Iraq’s Communist Party condemns ISIS

The Communist Party of Iraq has issued the following statement, dated September 2014, regarding the recent barbaric attacks launched in that country by ISIS:

On the 10th of June, 2014, the terrorist organization known as ISIS, and its allies including remnants and supporters of Saddam Hussein’s fascist dictatorship, launched an attack on Mosul, seizing control of Iraq’s second largest city and unleashing a wave of barbaric crimes against tens of thousands of innocent civilians. In the days and weeks that followed, the whole world witnessed crimes against humanity being committed against innocent Iraqi civilians. Religious and ethnic minorities were targeted, especially Christians, Yazidis, Turkmen, and Shabak, with the aim of uprooting indigenous communities that have peacefully lived and coexisted in Iraq for over two thousand years. Atrocities were committed against Yazidis, including the abduction of hundreds of young women and children, and tens of thousands were forced to seek refuge on Mount Sinjar, where they were besieged and faced a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportions.

The mass killing of around 1,700 unarmed young military recruits at Camp Speicher in Salahuddin province was another heinous war crime aimed at igniting sectarian strife. The terrorist onslaught has created a humanitarian catastrophe. More than 1.6 million people have been displaced this year by violence in Iraq, with 850,000 fleeing their homes in August, according to the UN.

These barbaric crimes and the perpetrators must be unequivocally condemned by all progressive forces, with effective support and solidarity extended to the Iraqi people.

The recent grave developments cannot be isolated from what Iraq has lived through in recent years. The country has been in a deep and total crisis caused by the legacy of long years of tyranny and dictatorship, the consequences of the U.S. occupation and the interference of regional powers. Its roots lie in the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system that has existed since 2003. The crisis has also exposed the agenda of the ruling political forces and their fighting to maintain positions in political power and privileges, while the people’s suffering and anger intensify as a result of rampant unemployment, corruption, and poor public services, health and education, in addition to the deteriorating security situation.

The infighting among ruling groups, over power and privileges, has provided a fertile ground for extremist Islamist and shadowy groups to intensify acts of terrorism, carrying out heinous atrocities, with the aim of pushing Iraq into sectarian strife and civil war. More than 7,000 people were killed in 2013, by waves of car and suicide bombings. During the last two months, in July and August 2014, around 3,000 people were killed. The victims are mainly innocent civilians, including workers and the unemployed in poor districts.

The Iraqi Communist Party has repeatedly warned against the danger of the country sliding once again into sectarian strife, and called for urgent action by democratic forces, and for popular initiatives to safeguard Iraq’s national unity.

It is also important to highlight briefly the socio-economic nature of the present political system in Iraq. The country has an economy that is heavily dependent on oil revenues, with marginalized productive sectors, and is highly consumerist, relying heavily on imports. As a result, there has been a growth of comprador and parasitic strata accumulating enormous wealth from public money grabbed through corruption, big contracts with the state, in collusion with influential officials, as well as speculation, smuggling of funds and other parasitic activities.

There is a tendency, which is becoming increasingly obvious, of the tangling of interests between influential political forces in power and the growing parasitic and comprador strata. These forces as whole, with support from international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, organizations of the UN and others, stand for transforming the Iraqi economy into a total market economy and breaking up what is left of the public sector through privatization and other measures that are inspired by the ideological arsenal of neo-liberalism. The Iraqi Communist Party firmly stands against these policies, puts forward its alternatives, and works to develop alignments bringing together those who have an interest in resisting this neo-liberal orientation.

The radical remedy for the problems of the country and its intractable crisis lies in getting rid of the sectarian-ethnic power-sharing system, commitment to the values ​​of true democracy, with its political and social dimensions and institutions, and building the state in line with its principles. The means of administration and governance must ensure respect for human rights, politically and socially, to guarantee equal citizenship, social justice, independence and national sovereignty. This is the path for the establishment of a democratic civil state which provides all the necessary prerequisites for sustainable economic, social, political and cultural development, utilizing the abundant wealth of the people and country for the good of its citizens and their well-being, prosperity and social progress.

In response to the terrorist onslaught of ISIS and its allies, the Iraqi Communist Party has stressed the need for speeding up the formation of a broad national unity government on the basis of a comprehensive national program. This is needed to heal the national fabric, resolve the differences that have paralyzed the national effort, and adopt a host of political, economic and social measures that will strengthen the armed forces and enable them to regain control as soon as possible of the cities and towns that were ravaged by the terrorists.

The party has also called for convening a National Conference in order to review the political process and address the root cause of the ongoing crisis, by ridding it of sectarian-ethnic power-sharing and political sectarianism. This is the only path forward to build a unified democratic and federal Iraq.

Communists and their party organizations all over Iraq have been actively involved in the national effort to fight and defeat the ultra-reactionary terrorists and provide humanitarian support to the displaced communities. They are playing, along with other democratic forces, a vital role in combating sectarianism, chauvinism and nationalist bigotry, preserving national unity and upholding human and democratic rights.

Communists are also firmly opposed to the schemes that are aimed at dividing Iraq along sectarian lines. It is up to the Iraqi people to decide their own fate, democratically, with their own independent will, without interference by any outside powers, rejecting attempts to impose designs that serve imperialist agendas for hegemony and exploitation.

In this just struggle, international solidarity is indispensible. All forms of international support extended to Iraq in its battle against terrorism should be based on international legitimacy and within the framework of the UN. In this respect, it is of utmost importance to continue humanitarian help to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people. Effective measures are needed to cut off the funding from reactionary regional and Arab forces, as well as blocking all external human resources and material support flowing to ISIS and its allies.

We call on all peace-loving and progressive forces in the world to express support and solidarity with the Iraqi people and democratic movements in their fight against ultra-reactionary terrorism and political sectarianism, and for a unified, democratic and federal Iraq.

Photo: An ISIS fighter displays a missile. Fighters with this group have launched barbaric attacks on many groups in Iraq. AP