Thursday, August 28, 2008

Introduction-Where is Iraq going?

As an Iraqi who have watched the developing process of "Democracy" in Iraq, I have always seen the unexpected. Optimism was for a long time the tool that I used to stop from grieving over my destructed land. Now, I am not optimistic anymore, I am just hopeful.

I have always asked myself if I do believe in the news, if I should trust what my prime minister is saying, if I should forget the fact that my people are dying everyday and look at the bigger picture. But whenever I try to look at the bigger picture, it gets smaller and smaller. 

All the elections and the polls that were done in Iraq, I was supportive of them. I was supportive of having the elections for choosing the second interim government, the Jaafari's government. It didn't turn out to be as I expected. Those people who have been always calling for justice and peace in the county were nothing but blood thirsty animals whose main concern was revenge. That was the time when the shrine in Sammara got blown which was the ignition for the civil war that started in my country. Although I tend not to call it civil war since the majority of the people don't have faith in its results, I still think that the slightest minority that fighting still counts.

I have supported voting for the new constitution because of the promises that I took from the politicians that it is not going to be a fixed constitution after the voting period and that there will be some changes on the parts that didn't get the public agreement. We were convinced that voting to pass the constitution is just going to be a point to prove to the terrorists that we are for the democratic process and not against it.

Then came the election for the current Maliki's government. It was very dissatisfying to see the way people voted. It wasn't voting for a particular party for their programs or views of changes that need to be done. People basically voted for the party that represented their religion, nationality, or sect. The results were nothing fuel to keep the fire of sectarianism going.

Now, the security situation has improved a bit based on what I have heard from Iraqis who visited the US recently. I can't really relate the improvement to a certain side since the reasons aren't very well know and those that are, don't make perfect sense to me. It is hard for me to believe that an Al-Qaeda member turned his back on his "prince" and started fighting against him, it is hard for me to see the an extremist shiite who is a member of Al-Mahdi army started to disagree with his political and military leader, Muqtada Al-Sadr, it is hard for me to believe that this dysfunctional government has done any move on their side to improve the deteriorating situation. But if this the reality, I am supportive of it and proud of the individuals who decided to make the changes, concessions, and the actions that were taken.

Even though the situation is improving, I strongly believe that the US should have longer presence in Iraq for many reasons. The Iraqis don't believe in their government and will not easily show any support to it, at least this current government. The Iraqi police forces and the military aren't trained enough or well equipped to take the fight on their own. The US withdrawal would mean victory to the terrorist and the extremist groups in the country. And there will be not eye kept on the "developing democratic process" in the country.

For the coming election, I am hopeful that Iraqis have learned a lesson of the results of voting for a religious government, I hope that they know what it means to vote for a party based on sectarianism. I am hopeful that Iraqis will vote for a secular neutral government with a real political and economical programs to get the country out of its misery.

Ali Rawaf