Monday, 13 February 2017

Iraqi CP condemns violent suppression of peaceful demonstration in Baghdad

11 February 2017
Statement of the Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party
We condemn violence against demonstrators
 and demand those responsible be brought to account
This morning, Saturday 11 February 2017, thousands of our Iraqi people rallied in a peaceful demonstration in Tahrir (Liberation) Square in central Baghdad. Their statements, slogans and chants expressed their determination to continue their march on the path of reform and change and combating corruption. Demonstrators demanded the dissolution of the Electoral Commission and the formation of a new commission that is truly independent, away from the quota system, ensuring that the candidates for its board of trustees are characterized by integrity, credibility, professionalism and impartiality. They also called upon the parliament to legislate a fair and equitable election law that expands participation in decision-making, is non-exclusionary, does not impose the hegemony and domination of certain forces and blocs, and protects the voice of the voters and safeguards their will in choosing their representatives.
Unfortunately, these demands and appeals throughout the past period were not heeded by the ruling forces that resorted to procrastination, under various pretexts. As a result, protests have continued and widened, with diverse demands, including various social strata and spreading to several provinces and cities.
Rather than complying and taking concrete measures to achieve reform, and proceeding ahead toward its objectives as demanded by the masses, and without learning the lessons of previous painful experiences, the demonstrators were confronted without warning with live ammunition, as well as the heavy use of rubber bullets and tear gas, at a time when the demonstrators were loudly chanting "Peaceful ... Peaceful". This excessive and extensive use of violence led to a number of fatalities among the demonstrators in addition to dozens wounded, victims of rubber bullets and tear gas. This reflects the deliberate use of excessive force and cruelty which is totally unjustified.
We condemn, in the strongest words, the use of force and violence in dealing with peaceful demonstrations that are guaranteed by the law and the Constitution and that are making just demands.  We hold the Prime Minister directly responsible for this, being the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. He must immediately reveal the identity of those who gave the orders to shoot and use violence in contravention of his directives to the security forces to protect the demonstrators. An investigative committee must be set up that should include in its membership representatives of the protesters or judges acting on their behalf.
The consequences of what has happened today must not be dealt with as it has in the past, because this will deepen the divide between citizens and state agencies and institutions, and will aggravate the atmosphere of mistrust at a time when there is desperate need for building it on the basis of transparency, credibility and support for the just and peaceful demands of the people.
We express full solidarity with the families of the martyrs, wishing the injured a speedy recovery. We are certain and confident that bullets, whether they are live or rubber, will not weaken the will of the people and their yearning for a better life.
Baghdad - 11 February 2017

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Iraqi CP mourns three comrades killed in terrorist bombing in Baghdad

Iraqi Communist Party mourns three comrades killed in cowardly terrorist bombing in Baghdad

The Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party mourned a number of its members and supporters who were killed in the cowardly terrorist attack which took place in Karradah district in Baghdad around midnight on Saturday 2nd July 2016. Among the martyrs were the young comrades: Adel Qais al-Jaf, Hameed Majid Rashid and Faysal Mohammed Salman.
The party statement said that the criminal murderers have aimed through this terrorist act, which resulted in tens of people being killed while preparing to celebrate Eid marking the end of Ramadan, “to kill any opportunity for joy in our country Iraq which has been plagued by terrorism, corruption and failure”.
“While strongly condemning this cowardly act, we convey deepest condolences to the families of the martyrs and wish the injured and wounded a speedy recovery. Our people shall triumph in their battle against Daesh and all terrorists,” it added.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Communiqué of Iraqi Communist Party's Central Committee meeting on 26th May 2016

