Iraq Elections: shaping up for success

Posted by Tim Ireland at January 4, 2005

Category: It's War! It's Legal! It's Lovely!

This entry was posted on
Tuesday, January 4th, 2005
9:41 am and is filed
under It’s War! It’s Legal! It’s Lovely!.

Knight Ridder – As Iraqis register to vote, Shiites enthusiastic while fear grips Sunnis: Block by block, and neighborhood by neighborhood, Iraq’s election process is unfolding in starkly different ways. In areas populated by Shiites, who are the majority in Iraq, the process is going relatively smoothly. In contrast, intimidation and fear are rampant in some areas where Sunnis reside. The success of the registration drive – and the success of the parliamentary election itself – matters greatly. If enough Sunnis don’t register, the Shiite population is certain to dominate the election, leaving the minority Sunnis without a voice or incentive to support the government. After such an election, Iraq might be rocked by charges of minority disenfranchisement, weakening hopes for quelling violence and reducing sectarian strife.

SFGate – Bush considers election tweaks to assure Sunni representation in Iraq: The Bush administration is talking to Iraqi leaders about guaranteeing Sunni Arabs a certain number of ministries or high-level jobs in the future Iraqi government if, as is widely predicted, Sunni candidates fail to do well in Iraq’s elections.

AFP – Iraq battling more than 200,000 insurgents: intelligence chief: Iraq’s insurgency counts more than 200,000 active fighters and sympathisers, the country’s national intelligence chief told AFP, in the bleakest assessment to date of the armed revolt waged by Sunni Muslims. (link via deficient brain)

Independent – Three Britons killed in Baghdad car bomb attack: Three Britons were killed in a car bomb attack in Baghdad yesterday on a day of bloody ambushes, bombs and suicide attacks across Iraq thought to be aimed at undermining the elections due later this month.

Reuters – Baghdad Governor Assassinated; Bombing Kills 10: The targeting of Governor Ali al-Haidri showed insurgents’ power to strike at the heart of Iraq’s governing class, raising fresh doubts whether Iraqi security forces can protect politicians and voters as the national ballot draws near.

You know, I get the strangest feeling that some Iraqis may emerge on the far side of January feeling that their democratically-elected leaders are somewhat lacking in legitimacy…

UPDATE – Back to Iraq 3.0 – Iraqi President (sorta) reverses himself on election timing: So maybe I’ll win that $5 bet I made with a colleague that they’ll delay the elections after all. I mean, I’ll admit that while there doesn’t appear to be any legal way to postpone the election, people may eventually bow to reality and just not hold them. I’m sure the Iraqi Bar Association would eventually recover. And the U.N. is used to being snubbed by now, I guess. Oh, hell. I’m just giving into despair. From my perspective on the ground, it seems like a really fool-hearty idea to hold an election when high-level officials are being assassinated, multiple car bombs are going of every day and U.S. troops — to say nothing of Iraqi civilians — are dying all the time. But hey, guys in the south say things are cool! And Sadr City has garbage pickup now. Admittedly, the south is a lot better off than the center and west of the country and garbage pickup is progress, but such forced silver-lining spotting seems bit like bailing sea water with a thimble while you’re on the Titanic.

UPDATE – Baghdad Burning – New Year and Elections: There are several problems. The first is the fact that, technically, we don’t know the candidates. We know the principal heads of the lists but we don’t know who exactly will be running. It really is confusing. They aren’t making the lists public because they are afraid the candidates will be assassinated.

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