Iraqi groups call for election boycott

A group of national, political and religious groups in Iraq, including the Association of Muslim Scholars, have decided to boycott the elections due to be held early next year.

    The AMS says the boycott is a result of the Falluja assault

    The association

    said in a statement that the elections posed grave risks to the future of Iraq as it would undermine Iraq's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

    The signatories of the statement include Imam Khalesi University, Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS); the National Trend Movement; Iraqi National Foundational Conference; Iraqi Turkomen Front; and the Christian Democratic Party.

    Ahmad Abd al-Ghafur al-Samarrai, a member of the AMS, told Aljazeera: "The AMS, the Iraqi National Foundational Conference and other groups describe the forthcoming elections under US occupation as a farce and that it will not be truly representative neither will it express the ambitions of the Iraqi people."

    'Useless elections'

    The announcement was made because of the "massacre of the people of Falluja and the collective punishment with wanton destruction meted out by the US," he said.

    AMS will boycott the elections in
    protest against Falluja assault

    When asked about other groups who have announced they would participate in the elections, al-Samarrai responded: "Everyone is entitled to their opinions and they are free to express them."

    He, however, added: "We, the AMS and other groups, believe the elections under US occupation are useless, those occupiers want everything to go the way they wish."

    "What is happening now in Falluja is appalling and highly unacceptable."

    "I met a delegation of Falluja citizens on Wednesday," he said.

    Humanitarian disaster

    "They told me that the city of Falluja was practically on fire with so many people killed and in most cases left to die," al-Samarrai said. 

    US-led forces have also barred
    humanitarian aid from Falluja

    "Among them are young children, the elderly and in some instances even infants," he said. 

    Al-Samarrai also said US forces in Falluja were preventing any humanitarian assistance from reaching the needy civilians caught in the city.

    "How can we hold elections under such conditions?"

    "The Falluja delegation calls on [interim Iraqi Prime Minister] Iyad Allawi's government and all US-related international organisations to impose pressure on the US occupation forces to halt all military operations in Falluja for at least 12 hours," al-Samarrai said.

    The people of Falluja say they need a minimum of 12 hours to allow at least five doctors to enter the city in order to treat the wounded, evacuate bodies and bury the martyrs (those killed during US pounding of the city).

    US withdrawal

    The AMS says the US should
    announce a withdrawal date

    "If the US occupation forces have set a date for their withdrawal from the country, there will be a clear reason for all these organisations to approve and support the elections despite the mystery of their mechanism and the current events," al-Samarrai said.  

    "We have repeatedly called on the US for clarify on its agenda, setting at least a date for withdrawal, even if it is after four or five years," he said.  

    "All the Iraqi organisations and resistance groups have on numerous occasions requested the US to announce their withdrawal date," he added.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera


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