Communiqué of the Meeting of the Central Committee
of the Iraqi Communist Party on 26th May 2016
The Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party held a meeting on 26th May 2016 which discussed the latest developments in the country as well as the preparations for the party’s 10th National Congress.
At the beginning of the meeting, a minute of silence was observed in honor of the martyrs of the fight against Daesh, the victims of the cowardly terrorist attacks, the martyrs of the popular protest movement, the martyrs of the party and comrades and friends who have passed away recently and who had a role in building the party and defending the cause of the people, the homeland and the interests of toilers.
The meeting considered the recent political developments in our country since the previous meeting of the Central Committee, held in March 2016. These developments were studied in detail and the party direction for the coming period was drawn up, including the tasks facing its organizations, members and supporters.
The meeting pointed out the fact that the general conditions of the country are moving toward greater complexity, tensions and deadlock, after many initiatives that had been presented for resolving the crisis were ignored by the dominant ruling groups that have insisted, until now, on putting their own selfish interests ahead of the higher interests of the country. They refuse to show flexibility and make mutual concessions to save the homeland from the deterioration it is suffering in all political, economic, social and security areas.
The meeting considered that a refreshing light amid this darkness is shining from the battlefields of the fight against terrorism and its organizations, in the forefront of which is Daesh. Our armed forces, including the army, police, Peshmerga, volunteers in the popular mobilization forces and the people of areas that have been plagued by Daesh, have been scoring one victory after another, especially the recent notable successes achieved in Ramadi, Heet, Kubaisah and Rutbah, and on the front of Makhmour and Nineveh plain.  In addition, progress is now being made on the path of liberating the district of Fallujah from the grip of terrorism, as signaled by the liberation of Karmah.
On this occasion, the meeting reiterated our party's support for the battle against terrorism and to rid our country of its evils and crimes. It also reiterated its call for vigilance against hostile elements who do not want our country to progress in the direction of establishing security and stability, especially those who stir up sedition and sectarian sentiments and serve foreign agendas. It stressed the need to foil their plans through uniting, supporting the fighters and taking care of the families of martyrs.
The meeting emphasized the duty to spare innocent civilians the horrors of war and its consequences, and to care for the displaced and provide everything they need, including shelter, food and medicine. Efforts should be exerted to ensure their speedy return to their towns and villages that have been liberated from Daesh, along with launching         a national campaign to rebuild them, and to appeal to the world and international organizations to support this campaign. Care must be taken to give the responsibility for the reconstruction operations to the sincere people of these areas, who have not misappropriated public money and are untarnished by corruption.
The meeting called upon the government and the security forces to provide security and protection for the citizens and their property, and to prepare for and anticipate the aggressive schemes and evil vengeful spirit of Daesh after the defeats it suffered on the battlefield and the foiling of the schemes of the enemies of our people to stir up and fuel sectarian strife.
In regard to the existing intractable political crisis, the meeting called for breaking the vicious cycle, and that all parties should be aware of the dangers of the situation and the possibility of its descent to a worse situation. It stressed the necessity of sparing our people and homeland the bad and dangerous choices which would result in going backwards. In this context, the meeting renewed the call for convening a quorate session of the Parliament and without preconditions, for completing the formation of the government after filling its vacant posts, and to begin the implementation of existing obligations. The issue of the Parliament’s presidium can be discussed and decided upon in accordance with the Constitution and the working mechanisms of the Parliament, and not to make it an excuse to prolong the crisis and evade responding to the demands of the masses and their protest movement.
This would constitute the beginning of moving forward along the path of reform and change. The status quo cannot continue, and change has become a popular demand and an urgent need, not a slogan that is raised for political consumption. The ruling forces must realize that procrastination can only lead to more social and political complexity and tensions, which is rejected by the masses who are becoming increasingly aware of the need for immediate serious reforms. The people’s suffering is mounting due to the deterioration of the living conditions and services, the indirect taxes imposed on them, and the impact of economic stagnation and the drop in oil revenues, which has affected the state’s public expenditure, as well as reducing investment projects, causing higher rates of unemployment and an increase in poverty.
