The following article was published by Reidar Visser, an historian of Iraq educated at the University of Oxford and currently based at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs. It is reproduced here with the author’s permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.
The Iraqi parliamentary cycle has kicked off again following the Eid al-Adha holiday. Perhaps serving as a harbinger of legislative priorities over the coming months, a bill outlawing the Baath and parties supporting racism, terrorism, takfir and sectarian cleansing was giving its first reading. This represents an attempt at implementing the law called for under article 7 of the constitution that was not ready before the March 2010 parliamentary elections – which instead saw massive attempts at extra-judicial and vigilante de-Baathification.
As usual, the bill itself is not published by parliament when it is merely on the stage of the first reading. Nonetheless, it seems likely that the bill read today was more or less similar to the one that was prepared by cabinet this summer and was leaked in some media. The parliamentary committees charged with handling the bill (security & defence, de-Baathification and legal) may have introduced minor changes along the way.
The draft bill is quite short. To some extent it stays truthful to the constitutional requirements for banning the Baath and parties supporting terrorism, racism, takfir (labelling others as unbelievers) and sectarian cleansing – though it falls short of defining those ideologies it is seeking to outlaw other than the Baath. For good measure, parties that are “against the peaceful transfer of power” or against the constitution itself or the “principles of democracy” are banned as well.
The bill then goes on to ban all possible forms of support and promotion of the Baath party. It further says that these measures also apply to parties promoting the other outlawed ideologies.