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Ali al-Dabbagh :MKO have no status in Iraq

Ali al-Dabbagh upbeat about Iraqi election
Ali al-Dabbagh, the Iraqi government spokesman and a candidate for the Rule of Law Coalition, gestures at a sample ballot as he speaks to Shia elders during a campaign event in Baghdad, Iraq.

Press TV has conducted an exclusive interview with Iraqi governmenAl-Dabbagh :Mujahedin have no status in Iraqt spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh on the country’s parliamentary elections, which are to be held on March 7.
Following is the text of the interview:

Press TV: What is the importance of this election for the country?
Al-Dabbagh: The importance of the election based on and coming from that this is the first Iraqi people and the voters going to choose persons, by persons, by numbers. Unlike the others, just like the previous elections which just choose means of the list which they do not know who is that. This is very important which gives them the hope that they could be part of the change. They could nominate their representative by name, by person which they believe that he is going to be a real representative for them, a real defender of their right, and he is going to honestly representing them in a good way. This gives the hope. Second that, it is important that it is building up. It is building an accumulative advantage and record of the democracy. This is an importance. As well as, there is a challenges facing Iraq. Challenges for the reconstruction for the three services, for which the people are waiting after seven years. Some of the people are desperate because there is nothing delivered. Most of the difficulties are not yet fixed. So the people are looking forward to choose a real representative to keep the ministers, the cabinet accountable and the questionable for all the failure which might happen and it could improve the political situation in Iraq.

Press TV: Talking about the services, do you think that this election would lead the country to prosperity and unity?

al-Dabbagh: Well, it is not easy from the first time that they could achieve a hundred percent. But we could say that a certain percentage could be achieved. Once the heart of the political system in Iraq, parliamentary system, which is the council of representatives, which is the parliament, when it is healthy, that it could produce a healthy government, a healthy institution, a positive institution. This is the importance that they could be a good representative, a brave people which they could stand there and could bring a good people to the cabinet to improve the services. The political situation, this is the problem. It is a brittle situation still in Iraq. After seven years of the change in Iraq, still a consensus is ruling and governing the situation, which we do need to make a real democracy. A direct democracy is not a consensus democracy, which depends to on the acceptance of the other. The balanced way, which is being held during the past period, it produced a brittle situation. We hope that it will be a better… in the future.

Press TV: After the election campaigns and all the promises that were given by the candidates, do you think the turnout would be huge for the elections?

Al-Dabbagh: I do not think that. I do not think the promises could be fulfilled. It is not an easy, it is not a magic way that any candidates say I could do what, I could so. It is not the way. The most important thing that we have, I said, a healthy heart, a health of the political process, which is the parliament. When this built, of course, it will produce a better… A qualified and efficient… But a deficient… Some of the deficient minister and deficient senior official, which they could not play a major role in improving the services. I guess that the best thing to achieve that we will have a good governance which could produce a better performance. There is no problem of solving some of the difficulties. While the core is good, they could employ, they could nominate a qualified people which they could fix the difficulties and the problems in Iraq.

Press TV: You think the Iraqi people are looking for security. So what are the measures that you have taken or the government has taken to secure the electoral process?

Al-Dabbagh: Let me say that we do not need to say we do. I think we did. If there is a thing to be named to Mr. Maliki that the security situation… Everybody knows that they cannot move in the daytime. At the 3 o’clock, Baghdad is a ghost city. Nobody could move at 3 o’clock. But now nighttime they could travel. I do not say that there is no challenge. There is still challenge. We still are facing those devils which they make horrific attack on Iraqi people. We do need to work to maintain the security, to fix the security. But we had achieved a good performance in the security. What is after security? After security, I think the people would like to see a better life, to be a better living standard, a better education, healthcare, better rational, food, car, better jobs. Unemployment is high still in Iraq. The salaries, the incomes are still low. We want to improve it. All this people are… and it is legitimate. Iraq is a rich country. So this is the thing we are talking about. What is after security? We do not want to say we will do. We already did. But at the same time there are also some failure. Some of the services are not yet fixed. There is deficiency in some places which we do need to bridge this deficiency.

