I am almost certain there are now more than one Iraqi Communist Party. THis is probably the main one. I believe the other party supports the armed resistance to the occupation. This party has participated in the political process even though it wants the occupation to end. I am not sure how much influence they have. They are secular and nationalist and pro-democracy. The communists used to be quite influential before Hussein came to power. With the help of the CIA he systematically murdered the leading figures in the movement. Given the secular nature of the party and its nationalist stance the party seems quite idealistic(or unrealistic) in its stance in a country torn by ethnic, regional, and religious divisions.
Iraqi Communists Again Call for an End to the Occupation
By Iraqi Communist Party
On this occasion, allow me to express our gratitude for the internationalist support and solidarity extended to the Iraqi people, our Communist Party, and the democratic forces in Iraq (trade unionists, women’s and youth organizations, and others, etc., by many fraternal parties all over the world. We look forward to your continued support in the difficult and complex struggle ahead in Iraq – to eliminate the legacy of dictatorship and occupation, defeat the acts of terror and sectarian violence, bring about a speedy end to the occupation and restore full national sovereignty, and build a unified, democratic and federal Iraq.
Three Main Topics
In this brief contribution, I will attempt to highlight some points that are of special relevance to the three main topics of this Meeting.
* Our Party openly opposed and rejected the warmongering and hegemonic policy of the neo-conservatives in the US, long before the war on Iraq in 2003. We opposed the war, invasion and occupation, exposing its imperialist objectives. This position has been vindicated, thus enhancing the credibility of our Party in Iraq, among the people. In the unique and extremely complex situation that developed after the war, with the collapse of the Iraqi state, following the collapse of the fascist-type dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, our Party, along with the major political forces, resorted to political struggle as the main form of fighting against the occupation, and for regaining national sovereignty and independence.
* We view the on-going political process as contradictory. Different constituent political forces and currents (Islamic, nationalist – both Arab and Kurdish – democratic and liberal) have different and conflicting visions, societal projects and agendas. The occupying powers, the US and its allies, also have their own, well-known, agendas and plans, and are still a major player.
* However, the events and developments in Iraq clearly show that the internal dynamic, and the internal forces, can effectively influence the direction, content and pace of the developments of the political process.
* This influence grows stronger, the more the Iraqi forces succeed in unifying their ranks and act together on agreed-upon national objectives.
* National unity (which is a common theme also in Palestine and Lebanon) is therefore indispensable in the fight to overcome sectarian divisions, divisions which have been accentuated and manipulated by the US administration. National unity, and national consensus, are also indispensable for the fight to seize back full national sovereignty, eliminate the legacy of dictatorship, end the occupation, and empower the people to take their destiny into their own hands.
* We conceive the political process as an arena of struggle, with the aim of bringing it closer to the national democratic agenda.
* In this process, as always, our Communist Party is guided by the interests of the Iraqi people, its toilers and workers.
* In parallel with the fight for the biggest issue, ending the occupation, Iraqi Communists are playing a prominent and leading role in social struggles, by defending the rights of workers and the Iraqi people in general.
* In addition, there is the continuing fight against the privatization of state enterprises, against all neo-liberal plans and the diktats of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
* These social and class struggles cut across the ethnic-sectarian divide, and therefore also contribute significantly to strengthening the Iraqi national identity and national unity.
Impact of the War on the US
There is also another, very important aspect of the Iraqi issue. The war and its consequences have become a central issue in the US itself, dominating the political scene there in an unprecedented manner reminiscent of the Vietnam war.
The US Congressional elections last November proved to be a turning point, one with a significant and continuing impact on US policy in Iraq. As we pointed out in our Party's contribution to the International Meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Lisbon last November, the pressure has increased, inside the US Congress and among the American people, for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. This development is of great importance for our position on Iraq – that there should be a clearly-defined timetable for the speedy withdrawal of occupation forces, linked to rebuilding the Iraqi armed forces and achieving national reconciliation. The Bush administration has, until now, refused to be committed to such a timetable, preferring instead an open-ended military presence and occupation.
Achieving success in establishing a timetable for withdrawal will have a significant impact on peace and stability in the Middle East, by preventing the extreme right wing and neo-conservatives in the US, and their allies in the region, from carrying out further aggressive military adventures that would plunge the Middle East and the whole world into another catastrophe with unforeseen consequences. The peaceful resolution of the conflict in Iraq is especially important today, with the escalating threats of military action against Iran. It is, therefore, vital that efforts are intensified by all peace-loving forces to resolve the conflict through diplomatic means.
No War for Oil
One of the main topics of this Meeting (the first topic, actually) deals with the role and importance of oil resources. This is of special relevance to Iraq and the war launched 4 years ago. Iraq has the world's second or third largest proven oil resources. Despite repeated statements by US officials that the war had nothing to do with oil, the facts prove otherwise. The US Secretary of State, Condolezza Rice, said last December that Iraq is "worth the investment" in American lives and dollars. Already the US has spent $400 billion to finance its war and occupation.
The Iraq Study Group, or Baker-Hamilton, report last December listed action on oil among its key recommendations. It said, "The US should encourage investment in Iraq's oil sector by the international community and by international energy companies" and "should assist Iraqi leaders to reorganize the national oil industry as a commercial enterprise."
A draft oil law will soon be debated in the Iraqi parliament. Our party's position is for maintaining the control of the oil wealth by the Iraqi people, as stipulated in the new constitution. There is a lot of resistance to any attempt to shift control of Iraq’s huge oil resources to multinational corporations. In particular, we are against the so-called Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), that allow foreign companies to control oil exploration, development and production for up to 30 years, with a big share of the profits. Russia provided a striking lesson when it signed three such agreements in the mid-1990s, during a period of political and economic turmoil.
A "New Middle East"
I don't have enough time to present our Party's position and analysis regarding the US strategy for hegemony under the so-called plan for a "Wider Middle East" or "New Middle East" – the terms that emerged after the Israeli aggression against Lebanon last year. But I would like to draw attention to one important point for the Left forces in the region and the Arab world. Attempts by US imperialism to impose its own models for "democracy" and "reform," and similar diktats, must be resisted. But we must also stand by the Arab peoples and their legitimate aspirations and struggle for freedoms, a constitutional democratic life, and fundamental human rights.
Bitter and repeated experience since June 1967 (the Israeli war of aggression) confirms that consolidating freedoms and democracy is the only way to safeguard independence and national sovereignty, to resist imperialist pressures and enable these countries to decide their destiny with their own free will. Saddam's dictatorship in Iraq, and its shameful collapse in April 2003, provides yet another stark example.
Finally, we reaffirm our support and solidarity with the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples against Israeli aggression and occupation, and express support for the Cypriot people and our fraternal party AKEL in their legitimate aspiration to end the occupation of their country and achieve the reunification of Cyprus on the basis of UN resolutions.
--Abridged and excerpted contribution of the Iraqi Communist Party to Euro-Mediterranean Meeting of Left Parties, held 17-18 March 2007, Nicosia, Cyprus.