, and by benefiting from the successful experiences achieved.

The Council of Ministers has declared a 100-day probation period for the implementation of the promised reforms. Although we believe, along with many others, that it is not sufficient to achieve real transformation, it is enough, in our view, for the government to demonstrate its seriousness and credibility, through the adoption of new methods of work that could lead, later, to new and positive transformations. The 100-day period limit is ultimately a test for the government's ability to do so.

In the current complex conditions, on domestic, regional and international levels, it is most likely, at the end of the 100-day period (June 7, 2011), which will coincide with the start of a summer that is expected to be hot, that the people will resume their movement to achieve their demands. Meanwhile, tensions will intensify among the parties of the ruling class, in a serious test of the positions of various parties, with the rulers facing imperatives dictated by surrounding situations and developments.

Mobilizing the Democratic Current

The activities of the forces and personalities of the Iraqi Democratic Current, inside the country and abroad, have continued during the past period. Conferences for the Democratic Current were held in 12 provinces, involving thousands of members of affiliated political parties and movements, activists in civil society organizations and independent figures. Coordinating bodies emerged from these conferences and they have organized a variety of activities in the provinces and cities, most notably alongside our people in their protest movements and in support of their just demands and their right to express them in a peaceful and civilized manner.

On the other hand, work is underway to complete the political and organizational documents that will be submitted to the Second Conference of the forces and personalities of the Democratic Current. Preparations are continuing to convene this conference soon. These forces, including our party, are striving to make this conference a qualitative milestone in the process of mobilizing the Democratic Current, developing joint political and programmatic visions and orientations, and enhancing the level of coordination and unified activity of its forces, so as to secure its effective and influential presence in the political arena. This has become necessary under the difficult and complex conditions and the current crisis being experienced by our country. The Democratic Current and its components are the bearers of the ideas and principles of a National Democratic Plan which charts the way out of the crisis, and of reforming the political process and ridding it of the grim sectarian – ethnic power-sharing system with which it is plagued and which can only bring more tragedies and crises to our country.

The activities and events organized by the forces and personalities of the Democratic Current during the past months have revealed broad acceptance and satisfaction with the effort to mobilize the broad Democratic Current and enable it to exercise the political influence required to achieve its noble goals. Although significant progress has been made in this period to activate the political presence of the Democratic Current, many indicators show that quite a few social circles in different areas across Iraq, whose interests and visions agree with the orientation of the Democratic Current, have not yet been reached. This underlines the need to expand the activities, events and contacts of the forces of the Democratic Current, and to pay increasing attention to activities that have a popular character, as well as political, cultural and social events.

The Democratic Current expresses the people's concerns and aspirations. In its ongoing quest to advance the cause of citizenship and build a democratic civil state, it is embodying the people’s will and, at the same time, regaining, as a social and political current, its desired status and role.

Deterioration in the security situation

The above-mentioned negative developments have left their impact on the security situation. This has been manifested in the increased use of car bombs, sticky explosives and assassinations with silencer-guns, and the occurrence of qualitative security breaches which indicate serious loopholes in the system security. It is obvious that the deterioration in the security situation is separate far from the sour political situation, and the tensions and conflicts between the influential political blocs and their convulsive statements.

While security breaches recur, the  influential political forces and blocs continue to fight over the posts of the ministries of defense, interior and national security, demonstrating once again that they regard their own interests and gains as superior to the security of the homeland and the requirements for its stability and the safety of its citizens and their lives. No one doubts today that the state of the struggle for power and domination is what has so far hindered bridging this gap and completing the government formation, which was lame right from the start.

The time has come for a serious review of the security and military plans and projects, and to continue building security institutions and organs on the basis of competence, integrity, patriotism and loyalty to the nascent democratic experience, and away from the abhorrent power-sharing system. These institutions must also be cleansed of corrupt elements, and bridges of trust need to be built with the citizens, involving them in the battle to defeat terrorism and the forces of sabotage and organized crime. Necessary prerequisites for the evacuation of foreign troops at the specified time must be provided.

It should be remembered that it is not possible to talk about building a state of law and institutions and its consolidation with the existence of militias and the threats every now and then of unleashing them. In this context, it is essential to highlight the need to activate the slogan calling for arms to be exclusively in the hands of the state and authorized institutions, and to strive to dismantle the militias, and make the political blocs and parties, especially those in the government and political process, undertake to dissolve their military formations and not reconstitute them. This urgently requires passing a law for regulating political parties that prohibits violence and the formation of militias.