Press TV: I agree with you a hundred percent, but the question actually popped up after the recent threats which were made by the… groups or the terrorists that they are going to target the polling stations and target even the people who are going to vote. What kind of coordination have you done to secure the elections?

al-Dabbagh: I could say that this is not the first time. We had three elections and this is the election we have. We are just looking and hearing the threat. And at the end… Iraqi people are a brave people. As I said, at the time, some of the countries at the day of election, the percentage of the voters comes down, goes down. But here in Iraq, we have a threat. Bombs are coming and attacks are coming and terrorists may attack. But the people are coming. And this is the thing here in Iraq which might be different. This why they are coming, because we have good people, we have a wise people. Like Grand Ayatollah Sistani, like the other politicians, are calling the people to go for voting and this is good. For the Iraqi government is trying to take all the measures in order to secure the centers and the security of the voters, security of the papers, security of all related issues. This is the job of the government and I think there is a plan which is being done. Even we have a surveillance, area of surveillance, which is giving extra protection. This is in the capacity which we could do. And I think there is no way for us. Only to succeed. Failure and accepting¦ from those devil enemies is not in our agenda.

Press TV: Since the bilateral agreement or the withdrawal agreement between Iraq and the US, most of the US officials and actually the commanders are all the time saying that the security is fragile and the security forces are not well-prepared to take over the security file from the US Army. Why do you think they are all the time accusing the Iraqi security forces, or even the (Iraqi) Army, of being incapable of taking over the security file?

al-Dabbagh: I do not deny that there is a challenge, challenges which are facing us in Iraq. But the situation as… as in the media. We have a threat. Devil enemies are attacking us. I do not know monthly, weekly you could say, and it is horrific attack. We have lost a great number of our civilians. But at the end there is agenda, it has been signed and agreed before. The American administration are committed to that table. At the end of 2011, foreign troops staying in Iraq. That challenge. We have to work hard. There is no choice for us. We have to get the security all transferred to Iraq, the security file transferred to Iraq. And there is no other option for us. We have to succeed. Failure is not our agenda.

Press TV: Will you explain for me what is the meaning of the statement which was released by General Odierno when he said that the withdrawal of the US troops will be based on the results of the elections? What does that mean?

al-Dabbagh: I do not think that the decision is to be taken by the military people. This is a political decision and not a unilateral decision. It is a bilateral (one). It has been agreed. It is over. It is over. So talking on other issues, I do not think that it is right, and in the end Iraq is the main decision-making in this issue. We had this. We did the decision and it is final. 2011 whatever challenges. We feel that there is no major challenges. That cell which hates Iraq, that we are facing this one. And this cannot be overcome by the number of the military, whether it is American or Iraqi. There is another way to protect the Iraqis and to fight those devil enemies, by intelligence, by the other means, by the people. But not part of it that increases the number or maintaining that number, huge number of the military or foreign militaries.
Press TV: Do you call it an intervention by the US ambassador when he accuses the Accountability and Justice Commission members of being related to some countries like for example for Iran he said like Ahmad Chalabi and Faisal al-Lami is being related to Iran and ruled by Iran. How do you look at these accusations?
al-Dabbagh: I do not think that this is the role of any ambassador in Iraq should talk about this issue. This is an internal issue. Iraqis are… they have to fix it. And it is not right to talk in this way because it will create problems and difficulties. And we have noticed that the ambassador had said something positive and he said this is an Iraqi issue, Iraqis, they have to fix this problem. And the American administration is treating this issue as a pure Iraqi decision and they refer to it as an Iraqi decision.
Press TV: We have heard that some pressures have been put on the Accountability and Justice Commission and some other judges who are responsible. Can you tell us about this, if you know any?

al-Dabbagh: I think it has been over. The Iraqis are coming and meet those judges and they had chosen what is their function, how do they function. We do not interfere with their daily job, with their decision, with their technical decision, for legal decision. It is their job. Nobody is allowed to interfere in that. But they have to maintain what for they have been established and what is the function of that committee or that commission. The commission is in charge for checking the candidates names, whether they are complying with the Accountability and Justice law or not. Not the winners, the candidates. (This) means that they have to check it before the election, not after the election. I think that… was a mistake. Their declaration… it is not their job. They put them, the major leaders here in Iraq, they put them and they had explained to them this issue, and they accepted, so we overcame, and it is over.

