Iraq’s referendum results have finally been made public: the constitution was adopted with 78% of the votes. Such results are, of course, unlikely to be checked, and so is the participation rate. The country’s three central provinces, which the occupation troops and the mainstream media present as “Sunnite provinces”, opposed a text many consider as a means to dismantle the country, but the announced figures show quite the contrary. Once more, the figures provided by the Electoral Commission make checking impossible. Anyway, whatever the actual results, the ballot’s lack of transparency strips the official outcome of all legitimacy.
The Western media outlets, always ready to denounce electoral frauds or cast doubt on the validity of the polls in any state whose leaders are not lucky enough to be part of the “free world”, now abstain, however, from commenting the referendum’s illegitimacy in the case of Iraq. What validity may a voting performed under the control of an occupation force and after an illegal invasion have? How to accept such a vote when the main occupying power is a country where elections are characterized by mass frauds? In spite of that, the referendum is being presented as a subsequent justification of the invasion. According to that theory, the war against Iraq is positive because it allowed that country to take a big step toward democracy.
The main supporters of this argument are US and Iraqi officials who find no praising words for the staging of the referendum. US National Security adviser Stephen Hadley thus sells the Iraq constitutional project to the US public opinion, more and more reticently every time, in the pages of the Washington Post. With a specially designed argumentation aimed at attracting people educated on the cult of its own constitution, Hadley establishes many parallels between the project presented to the Iraqi and the US constitution. According to him, Iraq’s central power will have similar prerogatives to those of Washington, and as it is in the United States, the Supreme Court of Iraq will also be central natured. Contradicting most analysts, but following the official rhetoric in force, Hadley expects that text to reinforce the Iraqi unity and allow the “Sunnites” to become committed to the political process. In fact, the new electoral system has envisaged that each community has the same number of representatives, regardless of their electoral involvement. That’s how the community system has been validated in the text at the expense of a democratic representation. It is of little importance whether or not the community recognizes the legitimacy of a system through voting as long as certain members of that same community are part of the power.
Iraq President Jalal Talabani is also full of praise in the London Times for the democratization of Iraq by the occupying forces. He makes democratization the main target of the war, rejects any lie about mass destruction weapons and begs the British to stay in Iraq and continue the work already started. With a weird cynicism, Talabani acquits the British of any responsibility in the riots of Basra and blames the attacks against the occupation forces on “hooligans” and “terrorists”. Talabani did not say a word about the arrest of a group of British troops that was getting ready to attack dressed up as Moqtada Sadr’s supporters or their release by British tanks. On the contrary, the president of the collaboration government presents the Iraqi resistance as a group of terrorists and the British who plant bombs as liberators.
Iraq’s deputy-representative to the UN Feisal Amin al-Istrabadi also honours the righteousness of the occupation and the constitution. He takes delight in the system established in his country and says that thanks to the drafting process of the constitution, Iraq is about to become a responsible state respectful of democracy. He congratulates himself on the fact that the Constitution Drafting Committee included not elected persons to represent Sunnite Arabians. As in Stephen Hadley’s text, we find here a communitarian vision that replaces the democratic logic, which the constitution hopes to defend. According to that logic, it doesn’t matter that part of the population does not vote as long as it’s represented by members of its own ethnic or religious groups. On the other hand, that extension of the Drafting Committee is based on a double geographic and ethnical-religious vision of Iraq. Consequently, one should not forget that if the central region of the country had fewer votes than the northern or southern regions, names such as “central region of the country” or “Sunnite triangle” are arbitrary and that a million Kurds, as well as a large number of Shiites, live in Baghdad. Feisal Amis al-Istrabadi’s text is being very widely spread by Project Syndicate. It already appeared on the Daily Star (Lebanon), Le Matin (Morocco), the Daily Times (Pakistan), the Taipei Times (Taiwan), the Jordan Times (Jordan) and the Jerusalem Post (Israel) and probably on other publications which could have escaped our eye. In the framework of this propaganda campaign presented by the constitution as a step toward Iraq’s independence or democracy, Project Syndicate – an organ financed by George Soros – plays a central role. Project Syndicate has also disseminated far and wide the texts by Edward N. Luttwack – a Pentagon strategist – and Schlomo Avineri – a CIA close analyst. Since we have previously reviewed what these two people think, it doesn’t seem necessary to go over texts that contribute nothing new. Luttwack highlights the difficulties still met by the Coalition in Iraq in order to assert that problems there are not due to the presence of an occupying force but to armed gangs that should be properly destroyed. On his side, Avineri pretends again to be sorry about the factions existing in Iraq before supporting once more the independence of the Kurdistan and the country’s division into three regions. Nothing new…
However, although their arguments are not new, it is interesting to observe how far such opinions have gone. Luttwack’s text enjoyed the favors of the Daily Star (Lebanon) and the Taipei Times (Taiwan), as well as the Jordan Times (Jordan), La Libre Belgique (Belgium) and the Daily Times (Pakistan). Just as before, we could have skipped some publications. We should also be aware that atlantist propaganda media outlets have made everything within and beyond their reach to present Iraq as a country victimized by its own evils and terrible domestic divisions, a country which the UK-US coalition and the authorities collaborating with the occupants are trying, sometimes very clumsily, to help and democratize.
