The results of Iraq's first free elections are in. They're better than any realist could have expected. And, predictably, the media are grasping at every possible negative.
Let's look at things honestly.
The United Iraqi Alliance, endorsed by the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, got 48.2 percent of the vote. That's enough to please the party's wide array of Shi'a backers, but it's not enough to govern without a coalition.
Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi's Iraqi List came in third, with 13.8 percent. This largely Shi'a party also includes Sunni Arabs and will act as a secular counterforce to the UIA's religion-tinted coalition.
Vitally, the Kurdistan Alliance took second place with a startling 25.7 percent. This not only demonstrates the power of Iraq's most pro-American element, but grants the Kurds the role of political kingmakers. Both of the major Shi'a parties will court them.
Moqtada al-Sadr, the bigoted thug who cast himself as the voice of Iraq's Shi'as? His party gets three seats out of 275. So much for Shi'a extremism.
Democracy works. . .
You can also disregard the warnings that Iraq will turn into another Iran. Ain't going to happen. The Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Iraq's most revered figure, is well aware that Iran's theocracy has failed miserably — tarnishing the faith he loves. As a result, Sistani has set a rational course that will endure beyond his death.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Yesterday, I complained about the Washington Post's news coverage and "its bad news" spin on the Iraqi election results. Today, Ralph Peters articulates better than I did yesterday the more appropriate way to view the results.