Raid Jahid Fahmi
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Raid Jahid Fahmi (also known as Abu Rawa, (Arabic: رائد جاهد فهمي; b. 1950) is an Iraqi politician and economist and a former Minister of Science and Technology in the Government of Iraq from 2006 to 2010 of Nouri al-Maliki.
Interview with Al Jazeera (25 May 2018)
- Our party, the oldest in Iraq, was established in 1934. It stands for the rights of working people; for the country's independence; for its development; and of course, in the current situation, we are calling for a change to the civil state - we're calling for a citizens' state based on justice and equal opportunities. We believe that over the past 12 years, the political process was based on an ethnic and sectarian system. I think this so-called "quota system" is responsible for the crisis the country is now facing. It created the grounds for corruption and lack of development. Change should begin by reforming state institutions to achieve social justice and real socioeconomic development.
- We had to get rid of occupation and regain and enhance our sovereignty. We have now ended up with a capitalist system. We are calling for social justice, a social security system in terms of creating jobs and enhancing the productive base of the economy.
- Since 2003, we are fully dependent on oil. Agriculture, industry, manufacturing have all regressed, accounting for not more than 1.25 percent of GDP. Our strategy is to reactivate agriculture, manufacturing and other productive activity, and at the same time provide protection to the people. In terms of social advancement, we want to strengthen labour laws and fiscal policies. Iraq should not be a consumer-only market for the production activities of neighbouring countries.
- We are in a country that's in deep crisis at this particular juncture; all indicators are bad, not only in terms of terrorism and security. There is high unemployment; marginalised people; poor social public services; very bad infrastructure. All these big challenges constitute a platform under which you can build a very wide-ranging coalition for the national interest.
- We should give priority to legislation concerning social security.
- As far as the government is concerned, the first challenge is to form a government which is based not on an ethnic and sectarian affiliation. We should have a government committed to oversee the reform and social development programmes.
- We have a good image among the population - we should distinguish between voting and image, not everyone who appreciate us actually votes for us.
- The country faces big challenges and we can address these challenges together with parties from different backgrounds and ideologies who share the concerns and interest as the people of Iraq.
- We are saying we are for bilateral relations with all countries but based on respect of Iraq's sovereignty and non-intervention in our internal affairs. It is possible to have friendly relations with all our neighbours on the basis of mutual respect. We are saying we can keep balanced relations and we can have trade and other commercial relations with all countries but we don't accept military bases in our country.
- Our interest must not risk Iraq's interests. If we can build an Iraq on the basis of our own independence and sovereignty, I think this Iraq will be respected by others, whether it be the Americans, Iranians or any other country. And this is what we are working to achieve. We have to work with the Iraqi people - so far they have been divided and all other external forces found it easy to intervene because they found receptive ears. What we are saying is that we should reinforce Iraqi unity.
- We are saying and insisting that all forces should belong to Iraq's interest first. And this should apply to all forces and I think when we are talking about building the state, building armed forces, loyalty to Iraq's interest - this should apply to everybody. As far as I know all, other political forces including Hashd accept these principles. Iraqis will decide who controls Iraq - no one from outside.