What the polls say
Letter in the Irish Times:
Madam, - Lara Marlowe's review of the situation in Iraq (The Irish Times, December 29th) ignored all the healthy signs there and reached misleading conclusions.
There is no civil war in Iraq between Shia and Sunni as she claims. What we actually have is some suicidal bombers coming from abroad - accommodated by the Ba'athists who were involved with Saddam in killing Iraqis for more than 35 years - targeting indiscriminately the innocent people of Iraq.
It is not easy to stop those brainless killers knowing that they have bases and support from neighbouring dictatorships. However, they are active in certain pockets, while the rest of Iraq is calm and peaceful. You could visit many cities such as Najaf, Kerbala, Samawa, Erbi, Suleimanya, and see for yourself that people are making the best out of the new and first democratic era in the modern history of Iraq.
Millions of Iraqis participated in the three polls during 2005, despite the threats of the terrorists. These polls have been authenticated by the United Nations.
The turnout in the December 15th election was 70 per cent, with Sunnis going to the polling stations in massive numbers. The various political parties have now agreed to establish a national unity government which could be a reality very soon.
The trial of Saddam Hussein is another healthy sign of the new Iraq. The court has given him and his team of lawyers the freedom to say in public whatever they want - which does not mean that the court is afraid of Saddam, as suggested by Ms Marlowe. On the contrary, it means that the dictator is facing the justice that he never delivered to his 2 million victims, many of whom were killed and buried in mass graves without any trial.
Ms Marlowe quotes the former interim prime minister as saying human rights abuses in Iraq are now as bad or worse as in the time of Saddam. All Iraqis know that this is not true. He said that for political gain during the last election in which he lost many seats. The reality is that we have hundred of political parties, newspapers, and independent TV stations and people are enjoying their freedom. Also many international institutions were invited to investigate any claim of torture in any location inside Iraq.
The democratic process in Iraq, which Ms Marlowe likes to put in quotation marks, is moving forward. We have to pay tribute to the strength and the determination of the Iraqis to build a new democracy in their country. Any fair-minded person can see its huge effects on a region marked by corrupt rulers and oppressive regimes. - Yours, etc,
KHALID IBRAHIM, Spokesperson, Iraqi Human Rights Organisation, Trinity College, Dublin 2The Irish Times