Iraq: The failed democracy

By Ausama Anwar:

The basic rule and principle of democracy is to listen to every voice in the country despite differences. Every individual has the full right to vote for the party he/she desires. But at the same time, the power lies in the hands of the majority. Within this scope Bchara Karam states the following: “Democracy has nothing to do with the right choices; it has to do with the popular choices”. For this reason some called democracy “The end of history”. But has democracy really come to the point where we can surely say so? Or what are the flaws we can see in democratic authorities today?

Right from the onset of this article I’d like to announce that I am not a revolutionist or an anti-democratic person. I’m rather a witness of the failure that doomed the Iraqi political system for many years. A mere flashback to the Iraqi pre- and post-colonial history (i.e. from the days of the Iraqi Kingdom till the foundation of a Republic) is more than enough to show that the country didn’t taste liberty or real emancipation the way it should be, although there were times when many bodies, such as the Al Baath party, promised to achieve liberation even through several coups. Actually all these promises and forms of rebellion were practically vain and non-efficient, not only for Iraqis but also for Kurds. In fact, we – as Kurds – have witnessed the despotism and corruption of a barbaric regime: that of Saddam Hussein. It was only when this dictatorship was toppled that people’s lives got more comfortable and we could to some extent breathe and feel the breeze of liberty.

When the war with Iran began, we found out that the crimes of the political regime against its people were imminent. For Kurds it was even worse as reflected in the 1988 Genocide of Halabja.  After the Intifada, Kurds had the chance at least to have their own parliament and claim themselves part of a free region.

After the fall of Saddam and the settlement process, a federal government was established with the big hope of a growing democracy in Iraq. After 9 years of a so-called democratic regime, many crises with no equal – even during the dictator regime – erupted. Many terrorist organizations also were formed.

For example if we only calculate the economical budget of that government since the day it started running, we could notice that billions of USD are missing from ministries and other governmental sectors. Not only that, but also the money that has been transferred to Iraq from US or other government. For instance The Guardian pointed at this fact in a report in 2007 entitled “How the US sent $12bn in cash to Iraq. And watched it vanish”.  David Ferguson also shed light on this in his 2011 article:  “Missing Iraq money may be as much as $18 billion”.

All this is nothing but instances of corrupted governmental practices which are reflected in the big disappointment of the Iraqi people towards their authorities. Many elections passed but nothing changed. The situation got even worse, while at the same time Kurdistan remained developed and progressed in various ways.

On the other hand, if we have a look at Iraqi people nowadays, we can sense the decline in education and the cultural level of the country compared to the old days during the dictatorship regimes.

What I’m trying to show here is not complicated. The truth is that what the US, with other neighboring countries, did for Iraq in the name of democracy was only an act of distorting the specificities of a true civil society. Thus the problem is not in the process of voting but rather in who they have chosen and the politicians that lead Iraq today, from the start(after the invasion) to the present.

I’d like to remind you with Bchara’s quote again: democracy is not about the right choice, it’s rather about the popular one. All the parties are linked to foreign countries somehow and all share in the income produced by Iraq itself.

I’d like to end my article by a few sentences from one of the latest books of the Kurdish intellectual Mariwan Kanie, entitled Thought (Intellect) and World . This book points out the following: “Building democracy in Iraq through Muqtada Al-Sadr, Jaafari, Mutlaq, Alawi and many more including Kurdish politicians, is like building the Eiffel Tower in mud, or building Dubai in Ankawa, Kasnazan or Qlyasan(Kurdish uncivilized districts).” The politicians named by Mr Kanie are the ones that rule Iraq in various ways today in Iraq; nothing has changed and nothing will change till the whole equation changes.

I believe that the only solution concerning the Kurdish case stems from an independent state for the Kurds, which is not a mere political reward but the right of many generations who have been yearning for freedom for decades.

Rebuilding Iraq’s democracy is impossible, as Mr Kanie states. Attempts at change do not develop the situation, they even make it worse. That is why we need a change from the roots, a change which even traces its positive effects in the Mideast’s peace process and takes it to the next level.

