26 May 2010
By Tariq Alhomayed
With the assassination of Bashar Ahmad Hamed al Okaidi, a lawmaker from the Iraqiya bloc in Mosul, Iraq has reached a new stage in the conflict over the formation of the next government. But al Okaidi’s assassination is nothing new on the Arab level as in Lebanon we saw a significant number of assassinations of members of the March 14 Alliance to the extent that the quorum in the Lebanese parliament was almost affected.
Today, after Iraq's Debathification committee failed to hinder the success of the Iraqiya List in the recent elections, just as all attempts to hijack the electoral results have also failed so far, we find that Iraq has begun to enter a new stage to intimidate and weaken those who won the votes of the Iraqi nation; it is the stage of assassinating “Iraqiya” after numerous attempts to eliminate it politically and morally.
The Iraqiya List blamed the government for failing to provide protection to lawmakers but there is more to it than that. The issue is not only about protection; rather the government should have provided protection to Iraq as a whole, and accordingly, the Iraqi Prime Minister should accept the results of the elections instead of clinging onto power and attempting to turn the results around sometimes in the name of the law and at other times in the name of religious references and also based on mathematical equations. The aim of all of this is to cling to power, even if it means Iraq ends up the biggest loser.
It is worrying that al Okaidi’s assassination is considered a serious indication that the mentality that oversaw the assassinations of opponents in Lebanon, particularly members of the March 14 Alliance, might shift over to Iraq and of course al Okaidi’s murder was not the first of its kind as it was preceded by the murder of Iraqiya List candidate Suha Abdul Jarallah in the Ninawa governorate. Of course, it is easy to accuse any of the terrorist groups, or the armed groups, of being responsible for those terrorist operations; but what’s more important here is that the Iraqi government should have guaranteed the protection of its rivals in the same way it ensures protection for its own followers.
We saw how many leaders of the Sahwa were killed in such a primitive manner and how the Al Qaeda organization was accused [of carrying out these murders]. But no one told us for example why the Sahwa leaders were always an easy target for the Al Qaeda organization, even in the most difficult circumstances that indicate that the Sahwa leadership is in danger, such as the murder of Sheikh Abu Risha after his famous meeting with the former US President George W. Bush. Video and sound recordings showed that Abu Risha was asking the US President in that meeting to put a stop to Iranian interference in Iraq.
Today, even though officials from the Iraqi electoral commission stated that the commission’s system allows for al Obaidi to be replaced by the person with the most votes after him from the same list, there is still an important question; who will guarantee that this systematic targeting of the Iraqiya List will not continue to harm its symbols, God forbid, and lead to the situation blowing up in Iraq and becoming even more complicated than it is now?
Therefore, accusing the government of negligence is not enough; whoever clings to power even at the cost of destroying Iraq must be condemned. What’s the difference between the person who clings to power today and Saddam Hussein who clung to power in Iraq until he left behind an occupied country that is torn apart?