All this is a result of the wrong policy of governance and undemocratic mentality, of mismanagement of the country, insisting on the abhorrent sectarian-ethnic quota system and the absence of logical and scientific planning. In this context, the meeting rejected attempts to throw the burden of the financial and economic crisis on the shoulders of the toilers, the poor and those with limited income, who have suffered so much a result of several factors including the deterioration of the actual value of the Iraqi dinar, rising prices and shortages or scarcity of the services offered by the state, particularly in the areas of electricity, transport, water and health.
The meeting considered that required reform must be comprehensive, and should start with the formation of a government of competent persons with integrity that is capable of running the country in these difficult circumstances. Reform must then extend to all the independent commissions, special grades and state institutions. The cases of corruption must be opened and the corrupt should be sent to the courts, in addition to reforming the judiciary. Real and effective steps must be taken towards deepening the democratic process, building a state based on citizenship, the law, institutions and social justice.
The meeting concluded that to achieve this, more popular pressure is required.  This necessitates developing the popular protest movement and coordination, and diversifying and increasing its means and activities, paying attention to those on regional and sectoral levels. It stressed the need to maintain the peaceful character of the protest movement and warned against the efforts of some to implicate it in violence in order to make it easier to circumscribe it and eventually suppress it. That is what the anti-reform forces are seeking assiduously, sparing no means to achieve it. Therefore the peaceful character of the protest movement must be sustained and adhered to, and not to be dragged into provocations and to what is planned by those seeking to maintain their positions, influence and interests while the country descends uninterruptedly towards the worse.
While stressing the peaceful and civilized character of the protest movement and the need to protect private and public property, the meeting has strongly condemned the excessive use by the authorities and government agencies of violence and resorting to the use of live ammunition, rubber bullets, tear gas and hot water cannon. This constitutes an explicit and blatant violation of the Constitution and the right of citizens to demonstrate peacefully and of human rights in general. This requires opening an impartial investigation, as demanded by the United Nations, and the referral of those responsible for committing crimes of deliberate killing to justice. The government should apologize to the families of the victims, and for the positions it took and the phrases it used in its statements which contained insults and abuse against the movement of millions of people. If there were a few infiltrators, as it is saying, then it should arrest them and announce this transparently to the people. It must also honor the martyrs and care for the wounded and the injured and compensate them.
The Central Committee meeting dealt with the situation in the Kurdistan region, and stressed the need to spare the region and its people the possible consequences of the conflict raging between the ruling Kurdistan parties, and the effects of the worsening of an already tense situation. All of this increases the suffering of the people that has been caused by the economic stagnation, the cost of the war against Daesh, the non-payment of salaries, and the regression in the process of development, reviving the economy and fighting corruption, as well as slackening in government institutions. The meeting stressed the need to continue constructive dialogue between the various parties, evoke the valuable lessons of the past and benefit from them.
On the other hand, the meeting stressed the need to improve the performance of the party and its organizations, develop and elevate its work, build bridges with the wider masses, adopt their just demands and defend them, and expand the party's relations with the various strata and segments of society. Greater attention should be devoted to the Democratic Current and developing its role. Efforts should also be exerted to expand the relations of cooperation and coordination with civil activists and democrats generally, as well as the various patriotic and moderate enlightened Islamic forces and personalities. In addition, a broad alignment, popular and political, should be built to support reform and change, to get our country out of the current situation, get rid of the sectarian-ethnic quota system, and work to build a democratic civil state.
The meeting considered the ongoing preparations for the convening of the party’s 10th National Congress, and what has been achieved so far to respond to this big event in the life of the party. In this regard, the meeting adopted a number of measures to complete the preparations, to finalize the documents of the Congress and publish them in the party media, and to launch a broad discussion of the documents with the aim of scrutinizing and enriching them. This is so because they do not only concern the party but all of our people who are concerned about the country's progress and stability. The meeting also determined the timetable for convening the conferences of party organizations on local and provincial levels, in order to discuss the general political line of the party and elect delegates to the National Congress.
The Central Committee meeting called upon the party organizations and comrades to transform the preparations for the 10th National Congress to events, activities and initiatives that are aimed at securing a strong party presence in the mass protest movement, developing its role in the public political life, and providing political and material support and backing to the party so as to enhance its capabilities on all levels.

