Black Agenda Radio Commentaries
News, analysis and commentary on the human condition from a black left perspective.
iraqi electionA Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
On January 16 of next year, Iraqis will vote in national elections and a referendum on whether to send the Americans home by the end of 2010 – a year earlier than the U.S. expected. “There is no doubt – none whatsoever – that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers.” But the U.S. anti-war movement can take little of the credit.
Iraqis to Vote on Early U.S. Exit
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford
Will Washington just give up the occupation and slither away?”
The American occupation of Iraq may be ending much sooner than Washington anticipated – but little thanks to the U.S. anti-war movement, which has in recent years made itself largely irrelevant to issues of war and peace. The Shi'ite-dominated government in Baghdad is asking Iraq's parliament to hold a popular referendum this coming January that will almost certainly demand the withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of 2010, a year before the Obama administration's fuzzy target date of December, 2011. That means all U.S. military, not just so-called “combat” forces – the semantic farce deployed by the Obama administration to disguise a huge U.S. military and mercenary presence deep into the misty future.
There is no doubt – none whatsoever – that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers, whose flimsy and coerced United Nations “mandate” to remain in Iraq expired last December. That means there is no longer even a veneer of legal basis for the U.S. presence, once the Iraqis say it's time to go.
Despite what you have heard and seen and read in the U.S. corporate media, the great mass of Iraqis have always wanted the Americans out. Nobody on the planet except Americans ever believed the U.S. was in Iraq to protect anything other than American ambitions to dominate the land and resources of other peoples. The current regime in Baghdad promised the Iraqi people it would hold a referendum on the American presence this summer, but delayed the plebiscite to buy more time to consolidate their position, politically and militarily. The January 16 referendum will coincide with Iraq's national elections. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's faction could not hope to win those elections unless it allowed a vote on ridding the country of the U.S. Occupation.
There is no doubt that overwhelming majorities of Iraqis will vote to evict the American occupiers.”
The Obama administration is no more in favor of Iraqis expressing their political will through the voting process than was the Bush administration, which only agreed to popular elections back in 2005 after Ayatolla al-Sistani threatened to bring a million Shi'ites into the streets of Baghdad. President Obama and his generals have applied every conceivable pressure to avoid a referendum on the occupation. Now it appears the clock is ticking – not in the Obama White House, where it could always be turned back on some pretext, but in Baghdad, where al-Maliki's government must show it is on the side of the people, and not the occupier.
None of the Iraq developments of the last two years were due to the U.S. anti-war movement, much of which effectively collapsed into the Obama campaign and then disintegrated.
When the Iraqi people declare at the polls in January that the Americans must pick up their marbles and leave, will Washington just give up the occupation and slither away? That's not in the nature of the imperial beast. But the U.S. will find it much more difficult to claim it is protecting the people whose house it broke into and plundered in March of 2003. 
For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

Direct download: 20090819_gf_IraqiReferendum.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm EDT