Baghdad: Despite the new accountability and justice law many Baathists in Iraq's southern Shiite provinces are not optimistic about the new legislation. Its introduction has been heralded by some as a move which will enable thousands of Baathists to return to government jobs.
However, there are major difficulties in its implementation in cities inhabited by Shiite majorities which is controlled by hardline religious parties, Iraqi citizens said.
"It is impossible to implement this law in my province, Mayssan, because I am a former Baathist and part of a government office where more than 100 of its staff are members of the Dawa Party, led by Nouri Al Maliki, and the Supreme Islamic Council, led by Abdul Aziz Al Hakim. That means it is impossible for me to return to my job because the accountability and justice law will not be implemented thus my only choice is to take a pension salary. Although I am 40 years old and was not a high-ranking Baathist nor in a special security service in Saddam's era", Ganem Hussain told Gulf News.
"I work in a food canning factory in Naja. I went to the factory department and they told me that I was a fighter of the so-called glorious day volunteers during the rule of Saddam Hussain and the province council has issued a resolution preventing Baathists affiliated to the glorious army to return to their jobs despite the accountability and justice law," Baathist supporter Moa'aed Al Quraishi told Gulf News.
According to human rights organisations in Baghdad more than 100,000 Baathists were sacked in the Shiite southern governorates and the same number left their jobs due to harassment and threats.
"I am an employee in Basra governorate and was a normal Baathist and I decided to leave my job because the place I worked at was taken over by a political party thus the accountability and justice law cannot secure a genuine and legal return to any Baathist to his work," Yassin Al Tayar told Gulf News.
The religious and political parties allied in the Iraqi government dominate nine southern province councils in Mayssan, Thiqar, Basra, Najaf, Karbala, Qadisiyah, Babil, Muthana and Wassit. This, to many Iraqis, makes it impossible to implement the new law.
Fatima, a school manager in Wassit, told Gulf News: "I am a Baathist and although I worked in the education field during Saddam's era, I was fired from my job more than three years ago. Now after issuing the accountability and justice law which is less stringent than the uprooting law, I am not optimistic because the school's manager is affiliated to the Al Hakim Islamic Supreme Council; therefore it is impossible to return to my work and ask the manager to leave her position."