Press TV: Some candidates made surprise visits, or let’s say visits, to the other countries or even neighboring countries like, for example, recently Mr. Iyad Allawi was in Saudi Arabia and met some Saudi officials and held some meetings with security figures. Why do you think he made such trip in this specific time?

al-Dabbagh: Most of the politicians, they pay a visit to foreign countries for different reasons. The visit is not, is not really a big question or anything which makes doubt or suspect. But at the time of election, it might be different, and especially when meeting some intelligence people. This might create question for Iraqis that we do need people to live among us We need the people to be, when I vote for you and you be a parliament member, you should attend the sessions of the parliament. You should not go just in tourism trips to other countries. I do need you here to defend my right. This is the question being raised by Iraqis. At the end, let me say Iraq is not ruling by one person. There is a chance for everyone to make a healthier relation with some of the regional countries. But based on what? Based on the right of the Iraqis.

Press TV: You know, we noticed that since the Iraqi government signed the bilateral or the withdrawal agreement, the US troops started to withdraw from certain cities. But, in the mean time they handed over the responsibility of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) or Camp Ashraf or the New Iraq, as it is named now, to the Iraqi government, and we have heard many statements about their expulsion and many other things. So far, do you think that nothing has been done except for entering the camp and opening some police stations over there without making any progress in their expulsion from the country?

al-Dabbagh: We do not want to expel them against their right. We are dealing with them in the most humanitarian way. But at the same time they have to respect the law of the country. They treat themselves as guests. They have no status in Iraq. This is known for us, known for them, known for the United Nations, known for all the organizations, even the Red Cross. They have no status. But they are we treat them as a guest, as de facto we had inherited from the last regime. Once they do not follow the laws of the country here, they are going to face the law itself. So what is we do not want to create a problem for them. We have prepared that their families come to see them. We have arranged to go all the humanitarian aid to them, whatever is food or healthcare or medicines. It is the normal life they have But at the end, we tell them Iraq is not your choice. Look for a third country. We do not want to force you to go back to Iran. We do not want to do so. We do not want to take you and throw you on the border of Iraq like other countries may. But at the same time, it is that this MKO, they live in different places. Do they have that privilege the same as they have in Iraq or that Western countries? Do they give what we are giving to MKO? They have to respect the law. We are telling them we are not going to harm you. We are not going to create problem and difficulties for you. But you have to respect the prevailing law.

Press TV: But, a few months ago, they have rejected the sovereignty of Iraq when the Iraqi security forces tried to enter the camp and they faced the Iraqi government with knives and tear gas and many other stuff. And even, I have met with some Iraqi soldiers and officers, and they were extremely wounded. So, after the elections, what do you think their status is going to be?

al-Dabbagh: That is the status. That is; we are telling them we are working with the organizations, international organizations, to find a third country for them. We cannot keep them and Iraq be their third country. They have no hope to stay in this country. That is what we are telling them. So, friendly we are telling them we do not want to be harsh. We do not want to be dealing or taking any measure. We will not take that measure but at the same time, they have to help us, they have to help themselves. And we ask the international community to help them and find another country to host them and to accept them.

Press TV: One last question Dr. Ali Al-Dabbagh. Do you think there will be any fraud in this election?

al-Dabbagh: It will be. Iraq has not yet built its institution. And there is a weakness in that in the monitoring, in all performance. But it will not be that large-scale and big-scale which, you know, it is a crash or make the election not legitimate. I think we are trying to minimize. One of the good things that the competition between the blocs and alliances will create a self-monitoring. I have to monitor you. You have to monitor me. Plus that we have the media, we have the commission, we have also monitors, international monitors, which they are coming. This is a good… We are trying to build up. But I guess that in this election it will be less violation and fraud compared to the last election.

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