Louay Alzaher, a member of the Iraqi community in Brisbane, told Green Left Weekly that corruption, food shortages and high levels of unemployment have been the catalysts of the protest movement that has erupted in Iraq.
“The significance of the Iraqi movement is enormous, as it seeks to fight for the freedom of Iraq from control and influence, including the total removal of United States military bases from the country,” said Alzaher.
“The Iraqi revolutionaries have made clear, both verbally and with slogans, that they want complete freedom for their country and a national identity for all Iraqis. This common ground has united the people of Iraq in support of this movement.”
Alzaher said that “from day one” the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the United States “left a path of destruction” and, in combination with the US invasion in 1991 invasion, has redefined the country’s political landscape, including the left.
“It is the US who appointed all of the political leaders and groups in Iraq. Additionally, they began the systematic killing of Iraqis before employing death squads, SWAT [teams] and Special Forces to spread terror.”
“There is no longer an ‘Iraqi left’ and there hasn't been such since 1992.”
This changing landscape is evident in the new movement, according to Alzaher. “The uprising is being led by the people themselves with no involvement from political parties.
“Victory for this uprising will spur the emergence of many socialist parties, because historically, Iraq tends toward the left.
“To the Iraqis, there are no alternatives to victory outside of death itself. No one can ever guarantee that this revolution will achieve victory for one reason: the entire world is against it.
“However, the Iraqi revolutionaries have the determination to fight until the end, even going as far as saying that, if Algeria could submit one million martyrs against the French, then Iraq will fight with ten million.
Alzaher said international pressure is needed, “especially on the United Nations, to stand with the movement in Iraq”.
The uprisings in neighbouring Iran are, in part, related to what is happening in Iraq, “since the Iranian regime is involved in the US-designed Iraqi political process”.
“Both Iranians and Iraqis are suffering similar plights under a totalitarian regime.
“The Iraqi uprising has also awakened the people of Lebanon and Iran from a dormant state to rise up against their own political and economic misfortunes.”
Alzaher said that “in some respects, the Iraqi uprising can be viewed as part of the wider struggle in the Middle East”. However, the Iraqi people have their own particular fight “to repair the damage done to their nation”.