Tuesday, February 15, 2005

How Does It Feel Like Being Taken Over by Fundamentalists

(Dear readers, sorry for another hiatus, but I was again felled by a nasty disease.)

Riverbend @ Baghdad Burning returns with post-'elections' commentary, but more interesting (and depressing) is where her post moves on: the encounters of a secular girl with the new powers-that-be. (And while she focuses on the US-anointed Shi'a fundies, no better can be expected from the majority of the current resistance.)

Meanwhile, via Lenin's Tomb, a story in the Asian Times even more alarming than recent talk about the 'Salvadorian Option': they claim to have uncovered a secret US operation to arm the loyal-to-Allawi branch of former Baathists with Pakistani-made weapons, 'to keep the Shi'a fundies in check'. Yeah, yet another armed group in Iraq, that's what we needed, suuuuure it will foil the fundie movement... (which is anti-Israel, hinting at one of the neocons' real troubles).

...and some still believe that US and vassal forces in Iraq are a force against a civil war?...

(By the way, one relatively encouraging sign of the last few days is the continued discourse beween the main anti-occupation Sunni and Shi'a political groups, that is the Association of Muslims Scholars and Moqtada al-Sadr's Current, and the interestingly pacified tone of the former towards al-Daawa - see a translation of an interview quoted by Juan Cole.)

* * *

Regarding the official election results (Juan Cole also brings probable seat distribution): while I note that it didn't increase my trust in the correctness of the results a bit that they didn't release any more partial results than those covered in previous posts, there are interesting ratios to note.

After the Americans made sure only established co-opted political forces had have any chance (for example due to people's knowledge of candidates limited by unequal campaign opportunities), and Sistani (who himself not only didn't stood for elections but isn't even Iraqi) made sure that there is no competition between the Shi'a groups among the former, and the two major Kurdish warlords' union, a largely sectarian line-up could be expected among those who vote: Shi-ites for Sistani's UIA, Kurds for the joint Barzani-Talabani list, mostly 'Sunni' secular people and ex-Baathists and the vote-for-food blackmailed for Allawi's list, part of the former for al-Yawer's list and the communists.

Under these assumptions, and for now ignoring the possibility of massive ballot stuffing, it is remarkable that the Shi'a are apparently only around 50% of even those Iraqis who bothered to vote[*] - which reminds me of my still unanswered composition of Iraq challenge. The communists did much worse than some (the Healing Iraq blogger among them) expected.

[*] Even if we can assume secular and Sadrist Shi'a boycotting, the Southern provinces had high participation.


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