A revealing interview with Abd al-Hadi al-Darraji. “RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq Speaks With Al-Sadr Aide,” from RFE/RL, with thanks to Kemaste:
RFI: Are there any conditions for your participation in the elections? Have you specified any conditions under which you would participate in the elections?
Al-Darraji: Yes, Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr has laid down the principal condition when he said that if the occupiers left our country, we would look positively at the participation in the electoral process, because we are Iraqis, our identity is Iraqi, and all Iraqis have to give their votes in the elections. This is first. Second, it is a schedule, a deadline for the occupation. We already had given this condition before: if there was a deadline for the occupation, then our participation in the elections may be possible.
RFI: Do not you think that these [conditions] are unrealistic?
Al-Darraji: There are things that seem unrealistic but should be considered realistic. When it is said that America is strong, we say, ‘It is the blessed and sublime God who is strong.’ There will come a day when these [U.S.] troops leave, as they are right now caught in the dead end that is called the Iraqi issue. So, how should they leave? On this, I say that there must come a day when these American forces leave in a prompt, despicable, and hated manner, if the blessed and sublime God allows, by the will of Iraqis and not by the will of those who had been installed by the occupation forces. Consequently, the will of the people is stronger than the tyrants, stronger than those few henchmen, stronger than those panderers who speak about the rise of new Iraq.
I say that the task that lays upon is to speak out that these elections, taking place with the presence of the occupiers, have to be refused. Also the deprivation [of elections] for such a huge number of Iraqis has to be refused as well. The Islamic orientation makes us say that the occupiers have intervened in the affairs of elections, and our religious duty forces us to make this most important matter clear.