December 22, 2005

Iraq Election Results

Iraq looks set to splinter in three, with religious groups dominating the government(s). It will be pro-Iran, anti-Israel and anti-US. It will not be anything Westerners would recognise as a Democracy. Ironically, however, that appears to be what the people of Iraq want (and after all, it is their country). Unfortunately, Iraq will also remain wracked by violence for the foreseeable future, while groups jockey for power and demands for US withdrawal grow.

The Independent has some good analysis:
The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq.
RJ Eskrow says Iraq has become the very model of a Red State:
An election driven by religion. A deeply polarized electorate. Disputed voting results, where the only question is whether the fraud was small-scale or massive. Yes, we have succeeded in exporting American-style democracy to Iraq. The question of whether it was worth it has been answered - with a solid "no" - by the American people, but they lack leaders who will speak for them. You get the democracy you pay for.

The mission of "exporting democracy" to Iraq had four key goals:

1. To create a US-friendly nation in the region
2. To build a working model of democracy as the neocons conceived it for the Middle East
3. To provide Israel with an ally in the Arab world (which Chalabi had promised to deliver)
4. To isolate Iran from the Arab world

What have we gotten instead, for the massive loss of American and Iraqi life and the hundreds of billions of dollars spent so far?

1. A country where 82% of the population "strongly opposes" our presence and 45% support armed attacks against US troops
2. A highly conservative, religiously-based electorate that's a far cry from the neocon vision of liberal democracy
3. A country that appears to be drawing closer and closer to Israel's enemies
4. A new ally and sister country to Iran, with similar religious and political beliefs.
Juan Cole says (just quietly) I told you so.

Omar and Mohammed at Iraq The Model call the election results "shocking" and "disturbing". Quite an understandable reaction given how vociferously they have baracked for their US invaders. Mind you, there are rumours suggesting that the "brothers" are no longer even living in Iraq and have not been living there for some time.

Not surprisingly, the ITM comments section is also a lot more downbeat these days. One wag mocked how ITM readers are aghast at the thought of religion influencing Iraqi politics, yet are all for it in the USA. Other than that, there was just the usual hollow sound of a hot breeze blowing across a desert of empty minds...
Why can't everyone in Iraq just get along? WHY!??!?!!??!???!???!?!?!??!?!
Dave From Chicago | Email | Homepage | 12.21.05 - 7:53 pm | #

1 comment:

sevenpointman said...

Howard Roberts

A Seven-point plan for an Exit Strategy in Iraq

1) A timetable for the complete withdrawal of American and British forces must be announced.
I envision the following procedure, but suitable fine-tuning can be applied by all the people involved.

A) A ceasefire should be offered by the Occupying side to representatives of both the Sunni insurgency and the Shiite community. These representatives would be guaranteed safe passage, to any meetings. The individual insurgency groups would designate who would attend.
At this meeting a written document declaring a one-month ceasefire, witnessed by a United Nations authority, will be fashioned and eventually signed. This document will be released in full, to all Iraqi newspapers, the foreign press, and the Internet.
B) US and British command will make public its withdrawal, within sixth-months of 80 % of their troops.

C) Every month, a team of United Nations observers will verify the effectiveness of the ceasefire.
All incidences on both sides will be reported.

D) Combined representative armed forces of both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations that agreed to the cease fire will protect the Iraqi people from actions by terrorist cells.

E) Combined representative armed forces from both the Occupying nations and the insurgency organizations will begin creating a new military and police force. Those who served, without extenuating circumstances, in the previous Iraqi military or police, will be given the first option to serve.

F) After the second month of the ceasefire, and thereafter, in increments of 10-20% ,a total of 80% will be withdrawn, to enclaves in Qatar and Bahrain. The governments of these countries will work out a temporary land-lease housing arrangement for these troops. During the time the troops will be in these countries they will not stand down, and can be re-activated in the theater, if both the chain of the command still in Iraq, the newly formed Iraqi military, the leaders of the insurgency, and two international ombudsman (one from the Arab League, one from the United Nations), as a majority, deem it necessary.

G) One-half of those troops in enclaves will leave three-months after they arrive, for the United States or other locations, not including Iraq.

H) The other half of the troops in enclaves will leave after six-months.

I) The remaining 20 % of the Occupying troops will, during this six month interval, be used as peace-keepers, and will work with all the designated organizations, to aid in reconstruction and nation-building.

J) After four months they will be moved to enclaves in the above mentioned countries.
They will remain, still active, for two month, until their return to the States, Britain and the other involved nations.

2) At the beginning of this period the United States will file a letter with the Secretary General of the Security Council of the United Nations, making null and void all written and proscribed orders by the CPA, under R. Paul Bremer. This will be announced and duly noted.

3) At the beginning of this period all contracts signed by foreign countries will be considered in abeyance until a system of fair bidding, by both Iraqi and foreign countries, will be implemented ,by an interim Productivity and Investment Board, chosen from pertinent sectors of the Iraqi economy.
Local representatives of the 18 provinces of Iraq will put this board together, in local elections.

4) At the beginning of this period, the United Nations will declare that Iraq is a sovereign state again, and will be forming a Union of 18 autonomous regions. Each region will, with the help of international experts, and local bureaucrats, do a census as a first step toward the creation of a municipal government for all 18 provinces. After the census, a voting roll will be completed. Any group that gets a list of 15% of the names on this census will be able to nominate a slate of representatives. When all the parties have chosen their slates, a period of one-month will be allowed for campaigning.
Then in a popular election the group with the most votes will represent that province.
When the voters choose a slate, they will also be asked to choose five individual members of any of the slates.
The individuals who have the five highest vote counts will represent a National government.
This whole process, in every province, will be watched by international observers as well as the local bureaucrats.

During this process of local elections, a central governing board, made up of United Nations, election governing experts, insurgency organizations, US and British peacekeepers, and Arab league representatives, will assume the temporary duties of administering Baghdad, and the central duties of governing.

When the ninety representatives are elected they will assume the legislative duties of Iraq for two years.

Within three months the parties that have at least 15% of the representatives will nominate candidates for President and Prime Minister.

A national wide election for these offices will be held within three months from their nomination.

The President and the Vice President and the Prime Minister will choose their cabinet, after the election.

5) All debts accrued by Iraq will be rescheduled to begin payment, on the principal after one year, and on the interest after two years. If Iraq is able to handle another loan during this period she should be given a grace period of two years, from the taking of the loan, to comply with any structural adjustments.

6) The United States and the United Kingdom shall pay Iraq reparations for its invasion in the total of 120 billion dollars over a period of twenty years for damages to its infrastructure. This money can be defrayed as investment, if the return does not exceed 6.5 %.

7) During the beginning period Saddam Hussein and any other prisoners who are deemed by a Council of Iraqi Judges, elected by the National representative body, as having committed crimes will be put up for trial.
The trial of Saddam Hussein will be before seven judges, chosen from this Council of Judges.
One judge, one jury, again chosen by this Council, will try all other prisoners.
All defendants will have the right to present any evidence they want, and to choose freely their own lawyers.


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