Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Iraq elections: one man's opinion

Via the Crooked Timber post by Chris Bertram linked earlier, a look at Patrick Cockburn's followup analysis of Iraq's election.
We can hope he is unjustifiably wrong, but I'm afraid the results point to his being on target.

...he now has an analysis of the Iraqi elections in the Independent . The religious parties are in the ascendant, women’s rights are being trampled, everyone is retreating the their ethnic and religious identities, and the break-up of the country is on the horizon.
Snips from the piece...
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. [If this is so, then Abu Khaleel missed his bet...and I don't think he even supported the guy.] The other main non-religious candidate, Ahmed Chalabi, [Our (other) dog in the fight...remember?] 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.
The break-up of Iraq has been brought closer by the election. The great majority of people who went to the polls voted as Shia, Sunni or Kurds - and not as Iraqis. The forces pulling Iraq apart are stronger than those holding it together. The election, billed by Mr Bush and Mr Blair as the birth of a new Iraqi state may in fact prove to be its funeral.

The first comment adds to the bleakness of the picture. I haven't read anything substantive that makes me think these guys are too far off.
Sad, if so.
Very bad sign

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