Iraq, Post-Election 

Iraq, Post-Election

Summary of Iraqi election results from the Independent:

Possibly a bit melodramatic, but some highlights:

Islamic fundamentalist movements are ever more powerful in both the Sunni and Shia communities. Ghassan Attiyah, an Iraqi commentator, said: "In two and a half years Bush has succeeded in creating two new Talibans in Iraq."

Iran may be happier with a weakened Iraq in which it is a predominant influence rather than see the country entirely break up.

The US ambassador in Baghdad, Zilmay Khalilzad, sounded almost despairing yesterday as he reviewed the results of the election. "It looks as if people have preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identities," he said. "But for Iraq to succeed there has to be cross-ethnic and cross-sectarian co-operation."

The election also means a decisive switch from a secular Iraq to a country in which, outside Kurdistan, religious law will be paramount. Mr Allawi, who ran a well-financed campaign, was the main secular hope but that did not translate into votes. The other main non-religious candidate, Ahmed Chalabi, won less than 1 per cent of the vote in Baghdad and will be lucky to win a single seat in the new 275-member Council of Representatives. It is unlikely that the Shia religious parties and militias will tolerate any rollback in their power. "They feel their day has come," said Mr Attiyah.

Who is Ghassan Attiyah?
"Founder and Executive Director of the Iraq Foundation for Development and
Democracy in Baghdad. He is a political scientist, and was a formerly exiled
opponent of Saddam Hussein's regime, living in the UK and publisher of the
oppositionist periodical The Iraqi File."
"The IFDD is a regionally based non-governmental organization committed to
supporting democracy and development in Iraq by fostering dialogue between
decision-makers and citizens on important social, economic, and political
issues. A primary goal of the Foundation is to bring together people of
diverse ethnic, religious, political and tribal backgrounds to build
consensus on finding solutions to the issues most important to the Iraqi
people and for assisting in the promotion of freedom and democracy. With the
material and advisory assistance provided by IRI's Baghdad staff, the IFDD
has convened several conferences to achieve these goals."
March of 04, Peter Jennings, "Newsmaker of the Month": "Dr. Ghassan Attiyah,
director of the Iraqi Foundation for Development and Democracy: President
Bush has done us a great service. Having said that, he got rid of Saddam,
but democracy is not Mr. Bush's or any American business. It's our job.
And can we do it? I will confess to you that it is tough, it is difficult."

Even Glenn Reynolds (there is always good news in Iraq that the mainstream media is not telling us) seems to be admitting that the election did not work out that great. "I'm not sure what to make of events so far, but Kaus's argument that more, closer-together elections would be better is looking pretty good." Do tell.

Reynolds has probably, like Bush, never mentioned the Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani, who has been identified as the most powerful man in Iraq today. He has never admitted that the Bush Administration has been surprised at everything, good and bad, that has happened inside Iraq. Yet he claims to be correcting for the biases and echo-chamber effect of the mainstream media? Setting up another cave, at least as stupid as the first one, somehow contributes to diversity?

The media is giving only a hazy idea of what is going on. They are both at the mercy of Bush news releases, like lazy fat cat reporters who never go anywhere, and inclined to emphasize violence because it makes good pictures and neat stories. Both lazily stupidly pro-Bush, and lazily stupidly anti-Bush. Can't we do better?

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