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Phares to Radio Iraq: "Americans voted on Iraq without hearing Iraqi voices"

Phares to Radio Iraq: "Americans voted on Iraq without hearing Iraqi voices"
Phares in Arabic

In an interview with the Free Iraq Radio, FDD Senior fellow Dr Walid Phares said: "Obviously with the loss of Congress by the Administration, the only future possible will be discussions and negociations between the two sides on all main issues. This won't be the first time in American modern history when different parties controlled different branches of Government. There will be many areas of agreements and also other areas of difference between the two sides. However, what most experts believe is that this Congress will play a greater role in the preparation for the Presidential elections of 2008." Addressing the impact of the Iraq issue on these elections, Phares added: "Let's be clear: the voice of Iraqi intellectuals and academics was not heard in the debate that preceded elections. Millions of US citizens voted on Iraq but without hearing the voice of Iraqis. And that will certainly affect future policies on Iraq. (...)There will be pressures applied on the Administration by Congress, and on Congress by many political factions and lobbies to withdraw from Iraq faster, and in some cases voices will call for immediate pull out. But, in view of the new balance of power I don't think there will be an immediate abandonment. But the politicians of Iraq must put their utmost efforts to work with this US Congress and convince its new majority of the importance of US support to the new democracy. This is a matter Iraqis leaders haven't been successful with in the past couple years. If the latter are concerned with the return of totalitarianism to Iraq they need to work hard with the new US Congress and have their voices heard among Americans. It is not a secret that there are plans today that are different from before and may not be in the interest of pluralism and democracy in Iraq.

Asked about the Iraq study group and the ideas of former secretary of state James Baker, Phares said "there are many voices in the US and Europe supporting negotiations with the radicals. Iraqi politicians who are supportive of democracy and freedom must be attentive to this reality. If the Iraqi democratic movement has no voice in DC, some pragmatic but not necessarily attractive suggestions may well convince Congress and the Administration as a new policy in Iraq. After the last elections in the US, no one can influence the process better than the Iraqis themselves." [Listen to the interview in Arabic]
Nov 9, 2006, 18:31