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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Giuliana Sgrena: Les États-Unis contraints

by By Lin Guillou

Giuliana Sgrena: The US Under Pressure

Translated by Régent

Translated Tuesday 24 January 2006, by Régent

Giuliana Sgrena,
reporter at Il Manifesto, former hostage in Iraq.

The US under pressure

Violence in Iraq did not end with the elections on December 15th.

Voting is not by itself a solution, not even an expression of democracy, when coerced by the military as it happened in this country.

Thus, given the conditions surrounding the poll - no security, no liberty, no legal indemnity, it was no magic trick.

The absence of international observers and of the greatest part of the press was not an accident.

How can we talk about a democratization process when independent press is excluded from it?

Truly free and democratic elections will be possible only when performed as part of a genuine democratization process under the supervision of a sovereign Iraq.

Strong protests and allegations of fraud that question the results - as yet to be officially confirmed - come as no surprise.

However, the general involvement of all ethnic and religious parties, especially of the Sunnis, who had opposed the January 2005 elections, helps to revive hope and, in any case, shows Iraq’s willingness to make a stand.

Even when noting that participation reached 70%, the electoral commission does not specify if this number pertains to the voters registered on the electoral roll or simply to the ones who had the right to vote, since there is no census in Iraq.

Such a rate of involvement does not point out to a support of the US transitional plan, as a superficial analysis might suggest, but, on the contrary, to a demand for the pull-out of the foreign powers, a demand tacitly implied in most of the declaration of principles in the elections, except the Kurds’.

Strangely, hope as carried by the December elections - and shared by the Western world - came from the strong involvement of the “Sunni Triangle", heavily hit by the harshest bombings, as witnessed by Fallujah, and where US forces suffered the greatest loss from Iraqi opposition.

The Sunni vote most certainly stemmed from their frustration of being excluded from important decisions, as the ones concerning the Constitution, after their opposition in January last year.

But there is more.

This participation also points to the effect of an agreement between the US and the Sunni leaders (ethnic, religious, etc.), the only leaders capable of controlling the insurgency.

In exchange for this come back, and for the former Baaht’s, Sunnis may now pledge a decrease in violence from the armed resistance, except for Al Qaeda who does not want peace in Iraq.

The US is now compelled to play the Sunni trump card by decanting from what Iraq Pro-Consul Paul Bremer had promised when in Baghdad: disbanding the Iraqi army, dissolving the Ministries of Defense and Information, and banning the Baaht party.

This was the first crude mistake of many more that followed.

But such is the logic of the one who wants to solve war problems.

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