The Alternative View of Iraq's Elections

Thursday, December 22, 2005 at 07:59 AM

The president has consistently portrayed the very fact that the Iraqi elections were held as a form of victory for our policies. The American media have, by and large, been willing to go along with the portrayal, at least during this interim period as we wait for the final vote counts.

Some foreign and independent sources, however, have already analyzed the partial returns and concluded that it's not looking good, if your definition of "good" is a functioning democracy in Iraq which is inclusive, secular, and, most of all, friendly to the US.

That's not too surprising given that we boxed ourselves into that very corner by creating a strong anti-American public sentiment which pretty much guaranteed votes to candidates who bashed us, while denying votes to any candidates we are known to favor.

Check these views out.

An Asia Times article for, example, quotes Former Iranian president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (relatively friendly to the west, compared to the current Iranian government), speaking at Tehran University, Friday, 12/16/05:

"We knew ever since the beginning [of the Iraq war] that the Americans would become trapped in a quagmire ... Iraq has become a turning point in the history of the Middle East. If the Americans had succeeded in subjugating Iraq, our region would have suffered once again from colonialism, but if Iraq becomes a democratic country that can stand on its own feet, the Americans will face the greatest loss. In such an eventuality, Iran and other regional states will be able to play an important role in world issues since they provide a huge share of the world's energy needs. We see now that the United States has been defeated."

The same article, titled Iran Wins Big in Iraq's Elections, states that:

"As the trends became available regarding the Iraqi elections of last Thursday, what has emerged is that contrary to all pre-poll projections, the Shi'ite religious coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance (UIA), not only held together, but also can be expected to dominate the new 275-member National Assembly for the next four years.
    "More importantly, the "secular" candidates who were believed to enjoy links with the US security agencies would seem to have been routed. Former premier Iyad Allawi's prospects of leading the new government seem virtually nil. And Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Accord suffered a shattering defeat."

An online article by Robert Scheer states:

"Soon after Bush spoke of the Iraqi election as "a landmark day in the history of liberty," early returns representing 90% of the ballots cast in the Iraq election established that the clear winners were Shiite and Sunni religious parties not the least bit interested in Western-style democracy or individual freedom -- including such extremists as Muqtada al-Sadr, whose fanatical followers have fought pitched battles with U.S. troops.

"The silver lining, of course, is that the election did see broad participation, if not particularly clean execution. And because all of the leading parties say they want the United States to leave on a clear and public time line, this should provide adequate cover for a staged but complete withdrawal from a sovereign country that we had no right to invade in the first place.

"What we will leave behind, after hundreds of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of lives lost, will be a long way from the neoconservative fantasy of a compliant democracy in the heart of the Middle East. It is absurd for Bush to assert that the election "means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror," ignoring how he has "lost" Iraq to the influence and model of "Axis of Evil" Iran. Tehran's rogue regime, which has bedeviled every U.S. president since Jimmy Carter, now looms larger than ever over the region and most definitely over its oil."