This is an opportunity for a really sarcastic article about how the supposed war crime of liberating Iraq somehow led to Iraqis voting for the very people who not only supported the invasion but even those who made the invasion happen. But instead of writing such an article, I thought I will rather celebrate this great democratic success and give liberals who opposed the invasion a chance to celebrate this too.
For the third time Iraqis have had the chance to vote.
Omar of Iraq the Model wrote on March 5th:
In December 2005 we walked from home to the voting center (which also used to be where I went to school as a kid) to a soundtrack of mortars and gunfire. Indeed, that ten minute walk was wrapped in so much fear and worry, but also in so much hope and pride.
My trip to the voting center will be less interesting this time because I'll be taking the orange line to Arlington where the place is, which happens to be some hotel whose owner will eventually be Paris Hilton.
And now the elections have gone and we have preliminary results. From Wikipedia:
|State of Law Coalition
|Iraqi National Movement (al-Iraqiya)
|National Iraqi Alliance
|Movement for Change (Gorran)
|Unity Alliance of Iraq
|Iraqi Accord Front (al-Tawafuq)
|Etihad Islamic Union
|Islamic Movement of Kurdistan
Let's take a look at who these lists are. You can follow the Wikipedia links if you like, but I have some things to add to some of these entries.
The Iraqi National Movement, the winner of this election, is a secular movement of both Sunnis and Shiites led by Eyad Allawi. Allawi was the appointed prime minister of Iraq during the US occupation and an enemy of Saddam Hussein for 30 years. He is a former Baathist (member of Saddam's party) who publicly disagreed with Saddam's views and fled Iraq to live in Britain for decades. In the 1990s he was involved in a US-supported coup that unfortunately failed to topple Saddam's government.
It was he who gave western agencies the reports about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction.
It was Allawi who convinced most western governments that Saddam had a WMD program and was ready to strike British troops within 45 minutes.
Nick Theros, the Washington representative of Iyad Allawi, who headed the Iraqi National Accord in exile, said it was raw intelligence from a single source, part of a large amount of information passed on by the INA to MI6.
He told the Guardian: "We were passing it on in good faith. It was for the intelligence services to verify it."
Bush's "lie" if you will was really Allawi's error, the same Allawi whom a majority of Iraqis apparently want to be the new prime minister of Iraq. This is all well-known in Iraq.
The INM is a very pro-western and pro-American list and has been chosen by 25.77% of Iraqis.
The State of Law Coalition is a list formed around current prime minister al-Maliki's Islamic Dawa Party. The Islamic Dawa Party opposed Saddam's rule in the 1980s and like Kurdish groups sided with Iran during the first Gulf War (the one between Iraq and Iran). Originally supported by Iran the party has since distanced itself from the Iranian regime.
Under their previous leader al-Jaffari (who was prime minister of Iraq for one year in 2005) the Islamic Dawa Party was also the only major Shiite group that opposed the invasion of Iraq. The current leader of the party, prime minister al-Maliki worked with both Iran and Hizbullah and the US in the 1990s to toppe Saddam's regime.
Al-Maliki comes from a well-known family that supported the King of Iraq.
The SLC is as pro-western as it is pro-Iranian and has the support of 25.69% of Iraqis.
The National Iraqi Alliance is a union of Shiite Islamist groups of several nationalities (Arab, Kurdish and Turkmen). They used to be allied with the Islamic Dawa Party but are not any more. I don't know much else about them.
The NIA has the support of 19.41% of Iraqis.
The Kurdistani Alliance is a coalition of the two historical Kurdish parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (Barzani) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (Talabani). Massoud Barzani, the president of Iraqi Kurdistan is the leader of the one, Jalal Talabani, the current president of Iraq, is the leader of the other. Both come from families long known on Kurdistan for their opposition to Saddam's regime and both had been supported in their fight for Kurdistan by the Shah of Iran.
The Kurdistani Alliance is probably the most pro-western and pro-American party in Iraq and got 15.42%.
The Kurdish Movement for Change evolved from parts of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and many members are members in both groups. It might be the first party that runs on something other than sectarianism (Islamist, secular Shiite, secular Sunni, secular both, Kurdish) and instead has a platform advocating economic liberalism and budget transparency.
The Unity Alliance of Iraq has its roots in the Awakening movement, the Sunni militia that fought against (and beat) Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In the 2010 elections the Awakening movement's party joined forces with the Iraqi Constitutional Party, a group of secular Shiites, and individual Kurdish politicians.
This secular Sunni movement with Shia support got 2.9% of the votes.
The remaining three lists (6.43%) are a sectarian Sunni group and two Kurdish Islamist movements. Note that "Kurdish Islamist" really is more comparable to European Christian Democrats than to what the word "Islamist" usually means.
All-in-all Iraqis have just voted for a very pro-western and pro-American new parliament. They specifically voted for the guy responsible for the invasion. An they clearly voted Iran out of Iraq again.
I think this is the time for the west to support Iraq more again!
The experiment worked. Iraq has become more democratic and more liberal and secular.
To end this in the same spirit of hope it was written in I recommend you watch this interview with Iyad Jamal ad-Din, an Iraqi politician and Shiite cleric whom I have mentioned before, when he talks about Iraq, Israel, and Islam; three things that start with different letters in the original (Ayin, Yud, Alef):