Regaining sovereignty and independence, and implementation of Iraq-US agreement

This critical situation and the tense relations between the ruling blocs coincides with a debate about completing the implementation of the Iraq-US Agreement, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops and ending the foreign military presence in our country by the end of this year, as stipulated by the agreement.

We considered concluding the agreement at the time to be an important step along the path of the restoration of full sovereignty and independence, and stressed the need for the government and political blocs to work for providing all the prerequisites for its smooth implementation. We also called for taking all the measures to ensure that Iraq enjoys its right to sovereignty over its wealth, territories, waters and airspace, stressing repeatedly our rejection of foreign military presence, in whatever form it may take.

In the midst of the ongoing debate today, we reaffirm adherence to the implementation of the agreement with the United States in its entirety, including the full withdrawal of US troops from our territories at the specified time, and reject any foreign military presence, whether temporary or permanent, and regardless of its title.

Political reality and possible courses of development

Under these extremely complex circumstances, and faced by the tense political scene in the country, the following possible courses of development arise:

    •    The first possibility: The continuation of the present situation for some time, whether due to external pressure on the various parties, or because of fear among the parties, especially those in power, of losing everything, having consented to the sectarian and ethnic power-sharing system, and having shared the spoils when they concluded the deal to form the government.

    •    The second possibility: Consider change of government through re-arranging it to create a majority government in the framework of a new alliance and a new division of power. There are vigorous efforts in this direction that are being made by some parties. But such a government, due to the principle of sectarian-ethnic power-sharing, will not be a majority government but one based on a new format of power sharing, on the basis of a new distribution of the spoils.

    •    The third possibility: Early parliamentary elections guided by Article 64 of the Constitution, to resolve the crisis in a democratic and non-violent constitutional manner.
 But the dissolution of the Parliament in preparation for the elections must be preceded by the following:

    •    Amending the Election Law to abolish the undemocratic amendments that were made to it, and to implement the Federal Court decision in this regard, as well as the adoption of the principle of considering Iraq as a single electoral district and the principle of proportional representation.

    •    Adoption of a democratic law for the parties that constitutes a real and total break with the obsolete laws and their spirit and concepts. We mean those laws that were enacted in the days of the ousted dictatorship and previous regimes of oppression and backwardness that were hostile to freedom and human rights. Such a democratic law is essential for building a healthy and fair party life within a framework of genuine democracy that prevails in society.

    •    Tackling the issue concerning the Independent Higher Electoral Commission which has proved in practice during elections to lack neutrality, in addition to poor performance and mismanagement of the electoral process. It was built mainly on the basis of the sectarian – ethnic power sharing.

    •    A general census of population should be carried out, since the Ministry of Planning has completed all the logistical preparations and requirements necessary for its implementation. Unjustified political obstacles should be overcome and settled through a unanimous decision by Parliament.

    •    Our people and its parties and forces that are concerned for its future, and for the advancement of the political process and the prospects for the development of the democratic experiment, as well as ensuring the restoration of independence and sovereignty, have the right to look for a way out of the impasse to which the ruling blocs have pushed our country.. for a peaceful and democratic solution that is consistent with the Constitution and its logic, protects the political process and ensures its subsequent development towards building a state of law and institutions; a federal and fully sovereign democratic civil state.

    •    This last option, which we support, responds to the growing calls for early elections. It is an option that is compatible with the Constitution and democratic practice, and spares our people the violent possibilities and other pitfalls.

    •    The adoption of the option of new elections, in any form permitted by law, will prevent further deterioration and degradation, and will spare our people and our country the harmful and destructive effects of the current political impasse, as well as any non-constitutional possibilities and solutions that may be produced by the continuation and deepening of the crisis.

    •    Other possibilities: Unconstitutional and undemocratic possibilities, which can be violent (a military coup, a sectarian / civil war ... etc.). The experience of escalating sectarian strife in a number of countries suggests that we may not remain immune to this phenomenon and its negative repercussions, especially in light of the existence of two big blocs (the “Iraqiya” and the “National Alliance”) battling over their respective shares of power and influence, in addition to the issue of "disputed areas" which have not yet been resolved. We should also not forget what happened recently in some provinces (Nineveh, Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala) of open activities which remnants of Saddam's Baath party and al Qaeda stand behind. In addition, there is the emergence of signs of the return of militia-type activities, against an alarming backdrop of escalation of violence, terrorist operations and silencer-gun assassinations. All these can pave the way for sectarian solutions and sectarian war.
Storms of change in our region

The peoples of Tunisia and Egypt have achieved major successes in their quest for salvation from their regimes tyranny and oppression. Other peoples in our region, which has been swept by storms of change, have marched along the path of freedom, democracy and social justice, to ensure a decent living and respect of human rights. The region has witnessed a wave of demonstrations and protests, and other forms of mass action, in order to achieve these goals.

