Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Iraq: elections and onwards

Labour Friends of Iraq do a trawl through the media coverage ("so you don't have to").
David Aaronovitch warns against pro-war or anti-war groupthink, “attempting to minimise every negative and emphasise every positive, until you are in danger of losing all sight of the truth,” takes a swipe at Menzies Campbell’s “sophistry” and urges us to back Iraqi democracy.
They also pick up on a piece in the Pink 'Un on the Iraqi Communist Party.
The party has attempted to mount a secular challenge to the Islamists who dominate the main coalition appealing to the Shia vote in the south. In doing so they have rekindled a struggle for the minds of Iraq's historically marginalised Shia majority that stretches back to the middle of the last century
A senior British diplomat returning from the province of Dhi Qar, north of Basra last week, said it would not surprise him if the ICP picked up 20 per cent of the vote there. "Everywhere I went there seemed to be someone quoting Marx or George Bernard Shaw."

In Basra, Abbas al-Fayed, an ICP candidate, outlined the party's priorities. These include equal rights for women, a strong civil society and a decentralised state, (the latter designed to appeal to the strong leftist following in Kurdish areas of Iraq).

There were brief mutterings from one member about being "pro-business", before the campaign manager, Ahmed Khodeiya said firmly that in Communist Iraq income would be redistributed with a "tax on the rich".

Beyond that the ICP is appealing to secular Iraqis' very real fears of an emerging theocratic state where personal liberties would be restricted.

It's been a long time since GBS was quoted anywhere on the left but, hey, everyone has their foibles.

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