Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Catholicgauze emails in these thoughts on the upcoming January 2009 elections in Iraq:
I was unfortunate enough to be in the United States during all of the presidential election-cycle. All the partisanship, jerk attitudes, yelling back and forth, and radio ads wore me down. When I arrived in Iraq I thought that was all behind me. I was wrong.
The Iraqi parliamentary and local elections are on January 31st and Iraqis are becoming the political animals Saddam's Baath Party always feared. This is mostly a good thing but old, bad habits are coming into play a little bit.
The Sunni Arabs are divided between the urban, party-in-power Iraqi Islamic Party, the rural tribal-based MSI, and a whole lot of little parties that revolve around small but powerful cliques. There are rumors and allegations going back and forth of corruption, lies, and ties to the old regime. Rightly or wrongly everyone is accused of being too friendly too the Coalition, too friendly government in Baghdad, a former member of Al Qaeda or another insurgency group, or having the backing of Baath Party members in exile in Syria. Some probably are.
The Shia Arabs meanwhile are experiencing healthy fracturing. After being elected in a bloc, alliances have fallen and new ones have been made. The Shia Arabs are being given a wide range of choices.
Elections in the Kurdish zone have been delayed to figure out where exactly the Kurds' power ends and Sunni Arabs begin. The Kurdish elections will be dominated by the alliance of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. These parties will crush the Kurdish Islamic Party and any other small groups. Nationally, the Kurds will work with some of the Sunni parties to seek the most advantageous outcome for the autonomous Kurdish Regional Government.
Iraq is becoming a democracy. If we can get them to the United States (with a Florida or Minnesota thrown in here and there) then the insurrgency will receive another blow. Not only is America leaving on its own terms but the people choose freedom.