Ausama Anwar was born in 1994, in the capital of the Kurdistan region, Hawler. He is a writer and author of two books. ‘A Gate to the Intellectual’ is dedicated to youth generally with an intellectual background. ‘Hidden Idea: Some Samples from Movies’ is a work of creative movie analysis. Ausama is also President of Zamwa Society Development Organization.

6 Responses to Iraq: The failed democracy
  1. yasin aziz
    December 7, 2014 | 17:07

    What we really try to establish a bit freedom towards democracy. Arab spring was a joke, a real one should have started from Turkey if that was an honest campaign. In a parochial culture of some middle east states enslaving female members of their families in black leather strapping there won’t be any chance for democracy. Democracy is a long process it won’t be achieved so soon, especially when it is not in the interest of all the superpowers and the ones dreaming of becoming superpowers. In the middle of those we Kurds have no chance, I’m a afrid.

    • Ausama Anwar
      December 8, 2014 | 20:38

      Thanks for the add. I do believe Turkey differs totally from any other Arab countries, especially in treating Kurds(in authority) and I say that from the progress that Kurdish Problem held since 2000s, and if that worked fine, we could witness a great impact on other parts as well, I hope so.

  2. Fareed
    December 7, 2014 | 18:53

    If real democracy exists, then Obamas Administration should not overlook the voice/will of the overwhelming majority in Iraq as well as the right to self-determination of nations. American double-standards policies will eventually backfire in the Middle East. Is Obamas Admin pursuing its own agendas in Kurdistan or what? Kurds demand absolute independence in South. A unilateral Declaration of Independence is an option always. I strongly suggest Kurds consider it without Washington support if need rise.
    It’s worth it.

  3. Dilshad
    December 7, 2014 | 19:36

    An urgent message to all Kurds & Kurdistan:

    KDP officials in Sulaimania Branch have confirmed that KRG’s President HE Masood Barzani will very soon declare independence in South. All students, youths, Peshmargas, Police, Intelligence Agencies, Gov. Institutions employees, NGO’s are requested to be prepared, stay united, and fully support him.

  4. Jason Pike
    December 7, 2014 | 21:31

    My opinion is that the “Kurdish problem” can’t be solved within existing state boundries, so the working class of the Arab countries, Iran and Turkey would be acting in their owen interests not only to defend the right of Kurdish self-dertermination, but also to advocate the exercise of that right. I think there is a lot of sympathy for Kurdish independence among the class-conscious workers in Turkey but not among the Arabs. Even so, democracy in the occupying states would give Kurds a majority of the votes in all those towns and regions where Kurds are a majority. So I totally disagree with the view that you expressed elsewhere, that democracy within these states is irrelevant to Kurdish national ambitions – I think it is essential. Moreover, the existing regimes and states are the enemy, and it makes sense for all those who are oppressed by them to fight jointly for freedom.The major obstacle to this aim is not just the disunity between the main Kurdish parties, but also between them and other democratic forces, and last but not least the fact that all the main Kurdish parties have repudiated the idea of a unified, independent national state in favour of unprincipled deals with the US, Turkish, Iranian and Syrian governments.

    • Ausama Anwar
      December 8, 2014 | 20:43

      I totally agree with a part of what you just wrote but I think you got me wrong from pointing out Iraq’s democracy or democracy generally. That made up democracy or that federal equation that has confused KRG many times in the deals they had before, even recently KRG had a very bad situation(especially in economical side) we’ve lived in a financial crisis that made by Iraq (so called democratic-federal government) as it wasn’t a constitutional issue too. I don’t believe by destroying them we could get that state, defending the borders can make it easily, ISIS disarmed Iraqi army easily in Mosul as that’s a proof they can’t handle us, as we proved that with past regimes, history witnesses.

Leave a Reply

Wanting to leave an <em>phasis on your comment?

Trackback URL