The New Mesopotamia Times

Repressive Arab regimes call on Iraqis to vote for freedom

Amman, Jordan …. A statement released today by foreign ministers from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt have called on all Iraqis to support calls by the US and the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council to take part in national elections scheduled for the end of January. The call is aimed at Sunni Muslims in Iraq who have threatened to boycott the poll.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia - a strong ally of the US - called on Iraqis to freely exercise their democratic rights and participate actively in these elections. 

"We ourselves are not too familiar with this concept of votes as we've never ever had any elections or political parties since Saudi Arabia was created in 1932. But those of you who have one, I urge you to use it and 'Vote Bush'. Our American friends say voting is good for you, so take their word for it," Prince Saud said.

Prince Saud said that the coming elections would help ensure that all ethnic and religious groups could be treated fairly and equally in Iraq. "Fortunately, we don't have to worry about treating citizens from other religious groups fairly in Saudi Arabia - only Muslims are allowed to be citizens. So we treat all our citizens fairly and equally - unless of course, you're a woman."

"These elections are a chance for the Iraqis to express their beliefs and opinions, and exercise their human right to freedom of speech," Prince Saud added. "We have complete freedom of speech here in Saudi Arabia - what happens to you after you speak, now that's another matter ….."

A group of Kuwaitis who won't be voting at the next Parliamentary elections
The Prince hoped that the elections would take place in January as scheduled and that there would be no further delay. "If this drags on any longer, even our own citizens would start having silly ideas and want to have elections like the Iraqis."

Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, the Foreign Minister of Kuwait - another staunch ally of the US - urged all Sunnis to participate actively in the elections, so that no groups would feel it is marginalised in the future Iraq. "You sure wouldn't like to end up like us, where only 14 percent of adult citizens have the right to vote and women have been banned from voting or seeking election."

Sheikh Sabah was also confident that all political parties in Iraq would be treated equally. "We ourselves treat all political parties equally here in Kuwait - they're all banned."

The Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit urged the Iraqi people to take advantage of this opportunity to at last be able to elect its leaders in a free and fair democratic process. "We surely do not want a return to the evil days of Iraq's undemocratic and deeply flawed electoral process which allowed Saddam Huseein to be elected President by ridiculous figures of 98% of the electorate. Even our own President Hosni Mubarak  was confirmed in 1999 for another six-year term in a referendum with only 94% of the vote"  

Ministers at the conference also pledged not to interfere in Iraq's internal affairs.  "Kuwait believes that Iraq is a sovereign state and should be allowed to decide its own destiny without any outside pressure," Sheikh Sabah stressed. "And forget about those tens of thousands of US troops across the border in Kuwait  - they're just there to do a bit of shopping and enjoy a bit of sun and sand."

President George W Bush also warned other countries against any attempt to influence the January 30 vote. "The Iraqi people will not tolerate any attempt to influence the electoral process by foreigners - and we have 150,000 American troops there to make sure that doesn't happen," Bush said.

In a related development, senior US State Department officials announced that independent international observers would monitor the Iraq vote, but from 500 miles away in Amman, Jordan. Observers from the seven nations involved said that the security situation in Iraq was out of control and it was too dangerous to physically monitor the voting in Iraq.

Election observers will be provided with very large binoculars and telescopes, and attempt to see if they can observe events in Baghdad from their hotel room balconies in Amman. "If this fails, we'll simply phone the US Embassy there and ask them what happened," said a representative for the observers. "We understand they have some elections experts from Ohio and Florida stationed there already."

"Despite the threat of insurgent bombings, we hope that the Iraqi people show their commitment to democracy by defying the insurgents and coming out in large numbers to vote," the observer said. "As for us, we’re not stupid, we're not going anywhere within a hundred miles of an Iraqi polling booth, no sir-ee, no way Jose."

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A dispatch by our Embedded Satirist in Cambridge, Sabri Zain. For the real story, click here. If you want to find out exactly how 'democratic' the US' allies in the Middle East really are, click here.