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Saturday, 30 April 2016

Iraqi Communist Party statement on the latest developments - 30 April 2016

Statement of the Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party

on the latest developments

Our capital Baghdad has witnessed today (30th April 2016) important developments with large numbers of demonstrators and protesters storming the parliament building.
It took place after the postponement of the session of parliament to the 10th of May, at a time when the masses of people in front of the Green Zone and Tahrir (Liberation) Square were waiting for the parliament’s session to be held today to resolve the cabinet reshuffle in accordance with their demands, so as to be the beginning of renouncing the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system that was adopted by the ruling forces and blocs in setting up the structure of the political system and its administration.
The insistence of some of the dominant ruling blocs to stick to the policy of power-sharing, and resorting to more procrastination and reneging on promises and deadlines, was the direct cause of fueling the resentment and anger of the protesters, and pushing them to enter the Green Zone. This could have been avoided if there had been sincere intentions and a rapid response to the legitimate demands of the masses, and if serious steps were taken by the parliament and government that would have indicated a serious approach to move along the path of real and comprehensive reform.
While we hold the ruling groups responsible for the present situation in the country, with all the grave dangers it entails, especially at this critical time when our people and armed forces in all their formations are waging the battle against terrorism and Daesh, we warn that obstinacy and insistence on sectarian power-sharing threaten to produce other ominous crises.
We believe that it is now essential that an urgent meeting of the parliament is held, to approve the formation of the full new cabinet on the basis of competence, integrity and professionalism, away from power-sharing and allocation of posts, to be the first step in a comprehensive reform plan which must also include the independent bodies and special senior posts in government.
At this critical moment we call on the demonstrators and protesters to continue to adhere to the peaceful character of the demonstrations and to renounce any form of violence, and to protect public and private property and show high discipline, so as to deny anyone who wants to harm the peaceful, constitutional and civil character of the mass protest movement the opportunity to do so.
On the other hand, the stance of the security forces and their discipline and professionalism have played a major role in safeguarding life and property, and protecting the demonstrators and protesters and ensuring their safety, is worthy of recognition and praise.
Continued peaceful popular pressure is still required until there is full compliance with the just and legitimate demands of the demonstrators and protestors; for political and judicial reform, ending the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing, combating corruption and bringing the corrupt to account, the provision of public services, and alleviating the burden of the economic and financial crisis on the shoulders of the toilers and low-income people.
 Baghdad – 30th April 2016

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Iraqi CP condemns Turkey’s military incursion into Iraq