Although this press campaign has influenced people’s interpretation of the invasion, it has not managed, however, to disarm those who have opposed the conflict right from the start. These latter keep trying to remind the international opinion that Iraq’s main problem continues to be the occupation. Before the polls, writer Haifa Zangana – former opposition member in Saddam Hussein’s days – said the adoption of the constitution would not change anything. She noted in the Guardian that the constitution text project is just the empty legislative envelope of an occupation that has made a rich country go to pieces, and into the worst poverty for its oil, causing a startling regression in relation to women’s rights. On his side, former disarmament inspector Scott Ritter denounced in The Independent a constitutional project that he regards as an instrument of the Iranian interests above all else. For him, that text is not suitable for Iraq and will not clear the way for the retreat of the Coalition troops – a goal that must be pursued at all costs. Ritter therefore called those who still have some credit in Iraq: EU, the Arab League and the UN, to revise the whole process.

E-Daily AlterNet has published an interview with two US progressive historians who expressed their points of view on Iraq.
Here is Mark LeVine’s analysis of the Iraq constitution project. Rather than the interpretations about the division envisaged for Iraq, LeVine sees in it a means for the US to indefinitely keep its presence in Iraq. He thinks the text enables Washington to preserve its bases in Iraq and privatize that country in compliance with US interests. Le Vine also foresees the continuation of the resistance. That is why Iraqi authorities often repeat their requests so that the foreign troops stay and won’t retreat. For Howard Zinn – an expert in US people’s history – the US must leave Iraq as soon as possible. Quoting statements made by the US generals in charge of keeping the occupation, Howard Zinn points out that the situation in Iraq will undoubtedly get worse and worse precisely due to the military presence. Although far from the internal opposition to the US imperialism, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski shares this last point of view. However, for Brzezinski the essential problem of the occupation has nothing to do with the Iraqis but with Washington’s global influence. Brzezinski showed concern in the Los Angeles Times for seeing the US isolated from a sector of its traditional allies as well as for the increase of the budget deficit and the degradation of the US image. According to this former democrat strategist, the worst thing about it is that China and Russia may profit from the situation and overshadow the US. Consequently, Brzezinski advises retreating from Iraq and attacking Iran and simultaneously settling the Israel-Palestine issue to improve the US image in the Arab World.

Another “democratic” argument is the subsequent justification of the invasion by showing Saddam Hussein’s crimes. We already presented in these pages the most recent French chapter of this campaign: the publication of a Livre noir de Saddam Husein, when this man was first taken to court.
Analyst Patrick Seale denounced in the Gulf News the process which is just a simulation of justice administration. For Seale, it is an assumed act of sovereignty that in reality conceals the US manipulation, always prone to hide the historic bonds of western powers with the criminal dictator. Saddam Hussein’s kingdom was bloody and his victims deserve something better than some “justice” intended to glorify an invasion as criminal as the man on trial.