News Release

Interviews Available on Iraqi Constitution * Occupation * Women’s Rights * Economic Agenda * Kurdish Role

RAED JARRAR
Jarrar is an Iraq blogger currently in Jordan. He said today: “The situation with the constitution is similar to that of the election earlier this year. Iraq needs to have elections, it needs a constitution, but you can’t have these things done successfully under occupation. The basis of how things are proceeding is wrong, so you end up with disastrous results. … Iraq is not a safe place for expressing your opinions right now, whatever that opinion may be. Iraq has turned from being a place where you can be killed because you have a different opinion, to a place where you can be killed if you have an opinion.”
More Information

HOUZAN MAHMOUD
Mahmoud is the U.K. head of the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq. She said today: “Bush says this is for freedom, but look at women’s rights. The constitutional committee is laying the groundwork for an Islamic state with Sharia law, which would be many steps back from what we had. Why should we now be looking to go back hundreds of years to Sharia law? … A constitution being put together under occupation and with daily suicide bombings and terrorist attacks lacks legitimacy. This is just another step towards attempting to give legitimacy to the current puppet regime in power. This constitutional process is dividing Iraqis into religious sects and on a tribal basis. We’ve never had that as part of our constitutional process before.”
More Information

ANTONIA JUHASZ
Juhasz is a Foreign Policy In Focus scholar and the author of the forthcoming book, The Bush Agenda: Invading the World, One Economy at a Time. She has written several pieces on Iraq including “Of Oil And Elections” and “The Hand-Over that Wasn’t.” She said today: “In accordance with the Bush administration’s economic agenda for Iraq, a great deal has remained entirely off the table in the debate over Iraq’s new constitution. While drafters debate regional versus national government control of oil, a new national oil law is moving rapidly forward, setting the precedent for not only national, but also foreign corporate control. Orders with the effect of law put in place in Iraq over a year ago by Bush envoy L. Paul Bremer designed to ‘transition [Iraq] from a … centrally planned economy to a market economy’ remain firmly in place and untouched by the new constitution — transforming Iraq’s banking, investment, patent, foreign and private ownership, tax, media and trade laws. The constitution also leaves the U.S. in control of the reconstruction and both the U.S. military and economic occupation firmly in place.”
More Information

VERA BEAUDIN SAEEDPOUR
Editor of Kurdish Life and founder of the Kurdish Library, Saeedpour said today: “Those who continue to complain that the U.S. had no plan for post-invasion Iraq know not of what they speak. In 1991 the plan cobbled together by officials of then-President Bush and Turkey’s Prime Minister Turgut Ozal envisioned the division of Iraq internally into three parts: a Kurdish north, a Turkmen region of Kirkuk and environs, with leftovers for the Arab population of Iraq. As fate would have it, the best laid plans often go awry. Turkey’s Prime Minister Turgut Ozal didn’t plan on dying nor did President Bush plan on losing re-election. Since then the plan was revised to a Kurdish north, a Sunni midsection and a Shiite south.

“It was visible in the U.S. configuration of the no-fly zones in the wake of the first Gulf War under the Clinton administration. It was visible from the outset of the U.S. invasion in Bush administration designations of the people of Iraq in terms of Kurd, Shi’a and Sunni. It was cemented into the U.S.-crafted Interim Constitution. And it comes to fruition in the new Constitution ‘negotiated’ now. Be sure that with only minor, cosmetic changes, and according to U.S. plan, the new one will be a replica of the old one.

“That the so-called constitutional committee is feverishly rushing to meet an arbitrary August 15 deadline set by Washington in the Interim document is further indication that the U.S. plan has proceeded apace, with only trivial discomforts along the way, as could be expected. What those who monitor this sad episode ought to realize by now is that there is no authentically sovereign government of Iraq. Nor will there be. With a virtually independent Iraqi Kurdistan which must remain within Iraq, as Washington’s plan demands, the U.S. will have the best of both worlds: using Kurds as the conduit through which to rule Baghdad; and using Iraqi Kurdistan as a base from which to incite Kurds in neighboring Iran and Syria as one utility in the service of bringing about ‘regime change’ in both countries. Meanwhile the Kurds dream that their current status represents a step in the road to a greater Kurdistan. Quite the opposite. They will continue to die in the service of a new master.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167