Iraqi Communist Party condemns
Turkey’s military incursion into Iraq

An editorial article published on 7th December 2015 in the daily newspaper “Tareeq Al-Shaab” (People’s Path), issued by the Iraqi Communist Party, strongly condemned Turkey’s military incursion into Nineveh province in northern Iraq.  The following is a translation of this article:
“We have followed, along with our people, with great concern the reports about the new Turkish military incursion into Iraq, this time in the province of Nineveh (Mosul), under the pretext of assistance in the training of forces to liberate the province from the terrorist organization Daesh.
 “This is actually not the first time that the Turkish forces sweep into Iraqi territory, or that its warplanes violate Iraq’s airspace to perform tasks that are part of Turkey’s agenda and objectives. Ankara has gone too far in the use of its agreement with Saddam’s dictatorial regime which had allowed its troops to deploy into Iraqi territory to a depth of up to 20 kilometers under the pretext of fighting against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which it characterizes as a "terrorist organization".
The Turkish military presence inside Iraqi territory had continued during the so-called "fratricidal war" in the Kurdistan region during the 1990s, and was not rectified even after the change in 2003, both under the US occupation or the successive governments in power since then and until the present day.
 “The disclosure of this new military incursion and discussing it publicly has unveiled the root of the problem and exposed the continued violation by the Turkish forces of the sovereignty and independence of our country, and blatant interference in the our country's internal affairs, whereby Turkey gives itself the right to declare its protection for this or that of Iraqi groups, giving rise to reactions of anxiety, apprehension and fear.
“The current conditions of our country, the difficulties it is facing and its national battle against terrorism and Daesh, and its need for support and assistance, are not supposed to justify violating Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as international legitimacy.
“In this context, it is not acceptable that the Security Council resolutions against terrorism, that call for fighting it, tightening the noose on it and cutting off the sources of its human and material funding, would be interpreted in an arbitrary and one-sided manner contrary to those resolutions themselves. These UN resolutions stress unequivocally on respecting the independence and sovereignty of Iraq, as well as obliging that whatever support and backing is given should be at the request of the Iraqi government and in cooperation and coordination with it.
“It is only the Iraqi executive and legislative authorities, in accordance with their duties based on the Constitution, that are entitled to the final say on the issue of coordinating external support and backing, and employing it properly in the battle to liberate our land from terrorist Daesh and ensure the return of displaced people to their areas. It is the responsibility of the government and its security and military forces to secure their lives and property.
 “We, in the Iraqi Communist Party, while condemning all interference and violation of the sovereignty and independence of our country by any party, and while demanding the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from our territory, call on the Iraqi government to resort to the UN Security Council to address the issue as a whole in order to secure for Iraq its rights as a sovereign state.
“In the context of addressing this important and essential matter, that has repercussions for the present and future of Iraq, it should be pointed out that many of the issues that are taking place now, including this new condemned Turkish invasion, would not have taken place if it had not been for the state of weakness caused by the divisions and conflicts among the ruling blocs and parties and the abhorrent sectarian power-sharing policy, giving priority to partisan interests at the expense of the higher national interest, and relying on external powers to impose facts on the ground inside Iraq. These are, in all circumstances, time bombs that do not provide guarantees for security and stability in the country.
“These delicate and critical circumstances require a clear position from all sides in Iraq, an awareness of the dangers threatening the homeland, an effort to strengthen national unity, and to proceed along the path of real reform, correcting the path of the political process and ridding it of the serious shortcomings, carrying out the national reconciliation process and strengthening the bonds of the social fabric. It is also crucial to properly employ all the national factors and external aid in the battle for salvation from Daesh and terrorism, to achieve security and stability, and to launch a development process that provides a life of pride and dignity for the Iraqi people.
“Only in this way we can provide the prerequisites of power and strength and ensure that Iraq is truly free and sovereign, with its people having the reins of their own decision and deciding their future in accordance with to their own free will.”

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sweden's Left Party expresses solidarity with the Iraqi people

