After the Election
The reasons, that Palestinians and Iraqis lined up and voted -- January 9 and January 30, respectively -- under occupation, are discussed in:
What did the Palestinians and Iraqis Vote For?
By Patrick Seale
February 3, 2005
What is the reality behind these elections? What did Palestinians and Iraqis actually vote for?
In both cases, the elections took place under foreign occupation. This inevitably meant that they were neither totally fair nor wholly legitimate. In Iraq, in particular, there were few polling stations or foreign observers. Many Iraqis were afraid that they would not get their monthly food rations if they did not vote. Some said that, in order to collect their rations, they had to sign the voter registration forms.
Nevertheless, those Palestinians and Iraqis who decided to cast their vote, and those who were able to get to the polling stations in spite of the difficulties and dangers, did so for one overriding reason: to get rid of the foreign occupiers.
In Iraq, the United States has patently not given up its ambition for bases, for control of oil and reconstruction, for the establishment of a government friendly to the U.S. and to Israel -- in a word, Washington’s objective would seem to be to convert Iraq into a U.S. client state by means of a long-term American military presence.
Just as Mahmud Abbas is having to negotiate with Islamic and secular militant groups to persuade them to give his "softly-softly" approach a chance, so any new Iraqi government will have to negotiate with the various strands of the shadowy Iraqi resistance, including the Ba’th party, the Islamic factions, and cells of former army officers.
None of these negotiations in the Palestinian territories or in Iraq are likely to succeed, nor will they bring about security and order for any length of time, unless they hold out the prospect of an Israeli and an American withdrawal.
In The Guardian:
"No amount of spin can conceal Iraqis' hostility to US occupation."
The Vietnam turnout was good as well
By Sami Ramadani
February 1, 2005
On September 4 1967 the New York Times published an upbeat story on presidential elections held by the South Vietnamese puppet regime at the height of he Vietnam war. Under the heading "US encouraged by Vietnam vote: Officials cite 83% turnout despite Vietcong terror", the paper reported that the Americans had been "surprised and heartened" by the size of the turnout "despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting". A successful election, it went on, "has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam". The echoes of this weekend's propaganda about Iraq's elections are so close as to be uncanny.
Would Sunni Arabs loose no matter what they do--guess who's wishful thinking is this? Would they even if they decide finally to have a political strategy; namely, one of equal power-sharing between all the Shiites and Sunnis of Iraq?
The Shiite Earthquake
By Juan Cole
February 1, 2005
The guerrilla war being waged by some Sunni Arabs will not end with the elections. Their leadership is committed to destabilizing the country, pushing the Americans back out, and mounting yet another coup. The resistance consists largely of ex-Baath military along with some religious radicals (very few of whom are foreigners). They have enough munitions, money and know-how to fight for years, though in the end they will lose. The Sunni Arab populace continues largely to support the guerrillas. Over half in a recent poll said that attacks on the U.S. military in Iraq are legitimate.
Note, Cole informs us that "Sunnis constitute some 90 percent of the Muslims in the world, but are a minority of 20 percent in Iraq." It is not clear whether he means that world Sunnis are ethnically Arabs or that Sunnis make only 20 percent of Iraq's population--this could be some lapsus.
In the International Relations Center (IRC):
The Future of Iraq and U.S. Occupation
By Noam Chomsky
January 26, 2005
What I’ve just read from the business press the last couple of days probably reflects the thinking in Washington and London: "Uh well, okay, we’ll let them have a government, but we’re not going to pay any attention to what they say." In fact the Pentagon announced at the same time two days ago: we’re keeping 120,000 troops there into at least 2007, even if they call for withdrawal tomorrow.
And the propaganda is very evident right in these articles. You can even write the commentary now: We just have to do it because we have to accomplish our mission of bringing democracy to Iraq. If they have an elected government that doesn’t understand that, well, what can we do with these dumb Arabs, you know? Actually that’s very common because look, after all, the U.S. has overthrown democracy after democracy, because the people don’t understand. They follow the wrong course. So therefore, following the mission of establishing democracy, we’ve got to overthrow their governments.