Ann Clywd, Blairs menneskerettsutsending til Irak, som har kjempet i årtier for irakernes sak, skisserer den nye situasjonen som har oppstått etter at Irak fikk igjen suvereniteten:
No one would deny that the Coalition Provisional Authority made some fundamental errors in policy in its 14 months of power. And no one should be blind to the dangers that lie ahead. But at this point in Iraq’s history the choice is a stark one. Either we support those who offer the chance of a democratic Iraq, with laws that protect the rights of all Iraqis and a civil society that ensures the country never returns to the evil days of dictatorship, or we embrace the gunmen and the bombers, who have already demonstrated their contempt for human life.
Are we capable of the maturity displayed by the Iraqis who are working in the most difficult circumstances to build a new democracy? Or will we be represented by those who despise Bush and Blair so much that they are prepared to offer support and succour to the «resistance» which has no alternative or agenda other than more bloodshed and chaos?
It has become commonplace to argue that the new interim government «lacks legitimacy». The words «quislings» and «puppets» are widely used, while anti-coalition violence is said to represent the «real war of liberation». This ignores a recent poll that showed widespread support for the new interim government. The poll was commissioned by the Coalition Provisional Authority but was conducted by the same organisation that discovered widespread disapproval of the coalition only a couple of months ago. This time, Prime Minister Ayad Allawi was found to have approval ratings of 73%, while President Ghazi al-Yawar received 84%.
The unwillingness to concede that the interim government might be a popular one shows the continuing frustration of some of those who opposed the war. They view any progress made towards democracy in Iraq with suspicion – a view more honestly expressed by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown writing in the Evening Standard: «The past months have been challenging for us in the anti-war camp. I am ashamed to admit that there have been times when I wanted more chaos, more shocks, more disorder …»
Having known and worked with the opposition to Saddam for over two decades, I find the description of brave individuals as «puppets» deeply offensive. Allawi was nearly killed in 1978 in the UK when he was attacked by a Ba’athist assassin with an axe. The deputy prime minister, Barham Salih, was imprisoned at the age of 16 for his political activities. The deputy foreign minister, Hamid al-Bayati, was imprisoned in Abu Ghraib and had five members of his family killed by Saddam’s regime. Eight thousand members of foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari’s family clan disappeared in 1983 and have never been seen since.
Every day, these individuals and others face the knowledge that they are targets for assassination. But they continue to work, just as the policemen return to their jobs every day, despite the suicide bombs targeted at them