Commentary: Don't Trust the Vote in Iraq!
Special to ASSIST News Service

By Ken Joseph Jr.

BAGHDAD , IRAQ (ANS) -- I will never forget standing at the bedside and praying with the dying Shah of Iran in Cairo, Egypt. His dear friend, President Anwar Sadat had provided him with one of his palaces in Cairo.

Clearly weakening he spoke of all things he wished he had done differently, but I will never forget two things.

First, he said, "All I wanted was to bring my people into the 20th century and see them enjoy the fruits of the modern world. I wanted to do it in my lifetime and did it too fast."

Second he continued, "My biggest regret is what will happen now! If it were even the communists taking over after me I would not be so worried - at least they would be progressive - it is the mullahs! They will turn my country back 500 years!"

As I watched the election results coming out of Iraq I remembered his words from July of 1980. How prophetic they were, not only for Iran but for Iraq as well.

In a meeting recently with the President of Iraq he confirmed that up to one million Iranians had come across the border into Iraq . More recent figures -- all unconfirmed of course put the number up to 4 million.

It is believed that these were provided with false registration and provide much of the basis for the unusually high voting percentages.

Having been in Iraq since before the war I, along with all other Iraqis saw firsthand the process of the "Iranization" of Iraq .

We begged the CPA Administrators to close the border and stop the Iranian Television Station which still beams vicious propaganda into Iraqi homes.

While I, along with others, rejoiced at the purported high voting figures for Iraq as I saw them come in and compared them to the reports of massive voter suppression in the non-shia areas of Iraq , I remembered the Shah’s words and the words of President Yawar of Iraq .

The voting figures are simply shocking! The Assyrian Christian who had at least 700,000 in Iraq as well as an equal number overseas are credited with only 32,000 votes!

The United Iraqi Alliance, the Iranian front organization to which the fraudulent votes went reported a voting tally of 4,075,295 -- absolutely impossible, particularly when you are in Iraq and Iraqis across the board are very clear that they do not want in any form the mullahs in government.

The Kurdistan Alliance from where most of the Assyrian Christian votes were "stolen," again comes up with an impossible tally -- 2,175,551! Impossible from the numbers and right if you factor in the "stolen" votes from the Assyrians, Yezidis and others in Kurdistan.

As an Assyrian Christian, the original people of Iraq we experienced the exact opposite.

I warned our people over and over to oppose the election as the voting process was not being done correctly.

First, the voting of overseas Iraqis was opposed by the United Nations until the very end. I spoke with Mr. Carlos Valenzuela in charge of the election as late as November and he adamantly said, "There will be no voting for overseas Iraqis."

It was under great duress that they were held and they were purposely designed to suppress the voting of overseas Iraqi for a very simple reason -- in the US for example approximately 85% of all Iraqis are in fact not Moslem but Assyrian Christians.

The number of international election observers in Iraq was approximately 70, with none leaving their bases to actually inspect the electoral system.

Electoral boxes were stuffed with voting papers, obviously just dumped into the boxes at random.

It is worse in Iraq! Just as I expected voting in the Assyrian Christian area of Iraq was suppressed. The Iraqi Independent Electoral High Commission publicly acknowledged that out of 330 voting stations in the Assyrian Administrative Area only 93 were opened denying the vote to nearly 300,000 Assyrian Christians.

Voting materials were not delivered to the districts of Al-Hamdaniya (Qaraqosh-Baghdeda), Karamlesh, Bartilla County, Bashiqa, Bahzani, and the district of Al-Shikhan (Ain-Safni), which have a population of 300,000.

While on one hand Iran sent in between one and four million people to fraudulently vote to turn Iraq into the Islamic Republic of Iraq on the other hand up to 800,000 Assyrian Christians both in and outside of Iraq were denied the vote.

I ask the simple question that I have asked now for nearly two years -- did 1,400 young men and women die to create the Islamic Republic of Iraq?

The fault lies squarely in one court - the United Nation. The United Nations has done all in it power to assist the transformation of Iraq into an Islamic republic.

The initial plan of the United States , as it did in Japan and Germany , was to have a constitution written, elections based on that constitution and then a government in place and then the handover were stopped due to the pressure of the UN whom Iraqis despise to this day for having worked hand in hand with Saddam Hussein.

The ultimate irony would be for Iraq to turn into another Iran and be worse off than it ever was.

The Assyrian Christians, the indigenous people of Iraq are the "canary in the mine." If the International Community and the United States in particularly do not immediately demand the right for this precious minority - one of the last Christian groups in the Middle East to be able vote and to have their Assyrian Administrative Area as provided for in the current Iraqi Constitution the future of freedom, democracy and the rule of law in the Middle East is for all practical purposes over.

Whether one was for or against the war, nobody believes the sacrifice of 1,400 young men and women was to create the Islamic Republic of Iraq.

Having paid in blood for the liberation of Iraq the United States has the right to demand that the government of Iraq be democratic and free, the Assyrian Administrative Region for the Assyrian Christians and article 7, which says, "Islam is the religion of the nation" be removed. If not than 1,400 young men and women will have died in vain!

I can never forget the sad and broken eyes of the late Shah of Iran as he spoke of his country. What he had intended for good had resulted in the opposite -- instead of moving forward -- Iran moved backward as he had predicted 500 years.

We must not make the same mistake in Iraq !

Rev. Ken Joseph Jr., an Assyrian, was born and raised in Japan. His grandparents escaped the country in the Assyrian Holocaust of 1919 and he directs and is currently writing a book about his experience in Iraq before and after to war.

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