We are witnessing another decline in Iraq. The Economic Intelligence Unit’s annual Democracy Index marks another low point, with Iraq falling eight places to rank 124 out of 167 countries and the Iraqi regime classified as “authoritarian”. This is the lowest number Iraq has been ranked since the index was established in 2006 and the fifth consecutive drop since 2017, according to Iraq Trade Report. The index provides insight into the state of democracy around the world based on five categories: the electoral process and pluralism; the functioning of government; political participation; political culture; and civil liberties. Based on the results of a group of indicators within these categories, each country is classified as one of four types: “full democracy”, “flawed democracy”, “hybrid regime” and “authoritarian regime”.
This indicator of deterioration is added to a long list of indicators of Iraq’s decline in the underworld in which the country has lived for two decades, following the 2003 invasion and occupation by US forces. The tragedy is that, at present, most of the politicians of the regime are the same people who came along with the profession under excuses created for the purposes of imperialism to mislead and market in a show suit called the democracy. It was a deliberate linguistic-practical misrepresentation, of the kind George Orwell wrote about in his essay Politics and the English language: “It is felt almost universally when we call a democratic country that we are praising it: therefore the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they would have to stop using that word if it were to be used. in one sense. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way.”
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Orwell’s words could not be truer than they are today when describing Iraq, where the conscious intention to be dishonest is the policy adopted by the US and Britain in silence about what the regime has done to the people , and their continued support for this corruption. sectarian regime 20 years after their invasion. This is probably because Baghdad has provided them with billions of dollars worth of reconstruction contracts to rebuild the very infrastructure they ensured they destroyed in the first place. In an attempt to create a submissive nation, the enforcement authorities attempted to destroy cultural heritage and memories, burn libraries, loot museums and ancient sites, target students and scholars, and incite sectarian violence; violations of human rights became a daily practice that no one violated.
It has become common for Iraqi politicians to reuse and recycle vocabulary with noble meanings to camouflage the regime’s terrorism, such as “freedom” instead of livelihood; “democratic government”, not a sectarian regime; “transparency” rather than the prevailing corruption of bribes, theft and extortion; and “sectarian violence” instead of a dirty war involving fake terrorism and black operations. Meanwhile, the reality being lived on the ground translates the terms into their true meanings: security means lawlessness, and the rule of law means the rule of sectarian militias, especially the special forces trained by the US and linked to some parties of the European Union. authoritarian regime, according to the Democracy Index.
While international and local human rights reports and indicators of democracy and the protection of human rights — such as the right to life, movement, religion and sect, and freedom of speech and media — confirm actual violations or links to the media. corrupt system, the two main occupied countries continue to recite the mantra of “democratization” and “the fight against terrorism” to support the regime. Such support is given despite its brutality against anyone who tries to protest against the political situation, the corrupt economy and the humiliation of the state in all possible forms.
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On March 7, for example, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made a surprise visit to Iraq. The reason, he claimed, was to “reaffirm the strategic partnership” between the two countries; US forces, it was said, are willing to remain in Iraq in accordance with the wishes of the Iraqi government. In response to the question of what would motivate the regime to request additional military forces in the country, Austin said: “US forces are ready to remain in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government. These forces are operating in non-combat combat. advise, assist and enable role in supporting the fight against terrorism led by Iraq. This is a critical mission, and we are proud to support our partners in Iraq. But we need to be able to work safely and securely to continue this vital work.”
The stated reason, then, is to continue the “war on terror” and for the regime to protect US forces against any attack. It is the same policy that is profitable militarily and politically for economic dominance that the US administration has tried to bury under the lie of “democracy”. It is as if the world has forgotten the similar claim made by US Secretary of State Colin Powell at the UN, a month before the US-led invasion, when he said in front of the whole world: “The Iraq is involved in terrorism and the most serious danger in the region and in the world is the seriousness of the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to the world.” He stated. Powell also referred to the “sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al-Qaida terrorist network.” Lie another. And another: “Iraq and terrorism going back decades.” By the end of Powell’s speech, or the tragedy that made it so brilliant, the US military invasion of Iraq was an inevitable “necessity” for the world and the save Iraqis. The same type of intimidation drives the “strategic partnership” with America today, the only difference is that the terrorists are no longer Al-Qaeda but Daesh, because the lie about the relationship of the Iraq with Al-Qaeda exposed for all.
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Regarding Britain’s position in support of the Baghdad regime, the British Minister of State for the Middle East, Lord Tariq Ahmed, made it clear during his visit to Iraq at the end of February: “I am delighted to have returned to Iraq and on the Kurdish region. to see how the relationship between the two countries continues to grow.” It is important to note that Ahmed referred to the Kurdish region as if it were not part of Iraq, and that the relationship between the UK and Iraq is under flourish as they “work together to address shared challenges such as climate change, human rights. and security.” He also mentioned “the richness of Iraq’s religious and ethnic diversity, the need to protect freedom of religion or belief and the importance of interfaith dialogue.”
His statements have a veneer, and they are useful for the continuation of the economic and military interests of the US and the UK in Iraq at the expense of the status of its citizens, especially because it results in huge material gains for Washington and Westminster. they will not give up. The responsibility to free them falls on the shoulders of the national movement in Iraq, if it is able to gather itself together and unite, and work in collaboration with the global anti-war and anti-racism movements. Only then can work be done to build true partnerships based on equality with all regional and international countries, and to stop the seemingly endless decline and decay of Iraq. Meanwhile, democracy in Iraq appears to be on the wane.
This article was first published in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 29 March 2023
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The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.