The short demonstration we are about to propose represents a template for the step-by-step elaboration of a workable approach to democracy in Iraq. I wish to suggest that as regards the scheduled January elections, Prime Minster Allaoui hold a press conference indicating voter registration modalities. Needless to say, renegade forces would most likely violently interfere with their implementation; paradoxically enough, that just might be the best way to take stock,turn the page and move forward.
Why is this so? I am convinced that it's necessary to show world opinion, as in some ways epitomized by Secretary General Annan and French President Chirac, that the so-called "insurgents" have no stomach for free elections, and that their fight against the "occupation forces" is not patriotic, but rather meant to build up a new Califate (as Saddam indeed desired to do).
Construction costs for voting booths (and related accessories) would be but a secondary concern, as long as needed precautions are assured in order to preclude destructive attacks and the resulting casualties; it would make sense that the requisite setting up of a voters' bureau network take place throughout the country, even in the lands now dominated by Sunni renegades.
Were the latter - Islamists, Baathists, Al Qaida stalwarts - to nonetheless commit acts of sabotage, their hideous real face would be exhibited and exposed; the truth could be bared, their bluff called, and the masquerade ended.
Secondly, it should be mentioned that any honest and impartial observer can easily figure out that the troops of the "coalition of the willing" now on the ground are woefully insufficient; on the other hand, once matters were entrusted to Iraqi troops, the multinational forces and assorted staff might wish to move about outside the "green zone" -- and even, as some experts suggest, away from Bgahdad. Why so? Not with escape in mind, but rather in order to leave the strong symbolic compound in Iraqi hands alone.
What with this shrewd and astute gesture, which would mean quite a lot in a country where a word is often seen as the real thing and where the latter is perceived as signally significant, the egregiously wrong-headed nature of the Islamist/Baath/French/M. Moore argumentative contention would be rendered transparently evident.
As for the aforementioned multinational forces, they could take their materiel out of the imposing bulwark that used to be Saddam's, and perhaps more thoroughly protect themselves within the surrounding no man's land.
Just three and a half months before the January 2005 elections, it's high time to conclusively prove that the democratic approach means far more than words, deserves something other than lip service -- and can and will be carried forward.
English-language text by LSA Oulahbib reviewed and adapted by Jeffrey Robert Arsham