Yesterday morning, unknown individuals attacked the Najaf Party headquarters with Molotov cocktails and live ammunition, burning down the headquarters’ offices. As of yet, there have been no reports of casualties.
This attack has come at a time when Iraq has seen a rise in politically-motivated arson attacks and assassinations.
Ahead of parliamentary elections in October, the nation is expected to have mass-protests in opposition to the increasingly dire socio-economic conditions, especially surrounding the issue of rising unemployment. The Iraqi government has left the war-torn nation in a dire state of neglect.
One year on from the killing spree carried out by supporters of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that saw 23 protesters and more than 197 wounded in Najaf’s Sadr Square, progressive political parties have been dangerously suppressed.
In 2018 during the parliamentary elections, the Iraqi Communist Party joined the Saeroon alliance with the Sadrist movement. However, due to disagreements, the Party ended their formal alliance in October 2019. It is believed that this split has contributed to hostilities from others towards the Party.
This is not the first time that the Communist Party have been attacked. Their Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniyah and Nasiriyah offices have also been the target of similar attacks.
The Political Bureau of the Iraqi Communist Party has issued the following statement:
“This morning (Friday, 5th February), the office of our Iraqi Communist Party in the city of Najaf was subjected to a treacherous and cowardly armed attack, which caused a fire and material damage, without causing any casualties.
The party’s offices in Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniyah and Nasiriyah had previously been subjected to similar criminal attacks. The instigators are apparently provoked by the political role of our party, its full support for the masses and the popular Uprising, the goals of the protesters, their aspiration for change and putting an end to the quota system and corruption. The attacks revealed the frustration of these forces with the active participation of Iraqi communists in the Uprising and the party’s martyrs who lost their lives while confronting the violence and oppression faced by protesters. The attacks also reflect the renewed attempts by these forces to perpetuate the climate of instability, tension and turmoil in the country.
However, these cowardly acts did not, and will not, undermine the will of the Communists, which has been repeatedly tested during the party’s 86 years. The perpetrators and those supporting them, internally and externally, have reaped nothing but shame, disgrace and the curse of history.
The new cowardly attack comes on the eve of the preparations for the parliamentary elections, which should be free and fair, and take place in a safe and peaceful environment, away from the threat of arms, pressure, coercion, corruption and the buying of votes.
Such miserable acts will only make the Iraqi communists in Najaf and in the rest of the country’s provinces more determined to continue the struggle, along with the masses of Iraqi people, to save the homeland and to move relentlessly forward towards building a state based on citizenship, true democracy and social justice.
While condemning this heinous criminal act and declaring solidarity with our comrades and the party supporters in Najaf, we call on the local and federal authorities to act speedily to apprehend the perpetrators and those behind them to ensure they receive the punishment they deserve.”
Iraqi Communist Party
In response, the YCL’s International Commission has issued a statement:
“The YCL condemns the shocking attacks on the Iraqi Communist Party’s Najaf headquarters. As social unrest increases in the Middle-Eastern nation, politically-motivated attacks are on the rise.
Having previously been the target of attacks in the past, we are mindful that many Communist Parties in the world are under huge threat from governments and general political opposition.
Alongside hoping that the social conditions and political freedoms will one day improve in the nation, we the YCL send solidarity to our Iraqi comrades.”
Young Communist League of Britain
Challenge News Desk