 Sweden's Left Party expresses solidarity with the Iraqi people

Vänner, kamrater, mötesdeltagare 
Jag är glad över att jag fått möjlighet att delta i dagens manifestation för ett demokratiskt Irak. Vänsterpartiet känner sedan länge stor solidaritet med det irakiska folket, som drabbats så hårt av krig, förtryck och terror under en mycket lång tid. 
När människor i tusentals går ut på gatorna för att protestera så är det ett tydligt tecken på att något inte står rätt till i ett land. Men det är också ett tecken på att människor vill ha en förändring.  Vi får aldrig sluta tro på att det går att förändra vår verklighet till det bättre. Det är människor som bär ansvaret för den svåra situation världen och Irak idag upplever, men det är också människor som kan förändra den.  
Jag blir därför hoppfull när jag ser hur unga irakier går ut på gator och torg och kräver rättvisa och bättre sociala villkor, samtidigt som jag blir djupt oroad och upprörd över nyheterna om ett eskalerande våld med över 100 000 döda civila bara i år och jag kan konstatera att sedan det USA-ledda och folkrättsvidriga anfallet mot Irak 2003 så har landet präglats av våld och motsättningar. 
Daesh/IS militära framgångar har drivit miljoner på flykt och från de provinser som nu kontrolleras av Daesh kommer dagliga rapporter om systematiska och mycket grova övergrepp. Våldet drabbar alla delar av det irakiska samhället. Men vi kan se att kurder (i synnerhet yezidier), turkmener, assyrier och andra minoriteter drabbas särskilt hårt. Våldet tar sig olika uttryck och drabbar män och kvinnor i olika utsträckning. Hbtq-personer tillhör en av de värst drabbade grupperna. Det är svårt att hitta ord för den avsky vi känner inför Daesh och deras agerande. 
 Den irakiska premiärministern Nuri Al-Maliki, som styrde landet mellan 2006 och 2014 valde en väg av splittring och sekterism. Genom ett växande missnöje bland främst sunni-araber skapades ett utrymme för Daesh att snabbt kunna växa sig starka.  
Ska utvecklingen vändas måste regeringen i Bagdad visa i ord och handling att man är en regering för hela landet. Efter decennier av våld, auktoritärt styre och interna motsättningar behövs ett nytt ledarskap och reformer som kan leda till försoning och samling. Den djupt destruktiva sekterismen måste brytas. 
De fredliga protesterna som börjande I juli orsakades av ett starkt folkligt missnöje med landets politiska system, där makt fördelats utifrån etnicitet och religion och där folkets möjlighet att påverka är begränsad. I spåren av sjunkande oljepris har dessutom många irakier tvingats in i fattigdom.  
Irak:s premiärminister Haider al-Abadi besvarade protesterna med att presentera tre reform paket som går i rätt riktning. De folkliga protesterna och al-Abadis reformpaket ger oss för första gången på många år ett visst hopp. Om hoppet ska infrias beror också på omvärldens agerande.  Det är därför viktigt att Sveriges regering ger sitt stöd till reformarbetet för att bygga en civil, demokratisk och sekulär irakisk stat, samt att regeringen agerar internationellt i EU och FN så att mötesfriheten och säkerheten garanteras för de irakier som idag demonstrerar för förändring.   
Jag vill avsluta med ett citat av Nelson Mandela, Handling utan vision är bara att fördriva tiden, vision utan handling är blott dagdrömmeri, men vision och handling kan förändra världen. 
Leve den internationella solidariteten! Tillsammans är vi starka! 
Lotta Johnsson Fornarve, riksdagsledamot för Vänsterpartiet och internationellt ansvarig i partistyrelsen. 

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Iraqi Uprising Against Corruption And Sectarianism

Morning Star - 21 September 201

Across Iraq successive mass protests have been erupting against the self-serving and cynical elite – on a scale not seen for decades, writes SALAM ALI

