[Marxism] Re: Reorted Khamenei endorsement of Iraq constitution

Nick Halliday halliday.nick at gmail.com
Mon Oct 24 02:49:04 MDT 2005

>>Of course, it is always possible that this story, linked yesterday to
Juan Cole's Informed Comment website, will prove to be imperialist
"psy-ops" but I very much doubt it. >>

There is the problem that I've only found that one AP piece, quoted ad
nauseum all over American media, and that's it. Not a good sign. Note,
however Fred, that your title is again misleading. An endorsement of
the referendum doesn't necessarily mean he endorses the constitution.
Nor has he endorsed the US's version of the results. Rather he
supports the idea of Iraqis voting on whether or not to accept this
constitution. Even key Sunni leaders 'endorsed' the referendum enough
to tell their supporters to get out and vote--against it. When Shia
Resistance leader, Moqtada al-Sadr also told his followers they were
free to vote (after months of also sayng he was against federalism,
against a break up of Iraq, and against any political process while
occupied), this got twisted by the American media--if noted at all--as
meaning he was telling them to vote Yes (I believe it was Juan Cole's
garbage site that perpetuated that, too). Not at all likely.

Despite all the US military disruptions in Sunni majority areas, and
despite the somewhat mixed message the Sunnis got from their leaders,
I find it hard to believe that there isn't enough no votes in three
provinces to reject the constitution--and the fix was in on the key
area that includes Mosul, which gave the occupation and its puppet
government the verve to declare a victory long before they really knew
the extent of its lack of support (even among alot of Shia).

See the real stories updating the situation in Iraq below:

1. article on referendum (excerpt)
2. article on referendum (excerpt)
3. article on poll showing 45% Iraqis believe attacks on occupiers
justified, with 82% opposing the occupying forces being in Iraq, with
less than 1% saying the occupiers brought increased security


>>While no official result has been announced yet in the October 15
referendum on the draft Iraqi constitution, US officials are claiming
it was endorsed by the majority of Iraqis. The count, however, is
already surrounded by accusations of ballot-rigging and fraud and will
to be regarded as illegitimate by wide sections of the Iraqi

An overwhelming no vote was registered in at least two provinces with
a majority Sunni Arab population, where there is the greatest support
for the insurgency against the US-led occupation. In Salah al Din
province, which includes cities such as Tikrit and Samarra, voter
turnout is estimated to have been 88 percent, with well over 80
percent voting no.

In Anbar province, initial figures show that 97 percent of voters in
Fallujah cast a no vote. Turnout across the province, however, was
just 32 percent due to a major US military offensive that has been
taking place in the area over the past month. In numerous towns and
villages in the Euphrates Valley, no polling stations were opened. In
Ramadi, the largest city in the province and the site of daily clashes
between insurgents and US forces, only a minority of people risked
going to vote.

In Diyala province, which has a mixed Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish
population, reports indicate that the constitution may also have been
voted down, but not by a two-thirds margin. If two-thirds of voters in
three of Iraq's 18 provinces voted no, the constitution will be

Attention is focusing on the result in Ninewa, which includes the
major city of Mosul. There are widespread accusations that the voting
there has been rigged in order to prevent Ninewa being the third
province to reject the constitution. Australian SBS news showed
footage of a man methodically filling out a stack of ballot pages with
yes votes.

According to the Chicago Tribune, UN observers noted "suspiciously
high turnouts at some polling stations, as well as suspiciously high
numbers of yes votes at some of them." An election official claimed on
the weekend that more than three quarters of voters in the province
had supported the constitution. Sunni Arabs and ethnic Turkomen,
however, who are the majority in the province, turned out in large
numbers to vote no.

Reflecting the broader perception among Iraqi Sunnis, politician Saleh
Mutlaq told a news conference: "I believe they will rig the result and
announce the success of the referendum, but our monitors reported to
us that more than 80 percent of the voters in three governorates
[provinces] have said no to the draft."

An unnamed representative of a resistance organisation told Reuters:
"If the government manipulates things in Mosul and lets the
constitution pass, the next thing will be general strikes,
demonstrations and an increase in military operations [against the


>>Observers said that initial results of the referendum clearly
suggest that the Sunni vote on the constitution might have been
divided. The Sunnis, as Sawsan Al-Assaf, political science professor
at Baghdad University explained, have lost the power to block the
measure due to contradictory calls from their leaders. "As the
referendum approached," Al-Assaf said, "there was a near consensus
among Iraq's Sunnis to come out in huge numbers to veto the charter
because they believe its passage will be the first step on the road to
dividing Iraq," she said.

Many Sunni leaders have accused the Iraqi Islamic Party of breaking
the Sunni consensus after it called on Iraq's Sunnis -- just one day
before voting took place -- to support the referendum. The party
claimed that in return, parliament would review the constitution once
new elections are held in January 2006.

Some even speak of a "secret deal" with the Americans that would allow
the party to gain more influence in the political process.

According to Al-Assaf, however, the party is likely to pay a huge
political price for such a move and the Sunnis will continue to remain
outside the political process. "Even if the constitution is passed,
the fact that the majority of Sunnis still don't approve of it means
that the country has not moved any closer towards achieving national
reconciliation. Iraqis are doomed if the referendum is passed and
doomed if it isn't," Al-Assaf said.

A prominent Sunni politician said that vote-rigging took place in
Diyala where soldiers were spotted removing the ballot boxes and that
there had been more votes cast than registered electors.

While no exact figures were reported from the province of Anbar where
the turnout was believed to be minimal, in Falluja the yes vote was
set at three per cent and the no vote at 97 per cent. A hundred
thousand votes were counted.

In the much-contested Nineveh, initial results put the yes vote at 78
per cent while the no vote amounted to 21 per cent. Several Sunni
figures doubted this high yes vote, raising concerns among Iraqi
Sunnis that the referendum -- marketed as yet another landmark of the
failing political process -- may have been rigged.

Reports of a possible fraud in the referendum on Iraq's draft
constitution only confirm Iraqi Sunnis' fears that corrupt practices
might have been allowed to boost the yes vote.

One Iraqi observer warned that any shadowy practices could
deligitimises the whole process. Nadhim Al-Jassour, head of Political
Science Institute at Al-Mustansariya University, believes that already
there is suspicion on the Sunnis' part that the constitution will be
passed anyway. "Such reports of vote-rigging or even statements by US
officials that the constitution has been passed before the final
results have even been announced, exposes the real intention to pass
it at any cost," Al-Jassour told Al-Ahram Weekly.

If the referendum is vetoed, he said, all of Iraq's political forces
will have to go back to the drawing board. This time round, however,
Iraq's Sunnis will play a crucial role in shaping the political


>>Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks on US and British
troops are justified, according to a secret poll said to have been
commissioned by British defence leaders and cited by The Sunday

Less than 1% of those polled believed that the forces were responsible
for any improvement in security.

Eighty-two per cent of those polled said they were strongly opposed to
the presence of the troops. >>


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