23 December 2005

The Iraq election

A free election in Iraq is inherently good news, yes, but the results are not so reassuring. US Ambassador to Iraq Zilmay Khalilzad says:
It looks as if people have preferred to vote for their ethnic or sectarian identities. But for Iraq to succeed there has to be cross-ethnic and cross-sectarian co-operation.
That's from a brief article in the UK Independent which says that indications are that religious groups and political parties are in the ascendency, ethnic/regional divisions are sharp, and Iranian influence is powerful.

We're not exactly seeing a flowering of democratic institutions.

Mr Khalilzad said yesterday: "You can't have someone who is regarded as sectarian, for example, as Minister of the Interior." This is a not so-veiled criticism of the present minister, Bayan Jabr, a leading member of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the largest Shia party. He is accused of running death squads and torture centres whose victims are Sunni Arabs.
Emphasis mine. I'm excitable about that sort of thing.

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