portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article

imperialism & war

Chalabi backs 2-year US military occupation

"The military presence of the United States in Iraq is a necessity until at least the first democratic election is held, and I think this process should take two years," Chalabi said in an interview on ABC television's "This Week" program.
 http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N20306154.htm
20 Apr 2003 12:54:03 GMT

Chalabi backs U.S. military presence in Iraq
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Mark Felsenthal

WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) - Pro-American Iraqi politician Ahmad Chalabi on Sunday called for U.S. forces to remain in Iraq until the country holds elections, a process he said could take two years.

"The military presence of the United States in Iraq is a necessity until at least the first democratic election is held, and I think this process should take two years," Chalabi said in an interview on ABC television's "This Week" program.

A report in Sunday's New York Times said the United States was planning to seek long-term access to as many as four military bases in Iraq. Pentagon officials said they had no information about the report.

Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress whom analysts have said is the U.S. choice to lead Iraq, said Islamic religious parties could participate in postwar Iraqi politics.

"There is a role for the Islamic religious parties, including Shia religious parties, because they have some constituencies. But they are not going to be forcing any agenda or any theocracy on the Iraqi people," he said.

Chalabi said reports of emerging assertions of power by clerics and religious groups in some cities should be viewed as acts of defiance against deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein after a period of repression, rather than a threat to stability.

"I do not think this should be read as anyone trying to set up an authority or to challenge whatever emerges from the process of an interim authority," he said.

New freedoms following the ouster of Saddam have meant that thousands of Iraqi Shi'ites were able to take part in the first pilgrimage to the holy city of Kerbala for the first time in more than 25 years this weekend.

Chalabi, the first major exile politician to reach Baghdad since the collapse of Saddam's government, stood by earlier declarations that he will not be a candidate for office in the country's interim government.

"I am not seeking a political position in Iraq at this time. I want to focus on building civil society, I want to focus on building democratic institutions," he said.

Iraqis will draft a constitution that will provide for orderly changes of political leadership, Chalabi said.

homepage: homepage: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N20306154.htm
address: address: Reuters

military occupation 20.Apr.2003 22:08

brian

now thats more like! No more crap about democracy, no more lies, just a straight imperial province under military rule, perhaps later succeeding to a quasi independent democracy - maybe