Iraqi Communist Party

The assassination of a prominent Iraqi civil activist, Ihab al-Wazni, in the city of Karbala on 9th May 2021 aroused strong and wide condemnation, especially as it came shortly after he openly informed the security forces that his life was in imminent danger following the receipt of death threats. The crime was committed in cold blood and the victim had been left without any protection.  On 25th May 2021, mass demonstrations took place in Baghdad and several other provinces condemning the killing of Ihab al-Wazni and other activists. The main slogan was “Who Killed Me?” and the participants included a broad spectrum of social forces and civil democratic organisations, including youth, students, women and trade unions. Despite the peaceful character of the demonstration in Baghdad, the protesters were again targeted with live bullets fired by armed gangs as they dispersed, killing two young men. It was a reminder of bloody scenes in the same place, Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) in central Baghdad, during the October Uprising in 2019. There has been an escalating campaign of assassinations and attacks in recent months, targeting many activists and peaceful protesters, that have been carried out by armed groups with impunity. More than a year and a half after the start of the courageous popular Uprising, which erupted on 1st October 2019, the root causes behind it continue to exist, with a deepening structural political crisis. Bloody repression that was unleashed to end the Uprising, with more than 700 killed, thousands wounded and many still “disappeared”, failed to quell the deep desire for change. The ruling groups of the corrupt ethno-sectarian power-sharing system were forced to give few concessions in the face of mounting popular anger that threatened their political power. These included the resignation of former Pime Mnister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and accepting the demand for early elections. They also paid lip service to other demands that included bringing those responsible for killing the protesters to justice, combating rampant corruption and addressing economic grievances of the people. A year ago, in May 2020, a new government headed by Mustafa Al-Kadhimi was endorsed by parliament, after prolonged political manoeuvres and compromises between the dominant blocs. It promised to prepare for free and fair early elections and also to reveal the identity of the perpetrators of bloody crimes against the protesters.     However, the assassination of civil activist Ihab al-Wazni in Karbala on 9th May 2021, was a turning point. It culminated in escalating attacks against leading protesters in various provinces and revealed the miserable failure of Al-Kadhimi’s government to deliver on its promises. No effective measures were taken to put an end to armed militias and assassination squads. This has also cast real doubts about the ability of the government to provide the necessary conditions for free and fair elections in October. Early Elections The demand for early elections, as raised by the popular Uprising in October 2019, aimed at bringing about change. However, there is growing deep concern about various aspects of the electoral process, including a flawed Electoral Law. It was amended by parliament and designed to serve the interests of the rulers and dominant blocs. The date for elections was postponed, at the request of the Electoral Commission, from 6th June to 10th October 2021. Vote buying has already started, with corrupt politicians and their parties spending money lavishly in the absence of any real controls. The Parties Law, which prevents such practices and bans political parties with armed formations from participating in elections, has not been implemented. No effective measures have been taken to prevent a repeat of the shameful rigging…

Read full article on Iraqi Communist Party:
Iraqi Communists suspend participation in elections and demand end to killings of protesters *