The election in Iraq yesterday is being hailed a success. That is the actual election, at least in terms of turnout – apparently around 70% – may well have been a success as elections go, but so far that’s all there has been. So far the only thing that as been successful is the management of the actual election. The results, however, will be the real telling of whether or not the election was a success.
All parties involved in this election have encouraged their respective voter blocs to turn out for the election – which, of course, is why the turnout has been high. However a closer look at the leaders of the various factions contending for power soon reveals that ‘democracy’ per se is of little or no interest to any of them.
The two secular Shiite contenders, ex-Ba’ath Party activist, hard-man and accused murderer of resistance fighters, Ayad Allawi, and convicted fraudster and proven liar who fed the lies to the Pentagon neoconservatives in order to start the war in the first place, Ahmad Chalabi, are both men who in the past have shown no respect whatsoever for ‘democracy’. The two Shiite religious contenders, Moktada al-Sadr and Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, apart from being fierce rivals of each other, also have shown little interest in ‘democracy’. Al-Sadr’s main interests are ridding the nation of the invaders and creating a ‘strong’ central government, while al-Hakim would prefer a theocratic Islamic government with close ties to Iran; not very much interest here in ‘democracy’.
The Sunnis are represented by Tarik al-Hashemi, who heads up a Sunni alliance that believes that Iraq should stay as one and, again, has little or no interest in democracy.
Finally the Kurds are represented by Jalal Talabani, the current Iraqi President, and Massoud Barzani, an avid Kurdish nationalist. Both are more interested in Kurdish independence than Iraqi democracy.
The election is merely a tool for all of the contenders to get their respective feet under the table in order to jockey for political power and leverage. The new government, if and when it is able to sort itself out, will not last its allotted four years. The factions alone within each grouping will not allow any form of Western style ‘democracy’ to prevail, and that’s before we start talking about any parliamentary groupings or coalition. Without strong alliances, alliances built without US assistance which will otherwise be seen as serving America’s self interest, there cannot even be any sustainable government, let alone ‘democracy’.
The bottom line is: there may be a period of relative quiet while the sides sort themselves out but it will soon descend into a chaotic free-for-all battle again as temporary coalitions break down and each side demands more of what they consider is their share of power.
In the end there will simply be more of what there is now; insurgents wanting to get rid of the occupiers and plunderers, militias and warlords with their death squads wanting their piece of the corruption action, and the US getting exactly what they wanted in the first place, a nation in turmoil that they can use as an excuse to stay there while they control the region, the oil and protect Israel.
Democracy? Election day is about the only day the Iraqi people will get to see ‘democracy’. They’ve had their day. Now it’s back to more of the same