Iraq Elections: I give.

January 31, 2005

So I’ve read that the election in Iraq yesterday was everything from the second coming to a dubious plot by the US to conquer the middle east, and then the world!

Ok. Well it seems to me that the Iraqis voted because its their country and they want to run it. What is so hard about that? I know it wasn’t perfect. I know our government is running the show. But maybe, just maybe, the Iraqi people will wake up from their slumber and stand up for themselves. Call it optimism. Or maybe they will follow the historical record and drift into chaos. Its too early to tell, and I am tired of thinking the worst. This wasn’t the American people voting, this was the Iraqi people voting. And maybe they charish their vote a little more than we do.

Anyhow, enough ranting.

Below the fold are some interesting perspectives on the Iraqi Elections yesterday.

First, from Asia Times Online, So, who really did win?

Sixty percent of courageous voters’ participation notwithstanding, it will be ever so easy to find all sorts of things wrong with what happened on Sunday and to come up with scenarios of what will go wrong tomorrow and in the more distant future. Those who bravely predicted that Sunday’s elections would turn into a victory for the insurgents will not readily retract, but rather attempt to prove their point. And, of course, the body count will go on.

And yet, much is at stake in the further course of this year as Iraqis attempt to reconstruct civil society and give it the shape of a functioning nation state. It may have impressed even the cynics or pessimists for the idle purpose of seeing their dire forecasts come true that by going out to vote in large numbers, a great majority of Iraqis said no to the death cult of the Islamists and proclaimed their right and intention to live a more normal life in the future. The Islamists are a different breed than the terrorists of the French Revolution. But to many then, the Jacobin terror was no less frightening than Zarqawi’s or al-Qaeda’s now. It came to be defeated when some brave souls stood up, laughed at it, called it ridiculous. Religious fanaticism laced with a death wish is not as readily defeated. But those who stood in line to vote, whether in Baghdad or Basra, made a statement for common sense.

On to Aljazeera, with Iraq elections, solution or sedition?

Despite many serious concerns, elections are under way. It is a fact that Iraqis who are pro-elections are in the majority and they enjoy the potential for controlling political decision-making in Iraq.

Iraqi Sunni Muslims are boycotting the elections; that is not pleasant for current Iraqi leaders, not because they are powerful, but because they are the classic political, military, and administrational asset of the Iraqi state.

Elections against the will of Arab Sunni Muslims will establish the newly born Iraqi state as their enemy, and that will be a key factor for them to stick to the armed resistance option especially if foreign troops do not leave Iraq after the elections. Fears that this scenario would be the start of a civil war are escalating.

However, Iraq’s elections on 30 January will not be the solution for the war-torn country; in fact it is the start of more dangerous problems, internally and regionally.

From the Guardian, Allawi woos minorities with call for unity

Iraq has been basking in its incarnation as a democratic exemplar. World leaders have praised voters’ courage and talked up the implications.

“I think this is a thing that will set a good tone for the Middle East, and I am optimistic,” Jordan’s King Abdullah told CNN. “People are waking up, [Arab] leaders understanding that they have to push reform forward.”

Other Arab leaders were more muted in their praise, but France, Germany and Russia, which led opposition to the invasion, welcomed the election as a step forward. Vladimir Putin said it was “a step in the right direction”.

Not sure what to make of this piece from Asia Times Online, It’s not the vote that counts

Asia Times Online spoke to Nada al-Rubaiee in the Netherlands. Nada is a member of the central committee of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance (IPA), a collection of different Iraqi groups opposed to the US occupation of Iraq. It is based in Iraq, as well as in other countries, such as Syria, Jordan, France and the Netherlands.

Initially it was a small group of mainly communist Iraqi dissidents. It was virtually unknown before November 2002, when its leader, Abdul Jabbar Kubaisi, travelled to Baghdad to meet with high-ranking Iraqi officials. The move was part of Saddam Hussein’s strategy to make peace with opposition groups and put together the widest coalition possible in case of an attack from the US. According to IPA members, Saddam promised democratic reforms and Kubaisi decided to side with the former Iraqi dictator against the American invasion. In February 2003, the IPA held a conference in Paris where its delegates pledged to fight the “American imperial aggression”.

And finally, from MSNBC, Not chasing the bait

You do not own their courage.

The people who stood in line Sunday did not stand in line to make Americans feel good about themselves.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to justify lies about Saddam and al-Qaeda, so you don’t own their courage, Stephen Hayes. They did not stand in line to justify lies about weapons of mass destruction, or to justify the artful dodginess of Ahmad Chalabi, so you don’t own their courage, Judith Miller. They did not stand in line to provide pretty pictures for vapid suits to fawn over, so you don’t own their courage, Howard Fineman, and neither do you, Chris Matthews.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line in order to justify the dereliction of a kept press. They did not stand in line to make right the wrongs born out of laziness, cowardice, and the easy acceptance of casual lying. They did not stand in line for anyone’s grand designs. They did not stand in line to play pawns in anyone’s great game, so you don’t own their courage, you guys in the PNAC gallery.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to provide American dilettantes with easy rhetorical weapons, so you don’t own their courage, Glenn Reynolds, with your cornpone McCarran act out of the bowels of a great university that deserves a helluva lot better than your sorry hide. They did not stand in line to be the instruments of tawdry vilification and triumphal hooting from bloghound commandos. They did not stand in line to become useful cudgels for cheap American political thuggery, so you don’t own their courage, Freeper Nation.

You do not own their courage.

They did not stand in line to justify a thousand mistakes that have led to more than a thousand American bodies. They did not stand in line for the purpose of being a national hypnotic for a nation not even their own. They did not stand in line for being the last casus belli standing. They did not stand in line on behalf of people’s book deals, TV spots, honorarium checks, or tinpot celebrity. They did not stand in line to be anyone’s talking points.

You do not own their courage.

We all should remember that.

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