Thursday, December 22, 2005


So how did that Iraqi election turn out?

The recent elections in Iraq have been heralded by Bush as all important. The simple fact that Iraqi got to vote for a new government on Dec 15th is in and of itself enough of a justification for the invasion of a country with WMDs or linked to al Qaeda's attack on 9/11. It turns out without US help, we could not get a new Islamic Republic in the mideast. Without the US invasion, the influence of Tehran on Baghad politics was being being kept out. But those sad days of political oppression are over. From The Post-Gazette, Secular candidates not doing well in Iraq elections
A Shiite Muslim coalition built around Iraq's current governing alliance won a commanding number of seats in Dec. 15 elections...Preliminary reports from 11 of Iraq's 18 provinces and other vote estimates indicate that Islamic-led parties or coalitions from all main ethnic groups will win at least 175 of the 275 seats in the new parliament.
Sadly, like here in the US, the losers can only think to whine and complain. From BBC, Iraq parties unite to reject poll
Sunni Arab and secular parties in Iraq have united to reject the results of last week's parliamentary elections, saying there was widespread fraud.
I am glad to see the likely winners of this election using the same sort of understanding the current US leaders used when issues of election fairness were raised in this country last year. From The WashPost, Iraqi Groups May Boycott New Legislature
A senior member of the Shiite religious United Iraqi Alliance, the group that preliminary results show leading in the polls, said the protesters should accept the results.
"These statements will lead the country to new chaos," Ali al-Adib said, "They have to accept the will of the Iraqi people, the will of the majority. The political process will continue even if they boycott it."
It's as Thomas Jefferson said:
"A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine."

But ultimately, they had their election and I am sure the Bush administration is happy about this. Bush et. al. now have a duly elected government in Iraq. From The LATimes, Iraq Election Results Will Pose New Challenges for U.S. Policy
The apparent failure of secular, Western-oriented political groups to win many seats in Iraq's four-year legislature puts new pressure on the Bush administration in its efforts to stabilize the country.

[F]ormer interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's Iraqi National List appears to have won only 21 seats, claiming 8% of the popular vote tallied so far...Allawi and other groups are expected to pick up more seats in the 275-member parliament once expatriate votes are tallied.
Poor Judith Miller though, I think her odds on favorite might be out of the game,
A secular alliance headed by controversial Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Chalabi, a onetime Pentagon favorite to lead Iraq, scored less than 0.5% of the vote — not enough to win a seat.

At least the current true rulers of Iraq (and its oil and strategic base locations) understand the difference between the predicted outcome and what is needed for a peaceful and secure Iraq. You know, the state of affairs Bush needs before we can bring our troops home. Continuing from the LATimes:
"It looks as if people have preferred to vote for their ethnic and sectarian identities," U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said. "But for Iraq to succeed there has to be cross-sectarian and cross-ethnic cooperation."
Ok, so in this case what happened is not what needed to happen. To be fair to the masterminds nincompoops in charge, this wasn't an expected outcome. Or was it? ...wait for it comes
Elections can act to sharpen social divisions rather than heal them and to increase political instability rather than temper it...Those with experience in elections in conflict zones said they were not surprised by the initial results in Iraq. James Dobbins, a foreign affairs specialist at the Rand Corp: "They fall back on the familiar and the powerful. The same thing happened in postwar Bosnia, where the parties that fed the conflict in the first place got most of the vote."

Well, anyway, the Iraqis had their election. Some form of government will be seated in Baghad. Most of the populace will be happy. A few might have a few problems with it. Again, from the BBC
The Iraqi Accord Front, Iraqi Front for National Dialogue and Allawi's secular Iraqi National List: We hold the ndependent Electoral Commission of Iraq responsible for all the violations which took place during the elections and demand that it be dissolved and a suitable alternative to be found...if this is not achieved, then we will have no choice but to refuse the results and boycott the new parliament."
Ibrahim al-Janabi, a spokesman for the Iraqi National List: "These elections are fraudulent, and the next parliament is illegitimate,"
That aside, from the WashPost
In Baghdad, Rumsfeld hinted that the U.S. military will soon begin a modest reduction in troop levels by canceling the scheduled deployment of two Army brigades. That would bring U.S. troop levels below 138,000, the level considered the core force for most of this year.
In closing, let's turn back to Mr Dobbins of the Rand Corp and his comparison with the Balkans. Keep in mind the US has never had a troop to civilian ratio even close to what was brought in to solve the Balkans conflict.
Dobbins noted that the last U.S. forces pulled out of Bosnia-Herzegovina nine years after they were deployed in 1995, and a European security force still remained in the country.
Rumsfeld's optimistism aside, seems Iraqi's civil war may just boil over and our troops could be busy for a long time. Or maybe we will just slink out in the middle of the night and leave the Iraqis to clean up themselves.

Hi Nic,
drinking coffee, "borrowing" bandwidth from my sister's neighbor and reading your blog while Katie is getting ready for another day on the town.
Ciao, Michele
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