This broad movement has demonstrated once again that the big, radical and fundamental events and transformations are made by peoples with their own free will, when they become aware of their interests. People were, and shall remain, the makers of history.

What has happened in the region is worth studying and drawing general and common lessons from that could serve all the peoples of our countries, despite the deep recognition of the need to avoid copying. Each country has its own concrete specific features and conditions, and its own history, circumstances and balance of forces. The important thing is to extract what is essential and fundamental in order to benefit from it to stimulate and support the struggle of the peoples of the region, and to enrich the human experience.

But benefiting from the experiences of the peoples of the region can only be achieved with the proper recognition of the motives and causes of the explosion of popular outrage, which had been subdued under the influence of the machine of repression and the suppression of freedoms by all means and methods. If it is correct to say that what is happening in the Arab countries will have effects and impact in the world (the wave of demonstrations in Spain these days is an example of that), it is also true that what has happened in our countries is not isolated from what is going on and changing in the world, and not isolated from the activities of the democratic and revolutionary movement in the world.

Yes, there are a lot of factors that have combined and were reflected in the development of events, directly or indirectly, in a tangible or intangible way. We, in our scientific analyses, do not look only into those direct and visible factors and influences. There are in society and the movement of history, a lot of indirect, and invisible, factors which play their role in the ripening of the revolutionary movements, and in paving the path for them and creating a favorable climate. This is what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries. The internal factors remain the main driving force. There is no doubt that external factors have their impact and influence too, but they come next to the interior factors and interact with them. What has happened is not, on the whole, spontaneous but the result of a long and prolonged accumulation.

There is no doubt that the popular mass action and uprisings were not in isolation from the crises caused by the policies of economic "openness" and neo-liberalism, and the running of the economy according to the recipes of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which have produced the phenomena of polarization of wealth, the marginalization of millions of people, the spread of unemployment and deteriorating living conditions.

The mass popular uprisings and movements in the countries of the region have thrown stones in stagnant waters, and they have undoubtedly achieved successes and have overthrown thrones that had seemed well entrenched. It is now certain that the situation will not return to what it was before January 2011. But there is still a long path ahead for the revolutionaries and the popular masses that have risen up. It is a difficult path, full of struggles between those who want to usurp, parasitically, the fruits of the people’s struggle, and those who want to lead the mass popular movement to its victorious end, through ripening it and turning it into a real revolution, and the establishment of the alternative desired by the people: democratic civil regimes under which social justice is achieved.

Complexities of the situation will not deter us from continuing the struggle

Under the difficult and complex conditions which our country is going through, we have no choice but to continue to work and struggle, building on our principles, our policy and our confidence in our people and their ability to achieve feats and carry out the required change and reform.
The challenges facing our country today require:

    1.    Enhancing the capabilities of the party, consolidating its organization, spreading dynamism in its work on all levels of its organizational structure, developing inner-party life via compliance with the rules of democracy, collective spirit, creativity, initiative and high moral discipline, and expanding its ranks to include the best sons and daughters of our people, especially youth and women.

    2.    Addressing in an efficient, informed and modern manner, the ideological tasks posed by life and its developments, and those imposed by the complexity of aspects of the political, economic and social struggle, and dealing with the new challenges. This is dictated by the fact that party activity requires a higher level of knowledge and cultural education, in order to understand the interactions produced by reality.

    3.    Transforming our party policy into broad mass popular action with clear and concrete slogans and demands. This requires the diversification of our activities, engaging in mass movements, expanding our relations in the sites of activity (in neighborhoods, factories, farms, schools, universities, cafes, clubs and more, and in unions, federations, associations and civil society organizations, in cities and rural areas, etc.). It implicitly requires the mobilization of the trade union, professional and democratic movement, and giving a new momentum to the activity of student youth and women’s organizations.

    4.    Developing and strengthening the activity of the forces and personalities of the Democratic Current, and striving to make it an effective and dynamic force among our people’s main patriotic forces. Continuing to improve and develop the national relations with the various patriotic forces and parties that share our position towards the interests of the people and homeland, considering them to be supreme and coming first before any other interests.

    5.    Paying more attention to the media, in order to play its role in spreading party policy and delivering it to the broadest masses.

Photo by the General Federation of Iraqi Workers

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