Sunday, February 13, 2005

IRAQ ELECTION: RESULTS AND FALLOUT

DEBKA HAS A GREAT ANALYSIS OF THE IRAQI VOTE AND WHAT THE FUTURE OF IRAQ IS ACTUALLY TURNING OUT TO BE...
Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s United Iraqi (Shiite) Alliance of 16 parties pulled ahead of the pack in Iraq’s first democratic election, earning 48% and a block of 132 seats in the new national assembly – but not an absolute majority... 25.4% to the United Kurdish List, placing it in second place, followed by interim PM Allawi’s list with a disappointing 14%.
Despite the Sunni boycott, there was a 29% turnout in the Sunni Salah-eddin province.
US analysts pretty well predicted the results. What did surprise them, according to DEBKAfile’s Iraqi sources, was the rapid breakup of Sistani’s alliance days before the results were published under the pressure of intense jockeying for the premiership by heads of four of the UIA component lists: the al Daawa chairman Ibrahim al-Jaafar, the interim finance minister Adel Mehdi of SCIRI (Supreme Council of the Iraqi Revolutionary Council), Dr. Mufak al Rubai, interim prime minister Iyad Allawi’s former national security adviser, and Ahmad Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress.
The message the Iraqi voter broadcast loud and clear, therefore, was that any future regime in Baghdad must be based on a Shiite-Kurdish coalition. No single faction can rule alone.

HOWEVER, DESPITE THE ELECTION RESULTS AND THE SMALL ROOTS OF DEMOCRACY STARTING TO SPREAD IN THIS COUNTRY, THERE ARE QUITE A FEW THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT IN THE COMING MONTHS AND YEARS:
A public debate is bedeviling the Bush administration over whether the current occupant of the White House helped establish another fundamentalist Shiite regime in the Middle East, this time by fostering Iraq’s first free elections.
The United States is still haunted by the memory of how the newly-established Islamic Republic of Iran under its revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini interfered in the 1980 US presidential election...
America has stumbled before in rushing to promote regime change in a troubled region. The Taliban was fostered to boot the Red Army out of Afghanistan. Later, these fundamentalists became a key factor in al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington and were subsequently booted out themselves in a second regime change in Kabul.

WE NEED TO WATCH THIS SITUATION CLOSELY TO MAKE SURE ALL PARTIES IN IRAQ ARE REPRESENTED IN SOME WAY...

IRAQ ELECTION: RESULTS AND FALLOUT