A respected Iraqi politician calls on all foreigners to stop meddling in Iraq’s affairs. I’m looking at you, America.
Adnan Pachachi, a leading Iraqi politician and one-time foreign minister, on Thursday accused Washington of interfering in Iraq’s affairs by insisting that the Jan. 30 election go ahead on time no matter what.
“The strange thing is that America and Iran, who differ on everything, agree on one issue of holding elections on Jan. 30,” Pachachi told reporters.
“It is not the business of the United State or Iran or any other country to talk about delaying or sticking to the date.
“We are very upset by such attempts as foreign states sharing their opinion in this issue. Let us try to agree among ourselves because external attempts might deter any agreement.”
Pachachi and others argue that since many people, particularly in violence-ridden Sunni Muslim parts of the country, may be unable to vote, the result will be skewed and will not truly reflect the country’s make-up.
“If 70 percent of registered voters showed up in the north, 80 percent in the south and less than 10 percent in other areas, there will be a lack of balance and it will give a false picture of the Iraqi reality,” he said.
“We believe winning incomplete elections is not considered a real victory.”
Also, in addition to shortages of fuel, electricity, and potable water the people of Iraq are now suffering from a shortage of food staples.
Iraq is suffering a shortage of state-supplied wheat, sugar and rice because of logistics and security problems, officials and traders say.
Most Iraqis, already in the grip of a fuel and electricity crisis, have depended on monthly rations since the Saddam Hussein era under a system meant to lessen the crushing impact of the 1990-2003 sanctions that helped destroy the economy.
“We have been warning Iraqi officials for months that Iraq was heading for shortages. They insisted on middlemen and companies that cannot deliver,” a market insider said on Wednesday.
The problems could hurt the U.S.-backed government politically and lessen the chances of Prime Minister Iyad Allawi returning to power after next month’s elections.
Several districts of Baghdad have not received rice and sugar rations this month. The wheat flour ration has fallen from nine kilos per family to eight.
The market price of rice has doubled to 1,000 dinars (36 pence) per kg and sugar has risen to 750 dinars from 600. A loaf of bread now costs 20 percent more at 60 dinars.
Iraq food procurement is still a closely guarded secret, despite efforts by Trade Minister Mohammad al-Jiboury to introduce transparency.
Winning companies are not announced and there is suspicion that tenders are sometimes issued after suppliers have been already chosen.