Monday, November 29, 2004

The Iraqi Communist Party . . . to the Right of the Gaullists!

Juan Cole comments on "the interview that Majid Musa, deputy speaker of the Iraqi National Council and leader of the Iraqi Communist Party, gave to Egyptian Radio (BBC World Monitoring, Nov. 23)":
The Egyptian interview asked what the participants at the Sharm El Sheikh conference could be expected to agree on.
"Majid: I believe that there is a common ground and that a consensus is possible. The continuation of the unstable conditions, the deteriorating security situation in Iraq and the activities of terrorists and saboteurs will not be restricted within Iraqi borders. The impact of those crimes and this terrorism will spread throughout the region, unless we take timely measures and cooperate to ward off such dangers." He added that the issue of the exact shape of Iraqi federalism was an internal affair.
The Cairo interviewer asked him about a deadline for withdrawal of US troops. (France had pressed for a deadline of Dec. 31, 2005, for this withdrawal, but the other Sharm El Sheikh participants, including Egypt, rejected it).
"Majid: As for the other issue, which is the withdrawal of foreign forces, it is an objective that all Iraqis without exception seek to achieve. Nobody could claim that they are keener than the Iraqi people to see a quick end to the presence of foreign troops. However, the problem is deciding when those troops could depart. We have not yet built sufficient military, police or security forces to protect the security of Iraq."
It appears to me that the stance of the Iraqi Communist Party, at least for now, is not so far from that of the US government-- curb terrorists and saboteurs, decide on federalism in the Iraqi parliament, and be patient about foreign troops until an Iraqi military can be trained. That is, the ICP seems somewhat to the right of the Gaullists here! (Informed Comment, November 26, 2004)
Cole's comment reminds me of what As`ad AbuKhalil said last April:
When I see the rise of As-Sadr movement and the Sunni fundamentalist groups I can't but wonder about the prospects for secularism in Iraq. The Iraqi Communist Party could have provided the credible alternative but the idiots of the party have damaged their cause for years -- if not decades -- to come by accepting to serve as a tool for occupation. Just as Arab communism suffered from subservience to USSR (especially on the partition question), Iraqi communism has deeply hurt the movement. (The Angry Arab News Service, April 5, 2004)

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