Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Iraq's election result: a divided nation
Iraq is disintegrating. The first results from the parliamentary election last week show the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.
Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand. The secular and nationalist candidate backed by the US and Britain was humiliatingly defeated.
The Shia religious coalition has won a total victory in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. The Sunni Arab parties who openly or covertly support armed resistance to the US are likely to win large majorities in Sunni provinces. The Kurds have already achieved quasi-independence and their voting reflected that.
The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq.
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."
The success of the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shia religious parties, has been far greater than expected according to preliminary results. It won 58 per cent of the vote in Baghdad, while Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister strongly supported by Tony Blair, got only 14 per cent of the vote. In Basra, Iraq's second city, 77 per cent of voters supported the Alliance and only 11 per cent Mr Allawi.
The election was portrayed by President George Bush as a sign of success for US policies in Iraq but, in fact, means the triumph of America's enemies inside and outside the country.
Iran will be pleased that the Shia religious parties which it has supported, have become the strongest political force.
Ironically, Mr Bush is increasingly dependent within Iraq on the co-operation and restraint of the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly called for the eradication of Israel. It is the allies of the Iranian theocracy who are growing in influence by the day and have triumphed in the election. The US will fear that development greatly as it constantly reminds the world of Iran's nuclear ambitions....
Posted by JLT at 10:10 AM