OVER more than seven weeks now, since the end of July, Baghdad and other provinces in central and southern Iraq have witnessed the rise of a broad popular movement that has not been seen for many decades in our country.
It has culminated in successive mass protests, the most important of which were demonstrations and strikes by workers and employees of “self-financing” companies of the Ministry of Industry.
This popular movement has gained momentum with the participation of hundreds of thousands of citizens of various social and political affiliations in all provinces.
The political base of the protests, which were launched mainly by civil and democratic forces, has broadened and also received the support of the highest Shi’ite authority in Najaf.
The popular uprising has come as an expression of the explosion of people’s anger as a result of the failure of governments of the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system, both at the federal and provincial levels, and the inability of governments to run the country, serve the interests of the people and the country and provide the bare minimum of security and services for a decent dignified life, as well as failing to effectively combat terrorism and its instruments.
One of the most important factors that helped deepen the crisis and intensify the suffering of the people is the ferocious war against the terrorist organisation Isis (also known by its Arab acronym “Daesh”) since the fall of the city of Mosul on June 10 2014 and the subsequent loss of government control of over a third of Iraq’s territory.
This was a result of the collapse of a military and security institution that was built on a sectarian basis which suffered corruption and mismanagement.
The political crisis was further aggravated by the worsening economic situation after the recent sharp fall in oil prices, leading to the fall of Iraq’s oil revenues by half.
The existence of more than three million internally displaced people, as a result of the war with Isis, has also created an enormous humanitarian and economic problem that exceeds the capabilities of the state.
All this has led to an increase in the proportion of people under the poverty line to over 30 per cent of the population.
Meanwhile, a small social stratum of parasitic nature and a corrupt political elite have continued to accumulate enormous wealth and enjoy extravagant privileges.  
The deterioration of electricity supply in an exceptionally hot summer may have sparked the first protest demonstrations, but the people’s demands soon deepened towards pressing for resolute measures to combat corruption and hold the corrupt to account, especially those who hold leading positions in the state.
The mass demonstrations that have been held every Friday in Tahrir (Liberation) Square in Baghdad, and also in 10 other major cities, recognise that combating corruption strengthens the battle against terrorism, as one feeds the other.
They have also called for political reform and for urgent measures to reform the judiciary, without which it would not be possible to implement the required reforms.
The mass popular movement, which has been continuing for seven weeks, has attracted hundreds of thousands of people, broadening its social and political base.
Demonstrations and protests have now extended from major cities to districts and rural areas in some provinces.
They are organised by many co-ordinating committees with the participation of civil and democratic activists and groups.
There has been a significant participation of youth, estimated to constitute over 80 per cent of the demonstrators. Women have also played an important role. As the protests escalated, more social forces joined, including several professional bodies and trade unions.
It is very important to note the predominant peaceful, national, popular and civil character of the mass protest movement, which surpasses the sectarian and ethnic divisions and secondary identities, thus fostering the Iraqi national identity.
The protests have focussed on combating corruption and bringing the corrupt to account, achieving political reform and getting rid of sectarian-ethnic power-sharing, and providing services.
Thanks to the national and popular character of the demonstrations, and the legitimacy and realistic nature of their demands and slogans, as well their peaceful and civil nature, they have exerted enormous popular pressure which forced both the government and parliament to respond quickly by presenting packages of reforms.
The first, announced by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on August 9, included abolishing three vice-presidential positions as well as two posts of deputy prime minister.
Subsequent reforms have included reducing the size of his government by a third, reducing the security details of government officials and members of parliament, as well as reducing their salaries.
But far more radical changes and legislation are needed to destabilise the foundations of sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system that was implemented by the US occupation authorities after the war in 2003 and put an end to it. It is a big challenge.
If the reforms begin to seriously undermine the power-sharing system, it is expected that the ruling groups (Shi’ite, Sunni and Kurdish) will begin to bury their divisions and unite to preserve their positions in power and privileges.
There are already signs of this process beginning. After recovering from the initial “shock” as a result of the mass protests, they are now waging a counter-attack.
They possess enormous power and wealth, including their influence over the economy.
Civil activists have therefore criticised the slow pace of reforms and the lack of effective mechanisms and a clearly defined timetable for their implementation.
Abadi’s reforms have not yet touched the essence of the deep political crisis engulfing the country.
There is increasing evidence of attempts to sabotage the peaceful protest movement, including physical attacks and direct threats against activists and independent media workers.
In the city of Hilla, in Babylon province, special security forces attacked peaceful protesters who marched to the offices of the provincial government.
Despite intimidation and threats by the media linked to ruling groups, thousands of people came out to Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on Friday September 11.
In addition to repeating the main demands for political reform, they called for “a civil state and social justice.”
Once again, the civil and national character of the demonstrations in Baghdad and 10 other major cities was predominant.
After seven weeks of mass demonstrations, and more than a month since the announcement of Abadi’s reform packages, what has been achieved on the ground is very small and modest.
The very limited reforms which have so far been announced need to be complemented with deeper reforms.
Popular pressure and oversight are therefore essential to ensure the proper implementation of the reform process in the interests of the Iraqi people.
  • Salam Ali is a member of the central committee of the Iraqi Communist Party.